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  • A note on anonymous posters

    Home Forums AskWoody Central A note on anonymous posters

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    This topic contains 90 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  PKCano 1 year, 1 month ago.

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    • #98774 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      I built the Lounge with the strong conviction that everyone be heard – whether they’re willing to identify themselves or not. I still think the ability to post anonymously is a key capability here on the Lounge.

      At the same time, anonymous posters have to realize that (a) it’s almost impossible to keep track of individual anonymous voices and (b) anyone throwing stones from an anonymous account won’t be tolerated – the posts just won’t appear. MVP moderators have to approve every anonymous post. They and I have high tolerance for differences in opinion, but very low  tolerance for repeating the same arguments ad nauseum.

      If you wish to remain anonymous, that’s fine, but keep in mind the limitations.

      Also, realize that if you register, all you need is an accessible email address. I don’t ask for any personal information – none.

      If you live in a country where registering is not advisable, I understand your situation – I’ve lived and traveled in countries where such things are monitored. To circumvent the usual registration procedure, email me – woody@askwoody.com – and I’ll make special arrangements. I’ve done that in the past, and I’ll continue to do it until I’m sued or locked up in Kazbuzistan.

      Total of 23 users thanked author for this post. Here are last 20 listed.
    • #98802 Reply

      Canadian Tech
      AskWoody MVP

      I sometimes read an anonymous poster and think about responding. However, it seems pointless because it is like talking to a mass of hundreds of people, when there is only one in the mass whom I wish to address, or may be interested in what I have to say. So, if you wish to remain anonymous, please understand your views will be regarded by me, and I suspect others as one way communications. You should understand that you cannot ask a question as anonymous.

      Two-way communications are much more rewarding and deserving of a response.

      What is so hard about dreaming up some name like Woody or CT?

      CT

      8 users thanked author for this post.
      • #98960 Reply

        b
        AskWoody Lounger

        You should understand that you cannot ask a question as anonymous.

        And yet Elly says that’s the primary reason to remain anonymous:

        Advantages of being anonymous…
        1) You are just getting a question answered, and aren’t here for anything more. Why register if you aren’t coming by this way again?

        Cannon fodder Daft glutton Idiot Kick Me Sucker More intrepid

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #99034 Reply

        NightOwl
        AskWoody MVP

        Canadian Tech

        You should understand that you cannot ask a question as anonymous.

        Anyone can ask a question!

        And expect an answer.

        It’s the responsibility of the person answering if they wish to identify the person they are responding to–just simply use the Quote function to highlight the information you are responding to, and it will include the Reply # from which you are Quoting–it will clearly identify who you are responding to–it’s simple to do! You can choose not to do that, but that’s your choice–not an inability to do so!

        Just put your mouse pointer over my above quote–it says I’m quoting from Reply #98802–easy to see!

        With the nesting function of this *message board* forum, it’s truly the responsibility of the responder to identify what they are responding to!

        I’m almost sure you will never see this–you are long gone from this topic–oh, well … !

        NightOwl

        No question is stupid ... but, possibly the answers are 😉 !

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #98825 Reply

      Microfix
      AskWoody MVP

      Also, the advantages of posting as a member means you can keep track of your posts without having to search the database for threads. Very handy if you wish to re-visit a thread from a while back 🙂

      | W8.1 Pro x64 | Linux x64 Hybrids | W7 Pro x64 O/L | XP Pro O/L
        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #98862 Reply

      PhotM
      AskWoody Lounger

      Woody,

      Prior to the “Forums”, were we not all Anon but were able to assign a Display name and/or first name?

      Is that not possible now without an Email address, now? I know it kind defeat some of the purpose but that would only be some disadvantage to Anon. It would at least give the rest of us some amount of an identity to talk to??? Anyway, just a thought…. 🙂

      --------------------------------------

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      • #98891 Reply

        Elly
        AskWoody MVP

        What I’m hearing is that it can be difficult to address the original issue and make sure it was answered properly when there are a bunch of anonymous users chiming in. So, for those committed to being anonymous, for whatever your reason is, it would be helpful to identify yourself in the initial post (pick a name, letter, number, animal, vegetable, mineral… but something that makes it possible to quickly and easily follow your replies for that question). It helps make sure your issue gets answered, and not sidetracked by another anonymous user.

        Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

      • #98934 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        Prior to the “Forums”, were we not all Anon but were able to assign a Display name and/or first name?

        True, back before the Lounge (a month ago!) people could enter names and email addresses, if they wanted, and those would appear on the post. I had to manually approve every post. Every. Post.

        The Lounge software – a full bulletin board – is considerably more complex. We’re handling ten times the volume of what we had a month ago. I was the choke point before, now registered users can post away. It remains to be seen if we can keep the quality of posts out of the shallow end of the gene pool, but I think we can.

        6 users thanked author for this post.
    • #98867 Reply

      NightOwl
      AskWoody MVP

      PhotM

      Prior to the “Forums”, were we not all Anon but were able to assign a Display name and/or first name?

      I think, if I’m remembering correctly, if you chose to include a Name in the old Comment system, a cookie was being placed on your system so it *remembered* that information the next time you visited–did not matter if you closed out the browser or shut down your system.

      If you cleared your cookies, then the automatic listing of your name disappeared, and you had to re-enter it, again, if you wanted it there ….

      NightOwl

      No question is stupid ... but, possibly the answers are 😉 !

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #98894 Reply

        Elly
        AskWoody MVP

        Are there cookies in anything but the advertisements, if someone doesn’t register and log in?

        Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

        • #98902 Reply

          anonymous

          This is an anonymous post by NightOwl to Elly’s question–to test what cookies are present if an anonymous post is made.

        • #98910 Reply

          ch100
          AskWoody MVP

          Elly, I am suggesting you to configure your browser to allow only so called first-party cookies and disallow third-party cookies. Also allow first-party session cookies, which means persistent between logins. This is a generic recommendation not related to this forum/lounge and useful to avoid most of the internet tracking.
          The configuration is different from browser to browser and I addressed most of it on the old forum and other posters made useful contributions about this issue.
          Internet Explorer has quirky functionality, the default one is most compliant with the (old, current, whatever one wants to consider them) standards, but after Google decided to breach the standards in 2012 and forced everyone else to follow suit for practical reasons, IE needed to be configured with a custom configuration. The custom implementation in IE is not so accurately done like the default one, but still acceptable for most situations.
          Other browsers have accurate implementation of the cookie configuration as far as I know.
          There is an additional setting in most modern browsers which is open for debate and named “Do not track”. Most points of view are to set it to enabled, while I am against this configuration because it is not an internet standard and as such is not mandatory for the advertiser and in fact provides extra information to rogue advertisers who can only be shamed publicly, but not forced to comply.

          • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  ch100. Reason: corrected typo
          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #98944 Reply

            b
            AskWoody Lounger

            What extra information about me is provided if I enable Do Not Track?

            Cannon fodder Daft glutton Idiot Kick Me Sucker More intrepid

          • #98953 Reply

            Elly
            AskWoody MVP

            Thank you, Ch100.

            That is how I’ve configured my browsers for cookies, although I deny any session cookies and clear all of them when the browser closes.

            I tend to check out the ramifications of updating browsers, because they can change how they handle things (just like Windows). You point out the details of what Internet Explorer has gone through, over time… and for my use, it wasn’t good. I really appreciate when knowledgeable people point out the privacy risks. I don’t expect others to need as much privacy as I do, but I want the knowledge and option to avoid problems. For me, that is very valuable information.

            I don’t use “do not track” because of there are no consequences for not complying, and there is no way to tell if a particular website is respecting it or not. It is kind of like Microsoft reassuring us that Win 10 is the most secure operating system so far, while they are syphoning off data on a regular schedule, with no way of opting out.

            I appreciate the discussion of privacy, because I want to know and make my own decisions. You have no idea how thankful I am for the things I’ve learned here.

            Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

            2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #98916 Reply

          anonymous

          Reply to Post # 98894

          This is a second (#2) anonymous post by NightOwl to Elly’s question–to test what cookies are present if an anonymous post is made.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #98936 Reply

            woody
            Da Boss

            It’ll be very interesting to see what you find!

            There will certainly be third party cookies for advertisers. Other than that… I don’t know…

            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #99036 Reply

          NightOwl
          AskWoody MVP

          @ Elly

          Are there cookies in anything but the advertisements, if someone doesn’t register and log in?

          Short answer–YES!

          While it was working exactly how you explained it, there was additional functionality.

          My observations concur with what you have observed–this site does track, and knows you have been here before, whether you are logged in or not.

          To be sure, I’m a known registered member of this forum website–but it definitely can, and does identify me when I’m logged off, and making an Anonymous post.

          Only a truly Anonymous poster, who has never registered with this site, could tell us what cookies are being created when they visit, and post on this forum, and if they delete those cookies, what new cookies are created if they return to post again!

          It’ll be very interesting to see what you find!

          There will certainly be third party cookies for advertisers. Other than that… I don’t know…

          Well, maybe *Yes*, or maybe *No*–depends on what you think about the results!

          It’s too late for me to continue tonight at this hour–I’ll continue tomorrow!

          For what it’s worth–I don’t think Woody is tracking anyone (on purpose), but I think maybe the website has that ability–and is doing so!

          (Arrrgh–I think AI (Artificial Intelligence) is going to *Rule the World*–and maybe we will never notice–and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad?!)

          NightOwl

          No question is stupid ... but, possibly the answers are 😉 !

          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #99066 Reply

            Elly
            AskWoody MVP

            Okay, thank you for checking that out. It is refreshing that you are willing to look at what is actually there and report what you find, and not just reassure or criticize wanting to know. Knowledge is power…

            Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #98906 Reply

        ch100
        AskWoody MVP

        @nightowl
        This is a side note about the technical implementation which you mentioned and not about the main subject of this thread.
        This is an interesting point of view about the cookie and the mechanism to authenticate the user coming back to the site. I thought about this mechanism in the past and I could not find a complete answer, but I have to admit that I did not do a thorough investigation.
        While it was working exactly how you explained it, there was additional functionality.
        Let’s say I logged on from my laptop and the cookie was planted on that laptop. The post had to be moderated before being posted, but still visible by me, based on that authentication first party persistent cookie.
        Next login was from an iPad or any other device not related to the first one – “the laptop” – and on a different network, different ISP, even different browser type – Safari vs Firefox or Chrome. After logging in from the iPad, I would still see that I had a post to be moderated and its content. This was not always happening, but in almost every instance.
        I have never understood how this was working.
        Was it based on the similarity of the cookies existing on multiple devices and associated with my email address?
        It was a nice feature nevertheless, although I can almost sense how half of the readers here, especially those who prefer to stay anonymous, would say it was tracking, a security issue, privacy breach and so on.

        • #98908 Reply

          PKCano
          AskWoody MVP

          On the old site, you were not required to put in an e-mail address.
          It still remembered

          • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  PKCano.
          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #98912 Reply

            ch100
            AskWoody MVP

            I suppose that without an email address, when switching devices, there was no way to remember, unless Woody magic was involved. 🙂

          • #99048 Reply

            ch100
            AskWoody MVP

            On the old site, you were not required to put in an e-mail address.
            It still remembered

            This must be what @nightowl confirmed about involuntary tracking on the old and current site.
            It is common practice on many web sites and I am wondering if by disabling (first-party) session cookies persistence this issue can be resolved while creating in fact an inconvenience for the user of the site.
            Any excess of security/privacy cause less functionality and this is well known.

    • #98884 Reply

      Elly
      AskWoody MVP

      Advantages of registering…
      1) Once you are past the first post, you can post without moderation.
      2) You become part of the community here, and your voice and experience can be recognized.
      3) It makes less work for Woody and the MPVs, who must moderate and approve every anonymous post (respecting their time and energy).

      Advantages of being anonymous…
      1) You are just getting a question answered, and aren’t here for anything more. Why register if you aren’t coming by this way again?
      2) Some people have clearly known issues of being identified in any way, and you stay safe, whether political, or from targeted personal violence.
      3) No one knows you had that dumb question, or controversial point of view, and it won’t follow you.

      Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #98900 Reply

        b
        AskWoody Lounger

        It was bad enough to hear that other(s) think I’ve subjected myself to an increased likelihood of malware infection by registering here, but now you’re telling me I’m also more susceptible to personal violence than if I had remained anonymous?

        Cannon fodder Daft glutton Idiot Kick Me Sucker More intrepid

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #98915 Reply

          ch100
          AskWoody MVP

          @b
          There are parts of the World where participation in a community hosted in what is perceived there as an “unfriendly” country can place the poster living in that part of the World in physical danger or otherwise damage that user’s social perspectives for the future.

          6 users thanked author for this post.
        • #98945 Reply

          Elly
          AskWoody MVP

          If you weren’t a target before registering, you won’t make yourself a target by registering.

          In my case, I was a victim of domestic violence, and I help other women. It happens way more than people think, and it is a problem with the abuser, rather than the victim. I am very cautious, probably overly cautious, because of near-death experiences. I have an identity for this site only, because after more than 20 years, I am still a target. Otherwise neutral or even friendly things (a bouquet of flowers… from a stalker) can signal danger to someone who is being abused. The majority of people discount/deny the frequency and severity of abuse.

          In case you have any real interest, check out the statistics at http://ncadv.org/learn-more/statistics and at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/23/domestic-violence-statistics_n_5959776.html

          Most people don’t talk about it, or stigmatize survivors with some kind of label that clearly differentiates victims from normal people (like you?). Congratulations, that makes it more comfortable for you. But victims were and are perfectly normal people. The things I learn on this site help me lock down my computer so that data doesn’t leave it, and malware and phishing can’t get in. I teach other women… and not having been techy my whole life, that is a challenge. When a woman leaves an abuser they often have no money, no safe place to go, and no way to contact friends and family safely. We build from there. Tech wise, I’m experimenting with different operating systems (old computers and cell phones get donated to women’s shelters all the time). I need to know what endangers a woman on the internet. Every website on domestic violence that I know of tells, first thing, that women can be traced that they are accessing it. In my case I’d hidden the number of a women’s shelter in a notebook, in the middle of all kinds of other stuff… He found it. It didn’t even have the name of the place with it, but he called it, and there was h*** to pay. So there is more than adequate reason for me to be cautious on the internet, or with my computer, where I am unfamiliar with the possible pitfalls. Other people may have similar experiences. Or they may have different ones that are just as valid.

          Those are the people that I am speaking of, in addition to myself, and all the people politcally oppressed… and if you know nought of all that, count your blessings…

          Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

          6 users thanked author for this post.
          • #98958 Reply

            b
            AskWoody Lounger

            Congratulations, that makes it more comfortable for you.

            Thanks.

            Cannon fodder Daft glutton Idiot Kick Me Sucker More intrepid

          • #99002 Reply

            lizzytish
            AskWoody Lounger

            Well, Elly……. I’ve been involved for many, many years now with a Domestic violence and Missing children website through a great friend of mine who unfortunately has had to give up through ill health.    So, although I did not personally suffer from abuse, I knew alot about it and how it all affected those involved.   So these two areas, domestic violence and missing children are very close to my heart.   Mind you domestic violence can also be the other way round…….. meaning the woman abusing a man……  And as far as children are concerned, and I mean older children as well, I’m v. wary of social networking as experience has shown me it is a haven for predators.   Some of you may know that I ‘dabble’ in graphics and I will not include any graphics of children perse……….. there are enough of those floating around and I know also from experience that these pictures of children become a shopping list for those same predators.      Privacy means so much to us all in different ways and it is our right to protect it as best we can.   My kudos to you for expressing this all so well.  LT

            Angels can fly directly into the heart of the matter.   Anon

             

            • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  lizzytish.
            3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #99045 Reply

            NightOwl
            AskWoody MVP

            @ Elly

            In my case, I was a victim of domestic violence, …

            Thank you for sharing!

            I’m so sorry … what a horrible life experience for anyone to experience.

            I’m thankful to hear you have found some solace in this community … I hope it continues to be so!

            NightOwl

            No question is stupid ... but, possibly the answers are 😉 !

            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #99065 Reply

              Elly
              AskWoody MVP

              I’m not really trying to elicit sympathy, but wake people up to the fact that privacy and being anonymous have an important function… especially the people who are knowledgeable in tech but making some erroneous and limiting assumptions about why someone would chose to be anonymous. I’d hate to see them stop helping people just because they haven’t registered.

              If anything, the fact that I’ve stepped up and registered is testimony to the fact that I’ve found Woody’s site to be one of the best, ever. He isn’t data mining his users, and that e-mail address required when you register is just so you can get a password and log in.

              Having a definite non-tech background, and traumatic history, I can say that registering meant dealing with an unfamiliar process that was just a little intimidating because of all the privacy issues, my personal ones, and then with Windows and the internet. In fact it was simple to do, and didn’t require any information that would compromise my identity… I can chose to identify how I want, as much or as little as I want. Basic is to choose a name and get that password. That should be reassuring for other non-tech types worried about such things.

              Being part of a community that has widely divergent viewpoints, expert knowledge in the field, and a willingness to be open to discussion while maintaining civility is rewarding. The fact that tech is everywhere is reason enough to become familiar with it. I don’t think I have enough years left to learn everything about my computer the hard way!

               

              Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

              4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #98914 Reply

        ch100
        AskWoody MVP

        2) You become part of the community here, and your voice and experience can be recognized.

        This is probably the most relevant of all the advantages which you listed.

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #98966 Reply

          Elly
          AskWoody MVP

          The community here is really something special, all of you. Information gets shared, pros and cons get discussed. I learn way more than reading or surfing elsewhere. Privacy and anominity and other issues can be hotly debated… but Woody and the MPVs bring civility back to the discussion each and every time. I’ve been encouraged and supported … until I have enough courage to try this or that, and find my computer even more useful as a result. I’m a bit intimidated experimenting with CentOS (a Linux distro recommended by Ch100) because it isn’t instantly set up the way I want to use it out of the box, and I’m learning a whole new computer language it seems, but look forward to a more stable and private system, going at my own pace (slowly). I look at how Noel configures his system… and long for something like that, so I started experimenting with firewalls and learning to use them. I learned about “SFC /VERIFYONLY, ” and “SFC /SCANNOW ” and how to run them, and have a more stable operating system as a result.  Kirsty often asks and answers questions in language I understand. Woody helps me update the way I want to, for the operating system I have, every month.There are many others who have helped me out, and make this a great place to come to, too many to go on about here. Check out the forums and many topics, you will find them there. I hope that by discussing anominity and how it works here, and on the internet and in my computer, people coming to this site will be able to make better decisions for themselves on how they will participate. No one has to acknowledge an anonymous question, but the information the tech experts pass on can be life saving. Just saying… you just don’t know, because it isn’t an issue for you… Elly… but not really Elly…

          Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

          • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Elly.
          • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Kirsty. Reason: html to text
          4 users thanked author for this post.
          • #98987 Reply

            ch100
            AskWoody MVP

            @elly

            I’m a bit intimidated experimenting with CentOS (a Linux distro recommended by Ch100) because it isn’t instantly set up the way I want to use it out of the box, and I’m learning a whole new computer language it seems, but look forward to a more stable and private system, going at my own pace (slowly).

            I think I mentioned CentOS as something that I would use. It was not meant for everyone.
            For someone less interested in the technicalities of Linux, something less transparent and pre-configured to a larger extent may be more useful. I think a lot of Linux users mentioned here Linux Mint. Ubuntu might be another good option for someone who is more used to the “home user” paradigm applying to them.

            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #99008 Reply

              Elly
              AskWoody MVP

              @Ch100- I think you mentioned CentOS as something I might take a look at, given its stability and my issues with Windows.  I’m not trying to put you on the spot or misquote you, and you certainly aren’t responsible for any troubles I might encounter… I appreciated your expertise and advice, and have been expanding my understanding of what an operating system does and how it works from there. I don’t agree with your views on telemetry, but you are an active and knowledgeable part of this community… and if we (non-techy or terminally paranoid) test your patience at times, I’ve never seen you be hurtful towards anyone. If anything, I’ve seen you willing to explain your approach more clearly, giving me a much better understanding about what the issues are and the probable consequences of my decisions, which is exactly what I’m looking for. I appreciate that greatly.

              Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

              2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #98977 Reply

        PKCano
        AskWoody MVP

        @elly

        Are you doing cut/paste from word? It carries a lot of HTML with it. Try making it text first and see it that helps.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #99001 Reply

          Elly
          AskWoody MVP

          Yes, and I can see it was a problem. Sorry about that. Really not trying to cause extra work.

          Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #99005 Reply

          lizzytish
          AskWoody Lounger

          Yes, I too have been fiddling with that bit of it when I’ve copied & pasted a quote, then submitted it to find that html added……. so had to go back in and write in rather than paste…. didn’t happen before when in beta or even the old style blog……. so was wondering.  Now I know what to do………………. thanks!    LT

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #98923 Reply

      Elly
      AskWoody MVP

      Sometimes people are anonymous because they don’t know the ins and outs. It is possible to register with a throw-away e-mail address, and have it expire in an hour.

      For those, like me, that had no idea these existed, here is an article that reviews six of the services: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/best-sites-for-creating-a-disposable-email-address/

      You need one that allows you to read the reply e-mail so that you receive the initial password that allows you to log in. Once you log in,  your chosen name (can’t be the same as anyone elses) shows up at the top left right, welcoming you to the Lounge.

      Elly

      If you click on your name there, you will go to your profile. From there you can click on edit, and your user name and e-mail will show up under account information. Woody, da boss, and the MVPs (I think) are the only ones that can see the account information. There is a place to change your password, but your password doesn’t show to anyone. My account information shows my name is Elly, and the e-mail that I used to create the account… but I can change that, or ignore it if it was a disposable e-mail account. There are other optional fields, and you can put as much or as little information there as you want to show up in your profile. Your profile can show your expertise, and interests and ways to contact on social media… or it can be blank except for your user name. Notice that mine is blank. I’m one of those people that have privacy issues… I was very cautious and slow to move from anonymous to being Elly.

      Elly-Profile

      When you are logged in, you can choose to be remembered next time, which sets a cookie. If you wipe your cookies in your browser, you won’t be remembered.

      The site keeps track of certain things when you are logged in, like how many topics or replies you make, and your “karma” (see https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/how-does-one-get-karma/),  but that isn’t data that is linked with your Facebook account or anything else, and Woody isn’t selling it to anyone. It is for using the site, allowing interactions, and allowing people to see at a glance the kind of expert they might be talking advice from. Woody needs advertising to help pay for the site (you could do your part, and donate, too). Advertising does do some tracking all over the web, whether you sign in or not. Some people that would otherwise use ad blockers have white-listed the Lounge, doing their part to support the site. Advertising tracking is a lot bigger discussion than staying anonymous on this site.

      I’ve never received any spam e-mail from this site. One of the benefits of logging in is that you can subscribe to a topic and have e-mail notifications of replies to your areas of interest. That is especially helpful if you’ve asked a question. On occassion my email program will tag e-mail from here as spam, and I will have to reassign it. I learned to check because some people have their initial registration e-mail tagged as spam, and think they haven’t received it. This site is pretty responsive, so always check your spam box if you aren’t getting a registration reply back. I’ve not only gotten good, solid information here, I’ve found way more speedy responsiveness than even tech support sites!

      I’m not techy, just walking newcomers through the process I learned by trial and error. It is important to check out what information is gathered and used by a website, and I understand caution. Lots of people come here because they don’t know something about their Windows computer or updating problems. Woody is the author of Windows 10 for Dummies… but I started reading his books years ago, long before I knew about this site. It really surprised me to realize that the go-to reference book sitting next to my computer at all times was written by him. I was a real Dummy! He has never made me feel like I was stupid for wanting to know.

      So maybe some of those anonymous users will decide to sign up, finding that they are returning over and over, have questions, or want to make comments, thank someone, etc… but I do respect that there are valid reasons for remaining anonymous and am grateful that Woody allows that option, and that my questions were answered even when I was anonymous… for years…

      Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Elly.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Kirsty. Reason: Left to Right :-)
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      7 users thanked author for this post.
      • #99179 Reply

        AusJohn
        AskWoody Lounger

        Hi,

        Sorry I’m late to this discussion, but I’ve just come across it and I’ve got a query regarding the first graphic in Elly’s post (Elly.jpg).

        When I login I don’t see anything similar – should I? Blushing, and offering apologies in advance, I have to admit that I’m using IE11, in case that makes any difference. 🙂

        AusJohn

        • #99186 Reply

          Kirsty
          AskWoody MVP

          @ausjohn
          That screenshot Elly shows first is from the top right hand panel, after logging in. It should be on every page you browse to.
          When you click on your name (either in that link, or in any of your posts) it allows you to get to the second screenshot.
          Let us know if you strike any difficulties 🙂

          • #99199 Reply

            AusJohn
            AskWoody Lounger

            Hi Kirsty,

            Thanks! Got it now – think I’m going blind in my old age.

            All’s good – until next time, when I’ve forgotten about it and can’t see for looking! 🙂

        • #99190 Reply

          Noel Carboni
          AskWoody MVP

          IE11 has one of the best security models, though it’s not set to particularly secure settings right out of the box. Certainly nothing to be ashamed of. I use it myself almost exclusively.

          Here’s what I see in IE11…

          ScreenGrab_NoelC4_2017_03_06_014520

          -Noel

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          • #99200 Reply

            AusJohn
            AskWoody Lounger

            Thanks! So do I.

            Like I said in reply to Kirsty – got it now – think I’m going blind in my old age.

            – AusJohn

    • #98927 Reply

      anonymous

      @ Elly

      Reply To 98894

      This is a 3rd Anonymous Post by NightOwl–testing Cookies being set in Chrome.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #98979 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        @nightowl

        You might want to try this testing by using your “Test” Topic….

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #99147 Reply

          anonymous

          @ Woody

          NightOwl replying anonymously–anonymous reply #5:

          Woody wrote:

          @nightowl

          You might want to try this testing by using your “Test” Topic….

          I would, if I could … but, I don’t have access to the Test Topic when replying anonymously!

          Gathering some final information before discussing my results …

    • #98937 Reply

      anonymous

      @ Elly

      Reply to Reply # 98894
      This is a 2nd Anonymous Reply by NightOwl using Chrome (Anonymous Reply # 4).

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #98969 Reply

      frapper
      Blocked

      I registered at Woody’s about 2 weeks ago, and then registered at WordPress Gravatar. I used the same email address. Within a few days I began receiving p0rn spam in an account that had never gotten spammed.

      XXX Book  “Easily Find Local XXX to F____

      Did not make me happy. Went and got a 1-week junk forwarding address from jetable.org

      Now that’s what both WordPress and Woody’s has. I think the spam came from WordPress-Gravatar. They can keep their Gravatar.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  frapper.
      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #98980 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        Email me – woody@askwoody.com – and I’ll manually change your account’s email address.

        This is really troubling. Has anybody else found spam that can be traced to Gravatar? (I assume it isn’t us, as our database hasn’t been hacked and I never, ever hand out email addresses. To anybody. Ever.)

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #98986 Reply

          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          This is really troubling. Has anybody else found spam that can be traced to Gravatar? (I assume it isn’t us, as our database hasn’t been hacked and I never, ever hand out email addresses. To anybody. Ever.)

          No fresh spam here as a result of joining up with WordPress and Gravatar in mid December ’16, on a free email account dating back ~19 years that I have a very good handle on. With fewer than 2 most days and probably ~9 per week, I’d soon notice any increase/variation.

          3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #99010 Reply

          dononline
          AskWoody Lounger

          I’ve been a Gravatar member for years — over 10, I think — having signed up when I used to write two blogs per week on WordPress (both non-techy), and have never noticed getting any spam traceable to Gravatar or WordPress. I’m still a member of both and list my real, main e-mail address.

        • #99088 Reply

          Noel Carboni
          AskWoody MVP

          Every registered user’s gravatar contains a hash of their eMail address (yes, even the ones who have chosen the generic silhouette), and the potential issue comes from your personal gravatar having been shown on other web pages and indexed by web crawlers when seen there. Presuming you could do a search of the hash, you could get a list of someone’s online travails. It looks like Google refuses to turn up matches to gravatar hashes now. Whether other engines do is unknown.

          If someone were to steal the database from the gravatar company that would, of course, be a big list of addresses. You chance theft of your data any time you provide it to anyone. That’s life in modern times.

          Regarding your eMail address being used…

          I personally have used the same eMail for 13 years now and don’t have an unreasonable spam load. Virtually none actually gets to my inbox to bother me. I only mention that because if I can do it then it seems possible to overcome any amount of spam fully.

          However, if you’re still concerned with whether your eMail gets out to others via gravatar’s hash being cracked, you could do as frapper above has done and use a temporary / burner eMail account to register, which you can monitor but which isn’t your primary personal account.

          Managing your online life is a staple of the 21st century.

          -Noel

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #99093 Reply

            Noel Carboni
            AskWoody MVP

            Doing a bit more research on whether an eMail address can practically be derived from a gravatar, I see that a savvy engineer thought through the problem and just using the information that the hash is generated from an eMail address was able to develop algorithms that derived the original eMail address from a significant portion – yet minority – of 80,000+ real gravatars downloaded from a user list.

            http://www.developer.it/post/gravatars-why-publishing-your-email-s-hash-is-not-a-good-idea

            His conclusion:

            Overall, gravatars seem to be one of the many web services where one gives up some information and privacy for being part of a community. At least, be aware of what you are giving up.

            -Noel

            4 users thanked author for this post.
            • #99451 Reply

              anonymous

              MD5 hash is not secure now. See Noel C’s comment about registered users who don’t use the service. Then there is the tracking issue. Wonder if there should be any avatars at all?

          • #99354 Reply

            Elly
            AskWoody MVP

            I use a dedicated e-mail address for my registration here. It has only been used for AskWoody’s blog, and now the Lounge. I have never, ever, ever received any spam. 🙂

            Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

    • #98967 Reply

      anonymous

      Anonymous commenter here: I would like to say, for the record, that I have long been a fan of Woody’s – i.e., since well before this blog was started – and I was delighted to read that the website was being started up. Well done! However, since I also have long enjoyed anonymity as a matter of principle, I have refrained from registering on this blog or any other blogs, though I am an anonymous member of several useful closed groups – software discussion/support forums.

      It might be better if this blog was linked to (say) WordPress, where I have an anonymous avatar that I keep especially for making anonymous comments to blogs and which keeps a record of all such posts and responses, and which I could use to make comments to this blog, but no such facility seems to currently exist to do this on this blog, nor does it appear to be a planned move either.

      I dislike any attempts to coerce me to register regardless, couched as they seem to be in terms that point out clearly that anonymous posters are to be deliberately disadvantaged by not being registered. This seems to me to be an almost infantile and threatening approach to take to one’s reading and voluntary audience – trying to make people give up their preferred relative anonymity and conform to the monetisation needs of the webesite, or something.

      At the moment, I keep askwoody in my feed aggregator and I never miss a post, but if I read much more of this registration compulsion nonsense coming from the website, I shall just delete the website from my aggregator as I dislike being harassed with tiresome nagging and it is not for me.

      I will quite understand if this post is not allowed by moderators. My intention is to make a point to the Webmaster, not start a public debate, and I do not ask for nor expect a reply. Thank you for reading (assuming it is being read.)

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #98973 Reply

        b
        AskWoody Lounger

        I’m sure we will miss you ………. but how will we know you’re gone?

        Cannon fodder Daft glutton Idiot Kick Me Sucker More intrepid

        9 users thanked author for this post.
        • #98991 Reply

          Microfix
          AskWoody MVP

          I’m sure we will miss you ………. but how will we know you’re gone?

          Are you from the Monty Python team? I’ve never laughed so much in ages, the more I think about it, the funnier it gets.

          Upvote for your astute comment sir or madam 🙂

          Edit: Thank you for a huge fit of laughter without any alcohol.

          | W8.1 Pro x64 | Linux x64 Hybrids | W7 Pro x64 O/L | XP Pro O/L
            No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
          • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Microfix.
          • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Microfix.
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #99076 Reply

            anonymous

            I was never here … 😛

            back to fishing for better dreams

      • #98978 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        It might be better if this blog was linked to (say) WordPress, where I have an anonymous avatar that I keep especially for making anonymous comments to blogs and which keeps a record of all such posts and responses, and which I could use to make comments to this blog, but no such facility seems to currently exist to do this on this blog, nor does it appear to be a planned move either.

        Ah, but we ARE linked to WordPress. We’re using the bbPress add-on for WordPress. Just link your account here to your anonymous avatar (which is no doubt stored in Gravatar, the WordPress avatar manager), and you’ll be fine!

        Registering has absolutely no connection to monetizing this site. None.

        anonymous posters are to be deliberately disadvantaged by not being registered.

        Not sure I understand. Anonymous posters have to wait for moderation – but that’s true on any site that doesn’t rapidly descend into knuckle-dragging barbarism.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #98984 Reply

          anonymous

          The specific reason I do not use Gravatar is that it then links my email address. I do not want that.

          If you will provide me with details on how to create a WordPress anonymous avatar, I just might do that.

          • #98990 Reply

            satrow
            AskWoody MVP

            You don’t need to use a Gravatar to register at AskWoody, some of the MVPs haven’t and neither have many of the regular Members. Gravatars are strictly optional 😉

            5 users thanked author for this post.
          • #98996 Reply

            woody
            Da Boss

            It might be better if this blog was linked to (say) WordPress, where I have an anonymous avatar that I keep especially for making anonymous comments

            That’s my sticking point. Gravatar links avatars to WordPress sites. If you’re using WordPress (as we are) the only (stock) way to set up avatars is through Gravatar. (I don’t want to get into storing custom avatars!)

            Use of Gravatar is completely optional. But if you want an avatar to appear here, you have to go through Gravatar.

            If you have an anonymous avatar in Gravatar, it’s linked to an email address. Doesn’t have to be a good, valid address that you check all the time. It’s just an address.

            If you register on this site (or any other standard WordPress site), you need to provide an email address. Just use the email address that’s stored in Gravatar, and WordPress magically connects the dots, pulling your avatar from the Gravatar site.

            When you register, you’ll be sent an email confirmation and you have to click on the link in that confirmation in order to become a registered user. You never, ever need to use that email address again, unless you lose your password. (If you lose a password, you have to enter your email address. WordPress generates a new random password and emails you a link to verify it.)

            @elly‘s method of using burner email addresses (a practice I’ve endorsed heartily for many years when setting up Microsoft accounts!) works like a champ, unless you forget your password. But if you forget your password, you can always set up a new account.

            There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using a burner email account on AskWoody.

            woody@askwoody.com (also phineasfaarquahrt@hotmail.com, mxyzptlk2@hotmail.com, ineedawindowsliveid@live.com, and several dozen additional accounts which I never check)

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #99015 Reply

              dononline
              AskWoody Lounger

              I participate in several “comment” sections at various Websites on a variety of subjects, some of which mostly consist of “knuckle-dragging barbarism.” (Sorry, Woody, but I love that representation.) Especially those having to do with religion, politics, culture, and just about anything else on the Internet! 🙂

              I surely don’t want my identity or a real e-mail address known by anyone in those places, so I mask my e-mail addresses using Abine’s Blur. It’s easy to set up masked addresses and works great. If interested, you can go here:

              https://dnt.abine.com/#login/dashboard

              and register. I’m sure it will work just fine here in the Lounge, too, if you have a need to keep your identity and real e-mail address hidden and safe. You would then have all the benefits available in the Lounge, by posting with an alias and masked e-mail instead of anonymously.

              I also use KeePass Password Safe 1.xx to manage my many strong, hardened passwords. I couldn’t live without a password manager. There are several good ones out there.

              • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  dononline.
              2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #99004 Reply

        Elly
        AskWoody MVP

        I support anonymous posting, and have no issues with it, but understand if others are frustrated when faced with multiple anonymous replies that go off in different directions. Everyone starts to feel a bit daft at that point. I’ve never had any trouble not getting an answer when posting anonymously, and I did that for years. There is an increase in the number of postings compared to before the format was changed to a forum from a blog, and therefore, more anonymous to get lost in.

        That said, there is the gravator icon issue… which some have said yes to, and some have firmly said no… Strange as that sounds, it is consistent with widely differing views held by people here.

        An alternative to identifying with an icon would be to have a unique “signature”. You can create one if you register, by going to your profile.

        Maybe some people, after reading or participating in this discussion, will decide to register. Some will stay anonymous. Maybe some of the people who were impatient with anonymous posting will understand why it is an important option and step up when faced with another anonymous post. Please don’t confuse discussion and opinion as Woody’s policy. His policy has been to stay open to anonymous posting, even in this new environment. Afterall, his very first sentence in starting this topic was,

        “I built the Lounge with the strong conviction that everyone be heard – whether they’re willing to identify themselves or not. I still think the ability to post anonymously is a key capability here on the Lounge.”

        Not everyone agrees with Woody, but there it is…

        Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

        • #99067 Reply

          Noel Carboni
          AskWoody MVP

          (not addressed to anyone in particular)

          I think there may be some confusion here about what a site does, vs. what is done with registered account data…

          Almost all web sites – registered account or no – construct what they present to you from a number of different online servers. I have observed that just visiting AskWoody.com’s main page causes all the servers listed below to attempt to be contacted. Without doing an in-depth analysis of the site coding I have noted what it looks like is being retrieved…

          Scripts, page formatting layout, site content:
          www.askwoody.com

          Scripts, font(s), and page style information:
          maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com

          Small avatar images for various registered users (containing an MD5 hash of your registered eMail even if you have the generic gray one selected):
          secure.gravatar.com

          1 x 1 pixel transparent GIF image, presumably so your IP address is logged on a PayPal server:
          www.paypalobjects.com

          Ad delivery:
          ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com

          Ad delivery:
          z-na.amazon-adsystem.com

          Scripts that track your browsing:
          www.googletagservices.com

          Smiley graphics:
          s.w.org

          Typically sites contact more than one 3rd party site, and sometimes quite a few! It depends on the site coding, and Woody’s is not particularly special. Don’t get me wrong – some of the above contacts are there expressly to track what you’re doing. Others deliver ads AND track you, and some just deliver useful data. The list of servers can and does differ from page to page or even minute to minute. Yes, this is complex stuff.

          Also note that the above list may be truncated from what others see – allowing the ad and tracking sites (which I don’t) would no doubt bring in scripts that would add even MORE contacts, tracking, etc. To display Woody’s home page I saw my browser make 152 separate requests. I wonder how many others who do allow the ads and tracking see.

          Bottom line: Web usage generally involves sending information to 3rd party sites – i.e. other than the one from which you’re looking to read content from. Even a request for information causes some information to be sent so, for example, vrtually every web server contacted logs your IP address. Not all use that information for anything other than a historical record, but sometimes they do.

          Now for the important part…

          All of the above actually has very little to do with whether you’ve created an account on AskWoody.com!

          By registering here and logging in (explicitly or implicitly through a cookie) you will have placed an eMail address on file, so that you can be contacted directly if needed. That’s the reason you’re asked to register, so that a pathway exists for communication to you from site management should they want to talk to you.

          By simply providing that eMail communication path you are given the privilege of your posts being immediately put online. It’s a VERY small price to pay for almost everyone.

          The only connection I can see is really that your registered eMail address is used to create the gravatar request, and others could potentially pull it out and ultimately decode it. Then they have… An eMail address. Doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me.

          Still, if you don’t want to take advantage of the privilege of immediate visibility, you may post “anonymously” and someone has to read what you say before it is allowed to be shown on the forum.

          Now, if you have gone to extraordinary lengths (e.g., by using a browsing proxy server) to hide your true IP address, then not overtly identifying yourself by logging-in might seem like a helpful step in protecting your privacy. But if not – and most people don’t go to such lengths – don’t kid yourself into thinking that the origin of your communications isn’t known, registered account or no!

          And if you’re worried about registering leading to spam eMail… I can tell you, from personal experience, that it’s entirely possible to be registered here (and at any number of other online forums) using a permanent personal eMail address and still not have junk mail regularly show up in your inbox. I get some filed into a junk eMail folder, but I don’t see any evidence that it’s gone up since registering here.

          Do NOT think of posting “anonymously” as a way to be able to say things (e.g., nasty or inflammatory) that you would not choose to say to someone face to face in polite conversation. It just doesn’t work that way here!

          -Noel

          • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Noel Carboni.
          • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Noel Carboni.
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #99325 Reply

            anonymous

            “and most people don’t go to such lengths”
            Downloading Tor Browser is just as easy as downloading Firefox or Chrome. In fact it might be a lot easier for folks without javascript or mouse. 🙂

            I either post anonymously or not post at all. It is very disappointing that the first case sometimes requires me to ‘spam’ a site with 1-post accounts. I am glad I don’t have to do that here. Thank you woody and the MVPs who accepted my posts!

      • #99090 Reply

        Noel Carboni
        AskWoody MVP

        I dislike any attempts to coerce me to register regardless, couched as they seem to be in terms that point out clearly that anonymous posters are to be deliberately disadvantaged by not being registered. This seems to me to be an almost infantile and threatening approach to take to one’s reading and voluntary audience – trying to make people give up their preferred relative anonymity and conform to the monetisation needs of the webesite, or something.

        No one is accusing you personally of not being responsible enough to write nice posts.

        However, places where just anyone can post just anything “anonymously” without moderation are quite infantile, and not nice places to be. Not at all, and that’s simply not acceptable here. So moderation is a reality, and per Woody’s choice the moderation has to happen BEFORE potentially nasty stuff gets published. I think it’s a good choice myself.

        So… If you’re feeling “coerced”, please try to think about the folks who have volunteered to read and approve all anonymous posts instead, and the things they’d rather be doing with their time.

        -Noel

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #99006 Reply

      Elly
      AskWoody MVP

      You should understand that you cannot ask a question as anonymous.

      And yet Elly says that’s the primary reason to remain anonymous:

      Advantages of being anonymous… 1) You are just getting a question answered, and aren’t here for anything more. Why register if you aren’t coming by this way again?

      That’s because I’ve had reason to be anonymous (for some years) and never had difficulty having a question answered using that mode. Until testing and then moving to the new Lounge format I’d never heard this discussed here. However, I’m extremely motivated to protect privacy, and can understand how being anonymous can be a necessity… and I understand why it could be a choice by principal. When Woody had to moderate each and every reply, he could answer right then and there. Now, there are postings all over the place, and other people might be responding, and obviously they don’t have the same perspective. Some people may decide not to respond to anonymous questions… they are free to do that. I’m hoping that no one will be discouraged from asking… usually I get a lot from the people who’ve figured out how to ask what I need to know, but didn’t know how to say it.

      Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

    • #99011 Reply

      anonymous

      Gravatar (et al)

      “Each time you visit a site which pull cute little avatar images aside (typically) a commenter’s name, there is a corresponding request to Gravatar’s web site, and the HTTP referer header contains the site you are visiting. The tracking potential is too much for me, so I block all these requests:

      ||gravatar.com^$third-party

      It’s unclear if, and how much this breaks things. But will prevent your browsing habits to be disclosed to gravatar.com. We can live without these cute thumbnails, can’t we?

      But this applies to any domain which is ubiquitous enough, gravatar.com is just one example among so many.”

      From gorhill’s wiki (author of uBlock Origin addon). A most respected source. Those who have had no problems with this are fortunate, and maybe to some, it’s not that big a deal.
      Certainly, you shouldn’t get paranoid if you have used the avatar, it’s good to be aware of these things, though.

      (Nice to know with Woody that it is optional). I figure by hitting reply to a post number, this will reply to the person I want it to, pretty sure it does!)

      This has started an interesting conversation, Thanks Elly and others for your input.
      CT’s comment stuck in my craw, and I love reading his posts. ch100 has often illuminated the inner workings of Windows to me. As I say, each to their own.

      The coercion you mention is most probably unconscious group social mindset. No offense to posters here. It just happens in groups. The Lounge is a great new idea, and I may not post again, I seem to have upset the apple cart.

      Happy to post as Semi-Anon, and not B!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #99040 Reply

      Microfix
      AskWoody MVP

      The sad things in days past, present and future, the more popular things get on the internet, the more of a target they become. WordPress is certainly popular and receives great support and security from the developers but, gravitar it’s like a plug-in, optional and a potential security risk that miscreants would look at as a backdoor to their wicked ways.

      Below is one such plug-in exploit reported a few days ago:

      here

      In 15 or so years of various fora, I’ve only used avatars that I can upload direct to the forum server with no third party risks whatsoever and won’t entertain any other method.

      I still like my Arabic Arch Avatar

      | W8.1 Pro x64 | Linux x64 Hybrids | W7 Pro x64 O/L | XP Pro O/L
        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Microfix.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Microfix. Reason: link inserted
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #99046 Reply

        Kirsty
        AskWoody MVP

        Did you see the security post about Gravatar from the AskWoody Central topic?
        I chose to stick with the monochrome “snowman” figure 🙂

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #99047 Reply

          Microfix
          AskWoody MVP

          Did you see the security post about Gravatar from the AskWoody Central topic?

          If you scroll down on that page, you will see my comment and that i did indeed see the security post.

          | W8.1 Pro x64 | Linux x64 Hybrids | W7 Pro x64 O/L | XP Pro O/L
            No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
          • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Microfix.
          • #99049 Reply

            Kirsty
            AskWoody MVP

            Sorry, I had read that you had decided to keep the default avatar, but hadn’t read into that that you had read the article. 🙂

      • #99051 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        Below is one such plug-in exploit reported a few days ago: here

        And therein lies the problem. The exploit referenced is in a WordPress plugin called NextGEN. The more plugins I use here, the greater the security risk. If I tried to build or use my own plugin for avatars, I’d be pasting a “Kick Me” sign on the site.

        I don’t lose any sleep over it because the only data stored here is an email address and a multi-encrypted password. As mentioned many times above, those who are concerned about such things can use a burner email address.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #99052 Reply

      Microfix
      AskWoody MVP

      Yup Woody, agreed, the more plug-ins the higher the security risk with anything really.

      It’s totally at the end-users discretion. ‘Optional with ramifications’ was posted on another forum as a get out clause.

      | W8.1 Pro x64 | Linux x64 Hybrids | W7 Pro x64 O/L | XP Pro O/L
        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
    • #99078 Reply

      anonymous

      I must commend you all for your thorough investigation and analysis of anonymous posting.
      As Elly most eloquently shared, there are situations outside of the political sphere that force people to take measures that appear unreasonable or illogical to others. Most victims don’t disclose their personal hell as it is difficult for others to grasp the myriad of dangers involved.

      Neil Carboni has given a good technical overview of registered and non-registered. It depends on how you have hardened your system.

      I add my own ‘personal reasons,which are not technical reasons’ for posting as anonymous…

      I am registered on several techie forums under a pseudonym. I never use my actual name as the member ID and that in itself is a form of anonymous posting. I know my IP gets logged as soon as I post by first post, registered or not. On the forums, I only use my member ID to post tech advise to maintain accountability. If I am only participating in the exchange of ideas (e.g. a commenting or offering an opinion on an assertion) , I post as anonymous. Other techies do this too. I found (a personal observation only) that it keeps the focus on the content and away from the intimidation that certain status seekers have on some forums.

      I enjoy this forum for its informal and friendly atmosphere. As Windows Updates is not my field of expertise, I come here to check out what minefields await me. I post as anonymous for that reason. Sometimes I comment and sometimes I ask questions.

      I was aghast to see that there was a belief by your MVPs that they were not obliged to respond to questions from anonymous posters. Sorry guys, but every post has a REPLY button. On a forum you can always respond to the ‘point that was raised’, rather than to an individual. That said, I see that all the MVPs jumped in and investigated the issue with gusto. Kudos to you all (Karmas if I could send them).

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #99084 Reply

        anonymous

         

        CT replying to anonymous….

        It is not that I will not reply to a question from anonymous, but rather have limited motivation to do so. I think a bit of explanation is called for….

        All of us are anonymous including me, CT. (you can probably guess I am Canadian) Note that you can reply to CT and you and I know of a singularity that represents. Over time, you and others will gain a bit of insight as to what and how I do what I do, my level of expertise and hints of my beliefs. That gives you a kind of profile that makes answering a question more meaningful. For example, if you have been following me here in this forum, you probably know that I am a group C (W) person and look after 150 client computers, and have no interest in Windows 10. Another example, I now know Elly has been a victim of abuse, and that conditions her/his needs for privacy.

        When anonymous asks a question, I have no idea of what/which anonymous that is so it is just one amorphous, unknown blob of a person. I have no idea of your level of expertise or anything about your profile.

        When anonymous answers a question, I have no hint about the background of that person. Consequently my answer must be conditioned on assumptions.

        I have a profile on file on the Microsoft answers forum and you are welcome and indeed invited to read it. I would like to be able to read yours too. It makes answering questions more rewarding because those answers become part of a continuum. In fact, an optional profile on this forum would be a nice addition.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #99086 Reply

          Canadian Tech
          AskWoody MVP

          Sorry for the confused lack of identity in my posting. I did not realize that I had become logged out.

          CT

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #99091 Reply

            anonymous

            Good to see that you too can post as anonymous and not get confused by who sent the post.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #99112 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        I was aghast to see that there was a belief by your MVPs that they were not obliged to respond to questions from anonymous posters.

        Naw, the MVPs (and I) respond when we have the knowledge and time to do so. We’re anonymous-neutral.

        I don’t have any problem with responding to anonymous posts. I think everybody can post something that can trigger a chain of information that can be useful to lots of others.

        Yes, that’s precisely the case. We get some VERY good information – and nudges – from anonymous posters.

        The problem is that some choose to heckle from behind a screen of anonymity.

        And that, alas, is the crux of the problem.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #99083 Reply

      AlexEiffel
      AskWoody MVP

      Maybe I differ from other registered users, but I don’t have any problem with responding to anonymous posts. I think everybody can post something that can trigger a chain of information that can be useful to lots of others.

      I wasn’t sure I wanted to register, but I used a throwable email and I don’t regret doing it. There are many advantages to registering and it makes less of a burden to MVPs. However, I really appreciate that I never felt coerced into registering and although I understand that sometimes it can be frustrating to not know who you are talking to, I think this place should remain open to anonymous posts as a lot of them are contributing greatly, even if sometimes it is just by asking a good question. If you don’t like anonymous posts, nobody forces you to respond, but I think nobody should be blamed for posting anonymously.

      For those that hesitate about registering, may I suggest you simply sign at the end of your post a simple name you choose for a particular topic to appease the people who would like to track the conversation and then choose another name for another topic? It doesn’t require much more effort than a regular anonymous posts and only identifies you for the purpose of a single topic conversation.

      And if you want to remain completely anonymous anyway for whatever reason, I am fine with that, although I understand maybe the MVPs would prefer less work. I think one of the things that make this community rich is the fact there are a lot of interesting information brought both by registered and anonymous posters and I think it would be a mistake to loose anonymous posters by singling them out.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #99096 Reply

        Noel Carboni
        AskWoody MVP

        I have one small issue with SOME “anonymous” posters – and CERTAINLY NOT ALL of them.

        The problem is that some choose to heckle from behind a screen of anonymity.

        If they see someone or something they don’t like they shout things out. Sometimes they do so in a vulgar way – those are of course easily moderated out of existence. And sometimes they do it in a subtle way, not vulgar but just irritating. That’s not easy to deal with.

        To get an idea of what I am talking about, imagine a small child who does nothing but ask “Why?” as a response to everything he or she is told. The child’s goal isn’t to be part of the conversation at all, but just to elicit a reaction, even possibly to disrupt the conversation entirely.

        After tolerating a bit of this you might sit that child down and explain to them that it’s not acceptable to keep asking “Why?”. Exclusion from conversations entirely might even be used as a punishment.

        Now imagine what you’d do if you couldn’t identify that child. “Why?” is just continually shouted in through a doorway. You now begin to sense one practical reason forum sites strive to identify contributors, and to add some accountability. It’s not always to make money by selling their eMail addresses.

        I appreciate it when people – choosing to use their own identity or an assumed one or posting anonymously – communicate respectfully and politely online, as though we are all in the same room and can see one another’s faces. Good people sharing experiences is the greatest part of the Internet.

        -Noel

        9 users thanked author for this post.
        • #99127 Reply

          AlexEiffel
          AskWoody MVP

          I agree with that. On the flip side, I think some registered users do a bit of this subtle behavior too. Being registered, you can put it in context better as CT eloquently described, but I found that even if sometimes the why is close to when not deliberate trolling, it sometimes helps make our points more rigorous or explicit and helps clarify issues because it makes you have to present your implicit assumptions.

          It is not always easy to be aware of our own biases and sometimes a radically diverging opinion helps us realize that what we take for granted might not be that obvious to everyone. Of course, if you end up repeating yourself over and over, it is a problem and then maybe we should refer to some previous posts at that point. Anonymous posting has this drawback that you don’t know if it is a new person asking the same thing. There have been a few instances when I didn’t respond because I felt it was not useful, but sometimes I still got something out of the dissenting opinion. Sometimes it tells me I haven’t wrote very clearly, which can be a challenge to me since I am not native English speaker. Sometimes, people responded for me and brought very interesting points to the discussion, too!

          I often ask “why” and maybe it can also be irritating, but I find the why useful to understand better the people and what they say and because although I throw ideas a bit loosely here quite often, when someone makes what I find a confident assertion, I like to understand why they are so sure of it to help make up my own mind about the subject.

          When it comes to tuning Windows, I personnally find there is a lot of I think it should be better that way, but not much it definitely is better that way for everyone. I often found Microsoft’s official recommendations not necessarily the best for my situation, as sometimes they try to minimize issues for people with legacy software or hardware but in doing so are not suggesting what is optimal for power users or sometimes they can be motivated by their business needs more than their users needs.

          It is difficult to have the right balance of brainstorm opinion type of comments and rigorous fact-only comments, because I find both have their place to foster better understanding of loose ideas like what is the market for Windows, what we should expect in the future and how people might react to it vs what is doable in the current context that we have been dealt with.

          In any case, I find it very refreshing to see here people that are not just pushing that latest touch bar on a laptop because they have nothing better to talk about or that are simply repeat MS PR as to why Windows 10 is the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel.

          Of course, I am quite new to the forum, so I might realize later how tiring it can be to recevie some of the same objections by anonymous posters, but I am still very impressed by the quality of the information and opinions I find here, from people with very different background, and that makes me want to contribute in any way I can. If I end up unhappy about preceived subtle trolling, then I will simply not respond as I think this is the best way to not reward attention seeking behavior. Isn’t that behavioral theory that if you don’t reinforce a behavior, it tends to disappear more than if you punish it or inconsistently reward it?

          In any case, I find we must be careful not to scare anonymous users away, as I truly believe their overall contribution exceeds the negatives.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #99342 Reply

          Microfix
          AskWoody MVP

          If everyone adopted the view that we are posting to and for children in order to learn, whether anonymous or not, things would be so much simpler.

          Noel, you have my utmost respect as your previous post summed it all up for us. In all fairness, whether you are an MVP, anonymous poster or a member, we are all still learning, which can be frustrating at times.

          Please remember that children interested in computers also view this forum and that we are teaching them and not just the adults.

          | W8.1 Pro x64 | Linux x64 Hybrids | W7 Pro x64 O/L | XP Pro O/L
            No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
          2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #125087 Reply

      JohnS1606
      AskWoody Lounger

      keep the quality of posts out of the shallow end of the gene pool

      Woody, you still have a certain way with the language — more power to ya!

      JohnS1606

    • #135631 Reply

      BobT
      AskWoody Lounger

      Was having trouble signing up since I wasn’t receiving the verification mail to my Hotmail inbox. Posted as Anonymous and that worked, though still under mod.

      Switched to using Yahoo e-mail and finally got logged in. Is there a mod here I can contact who can approve my old thread, so I can copy / paste it into one under my name? (Then delete it after)

      Moderator’s Note – done now! hopefully you’re all set, finally

      • #135636 Reply

        PKCano
        AskWoody MVP

        Switched to using Yahoo e-mail and finally got logged in. Is there a mod here I can contact who can approve my old thread, so I can copy / paste it into one under my name? (Then delete it after)

        Your first post as a registered user has to be moderated. But we are unable to moderate this reply at the moment.

        Check back when you find this has been published, and leave us a link to the one did as anonymous. (Or your anon post will be moderated by then most likely and you can transfer the info).

        1 user thanked author for this post.

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