Anonymous posts on the user list

During an informal discussion with users, someone expressed an interest in posting anonymously on the Stan user list. The reasons were:

  1. feeling more comfortable asking ‘dumb’ questions (that person’s questions were not dumb at all)
  2. avoid giving away email address and being subject to harassment because of asked question, gender, etc.

What do people think? Seeing this has worked on Stack Overflow, I think we should consider adding the feature to the user list.

Those are good reasons, but I’m unwilling to have a completely unauthenticated forum for a practical reasons: spammers and trolls.

Stack Overflow requires authentication. For the stan-users Google group, someone could do the same by registering under a pseudonym. I’m sure this is already happening.

Makes sense. I’ll share your solution.

I agree with Daniel, although my reasons are a little different. The JAGS mailing list has some people posting with pseudonym accounts and some with real names. In general there are no dumb questions and Martyn is extremely responsive and kind. The issue I see is that the pseudonymous commenters more often ask poorly thought out questions (i.e.-they don’t read their error messages, ask ambiguous questions, don’t explore solutions that are offered) and when I was active on the JAGS mailing list it got really old. I think it helps ask better questions when they realize that their words are on the internet forever.

That said I think reason #2 is important and I’m ok with pseudonymous accounts, I just don’t want to encourage that as the first option. You could even register via a burner e-mail if you wanted to, lots of websites let you generate those.

I agree with this. What about creating a post that tells people
concerned about privacy/anonymity how to create a temporary e-mail
address from one of the well-known services? I think that’s a solid

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Q: How many iterations is enough?
A: What really matters is the effective sample size and model diagnostics, check our our FAQ!

Discourse seems to work fine with:

I’m happy to post a step-by-step description if we agree this is a good idea.

I’m ok with not publicizing it. Anyone that’s that concerned will figure it out.

But if you think it’ll help, you’re more than welcome to put in the work. I’m never opposed to anyone doing good things for the community.