Do you think that Bill Gates or any other celebrities ask questions on forums anonymously?

Obviously it has to be anonymous because some topics would bring controversy to them but do you think they even have time to do it?

I know Reddit has an AMA but that is public and I’m sure they can’t really express their own opinion without thinking about what comes out of their keyboard online whereas if its anonymous they could vent on virtually anything and might even improve their relations with the public.

What do you think?

I’m sure they do. Why would celebrities be any different than the rest of us? They’d enjoy online conversations just like anyone else.

If anything they might have a greater desire to do it than non-celebrities have. Most of us can have ordinary conversations anytime we want. Celebrities can’t do that routinely. And no matter how much they enjoy their fame, there must be times when a celebrity wants to just be ordinary. An online forum is one of the few places where a famous person can have a conversation without it being overwhelmed by their celebrity status.

While most notable AMA reddit usernames are clearly one-time deals (like “BillGatesAMA”), I’ve seen a few that were started by celebrities who used their (formerly) anonymous reddit accounts they’d started years before. Beyond that, well, the whole attraction for them is that there’s no way to tell. I imagine a similar proportion of famous people hang around online as in the general population.

A friend and I used to run a couple of popular evening chat rooms on entertainment topics back in the early aughts. We had several celebrities join us incognito throughout the life of the chat groups. You had to provide some bona fides to become a regular member and we had at least a half dozen recognizable members chatting incognito. We knew who they were but didn’t out them to the remainder of the chatters. It’s remarkable how ‘regular’ well-known people can be if they are anonymous. There was one in particular who, although not known publicly for it, was in reality quite witty and sharp as a tack.

No, I never do that. I mean,* he *never does that.

I’m surprised more (any?) recognizable people don’t contribute using their actual identity. Sure would make petty board arguments better.
“Oh yeah Colibri? Give me a warning? I’m Ben Affleck. I’ve been balls deep in J-Lo. Don’t care 'bout your warning.”

No – they must be very careful.

That would be the best reason for a warning I’ve ever seen. And… ew.

I am positive they do because some celebrities have normal identities in real life as well. Many young, well known stars, go to college and do quite well academically. Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame graduated from Brown not so many years ago and she was supposedly a completely normal student on campus. Harvard usually has a few students that are already quite famous before they enroll like Natalie Portman but they have to go to class, study and participate in group group sessions both offline and on just like everyone else. Natalie Portman is multi-talented and co-authored two peer-reviewed academic papers published in respected journals while at Harvard.

Not all stars are sucked up in the Hollywood glitz and glamour scene. I expect that the ones that are more grounded and have other talents are just as likely as anyone else to participate in forums like this or even ones that are much more mundane if they have special interests in it. I am sure that Alice Cooper has participated in golf discussions somewhere online because he is extremely into it and unusually good for an amateur. Other celebrities are really into model trains, fishing or crocheting and it makes sense that they would want to join other enthusiasts discussing it in an anonymous way.

We have had some admitted minor celebrities here as members and I am sure a lot more have read this board and probably even posted anonymously just because so many people have come through over the years. The Bad Astronomer was an active member for a few years and I used to see his name pop up even in the mainstream media in the early 2000’s. We also had an original member of the 1960’s rock band The Five Americans as an active member. There are probably some others that I am forgetting as well.

I say “No”. People like Bill Gates and famous celebrities have better uses of their time.

It depends on your definition of “celebrity”. Bill Gates may not because he is too busy with business and charity work and Warren Buffet may not because he doesn’t like high-tech things in general but being a billionaire business super-wiz is only one type of celebrity and one of the more rare types. You also have actors and actresses, well known politicians and sports celebrities. I live near many Patriots players and see them out shopping at Home Depot, clothing stores and even the supermarket frequently. They aren’t that busy all the time especially in the off-season.

There are lots of celebrities that have mentioned participating in online forums like this one. Kirsten Dunst may not be huge name now but she was about 14 years ago when the Spiderman movies were the big thing. She participated on common boards like this one and was open about it. The same was true for Jennifer Love Hewitt when she was a fairly big celebrity. I don’t see why that would change with the new crop of clebrities especially because online usage has grown so much overall during that time. Who would want to be locked in a virtual internet prison where the only things they could post to are their official twitter account and Facebook fan page?

Peter Straub used to post on alt.books.Stephen-King back in the day. Under his real name and supposedly he was verified by 1995 standards. He’d talk about his books and The Talisman, but I seem to remember him posting on topic too.

I’ve heard some fandom stuff, blind gossip items about a few other people here and there. If I were a celebrity, I’d probably like the anonymity.

Bill Gates is still kept too busy doing Weird Al’s tech support.

Celebrities don’t have boring 9-5 jobs where they sit in cubicles with a computer and a mandate to look busy.

I’m sure they do. Why wouldn’t they? They use the internet the same as anyone else.

I’d say the fact that celebrities don’t have regular jobs would be more reason for them to spend time online.

Celebrities have the same interests as non-celebrities. They read books, they watch movies and TV, they play video games. And I’m sure they surf the internet.

Of course some do, but I think it’s hard to say what proportion.
Anecdotally ISTM many famous actors, musicians and politicians are tech laggards, even compared to just a random person on the street.
(I’m generalizing of course; yes I’m aware of many counter-examples)

I’ve seen a few instances where in interviews a question is put like “Some discussion forums were speculating that…” and the response has been very dismissive, and implying only lame people with too much time use such things.
It’s starting to change though.

I recall a thread on a message board that I frequented a few years ago. I am certain that one of the posters was Steve Jobs. The obvious clue was one thread where he asked, “Do you think that Bill Gates or any other celebrities ask questions on forums anonymously?”

Does anyone think Bill Gates could be a doper…?

Tom Clancy used to post anonymously in the Usenet newsgroup rec.books.tom-clancy (not sure if I’ve got that correct) many years ago. He only got found out when a book was passed round for everyone to sign.