I was thinking of starting a Tor Hidden Service based on some modified clone of StackExchange that lets everybody be anonymous, but keeps the reputation system - the nicknames would be randomized for each question, so that user A in question A would have a name different than one in question B. Also, reputation points, user profiles etc. wouldn't be shown. Could a clone of StackExchange work without identities? If not, what would break?
Given that much of the participation is driven by reputation and that said reputation is tied to a user profile... and reputation is tied to privileges and community moderation abilities...
See where things are going?
Seems fairly pointless, in particular given that people can already participate anonymously on most Stack Exchange sites.
Real reputation (not numerical score and badge count, but recognizing someone's username) drives most of the value of answers I get on this system. If the person who answers my question about product A works (or used to work) on the product A team, I feel much more secure about any unsubstantiated claims in the answer. If the person who answers my question is someone I can interact with in real life, this question and answer become part of our entire relationship.
I understand not all askers know members of their product teams. But even when I don't know who my experts are, I get to know certain usernames. I know whether someone's advice has generally been helpful in the past, or if they're one of those hobby-horse-riders who has the same suggestions for everything. So I need to know who's answering my questions - who they are in real life or at least who they are here.
What's more, when I answer, I want people to know it's me. That builds my brand. It makes my courses more authoritative. It drives traffic to me, whatever that means and for whatever that's worth. An anonymous SE would remove much of my incentive for participating. Even on nontechnical sites, I like the idea that some of the most frequent posters recognize and know each other, and are building bonds of some kind. Take that away and it's Mechanical Turk - get assignment, complete assignment, move on. Not interested.