POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Questions and discussion regarding the IT behind caves.org

Moderators: vtdarrell, Moderators

Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

YES - I think forum members should be required to identify themselves by providing either their NSS number or their first and last name (for non-NSS members) in order to post. All forum members should be able to read anonymously
20
42%
NO - I think posters should not be required to identify themselves in order to post. All forum members should be able to both read and post anonymously
28
58%
 
Total votes : 48

Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby graveleye » May 1, 2009 9:41 am

oh go on an pick on your humble moderators! You could have a lot worse ya know?
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby shibumi » May 1, 2009 9:52 am

graveleye wrote:oh go on an pick on your humble moderators! You could have a lot worse ya know?


Heh. I wasn't picking on you all, I was complimenting you all. I've been a moderator in a number of online
venues, including some pretty large ones, and no matter how fair you try to be, you still get accused of
all sorts of wrongdoings. You folks don't have an easy job and I appreciate that. I don't think dictatorships,
regardless of how they are portrayed in the media, are automatically bad. As long as you folks keep doing the
fine job you have been, the peasants will have no need to rise and be revolting...
Last edited by shibumi on May 1, 2009 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby trogman » May 1, 2009 9:52 am

Perhaps we could try requiring names for a while, say for a year, and then see if participation increases or decreases. Then we could decide where to go from there. As far as BOG members or candidates not posting on here, I say, if you can't take the heat... While I don't always agree with Bill's opinions, I do respect the fact that he is willing to come on here and expose himself (figuratively speaking, of course!), and let us see how he feels about a multitude of issues.
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby graveleye » May 1, 2009 10:11 am

trogman wrote:expose himself


lawsie, don't give the man any ideas!
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby graveleye » May 1, 2009 10:22 am

I'm really just giving you guys crap. This is easy compared to the bad old days when everyone fought all day long.
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby Squirrel Girl » May 1, 2009 5:21 pm

graveleye wrote:
trogman wrote:expose himself


lawsie, don't give the man any ideas!

Works for me.
:kewl:
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby Chads93GT » May 3, 2009 9:47 pm

Any opinion you have, isn't an opinion worth having, if you aren't willing to stand behind it and take responsibility for your view point. Anonymous posting is lame ;)
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby Cheryl Jones » May 3, 2009 10:34 pm

Any opinion you have, isn't an opinion worth having, if you aren't willing to stand behind it and take responsibility for your view point. Anonymous posting is lame ;)

The question isn't about whether it is honorable to post under a nickname, and if opinions are worth having, but whether we will continue to allow people the right to be anonymous and let them weigh for themselves the risk of this to the credibility of their posts.

Hey, I've read some opinions by people using their real names I thought that weren't worth having and whose arguments are pretty lame! :laughing: But they sure keep the forum interesting.

I'm all for allowing people to post under nicknames, and think the issue is a non-issue. I measure the people by what they say, not their names and who they are (or claim to be!) CaveChat has grown and been of value for years just fine with anonymous members as part of our "family." :kewl:

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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby Bill Putnam » May 4, 2009 8:07 pm

For me at least, the utility of knowing the poster's name lies not in using that information to assess the value of the opinion itself, but rather in deciding whether or not the author was serious when he wrote this lame piece of crap deeply held and thoughtfully considered opinion, or whether he was just trolling. If the poster signed his work with his real name then I think it's more likely that he was serious about this crap deeply held and thoughtfully considered opinion. If he just gave a nickname, however, such as "BigBadCaverDude" then I am more likely to suspect the post was not serious.

The presence (or absence) of the author's name has a substantial influence on my decision process when I am considering whether to ignore the lame piece of crap deeply held and thoughtfully considered opinion and just go get a beer, or spend the next 30 irreplaceable minutes of my life considering and responding to the post.

My time is valuable to me, just as yours is to you. I don't like to waste it on trolls and ignoramuses people who write non-deeply-held and non-thoughtfully-considered baseless unsubstantiated argumentative crap opinions.

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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby wyandottecaver » May 4, 2009 8:27 pm

As Cheryl said most people make their decision based on the post. I am quasi anonymous since I have given my real name in certain cases. I have made both in-depth thoughtful posts and others that in retrospect were mostly crap. I doubt having my name there would influence my crap vs insight ratio. I think the most likely abusers will abuse any system set in place while the rest of us plod along as usual. If I do a Google/web search for chad using the name and address info he provides I find all sorts of interesting things without even resorting to nominal pay sites that would likely get me his date of birth and other info. A similiar search on Wyandottecaver is much less revealing to the casual browser...well except for my facebook profile...shoulda used a different nick! anyway I'm just sayin....
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby Bill Putnam » May 4, 2009 9:45 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:As Cheryl said most people make their decision based on the post.


Todd, how do you know this? What is the basis for that statement? Did you conduct a survey or pollthat I haven't heard about? Or is that merely a statement of your belief, rather than a verifiable statement of fact?

I have made both in-depth thoughtful posts and others that in retrospect were mostly crap. I doubt having my name there would influence my crap vs insight ratio.


You have missed my point - the presence of your name tells me nothing about the quality of your post, but is useful to me nonetheless in allocating my time. It is my belief that I will have a lower probability of wasting my time in responding to a post that is signed as opposed to one that is anonymous.

I think the most likely abusers will abuse any system set in place while the rest of us plod along as usual.


That is a given, and is thus irrelevant. Inevitably, some will game the system. Some already do. To paraphrase a wise man, the obnoxious are always with us. But most will not, and thus people who, like me, find value in the presence or absence of a name will be able to allocate our time more efficiently. I could of course choose the option of simply ignoring all unsigned posts, and if the suggestion to require names is not implemented that is probably what I will do, for the most part.

[For example, Todd, I would probably not be having this dialog with you now if you had not given your name earlier.]
Last edited by Bill Putnam on May 4, 2009 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby Bill Putnam » May 4, 2009 9:50 pm

Chads93GT wrote:Any opinion you have, isn't an opinion worth having, if you aren't willing to stand behind it and take responsibility for your view point. Anonymous posting is lame ;)


Agreed, Chad, and well said. Further, and more specifically related to posting in this forum, I would modify this slightly to read: "As far as I'm concerned, anything you post here isn't worth reading if you aren't willing to stand behind it and take responsibility for it."
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby Bill Putnam » May 4, 2009 9:52 pm

Squirrel Girl wrote:
graveleye wrote:
trogman wrote:expose himself


lawsie, don't give the man any ideas!

Works for me.
:kewl:


Only at the sauna....
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby NZcaver » May 4, 2009 10:12 pm

Bill Putnam wrote:My time is valuable to me, just as yours is to you. I don't like to waste it on trolls and ignoramuses people who write non-deeply-held and non-thoughtfully-considered baseless unsubstantiated argumentative crap opinions.

I agree (although it's also my obligation to help moderate the forum, so I read all the crap too).

I respect your right to filter which posts you choose to read and respond to. That's your choice, but also realize your particular filter does not suit everybody. Where you and I differ in opinion is that I don't automatically equate every anonymous poster with spouting "non-deeply-held and non-thoughtfully-considered baseless unsubstantiated argumentative crap opinions." There are plenty of posters here on the forum who spout that kind of nonsense while proudly displaying their names and/or other unique identifiable features. And as I've said before, there are many technically anonymous members like wyandottecaver who regularly make intelligent, articulate posts which (in my opinion) contribute positively to the forum. Reading through the forum as regularly as I do, I just don't see any magic delineation between quality content and "crappy posts" based on whether people post their real names or not.

Please note - I need to reiterate to folks that our use of the word "anonymous" here doesn't mean a person who has no identity or identifiable means of correlation between their posts. On the contrary, many have established a distinct identity and personality through the content and tone of their posts on the forum. They just choose not to provide their real names for all to see, that's all.

Some people here have mentioned being involved with online forums way back before this internet we all know and love. Maybe it was considered bad etiquette not to use your real name on a computer back in the 80's? Perhaps being involved back then makes you an expert now. Or perhaps not. Times change, and so does technology and the way we communicate.
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Re: POLL: Do you think anonymous posters are bad for the forum?

Postby Bill Putnam » May 5, 2009 1:07 am

NZcaver wrote:Where you and I differ in opinion is that I don't automatically equate every anonymous poster with spouting "non-deeply-held and non-thoughtfully-considered baseless unsubstantiated argumentative crap opinions."


I'm afraid you missed part of my point, so I must not have communicated it clearly. I do not automatically equate anonymous posting with worthless content. I merely observe than in my personal experience (yours is apparently different) the probability that a post is nonsense is much greater when the post is anonymous or posted under a pseudonym than when it is signed with a real name.

There are obvious exceptions - for example, Benjamin Franklin and several of his contemporaries published a number of serious and well-though-out documents under various pseudonyms. But in general, I have found it to be true that anonymous or pseudonymous publications are more likely to be nonsense than those whose authors are identifiable. It's a matter of probabilities, not absolutes. I'm playing the odds in a form of triage.

It is also true that some named posters routinely or at least frequently spout crap and nonsense. In those cases the name is even more valuable, because I can ignore those posts entirely, unless I feel the need for some humor. Perhaps some readers of the forum regard my posts as crap, and I am happy that the presence of my name attached to my contributions allows those folks to avoid them.

Reading through the forum as regularly as I do, I just don't see any magic delineation between quality content and "crappy posts" based on whether people post their real names or not.


It's not magic - it's just probability. An "edge' to use a gambler's term. It works for me.

Some people here have mentioned being involved with online forums way back before this internet we all know and love. Maybe it was considered bad etiquette not to use your real name on a computer back in the 80's? Perhaps being involved back then makes you an expert now. Or perhaps not. Times change, and so does technology and the way we communicate.


Anonymous posting was as common in the 80's as it is now, for the same reasons. People can have a different persona online than they do in real life - sometimes many different personas. Many a thesis and a few books have been written on the related issues. And before the Internet, the same thing existed in other forms of communication. There's really nothing new under the sun. The Internet just extends its reach and makes it faster.

And by the way, it's not the fact that I was involved with using and performing research on the Internet and its technologies back in 1980 that makes me an expert. It's the fact that I have been continuously involved with those things on a daily basis, as well as studying, writing, and teaching about them, from 1980 through 2009. That and the fact that I am not a direct employee of the companies that are my clients (everyone knows that an expert is someone from outside the organization, typically from at least 100 miles away), plus the fact that it says so on my business card and invoices. :tonguecheek:
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