Discourse anonymous mode - possible feature to explore

Discourse has an anonymous posting feature that I’ve temporarily turned on to try out. You need a fully registered account already to be able to switch to anonymous mode. Info on how to turn it on and off for you is here: Enabling and Using Anonymous Mode - faq - Discourse Meta

The TLDR is click your avatar in the upper right, then the user icon in the upper right, and select ‘anonymous mode.’

The thought is that this could facilitate lower barriers to asking questions or making comments that members may feel awkward to post, whether in vote proposal threads or more in general.

HOWEVER this is obviously super easy to abuse, and we would have to make it more of a social agreement not to do that.

Any feedback is welcome

Including anonyously…

My initial reaction to this was that this seems TOO easy to abuse, but it looks like admins can at least see what IP address the anonymous posts are from. So, as long as the user behind the anonymous post had recently posted non-anonymously, it would be possible to figure out who had posted in the event of an egregious abuse.

it does still leave the possibility of someone who has not posted recently or who knew the IP was visible and changed their IP could abuse it without recourse… but that would show a LOT of malicious intent, and seems unlikely from our community.

i hope this would give people the freedom to ask stuff they may think is a “silly question” or clarification they may not feel comfortable asking in a public forum. i also like that you have to have an existing, approved discourse acc to use it so it’s not like randos popping on to be weird. i don’t mind us giving it a shot!!

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I’m in favor of leaving it on to try.

It looks like the actual identity still resides in the database, but this requires that an admin go do some SQL investigation to find it. That’s good enough for me: de-anonymizing is enough of a pain that I seriously doubt anyone will do it on a whim, but if we ever really need to do so, it’s not impossible.

I will also voice my opinion of being in favor of leaving this on.

I see this as a “Suggestion Box” in a way. I like it.

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Who said dat?

I too am in favor of this feature. People are too often afraid to ask for fear of pissing someone off. Or be unwilling to make comments that really need to be heard.
Also not everyone is as willing to speak up and we would like them to be. This should help encourage that, I hope.