Deano’s answer to: “What are the reasons why people choose to ask and answer questions anonymously on Quora?”

This is just the people I've polled this week on the matter:

  • Answering honestly required revealing details heretofore unknown about said user's bust size, which then may cause other unknown effects on her participation in the site, and/or future career development pathing.
  • The feeling that the question was "silly" or "non-serious", and thus to provide a good and congruent answer may in some way diminish the user's "credibility" across the rest of the site.
  • Similarly, that the user always answers anonymously by default, outside a few specific areas of expertise, in order to both keep their feeds/stats "clean" to other users, and focus/increase the consistency and pedigree of their answers.
  • User accidentally answered anonymously unwittingly, or to test the option, and was unclear how to revert the answer to public, or if that was even possible.

Overall, based on larger examination and feedback since I joined Quora in January, I'd say that there are four main reasons to answer or ask a question anonymously:

  1. The potential to reveal personal details about one's personal history/physiology/traumatic past.
  2. The idea that one might be taken less seriously by posting more "fun" questions and answers under one's own name.
  3. For some, a fear that their more "extreme" personal expression might be frowned upon, and if that expression was linked to a known account, that overall perception of the user would be negative, reducing follower count/interaction with everyone else on Quora.
  4. For questions specifically – a fear that one's reputation/stature on Quora and the Internet at large might alter the objectivity of answers and up/down votes, when one is more interested in said answers, than in "looking good".

What are the reasons why people choose to ask and answer questions anonymously on Quora?

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