Share this content
0
19
1716

To AccountingWeb re anonymous postings

With reference to this afternoon's email, I must ask that you DO NOT reveal the names of anonymous posters in any circumstances. I have just spent about an hour undertaking the procedure that you have outlined and have only so far found about 15 of possibly hundreds of comments that I have made over the years. It is easy to miss some as the name obviously does not appear and it is only possible to find postings I have made by looking for the "edit" box and you then have to go back to the list of postings to see if there are any others. In many cases I have made multiple comments so this is extremely laborious.

It also seems to be impossible to edit the original posting, although I could be missing something here and it is unclear from your email whether this is necessary.

Many AWeb contributors have posted anonymously for important reasons of confidentiality. Identification of the commentator could in some cases give rise to the identification of the client concerned (perhaps the client will recognise himself or the Revenue will be able to identify particular cases). This could have VERY SERIOUS consequences, especially in relation to money laundering queries, tax avoidance questions etc.

Surely there must be some way that your programmers can give a blanket facility to anonymise the previous postings. In the meantime I would ask in the strongest possible terms that you do not publish names of posters by 5pm 22 June 2009 as you have threatened.

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By Anonymous
19th Jun 2009 19:30

Reputation Damage
You are in danger of destroying the value of these forums. Very poorly executed.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
19th Jun 2009 19:38

Echo
Do AccountingWeb not realise that many people may be on holiday at the moment, and therefore unaware of the imminent publication of their names? As for the request that one should edit every single post ever made - absolute nonsense!

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
19th Jun 2009 19:43

Cannot agree any more....disguted with Acc Web!!
This is absolutely ludicrous, and many people will feel that their practice and professional reputation is being put on the line.

Please, please Acc Web, consider your position.

Can I ask...who did you take advice from in terms of system upgrade and this issue?

Please reconsider

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
19th Jun 2009 19:48

Rebecca - please read these posts
I like many others have been replying sympathetically in the past to readers who are in tricky situations that we all find ourselves in from time to time.

We provide professional and educated replies that sometimes entail an elememt of decision making and hence risk to the OPs but often comment on our own scenarios.

I would be VERY deeply upset if this "threat" is followed through

Please, reconsider

Concerned Accountant

Thanks (0)
avatar
20th Jun 2009 07:36

Missing something?

Quote:
It also seems to be impossible to edit the original posting, although I could be missing something here

In the thread immediately preceding this one I was the original poster. I am able to edit that post. Two tabs appear at the top of the post "View" and "Edit". These tabs only appear to the original poster. So yes, I think you may be mssing something.

I have to say that I find the whole storm a little unbelievable.

An individual wants to make a post, which could have serious financial consequences for him personally if his identity were traced. So he creates an account on AWeb in which he (duh!) enters his real name as the user ID, contrary to industry standard recommended practice in EVERY SINGLE bulletin board since time immemorial (that is 3rd September 1189). At that time he probably does not even know that the ID would be suppressed in the post, (a unique practice)

It all sounds a bit far fetched. Anyway, the solution is to flag by software as anonymous all posts made prior to the upgrade, by default, and allow the poster the option to override individually on a case by case basis

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
20th Jun 2009 07:57

Breach of contract
When allowing a poster to post anonymously AWEB entered into a binding contract.
Therefore any susequent breach of that contract (without a court order demanding disclosure) would allow the contributor to seek damages from AWEB.

Thanks (0)
avatar
20th Jun 2009 09:48

Breach of Contract????
You're yanking our collective chain. Where was the consideration? How can someone posting on AccountingWeb be so ill-versed in contract law?
Did you even bother to read the conditions of membership under the old system? Those conditions stated that anonymous postings, while technically impossible to police and in practice overlooked, were a breach of the terms of membership. If you wanted to post anonymously you were invited contact the AWeb staff who would accommodate your request. I doubt that anyone bothered to do that given the ease with which the site rule could be circumvented. And that is before you even start looking at the caveats and legal disclaimers that were plastered all over the place.

Anyway, I only know you as "welsh_dragon". How on earth am I supposed to extrapolate any personal details about you from that?

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

Thanks (0)

What about those whose log in dissapeared during the switch-over
I had to re-register so presumably I can't now edit previous posts?

Thanks (0)
avatar
21st Jun 2009 18:22

Please try not to worry
We are looking very closely at the comments made on site and have no intention of revealing anonymous posts. However, we need to work with you find a solution that both allows those that wish to be identified to have their say and protects those that wish to stay anonymous. Staying on the old platform was not a solution, as it was becoming increasingly unmanageable. In fact, as Clint points out, the only reason the old platform allowed 'anonymous posts' was because it unintentionally allowed members to circumvent the software. That said we want to work with members to create a 'genuine' solution that will enhance the functionality. There are number of additional things that we can try and we intend to explore all possibilities before we instigate any deadline - so bear with us.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
22nd Jun 2009 10:23

Account access
I can no longer access my "old" account - my user name is not accepted and the email address it recognises is one I altered years ago (and aweb have been using the new one).

It would therefore be impossible for me now to edit my old posts (I have created a new id).

I wonder if others have had the same problem.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
22nd Jun 2009 11:23

Can't do it
It might be me but Steve's e.mail says

"All the comments and questions you have made on AccountingWEB.co.uk are listed on your profile page"

I can't see any, what am i doing wrong and yes i have logged on.

Thanks (0)
avatar
22nd Jun 2009 12:00

It's not you - we are looking at another solution
Following concerns from members over the weekend we have temporarily disabled the profiles to prevent any chance of users being identified with comments while we look at alternative solutions. We will keep you informed of any further changes. If the solution requires any action from members we will give you plenty of time to make the requisite changes.

Steve Roth
Managing Editor, AccountingWEB.co.uk

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
22nd Jun 2009 12:16

Thanks - from Can't do it.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
22nd Jun 2009 12:24

Give us time to make changes?
In my case that means making manual amendments to 100 questions and 1400 answers.
How much time do you think I will need for that?

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
22nd Jun 2009 12:55

resign from accounting web
I have thought of resigning from accounting web if that is possible and re register with another name.
Would all my original posts/answers disappear.
Editorial team please advise

Thanks (0)
avatar
22nd Jun 2009 12:43

Hold fire - we may avoid the need for manual changes
Without going into too much technical detail, although the old system linked user activity to your profile, it also allowed you to manually override this association. However the database did not record what was written in the override field. That is why we originally asked for cooperation - some people will have used the field to create anonymity and other will have used it to present a pseudonym. However, it may be possible - and we are investigating this as I write - to isolate entries where the field was altered - albeit we cannot tell what was written there - and make those all those comments anonymous. If possible, this will make more comments anonynous that is strictly necessary, ie where there was a pseudonym, but will address the issue of anonymity for past comments and will allow us to restore the new functionality. We will keep you updated.

Steve Roth
Managing Editor, AccountingWEB

Thanks (0)
avatar
22nd Jun 2009 13:04

See above
I would hold off while we find a solution. Currently all the functionality which would allow you to be identified is turned off. We will keep you posted.

Steve Roth
Managing Editor, AccountingWEB.co.uk

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
22nd Jun 2009 13:55

Steve - I fear that you may be wrong
Steve Roth says "Currently all the functionality which would allow you to be identified is turned off." So why am I continuing to receive emails that give a list of contributors' user names along with the title of their posting? Surely they can't all have omitted to elect to anonymise their posts?

Thanks (0)
avatar
22nd Jun 2009 16:49

Addressed
Alerts now say Accountingweb member, not the username.

Thanks (0)