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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posts are coming from people with (a) an inability to get back into their old account due to a password change/out of date email (b) fears dating back to a security breach about a year and a half ago (c) not wanting to be downvoted for seeming dumb, or some other fill-in-the-blank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.


In reply to Re: Anonymous Monk by ELISHEVA
in thread Anonymous Monk? by Jim

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