Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings?

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Bruce Bassett
Posts: 26
Joined: November 24 2004
Affiliation: SAAO/UCT

Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings?

Post by Bruce Bassett » November 24 2004

Hi all,

We have been discussing again whether cosmocoffee should allow
annonymous postings of some form. The relatively small number of posting compared with registered users suggests it might be useful.

There are two ways this could be done:

(1) Anyone arriving at the site can post immediately. This allows rapid exchanges and low hassle, but might be noise-dominated.

(2) Users must still register and log in but can then post annonymously using a pseudonym.

Why would annon. posting be useful? I think the biggest reason for me is that it may encourage
people who currently would like to post but are afraid of looking stupid or making a fool of themselves.

The people most likely to be affected this way are people who dont know the regular posters
personally (i.e. new students and third world scientists) and who arguably have the most to gain
from asking questions at cosmocoffee.

Personally I favour the option of annoymous posting (I have lots of stupid questions!)...

What do people think? (Of course if I am right the people who reply to this are likely
to disagree since they feel no fear in posting - posting bias!)


A different but related issue is that of which email addresses are valid for new users. Currently yahoo addresses are excluded I believe, a policy which again excludes many third-world scientists who use hotmail/yahoo emails as their default mail due to very slow connections via their university and are functional on the internet only via internet cafes.

I personally favour an inclusive approach. If later a problem arises with large numbers of "random" posting from yahoo accounts then the policy could change. (Needless to say I am against the new "endorsement system" at the archives).

Just my 2c

Cheers,
Bruce

Adam Amara
Posts: 18
Joined: September 25 2004
Affiliation: ETH
Contact:

Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings?

Post by Adam Amara » December 09 2004

I'm not sure exactly where I sit on this. I think that it is a little intimidating to blindly put comments out there not knowing the audience, although I think if statements are worth making the author should be able to stand by them.

The problem might be that people need to get initiated and slowly introduced to this site. Once they feel comfortable with putting up posting (and not getting violently shot down immediately) then they may move to more frequent postings.

Would it be possible to keep most of the posting just as they are (i.e. require user ID) and to add a few “rapid fire” or “draft thoughts” or “scratch boards” where random (and if desirable anonymous) postings can be made?

I also agree that yahoo accounts should be allowed since it is definitely true that in some counties (as Bruce rightly says, the ones that need things like this the most) have no choice but to use things like yahoo.


Thanks

Adam

Sarah Bridle
Posts: 144
Joined: September 24 2004
Affiliation: University College London (UCL)
Contact:

Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings?

Post by Sarah Bridle » December 12 2004

Sounds like a good idea to me to have some more brief postings (given current posting numbers).

Also the other thing that stops us posting is lack of time, and so this might also be addressed.

One thing we discussed offline was to have one line summaries of the latest astroph cosmology papers. Have not managed to come up with a format that I am happy with yet though. Any suggestions v welcome.

Guest

Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings?

Post by Guest » December 12 2004

I agree,it is definitly fear. But there are already other forums similar to cosmocoffee where is possible to post as "anonymous" and are a real mess with many trolls and no possibility of scientific discussion.
The current form is perhaps a bit too cold and intimidating. But is up to the few of us who are posting on it to make it less formal !
I therefore disagree about introducing anonymous accounts.
I also think that the astro-ph discussion should be changed in something
different. The authors of the paper should suggest their paper
for a discussion, otherwise no discussion. There is definitly a difference in discussing about a paper in a room with 5 people and on the web !

Jochen :-)

Guest

Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings?

Post by Guest » December 12 2004

Ehm, the post was from me Alessandro Melchiorri !

Adam Amara
Posts: 18
Joined: September 25 2004
Affiliation: ETH
Contact:

Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings?

Post by Adam Amara » December 13 2004

Jochen, you are totally right and I don't think anyone is suggesting anonymous accounts. But that doesn't mean that some of the message boards can't contain just the message and not the user id. you will still need a cosmocoffee account post and the admin people will always be able to check who wrote what. This should allow monitoring and if it’s a totally bad idea these message boards can get scraped.

Adam

Guest

Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings?

Post by Guest » December 17 2004

Ehi, the post was really from me, Alessandro !
I just posted from home and I ended up as "guest" !
Ok, perhaps this well illustrates the dangers of
anonymous posting ! :-)

Ale

Adam Amara
Posts: 18
Joined: September 25 2004
Affiliation: ETH
Contact:

Re: Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings

Post by Adam Amara » December 17 2004

Anonymous wrote:Ehm, the post was from me Alessandro Melchiorri !
I see this makes sense now. I thought its was an odd comment at the time.

Guest

Re: Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings

Post by Guest » December 17 2004

Anonymous wrote:Ehi, the post was really from me, Alessandro !
Stop lying! Actually, it was from me!

Stefano Garibaldi

Eric Perlman
Posts: 1
Joined: December 17 2004
Affiliation: Florida Institute of Technology
Contact:

Anonymous or not - Is "fear" stopping postings?

Post by Eric Perlman » January 19 2005

Personally, I think cosmocoffee should be as inclusive as possible, as others have already said. I think there can be good reasons for anonymous posts – let's say, if someone who was frustrated about the job market would like to raise an issue in those fora without the taint of "sour grapes". However, there can also be abuse if anonymous posts ... i.e., someone could get peppered with negative posts that s/he doesn't know where the author is coming from. I would tend to lean towards allowing anonymous posts.

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