What do we mean by 'anonymous'?

The word ‘anonymous’ currently means a few things in Discourse.

  • The user is not logged in or doesn’t have an account.

  • The user is logged in but is in anonymous mode.

  • Furthermore, a staff member can anonymize a user.

All this could be confusing for a less experienced admin. Could we improve nomenclature of these features somehow?


That doesn’t need to be called “anonymous”, per se, but it is a nice shorthand for “user who is not logged in”. Other synonym suggestions are welcome.

A very rare use case behind a default-off site setting. I don’t see a huge conflict here.

This is the strongest case for the literal meaning of the word.


Would it make sense to refer to anonymous users as guests? It’s the best I can think of, but my vocabulary could be broader, I admit.

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I would argue this case is “anonymized” not “anonymous”. One will never have an anonymized user accessing their site.


That’s a good point so then technically we have

  • anonymous mode – always those two words together, and remember this is a rare mode that must be expicitly enabled, is default off, and that mode to be explicitly entered and exited by an already logged in user with a valid account.

  • anonymized – as in “that user was anonymized”

  • anonymous – as in “this is an anonymous browser visit”

That seems pretty clear to me @rizka, not sure much else is needed here.


I’m alright with it. It’s still good that we gave this some thought.