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What are the Benefits of Anonymous Replies?

by svsingh (Priest)
on Jun 13, 2003 at 14:46 UTC ( #265689=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

I just thought I'd throw this out for discussion. I'm still pretty new to PM, but I think it's a great service and community. There's just one thing that's been bothering me since day one. Why is the Anonymous Monk allowed to reply to posts?

I haven't seen many good responses posted anonymously. A lot of them are just snipes and flames. While I don't have a problem with online anonymity, I think if you’re responding to someone, then why not stand behind it? Especially on a site where users can police the content by up/downvoting messages.

Do we, as a community, gain that much by allowing anonymous replies? What do we lose if we take that away? Here's are the reasons I've seen for replying anonymously:

  • Unregistered user posting a follow-up to their question. (Is it fair to ask people to register for this purpose?)
  • Registered user logging out to post something they expect to be downvoted. (Skews the XP system.)
  • Registered user forgetting to log in. (I'm guilty of this myself.)
  • Registered user doesn't want to be associated with the response for personal reasons. (Maybe they don't want their employer to be able to connect the code to them.)

Sorry if this is an old discussion. I tried to find answer to these questions, but the closest I came was Get rid of Anonymous Monks?. That's just a bit too drastic for my liking, but it was a good discussion.

Thanks for your consideration. If you know of helpful, anonymous replies, then please let me know. I'm basing a lot of this on what I've seen. I could just be way off here.

Comment on What are the Benefits of Anonymous Replies?
Re: What are the Benefits of Anonymous Replies?
by Corion (Pope) on Jun 13, 2003 at 15:03 UTC

    Let me reverse the question and ask, what do we gain by removing Anonymous Monks reply rights? Maybe some snipes and / or flames will vanish, but Nodereaper has been quite quick in removing them anyway. Other than that, there is no gain.

    On the other side, what do we lose by removing the reply rights ? Quite a lot in my opinion :

    If somebody posted their question anonmously, it is quite likely they will have the same reasons to post an update, clarification or anything else on that topic anonymously.

    If somebody regularly reads this site, but has not felt the incentive to register for an account yet, but has something worthwhile to offer to a thread, we will lose this information because registering takes time and possibly prevents that person from answering.

    Some people went into exile from Perlmonks (for a limited time) and did post anonymously - we would have lost those people.

    So in my opinion, we would lose much more than we could gain by such a change.

    perl -MHTTP::Daemon -MHTTP::Response -MLWP::Simple -e ' ; # The $d = new HTTP::Daemon and fork and getprint $d->url and exit;#spider ($c = $d->accept())->get_request(); $c->send_response( new #in the HTTP::Response(200,$_,$_,qq(Just another Perl hacker\n))); ' # web
Re: What are the Benefits of Anonymous Replies?
by rozallin (Curate) on Jun 13, 2003 at 15:09 UTC
    You may not be aware of the story of tilly, a well respected member of the Perlmonks community whom, for various reasons to do with his employment, was forced to leave the community for quite a great deal of time. He has since made a return, and he made the revelation that he had been back on many occasions, replying as an Anonymous Monk.

    Yes, a lot of replies are flames and snipes, or wrong and unhelpful, but there are also some replies that are gems of wisdom, and I think the benefits of keeping Anonymous Monk's ability to make and reply to nodes far outweighs the benefits that the community would receive if we got rid of that privilege.

    Remember that every user above Friar has moderation privileges: anything which is an outright flame or attack on an individual can and will be considered for deletion, and deleted if enough users agree. This applies to both registered users and anonymous ones.

    One monk has a very wise message relevant to the community in their sig - examine what is being written, not who wrote it. Anonymous monks write good advice just as often as registered monks write bad advice.

    --
    rozallin j. thompson
    The Webmistress who doesn't hesitate to use strict;

Re: What are the Benefits of Anonymous Replies?
by gmax (Abbot) on Jun 13, 2003 at 15:20 UTC

    Anonymous posting is not always to be associated with negative behavior.

    For example, I was pretty much surprised and delighted when I saw Overlooked Gems, which came from somebody who wanted to suggest something unselfish.

    After that one, I have seen several more cases of anonymous positive contribution. Since this community can benefit from anonimity, I wouldn't say there is any reason for alarm. :)

    _ _ _ _ (_|| | |(_|>< _|
(jeffa) Re: What are the Benefits of Anonymous Replies?
by jeffa (Chancellor) on Jun 13, 2003 at 15:38 UTC

    "If you know of helpful, anonymous replies, then please let me know."

    Goto Perl Monks User Search, enter 'Anomymous Monk' for the author and sort by 'Highest Reputation First'. (or just follow this link)

    While these are not guaranteed to be helpful, they are popular. Some of these posts have a higher rep than most monks will ever get. Anonymous Monk is an integral part of the Monastery as far as i am concerned. To silence Anonymous Monk is to silence potential members. You have to take the bad with the good. :)

    jeffa

    L-LL-L--L-LL-L--L-LL-L--
    -R--R-RR-R--R-RR-R--R-RR
    B--B--B--B--B--B--B--B--
    H---H---H---H---H---H---
    (the triplet paradiddle with high-hat)
    
Re: What are the Benefits of Anonymous Replies?
by talexb (Canon) on Jun 13, 2003 at 15:53 UTC

    One monk that I've met is not allowed to post on Perl-related topics due to his work situation -- because his employer has dibs on his work (this isn't tilly -- it's another highly-respected saint). So he occasionally makes use of Anonymous Monk to reply to a node.

    And, as has already been mentioned, the AM also allows a first-time visitor to post without feeling obligated to stick around or even identify themselves. NodeReaper will take care of business if the post is off-topic or objectionable. I think the system works well.

    Without the AM, the Monastery would be a poorer place.

    --t. alex
    Life is short: get busy!
Re: What are the Benefits of Anonymous Replies?
by tjh (Curate) on Jun 13, 2003 at 21:22 UTC
    Funny; this topic coming up on the heels of this node: Reputation and Accountability.

    Personally, I think Anonymous Monk has a role here as much as anyone. As mentioned there are many good reasons seasoned Perl mavens might post anonymously, as well as registered users, and those that haven't or may not register.

    Even with the ability to post anonymously, there continue to be a huge number of registrants daily. I don't know how many registered monks there are, but the number must be quite high by now. <anyone know?>

    There are online communities that require registration prior to posting, but PM has succeeded famously with its friendly and come-as-you-are attitude. Might be a shame to rock that boat.

Re: What are the Benefits of Anonymous Replies?
by phydeauxarff (Priest) on Jun 13, 2003 at 23:28 UTC
    I agree with others that the 'ability to post anonymously' is a valuable right...however (ducks in perperation for the flames)

    I don't personally think that anonymous should be able to post anymore than this user can participate in the Chatterbox.

    I agree that we should (ala Tilly) be allowed the right to participate in this forum, but anyone wishing to do so can (and probably does) create a new user...this is the same effect as anonymity but still holds accountabitity to a specific user that anonymous monk doesn't

    It is true that one can create disposable accounts and be a jerk with them....but I have seen examples of that (ala theAssMan who is perpetually interned in borg's belly). But we all look at certain users and either dismiss their comments or place value in them based on who said them....we simply can't do this with anonymous monk because we don't know who that might be.

    I will admit that the above is a symantical argument and frankly, I could go both ways concerning the issue of anonymous monk flaming someone but I would add to this discussion the following point;

    I have seen many, many instances where a monk has posted a reply to a node only to realize that they did so without first logging in and they then returned after logging in to post another replay of "hey, the above was me BTW...."

    Forcing folks to login before posting would resolve this issue and potentially lower the overall number of nodes....as well as hold some accountability for the poster.

    So...svsingh while I may be in a very unpopular minority...I agree with you on this one

Re: What are the Benefits of Anonymous Replies?
by Anonymous Monk on Jun 18, 2003 at 01:05 UTC

    You can't handle the truth.

    Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, editors? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Flames and you curse the Anonymous Monks. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That anonymous Flames, while tragic, probably saved this community. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, preserves this community.

    You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me here. You need me there.

    We use words like laziness, code, hubris... we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline.

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to.

    Heh heh heh.

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