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What is an Anonymous Post?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 16, 2024
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An anonymous post is one made on an Internet forum, blog, or message board using an alternate identity. This could be done by using a screen name or simply posting as "anonymous". People who do this generally do so for privacy reasons. If they are allowed to have an avatar, an image which represents themselves, anonymous posters typically choose one of an inanimate object rather than their own photograph.

Many Internet message board and discussion forums allow guests to make comments or discuss various topics. At times, these discussions can become heated or veer off-topic. Some people prefer to make anonymous post on these sites in the event someone they know might possibly read their writings and inadvertently become offended. Other individuals might do so because they are intentionally posting offensive material.

When making an anonymous post, some people prefer to use a screen name. This is similar to a nickname, but does not reveal the poster's identity. Other times, they may use an alternate first and last name. On some blogs, individuals who are not a registered user can simply submit a comment, which will automatically be credited to "anonymous".

People who register for a discussion forum often have the option to create an avatar when setting up their account. This is an image which appears next to each post an individual makes and visually identifies them. Many users prefer to use their own photograph as this image. People who like to make an anonymous post often do not upload a picture of themselves, but instead use an image of something else such as a cartoon figure or an animal.

Another reason for making an anonymous post could be the fact that the poster does not intend to become a regular member of a discussion forum. Many message boards require users to register with their name and email address if they intend to make several comments. Posting in an anonymous way can allow them to make a comment without going through the registration process.

Making an anonymous post can be a good way to safeguard privacy when chatting online or talking with others on various discussion forums. Even so, people who choose to hide their identity by doing this should practice good netiquette, or good manners on the Internet. This can ensure those who read these comments are not offended, making message boards enjoyable for all who use them.

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Discussion Comments
By KoiwiGal — On Aug 14, 2013

@Iluviaporos - I find it interesting how many people think they are managing to be anonymous now, when they are anything but. You have to have a very good knowledge of how your computer works and how the internet works and how a particular message board works before you can truly feel anonymous. I've seen way too many people post anonymous confessions or diatribes thinking that they are perfectly safe, only to be outed later on.

The most obvious and crass forms of this are those people who post about how wonderful something like a new book is on a forum, and later it turns out that they are the author or publisher.

Often it's completely transparent. And even if you get beyond that kind of thing, which can be easily caught by random people online, there's also the government surveillance, which, legal or illegal, is definitely going on right now.

By lluviaporos — On Aug 13, 2013

@clintflint - There's also that internet group which calls itself Anonymous. They grew out of the forum 4Chan where anonymity in posting is definitely the norm.

I've heard it described as basically being the id of the internet. A big force of emotion and fickle intelligence.

I think that being anonymous is going to become a privilege soon though, when you think about how many governments seem to be spying on their citizens.

By clintflint — On Aug 12, 2013

It's interesting the way that some people have chosen to take on the term "Anonymous" to mean everyone. I've seen stories on forums where the main character was called "Anon" with the purpose of that character being a substitute for the person doing the reading.

I suppose if you go on an anonymous posting board, where it's the norm for everyone to go without a name, you get to feel like every post is from the same person (who must change their mind an awful lot!).

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