Why So Many Anonymous Posts?

Hey guys....been curious about this for a while and wanted to open this up for discussion. 

Why do so many people post on here anonymously? 

To begin with, WSO is already an online forum with anonymous screen names. Adding an additional layer of anonymity seems a bit much. I understand using an extra layer of anonymity if you want to discuss something controversial or very personal that could give away your real identity. But, I look at the anonymous posts and 80% of them are not very controversial opinions.

Have we gotten to a point in society where we're even afraid of giving non-controversial opinions on an anonymous online forum??? That's just crazy. In a way, I think it says something pretty frightening about our state of the world.

As a very opinionated member of the community who has no interest in this level of anonymity, help me understand this. 

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Comments (104)

Apr 30, 2021 - 4:13pm

I wish we had a meter of % anonymous posts on a single thread. The anonymous meter. Some threads nowadays are like 60-80% seemingly. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Apr 30, 2021 - 4:17pm

That's exactly what I'm saying! It's insane. I get that, if the post is on political correctness or politics, it would be 60-80% anonymous.  But why almost every post?

And kudos to you man for always using your name (even when sometimes you shouldn't). I'm kinda like you as well.

Apr 30, 2021 - 4:29pm

NoEquityResearch

That's exactly what I'm saying! It's insane. I get that, if the post is on political correctness or politics, it would be 60-80% anonymous.  But why almost every post?

And kudos to you man for always using your name (even when sometimes you shouldn't). I'm kinda like you as well.

haha thanks bro yeah I am not allowed to post anonymous. I'm not sure why some people are allowed to post anonymous, but if you put Other - Other, you're blocked from using that feature. Doesn't really seem fair as there were definitely 2 threads where I would have preferred to post anonymously.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 30, 2021 - 4:38pm

Prob because I read a post not two days ago where a guy was talking about looking someone up on LinkedIn.  Weird af

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  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Apr 30, 2021 - 4:39pm

An extra layer of protection can never hurt, as some of us have posted here long enough that there is enough identifiable information that a really dedicated lunatic could piece together and track you down, if they really wanted to.  What if posting something totally innocent and normal today is potentially life-ruining ten years from now?  Like if you told me in 2011 that we'd be tearing down statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln... 

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Apr 30, 2021 - 7:32pm

Basically this. Finance is a small world, hell I got work experience by putting together who another user was from various comments they'd made and cold emailing them about an internship.

May 1, 2021 - 12:46pm

I recently sat down with an MD for an interview and he looked at my resume and looked at me and then said "You're Isaiah aren't you."

jk jk jk lol lol 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Funniest
May 1, 2021 - 5:21pm

The name may not be necessary depending on the dress shirt (or lack of) that Isaiah 53:5 chooses to wear to his interview.

Array

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May 1, 2021 - 9:17pm

Monty Burns

That would be hilarious. Although if I were an MD on WSO and were interviewing an older looking guy named Isaiah I would definitely be intrigued

Am pretty sure that is not his name, but it's a reference to a Bible verse. 

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Apr 30, 2021 - 4:44pm

Love that two people just made anonymous responses with non-controversial answers.  I hope you guys were doing that as a joke!

I totally agree that there are times where you might want to hide your trail, but I see the anonymous function used even beyond that on completely neutral comments that couldn't incriminate you at all.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 30, 2021 - 4:47pm

Honestly because if you piece together enough threads, you can start to find out who people are...

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 30, 2021 - 4:55pm

I made some incredibly stupid/cringe posts a while back that I can't delete for whatever reason. If I post anon, no one will be able to see them. Additionally, if you read enough posts/comments of a person you can piece who they are. I'd rather not have that happen to me.

I know this might come off as rude or abrasive, but I promise you that's not my intention: why is this something that bothers you?

Apr 30, 2021 - 5:34pm

It doesn't bother me. I'm just trying to understand the psychology behind it. 

Also, I still have not heard an explanation on why people do it when there is no way to tie them to a comment, and the comment is not controversial.  That's what I find really strange.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 30, 2021 - 5:51pm

I'm no psychologist, but I think people just feel safer behind that extra layer of protection. Maybe it's justified, maybe it's not, but I think that's what it is.

It's not so much that everything people might say is controversial, it's that it's revealing. Take a guy like Isaiah for example (nothing against him, he's just the first dude that came to mind). You click on his profile and scroll through his comments and posts for about 10 minutes alongside Google, I'm pretty sure you can figure out who he is. Might take a little longer for others if they don't post as much, but if I only post anon, the chances of anyone doing this to me become 0.

Apr 30, 2021 - 5:04pm

-

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 30, 2021 - 5:20pm

Saying thing A on one thread is fine. Saying thing B on another thread is fine too. But when you are not anonymous it suddenly becomes A + B because ur name links the two together. When this builds up, you can literally stitch a story together. Thus, anonymity.

Apr 30, 2021 - 6:10pm

I don't give a fuck but understand why people would care, I figured out who one guy was off of here one time, so don't really have a problem with it. What's funny is some of the people with usernames are posting way 'worse' stuff than the people who post anonymously and are scared lol

Apr 30, 2021 - 6:11pm

Liberals have created an atmosphere of terror and everyone is afraid of losing their job for pointing out obvious flaws in the woke theology.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Cov
Apr 30, 2021 - 6:11pm

Thread about target colleges and banking: "I attended a no-name state school in the Midwest..."

Thread about career trajectory: "I worked at GS/MS/JPM and moved to a MF for two years..."

Thread about something to do with race or being a minority: "As someone who comes from a racial minority..."

The first two threads already could have enough info to dox someone, especially if a student comes from that no-name state school, where everyone at that school talks about that one guy who is at a MF

Btw, no offense to state or no-name schools. Was just using them as an example to prove the point above. 

May 3, 2021 - 1:03pm

Thread about target colleges and banking: "I attended a no-name state school in the Midwest..."

Thread about career trajectory: "I worked at GS/MS/JPM and moved to a MF for two years..."

Thread about something to do with race or being a minority: "As someone who comes from a racial minority..."

The first two threads already could have enough info to dox someone, especially if a student comes from that no-name state school, where everyone at that school talks about that one guy who is at a MF

Btw, no offense to state or no-name schools. Was just using them as an example to prove the point above. 

Who cares if you get "doxxed".  Just don't say anything on this site you wouldn't say to someone in person, it's that easy.

May 3, 2021 - 1:11pm

Ozymandia

Thread about target colleges and banking: "I attended a no-name state school in the Midwest..."

Thread about career trajectory: "I worked at GS/MS/JPM and moved to a MF for two years..."

Thread about something to do with race or being a minority: "As someone who comes from a racial minority..."

The first two threads already could have enough info to dox someone, especially if a student comes from that no-name state school, where everyone at that school talks about that one guy who is at a MF

Btw, no offense to state or no-name schools. Was just using them as an example to prove the point above. 

- expand -

Who cares if you get "doxxed".  Just don't say anything on this site you wouldn't say to someone in person, it's that easy.

I don't really get what you're saying because most people talk to their friends and family different from boss.

Array

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May 4, 2021 - 12:11pm

neink

Liberals have created an atmosphere of terror and everyone is afraid of losing their job for pointing out obvious flaws in the woke theology.

You need to find a different hobby, other than to be paranoid about how liberals have ruined the world

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Apr 30, 2021 - 7:27pm

d

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
  • Developer in RE - Res
Apr 30, 2021 - 7:30pm

Why does it matter? The content of the post is the same either way, and you can engage with the argument whether you know who wrote it or not.

When people complain about anonymous posters, the subtext of their complaint is usually "I don't like what you're saying because it contradicts my political views, and instead of trying to prove you wrong I want you to be doxxed and fired from your job."

Apr 30, 2021 - 7:33pm

Why does it matter? The content of the post is the same either way

B.S.

-

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Apr 30, 2021 - 7:53pm

Anonymity:

-
 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Apr 30, 2021 - 10:04pm

Why does it matter? The content of the post is the same either way

Currently a 100% anonymous thread (until Goldie shows up):

https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/Howanyofyouguyshavetriedmicrodos…

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 30, 2021 - 9:46pm

I legitimately do not understand how some of you don't see how easy it is to piece together who someone is through their post history.

Apr 30, 2021 - 10:05pm

Yeah, I guess it depends on the person.  I don't go anon, but I'm a lot more careful with identifying information.  I've never mentioned my city of residence or my industry or my exact college or the banks that I've worked at.  Without those pieces of information, it becomes much much harder to track someone down.

May 4, 2021 - 2:03pm

NoEquityResearch

Yeah, I guess it depends on the person.  I don't go anon

I think you mean you can't go anon.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • PM in HF - Other
Apr 30, 2021 - 11:10pm

Truly I do not blame any of more senior folks posting anonymously. There was that thread on "PE net worth" in that thread 2-3 people basically explained they had done very well and how the carry/math works at a UMM/MF firm with good success. Then we had 5 threads where literally the quest was to prove the math for high comp and how to get there, even when certified posters said stop this exercise it was pried and pushed further. Again if people had due dilli skills the damn net worth thread has the math kids. Then we had 2-3 threads on Apollo culture and again attacks happened to certified users till finally someone literally pointed out a partner on linkedin who is not so nice. Then we had 50 threads on what school should I go to, does XYZ UMM/MF have people from this school after GS/MS. I do not blame anyone not wanting to create breadcrumb trail where only way to get through to high school senoirs is to literally tell them google this exact not so nice PE partner. 

So really you gotta think if some people are going to make 15 diff threads on how to make 8 figures, and then ask what school and what firm this is. Just how motivated is this person...

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
May 1, 2021 - 12:18am

I got my offer pulled because they tracked a post back to me. Nothing even particularly bad in the post. They were so vindictive that even though they saw the post well in advance, they waited until right before my job was supposed to start to pull, which obviously screwed me over quite a bit. This was a well known MM IB firm.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Cov
May 1, 2021 - 3:53am

The only firm I know that can do something like this is FT Partners. One time someone posted something particularly bad about the firm on this site and the CEO went around the office trying to blame certain people and see how they'd react to try to find the person.

Everytime a thread is made about FT Partners, it's pretty obvious that someone from the firm (either HR or CEO but most likely CEO) is posting and trying to defend the firm. Because the firm got called out for creating false 5 star reviews on Glassdoor, they've started creating 4 star reviews to try to make it "seem more real."

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
May 1, 2021 - 12:31pm

I hesitated to call out the firm here because they would instantly know who I am, but I decided that at this point in my life, if I still let that ridiculous incident control me, then I would lose a little bit of respect for myself. 

It was Stifel / KBW. I got my offer pulled because I asked on WSO whether or not people thought the brand / firm has declined due to the acquisition since there seemed to be some issues with integrating the two entities. 

They should be embarrassed about how they handled it. 

May 1, 2021 - 8:59am

I dislike the anonymous feature and have never used it.  I agree that it makes no sense because this is already an anonymous forum.  Outside of WSO, I am a very public person and I want it that way because it leads to business.  If you do not give out your social security number or credit card card info, I am not sure what the concern is here.  Some people use it as a cover to freely insult others without consequences.  For me, I do not get anything out of insulting other people  but some people thrive on it. I might say something sarcastic in a joking way, but that is about it.  

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May 1, 2021 - 3:00pm

It sounds like you don't like the fact that people are posting uncontroversial opinions anonymously, but if you remove this layer of anonymity, wouldn't that further reduce the number of controversial opinions that people do post anonymously? Also, it's just an alternative to making throwaways which is what most people do on anonymous forums anyhow that don't have a built-in anonymizing feature like wso

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

May 1, 2021 - 3:09pm

Yes exactly. However, I don't want to remove the anonymous function. I think it has legitimate uses and helps drive conversation. I just wish people voluntarily wouldn't use it when it isn't necessary.  Also, I feel like it helps build community when you're not responding to a bunch anon accounts in regular non-controversial conversation.

May 1, 2021 - 8:03pm

I only post anonymously because if anyone I know were to find out I'm as active as I am on WSO they would definitely make fun of me, and I feel like over many different posts/comments I may slip up and give away too much identifying info (school, group, etc) 

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
May 2, 2021 - 8:59am

Not sure why anyone would make fun of you for contributing to an online community of people who are trying to help each other out in their careers

May 2, 2021 - 10:59am

User836

Not sure why anyone would make fun of you for contributing to an online community of people who are trying to help each other out in their careers

Yeah, anyone whose purpose here is to make fun of you, is an asshole

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May 2, 2021 - 10:58am

notnotGS

I only post anonymously because if anyone I know were to find out I'm as active as I am on WSO they would definitely make fun of me, and I feel like over many different posts/comments I may slip up and give away too much identifying info (school, group, etc) 

You should not want to interact with people who are going to make fun of you anyway

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  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
May 2, 2021 - 8:58am

I would think depends on intent. If a person is saying something they aren't too proud of, then maybe they should be anonymous. Alternatively, if a person thinks that they may just want to help others and provide helpful, like charity comments or give back to others, maybe it is also better to be anonymous because then it's like more pure charity because they don't want any personal credit or honor for giving the charity. It's like it's a higher form of charity to donate anonymously as opposed to having them write your name on the building if you are cool with that. It makes the charity about the receiver and how they deserve the charity as opposed to about the giver and them wanting others to think potentially they are this great, charitable person

but that's just an idea idk

May 3, 2021 - 5:18am

I've never used the anonymous feature but I understand why it exists. I like to think that every post I have made on this forum - and there have been thousands - have always been respectful and mature in a way that I wouldn't be ashamed of it. That doesn't mean I want people on the forums to know who I am, just that I'm comfortable with the degree of risk.

I do agree that it is overused. WSO is very much a community and part of the motivation to post and provide advice is the feeling that you're providing advice to other members of the community. Answering requests from "burner" accounts or anonymous posters takes away from this element of the community. I find it particularly frustrating when someone DMs me from a burner account to remain anonymous. If you want private, tailored advice ... at least have the decency to use your anonymous account name. I have been on this website for 15 years and have better things to do than track down a banking analyst.

I would encourage people not to use it except in circumstances where you are publicly revealing identifiable information. 

CompBanker

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May 3, 2021 - 9:03am

100% agree with everything you said. Also, I've thought about the risk as well. Worst case scenario, people find out my thoughts and opinions if they care to read through my hundreds of comments. I stand by everything that I say on this website. If someone wants to persecute me for my opinions, that's a bad reflection of them, not of me.

May 4, 2021 - 10:05am

BoBandy

One major benefit of the anonymous feature is that I look at posts more objectively not knowing who the author is.

Fair point but I would argue that in the majority of cases you want to know the source of the comment. For example, for many years (perhaps still?) there was an individual, Brady4MVP, who praised HBS to the extreme. Knowing his track record of supporting HBS was important when assessing his feedback about various MBA programs. While objectively assessing content can be beneficial, it can be a dangerous path to go down on this website in particular.

CompBanker

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  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
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  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
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