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I guess I'm a bit confused on this.  While I understand we get assigned [adjective] [animal] names and are to use them to refer to people in these threads, I've found people can still make pretty good guesses about which name I would have were I posting in the pony tab of this site, enough that if I ever tried to hide my identity beyond using the animal names, I mostly gave up.  So the first question, is it our duty to confuse others about who we are, or is it more just that there be a level of uncertainty of identity, I guess, not present when people use the website's hash function?

And if we are to be purposefully cryptic, how, exactly?  Or maybe some tips.

Perhaps we could devise some kind of standard language protocol so no personal idiosyncrasies were identifiable.  Seems like it could quickly become a lot of work, though.


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> So the first question, is it our duty to confuse others about who we are...?
No.  Some people would like to post anonymously, and the animal names makes it easy for them to do so while still being identifiable as the same person within a given thread.


It's my opinion that you don't have to actively try and hide your identity. The anonymity element is just so that the ideas presented get discussed, rather than any personal biases people have against each other.

However, what you described is a factor, that people can sometimes deduce who is saying what, so it's not a perfect system. But with that in mind, it has worked out in people's favor sometimes. In one example, one user (A) mistook another (B) for a third person who was not present (C). When A began treating B in an unfair and abusive way, it became more clear that A had been mistreating C and that his behavior wasn't acceptable. A's attempt at apology was even telling. "Sorry I mistreated you, I thought you were C".

Personal bias will always be an issue on the site and no system will consistently eliminate it. But I think the animal names are working as well as any system could in that regard. So yeah, if someone figures out who you are, it's not a big deal. Just try and speak on the topic and not who you think you are talking to and it should be fine.


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>is it our duty to confuse others about who we are

>And if we are to be purposefully cryptic, how, exactly?
Not posting as yourself.

>Seems like it could quickly become a lot of work, though.
Probably why it won't work.


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Its symbolic. It symbolizes this board's purpose as a place for discussion without the bias of prior relationships with each other. No strawmanning or direct insulting of each other due to knowing who people are.

Its so that people like Mint and Manley can discuss things together without drawing in things outside of the discussion to try and use that against them in an argument.

Of course it doesn't quite work because pretty much everyone on this site is intimately familiar with each other's personal views because we've had discussions about them outside of this board prior to it's creation. As well as people posting with characters or images they post as elsewhere for which they are known.

So its basically just useless symbolism, like the rest of this site's expression of its ideals.


I mostly personally use it to judge how my luck is at any given moment based on the adjective and animal I get


I wouldn't say it's that useless. I've personally been accused of being people i'm not, so just based on that at least, people may not be as accurate as they think. Anyway, i'm not sure there's really any better way. If we're all familiar with each others' mannerisms, idiosyncrasies, and posting style, then there's not much to be done about it, so not much point in criticizing something for not fixing an unsolvable problem, yea? Plus, it at least fixes the problem of anonymous posting while still being able to know who you're talking to in the context of the individual thread, so it's useful in that regard at least.

Oh! As a test of that first point, guess who i am!


You are Flower the robot scientist.




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I only know like 5 people here well enough to know who someone is like that, so I can't guess.

Its not entirely useless but its useless in the case of the more well known troublemakers and that pretty much defeats the purpose altogether since they are the only people who really seem to want to discuss the more serious and hot button issues.


> but its useless in the case of the more well known troublemakers and that pretty much defeats the purpose altogether since they are the only people who really seem to want to discuss the more serious and hot button issues.

I don't know about that. Again, i make a decent data point here. I've dropped by from time to time to have very long discussions about serious issues, but while certainly there's been a bit of tension or frustration here or there over sensitive issues, it's never devolved into malice tennis. That being said, i don't often find myself with enough time and a topic i'm interested enough to take the time to write out something thoughtful and nuanced enough to be worth adding to the conversation, but I've certainly been a part of plenty of serious conversations that didn't go to shit i guess is my point.


I dont think youre one of those troublemakers so whatever data point you provide does not register on the graph of what I was specifically referencing.


I suppose you make a fair point, if there's still people out there killing the atmosphere of the site, then it's still a problem, and as there's not many of them, and they seem to have some infamy, so it would be fairly easy to pick them out, i suppose. I can't say i haven't had strong suspicions, myself. Still, it does prevent people from being able to blatantly draw things from outside, as we're still all guessing at the end of the day.

Idk, i'm open to new ideas of how to go about it. What would you suggest?


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This site can have an interesting relationship with anonymous posting. At times it seems to suggest that anonymous posting is deceptive and manipulative, while at other times it encourages anonymous posting to prevent being deceptive and manipulative.

Some people are particularly easy to identify in an anonymous setting. There are some traits, idiosyncrasies and the like, that a person may continue to exhibit while posting anonymously. While these make a person identifiable, I do not think those are what make people here so identifiable. People have topics that interest them, and we don't have an abundance of people. If I see a 500 post thread on race and intelligence I don't need to read any of the posts to tell who was posting. The same for a 40 post thread on the hibernation habits of eastern grey squirrels, or voltage regulated K-Cl channels, or ethical considerations in AI. I know who is interested in those topics.

So why, in this particular situation, would an anonymous friendly policy be used where previously there were policies to discourage anonymous posting in emotionally charged situations? The nice answer is that it encourages focusing on the facts more than the individual. You must admit that there have occasionally been issues with ad hominem attacks (which itself is not evidence of being incorrect). It also makes it possible to disengage more easily. Everybody might know who an individual in one thread is, but in another thread with a new cute animal name they are a new person. If in a moment of over-committal they started down a path that in hindsight they are not interested in defending but cannot work themselves out of it makes abandoning a sinking ship a bit easier, because in the next thread the are a new person.

People might consider it cowardly, but I think that's just ad hominem and doesn't really have a place in debate.


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If people truly wanted to be anonymous on here, they wouldn't share their associated avatars as the image accompanying their posts. It's an intentional choice.

Like, now that i've put this image next to this post, you can probably have a good guess who I am. But without the picture, you probably wouldn't. They do it on purpose, it's nobody's responsibility to pretend not to notice.


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We might all be.  It's quite impossible to know.

>focusing on the facts more than the individual
I guess there are two sides.  One is frustrating ad hominem attacks, which would seem to keep threads on topic.  And I can perhaps expand on your idea in that with less consistent identity, there's less need to...defend your honor, I guess.  Yeah, I could see that, you can perhaps be more experimental.

I suppose I'm skeptical that argument can be abstracted away from individuals.  I admit it's possible with a positive set of deductive rules, but that doesn't seem to be the sort of questions people bring up -- topics are more political.  Perhaps there's something here in that I am odd, different from the standard issue man, so it is not easy for me to model the standard issue man to determine what he expects in a political argument or to emulate one's responses.  Perhaps this is something to work on, although then we have the question of authenticity.  (The standard issue man finds this important in those he communicates with, yes?)


I also doubt that they can be abstracted away from the individual, but most people should have the good manners to realize that an attempt to do so has been attempted.


Well, there's a value to manners.  And there's a value to authenticity.  I believe in following systems, I don't believe in disrespect.  If the system is to present as an undifferentiated poster I must respect that system or go away, there is no middle ground.  I guess I'll think on it awhile, perhaps it's not a good fit for me.


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Hey look, here you are.

Is absolute.  NO ONE can know.  Its SECRET.

To me its simply disorienting.  I have difficulty with the concept of speaking anonymously, as communication handshake protocol begins with identifying the self and the audience and without that im not sure who i am in a conversation, or who im talking to.
I dont come to this board very often as a result.

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