Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(October 1999)

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Subject: Re: How to enable anon postings?
From: Cyndi Norman <cnorman @ best . com>
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1999 17:37:27 -0700 (PDT)
Cc: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM, cnorman @ best . com
Reply-to: cnorman @ best . com

Andrea, I encourage people to post anon to the mailing lists I run if they
feel they need to.  Most people use their real names and addresses but even
"real" addresses these days don't have complete information.

Some lists require a real email address and a full name (and company
affliation if appropriate).  I think this is fine if stated ahead of time.
It really depends on the list.  I run a list for people with immune system
health problems.  Most members got this way from chemical injury.  This
means many people are trying to talk about their health with workplace
management snoops spying on them (this has happened) or they are involved
in legal action against their employers or they are involved in other
lawsuits or political action.  I also run a spin-off list for people with
these health problems who are also abuse survivors.  The desire for
anonimity should be obvious in that case.

I used to go through a complicated proceedure of having people send me anon
posts and I would strip the headers.  I only did this for once in a while,
not regular posts.

Fortunately, it's just not an issue anymore.  I'll still strip headers for
the regular poster who posts with a real name who simply wants to post anon
once (I make it appear that it came from the address box123 @
 immuneweb .
(I change the number as needed)...I own that domain and set up a forward so
the email address really works...this is for short-term use only and I do
the same for the classified ads I run on the web).  But most people don't
need this.  

Tell your subscribers to get a free email address.,,, yahoo, geocities, hotmail, rocketmail, whatever.
If you have problems with any of the above, or simply prefer one or more
over the others, tell your subscribers which ones to use.  Tell them not to
use their real name and, voila!, instant anon email.

Half your subscribers probably already do this anyway.  Heck, most ISP's
don't show the person's real name unless the user desires that.  On AOL you
can have different screen names and be as anon as you wish.

You may have to explain this all to your subscribers who ask about anon
posting.  Many people, espeically internet newbies, just don't see the
obvious.  I had one subscriber from a Juno account not want to join one of
my lists because her real name was on the account.  I suggested she get a
second Juno account with a fake name.  This is what she never
would have occurred to her had I not suggested it and she saved herself
hours of agonizing over what was okay to say "publically."

If you've ever had a serious problem with a subscriber (harrassment, death
threats, etc) you know that even the ones that look like they are using
their real names are very hard to trace.  Unless the police get involved,
you'll probably never know their home address, for example.  Even very
cooperative ISP's, like AOL, won't tell you a user's identifying info
directly.  So, honestly, there isn't much difference between an ordinary
subscriber and an anon one.  Most people can't tell the difference.


"There's nothing wrong with me.  Maybe there's                     Cyndi Norman
something wrong with the universe." (ST:TNG)           cyndi @
 consultclarity .
_________________ Owner of the Immune Website & Lists

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