Recently, I asked a general question about bad behaviour. It was of the form "If you do X, what'll happen?".

I'm wondering whether people will try to look at my account and find out who did X, which'd be bad, as I don't want to make a big issue out of it. I want this dirty laundry laundered automatically and in private, not aired. If I could ask the question anonymously, then people wouldn't be able to delve into the dirty laundry.

Does mandatory non-anonymity in Meta make dirty laundry airing more likely, and if so, is this a reason for allowing anonymity on MSO?

  • I dunno. Does the chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?
    – Rosinante
    Oct 21, 2010 at 23:22
  • It sure seems like meta has been around long enough that this thing you are curious about may have happened. Can someone link us to a real example?
    – Zoredache
    Oct 21, 2010 at 23:50
  • You can always contact the team. There's a link at the bottom of every page. Oct 21, 2010 at 23:58
  • 2
    If you talk theoretics, there's got to be something to poke at
    – random
    Oct 22, 2010 at 0:20

3 Answers 3


I think there are at least two things going on here.

First, for really dirty laundry, where anonymity is muchos important, you can do as other have suggested and contact the team on the QT.

Second we have a tradition of judging the content, not the user. And I figure that the long timers--the high rep types--are the most likely to value and live that tradition and they are also the bulk of the regulars on meta. So I think that meta is at least moderately trustworthy when it comes to hanging out the issues even when the parties are identified.

And it is important that the actual cases of possible trouble be examined. Real situations are almost always messier than anonymous generalities.

It is worth thinking about how we could have a impartial, trustworthy entity to judge these things, but I don't see an obvious solution.

So that's not the answer you were looking for, but I would suggest that a pattern of holding past misbehavior against a reformed user is cause for censure at some level. I'm not sure how exactly that should be handled, but we need a mechanism.

Flagging the mods of emailing the team seems to be what you've got for now.


If the laundry is super-dirty, just air it to [email protected]

We really do not want to create lynch mobs on meta, we often delete and anonymize discussions about particular people cause that is not what meta is about or for.


No way. Anonymity is one of the curses of the Internet. Then you get people who really feel they can say anything, since they think they're 'safe'. We want people to be responsible for what they say.

(There are some blessings from anonymity, but they're special cases).


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