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Re: Anonymous Monk

by ELISHEVA (Prior)
on Jan 16, 2011 at 05:04 UTC ( #882509=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Anonymous Monk?

I don't find having an anonymous monk at all inconsistent with the ethos. In my view the supreme ethos here is learning. I'd rather have someone ask a question anonymously than not ask it at all. I'd rather see a good answer that teaches me something, even if it from an anonymous source, than not have it at all.

I also have a completely unconfirmed hunch that certain people with "well known names" from time to time post anonymously because they want their words to be evaluated for their own merits and do not want to quelch honest discussion or debate. Unfortunately if someone has too much of a reputation and they speak up the natural inclination of many is to keep their disagreements to themselves. Encouraging discussion rather than silence also fits into the ethos of learning.

However, I do think we need to look carefully at frequency and nature of anonymous posts. I'm not referring here to anonymous trollers. Those are easy enough to find and reap.

Rather I'm referring to good posts that seem to be anonymous for some reason other than "I just don't want my name known". For instance, posts that are anonymous because someone doesn't want to be downvoted for expressing a contrary view or for not being sure how to find information on the web or RTFM (read the f--king manual). That would signal that the monastery is _not_ as safe a place for learning as it could be. Learning requires a space where people feel safe about being dumb. Bringing new people into a community requires people being able to ask about and even challenge cultural norms without fear of rejection.

It wouldn't be entirely bad, in my opinion, to add a question to the posting form that gave people an (optional) chance to state why they chose to post anonymously. I'm fine with "I just wanna". I'd like to know, for instance, what percentage of anonymous posts are coming from people with (a) an inability to get back into their old account due to a password change/out of date email (b) fears dating back to a security breach about a year and a half ago (c) not wanting to be downvoted for seeming dumb, or some other fill-in-the-blank reason. We could use the data or not, but without the data, we're just guessing based on gestalt and intuition about anonymous posting trends.

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Re^2: Anonymous Monk
by Jim (Curate) on Jan 16, 2011 at 07:17 UTC

    We're all perfectly anonymous here, right? I'm Jim. And that, by the way, is my real nameŚthe name my mother calls me. But you don't know which of millions of Jims I am. I'm otherwise perfectly anonymous. If I say to you, "Your mother wears army boots!", you can't empty my bank account or sever a limb to punish me for insulting your mom, can you? (BTW, your mom's a doll, ELISHEVA. Just in case you can empty my bank account or sever a limb for insulting your dear mother!)

    I have a confession to make. I'm practically every user on PerlMonks! PerlMonks is almost entirely one guy...me! Every post attributed to "Anonymous Monk" is mine! And all those other whacky usernames...mine! All mine!

    I hope the fact that every response you get to anything you post on PerlMonks is coming from one amorphous respondent named "Anonymous Monk" that is actually is me, a mediocre Perl programmer, is not a problem for you. I try to be really right.

      We're all perfectly anonymous here, right?

      If that was true, your question would be moot.

      PerlMonks is almost entirely one guy...me! Every post attributed to "Anonymous Monk" is mine!

      It's like we're giving these people a new account every time they post, so you could say every post attributed to "Anonymous Monk" is by a different person.

      I really don't care who write the nodes, and you shouldn't either, just remember to consider what is said instead of who is talking.

      ...but I think you know this already..since I'm you ;)
Re^2: Anonymous Monk
by Jim (Curate) on Jan 16, 2011 at 06:53 UTC

    Thank you, ELISHEVA, for your very thoughtful responses to my (all-too-na´ve) inquiry.

    My only gripe with "Anonymous Monk" is that I don't know which of arbitrarily many "Anonymous Monk"s I'm conversing with when I post something on PerlMonks. That's really all there is to my question about why the decision was made by whoever runs things here to let everyone be one, amorphous, indistinct Anonymous Monk on PerlMonks.

      My only gripe with "Anonymous Monk" is that I don't know which of arbitrarily many "Anonymous Monk"s I'm conversing with when I post something on PerlMonks.

      Silly me... I thought that was the whole point of anonymity.

      Sometimes a poster wants others to judge a post purely on its own merits and not on who is posting. That's one use for Anonymous Monk. They may not want to be voted down for a controversial point of view. They may not want to be voted up for something they know will be popular but for which they don't feel they deserve a lot of credit.

      Sometimes a member who is logged in takes a controversial stand. An Anonymous Monk may not want to appear to be attacking or supporting that other monk to whom they are replying just out of personal feelings about that other monk.

      Sometimes a visitor to the site wants to ask a question and get a response without signing up as a member. Perhaps he or she doesn't want the (quite small) hassle of signing up and remembering yet another password. I'd recommend a password wallet if remembering the password is the problem. Perhaps they aren't real sure who gets the information they would enter to register. Sometimes a person thinks they may never be back to a site after the one time they use it. I know I often find comment sections on other sites in which I'd comment if I didn't have to register as a member and give my email address out to some organization with which I'm unfamiliar just to comment the one time. The point in this case isn't to be anonymous but to leave your node on the site without having to meet the requirements of membership.

      The reputation of a node stands even if no XP is gained or lost by a member. You can vote a node up or down based on what it says, and people will be able to see the votes later. XP is a factor of a number of things, but a single node's reputation, especially when posted anonymously, is a pretty clear indication of what the voting membership thinks of the node. If you're voting to reward or punish members through XP, you're hurting the discussion system. Please vote on the merit of the nodes to which your votes are attached.

        My only gripe with "Anonymous Monk" is that I don't know which of arbitrarily many "Anonymous Monk"s I'm conversing with when I post something on PerlMonks.

        Silly me... I thought that was the whole point of anonymity.

        I think luis.roca's point was that it is difficult to differentiate which Anonymous Monk you are conversing with in a thread if there is more than one contributing at the same time.

      Since PerlMonks offers threaded discussions it is easy to follow the conversation, so it doesn't matter which one I am -- the opposite is true for the chatterbox so I am barred

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