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One of the long-time advantages of participation on Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange has been the potential for anonymity: there's no requirement that you post under your own name, or (outside of a few sites) even create an account!

But with the new jobs section being released it brings a new audience - employers and potential employers. This both creates pressure to participate using your legal name and creates potentially serious downsides to doing so. I think it would be great if we could re-consider anonymity as a feature.

Specifically, I'd like to suggest anonymous posting of questions, as well as the ability to mark previously posted questions as anonymous.

Here are some examples of why people might want to post questions without having their name attached to it.

In both examples, it would be beneficial for authors to be able to post without risking repercussions from current or future employers or colleagues.

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    What should be improved in particular. As is that's too narrow for a feature request. – πάντα ῥεῖ Dec 22 '15 at 0:03
  • There was previously Careers 2.0. How does Jobs differ from Careers in this regard? – Andy Dec 22 '15 at 0:26
  • @andy Ah, I never used Careers 2.0 I don't know anything about it. – anon Dec 22 '15 at 0:28
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    I've revised your question somewhat to attempt to focus on the problem you're describing; feel free to roll it back if I've misrepresented your concern. – Shog9 Dec 22 '15 at 0:58
  • @Andy there is no Careers 2.0 for several months now (just "Careers") and the whole careers site will be very soon shut down and redirect to the new Jobs tab of Stack Overflow. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Dec 22 '15 at 15:09
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To directly answer your question about whether you can remove your name from a post: Yes. You can request disassociation. The post will remain, but your name will be removed.

To do so, you will need to click on the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of any page. In the form, provide details about which posts (with URLs) you want your name removed from.

Related:

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If there are really questions you want to ask that you'd be embarrassed to have attached to your account, or are on a sensitive topic, there's nothing stopping you creating a second account for all those questions you don't want associated with your main account.

However, you must ensure that the two accounts don't interact in any way. That means:

  • No voting for the other accounts posts.
  • No answering the other accounts posts.
  • No suggested edits on the other accounts posts.
  • No commenting on the other accounts posts.
  • etc.

You also must be prepared for the accounts to be merged.

  • "You also must be prepared for the accounts to be merged should an employee discover them" A SO employee you mean? – Ashley Coolman Dec 22 '15 at 0:23
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    We wouldn't merge them if there's no activity between the two unless you accidentally associate an email known to both accounts with both accounts, at which point the system would automatically merge them. If they don't interact together, and there's no common information between them, we'd have no reason to even look, much less merge. We only merge when someone is clearly disenfranchised from an account and wants us to merge them, or in some cases where there's sock puppeting going on and we (for rare reasons) don't want to just delete the socks. – Tim Post Dec 22 '15 at 14:06
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What you essentially want is an autonomous means to disassociate a post from your account. Currently, this process is manual:

  • You have to contact us (Stack Overflow)
  • You wait (hopefully) around 24 hours
  • You get an email from us letting you know we did it

Sounds pretty simple to automate, right? Well, it's a little more complicated than that. Some users have a very clear history of asking questions that .. aren't good. When we see this pattern, we slow them down quite a bit, and if it continues we outright stop taking questions from them for an extended period of time.

As things are, allowing for self-disassociation would (unless we did quite a bit of work) short-circuit pretty critical things in place to keep the quality of the site above bar.

This is something I'd like to get done in the first half of 2016, if it's technically possible to do. You'd be able to disassociate questions from your account, but the system would still be able to consider some of them while determining your track record as you ask more questions.

You can, on most sites, simply open an incognito window and ask a question - we don't force registration to ask on the majority of the network. The nature of some questions on Academia / The Workplace would be a major factor to consider if we ever thought about requiring registration to ask in either place (we probably never would).

On sites where registration is required, you can:

  • Create a new account with an email address you will never, ever, ever use in conjunction with your normal account, as in ever.
  • Don't let your accounts interact in any way together, ever.
  • Ask your question.

But do consider that despite the anonymous name, someone might still know it's you. And automatic system merges might change in a year, and I won't remember writing this answer, and certainly won't remember to ping you. That leads me to my final bit of advice:

Don't put anything on the public internet that you don't want to be quoted as saying :) If in doubt, don't.

Some stuff just, well, shouldn't be crowdsourced if the risk of someone else being hurt is high.

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