How will anonymous posting mode work?

(Lowell Heddings) #1

Please make sure that anonymous posting mode can be disabled completely. There are already enough struggles with getting people to act like decent humans without adding anonymity on top of it. Eggs are annoying.

Anonymous posting mode
Discourse Version 1.3
Make anonymous posts
Plugin that allows anonymous posting
Discourse for Darknets?
(Molly) #2

Could the spoiler integration be included into this?

(Jeff Atwood) #3

Yes of course anon mode would only be for existing accounts anyway. I always viewed it as a special feature that has to be enabled. It is very important for healthcare related communities.

(John Oeffinger) #4

This is an excellent example in the clinical, disease or treatment specific areas such as cancer support. In the next few years we will see a significant uptick in behavioral health/mental health work. The ability for people to post anonymously will be very important in these discussions.

(Nindita Giwangkara) #5

Does the anonymous posting mode have a feature that can differentiate one anon from another in the same topic, so that we can tell which is which? 4chan IDs style or just simply one anon for all.

(Sam Saffron) #6

I don’t know … probably

(Bcguy) #7

As a manager of a behavioral health web site using Discourse Forums already - I disagree with this. We just don’t show real names or email addresses (only made up screen names) and the forum in effect becomes anonymous - we don’t need any additional anon features I don’t think. But I can see use cases for anonymous posting - when you default to real names. But in a healthcare setting - I can’t imagine using real names at all due to HIPPA requirements.

(Nindita Giwangkara) #8

I think additional anonymous posting is still needed to stop other user from profiling.

(Bcguy) #9


Why exactly would you need two different ways to post anonymously? I’m still unclear on this use case. I’m not disagreeing with you - I just don’t understand the rationale yet.

I’m in healthcare - and the anonymous posting ability we are using right now seems fine.

(Mittineague) #10

I myself am an allied heath care professional (MT-ASCP) and IMHO anonymity is not the same as privacy. i.e. HIPAA concerns

(John Oeffinger) #11

Correct. HIPPA is used for treatment. The results go into your electronic medical record and are billable.

Anonymous is used because someone wants to ask for information about a disease, symptom, treatment alternative without divulging their name. It’s also used by a caregiver who does not want to divulge the name of the person for whom they are providing caregiving.

Behavioral Health has been stigmatized so anonomous helps in reaching out. Think of a veterans family who is concerned about symptoms of PTSD.

The classic example in how anonomous discussions evolved and for the most part provided factual information and guidance were the LGBT BBSes when we started to become aware of HIV in the 80’s.

I ran’s discussion forums in '99-00 and we used curated caregivers and professionals to moderate our forums. We were #8 in the country at the time and just ahead of WebMD. Our posters required anonymous posting to understand what next steps they should take after they looked into our symptom/disease database. Same is true today.

(Sam Saffron) #12

Somewhat related to this discussion:

The anonymity provided by yik-yak proved pretty cancerous in some places. Anonymous will always have to be “anonymous” except to site admins that know everything.

(John Oeffinger) #13

Absolutely. This was one of the first issues we had to deal with. Admins had to know who was causing the issue, the extent, and then determine how to address it. We did make a distinction between Admins and Moderators. The Admins could see the details. The Mods couldn’t. This was a conscious decision because the Mods were volunteers. They flagged the problem children the Admins, who were paid staff hence accountable to the organization, needed to deal with.

(Bcguy) #14

OK - so the use case that you guys are thinking when you are thinking about this is, I suspect, the forum that uses real names and then the person periodically wants to use an anonymous post - is that correct?

Of course - on my forum I use the complete anonymous option that you already have in the forums - so all my users are already anonymous - and an additional layer of anonymity is redundant.

I guess I can see this need/requirement - but it seems much lower (at least in my priority list) for some sort of advertising support as has been discussed here. So many people in these forums are asking for advertising - and the potential to get some revenue from the forums. My only thinking on why you are not addressing it is that its too hard and the returns are unknown - is that it?

Do you guys have any plans for advertising support in any of the releases any time soon? This really seems to be the biggest need right now.

Anonnymous forum
(Jeff Atwood) #15

Not on the roadmap at the moment, no. I don’t see that many requests for this in general, and among our paying customers there have been zero requests for ads. The presence of a community discussion area is itself a kind of natural advertising for the product, service, brand, etc. anyway this is fairly off topic so any further replies should be on one of the existing ad topics.

(Dylan) #16

So for the anonymous posting users would be able to toggle in and out of that mode? For example, if there is a certain category on the site that would benefit users to be anonymous in there, would they be able to do anon posts there (just with some ID so we can know which anon is talking to differentiate the anons) and then post normally elsewhere?

Also, will there be a way to disallow anon posting in certain categories or make it where you have to allow it in a category for it to be able to be used there?

(Jeff Atwood) #17

Yes you would toggle in or out of anon mode via your avatar menu in the upper right. When you are anon the avatar will look like this

(Kane York) #18

I dream… of a world… where people are judged by the content of their post, not the color of their avatar

(Sam Saffron) #19

Initial implementation is up, still rough around edges but works:

You must enable allow_anonymous_posting site setting AND set anonymous_posting_min_trust_level to an appropriate level.

We keep track of a shadow “anonymous” account but there is no way of telling who it is unless you cross correlate IP addresses in the admin interface. This anon account can still be banned and so on if it gets out-of-hand.

Ability to Block Certain Readers from Seeing Your Posts

Nice feature!

I noticed anonymous has a really crappy A avatar, it would be way cooler if it had fa-user-secret: Font Awesome Icons as its icon, can you change that?