The idea of anonymity in Notes was controversial when first
proposed, but the issue was resolved by leaving it to the
discretion of each notesfile director. If a director chooses to
allow anonymity, then anyone posting a note or response in that
notesfile is given the option of making it anonymous.
An anonymous note is truly anonymous. Not even the notesfile
director nor the system staff can determine who posted it,
because the user ID is not saved anywhere. The word "anonymous"
appears in the header where the user ID would normally be.
PLATO Notes avoids some of the problems that have plagued
experiments with anonymity in other conferencing systems. It is
not possible to masquerade as someone else, because Notes does
not allow the use of pseudonyms. The only identification that
can appear in the header is the author's actual user ID or the
word "anonymous". The fact that anonymity is the choice of each
user is important, too. Someone could post an anonymous note
saying "I'm David Woolley and I kick my dog every morning," but
everyone reading it knows that the author specifically chose to
make this note anonymous, so the identity claimed in the text is
not to be taken seriously.
Most notesfile directors do not permit anonymity, but it is very
useful in some situations. Anonymity can be abused, but a
notesfile director can delete offensive postings. The version of
Notes now used on NovaNET even allows a director to review
anonymous postings before they become publicly visible.
Copyright © 1994 by David R. Woolley
Copyright (c) 1996 - 2006 Elizabeth Mattijsen
I appreciate comments, suggestions and bug-reports.
Please send these to firstname.lastname@example.org.