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The Power of Anonymity in a Privacy Eroded World

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The following are quotes from an article written by an employee of IPS Inc., the company who developed the discussion forum software I'm use here. The article was written to help explain why privacy is an important aspect to building and online community and growing a discussion forum.


This article struck me because I did observe an great migration away from indie forums like this one to the large social media platform and I'm interested in growing this forum. Participation way down from a peak about a decade ago. 


Competing against the large social media sites is very hard, for the simple fact is that sites like Facebook utilize everything they know about you and the latest science to keep you engaged on they platforms. 


While an increasing number of people are abandoning social media (I'm one) I don't sense a great exodus of people leaving social media and returning to indie forums like this AALBC.


However, I can see where privacy it is a strong selling point. I also work hard to prevent trolls from posting on these forums.  Plus your privacy is protected here, anonymity is OK, and selling your data never crossed my mind.


Interestingly it never occurred to me to maintain my privacy.  I have never posted anonymously. One of the most prolific posters here, in the past @Thumper, never revealed his identity.  For years many people thought I was Thumper :-).   


Recently @Cynique asked @NubianFellow how old he was, and he declined to answer the question.  Was Cnyique trying to make sense of him by learning his age?  Was Nubian preventing her from doing it by denying her the information -- forcing her to judge him in his words (assuming Nubian is in fact a man).


There have been several posters here whose gender, age, and even celebrity was kept secret.  


One the "suits" walk in they mess everything up. This is the case with Amazon, Google, and Facebook.  Of course I'm biased, but that does not mean what I've said is invalid.  


Below are some quotes from the article:


“People may strategically express identities when they think they will not be punished, and/or connect them to an audience that is valued.”


“For an individual with a stigmatized condition, a forum may be a real life-line in coping with the condition as face-to-face support is often limited.”


“Forums allow a way to create a new identity that is either gender-neutral thus allowing the male users to assume a gender, or overtly male to ensure their contributions are evaluated on merit, and not with any gender bias.”


“With a forum community, you can truly be who you want to be. This is not so with social media where others can create bias based on your gender, looks or topical preferences.”




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For years many people thought I was Thumper

Well I  think you might be Cynique, lol.

But atleast no one has accused you of being a gay white mason....yet.

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