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Creating rules for online communities can be a tricky thing. What code does the community live by? Which of those rules does the community dictate? We at DrivingSales have been having one such debate for weeks: should we allow anonymous postings? We’ve never had a problem on the site with anonymous postings before. We’ve always required transparent identities for the sake of keeping the community legitimate. Then, low and behold, an anonymous profile was created yesterday and began generating controversy… er, I mean conversation.
So before deciding whether or not we allow anonymous comments or keep with forcing identities on members, the question must first be what benefits does anonymity bring to the community? What drawbacks does it generate? Of course, we could argue that forcing identities increases the quality of the content posted because people’s reputation is directly linked to it, but it also reduces the number of comments, restricting potentially explosive discussions. Perhaps individuals who don’t feel confident enough in their comments might refrain from contributing, no matter how relevant and dynamic their input might be. However, having transparent identities also allows us to reach out to the particular leaders that our community is made of for advice on best strategies.
Weigh in on the discussion. We’d love to hear what you think and what you’d like to see on the site. Why is transparency in identity important? How could we benefit from anonymous postings? Tell us where you stand on the debate and then what you want done about it. We could:
A) Allow anonymous posts,
B) Continue with forced identities,
C) Have some sort of moderated anonymity. DrivingSales could build the technology to allow only dealers to have the ability to choose if they want their identity shown (so vendors can’t bash others), or maybe allow anonymous comments that have to be approved by the DrivingSales staff before posting, or
D) Have a better answer? Share it!
It's conversations like these that define how our community works. Tell us what you think (identities required… at this point).