|Don't ask to ask, just ask|
Once again ... is it time to get rid of the Anonymous Monk?by sundialsvc4 (Abbot)
|on Mar 18, 2013 at 13:40 UTC||Need Help??|
Perlmonks is unique among all sites that I know, in that it is possible to post anonymously. It’s also my recollection (from 2,500 posts and 7 years ago, so I’m a little fuzzy on this) that the authentication is also weak ... do we in fact send an e-mail to an e-mail of record, and, having done so, do we ever send it again?).
Anyhow ... the reason why I ask is that lately we’ve seen that our Anonymous Friend is getting a lot of flack, e.g. the sixth reply in When cpan returns the dreaded "won't install without force" which links to Re^3: Updating Config.pm and so on. (All of which, for the curious, is not me ... but my jaw dropped anyway.) All of this makes me wonder whether Anonymous (the monk, not the mask) needs to go bye-bye for good. I think so.
For one thing, I think that it should be pointed-out that “Anonymity” is very often accidental ... a session can vanish while you are writing or simply vanish, period. Also, since we do not require it, many folks do not seem to take the time. Okay, they just don’t. I do not think that, at least in the majority of cases, anyone is trying to avoid attribution or to guard their own XP. Okay, I simply don’t choose to entertain that notion on behalf of anyone else. Yet we certainly must consider the very real chance of misattribution. This is social networking at its oldest and finest, and even though the dynamics of any hallowed place of contemplation might sometimes lead to a fight, it might also lead to a chalice of wine being spitefully poured on the head of someone who had nothing to do with whatever-it-was. (When the right thing to have done with the wine would have been to get jush a littul bit tipshee ...)
Therefore, maybe it’s time to update the technology of the site. (Just a little... please don’t panic, vroom...)
Let’s take a well-known site like The Huffington Post, a media site which coincidentally and AFAIK is driven by Movable Type™, also a Perl-based platform. The site wants to encourage spontaneity, so you can write a response right away. But in order to post it, you must log in. Then, the posting appears.
Perlmonks, on the other hand, does not. The posting is anonymous. Furthermore, if for any reason your session “simply disappears,” your posting will appear as anonymous. You are no longer logged-in, but you might not even know it. Also, since the posting is now owned by Anonymous Monk, which BTW is the parking-place for over 73,000 writeups, you can’t edit your own words. And if you do log-in, your posting in progress is probably lost.
We’ve talked about this before ... and I submit that it is high time to do it. All postings should be attributable to someone. E-mail addresses should be subject to some kind of cleanup and re-verification, without which the ability to post is suspended. These are basics of most other sites, and they all seem to work well enough.
I think that we should do this now, because personalities often are touchy here, and opinions are even stronger. We’re supposed to be communing about Perl and not talking about one another, but the reality of social networking is always what it is. The information-quality and/or social-quality of the interactions might be being harmed by anonymity even when it happens by accident or convenience.