I don't mind there being any person with any userid-- I myself go by a code name here, even though my real name and identity are decipherable from my Profile.

But my problem is when I see someone with name "Anonymous", is this a long-time registered user, or the default name of every person who chooses to be shy? If it's the former case, I don't have a problem. If it's the latter, this seems a poor practice.

  • 2
    Reputation gives a hint. New users start with a reputation of 1 or 101. Of course, one can be a long time lurker or almost-lurker and not gain much reputation. The url for the user profile includes the user number for the site (e.g., Caleb is user30, Andrew Leach is user1377, pterandon is user2212, I am user3331), not that hovering over the profile link to see the url is quick (or practical on a touch interface!). Jul 3 '13 at 21:21

There is precisely one Anonymous user.

We have Anonymous, Anonymous181 and infoholic_anonymous.

Real anonymous users have a username like user12345. We appear to have 140 of them, although some have identifying Gravatars. [That search lists 143 at present, but three are real names featuring the word user.]

  • "Not that there's anything wrong with that"
    – pterandon
    Jul 3 '13 at 12:42
  • Indeed. This answer endeavours to present amoral facts. Jul 3 '13 at 12:44
  • 2
    Does your day job by any chance include being a DBA?
    – Caleb
    Jul 4 '13 at 11:04
  • 1
    @Caleb Yes! Is it that obvious? Jul 4 '13 at 11:10
  • 3
    Did you read your own answer ;-) Short of writing it in SQL I'm not sure how much more obvious you could have made it.
    – Caleb
    Jul 4 '13 at 11:14

In the history of the site we have had several users with the moniker "Anonymous". Likewise I know we've had at least three "Atheist". Most of these have at one point or another given up on the handle and resorted to other aliases.

The SE user system does not guarantee unique user names. This is pretty much a free text string. There is, for example, another high rep user on some sites that I use named "Caleb". You will even find our posts and comments side by side in a few places. Comments in particular are difficult to follow.

For posts, the user card almost always shows a gravatar. This is either a user supplied image or a special geometric pattern developed based on the users supplied email address. Since two different users aren't going to have the same email address, no two gravatars are likely to be alike. This is the basic way to tell them apart. In the case your your Anonymous, he has a very distinctive gravatar.

In some rare cases, (notably when people get carried away over on M.SO or when servers are too well behaved for two long over at ServerFault) you will see multiple users deliberately using the same gravatar. This is, well, just silly and stupid. Now you know what I think of that. Thankfully most of the historic culprits have come back to their senses (and their regular gravatars).

    – TRiG
    Jul 4 '13 at 10:56

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