- McKayla Kennedy is awesome and considered and thoughtful, and I don’t like surfacing disagreements with her, particularly when my response is impulsive and emotive and rash.
- There are legitimate uses of anonymity even in seemingly innocuous topics. A very cluey poster on Turkic languages goes anon, because he doesn’t want the grief from Turkish nationalists, for example. It is a sliding scale of risk.
- But, in topics and contexts where a Reasonable Person would not see the point of anonymity, and in a Quora where, as Laura Hale diagnosed, there’s between 30 and 50% of all questions being asked anonymously—
—yes, I do think it says something. It says that people don’t want their eponymous identity associated with what they post online, not because it’s particularly risky, but because that’s their intrinsic sense of privacy. It’s the people who don’t want to submit to the Real Name policy, and use anonymity instead of the now unavailable pseudonymity.
If you’re not judgemental, it still says about them that they don’t want to be publicly accountable for their contributions to Quora. If you’re judgemental like me, it says that they are not part of my tribe: they are not people who engage on the site in the same way I do.
McKayla, you posted a hierarchy of Quora users: McKayla Kennedy’s answer to How is Quora stratified below the Top Writer level? I’m delighted to quote you:
Anonymouses—frankly, they don’t rank on the scale at all because none of their answers are connectable. They are like ghosts, some good spirits and some bad, but necessary nonetheless. Collectively, they are viewed with vague distrust.
In fact, you remind me of the Greek fairy tale depictions of fairies or Africans: sometimes benevolent, sometimes malevolent, but always alien.