How Anonymous IS Anonymous

credit: gnuckx

credit: gnuckx

Since announcing The Anonymous Project, I’ve answered a lot of questions about the anonymity of anonymous.

I can reassure hopeful participants via personal emails, but I wanted to make a more public record of how I’m structuring the process, so that readers and writers alike can be sure of the anonymity.

(Wracking my brain right now for a synonym for anonymous…not coming up with anything.)

When a person in interested in contributing to TAP, I email the DropBox link to a folder called The Anonymous Project. (Apt, right?) They then join the folder, and I get an email telling me that they have joined the folder. I also get emails notifying me when a file has been uploaded by a user.

Depending on how other members of the folder have configured their DropBox settings, they may or may not also get these emails. We are basically running on the honor system. I’m asking every participant to keep their dirty little mitts off any files that don’t expressly belong to them. Or basically, to simply ignore any emails from DropBox regarding this folder.

In addition, once a file is uploaded, I will do  (and have been doing)  my utmost to get the files out of the folder as quickly as possible, lowering the temptation and increasing a sense of anonymity.

Clearly I know who the contributors are, and if I bothered, I could take note of who wrote which piece, but I am dedicated to keeping this a safe place. Therefore, I’m doing my human best to ignore who has uploaded which files. I download them to my computer and rename them for use on the project.

There were a number of loopholes I had to think through to start this project. Being anonymous online is hard, yo. I suppose trolls and the like have mastered this skill, but either I’d make a lousy criminal or my skill set is lacking. Short of everyone setting up shell email and DropBox accounts—and by all means, do so if you feel it’s necessary—exchanging any kind of personal information is at least a tiny risky.

With that in mind, I want to thank the droves of you I’ve talked with in the past week. I know you have a hard story to tell. I know you are worried someone will find out you wrote this thing. I know, too, that you’ve kept the story burning inside and it is banging against your body to escape. So, kudos. This is about trust as much as it is about story and truth, and I am thankful that you feel this is a safe place.

So looking forward to this project.