On the most recent episode of This Developer's Life Jon Skeet was interviewed, and mentioned that sometimes he didn't receive the "accepted answer" even though his answer was correct, and he was first, simply because the original poster thought Jon already had enough rep, and therefore accepted someone else's answer. Should there be a way to post anonymously, or should answers be shown anonymously for a short while so that somebody's identity does not change the results of the voting? I could see this working negatively in both ways. People not giving upvotes because they feel the person already has enough rep, or people completely glossing over answers because the person posting the answer didn't have much rep. I'm not too serious about this. I just kind of crossed my mind, and I was wondering about what others thought of it.

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There is a way to post anonymously: log out before you post. Did you mean posting with your account but with your name masked? If so, I think this is a duplicate. –  Pops Feb 15 '11 at 15:38
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Do you really think Jon has a genuine problem with this? –  Robert Harvey Feb 15 '11 at 15:38
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I don't think he really has a problem with this, he just kind of joked about it. But it just brought up an interesting thought to me. Sometimes your identity can swing votes one way or the other regardless of the quality of your answer. Also, to "Popular Demand" I was think of a way to post anonymously, while still garnering rep on your actual account. –  Kibbee Feb 15 '11 at 15:41
    
possible duplicate of Optional anonymity to hide ignorance –  Pops Feb 15 '11 at 15:43
    
If this is really an issue (and it shouldn't be), you run a risk either way. Posting anonymously makes you look like a newbie. –  Robert Harvey Feb 15 '11 at 15:43
    
If you're really concerned, there is a workaround I didn't mention in my first comment: create a sockpuppet. This isn't encouraged, but it is tolerated as long as your accounts never vote on each other's posts. –  Pops Feb 15 '11 at 15:46
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@Popular Excuse my ignorance: sockpuppets are created or begotten? –  belisarius Feb 15 '11 at 16:25
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@belisarius: sockpuppets are sewn... (or knitted) –  Shog9 Feb 15 '11 at 16:29
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2 Answers

Already, anyone can post anonymously any time they like. It's one of the core principles of the site. If you happen to be logged in, simply log out first, and then proceed to post anonymously...

But really, this is a non-issue. Folks with real problems aren't making decisions based on rep, they're looking for the answer that solves their problem. If they're lucky enough to have multiple answers that meet this criteria, then sure, you're gonna get people who defer to the low-rep user... But you'll also get people who defer to the high-rep user. When the outcome doesn't matter, folks base their decisions on all sorts of arbitrary reasons... Realistically, it's not something you should waste time worrying about.

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In sits like TheWorkplace posting non anonymously can cost someone their job and posting anonymously leads to the rep system not functioning there well. It's quite a common phenomenon there too. –  Benjamin Gruenbaum Apr 6 at 20:37
    
Gee, @ben - rep or your job... Seems like that should be an easy enough decision to make. Or, y'know, just don't add any personally-identifying information on your account and get both. –  Shog9 Apr 6 at 21:33
    
Of course it's an easy decision for people asking the questions, it's counter productive to Stack Exchange for it to work like that not those people. –  Benjamin Gruenbaum Apr 6 at 21:36
    
In my opinion, we have very little to gain by going out of our way to keep tabs on (non-malicious) users who wish to remain anonymous, @Ben. This isn't Facebook. –  Shog9 Apr 7 at 0:01
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I don't like this at all. Putting aside SO reputation numbers, there are certain people that have a good reputation in my own eyes. I trust what they say and don't fact check them as much as I would someone who I am not familiar with.
As far as showing the rep number, this can be a very useful indicator of the answers abilities on SO. If a user has 50 rep and posts an answer that is incorrect, I might be faster or slower to downvote them (depends on how they are incorrect) depending on there rep level.

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