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How to Ask Anonymous Questions

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Check out this step-by-step guide for asking an anonymous question on Experts Exchange.

Today’s world craves mass knowledge on everyone, in every platform, pertaining to any topic linked to you. With a rise in targeted marketing techniques and the creation of behavior analytics systems, our community members crave security, privacy, and anonymity whenever possible. In response to this need, and to continue fostering an environment members can turn to for support, solutions, and education, we created anonymous question capabilities. This new feature is available to our Premium Members, Team Accounts, and Qualified Experts!


Anonymous questions allow for ultimate anonymity by replacing users’ display names and avatars with our anonymous avatar, coupled with a text string detailing the anonymous submission of the content. As an added layer of protection, anonymous questions can only be viewed by Experts Exchange members and do not appear in common search engine queries. These measures protect our community—not only within our site, but throughout the internet as well.



Excited to test out this new feature? Let’s go over the basics!


Once a user logs in to their Experts Exchange account, they will click the “Ask a Question” button in the upper banner.



Clicking the button takes the user to the page viewed below (also found here).



As with every question submitted to the Experts Exchange community, the user will need to enter a question title, question description, and tag relevant topics.



This question is now ready for submission. But wait! The question relates to private matters and the user fears their competence may be challenged if anyone sees this question linked to their alias. Not a problem! The user simply checks the box next to “Ask this question anonymously” and can ask away, worry free.



By checking this box, the user can feel secure knowing their question will never be linked to their alias on Experts Exchange and will not show up in general Google or Bing search queries.


By logging on, users can also ask anonymous questions from the home feed by clicking into the Post field.



From here, users have the choice to create a Post, question, or anonymous question.



By clicking the box next to “This is a question”, users can create questions for the feed. If they are worried about who may see this inquiry, they can simply click the box next to “Ask this question anonymously”, enter the question title, add question details, and ask away.



This is a new way to ask experts every technology question securely and through two on-site outlets. 


To see a video version of these instructions, click here. Let's go over the basics so you can go ahead and enjoy asking questions anonymously!

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21 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:mikeciszek
Do you have a profile setting - atlways ask anonymously?
0
 
LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:aikimark
You might want to mention how unpopular this feature is among the experts.  What you might gain in popularity might be lost in expert participation.
6
 
LVL 71

Expert Comment

by:Qlemo
If asking an anonymous question, it is more important than ever to provide full context from the start, and use a short but informative title. Experts cannot see the history, so follow-up questions need to be linked, or explained well enough to allow an answer without having the Experts to ask for each and every detail.
5
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Jeff Darling
I think that there may be some pros and cons to this feature.

Pros

  • Privacy for individual
  • Privacy for a corporation and their internal trade secrets
  • People may ask questions they would otherwise be reluctant to ask

Cons

  • Lack of historical info available in other questions user asked
  • Experts may be reluctant to help - various reasons why
  • Lack of accountability
  • unfettered rudeness, criticism etcetera without risk of consequence

Any others?
2
 
LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:Brian B
unfettered rudeness, criticism etcetera without risk of consequence

The mods still know who you are, so response will be the same.
0
 
 

Administrative Comment

by:Craig Kehler
There is already a discussion on how to address the concerns of some experts regarding this feature. There is no need to hunt down other articles or questions that are anonymous and intervene with their normal use. Any attempts to intimidate the use of site features will be moderated.

We are tracking the statistics and there are plenty of experts that don't have any issue answering anonymous questions. In fact people with qualified expert status are asking anonymous questions. As you can see askers find it a valuable feature and we are considering all user's needs.
4
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Jeff Darling
I personally would not use the anonymous feature.  If I don't know something, I'm the first to admit it.
1
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Robb Hill
I prefer anonomous as I dont like to be googled.  I really dont mind if fellow experts know who I am...but the orginal privacy setting was to prevent being searched online.  I have been a member since 2005...and sometimes we ask stupid questions..

The bottom line is I dont want to be searched and look stupid.  I sometimes might ask a question in order to get more experts response as that is part of what I like about the threads...watching all users come together and show best approaches.

Also sometimes 10000 heads is better than 1.

I do think our profiles should be visable to the experts for the purpose of collaboration...but if it means the downside of all my questions being googled..I will be private everytime.

I accidentally posted an unsantized question once....IT was very hard to get the question removed.  I dont want to be in that situation again.

I have been using EE since 2005 and am very happy with it.

I am not however very happy with the idea someone would not post my question just because I am private.  That seems pointless.
1
 
LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:aikimark
@Robb

I don't mind helping a member, but I don't like my help to be limited to that member if I'm going to give that solution effort freely.  I'm here to help the community, not just one person at a time.  If I want to do that, I'll participate in Live and Gigs, getting paid in the process.
0
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Robb Hill
@aikimark

I am all for helping the community.  It was my understanding that anonomous was only to protect from google searches...and it does not prevent it from being viewed by Experts-Exchange members.

I have realized today after someone said something on one of my questions that they didnt understand the reason I posted anonomous.

I mean lets be honest.   I have been here since 2005 and I also participate on Stack overflow.    Why should my questions be less important because you cant see my profile or you cant see what my job title is.   I like the pay part...I might actually do that myself.  

But in the past when I used to answer questions daily I never did it for money, or so everyone else could see my answers..I did it to keep up with learning and helping.

I am a paying member and to be blackballed my other members because I post a private question is not going to be good for this website.

I am fine with paying some cash from time to time when I need help on something....but not because Im anonomous.
1
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Robb Hill
One other note Is I have a secret clearance.  I get  googled as part of my clearance.  So do many of us developers.  Why would I want questions I ask to be googled?   Im fine with questions I answer to be googled.   Heck I have questions back in 2005 about me asking about asp.net 2.0.


I want my privacy and I think there is nothing wrong with it.
1
 

Administrative Comment

by:Modalot
Rob, "anonymous" means "no one knows who I am". What you are talking about wanting to use is "private", and that is what we had prior to getting "anonymous", which goes much further.

All,
This article is not the correct place to discuss pros and cons of this feature. However, it is important to know the difference between "private" (not available anymore - for now) and "anonymous" questions.

If there are questions about the feature not covered already, Customer Support and the Moderators are happy to help.


Modalot
Community Support Moderator

(*** comment edited to show better which part is addressed at all readers***)
0
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Robb Hill
@Modulot:

I am only responding to what others have spoken about in this thread and directed at me directly..have you addressed them?  


Thanks
0
 
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Geert Gruwez
why can't i ask goofy question as anonymous ?

there is no where in this article, stating the question asked anonymously can be goofy, idiotic or anything like that

my goofy question got deleted ... because it was goofy ...
duh ???

i admit, it was of no added value,
but there is no added value to "I have an interesting question with such a description either"
0
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Jeff Darling
@Geert

It is a given that the amount of moderation required will be elevated.  

@Modalot

Where is it appropriate to discuss  this topic?  I think that new users might want to know what pitfalls to watch out for when using EE.

Another con:  Anonymity is not conducive to building relationships.

HOW SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR TEAM
1
 
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Geert Gruwez
the anonymous system is not anonymous
if it would be anonymous, then EE would not have been able to deduce that I created the goofy question and send me a mail about the question

only the asker's name is anonymous towards experts answering the question

i don't see any added value to this way of asking questions
but that's my opinion
0
 

Administrative Comment

by:Modalot
The discussion happens to be at https://www.experts-exchange.com/discussions/218882/Feature-Update-Private-Question-becomes-Ask-Anonymously.html.

Geert,
please discuss that with the one having removed the question. There certainly has been a very good reason to remove it. As it is impossible for anyone to tell anything about the process until we have a link to the question, no one can provide something useful.

All,
we (Mods) cannot see anonymous questions you have asked by looking at your profile. We can, however, go into such a question (e.g. if we have a link, there is a request for attention, ...), and then take additional steps to see the real member. We need to be able to do that for enforcing policies, e.g. if there is rudeness or other stuff not allowed by the Terms of Use. Anonymous questions are bound to the same terms as conventional ones.
0
 
 

Administrative Comment

by:Rob Jurd (eenookami)
Geert,

As Modalot has indicated, please post in the discussion group.  I will be removing any further posts on this topic.

Rob (eenookami)
EE Community Advisor
0
 

Expert Comment

by:Elisabeth Goldberg
While I think this might be a great feature for some users, I personally don't use it as I am not afraid to ask a pertinent question if I need some help.
1
 
LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
anonymous = = untrustworthy, you need to hide something
nowadays, the net is full of abuse because of this anonimosity : foul language use, scolding etc..
i find it a VERY bad idea to promote something like this

and yes - every option, even this one, has it's pro's - you have to weigh them against the cons
1
 

Expert Comment

by:wfcrr
I wish EE would separate this issue into to choices: Anonymous where anonymous is both user hidden and context not searcheable on internet vs Private where user is displayed, but context is no searchable on internet.  

I don't care to post questions anonymously, but, I do want my questions to NOT be searchable on internet, for security purposes.

Yes, I am careful to not post data that would make us vulnerable to attack, but I am a rank novice at IT and am more concerned with ensuring my data discussions are not seen by mean people around the globe.
0

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