Undisclosed Posting - Right and Wrong

By: John Honovich, Published on Aug 11, 2013

One of IPVM's most powerful features is to post undisclosed, enabling people to hide their name publicly while allowing IPVM to review and vet who submitted a post.

Benefits

There are many occasions when both the poster and the community benefit from undisclosed posting:

  • End users regularly want help specifying new systems, but do not want to be bombarded with sales calls. By posting undisclosed, they can get real advice from us and fellow members without being solicited or stalked (see examples here, here and here).
  • Integrators often look for new product lines but do not want to offend or tip off their current suppliers. Posting undisclosed allows them to get many people's inputs while they do their research.
  • Manufacturer employees often have information to contribute but are afraid of offending their employer as it might go against their marketing position or partnerships, etc. This frees knowledgeable insiders to make disclosures they would be unable to do so otherwise.
  • Some companies bar their employees entirely from posting on the Internet about any work related topic, good or bad, right or wrong. Allowing them to post undisclosed enables them to contribute without fear of punishment.

Submitting an Undisclosed Post

Any member can post at any time. By default, the member's name is automatically appended to the comment. However, we offer an option to keep one's name undisclosed, as shown in the image below.

By checking that box, the comment's name field will say "Undisclosed", like so:

Not Anonymous

However, these posts are not anonymous as they often are in forums or message boards. That fosters crazy behavior with people empowered to say whatever they want without fear of being exposed. We do not allow that.

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IPVM Vets Undisclosed Posts

IPVM internally can see who each 'undisclosed' poster is. We review whether those posts are acceptable. If not, we reach out to the poster privately and ask them whether they want to disclose their name or have us delete the comment.

Not Allowed - Undisclosed Supporting Your Company's Position

If you post a comment that supports your company's position, you must disclose your name so that others can understand that this is not from a third party.

For example: On a post about one's competitor or oneself, a manufacturer employee may criticize a competitor or endorse their own offering but they have to disclose their name (we will also add a note on the affiliation to make it even clearer).

However, integrators or end users may post undisclosed. Also, manufacturers making solely technical points or not taking a position may post undisclosed.

We want to balance empowering people to comment when they otherwise would worry about retaliation from their employers or powerful people. However, we will not allow this to be used for hidden promotions.

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