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 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 18, 2001
Forgive me if I should be so presumptuous to challenge the good judgement of the all-powerful editors, but I was considering the merits of anonymous posting, and I was wondering if the editors would enlighten me as to their reasons to allow it.

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It seems to me that many of the people who come here show up because they have had their 'feathers rustled' by statements such as those made in the goth or wiccan articles. These people, once arriving, are likely to be so intent on sharing their 'wisdom' that they are almost certain to be willing to set up an account to do so. Once they have done so (it seems to me) not only will they likely to be somewhat more reasonable and level-headed once they are only moderately anonymous, but also they are more likely to stick around based on the effort they have put into creating an account.

There is no fear of putting off those who wish to say something controversial without it tying to their account (as if they should be afraid of posting something controversial here) because it is always easy to create a secondary account. And of course, if people are not posting anonymously, it is easier to place whatever argument one is challenged with in a frame of reference based on the challenger's other comments. It also protects from spammers and crapflooders, by obvious mechanisms.

On the contrary, I can't really think of a single reason to allow anonymous posting. Perhaps someone could share their views?


There are different opinions on this (4.00 / 2) (#1)
by bc on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 12:55:53 PM PST
Mine is that we should get rid of AC posting, just not quite yet. It is good to have AC posting for a short while, as it is friendly for newbies and means that the barrier to entry on the site is smaller.

However, AC comments are often trollish in nature, and frequently worthless, and we really can't possibly allow that.

I think we should just wait a few weeks or so and then disable anonymous posting altogether. However, other editors will have different views on this, it is something we all have to think about and thrash out.

♥, bc.

another instrument (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by johnny ambiguous on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 06:38:56 PM PST
Anonymous posting is just another option your .org offers; if you want to use it, you can, in order to get that slightly dubious fragrance it sprinkles over the post you're composing. Like if you were painting and instead of the brush you smeared the canvas with your thumb, or if you could write music, scoring a piece for a cornet instead of a trumpet. This is a good feature. Why mess with it?

Anyhow having reread William Gibson lately (well, actually Harry Harrison), thus being all wired and on edge about terror over the network wire, it occurs to me: sooner or later some innocent little composition someone deposits here will go and whap some halfwit upside the head so hard that he will come up with the all-original scheme of overwhelming your server and scripts under sea waves of crap posts. Come to think of it, though it's only been a week - true genius darts like lightning! - that inspired though easily-offended wiccan or whatever, all several of him, has, have, probably already struck. Well, you'd know, right? You're an editor at this here nuthouse, right? Y'all been crapflooded yet? Do you editors have to select the garbage out by hand? Does Scoop automatically null out the multiples?

Yours WDK -

Getting into my Chevrolet Magic Fire, I drove slowly back to the office. - L. Rosen

No serious attempts (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by elby on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 07:02:42 PM PST
We've had an occasional post that we've gotten rid of, but things have been quiet. I'm not at all against turning off anonymous posting until some specific problem goes away. But scoop is far less forgiving than slashcode.


Yes (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by bc on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 07:27:56 PM PST
Anonymous posting at its best can be far superior to logged in posting, as the author is freed from all considerations of consistency and identity, and so his post can soar like a dove.

Problem is, AC posts are a weakness - as you say, any person of malice can use them via some 'script' to damage our site. Thankfully, scoop has built in protections against scripts that were installed after kuro5hin was brought down last year.

We haven't been crapflooded as yet, although we have banned a couple of IP's. One for running 'wget -r' (lb knows what this is) and another for first posting an article (dog).

If one of our uniquely original and controversial articles should incite someone to attack our site, we will have plenty of weapons available to righteously annihilate them (not least 25-odd editors who take great pleasure in seeking such miscreants out with extreme prejudice).

Hopefully adequacy will never suffer from trolls, flamers, spammers and all these horrible little people.

♥, bc.

I think you're about to get a flurry of replies... (5.00 / 3) (#2)
by elby on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 12:57:32 PM PST
The way I personally see it is that until we get enough members at this website that it can sustain itself, it would be bad to disable anonymous posting. As stupid as it seems, people are somewhat attracted to numbers, and until we get those numbers from real, regular users, we can get them from anonymous people. The site would definitely appear emptier right now without the anonymous posters. I don't think a lot of the people who posted here anonymously could have figured out how to make accounts. :)

Of course some of the other editors may disagree with me, and really I'm ambivalent about the issue, so if there's strong agreement about disabling anonymous posting now, I can do so.


Easy. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
by iat on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 01:11:32 PM PST
I can think of several reasons to allow it. Mainly, at the moment, I don't think placing barriers to get in the way of people posting is worthwhile or necessary.

By saying that readers are more likely to stick around because of the effort taken to create an account, you are admitting that creating an account isn't necessarily a trivial process. I would rather that people got their feelings off their chest than decide not to create an account and leave the site feeling frustrated/angry/unfulfilled/whatever. If people want to stick around and be part of the "community" that's fine; if they want to read an article, post a comment and never come back, then that's fine too.

I don't particularly agree with any argument that states that creating an account makes people accountable for what they post. When people post using psuedonyms, there isn't much of a difference to posting anonymously anyway. However, the fact that people are posting with a pseudonym that may be known to their friends/family/pets in real life may cause them to hold back and not say what they really feel in a comment. And, as we've all seen on other weblogs, any sort of insincerity can lead to all sorts of terrible accusations :) Besides, do you really think that it's desireable or sensible for every user to create multiple accounts, just so that they can say what they mean? Multiple accounts are a poor solution to the problem.

I presume your "dislike" of anonymous posting is because you are used to the k5 way of doing things. However, based on anecdotal evidence, k5 and other discussion sites that don't allow anonymous posting are in the minority. K5's decision to prevent anonymous posting was only brought about due to some rather unusual circumstances.

Disclaimer: These are just my opinions and are not the official policy of (not that there is an official policy on anonymous posting, other than we allow it) - love it or leave it.

Keep it as long as possible (5.00 / 2) (#4)
by zikzak on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 01:21:47 PM PST
Because if you stumble across this place for whatever reason and read something that strongly motivates you to make a comment right away, by the time you register an account the holy fire burning inside you may have died. The most valuable commentary occurs when it is made spur of the moment. Reflection on an issue and careful composition may yield a more grammatically correct, cohesive post, but the brief spark of reactionary brilliance will be lost.

We at Adequacy strongly encourage our readers to act out their impulsive natures, so long as it is something that seriously reflects their emotional reactions to any given piece. Let there be no hindrance to any reader offering their honest, knee-jerk reaction to any content. This site will live or die based on reader commentary, and while registered user posts are prefferable, all worthy discussion should be encouraged

Food for thought (3.50 / 4) (#5)
by SpaceGhoti on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 01:27:26 PM PST the time you register an account the holy fire burning inside you may have died.

Not that I advocate getting rid of the Anonymous Reader status (I don't really care one way or another), but your statement right there seems to make a good argument for removing it. Some of the least productive, inane material is said or posted under the heat of passion. I believe you might call it a "troll." Taking time to calm down and re-think your position is generally conducive to reducing troll material.

A troll's true colors.

That is a valid concern (4.25 / 4) (#6)
by zikzak on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 01:51:35 PM PST
Since we are so concerned about keeping Adequacy free from trolls and trolling, your comment is worth considering. However, I personally feel that so long as we do our jobs as editors and remove all trollish content, our readers have no fear of accidentally posting a passionate reply to something that is actually a troll.

Speaking only for myself, it is my hope that our readers will recognize our site as a haven from trolling where they are free to post without needing to apply undue skepticism to what they read. Adequacy should be a refuge for those wishing to have a discussion about controversial topics without needing to fear that they are only being toyed with by an insincere author.

That depends. (3.75 / 4) (#7)
by SpaceGhoti on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 02:19:36 PM PST is my hope that our readers will recognize our site as a haven from trolling...

The Editors themselves seem to be in disagreement over whether or not this is a troll site. Statements like yours make me think you're honestly trying for something legimate. Things like this convince me otherwise.

I've recently given up trying to take this site seriously. This is not to say I haven't tried, but I've seen nothing in the way of articles written with anything to give them validity. Lots of trollbait, which is always controversial. But most of the statements are so incredibly polarised and bigoted as to be a caricature of the position stated.

So I gave up trying to be serious and responded to the articles in the same spirit of obsequiousness that I read them in. And I got modded up for it. I think this conversation pretty much sums up my feelings, and several others.

A troll's true colors.

I guess that depends on how you define troll (5.00 / 2) (#8)
by zikzak on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 03:21:23 PM PST
The classic definition of trolling denotes the activity as being a subset of flamebaiting. And no matter what your opinions are of this site, I think you will have to admit that so far we have done quite well in keeping it free of flame.

There may be vehement disagreements, and several of our authors have in fact been taken to task by numerous Wiccans, Goths and other extremist fringe groups for certain stories they posted. Nonetheless, the majority of those disagreeing have done so in a very civilized manner, taking pains to point out fallacious logic and offer their own insight into the topic at hand. On those rare occassions where comments have resorted to name calling and excessive vulgarity (or threats, in the case of a few Wiccans), the editors have deleted the posts.

Some stories are deliberately written to provoke, yet never to enrage. If you take objection to how I define trolling then perhaps my earlier comment could be better worded as, "It is my hope that our readers will recognize our site as a haven from excessive histrionics and personal attacks that are prevalent in unmoderated forums."

Definitions (3.50 / 4) (#9)
by SpaceGhoti on Wed Jul 18th, 2001 at 03:56:42 PM PST
It sounds like what you define as a "troll," I define as a "flamer." A subtle distinction, I'm sure. I base my definition from the Jargon File, here.

What really scares me is the suggestion that the articles posted on this site are meant in earnest. That being the case, I really think I will change my stance on guns. I used to be able to sleep at night without one.

A troll's true colors.


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