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Anonymous comments - Sally's Journal
February 26th, 2008
09:35 am

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Anonymous comments
Just a quick note on my policy on anonymous comments, after aquiring a few on the previous post.

I have anonymous comments enabled, with IP logging, mainly because I want people without LJs to be able to comment if they so feel the urge. However, I find anonymous comments, where the author doesn't sign "Fred Bloggs" or "ircnick" or similar at the bottom, make me slightly twitchy, and I would really appreciate it if people signed their comments. For the record "S", on a journal by a Sally and read by at least a Simon, a Steph, a Stark and three Sams is not a unique identifyer. Even though it is probably Stark.

I guess that anonymous commenting happens for a few reasons...



- No LJ, too lazy to write name. Now come on. If you can be bothered to write a comment, you can write a comment with one more word.

- LJ logged you out. Well, if you really don't notice, there's nothing you can do. But if you do notice, I'd prefer it if you reposted the comment as you, and then I'll delete the identical anonymous comment as soon as I get round to it.

- Don't want identity associated with the comment because it's personal to yourself (eg want to talk about your kinky sex life without telling the universe you're kinky). This is fair enough, but it would be helpful to pick a consistant nick for the discussion and sign things with it, if only so I can see the narrative and distinguish anonymous people. Also, if you trust me but not the whole internet, I'd be even happier if you emailed me and said "the anonymous person is me, but I want to be anonymous because of $foo".

- Don't want identity associated with comment because you're taking an unpopular position / trolling / being nasty about people etc. I'm very torn on where the line is between this and the above. Obviously if you're really scared that saying what you feel about an issue will isolate you from your entire social circle, then you might want to test the waters anonymously. But if you hide behind a clock of anonymity so you don't have to take responsibility for being nasty on the internet, that's Bad, mmmkay. And if it ever becomes a problem I guess I'll just have to turn anonymous commenting off, which would be a bore.

...but I'd be interested to hear of any I've missed!

(40 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:00 am (UTC)
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Im in UR Blog, psting annonnymusly.
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From:simont
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:01 am (UTC)
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I predict you'll get lots of unsigned anonymous comments to this post, just because people feel like being contrary :-)

(FWIW, I can't imagine signing myself S. If I signed my name on an anonymous comment I'd sign it in full, though why I'd do that instead of posting logged in as me I have no idea...)
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From:simont
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:02 am (UTC)
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From:atreic
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC)
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I predict you'll get lots of unsigned anonymous comments to this post, just because people feel like being contrary :-)

Well, so long as they get it out of their system in an "amusing" way...
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:09 am (UTC)
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I is commentng cos U missed the 'joke' reason f4r psting annonnymusly.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:11 am (UTC)
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Unsigned comments are good because they can be twice as large as signed comment. Or is that just ints?
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From:woodpijn
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:14 am (UTC)
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Bwahahaha :)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:16 am (UTC)
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U has now 2 xtra resons f4r psting annonnymusly & thy both cam frm annonnymus peeple. Annonnymus peeple r0k.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:20 am (UTC)
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They r0k, but they suck because they can't spel.

Is that perhaps another reason for posting anonymously, if you do not know how to spell something and you fear your peers will pour scorn and derision upon you should this come to light?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:26 am (UTC)
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Waaaah! Evry1 h8s mi annonnymus spelink. :'(
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From:ewx
Date:February 26th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
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And even better, they can never be negative.
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From:aureo1e
Date:February 26th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
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On the other hand, they can never make a complement.
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From:senji
Date:February 26th, 2008 11:07 am (UTC)
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I sign myself 'S.' in contexts where I'd expect to be known as Senji, much as I sign myself with my first initial at the end of emails.

Of course submitting an anonymous LJ comment and then signing it 'S.' would kind of defeat any point :).
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From:shortcipher
Date:February 26th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
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I predict you'll get lots of unsigned anonymous comments

Well, they did say We are anonymous. Expect us. :-p
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From:pozorvlak
Date:February 26th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
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Aha! I saw your Anosmia FAQ linked off Reddit yesterday, found your picture, and thought "I know that guy! But where from?"

Have we met in real life, though?
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From:simont
Date:February 26th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
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It's difficult to be sure, since your LJ user info appears to deliberately avoid linking to any page which would enable me to find out who you are! :-) I've never met anyone who I knew to be you, but it's possible we have met and I don't know it.
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From:miss_next
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:07 am (UTC)
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I've only once left an anonymous journal comment, and it was for none of the reasons you list.

It was St Valentine's Day, a few years ago. I wanted to brighten up some random person's day without actually sending the message that I had a crush on them (which I hadn't, since I didn't even know them). So I went around looking for a lonely man who needed cheering up, and left him an anonymous message which read: "Happy Valentine's Day from all beautiful women everywhere."

What was really strange - and nice - was this. You know that when you leave an anonymous comment, you don't get replies e-mailed to you? Well, I didn't get a reply, and I had forgotten who he was so couldn't go back and look. However, a couple of weeks later I was again trawling around at random, and to my utter astonishment I found him again. He had replied, and he was delighted. It seemed I'd made his day.

I don't know what the odds are on that happening, but they must be pretty remote. I have my own opinions on the matter; all I'll say is that I enjoyed, just for a few minutes, being an anonymous Valentine angel. :-)
From:stephdairy
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:20 am (UTC)
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These days I post with my milking enclosure hat on anyway, but you will always know me by my brackets.

(S)
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From:emperor
Date:February 26th, 2008 11:40 am (UTC)
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"milking enclosure hat" is a slightly alarming mental image.
From:mooism
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:32 am (UTC)
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Occasionally I post anonymously because I’ve never had any contact with the writer of the lj I’m commenting in, and I don’t want to say “Hi, I found your lj by reading (mutual friend)’s friends list.”

I never trust signatures in anonymous comments. They can be too easily faked.
From:mooism
Date:February 26th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and one of my old posts attracts anonymous comments from people who get directed to it by search engines. They never leave their names. I assume they are just trying to protect their privacy.
From:mtbc100
Date:February 26th, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC)
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How curious. I comment as myself in journals of people I've never had prior contact with, but I don't feel any automatic obligation to declare how I found them. (They can ask, of course, but IIRC they never have.)
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:February 26th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
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I'm always curious where people come from, so generally mention it (although I might just say "browsing a friend's friends-page" if that's all I felt like) and think that's nice, though I've no objection if people don't.
From:mooism
Date:February 26th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
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Sometimes I feel obliged to say how I found them, and sometimes I don’t. I’ve never noticed any pattern. It may have to do with LJ being more full of people who know each other in real life than other parts of the web.

I’ve was asked once, and I’ve noticed other people being asked occasionally.
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:February 26th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
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I never trust signatures in anonymous comments. They can be too easily faked.

I never would if there was any doubt, but it's generally sufficiently non-contentious and in a plausible style that it seems pretty clear cut. If I had any qualms I'd check before taking it to heart :)
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From:gerald_duck
Date:February 26th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
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Oh, if I want to comment on someone's LJ, I just do. Have I missed some vital piece of etiquette? (-8

Apropos the original posting, I like the idea of hiding behind a clock of anonymity.
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From:samholloway
Date:February 26th, 2008 10:58 am (UTC)
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I've been guilty of (2) before - LJ logged me out without noticing. But you should always be able to spot me if I do this at home, because I have a static IP and if you reverse-lookup, you'll get a machine in the samholloway.co.uk domain. No hiding for me!

Agree about how easy it is to fake signatures in a comment, though.

Tony Blair
From:tamsinj
Date:February 26th, 2008 11:45 am (UTC)
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i want a clock of anonymity!
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From:simont
Date:February 26th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
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The numbers round the edge start off reading "one", "who", "me", and once you wind it up it just keeps running on anon anon anon...
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:February 26th, 2008 11:54 am (UTC)
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*hugs*

Personally, I'd separate the reasons as they seem quite different to me.

1. If someone forgets to log in, signs with an initial, or comments deliberately anonymously repeatedly without using a handle to tie them together, then that's just careless. Most probably they hadn't realised that in a 150+ comment post, that would be much more inconvenient. So it might be very annoying and triggering of related problems (eg. thinking someone is someone else, etc.), they probably just hadn't realised it would be a good idea, and would be happy to avoid it if given a polite reminder.

I certainly do all this by accident -- most of my logged out accidents are in a reply to a reply to me, so I feel it's obvious, if not, and I notice, I'll post an attribution.

And I might sign "J", assuming that I know very few Js, but only where someone might be expecting me.

2. Someone being anonymous. I think I'm ok with people being actually anonymous if they'd like, but assume it's normally unnecessary. I think you as host have a right to specify if you mind or not, and allowing anonymous comments from a technical standpoint doesn't mean actual anonymous comments are automatically ok (although if someone didn't realise, that's understandable).

I think both of those are quite reasonable and different mistakes, but probably (I didn't read all of the new comments) interacted badly to produce drama.

I also think that if you're ok with "anonymous comments maybe" but someone assumed you were ok because you'd enabled it technically, that might come closer to what you were uncomfortable with, whereas if they'd realised they might have been more diffident about it.
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:February 26th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)
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So, I guess I'm saying "I understand why those would be annoying, but I think most often would be justifiable mistakes, and because I've done them, I'm sorry if I caused inconvenience, but don't think I was actually in the wrong. Contrariwise, I think some people probably took the anonymous thing too far, and whether or not that was forseeably a problem, probably should have been more careful, and certainly should be now they now it makes you slightly uncomfortable."
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:February 26th, 2008 12:02 pm (UTC)
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And of course, in an anonymous comment might be a non-friend trolling. That'd be another (unacceptable) case.
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From:ex_robhu
Date:February 26th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
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What about anonymous?
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From:ilanin
Date:February 26th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
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For the record "S", on a journal by a Sally and read by at least a Simon, a Steph, a Stark and three Sams is not a unique identifyer

*pouts*
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From:atreic
Date:February 27th, 2008 09:55 am (UTC)
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*hugs*

Anyway, all your first names and lj-nicks start with "I" :-p
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From:adarisa
Date:February 27th, 2008 10:26 am (UTC)
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Oh, do they really?
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From:atreic
Date:February 27th, 2008 10:47 am (UTC)
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My apologies. Quite hastily, as that's a very big sword you have there in that icon.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 26th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
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Sorry, I won't do it again.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 28th, 2008 09:44 am (UTC)
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OK. I lied. Sue me.
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