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Glossary » anonymity


the ability to participate in interactions with other people without being identified. Anonymity can be at various levels, including hiding a person’s name and other characteristics, such as age and gender; from simply making their name accessible but nonobvious, to helping to make sure that the person is entirely untraceable, and that no identifying information about them is ever available.

Anonymity can be useful for protecting people’s privacy and security. Anonymity can also help people participate in conversations without fear of reprisal (helping to encourage open and honest discussions) and with less concern for being stereotyped based on their identity or characteristics.

Anonymity creates potentials for abuse. While on the one hand, it can protect people from targeted harassment, it can also protect people who harass from being identified. It can create security problems, and is inappropriate for certain security situations. It also causes problems in situations where someone needs to take responsibility and be held accountable, as in cases where people’s safety is involved.