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Should your Community be Anonymous?

June 30, 2014
May 19, 2023

One of the most common questions community builders think through revolves around anonymity. Is it a good thing? Is it bad? What communities should be anonymous?There are 3 basic levels:

  1. Identity – Real names
  2. Pseudonymity – Fake names
  3. Anonymity – No names

Which one should you apply to your community? It all comes down to trust. A member’s association with identity will affect what kind of content they’ll feel comfortable sharing within the community.Identity tends to work well for professional communities that focus on networking and professional reputation, or communities of people that we already know in real life. Examples include the YEC, CMX, Linkedin, Facebook.Pseudonymity adds a layer of privacy so people will be more comfortable saying things they wouldn’t usually say (both good and bad). So they’ll be more vulnerable and share personal challenges but they’ll also feel more comfortable being controversial if they believe it won’t be tied back to their real identity. Examples include most gaming communities, some users on twitter, reddit.Anonymity assumed complete privacy since there is no identity associated with a member which means there is no social filter to what they say. Secret and whisper have built massive communities with a focus on anonymity. Other examples include most addiction recovery communities, pregnancy communities

June 30, 2014
May 19, 2023

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