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# meta
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Zac Sweers

09/08/2020, 9:12 PM
I’d like to suggest discouraging anonymity here in some formal capacity. These asymmetric engagements are a big part of me feeling mostly uninterested in this slack, as it completely derails the social aspect of it. Also can encourage noisy/spammy throwaways, alt accounts, etc. Especially as this is a formal space for many major projects where the maintainers themselves are not anonymizing themselves. TL;DR this isn’t reddit, other communities I’m in are a lot healthier without people trying to force asymmetric interactions. https://kotlinlang.slack.com/archives/CJLTWPH7S/p1599598988258100
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Shawn

09/08/2020, 9:16 PM
What exactly is an “asymmetric engagement” in this context? Why does it discourage you from contributing to this slack? Do you feel like other people would share the same perspective on the issue?
My perspective as just a user here is that we do sometimes deal with spam and throwaway accounts, but folks are pretty quick to report them and they don’t really derail the vast majority of real discussion here
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Zac Sweers

09/08/2020, 9:18 PM
for the same reason it would be awkward if someone at a meetup or a conference tried to talk to me wearing a mask and a hood with a voice obfuscater
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Shawn

09/08/2020, 9:20 PM
That seems like… kind of an incomplete analogy, no? The vast majority of interactions on the internet are more or less anonymous/obfuscated by default. Someone coming up to you in real life with that kind of gear on is a much more active, deliberate measure
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Zac Sweers

09/08/2020, 9:20 PM
if this was a message board where everyone was using usernames where indirection is the standard, it would be different. This is a Slack community though, the default is for people to fill out their profiles. Not doing so (despite all the edu nudges to do so from the app itself) is just weird
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Shawn

09/08/2020, 9:21 PM
Plus, that’s a one-on-one sort of interaction — you’re more or less “anonymous” at that conference unless you try to talk to someone directly
and at very least you’d be revealing yourself to an individual, rather than a channel with ~32,000 people in it
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Zac Sweers

09/08/2020, 9:23 PM
then don’t join the slack and stick to reddit or similar IMO. Those same people also are unlikely to attend a conf where they’re walking around a with a visible badge with their name on it
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Shawn

09/08/2020, 9:23 PM
Yeah, but it’s not like a random eventgoer can just scrape everyone’s badges by sitting in a talk lol
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Zac Sweers

09/08/2020, 9:24 PM
you can’t just scrape slack communities either
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Shawn

09/08/2020, 9:24 PM
I want to contribute to this community, but I don’t see why I need to let everyone know exactly who I am to do so as long as I’m constructive and not disruptive
No, API access is restricted, for sure, but I mean, we’re not all folks giving talks here and willing to share our broader identities while just helping folks in #general
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Zac Sweers

09/08/2020, 9:26 PM
sure, but it’s awkward to me that you insist on talking to me while also anonymizing yourself. It’s inherently asymmetric, and in a space where the default is to fill out your profile you’re creating this asymmetry with everyone you interact with by default. Multiply that by however many other people, and you have a slack with 30,000 people and so much noise that most of them are inactive and don’t use it
we can agree to disagree, but I think that should be discouraged if the community wants to improve
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Shawn

09/08/2020, 9:29 PM
I just mean that I don’t really understand how it prevents the community from improving, as my personal experience is that, for the most part, it lets more people participate by not having to worry about context that might unfairly color other people’s perceptions
I could go deeper into why I think anonymity is mostly a good thing here but I’m more interested in hearing you elucidate more clearly why you think it hurts us
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Zac Sweers

09/08/2020, 10:01 PM
I’ve really already covered it in several messages above
Also can encourage noisy/spammy throwaways, alt accounts, etc.
These asymmetric engagements are a big part of me feeling mostly uninterested in this slack
other communities I’m in are a lot healthier without people trying to force asymmetric interactions
It’s inherently asymmetric, and in a space where the default is to fill out your profile you’re creating this asymmetry with everyone you interact with by default.
There’s not much more to it than that. Multiply all that by 30k users and you have yourself a fishbowl problem being made 30000x worse by people insisting on obfuscating themselves. This space should be treated like a professional setting, not a random anonymous internet message board. Just asking people to fill out their profiles is a great way to start fixing some of the larger “live stackoverflow” and noise issues of this slack community because people will inherently be more considerate and intentional in what they say. It won’t stop brazen trolls that proudly identify themselves as such (and there are a few here), but it brings the average case up to a better standard.
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