The Anonymity DebateMar122014
The ongoing debate over whether users should be allowed to remain anonymous on social websites isn’t black and white. While public profiles allow for greater transparency and open dialogue, the risk of harassment, both online and in real life, is of major concern.
On the flipside, anonymous posting allows users to feel more comfortable sharing their opinions, but also encourages improper behavior for some, due to the lack of serious consequence (aside from being banned on the site).
We believe there is no right or wrong answer to this debate. However, many users have brought into question whether or not we should adopt more stringent authentication policies for users to sign-in and use EveryBlock.
Currently, users can sign up for EveryBlock in three ways: directly on the site, via Facebook, and via Twitter. Those who sign up via Facebook and Twitter are directly linked to those profiles. Those who sign up directly on the site create their profile at the same time. They can choose whether or not to use their real name and information.
Part of the debate is whether or not people have been educated enough to act smartly online. There are guidelines on EveryBlock (and other sites) that always encourage users to refrain from posting personal data on public forums, whether that be a photo, phone number, address, or place of work. This also includes information like your schedule (ex: I go to Starbucks on Michigan Ave. every morning at 7). Often times, those who run in to trouble online could avoid it by simply acting smartly and not oversharing.
We know that some situations are inevitable. There will always be people online who seek to do harm and invade the privacy of others. Obviously, we work hard to make sure those types of people are banned from using the site. But we also look to you as the EveryBlock Community to help us maintain levels of decency and security (ex: the unneighborly button, the feedback form).
We’d like your feedback on how we can make EveryBlock a balance between open, constructive dialogue, while still protecting the privacy of those who wish to maintain it. Please feel free to reply in the comments, our Feedback Form, or let us know on our Facebook or Twitter pages.