Why do Stack Overflow and other Stack Exchange show all activity of user publicly? It's a problem sometimes, like when on your profile you can see 'last seen' and sometime 'visited' will be shown, but how about every point of activity?

Is there any way to hide some info?

Someone answered "browse anonymously or use secret profile", but how do I answer anonymously? How people will know about my secret reputation?


3 Answers 3


Currently no, there is no way to hide any of that information we have no plans on introducing any.

Could you elaborate on what kind of problems you're running into?

Depending on your concerns, you could use a second account or browse the site anonymously without logging in. You also don't have to use your real name on your account. Many people use pseudonyms to avoid their online activities being linked with them in "real life".

  • 20
    In some cases, a prospective employer may directly ask you for your SO username to inspect your contributions to the site. But, a user might want to share their activity on SO, while at the same time hiding activity on another SO site (say, a site about politics, religion, or even The Workplace which might reveal information about previous employers, salary preferences, etc.). It's unreasonably cumbersome to maintain an ID for each different site you may prefer to keep private, and in fact in some cases you may want to link from one site to another -- but in other cases you'd prefer privacy.
    – user183600
    Oct 22, 2014 at 16:54
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    For example, parenting.stackexchange.com is very sensitive. The profile would leave permanent public record of all of my child's health & behavioral problems. Separate account is not a good solution, because it is brittle - it is easy to accidentally submit under main account. It would be much better to hand-pick sensitive questions and hide them after the fact. Apr 4, 2015 at 15:31
  • 3
    This is indeed a much needed feature, I'd also add industrial spying. As soon as someone has your user name, they can browse all your questions and answers and get an accurate picture of the technology / methods your company uses. This is why I am caferul with my contributions to the site, and am considering deleting my account in the near future and restricting contributions from employees. You can't have reputation points, CVs and badges to show on personal websites and at the same time credibly claim that the intended use case is to use a pseudonym.
    – tobiak777
    Nov 11, 2016 at 14:34
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    Otherwise the current implementation really is careless privacy wise. It's a sort of Facebook for Work with everything public and searchable, including login times and profile views. I'd be curious to know if you have any short term plan on this matter.
    – tobiak777
    Nov 11, 2016 at 14:35
  • I would expect recent events to motivate SE to reconsider this. Imagine a developer who, despite using a pseudonym, has a profile that he/she needs to be visible for professional purposes. This user has in the past interacted with one of SE's culture/recreation communities, say Jedism. Now a major politician in their country is openly against Jedis. Their current or future employers can quickly go to their profile and see that they seem a bit too related to that community. Maybe they just accidentally replied to a question using the wrong profile. The link is visible, the damage is done.
    – anol
    Nov 30, 2016 at 12:53
  • I do not need to point the contradiction between this dismissal of privacy requirements as "easily doable" (e.g. a pseudonym), "not your real life information", and Developer Stories.
    – anol
    Nov 30, 2016 at 13:00
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    "Could you elaborate on what kind of problems you're running into?" Losing your job because you have spent too much time on SO instead of your work. Even if you do your job this can be used to get rid of you. Sure, i could have used an pseudo user. But why SO forces me to do that? I just don't want to be fully transparent. Why every comment or edit must be visible publicly with exact times for everyone? Nov 27, 2018 at 17:49

Now there may with new site version has option available that cause user can hide show stack site, option available at: "Edit Profile & Settings" > "SITE SETTINGS" > "Hide Communities" list with options (hide/unhide). That may helps you.

  • This is not relevant for this question. The question here is about activity in one single site, showing in the user's profile. Aug 20, 2016 at 10:30

Is there any way to hide some info?

Apparently not much can be done so far. You can still try to "hide in the crowd" by adding noise to your profile.

For instance, if you join Mi Yodeya (judaism.stackexchange.com) and you are worried your colleagues will be able to see you have a profile there, you can then join Islam and Buddhism and Hindouism and Christianity. Why not then join Ask Different and Ask Ubuntu and Unix and Linux, etc.?

Unfortunately, it simply delays the information. A few extra clicks will enable others to see how many questions you have actually posted there. Even after "hiding" all of my communities on my profile page, this is (part of) what any user can see on my profile:

Part of my publicly-visible profile page

As you can see, there's even the (approximate) date when you joined the community, and the "last seen" date. So any potential stalker can easily see in which communities you're really active.

To have an effective "shadowed" profile would require so much fake data creation (random logins and upvotes, dummy questions, etc.) that it does not seem currently reasonable.

On the bright side, at least this means StackExchange cannot actively monetize on this information, as in "for $X/month, we can show you all activity user Y produced on the entire network".

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