Author Topic: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...  (Read 16322 times)

k-vette

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Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« on: April 04, 2017, 06:07:23 PM »
I feel like the forum is relatively "anonymous" as to our real identities.  People make connections through PMs, etc, but for the most part we're anonymous.  For the most part - this makes sense.  We're talking finances and often don't want other people to know what we're up to.

I don't think it's for me.  The truth is, I don't care.  I see greater benefit to being known than unknown.  I feel I have insights or information that could be beneficial to other people and to me - but I don't share because then I wouldn't be anonymous on the forum.

So what do you say, drop the curtain and say "who cares?".  Or stay inside my anonymous internet shell like everyone else?

sol

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2017, 06:15:24 PM »
Most of us choose to remain as anonymous as is reasonably possible, because here we openly discuss quitting our jobs in the near future and we don't particularly want our employers to discover that about us.  There are repercussions to such information becoming widely known in your workplace.

If you're already retired?  Sure, go for it.  Many of the more well-known FIREd forum members have been outed by articles in the popular press.

SwordGuy

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2017, 06:18:49 PM »
Some co-workers will think what you are attempting is awesome and want to know more.

Most will be indifferent.

Some will get jealous and mean about it.  (Ask me how I know.)

okobrien

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2017, 06:49:54 PM »



Some will get jealous and mean about it.  (Ask me how I know.)
How do you know?


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DoubleDown

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2017, 08:57:45 PM »



Some will get jealous and mean about it.  (Ask me how I know.)
How do you know?

Haha, good one!

Sydneystache

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2017, 09:06:48 PM »
I don't think it's for me.  The truth is, I don't care. 

Hmmm...I think you care very much. Let's face it, you are in a forum created by someone who prefers to be called Mr. Money Mustache.

Pseudonyms have their uses, Big Brother for one.

If you wish to be known to all and sundry, as Rabbie Burns said, "let the wind gang free" but leave others to call whatever they want to call themselves on here. It's about respecting people's privacy, their circle of friends, networks etc - can you imagine the "Overhead at Work" thread with people's names and legal suits flying everywhere?

So, the question is "cui bono" from unmasking all our identities?

Zikoris

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 09:16:16 PM »
I decided to say "Screw it" and publicly out myself three years ago. I haven't had any issues yet. I think people being "out" really helps to show people that it's not a concept just for six-figure-earning nerdy techies, so it's partly a community service thing.

I've never been super social with coworkers, but it hasn't been an issue in the two places I've worked during the past three years. The first place got me to host a lunch seminar for staff about personal finance, and the second has also gotten me to do some personal finance-related promotional work as a side project. I'm sure there are differences between fields and individual workplaces, but I feel like some of the fear people have over their coworkers/employer finding out might be a bit overblown.

Someone could pretty easily find out a lot about me by poking around my blog. I don't mind.

sol

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2017, 09:47:16 PM »
Someone could pretty easily find out a lot about me by poking around my blog. I don't mind.

Or just by carefully reading your forum posts, as it turns out.  (Ask me how I know.)

Valhalla

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2017, 01:15:15 AM »
Maybe I missed something. What's the benefit of telling the world that you have money and are a wealthy target?

Maybe you're stuck in your own little corner of the world.  This is the big bad internet, where people from the worst parts of the world can read about people with money, and target them with scams.

The Russia scandal where they hired over 1,000 people to create fake news to influence the US election should be sobering evidence of that.  Companies are hiring people to post fake reviews, influence people via social media to buy their products or negatively troll competitor products. I see it all the time in many forums.  Why put yourself out there where anyone can target you because you've saved money smartly?

Being anonymous is the one of the best ways to protect yourself, whether you care your peers know your financial situation or not.  This is not a place where only your peers lurk. The whole internet can lurk on your posts.  If this was a private club, sure I'd consider revealing more. I'm not outing myself to the entire web, that's just stupid.

This is the same thing I don't do social media and post my personal life online.  I do have social media accounts where I observe others post their lives online.  It's amazing how much people reveal, for good or bad.  And none of it is truly private.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 01:17:01 AM by Valhalla »

Bateaux

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2017, 02:55:16 AM »
Much prefer being anonymous here.  If you want to be open, go to Facebook.   I do post a lot on Facebook about Mustacian principles.   I don't discuss networth.   It would change my relationship with some people.   I'm hiker trash and I  like hanging out with hiker trash.  Hiker trash are generally broke or at least act like it.  Hiking can be a sub $10 a day lifestyle.   My net worth is increasing $500 per day currently.  Now that being said, I know many millionaire hikers.  We treat the dirt bags and wealthy wanna be dirt bags with the same respect. I drive a beater car, I've got older heavy gear and I wear ratty clothes.  Can't wait to be a full time dirt bag in FIRE.

tnevy4

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2017, 03:19:10 AM »
Much prefer being anonymous here.  If you want to be open, go to Facebook.   I do post a lot on Facebook about Mustacian principles.   I don't discuss networth.   It would change my relationship with some people.   I'm hiker trash and I  like hanging out with hiker trash.  Hiker trash are generally broke or at least act like it.  Hiking can be a sub $10 a day lifestyle.   My net worth is increasing $500 per day currently.  Now that being said, I know many millionaire hikers.  We treat the dirt bags and wealthy wanna be dirt bags with the same respect. I drive a beater car, I've got older heavy gear and I wear ratty clothes.  Can't wait to be a full time dirt bag in FIRE.

one of my FIRE goals is the do a thru hike of the AT. I have done some small sections but ever since my first contact with thru hikers I have dreamt of being one

Davids

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 04:18:03 AM »
My name is David. There, I said it, you now know who I am.

2Cent

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 04:18:47 AM »
Maybe I missed something. What's the benefit of telling the world that you have money and are a wealthy target?

Maybe you're stuck in your own little corner of the world.  This is the big bad internet, where people from the worst parts of the world can read about people with money, and target them with scams.

The Russia scandal where they hired over 1,000 people to create fake news to influence the US election should be sobering evidence of that.  Companies are hiring people to post fake reviews, influence people via social media to buy their products or negatively troll competitor products. I see it all the time in many forums.  Why put yourself out there where anyone can target you because you've saved money smartly?

Being anonymous is the one of the best ways to protect yourself, whether you care your peers know your financial situation or not.  This is not a place where only your peers lurk. The whole internet can lurk on your posts.  If this was a private club, sure I'd consider revealing more. I'm not outing myself to the entire web, that's just stupid.

This is the same thing I don't do social media and post my personal life online.  I do have social media accounts where I observe others post their lives online.  It's amazing how much people reveal, for good or bad.  And none of it is truly private.
Actually you should consider on the internet you are only semi anonymous. The things you pose could be stored forever, and at a later date linked to your identity. Maybe you reuse the username somewhere, maybe MMM exposes your registration e-mail by accident. Maybe you mention something that can be linked to you in combination with other things you posted. Maybe someone who knows you exposes you.

So you should just never post anything that you could not stand to go public.

Khan

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2017, 04:52:57 AM »
Or grammatical analyses/key phrases that identify you, that you use across the internet... Posting times, etc.
Or the fact that unless you're behind a TOR proxy and/or VPN, all state level actors can work through the details...

I'm just going to take off my tin foil hat now.

Anonymity, pseudonymity is good. If you don't desire it, feel free to be as open as you want. My post history could be rifled through to determine who I am, but I don't have to make it easy.

BlueHouse

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2017, 05:18:08 AM »
There are quite a few posters here who use real names. If you want to lift the veil, no one is stopping you from doing so for yourself.  but why would you need other people to do it as well?  Unless you think that there is safety (anonymity) in large numbers.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2017, 06:07:57 AM »
I am using the forum to help me make this huge change of course.  It allows me to hold myself to account and if I lose my way, random strangers could call me out.  If it weren't somewhat anonymous I think I would be tempted to sugar coat my progress or not really dig deep into this journey. 
For sure if someone IRL knows me and reads my posts, they will put it together but it is enough of a veil of privacy at the moment.

Zikoris

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2017, 07:05:50 AM »
Someone could pretty easily find out a lot about me by poking around my blog. I don't mind.

Or just by carefully reading your forum posts, as it turns out.  (Ask me how I know.)

Quite likely! I guess I've just always followed the philosophy of not posting things online that I wouldn't be willing to tell a stranger. Then it doesn't matter what some sleuths out, because there's simply nothing I would consider too private about myself posted anywhere online.

sol

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2017, 08:40:04 AM »
Someone could pretty easily find out a lot about me by poking around my blog. I don't mind.

Or just by carefully reading your forum posts, as it turns out.  (Ask me how I know.)

Quite likely! I guess I've just always followed the philosophy of not posting things online that I wouldn't be willing to tell a stranger. Then it doesn't matter what some sleuths out, because there's simply nothing I would consider too private about myself posted anywhere online.

Even things I'm comfortable telling strangers turn out to be creepily weird when some random internet stranger finds you in real life.  Like what city you live in, and what you do for a living.  I've had multiple people from internet forums track down my IRL identity, and it's not like I'm anyone famous.  Apparently I need to be more careful about discussing my life.

One guy even posted pictures of me, culled from the web, complete with insulting commentary, for the entire forum to enjoy.  Not cool.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 08:44:13 AM by sol »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2017, 09:06:58 AM »
We primarily discuss ideas here, not people. What do you hope to gain by using your real name?

AMandM

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2017, 09:10:00 AM »
I see greater benefit to being known than unknown.  I feel I have insights or information that could be beneficial to other people and to me - but I don't share because then I wouldn't be anonymous on the forum.

I don't quite understand this.  Are you saying you're so well-known IRL that posting advice based on your life details would reveal your identity to the forum? 

brooklynguy

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2017, 09:32:59 AM »
It's worth bearing in mind just how large this forum's audience has grown -- according to MMM, as of last October, this forum was attracting over 3 million page views per month.  As MMM aptly described:

This forum, because of your unusually precise and intelligent content, has become an insanely powerful magnet for Google and other search engines.  Often, conversations you have here will immediately show up on the first page of a web search. This brings more people, and means the conversations are influential. The forum alone (not counting the main Mr. Money Mustache blog) gets over 3 million page views per month.

When you combine these two factors: limited size and wide reach, you come to realize that this forum is not really a bunch of private conversations. It's more like a stage, on which you are performing the act of civilized questions and intelligent responses in front of millions of people. OK, not every conversation, but definitely certain ones wherever we happen to get a lot of search visitors.

It's easy to forget that the discussions that take place in our little community reach a much, much wider audience than the direct participants in the conversation or even the broader forum population.  Keep that fact in mind when deciding how much care you want to take (or not take) in trying to avoid revealing your identity.

Sibley

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2017, 11:02:58 AM »

One guy even posted pictures of me, culled from the web, complete with insulting commentary, for the entire forum to enjoy.  Not cool.

Yeah, not cool at all. Hope that individual was banned.

brooklynguy

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2017, 11:54:45 AM »
One guy even posted pictures of me, culled from the web, complete with insulting commentary, for the entire forum to enjoy.  Not cool.

Yeah, not cool at all. Hope that individual was banned.

It's not as bad as it sounds, when you consider that sol has chosen to publish a photograph of his own dour mug with every post he makes.  He even once posted a partial full body shot, not only of himself but also of his brother.

In all seriousness, though, I'm not surprised to hear that sol has been the victim of cyberstalking.  Other popular forum members have complained about similar incidents, and when it comes to forum popularity (or notoriety), I would guess that sol tops the list.

and it's not like I'm anyone famous

You should probably start thinking of yourself as something of a celebrity, sol, at least in early retirement circles (which seem to have been growing significantly more sizable lately).

boarder42

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2017, 11:59:50 AM »
pretty sure some small amount of leg work and you could find out identities of many of the forum posters here.  i mean we almost all divulge data about where we live and details about our work place retirement options.  given those 2 things and the fact there are many local facebook groups that arent anonymous i think you could find anyone you wanted to if you so desired.

redbird

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2017, 12:41:00 PM »
Some co-workers will think what you are attempting is awesome and want to know more.

Most will be indifferent.

Some will get jealous and mean about it.  (Ask me how I know.)

That is the entire reason why I lied to most of my co-workers when I quit. I didn't want to deal with the drama. I only told my closest friend co-workers, and they were all either in the "hey, that's awesome" or "indifferent" categories.

Anyway, the only point I see in possibly divulging your real name is if you plan to write articles or start a blog or something along those lines, ala MMM or Jacob from ERE or other examples like that.

Bateaux

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2017, 01:23:20 PM »
If someone wants to dig up my real identity go for it.  I'm much less confidential about my political views in the open now.  There was a time I'd never let people know that I was a liberial.  Now I could give a rats ass what people think.  My personal finance I keep a bit private because many would think I'm bragging.  Not to mention hit me up for loans.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2017, 02:19:45 PM »
If someone wants to dig up my real identity go for it.  I'm much less confidential about my political views in the open now.  There was a time I'd never let people know that I was a liberial.  Now I could give a rats ass what people think.  My personal finance I keep a bit private because many would think I'm bragging.  Not to mention hit me up for loans.
I don't talk openly for the loans part. Or some weird Hollywood hostage situation.

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FireLane

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2017, 07:26:03 PM »
For most of us, it's a combination of three factors:

1) We don't necessarily want our employers to know we're planning early retirement, lest we be seen as insufficiently loyal
2) We don't want to be targeted by frivolous lawsuits or scams from cranks and con artists who'll go after anyone with deep pockets
3) We don't want to be bombarded with bailout requests from spendy, irresponsible family members who only hear that we're "rich"

#1 won't be a factor after you FIRE. #2 and #3 might be.

gooki

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2017, 02:09:33 AM »
And sometimes it just because we've grown up with an anonymous handle/usename that we don't give it a second thought.

One of my coworkers recognised me in this forum, because my avatar is the same as the photo I use on the corporate network :). Hi Jeff.

undercover

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2017, 04:38:19 AM »
I don't think it's for me.  The truth is, I don't care.  I see greater benefit to being known than unknown.

Interesting. So why are you anonymous then? Obviously you do care.

I think you'd have a harder time arguing why not being anonymous is any more advantageous than being anonymous. As you said, we're not really anonymous - we can contact each other via PM and find out much more if needed. But most of the time, it's not needed. I don't really care about your real name. I don't really care exactly where you live or who your relatives are, nor do I feel that those details are in any way relevant.

I also think we're much less anonymous than you think. Many people do post very specific details about their situation here. The only thing lacking really is the real name/location. I see very little to gain and very much to lose by posting those specifics. Again, at any rate, I just don't see how that information is relevant. How would posting specific information about your employer help the majority of the forum?

k-vette

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #30 on: April 06, 2017, 09:00:31 AM »
I don't think it's for me.  The truth is, I don't care.  I see greater benefit to being known than unknown.

Interesting. So why are you anonymous then? Obviously you do care.

I think you'd have a harder time arguing why not being anonymous is any more advantageous than being anonymous. As you said, we're not really anonymous - we can contact each other via PM and find out much more if needed. But most of the time, it's not needed. I don't really care about your real name. I don't really care exactly where you live or who your relatives are, nor do I feel that those details are in any way relevant.

I also think we're much less anonymous than you think. Many people do post very specific details about their situation here. The only thing lacking really is the real name/location. I see very little to gain and very much to lose by posting those specifics. Again, at any rate, I just don't see how that information is relevant. How would posting specific information about your employer help the majority of the forum?

I never said anything about my employer, or that helping the forum.  But my full-time employer is https://www.fodderworks.net/.  We manufacture sprouting systems that grow fresh feed for livestock.  So if you're a mustachian farmer, it's probably a cool thing to check out.  It saves money and has health benefits.  You would never know this exists unless I mentioned it.

We also run several CNC lathes in our shop.  (Although not mentioned anywhere online, we actually do MORE of that now than the other business.)  We're actively looking for more work and have competitive prices.  Mustachian business owner looking to cut manufacturing costs?  Maybe we can help.

Other case in point, I own a business building/selling electric bikes and parts.  Some people on this forum are interested in buying or asking questions about electric bikes.  I'm happy to answer questions and occasionally post videos on Youtube about them.

So there you have 3 reasons why my "employer" or type of work could be beneficial, but those weren't even the main reasons for posting.  I think ALL of us likely have unique thoughts or skills and we do share them for the most part.  Occasionally however progress is stifled because something we do could give away our identity.  I agree a lot of the time it's irrelevant, but on internet forums we often push too hard to remain anonymous, when someone who really wants to find your information can easily do so anyway.

Here's what REALLY got me thinking about this - License plates.  People like to blur license plates in photos and videos, BUT there's NO reasonable reason why.  You see the plates in public every day and it isn't a problem.  That just spurred more thoughts and ideas and this thread.

sol

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #31 on: April 06, 2017, 12:16:27 PM »
My employer specifically prohibits any public statements that may be misconstrued as their views instead of my personal ones.  I get memos reminding me of this with some regularity. 

I'm actively discouraged from using social media, for similar reasons.

prognastat

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #32 on: April 06, 2017, 12:31:13 PM »
My employer specifically prohibits any public statements that may be misconstrued as their views instead of my personal ones.  I get memos reminding me of this with some regularity. 

I'm actively discouraged from using social media, for similar reasons.

Similar here, I am not supposed to make any statements related to my employer that could be seen as a statement by the company.

Valhalla

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #33 on: April 06, 2017, 12:37:16 PM »
Being well known on the internet is not a good thing.  There are crazy people out there.  All it takes is one nut to do serious damage to you:  http://mashable.com/2016/06/11/christina-grimmie-shot-dead-florida/#QCM2P2O4zaqq

There is no way I'd give up my anonymity for pretty much zero gain online.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #34 on: April 06, 2017, 02:14:27 PM »
Here's what REALLY got me thinking about this - License plates.  People like to blur license plates in photos and videos, BUT there's NO reasonable reason why.  You see the plates in public every day and it isn't a problem.  That just spurred more thoughts and ideas and this thread.

That always struck me as odd, as well.  License plates aren't private, why blur them when thousands of people see them every day.  Another thing that always made me laugh, back when writing checks was more common, was people seemed to think it was unsafe to give someone your bank account number.  But they would write checks all day and hand them to a kid behind the counter...

Anyway, as someone who in the past made an online enemy that liked to fuck with people's real lives, online anonymity is a good thing.  You never know who you're going to piss off, and the barrier for a lot of people to cross lines they shouldn't is a lot lower when the person they're interacting with is just text on a screen.

Valhalla

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #35 on: April 06, 2017, 02:16:08 PM »
Here's what REALLY got me thinking about this - License plates.  People like to blur license plates in photos and videos, BUT there's NO reasonable reason why.  You see the plates in public every day and it isn't a problem.  That just spurred more thoughts and ideas and this thread.

That always struck me as odd, as well.  License plates aren't private, why blur them when thousands of people see them every day.  Another thing that always made me laugh, back when writing checks was more common, was people seemed to think it was unsafe to give someone your bank account number.  But they would write checks all day and hand them to a kid behind the counter...

Anyway, as someone who in the past made an online enemy that liked to fuck with people's real lives, online anonymity is a good thing.  You never know who you're going to piss off, and the barrier for a lot of people to cross lines they shouldn't is a lot lower when the person they're interacting with is just text on a screen.
license plates aren't private, but it's worse if you start recording them with photos and start establish patterns of who goes where and does what based on their license plate.  So less information is better, why make it easy for people to be identified by giving license plates online?  It's all about context, the more information I have about you, however easy to obtain, the more I know about you.   In real life, someone may see my license plate, but they have virtually nothing else to associate that with, so sure it's public, but it's extremely limited in real life, versus online where people can compile details about your life from any where, any time.

Would you post your license plate online, in this thread now?  Once you do, I can start tying it to build a profile of your life, however limited it may be. But as I accumulate more information about you, sooner or later I may figure out more than you would wish to publicize.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 02:19:24 PM by Valhalla »

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #36 on: April 06, 2017, 02:26:19 PM »
it's the internet, if you want non anonymous friends, go knock on the house next door.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #37 on: April 06, 2017, 02:50:25 PM »
Here's what REALLY got me thinking about this - License plates.  People like to blur license plates in photos and videos, BUT there's NO reasonable reason why.  You see the plates in public every day and it isn't a problem.  That just spurred more thoughts and ideas and this thread.

That always struck me as odd, as well.  License plates aren't private, why blur them when thousands of people see them every day.  Another thing that always made me laugh, back when writing checks was more common, was people seemed to think it was unsafe to give someone your bank account number.  But they would write checks all day and hand them to a kid behind the counter...

Anyway, as someone who in the past made an online enemy that liked to fuck with people's real lives, online anonymity is a good thing.  You never know who you're going to piss off, and the barrier for a lot of people to cross lines they shouldn't is a lot lower when the person they're interacting with is just text on a screen.
license plates aren't private, but it's worse if you start recording them with photos and start establish patterns of who goes where and does what based on their license plate.  So less information is better, why make it easy for people to be identified by giving license plates online?  It's all about context, the more information I have about you, however easy to obtain, the more I know about you.   In real life, someone may see my license plate, but they have virtually nothing else to associate that with, so sure it's public, but it's extremely limited in real life, versus online where people can compile details about your life from any where, any time.

Would you post your license plate online, in this thread now?  Once you do, I can start tying it to build a profile of your life, however limited it may be. But as I accumulate more information about you, sooner or later I may figure out more than you would wish to publicize.

No, because there's enough information about me here, I don't need to add a data point.  But if I took a random picture of something, and there was a license plate in it, should I blur out the plate even though it has nothing to do with anything?  Those are the ones I was thinking of.

Valhalla

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #38 on: April 06, 2017, 03:00:21 PM »
Here's what REALLY got me thinking about this - License plates.  People like to blur license plates in photos and videos, BUT there's NO reasonable reason why.  You see the plates in public every day and it isn't a problem.  That just spurred more thoughts and ideas and this thread.

That always struck me as odd, as well.  License plates aren't private, why blur them when thousands of people see them every day.  Another thing that always made me laugh, back when writing checks was more common, was people seemed to think it was unsafe to give someone your bank account number.  But they would write checks all day and hand them to a kid behind the counter...

Anyway, as someone who in the past made an online enemy that liked to fuck with people's real lives, online anonymity is a good thing.  You never know who you're going to piss off, and the barrier for a lot of people to cross lines they shouldn't is a lot lower when the person they're interacting with is just text on a screen.
license plates aren't private, but it's worse if you start recording them with photos and start establish patterns of who goes where and does what based on their license plate.  So less information is better, why make it easy for people to be identified by giving license plates online?  It's all about context, the more information I have about you, however easy to obtain, the more I know about you.   In real life, someone may see my license plate, but they have virtually nothing else to associate that with, so sure it's public, but it's extremely limited in real life, versus online where people can compile details about your life from any where, any time.

Would you post your license plate online, in this thread now?  Once you do, I can start tying it to build a profile of your life, however limited it may be. But as I accumulate more information about you, sooner or later I may figure out more than you would wish to publicize.

No, because there's enough information about me here, I don't need to add a data point.  But if I took a random picture of something, and there was a license plate in it, should I blur out the plate even though it has nothing to do with anything?  Those are the ones I was thinking of.
Google blurs out license plates and faces of people on Google maps, even though the pictures are taken in public.  Imagine the outcry if they didn't.  There is some public consensus about privacy.

Valhalla

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #39 on: April 06, 2017, 03:06:32 PM »
<snip>

So bottom line - if you're comfortable sharing who you are IRL knowing anyone could track you down or mess with you (as in Sols case too) then fine. For me I'll stick with being anonymous.  I will delete this post soon too so please dont quote but put it out as a warning.
Daaaayyyyuuummmm.  I'll preserve part of your post but delete the other more personal part.  This is exactly why I prefer anonymity online. You never know what kind of insane person is on the other side of the keyboard.

sol

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #40 on: April 06, 2017, 03:30:26 PM »
license plates aren't private, but it's worse if you start recording them with photos and start establish patterns of who goes where and does what based on their license plate. 

License plates are already recorded in exactly the fashion you describe.  Modern police cars are equipped with 360 degree cameras that capture and log every plate the car can see, with a location and a time.  If you ever see cop cars while driving around, then the cops already know your regular driving patterns.

They mostly use it to run the plates automatically.  In urban areas they usually have to turn down the search criteria to ignore unpaid speeding tickets and misdemeanor drug charges, and only notify for outstanding warrants, because otherwise it goes off every ten seconds.

How do people not know about this yet?  This technology is like five years old already.  Even small town popo are using it these days.

Valhalla

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #41 on: April 06, 2017, 03:31:56 PM »
license plates aren't private, but it's worse if you start recording them with photos and start establish patterns of who goes where and does what based on their license plate. 

License plates are already recorded in exactly the fashion you describe.  Modern police cars are equipped with 360 degree cameras that capture and log every plate the car can see, with a location and a time.  If you ever see cop cars while driving around, then the cops already know your regular driving patterns.

They mostly use it to run the plates automatically.  In urban areas they usually have to turn down the search criteria to ignore unpaid speeding tickets and misdemeanor drug charges, and only notify for outstanding warrants, because otherwise it goes off every ten seconds.

How do people not know about this yet?  This technology is like five years old already.  Even small town popo are using it these days.
Yes of course license plate is not private. I think we're talking in the context of posting information online.  Imagine if those police agencies started to post their license plate captures online... that would cause quite an uproar.

sol

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #42 on: April 06, 2017, 03:46:06 PM »
Imagine if those police agencies started to post their license plate captures online... that would cause quite an uproar.

In privacy circles, people are usually more worried about what the government can do than what the public can do. 

For example, a random citizen peering through your car windows with his face pressed against the glass might be strange, but a police officer doing it is conducting an illegal search.

I can set my phone to log every wifi network in town as I drive around, cracking the weakly encrypted ones, and I'm just a curious citizen hobbyist.  When the NSA does that, they need a warrant.

When an evangelist rings your doorbell to talk about your sins, you are mildly annoyed.  When an FBI agent does it, you're scared.

So I don't really understand the argument that plate logging is fine for the cops, but not me.  Unless it's the doxing (publication) that is the problem, and not the collection of data for private use?

Valhalla

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #43 on: April 06, 2017, 03:51:20 PM »
Imagine if those police agencies started to post their license plate captures online... that would cause quite an uproar.

In privacy circles, people are usually more worried about what the government can do than what the public can do. 

For example, a random citizen peering through your car windows with his face pressed against the glass might be strange, but a police officer doing it is conducting an illegal search.

I can set my phone to log every wifi network in town as I drive around, cracking the weakly encrypted ones, and I'm just a curious citizen hobbyist.  When the NSA does that, they need a warrant.

When an evangelist rings your doorbell to talk about your sins, you are mildly annoyed.  When an FBI agent does it, you're scared.

So I don't really understand the argument that plate logging is fine for the cops, but not me.  Unless it's the doxing (publication) that is the problem, and not the collection of data for private use?
Another example I brought up earlier was Google doing it, and yet they blur out license plates and faces.  Unless Google is a government agency, I'm not sure what you're referring to?

Also, I believe people here are referring to those people who post their own cars online, and blurring their own license plates, an even more specific scenario than what you or I are talking about.    I've never seen someone blur out a stranger's car plates in photos or videos posted online, unless the subject was about that specific person.  For example, in many reality TV shows, they blur out license plates, even for rental cars...I guess to prevent crazy stalkers trying to follow some celebrity based on license plates or something.

I think perhaps you're confusing several issues into one?
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 03:53:11 PM by Valhalla »

Eric

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #44 on: April 06, 2017, 04:38:24 PM »
My name is David. There, I said it, you now know who I am.

Hi David.  I'm Eric.  Nice to meet you.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #45 on: April 06, 2017, 04:47:09 PM »
My name is David. There, I said it, you now know who I am.

Hi David.  I'm Eric.  Nice to meet you.

I'll never reveal even my first name here.

Eric

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #46 on: April 06, 2017, 04:52:30 PM »
I'm pretty convinced that even if someone managed to track me down in real life, the conclusion they would come to is not that I have a bunch of money stashed away, but instead that I'm an online fraud who is actually poor but just pretends to be rich on the internet.

Valhalla

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #47 on: April 06, 2017, 05:00:01 PM »
I'm pretty convinced that even if someone managed to track me down in real life, the conclusion they would come to is not that I have a bunch of money stashed away, but instead that I'm an online fraud who is actually poor but just pretends to be rich on the internet.
If they track me down, they'll feel so sorry for me they'll end up giving me money.  :D

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #48 on: April 06, 2017, 06:04:43 PM »
There are quite a few posters here who use real names. If you want to lift the veil, no one is stopping you from doing so for yourself.  but why would you need other people to do it as well?  Unless you think that there is safety (anonymity) in large numbers.

I have an unusual last name, to the point where if you combine my first and last name I am the only "me" that I can see.  yup I'm not changing from Neverrun.

kite

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Re: Being Anonymous - Maybe it's not for me...
« Reply #49 on: April 07, 2017, 07:11:37 AM »
Anonymity is mustachian. 
Being mustachian is the opposite of signaling your net-worth.  It's about NOT being the guy who pulls up to the traffic light in a car that announces how much he can afford.  We know who MMM is by now, but that doesn't change the underlying principle of leveraging obfuscation to your own mustachian advantage.
Peel back the veil and announce to the world who you are and what you can afford, and more sophisticated psychological manipulation than you've ever dreamed of will conspire to separate you from your cash.  Actually, they've been conspiring all along.  But to couple financial transparency with a declaration of your vulnerability is to invite criminal mischief.  Even here, in the cozy community of the MMM forum. 

We each have a public self.  Many of our professional lives and hobbies have, by necessity, a public image or brand.  If you want to be out, and be your public self on message boards, you really need to ensure everything you do aligns with the brand.  Social media is unforgiving.  Read "So you've been publicly shamed" for descriptions of just how awful it can get and the lengths people need to go to to restore their image.