Anonymous/Burner Accounts and CD Etiquette

I can see where you’re coming from, but personally, I support the use of throwaways. I can understand someone wanting to contribute to the conversation, but wanting to keep their opinion separate from the rest of their reputation in the robotics community.

I’ll give an example. I’m gay. If, say, Karthik were homophobic, that would really suck. I can’t support that. However, if Karthik wants to add his (hypothetically homophobic) opinion to a conversation about the representation of LGBT teenagers in FIRST, shouldn’t he be able to do so without running the risk of ruining his reputation as a brilliant strategist and analyst? Would CD look at him in the same way if he held such an unpopular opinion?

Using a throwaway allows people (anyone) to contribute to a conversation without putting their reputation on the line. If someone holds an unpopular decision, that could change the way they are perceived forever, and that’s not a risk anyone should have to take. Controversial opinions are vital to a healthy discussion of any topic, and throwaways allow people to contribute them.


I’m not sure how I feel about this hypothetical situation. Before this somehow gets misinterpreted, I would like to state that I am an avid supporter and fighter for LGBT rights and not homophobic. I just don’t want someone to mistake your hypothetical for fact. :slight_smile:

The issue is anonomy removes accountability. There are plenty of times I wanted an anon account to post my unpopular opinions. If I did my reputation bar would be all green apposed to Christmas themed. But, if I am going to throw my opinion out there then what’s the use if I don’t use my real identify.

The issue here is that generally CD has a very specific socio-political view, of not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings. Is this what Gracious Professionalism is? Is the idea that your personal opinions regarding a matter are negative just because they don’t agree with CD’s Norm? That is why I use a burner account, I want to voice my opinion, but not have people openly disregarding all of my opinions due to one opinion they disagree with.

I actually believe it’s quite the opposite, people ARE willing to hurt other peoples feelings by replying/negative repping etc. The reason people make burner accounts is so that if their opinion is ridiculed and considered offensive/stupid they have zero repercussions. That or they just blatantly want to say something they know will be considered offensive, so they would rather not have any responsibility for it.

CD has progressively become a more and more hiveminded group of people for many of the popular threads. Lots of people looking for recognition in the community as “best at this” or “knows a lot about that” as the way that some of the pseudo “celebrity” CDers we have are. People want to be the person that writes that oneliner with all the green dots that people make a thread about to try and figure out what that one liner with not the most substance in it actually means. Or make the funny jokes that everyone laughs at. Too many new students/mentors/people are posting just for that reason. Not to actually be helpful and provide constructive praise/criticism/help to a thread. Instead they resort to lame jokes (some jokes on CD are very funny, most are not) pointing out mistakes, blindly promoting their team/region/whatever, and complaining about teams/refs/volunteers/rules/etc without substance/solutions.

But I guess it’s just an internet forum, can’t expect too much quality.

Not attaching your name to your opinion makes it a meaningless post.

Homophobic opinions aren’t treated with such disdain because they are unpopular - the viewpoints expressed actively perpetuate the oppression of LGBT peoples. Freely expressing such viewpoints without anyone challenging them creates an environment that fosters, tolerates, and perpetuates such intolerance.

It’s important to not think of these ideas as just “controversial” or “unpopular” opinions when they actively do harm to members of our community and to society in general. This is why such statements are taken so negatively by many. And I would hope people wouldn’t view a bigot in the same light as a tolerant and accepting person!

Perhaps not meaningless as the message could be there, but has little/no credibility as someone who isn’t willing to put their name behind their words likely is unsure of their words in the first place.

Well hold on… don’t generalize here. I use a burner account for multiple reasons…

A. I want to keep my team safe from any repercussions of MY actions.
B. I do not want the harassment from others who disagree with what I say. (Both in the World of FIRST and of Chief Delphi) If you want to have an open minded conversation with me that is fine, but calling me bigoted, sexist, etc. is often what results in the sharing of my opinions.
C. Sometimes, I need to discuss things about my team with a larger audience. Issues arise and I have no clue who to deal with them, so I turn to you guys for help. Some of my opinions my team cannot know of because, as I have discussed elsewhere, I will get terminated from the only team within 20 miles of me.

Also, for someone’s assured response of - “Just put ‘My posts do not reflect the opinions of my team or its affiliates’ in your signature”. Well, I dont see that as enough.

Also, Post Morphing has become rampant here :yikes:

Shouldn’t someone with such a controversial (or insert stronger word of your choice) opinion have the reputation their opinions deserve?

I mean seriously, otherwise what’s the point? Do we all create two accounts, one for posting popular stuff with our name attached so we all look awesome, and a second anonymous one for posting our true opinions? If someone isn’t willing to own their opinion, and live by the consequences of expressing that opinion, then they should probably keep that opinion to themselves.

Anonymous accounts do have their place. They are a good, safe way to get advice in a difficult situation without exposing yourself or the situation to the world. They are not a shield to hide behind just because someone wants to post unpopular opinions.

The world has seen people take unpopular stands, own them, and change the culture of entire countries. The opinions weren’t popular. Those individuals faced enormous pressure, resistance, and even physical violence to embrace what they believe in. And they changed the world. Without those people making a stand, the US would be a society dependent on slavery where only white male land owners had any say in anything. Heck, the US wouldn’t even be it’s own separate country.

I have one word for someone who creates/uses an anonymous account to post an unpopular opinion just for the sake of preserving “reputation” - coward.

This is only one of the many reasons I respect Mr. Stratis. Thank you for your clarity in your posts - all of them!

Discussion from another thread/some recent threads, figured I would move it here.

Basically mostly centered around:

Are anonymous accounts okay to use?
Is CD becoming full of non-helpful content?
Solutions to making things better for teams/individuals on CD?

A- If you are worried about repercussions on your team it’s probably a good indicator that what you are saying is inappropriate.

B- Doesn’t having an anonymous account just create more “harrassment”?

C- I can see this being a legitimate use.

Moved burner account discussion to here so we don’t further derail the original intent of the thread.

By post morphing do you mean threads getting off-topic?

Just to get this out of the way, I was thinking about doing something like this thread myself. Looks like I’m not the only one.

And the one point I’d like to make is that that “legitimate use” for several years had a CD subforum: FAHA (FIRST-A-Holics Anonymous), where some of the moderators would, if someone wanted to make such a post, they could post there and a moderator would “scrub” it (if necessary, to remove identifying info) and post it under their own names. I think it was removed because it was low-traffic, and in preparation for the forum changeup (that hasn’t happened yet–Brandon can confirm if he wants to). I’d really like to see that one come back.

The one other thing I’d like to point out is that duplicate accounts are specifically banned by the CD rules that every member of the site agrees to when signing up. So if you have an account and make a burner account on top of that, then you could run into the moderators, and they can find you and call you out by username. I seem to recall a case of Brandon Martus pulling that on someone who was not willing to give their opinions a name and face. (I will note that with permission, some persons and/or groups of persons have duplicate accounts–but in those cases, I’m pretty certain that those persons/groups asked ahead of time and most likely stated why they wanted the duplicate account.)

Just as a thought, and if someone thought it was actually feasible, what if there were a few “forum-bots” who could, if messaged, BE the “anonymous users”? Nah, probably never happen…

I don’t think that is always true, but it is a definitely a good indicator if what you are saying is not appropriate.

Despite what people say: “My views do not reflect those of my team” people use the material they are fed, to create an image of a particular team. If you have an opinion which is different to other peoples, for example about Paper Airplane throwing ( pretty minor in the scheme of things, but people still have different opinions on it) or especially issues such as LGBT+ in FIRST you are entitled to say it and isn’t inappropriate, but these opinions still form how people view your team.

The most important thing about giving your opinion is how you do it, it is alright to voice your opinion as long as you are respectful of other people and their views and give reasoning for your opinion. If someone else questions why you think that reply respectfully or PM them ( still being respectful) to stop a thread becoming an argument. If you’re not capable of expressing your views, respectfully and nicely don’t.

I merged a ton of posts into this thread from here:

That’s why some things may seem slightly out of place.

In my mind, this is one of the key tenants of Gracious Professionalism. It’s not the opinion itself, it’s how it’s expressed. Remember that every word, every sentence typed or spoken has its own context, and communicating that context to avoid misunderstandings is the way to communicate professionally.

I think the issue here is the dots and people giving negative rep for the wrong reasons… We’re all told “they’re just dots” but how many of us actually believe that? How many of you would be ok with a bunch of red dots.

I find it far too often that people post a differing opinion and get negative rep for it. That’s not what the rep system is necessarily for. A differing opinion is not “wrong” persay and not necessarily deserving negative rep. I don’t think people understand the purpose of the dot system. Why would someone who has a different view deserve negative rep.

This happens far too often and people are concerned of getting negative rep for posting a unpopular opinion and that’s why I think people have throwaways.

Tl;dr the dot system/improper use of it causes people to feel the need for throwaways

As a future forum perk, is there a way this disclaimer could be placed at the front of the thread? I’ve had a post of mine split off into a separate thread before, and it was a bit odd that I had appeared to start a discussion that I didn’t intend to.