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Anonymous Posting

For a very long time Invision Community has allowed community owners to choose how open or private their communities should be. Communities could optionally allow guests to post without registering, they could allow the use of pseudonyms or they could require the use of real names.

This covers a diverse range of communities but feedback from our clients made us realize that some use cases have not been accounted for.

For some types of community, where discussion topics are particularly sensitive, community owners want to make sure that members register with their real details but are given the option to post anonymously where appropriate. For example, organisations dealing with abuse or sensitive topics might want the member to feel safe and disinhibited to post info without fear of being identified by the rest of the community.

With 4.5.5 we are pleased to introduce Anonymous Posting to make this a reality.

When enabled, members will see the option to post anonymously when creating or replying to content.

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Starting a new anonymous topic

Author details for anonymously posted content is hidden throughout the community and instead a default profile picture and name is shown.

Total anonymity is not always desirable however and in some cases it may be necessary for trusted staff members to know who posted the content. Where allowed, these staff members will be shown an option to reveal the content author.

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Author details are hidden but can be revealed by trusted staff members

Anonymous posting can be enabled on a per group basis and also limited to specific forums, albums and categories etc. The ability for staff members to reveal who really posted the content is a moderator permission.

We hope this new feature is a useful addition and where appropriate makes your members feel safe or comfortable to share info they might not have otherwise.

How open or private is your community and what do you find are the benefits or disadvantages of anonymity?

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I know there is an ACP toggle to force users to acknowledge new terms of service or privacy policy before being allowed to use the board. Could a similar process be created for this new feature? Have a dialog box appear with an explanation of the new feature and a list of who will be able to ascertain user name and for what purpose.  User clicks on an accept button and only then can they post anonymously.

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Please do not make it so that when the feature is disabled users see any wording, strings, graphics, etc. that give them any indication that anonymous posting is a possibility. I can see where some admins may want the feature but for those that do not it should be completely disabled from view when disabled in the ACP

 

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This is a fantastic addition, and we were actually beginning development on this as an extension to the suite. Our use case is exactly the type of case as in the example included in the announcement.

What would be a wonderful feature (if not already included) is the ability to set a particular forum in such a manner that the thread author is always anonymous (either by default, or by enforced policy), including any replies.

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I love this feature. Agree with @Paul E. above that forcing OP to be anon would be helpful. An alternative would be to ensure that moderators can go the other direction as well, i.e. in addition to revealing who the OP was and de-anonymizing, it would be great if there was a setting for mods to edit a post and change to anonymous. We often have members who join to post a question that can sometimes reveal highly personal info and it’s fine when they think it’s a one off question, then they decide to stay (because our community is so great) and become a long time member. That usually prompts a PM asking if we can go back and remove some personal info they posted when they didn’t think through the implications. Would love to use this tool as an easy anonymizer for that type of content. 

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8 hours ago, Daniel F said:

breaking changes

Why are there breaking changes to add a fairly obscure [1] feature in a point release? I thought IPS had grown out of that. Are you going to update the marketplace supported versions field to have 4.5.0-4.5.4 and 4.5.5-4.5.x?

[1] the third party plugin that provided this has 58 purchases, or approximately 0.2% of communities, and you (rightly, ish) dismissed another feature suggestion for only having 1.8% install coverage

Edited by Colonel_mortis
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I can see this being an option for paid subscriptions/memberships for those who want to upgrade to have an option to post anonymously.

I'm assuming a user will have a choice on whether to post anonymously or not and topics/posts that are not anonymous will show on their profile pages? Hopefully they can edit their post to make it public should they decide to.

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13 hours ago, Colonel_mortis said:

Why are there breaking changes to add a fairly obscure [1] feature in a point release? I thought IPS had grown out of that. Are you going to update the marketplace supported versions field to have 4.5.0-4.5.4 and 4.5.5-4.5.x?

[1] the third party plugin that provided this has 58 purchases, or approximately 0.2% of communities, and you (rightly, ish) dismissed another feature suggestion for only having 1.8% install coverage

We are trying to break away from large monolithic releases spaced 12-18 months apart which leaves long periods of time devoid of any significant new functionality.

In terms of demand for this feature, it's been requested a lot for our enterprise communities for quite some time.

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8 hours ago, Matt said:

We are trying to break away from large monolithic releases spaced 12-18 months apart which leaves long periods of time devoid of any significant new functionality.

In terms of demand for this feature, it's been requested a lot for our enterprise communities for quite some time.

I am broadly in favour of moving away from monolithic releases, but I would much prefer that you up the cadence of minor releases than push features and especially breaking changes into patch/point releases.

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7 hours ago, Colonel_mortis said:

I am broadly in favour of moving away from monolithic releases, but I would much prefer that you up the cadence of minor releases than push features and especially breaking changes into patch/point releases.

yeah i agree, even daniel recommends we adopt a proper semantic versioning system 😛 

 

 

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The only thing I ask is that this is not enabled by default (i.e. automatically active after the upgrade). Please set it to "off" by default and those who need it can be told how to switch it on.

This should have been done for various editing notifications in the 4.5 upgrade for example. Instead I had to go hunting to find out how to switch off things I never wanted on in the first place (and had set the previous incarnation to "off" before IPS switched them "on" again without permission).

I understand you wanting to demonstrate your coding, but these actions are not useful and sometimes even detrimental.

Thanks!

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@Andy Millne When you say:

Quote

Total anonymity is not always desirable however and in some cases it may be necessary for trusted staff members to know who posted the content. Where allowed, these staff members will be shown an option to reveal the content author.

Does that mean completely de-anonymizing the author for everyone who reads the post? or just a momentary thing for the Mod/Admin clicking the option?

On 11/12/2020 at 10:49 PM, Morgin said:

I love this feature. Agree with @Paul E. above that forcing OP to be anon would be helpful. An alternative would be to ensure that moderators can go the other direction as well, i.e. in addition to revealing who the OP was and de-anonymizing, it would be great if there was a setting for mods to edit a post and change to anonymous. We often have members who join to post a question that can sometimes reveal highly personal info and it’s fine when they think it’s a one off question, then they decide to stay (because our community is so great) and become a long time member. That usually prompts a PM asking if we can go back and remove some personal info they posted when they didn’t think through the implications. Would love to use this tool as an easy anonymizer for that type of content. 

Also ALL of that 👆👌

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On 11/13/2020 at 8:35 PM, Colonel_mortis said:

I am broadly in favour of moving away from monolithic releases, but I would much prefer that you up the cadence of minor releases than push features and especially breaking changes into patch/point releases.

We're looking to find the right balance. Too many incremental releases (say weekly) and you push that burden onto admins to constantly update (and check compatibility, etc), too few and the release gets bigger.

On 11/14/2020 at 10:59 PM, My Sharona said:

sanctioned sock puppetry?

It has to be enabled by an administrator.

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