Author Topic: Lost Anonymity?  (Read 6435 times)

dhlogic

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Lost Anonymity?
« on: August 19, 2016, 11:31:01 AM »
Many people here and elsewhere freely post various levels of personal financial details under the guise of a pseudonym. Some people say places like these forums are the only place they can come to share details about their journey.

Lets say that your immediate/extended family, close friends, and co-workers found out the forum poster's, blogger's, journal writer's, podcaster's true identity and thus had detailed insight into your finances for the last several years.

Would you care? Should you care?

If you felt what you were posting, creating, or writing had the potential to help people learn, develop new skills and attitudes that could really benefit them and you publicly shared the same details and family, friends and coworkers found out, would you care? Many or most of MMM's family, friends, and previous coworkers must now know many details of his financial life.

How do you know what's right for you? To share or not?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 11:33:45 AM by dhlogic »

BTDretire

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2016, 11:42:58 AM »
I sent my daughter here to see a certain thread, and then wondered if she would see any of my posts.
Especially ones where I mention NW. The kids don't know about mom and dad's FI.

Edit;
 My son recently filled out a FAFSA form for college. The form asks a bunch of questions regarding income and savings. So I ended up giving my son most of the details.
  I talked to him later and said that info stays with you, don't tell anyone. He said I don't even remember what you said dad. Sounds like my son!
 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2016, 02:54:48 PM by Qmavam »

MrsDinero

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2016, 12:00:48 PM »
I don't care if family and friends know me on here, however I would care if my co-workers/employer found me on here. 

merula

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2016, 12:12:15 PM »
I don't share much here that I wouldn't mind got out. But, to spartana's point, it might be a good idea for everyone to go back through their posts in dead threads and delete any sensitive information.

To ask the same question in reverse: what do you do when you know someone's identity on here (because their username IS THEIR NAME) after you referred them, but they're being total jerks? Like, I didn't go to a shower for someone I know because they posted here about how the invitees were "suckkas". Ahem. No. You don't get to throw yourself a party, register for gifts, and then call your guests unmustachian.

So far I've said nothing and not felt bad about reading their posts and not telling them I know they're posting here. I mean, I referred them. Wouldn't you assume the person who referred you to a site...is on the site?

But maybe I'm the jerk.

ditheca

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2016, 12:25:35 PM »
I'd be happy if my co-workers found me here.  It would mean their head is probably in the right place.  I worry about them...

Zikoris

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2016, 12:40:22 PM »
I went totally public about two years ago. It's kind of weird, for sure. But I feel like I'm doing a public service in a way. Someone's gotta stick their neck out and preach the gospel, or nobody ever even hears about this stuff - it might as well be me.

pachnik

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2016, 12:51:24 PM »
I went totally public about two years ago. It's kind of weird, for sure. But I feel like I'm doing a public service in a way. Someone's gotta stick their neck out and preach the gospel, or nobody ever even hears about this stuff - it might as well be me.

I really enjoyed reading about you and your spouse in our newspaper.  Getting the word out there is public service work.  Especially since you two are young adults living a great life.  You live in downtown which is desirable, go hiking, take dance lessons + do lots of international travel.  I hope the article made people think twice about frittering money away on stuff.   

With regard to losing anonymity, I could live with it.  I'm pretty careful about what I say here and there's little inter-personal drama in my life that I would write about on here.  I'm honest about my finances and certainly not rich or famous so I don't think there would be any repercussions.

Zikoris

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2016, 01:37:42 PM »
I went totally public about two years ago. It's kind of weird, for sure. But I feel like I'm doing a public service in a way. Someone's gotta stick their neck out and preach the gospel, or nobody ever even hears about this stuff - it might as well be me.

I really enjoyed reading about you and your spouse in our newspaper.  Getting the word out there is public service work.  Especially since you two are young adults living a great life.  You live in downtown which is desirable, go hiking, take dance lessons + do lots of international travel.  I hope the article made people think twice about frittering money away on stuff.   

With regard to losing anonymity, I could live with it.  I'm pretty careful about what I say here and there's little inter-personal drama in my life that I would write about on here.  I'm honest about my finances and certainly not rich or famous so I don't think there would be any repercussions.

Thank you! We may be finding ourselves in the spotlight again sometime soon - in light of the recent popular news articles profiling early retirees in Canada, there's suddenly a huge amount of interest in the topic, and we did a very long interview last night with a journalist working on a big piece.

Rocket

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2016, 01:43:33 PM »
I'm a little confused.  How would someone figure out who I am, from my username and general/vague location?  Am I missing something?

Goldielocks

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2016, 01:43:56 PM »
I am ok if someone found out the financial details, although I don't contribute a lot that way....  it is the posts about family life that I would not want known...

:-)  Anonymous posting is great for working out issues and feelings.

Zikoris

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2016, 01:46:26 PM »
I'm a little confused.  How would someone figure out who I am, from my username and general/vague location?  Am I missing something?

I think people sometimes figure it out from your posts, especially if you talk about very specific things that happen at your workplace or within your family/friends circle. Not super likely, but it happens sometimes.

pachnik

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2016, 01:49:29 PM »
Thank you! We may be finding ourselves in the spotlight again sometime soon - in light of the recent popular news articles profiling early retirees in Canada, there's suddenly a huge amount of interest in the topic, and we did a very long interview last night with a journalist working on a big piece.

I hope you will post it on here.   

Yeah, there is a bit of interest in the media about FI/RE.  I'm thinking of that article on the CBC website about the young couple.   Hopefully getting the word out will get more people thinking.

I only got started on this path at the age of 49 when I saw an article about MMM 3 years ago.  And obviously it is too late for me to retire early but using some of what I learned here has made it possible for me and my husband to travel internationally.   And of course, I know we'll be able to retire. 

Not to mention that I get huge satisfaction about not being a consumerist sucker.   This aspect has been very rewarding for me.   

mozar

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2016, 02:30:42 PM »
I don't post the name of my current employer. If my employer (hr?) were to go googling my town and this website I guess they could put it together. I don't know why it would interest them that I think my parents are a pain in the ass.
 I think that friends,family etc would very much like to know what my expenses are, they already know my salary and that I save a lot. They would have to go through a lot of posts to find that though. But I'm not in contact with my extended family anyway. I mean what are they going do? Call me? Gasp a lot?

I could see people with a lot of money being worried that someone will hurt them for money. It happens but you have to first have people in your life who hate you and have a lot more than most people here. Like 5m+. If the Clintons have no problem sleeping at night, as wealthy as they are, I'll be fine.

Goldielocks

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2016, 09:44:31 AM »
I used to write erotica for a living, and the only time I've ever felt weird about online anonymity was when my Christian MIL found out my erotica pen name. Had to go back and delete those gay cowboy orgy stories right quick!

I just hope your erotica name wasn't Mrs Whipple.   Cue the finger monkey.

ARR!  what have you got my mind thinking now?

BlueHouse

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2016, 10:10:04 AM »
I was worried for a while about one of my old posts, but realized that very few people really care about anyone but themselves.
As for deleting the sensitive financial info, impossible because some people quote entire messages (especially case studies) when they respond.  I have come to appreciate this practice though because I really enjoy reading case studies and I hate it when the referenced info is gone. 

I did learn at one point to change genders and relationships when I'm talking trash about anyone else.  For some reason, total asshats really don't want to believe you're talking about them, even when you describe an event exactly as it happened.  If you say "she" instead of "he", then the asshat refuses to believe it was him, even though he exhibited the exact behavior!

dhlogic

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2016, 11:51:52 AM »
I went totally public about two years ago. It's kind of weird, for sure. But I feel like I'm doing a public service in a way. Someone's gotta stick their neck out and preach the gospel, or nobody ever even hears about this stuff - it might as well be me.

I have a similar mindset. I'm currently working for the government and everyone's pay is easily accessible on a chart. So really the only thing people don't know is how much I save. How the information is passed is important though. I do it in a way that is very humble. I don't start a conversation blurting out my net worth. It eventually comes out after enough discussion about the strategy and techniques though. I also only talk to the people who appreciate the goal of financial independence. I'm sure people overhear or might pass on info to others. If they find out, they must not care much as I've never heard anything.

I do plan on transitioning from my current job to one that starts off paying half of what I make now. In fact it is one of the jobs MMM has blogged about that makes over $50k a year without a college degree. The goal is to work for myself, gaining freedom over my time, which is in stark contrast to my current situation. While doing this I plan on producing content about my journey and how financial independence can be achieved in the industry. I plan on using realistic numbers (my own) on how it is possible. There is fairly high likelihood that two and two might be put together and identify me. I also plan on sharing this with some of my immediate family, which know pretty much everything about my finances anyways, but in doing so there is good possibility that other family will eventually find out.

Jack

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2016, 12:40:08 PM »
As for deleting the sensitive financial info, impossible because some people quote entire messages (especially case studies) when they respond.  I have come to appreciate this practice though because I really enjoy reading case studies and I hate it when the referenced info is gone. 

I do that whenever replying to a specific post so that the person I'm replying to can't change the context on me. It also makes me appreciate web forums such as Slashdot where posts are immutable. People on that site sometimes complain about not being able to edit to fix their screw-ups, but that's a feature, not a bug!


LeRainDrop

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2016, 12:58:24 PM »
I am ok if someone found out the financial details, although I don't contribute a lot that way....  it is the posts about family life that I would not want known...

:-)  Anonymous posting is great for working out issues and feelings.

Same here.  On this forum, I've vented about a former employer -- well, really about a particular boss lady at that place who no longer works there -- but more importantly, most of my money frustrations have centered on family members whom I love dearly.  I've used my posts on this forum to get advice about them and to relate my situation to others', but I would not want the family members to get hurt by hearing what I've shared about them here.  It would be one thing to sacrifice my own anonymity, but not theirs since they didn't sign up for that.

marty998

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2016, 04:39:57 PM »
There is enough on here for people to work out who I am.

If you've been posting enough on a variety of topics, chances are it can all be pieced together by someone dedicated enough.

For that reason I try and refrain from posting anything one may regret in future. But it can be difficult to see that in the moment.

Spork

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2016, 04:45:30 PM »
I'm a little confused.  How would someone figure out who I am, from my username and general/vague location?  Am I missing something?

If you make make more than a handful of truthful statements, you're pretty easily pegged.  There have been numerous research projects on this and they typically can find an "anonymous" person pretty easily.   The short answer is: you pretty much have to not care or keep your mouth shut about things you don't want people to know you've said.  Alternatively, I guess you could create some alter ego, but consistently lying is hard and I am lazy.

Here is one example article (just random google result... there are lots of these).
http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/08/04/the-information-that-is-needed-to-identify-you-33-bits/

Paul der Krake

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2016, 05:05:24 PM »
There are basically two levels of anonymity busting:

- someone who already knows you reads posts as part of regular forum browsing, and realizes it's you
- someone who is specifically looking for you from a search engine finds a direct connection

The first scenario is rather innocuous. Unless you pen a massively epic post that goes viral and gets picked up by mainstream press, the odds of someone wishing you harm reading the MMM forums are next to zero. The second scenario is a lot more problematic.

lhamo

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2016, 07:08:39 PM »
I'm a little confused.  How would someone figure out who I am, from my username and general/vague location?  Am I missing something?

I have been pretty open about aspects of my background/career path/family makeup and interpersonal dynamics that would make me readily identifiable to anyone who knows me in real life.  I worried about it a little bit when I was still working, because I was pretty up front about some crap that was going on at my workplace and how I felt about it.  But when push came to shove, if anyone had found out and blown my cover at work and they fired me, that would have been a blessing because it would have meant early FIREdom! 

The only thing I really worry about is ending up with some kind of stalker.   Spartana's story is a bit scary.  But I've been being pretty open/transparent on the internet for nearly 20 years now, and only good has come of it so far, so am probably just going to continue to toodle along.

sparkytheop

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2016, 08:33:58 PM »
I haven't shared enough on this board to worry about someone finding the info.  I'm also pretty boring, so it's not like I'd be providing juicy gossip either. 

I have a one-of-a-kind lunchbox I posted here.  It's one of those details that no one would ever know, unless they worked with me, because pretty much everyone has commented on my lunchbox (happens when you work with all guys and your lunchbox is made with diamond plate...)  If anyone from work ever browsed around and saw the photo, they'd know exactly who I am.

It's usually the little things that give someone away, unless they're pretty obvious about stuff.

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2016, 01:05:49 AM »
Before i found MMM a few months ago, i was trying to talk to friends, family and coworkers about the idea of FI/RE. I just seemed to annoy everyone so i highly doubt they would ever be here.

oldtoyota

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2016, 09:41:39 AM »
I do not post full details and some details are true overall but the details are changed. I have also removed past posts.

I wish I could feel more comfortable being "out there" with my info, but I'm not.

So, I think it'd be fairly easy to find me, but I have never posted specific financial details. I always assume people will find out who I am and proceed accordingly.

iris lily

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2016, 09:47:26 AM »
I'd be happy if my co-workers found me here.  It would mean their head is probably in the right place.  I worry about them...
I know!

In real life, those with whom we talk about specifics of money, net worth, and FIRE are also frugal. So they could cme on this site and I would be fine.

I don't talk much about specifics of net worth to friends who see a million dollars as as lot of money to immediately spend on consumer junk. There is no point to it, they would just be frustrated that we have money and do not spend it. They will never ever EVER show up on this website.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2016, 09:54:09 AM by iris lily »

arebelspy

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2016, 09:55:50 AM »
I'm an open book, sharing pretty much everything here, including real names, photos, and financial details.  I also link family and friends to MMM articles, and even forum threads.  Number of * given?  Take a guess.  ;)

I understand the case for anonymity, and when it's useful.

I use it--to the limited extent you can--when I need to.  None of the stuff I post here is of that nature.

Anonymity should ALWAYS be an option. It's a necessary component of free speech.

But it's also not something to worry incessantly about.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2016, 10:14:38 AM »
As for deleting the sensitive financial info, impossible because some people quote entire messages (especially case studies) when they respond.  I have come to appreciate this practice though because I really enjoy reading case studies and I hate it when the referenced info is gone. 

I do that whenever replying to a specific post so that the person I'm replying to can't change the context on me. It also makes me appreciate web forums such as Slashdot where posts are immutable. People on that site sometimes complain about not being able to edit to fix their screw-ups, but that's a feature, not a bug!



Love it.

Melody

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Re: Lost Anonymity?
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2016, 03:36:38 AM »
I got found out by a (not super close) friend. My main thing is not being associated with my employer. An interesting case would ensue along the lines of "revealed own salaries which were supposed to be confidential but didn't mention the company name or industry or any thing about the company and did not positively identify herself" likewise i never ever mention my employer or industry on my own social media accounts.

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