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Mike Doherty
Mike Doherty
Maths Teacher
St. Albans, GB

2 experts and 5 parents have answered

Holly Seddon admin
Holly Seddon Editor-in-chief of Kent, UK

Thanks for an interesting question, Mike, and welcome to the site! There are a number of reasons why we allow anonymity.

As a parent, I myself know that there are questions we want to ask about our children and their experiences, that we don’t feel comfortable posting under our real names (by extension, revealing their identity). By posting anonymously, we can be open and specific, which leads to better and more useful answers. There are many topics covered on that are sensitive and need options to protect privacy and identity, including cyberbullying, communication after divorce, sexting, general behaviour issues, special needs and so on. I have myself posted questions anonymously and received fantastically helpful answers. I have also offered real life experience on very sensitive subjects (such as family illness) that I felt more comfortable to share anonymously.

After years of working within parenting communities I can assure you that there are more situations that require anonymity than I could possibly list here! Think about a newly pregnant woman, who does not wish to reveal she is pregnant until she has had her 12 week scan, but wants to join in a discussion over great fertility apps, or ask a question about innovations in pregnancy scans. I wouldn’t want someone to miss out because they weren’t given ways to protect their precious secret. Or consider a teacher who wants to ask for suggestions for introducing new technology to his class, but is meeting obstacles from colleagues or parents in his school. Again, I want such a discussion to flow freely on, without worries about consequences!

I would also point out that we encourage a real name policy, and the anonymous function is to help protect that real name policy. If people can’t post anonymously when the subject is sensitive they will be more inclined to set up secondary accounts in fake names (again, this happens on other communities a lot) or use pseudonyms for their main account, thus damaging the real name culture that we are cultivating.

We are a parents’ community and we work very hard to encourage a supportive and free-flowing atmosphere. We give members the tools to contribute in a variety of ways (including anonymously) and a report function to flag up any content they are concerned about – we will always review reported content. We are catering for a very different group of people than many of the platforms whose anonymous members are currently in the news, and we treat our members with the respect and trust that we feel very strongly they deserve. If anyone was to break that trust and cause problems anonymously, we would act accordingly.

I hope that helps clear things up.

8 Reply Share:
Fact 3 years ago
expert answer
Dom Conlon expert
Dom Conlon Father and digital toy developer Manchester, GB
Software/app development expert

Anonymity is being hounded at the moment and mostly, unfairly so. The things we should be discussing are bullying and intolerance. There are lots of really great reasons to hide a name or a face (I don't have my face on my avatar for the reason that I love my design - you can easily find a face for me on my Twitter profile - headfirst_dom). If we remove people's right to be anonymous then we lose something very important and it won't solve the problem society has regarding bullies. I knew each and every bully at school (and in the workplace) - they didn't need anonymity to be that way.

My feeling is that if someone acts out of line on this site then they should be dealt with like any bully in any walk of life.

4 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer

Although I've chosen to answer this anonymously, I should point out that I'm not a member of the team. I hope that my answer is insightful and helps you understand a bit more about the differences between and I have written this entirely from my own perspective as someone who enjoys using and takes keen interest in other social networks and communities.

Despite the idea of anonymity being similar, and differ from one another. to my knowledge is popular amongst teenagers for the purpose of asking probing or personal questions anonymously. Although it can be used to send hateful or rude messages, I believe that kids and teenagers should be taught how to deal with that sensibly and report it to somebody, whether it be a parent, themselves or a trusted teacher or guardian. The website itself at a glance does not appear safe or trustworthy, given that you can ask questions or send messages to most users who haven't changed their default privacy settings, it suddenly becomes a lot harder for the staff to track who says what. works in a way where a user like yourself asks a question to it's entire community, not specifically one person. Within this community, to answer a question even anonymously you must be logged in. Since this is the case, I imagine that although we appear anonymous to the rest of the website, our usernames could still be linked up with questions and answers. If this is how works it becomes very easy for staff to to find out who posted the anonymous question or answer in the case that it was abusive, or going against the community guidelines.

Given that teachers, parents, and experts in particular topics all contribute to they may from time to time want to ask or answer a question which they might not be confident in associating themselves with, or may be to embarrassed to reveal their true identity.

I hope this help! :-)

3 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Monica J. Vila
Monica J. Vila @TheOnlineMom Rye, US

I would agree that anonymity in asking a question is important to encourage folks who may consider something "embarrassing" to go ahead and ask and get the support of a community that understands them. However - anonymity answering a question I am not so sure .....personally, I'd discount the opinion of anyone who'd answer one of my questions in that fashion as I would not know their frame of reference

2 Reply ( 2 ) Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Sarah Westwater
Sarah Westwater Social Science degree undergrad Jersey, Channel Islands

It is useful to me to be able to read the opinions of experts who can also be verified as experts.Certainly anonymity has its place, particularly if one has very personal feedback to air, but the anonymous poster must be aware that he also loses his copyright over his own words... Anyone can then take them and quote them without proper credit or context.

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Neil Fitzgerald
Neil Fitzgerald Software Developer GB

Anonymous responses have their place in certain arenas. Useful for sharing what may be controversial opinions. If there is a general consensus that that controversial opinion is valid, it can encourage others to come forward with that viewpoint, knowing they are not alone. Known voices speaking bad ideas are much more dangerous than anonymous voices speaking good ones.

The press have "sold" the story of in a way that suits their needs as a publication generally purchased by adults or parents. Now that the story has developed away from "evil websites" and "anonymous trolls" towards a family tragedy not caused by new media, the established media have dropped it.

Any established power (old media companies) want people to fear anything that threatens that power they hold. Social Media companies do exactly that, as does anything that allows people to congregate and share ideas freely.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Matthew Day
Matthew Day A geek London, GB

Just checked, Anon does not include guest - good thing too as where guest / no account posting is permitted, spam is inevitable - though as a further restriction, I would hope the Anon facility is not immediately available to new accounts of unknown standing.

Also, that any anon posts could be tracked by admin if necessary (forum admins can see IP addresses, for instance).

It seems the alternative to anonymous, would be secondary pseudonym accounts, and would that really be better? Some forums are plagued by junk accounts

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago

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