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Journal FortKnox's Journal: Unread: Anonymity 66

OK, the biggest splash is about anonymous posting. Lets just put it all out in this JE. Here's some of the major points I'd like to start with:

I want to avoid spambots and crapfloods.
True anonymity has its merits, but will be abused all to hell.
Users will have 'egos' and possibly even an 'incognito' ego which has no username (basically like anonymous coward), but the ability to track it back (admin only) to the user to stop abuse.

Basically it comes down to what do you guys want. I don't want crapflooding and spambotting. If you can figure out a (simple) way to avoid it, plus giving users true anonymity, I'm all for it.

Next JE will be about ranking (moderation).
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Unread: Anonymity

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  • Just thought about something insanecarbonbasedlifeform said (ugh, I'm abbreviating that ICBLF from now on!) ;-)

    Make it an option on individual articles. If you want true anonymous posting, the author can decide to put it in. That way, you have to clean up the mess if it occurs in your article.

    Then the question comes down to if its allowed on front page articles (which I'm not too fond of, honestly).
    • I would say that since you are putting in the most time doing the coding, then Leave out anon on main page if it would cause more problems than are reasonably worth it.

      If I understand it correctly, a JE that is rated high enough gets displayed on the front page. That means that rules applied to all front page articles override the users rules for that JE if it were in their JE alone. This is fine, because you already mentioned the ability to select an option that does not allow a journal to be voted up t
  • If I don't want a comment tracked back to my online persona, I can just create a separate account. I think that there should be some accountability to each user ID. It's not like you have to attach your RL name and address to your account.
    • speaking of creating separate accounts...

      perhaps account creation should be similar to gmail? invite only? this allows a web of trust to be established. also, if say, 2 or 3 people you invited do stuff stupid enough to get banned, then you get banned? or maybe just aren't allowed to invite people anymore...

      that'll prevent so many troll accounts from being created.
      • Ahhhhhhhhh. I like the invite system. But how hard would that be to impliment?

        It will allow those of us wanting a specific account name to be able to get it before the crap flooders do.

        Chances are everyone in the JE circle wants to get the same account name so there will be no contention for the same account names.

      • That'll lead to a severly "in-crowd" community nature. That would stifle opposing views, and that ain't cool.

        Sure, it's fun to be "in," but only if you don't mind keeping your mouth shut to prevent being thrown out.
        • This is where the clearely defined TOS would come into play.

          If the in-crowd symptom is undesired, then the invite system could expire after a few months and open up the site to all users.

          That would be a bit (probably a fiar amount) of coding that would only affect the first month or two of the site, but could be a way to make sure that each slashdot user gets the account they want.

          OFF TOPIC:
          While I was thinking of this I just thought of a way to make sure each user gets the account they want...

          There cou
          • Read the reqs, gents. Inviting system is planned to give users higher 'trust' levels because someone is vouching for them (but if they are bad, the inviter is partially responsible).

            There is also signing up without an invite, but it requires more 'hoops' to be jumped through to gain trust.
      • Read the reqs. It uses both system. Inviting someone gives them the 'benefit of the doubt' and they start with high trust (of course, if they screw up and get banned, the inviter will be partially responsible for their invitee). If you create your own persona, then you have to go through hoops to 'earn' your trust.
    • I would just like to chime in to second this statement. There's no need for Anonymity beyond the anonymity of what you already have. (made up usernames)
      • How many made up usernames?

        There are questions that arise...
        Will each username have it's own visibility prefs?

        Will I have to view messages for each alias separately? Will others be able to see comments for an alias as though the user were real? Will it identify itself as an alias, without telling you whose? Can I specify how each alias works?

        For instance:

        If I go by two names - foo and bar - and wish to be known by either of them, could I alias my foo account with bar and set it up so that if you click b
    • I think you are missing one very strong positive feature of the 'post anonymously' option. I can, if I want, set an "Anonymous Modifier" to -6 and set my threshold to 0 -- I would never see Anonymous posts (if that were something I desired).

      While I don't use that ability/function, I can see it being useful. I read at 0 with no modifiers myself -- there are just enough 'gems' from anon posters that I'm willing to wade through the muck. Most of the 'nasty' stuff ends up at -1 (below my threshold). Removin
  • You could allow anonymous posting, but only if the user is logged in. And any long-term effects that the rating system has applies to the user account that made the anonymous posting.
  • For anonymous postings. X amount from same ip autobans, duplicate text, etc.

    IF you want to allow it. Otherwise I'd just say fuck it and not bother with the overhead that will occur if any acceptable means of control is implemented.
    • I go with the "if you can't say it logged in, then post in on slashdot. Otherwise leave it off of unread.org

      I mean, Unread is supposed to be a bit more grown up version of slashdot right? Less crap.

      If I want to flame someone for an idiotic comment I do it using my username. No reason to do it otherwise. I have posted anon on slashdot about 2 or 3 times. Mainly to join in on a good ad homenim attack party. And I occasionally say some stuff many people don't like, but that is what the friend / foe sys
  • Anonymous 'ability' with admin traceback. I'd also limit AE's (Alter Ego's) to a reasonable number. We may want a way to ensure that the main users get their preferred UID's as well when we move over. I'd be more than slightly irritated if I found out Red Warrior setup a SiliconJesus account (you know we can't trust him - he's in Iraq and stuff).
    • Anonymous 'ability' with admin traceback.

      Agreed -- Slashcode has this, I believe. It comes down to how much trust you have in the admins, but as long as it's made clear that IPs are tracked and cross-referenced (which Slashdot, of course, does not disclose) users are free to trust or not trust as they see fit.

    • Red Warrior is in Iraq???

      Better tell Homeland Security; I understand there are terrorists in Iraq.

      someone suggested using Josh's zoo.pl list or a specific journal (scraped with mad poster's tool?) to get UIDs and stuff, and have the uid/password combo mailed to an address posted there. Makes sure that Sam the Butcher guy can't steal the account of 5am the Butcher.
    • Don't worry... I'll be using invite only for a while in beta so all the users can get their UIDs (I'll email you the invites).

      Trust me, I don't wanna have to learn which personalities go with which user all over again for everyone.
  • And I'd almost prefer "garbled" anonymous posting instead of just a blank anonymous account. The garbled name could just be a hash of an IP, username, or date (or combination there of). So for 8/18/2004 IP would have a garbled ID of 'xasdfhds'.

    Now it would still be generally anonymous. But there would be user level tracking. You could see if someone was trolling you specifically. That there would be something of an accountability for even AC accounts.
  • "Anonymnity" means nothing if it can be traced by a log.

    What about moderated/registered anonymnity? Anyone can post an anonymous post, but it must be checked as "not crapflood" by at least two registered members, one of which can be the original poster using an "anonymous" function.

    Let any user see how many anonymous posts are waiting, and then pull up one randomly selected post. (Don't know how you could handle dupes, though...)
    • I like that idea. But make it a percentage vote instead of a vote tally. Some people will vote for their own posts.

      On the other hand, you could make such voting records public. Or, at least, trackable by an admin. That way an admin might notice if someone's modding up their own posts.
      • I think you are confusing 'slashdot' moderation with, like 'newsgroup' moderation.

        Planes idea is as follows:
        I write an anonymous post and click 'submit'. The post isn't placed in the article immediately, but is placed in an anonymous posting queue. High 'trusted' users can view the queue for abuse and such. If the post isn't offensive or anything, they vote it 'ok' to post. Once the post gets at least n number of votes and has a better than x% of 'oks', it gets posted... otherwise it gets thrown away
        • This is probably the best idea of the lot. As you said, you would just need to tie in a way to prevent moderators from abusing the system by approving something "bad" and a way to deal with aging articles in the queue, i.e. If I post something anonymously, I don't want it sitting in the queue for three days and approved after the discussion is over. Perhaps a messaging system to alert the high trust users, and an incentive system to reward those that vote on anonymous articles regularly.
        • I like that idea. Two or three trusted users votes should be enough to let an anonymous post through...
          • It'll have to be based on the number of active users for the system....

            I'm going to assume that we have aproximately 50 active users in this journal group. What will this translate to with the anonymous queue.

            By the way - I really like the Anonymous queue idea. Mebbe we should have it rotate between all of us using the system.
        • Good theory, but bad practice, I think. You start introducing the possibility of significant delays into the conversation. Also, do we want to end up in a situation where some posters control other posters? Sure, it's just anonymous, but still...
    • Very nice idea! I likey. Especially because it could be made so the higher 'trust' people get to choose. And the 'moderators' are tied to the post, so if you say its alright and its abuse, you get your knuckles rapped.
  • I basically think your idea here is sound.

    But you mention the word "abuse." Now, without getting all buerocratic on your ass, i think it'd be a very very very good idea to spell out, on the site, like in the form of a TOS, what abuse really means... so there can never be anything like "oh, its abuse only if Josh thinks it is"

    But aside from that, and the concept someone brought up yesterday about gaining trust will be just dandy!

  • Incognito Ego sounds cool.

    I like the idea of a logged in user being able to post anonymously, but the post isn't tied to them except for the initial "are you a user?" check. This assumes that you trust your users.
  • Egos are an interesting idea, but I think not necessary. Here is why. If someone wants another ego... they get another account.

    The ego property of a user just adds another level of complexity to the back end of this app / DB. The alternate Ego function is simplified by just creating another account.

    If Egos can be tracked to a base account (for admin / abuse purposes) then the abusive users will create alternate accounts any way. Nothing stops them from doing so.

    To provide the Ego functionality may ne
  • You could leave it a per-user option to make anonymous posts invisible, or allow a "click here to view anonymous posts" link. Somewhat like the way GMail hides quoted text. (the text is in the HTML document, you just can't see it until you click the link.)
  • (I seem to be getting a flood of ideas.)

    Users with an appropriate posting history could be "blessed" with the ability to post anonymously. So if a certain number of admins feel a user has shown a tendency to be mature with his posts, that user could be allowed to post anonymously.

    Sorta like brew-masters' moderation queue for content, but with users and priviledges instead.
  • Screw anonymous posting.

    I can count on my hand the number of times a fucking AC said something worthwhile.

    It's a big frigging scam.

    People that are afraid to post something logged in because it will offend someone or because they want to flame someone need to get some stones and slap their name next to it.

    Create a new frigging account if it means that much to you to post anonymously. Nothing says anonymous like a throwaway hotmail account and a garbage account on unread or the dot or whatever.

    Do we hon
  • If somebody is unwilling to back up his statements with his name, why should I (or anybody else) give any credence to those statements? I think all the first posters, trolls, and crapflooders here are reason enough to disallow anonymous posting.
  • i don't want anonymous. I just don't. I have no legitimate use for it, and i don't want other people to anonymously post in my journal. I think that people reading it might want to, so there might need to be an easy way for new users to be assigned an ID if they can't think of one- like a password that needs to be changed, you know? But... nothing anonymous.

    That's my vote, i'm not saying it's the best way. Just the way that i prefer.
    • Well, that's why there's the "Friends only" option for subscribers on the 'dot. you can keep them out of your journals if you want.

      I can think of legitimate uses, but won't say them because it'd give away the times I used it. :)

      Perhaps you have a different take on it for other reasons, but I never use the "Friends only" limiter because I want to leave my journal completely open. If people want to comment, fine. If they want to comment AC, fine. Actually, and this is a good point, I've seen more trolling

    • Unfortunately, those of us who do things that our company doesn't like, DO need to be anonymous from time to time. This is also why we have AE's.
  • I hate that too. Actually, I don't mind Anon cowards- especially when they whistleblow... however its such a rarity in comparison to the abuse.

    Speaking of which- Slashdot is just like fucking DRM. Don't trust your users ever; not even the paying ones.
  • I haven't been following the discussion very closely, but wouldn't it be good to allow top-level anon posting but deny the right to reply anonymously to an existing post. This way you can't troll anyone, you still "respect free speech" (whatever that means) and if I'm posting AC for a valid reason I can still link to the post I'm referring to to make my point.

    Won't help with the crapflooding or FP-style trolls, but at least it will go a little way towards keeping regulars happy.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982