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Unread: Anonymity

FortKnox (169099) writes | about 10 years ago

User Journal 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.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).

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Ever reply to your own JE before?? (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#10001696)

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).

Re:Ever reply to your own JE before?? (1)

robi2106 (464558) | about 10 years ago | (#10002109)

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 to the main page.

That way, you have to clean up the mess if it occurs in your article.

IF true anon is not allowed on main page JE,s then a journal that has true anon turned ON could not be voted up to the main page. That makes sense.

This way someone can host a flame war in their JE and mo matter how popular it is, the rest of the site would not have to worry about dealing with it on the front page.


moderation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10001801)

Not having anonymous posting doesn't bother me at all. What I do wonder about is the moderation system, especially in regards to IP bans and whatnot. It seems like I can never post with my account because of moderation abuse on /.

Re:moderation (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#10001974)

Well, bans will only occur if you truely and knowfully abuse the system. GNAA posts, crapfloods, etc.. will getcha kicked off.

Disagreeing with admins and stuff... is nothing. There will (hopefully) be only 1 'downmod' and that's to catch abuse... "Abuse or Offensive" is the only downmod and is used for stuff like GNAA.

The worst post is the one that doesn't get moderated at all. So you will never be 'punished' unless you are doing something that you know is completely wrong to do.

Re:moderation (1)

Organized Konfusion (700770) | about 10 years ago | (#10003787)

What is offensive to one is not offensive to another. Just a thought

Re:moderation (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | about 10 years ago | (#10007435)

At some level you must bow to majority rule. We are accepting that popular stories will hit the front page. We must also accept that some things are patently offensive, or are, at least, intended to offend. Yes, some people will mod down things like "Fuck Jay & Silent Bob! Fuck them in their stupid asses!" but (hopefully) the majority will reserve "Offensive" for GNAA or some such.

just throwing different batteries on the fire (1)

Organized Konfusion (700770) | about 10 years ago | (#10007536)

the thing is I don't find GNAA/trollkore particularly offensive, while I agree they have no place on our site... I disagee on calling the posts "offensive". This is being pedantic to the extreme, but being told what to think leads to groupthink.

Maybe an option to ignore other users moderations, say you always disagee with someone - you have the ability to ignore 1) all their moderations 2) all their downmods.

Re:just throwing different batteries on the fire (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | about 10 years ago | (#10007982)

Perhaps "Inappropriate" or "Irrelevant"

Is there a word that adequately describes, "not generally desired to be a portion of this discussion/site"?

Re:just throwing different batteries on the fire (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#10012213)

Yes to inappropriate, not to irrelevant. Irrelevant is similar to offtopic. Some offtopic discussions are interesting enough to keep.

Re:moderation (1)

nizo (81281) | about 10 years ago | (#10002584)

If you think you are posting anonymously, think again (I am sure any slashdot admin could figure out who you are in a twinkle, unless you are logged in from an IP/subnet that you have never logged in from before). Since that is the case, what is the difference between an "anonymous" post and an account that has to log in first before posting "anonymously"? That said, the idea of allowing anonymous posts from a logged in id makes sense (just makes it easier for the admins to see who is who in cases of abuse). If you really really want to be anonymous, go to the library and create a new account and then post.

Re:moderation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10006956)

where in my comment did i say that i thought i was posting anonymously? i specifically said that i didn't care about anonymous posting in the first fucking sentence.

yes, it is very easy to match an account with an ip. what is your point? i don't see what your reply has to do with my comment.


your last sentence shows that you are really stupid. i said i didn't need to be anonymous. why the fuck are you telling me how to be anonymous? 1) read a post and understand it, then reply. 2) don't ever try to tell an anonymous coward some knowledge that you have - they are always smarter than you.

Re:moderation (1)

nizo (81281) | about 10 years ago | (#10007526)

How amusing, is this an attempt to sway opinion by illustrating obnoxious behavior as an anonymous coward or do you always act like everyone is pissing in your Wheaties when they reply to your comments? (See we shouldn't have anonymous posting ;-) )

Not in favor of anonymity (1)

johndiii (229824) | about 10 years ago | (#10001822)

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.

Re:Not in favor of anonymity (1)

einstein (10761) | about 10 years ago | (#10001954)

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.

Re:Not in favor of anonymity (1)

robi2106 (464558) | about 10 years ago | (#10002021)

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.


NO! (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 10 years ago | (#10002140)

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.

Re:NO! (1)

robi2106 (464558) | about 10 years ago | (#10002831)

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.

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

There could be an application email account ( where you email just a link to a specific JE post. The JE post would have three lines of text to give unread the account to send the hashed password. So if my email was "account AT someprovider.yourTLD" the journal post would only contain...


The unread system would check for this post when it gets the link, then follow the link and send the password to that email account.


Re:NO! (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#10002957)

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.

Re:Not in favor of anonymity (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#10002257)

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.

Re:Not in favor of anonymity (1)

einstein (10761) | about 10 years ago | (#10003114)

perhaps, to go along with this, you can "import" all your friends to seed the trusted system, and insure them getting their username.

Re:Not in favor of anonymity (1)

Aggrazel (13616) | about 10 years ago | (#10004310)

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)

Re:Not in favor of anonymity (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | about 10 years ago | (#10007538)

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 bar it will take you to the foo page, where you can see both sets of comments?

Maybe this is too deep a question for this stage...

Re:Not in favor of anonymity (1)

Jhon (241832) | about 10 years ago | (#10010099)

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). Removing 'anonymous' options would leave the only solution of 'huge arse foe lists'. And with a slashdot community of several hundreds of thousands, that's just not an option (IMO).

It would be nice if there were a "STRING IN MESSAGE" modifier -- such as giving any post with the phrase "gay nigger' a -6

Transparent karma? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 10 years ago | (#10001824)

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.

Re:Transparent karma? (1)

John Harrison (223649) | about 10 years ago | (#10001984)

even better, double the effect on karma of any negative mods done to anon posts.

Re:Transparent karma? (1)

SamTheButcher (574069) | about 10 years ago | (#10003307)

I like SC's idea, because it's what I suggested yesterday. I like John's idea, because it would cut down on the asshole posts, just to be an asshole. You'd actually get dinged for being an ass, whereas if you have a legitimate AC point, then you could get get by with that.

Use some of slashdot's tricks (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | about 10 years ago | (#10001852)

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.

Re:Use some of slashdot's tricks (1)

robi2106 (464558) | about 10 years ago | (#10001969)

I go with the "if you can't say it logged in, then post in on slashdot. Otherwise leave it off of

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 system is for. If people don't like what I say, they can foe me and stick a -4 to foes.


Well - I agree with you (1)

SiliconJesus (1407) | about 10 years ago | (#10001887)

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).

Re:Well - I agree with you (1)

Otter (3800) | about 10 years ago | (#10002168)

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.

Re:Well - I agree with you (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 10 years ago | (#10004561)

Red Warrior is in Iraq???

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

someone suggested using Josh's 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.

Re:Well - I agree with you (1)

5amTheButcher (720031) | about 10 years ago | (#10005015)

Makes sure that Sam the Butcher guy can't steal the account of 5am the Butcher

At least someone is looking out for me.

Re:Well - I agree with you (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#10006293)

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.

I was thinking about this (1)

sielwolf (246764) | about 10 years ago | (#10001934)

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.

Moderated Anonymnity (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | about 10 years ago | (#10001947)

"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...)

Re:Moderated Anonymnity (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 10 years ago | (#10002315)

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.

Re:Moderated Anonymnity (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#10002364)

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.

Let the users decide if the post is worthy of being posted.

Re:Moderated Anonymnity (1)

Pirogoeth (662083) | about 10 years ago | (#10004510)

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.

Re:Moderated Anonymnity (1)

insanecarbonbasedlif (623558) | about 10 years ago | (#10004860)

I like that idea. Two or three trusted users votes should be enough to let an anonymous post through...

Re:Moderated Anonymnity (1)

SiliconJesus (1407) | about 10 years ago | (#10011641)

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.

Re:Moderated Anonymnity (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | about 10 years ago | (#10007715)

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...

Re:Moderated Anonymnity (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#10002319)

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.

Re:Moderated Anonymnity (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | about 10 years ago | (#10002482)

/me slaps forhead.

There I go, wondering about how to keep each mod seperate--when I forget that the -moderator- doesn't need anonymnity, just the -poster-. :)

something to consider (1)

blinder (153117) | about 10 years ago | (#10001948)

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!

Whateva (1)

Some Woman (250267) | about 10 years ago | (#10002096)

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.

Re:Whateva (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | about 10 years ago | (#10002995)

I trust all of us in the circle except Eth, I heard he's in with the squirells. I'm trying now to bribe the Confessor into checking him for a furry tail and reporting back to me.

Re:Whateva (1)

subgeek (263292) | about 10 years ago | (#10003183)

he can't be in with squirrels. he lives with a cat.

Re:Whateva (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | about 10 years ago | (#10003987)

Are you sure it is a cat? Maybe it is a genetically altered long haired squirrel!

Re:Whateva (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | about 10 years ago | (#10004271)

I have heard some species of cats are in it with the squirrels.

So be forewarned.

Swing away, TL. swing away.

True Story (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 10 years ago | (#10006079)

When we lived in a wooded apartment complex, Lather, our cat, would go on the balcony and talk to the squirrels.

Specifically, he'd try to chirp, and would flick his tail much the same way as the squirrels did.

Egos (1)

robi2106 (464558) | about 10 years ago | (#10002187)

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 needlessly complicate the coding part of the site.


"View Anonymous" option (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 10 years ago | (#10002225)

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.)

"Priviledged" Anonymity (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 10 years ago | (#10002272)

(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.

Probably unpopular opinion (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | about 10 years ago | (#10002336)

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 honestly need anonymity on unread?

Consider this a vote for NO.

Re:Probably unpopular opinion (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | about 10 years ago | (#10002381)

Holy cow, I'm an asshole.

My bad.

I need that vacation.

I still do feel anonymous posting is a load of horsemanure though.

fuck off and die bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10002951)

says the AC community.

with love, of course.

suck on a horse cock, AC (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | about 10 years ago | (#10003365)

now that's funny.

Good one.


the Em Emalb community

There's a reason they're called Anonymous Cowards (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 10 years ago | (#10002372)

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.

Re:There's a reason they're called Anonymous Cowar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10007552)

Yeah? So "ncc74656" is your real name? Why not post that along with your address, date of birth, and social security number? Anything less, and you're just a hypocritical coward yourself.

nothing anonymous for me (1)

SolemnDragon (593956) | about 10 years ago | (#10002542)

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.

Re:nothing anonymous for me (1)

SamTheButcher (574069) | about 10 years ago | (#10003392)

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 from logged in accounts in my journal than from ACs. But I don't get trolled that often.

Re:nothing anonymous for me (1)

SiliconJesus (1407) | about 10 years ago | (#10003825)

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 like anon coward option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10002750)

I divulge secrets this way.

Anon Moderating... (1)

mekkab (133181) | about 10 years ago | (#10002839)

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.

Well (1)

The Bungi (221687) | about 10 years ago | (#10002967)

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.

What about IP tracking... (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | about 10 years ago | (#10007724)

Oh wait.
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