The case for anonymity in forums....I have quoted liberally here from Matthew Crozier....Matthew co-founded Bang the Table in 2007 and is currently the CEO
All our users have the option to be anonymous. At the outset there was some debate about this. There seemed to us to be a lot of merit in the argument that an individual should be willing to own their opinion rather than hiding behind an anonymous label. However, with time and experience (we have now run over 100 public forums) we have come to believe that anonymity in a public forum is important for a number of reasons:
- Anonymity removes a major barrier to entry for most people. How do we know this? Because the proof is in the pudding… over 95% of our forum users choose a username that protects their anonymity.
- Anonymity breaks down power relationships between interlocutors. We have observed conversations between 50 year olds and 13 year olds that would never take place in a face to face environment.
- Anonymity allows an individual to express an opinion without the fear of intimidation. Cyber bullying is a serious issue but is a personal matter. Anonymity greatly reduces the ability of anyone to bully or humiliate anyone else within a forum.
- Anonymity allows an individual to express an opinion that may be contrary to that of their employer.
- Anonymity allows an individual to express an opinion that their position may not otherwise permit.
Many of the arguments I have heard for identifying participants in a forum or other online participation event revolve around the issue of personal responsibility reducing poor behaviour. In the 100 or so forums we have moderated I have seen little evidence of this. The truth is that most people behave well no matter how they are identified. As moderators we can take care of the few who don’t.
The other key issue is that we have no way of showing that people are who they claim to be unless we demand credit card details. That would seriously limit participation.
Edited by Condobloke, 27 August 2015 - 06:55 PM.