Zero Tolerance on Alt Speculation Needed

@ao_fan asked that I start a thread here.

I propose zero tolerance of alt speculation here.

1 Like

define “alt speculation”. Seems that if you had one id on the ao and another id here, that’s NOT an alt by any definition of alt.

beyond that, I always found the no alt speculating rule to be silly in like 99.9% of cases and i’m not sure i’ve even seen that .1% of cases where it isn’t silly.

I can think of cases where alt speculation could be harmful. For example say a poster has a main account where they post under their real name or a handle where many people know them in real life. I can see why they might want to post something anonymously without someone tying it back to them (say trouble at work, issues with their partner/kids, a problem with substance abuse…).

When people create multiple anonymous handles where they are obviously the same person based on posting style, it does sometimes seem silly to not be able to say anything. This is particularly true when someone creates a sock puppet to argue with or troll another poster.

I’ll defer to the collective on how alt speculation should best be handled.


yes, those people in your first paragraph were the 0.1% of alts I was referring to, but that’s not really why people create alts.

oh actually, i recall someone on the ao DID do that in posting a secret about themselves and i figured out their main id very very fast. if you want to be super anonymous and you’re telling some secret about yourself that you don’t want people to tie back to you, just don’t post it. if you’re a well known poster, your style shows immediately and using an alt won’t hide your identity as well as you think it will.

that’s why on the ao i gave up on thinking that my alts weren’t tied back to me by anyone who paid attention, and also for that reason I haven’t bothered with alts on here. they are pointless outside of if you want to play a character, but not for hiding your main id. that’s not gonna happen.

Almost everything I posted on the AO was under the Arthur Itas account. A bunch of people know who I am IRL. I did have an alt that made a small number of posts (<10 I think) specifically because I wanted anonymity on those issues. Otherwise I never did the alt thing.

to add to that, if you’re good with hiding your identity with an alt and your posting style doesn’t show through, like maybe you were with those alts, there is no need for a rule not linking them because people won’t have figured it out in order to link them.

i think we can have a common sense approach to this too if someone is posting something super personal. if it’s a theme alt, i don’t see why it matters.

just thought of a 2nd incident where someone told something personal and people figured out their main within minutes and I think had the thread deleted. DON’T DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE PEOPLE. YOU WILL BE FIGURED OUT.

There is no problem wondering if a particular ID from the AO has “migrated” to GoA.

However, there are some who have taken steps to not have such connections made (for a wide range of reasons).

People should not “out” this connection for another poster unless you can clearly point to a post made by that poster making that statement in a public space.

I don’t think that posting this connection in the Lounge would be considered making it “public knowledge”. If anything, send a PM (or DM?) to the poster to let them know that someone is “looking for them” and let the poster decide if they want to reveal themselves.

But at present, “alts” are not encouraged (or generally supported) by the admin on this platform w/o some good reason for doing so.

For example, I do have a non-moderator alt that I use to test certain features of the platform and to run/play games with.

1 Like

As one of the few people who flies under their real name, I will note that @ao_fan has very good advice.

The actuarial world is very small globally, and extremely small in US/Canada (which is the main source for users here).

If you want to remain anonymous, you need to discuss nothing specific to your life/work/etc. People will be able to figure out who you are. It doesn’t require 4chan levels of investigation to track an individual down.

From a perspective of forum etiquette, we shouldn’t link up usernames nor disclose info about users who are not ourselves.

But from a perspective of people trying to actually remain anonymous… pretty much, it’s futile. Do not delude yourselves.


I didn’t know this. Did traci or glenn say this anywhere else?

not that i have any desire to make an alt. i think they were harmful on the ao in many cases.

Yeah I had a coworker who was a prolific poster that I figured out without even trying just based on things they’d posted. I never told them I knew. A different coworker approached me asking if I was MayanActuary at work once. Same thing, they weren’t even trying to figure it out and I wouldn’t consider myself a big poster in AO days but easy to link if you know someone in real life.

1 Like

I stopped caring about any illusion of anonymity years ago. I’ve met a number of ao denizens in person, and figure past co-workers may likely have figured out my identity as well.

This is news to me.

I didn’t use my real name on the AO, but I didn’t really attempt to hide it, and obviously I’m not hiding who I am here. I’ve never really understood the desire to have alts, but if others find it useful, whatever.

1 Like

not implying that @echo is an alt, but not not implying it either.

he might be sad if alts aren’t allowed though.

I don’t think it was mentioned anywhere in a publicly visible space. But when I came on as moderator, I believe it was discussed to some extent when I asked for an alt to use (primarily for games).

I don’t think it’s anything official; but was mentioned when I asked for one.

To be clear, I don’t think that alts are NOT allowed, just that they’re likely not to be entertained w/o a clear reason for having one.

:confused: you don’t need to ask to make an alt though. you just make one. i’m confused why you asked.


(emphasis added)

I thought @Echo was a b****. Have I been mistaken all this time?