If you have a hidden profile it is more difficult to follow your arguments

Err, i think you are misreading my post. But whatever.

I’ve gotten that message numerous times (three or four times in just the last couple of days) when I only had SDMB open in one tab.

That happens on my phone sometimes as the wifi connection drops and it switches over to cellular data. I guess to Discourse this is indistinguishable from me using a whole new device that’s had the page open for who knows how long.


I don’t have one of those phones – just a computer.

You can get around this problem by opening links in new windows.

(Or there might be a browser setting to do that by default; I need to look into that myself.)

I just bounce forward and back from the search list. The back button is my friend.

I believe his point is that, since you don’t use the feature, you wouldn’t be aware of how commonly trolls on this board hide their profiles. I’ve noticed it several times when I wanted to block a troll. Doing that from their profile is much easier, and it’s an additional pain to have to go to my settings and type their name in manually.

I’ve also suggested that hiding your profile serves little purpose on Discourse, at least. You can just leave all your information blank. The only thing it does is make it more tedious to do certain features.

Seeing as it has been exploited by at least some trolls, and serves no purpose, it would seem a good idea to disable the ability to do so. I could have sworn some people familiar with Discourse had said this is possible.

Agree completely. But for clarity I’d say that as:

In other words, it’s all pain for the community and all gain for the trolls. With some admixture of the good-but-clueless posters inadvertently making life harder for their friends too.

IMO if profile hiding is disable-able, it should be disabled.

Out of the can, it is not.

Here’s a Discourse Meta discussion with some relevant CSS and SQL hackery to locally tailor a Discourse site to accomplish the effect, but it does feel very improvised and unreliable.

This is completely aside from the “should” aspect, of which I personally have zero opinion.

Just to clarify, while I generally agree with your post and @LSLGuy’s follow-up I deliberately did not use the word trolls because the gain from being able to see all posts is much larger than that.

Clicking on a poster’s name and then Activity brings up an infinite scroll of - presumably - all the posts under that name. Showing a person’s board activity is showing their board character. An unfamiliar name, often someone who posts irregularly, may not ring any bells in my head, but an examination of previous posts - and especially topics started - is deeply revealing. You quickly start to see patterns. Ignorance, stupidity, intolerance, bigotry, one-track-minds, defense of the indefensible, hobby horses, threadshitting, inability to develop an argument, bad links, unread links, links to YouTube videos, all are more common than outright trolling. To mangle Tolstoy, All good posters are alike, but every bad poster is bad in their own way.

Bad posters can ruin threads without violating any of the rules. The Board recognizes that by having an Ignore feature. (I do not and have never used the Ignore feature, but I understand why others do.) Recognizing a name is something I’d rather do than not see the post at all. Squashing their words like the slimy crawling things they are is often the better course.

As with so much about Discourse, the Activity listing is a flawed tool. By default it shows posts by newest first and isn’t sortable otherwise. Frequent posters who move from thread to thread aren’t easily readable. I doubt anyone has ever gone back through five years of posts.

I’m still glad to see a poster’s Activity. It leads to threads I didn’t originally check out, makes it easier to check through all the posts in a contentious thread, and puts a personality behind the name in a way that threads over time fall short of. Unfortunately, this means that I’m instantly suspicious of those who hide their Profiles. As I said earlier, that proves nothing and may have totally legitimate reasons that don’t include being a bad poster. Yet that’s the way to bet.

ETA: I meant to say new tabs, not windows.

How does one hide their profile?

Profile >> Preferences >> Interface >> Hide my public profile and presence features

I didn’t realize this was here and posted my own thread, so I’ll just repost:

The critical thing that hiding a profile does, which leaving it blank does not do, is disable the presence feature that lets other users know that you are now, at this very moment, actively interacting with this Discourse site.

Now whether that’s a useful feature, or a useful enough feature, or is relevant to SDMB in specific, is a different set of questions. But given the concerns in society at large about online stalking, it’s hardly surprising that a feature to disable real-time presence tracking is provided.

ISTM the inability to filter a thread to just contributions made by a hidden profile user is collateral damage, not a design feature as such. Only the Discourse devs could tell us whether the collateral damage is by design, a necessary design trade-off, or simply an oversight they could correct with a bit of work.

The last time you mentioned that, codinghorror told us that these two features are separate from one another.

I’d personally be fine with disabling the ‘presence’ feature altogether. Nobody needs to know whether a particular poster is online at any given moment. This is an asynchronous board.

This is worth quoting in full:

I’m going to bring this to @Ed_Zotti & @engineer_comp_geek attention.
I have no idea if they’re aware of this, I know I wasn’t.

Thanks for that. I knew I’d contributed to other threads more or less on this topic but had totally forgotten that specific one.

You don’t remember a single post you made in a thread almost two years ago? For shame.

I could have sworn that a week or two ago I was able to see when a hidden member was last seen by looking at the global user page. It was one of the columns. Down to the minute or hour. It’s not showing on my phone right now (no columns are, different layout) so I’m not sure if it doesn’t show on mobile, if it was patched, or if I was simply mistaken.

And I can personally testify to seeing icons for users with hidden profiles as they are actively drafting replies, just like anyone else.