I'm having an issue determining whether I should keep moderators and admins anonymous on my future website/app.

Background to my app:

My app is going to be for humorous content. But the somewhat 'issue' I'm having is that popular users from another app (which is pretty popular, 27 million downloads) are joining my app soon and some tend to act 'above others' (like they're better than other users because of their popular status)

The "issue" I'm contemplating in my app:

In my app, I'm implementing direct/private messaging, so all profiles (including staff) will have it enabled and ANY AND ALL users will be able to message each other (including to staff). So there will be temptation for popular users to bribe staff members for special incentives (since they will be able to advertise our app on the other popular app)

Question: For this reason, should staff members stay anonymous since there will be a temptation for bribery and such?

1 Answer 1


I think making admins/moderators anonymous is a bad idea. You need to be able to hold people accountable for their actions and everything that an admin/moderator does must be transparent and above board. This doesn't mean that moderators and staff have to use their real world names, just that they accounts are marked as being "staff" or "moderator" and all actions show who made them. This is the way they can be called to account for their actions.

Let's look at the issue you're worried about - the "coercion" of staff members by popular users:

Just make sure that this is explicitly against the rules of your community. Any attempt at bribery is met by the revocation of privileges of the user making the bribery attempt. This can be for as long or as short as you like. If you take the Stack Exchange approach, the first offence would be a suspension of 7 days, the second 30 days and the third (and subsequent) offences would be a year. Ultimately you can remove their account completely.

The accepting of bribes by staff members should be a "sackable" offence - whether this is just the revocation of their administrator privileges or actual sacking is up to you and your business partners.

Ultimately you should treat all users equally and have the expectation that users will treat each other equally. By having some users who are "better than others", even unofficially, you are storing up problems of resentment, the potential for bullying and the real possibility that you'll drive away "ordinary" users from your site/app.

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    Accountability has nothing to do with anonymity. Moderation/Administration privileges can as easily be revoked from pseudonymous staff members as from staff members who use their real-world names. Many SE sites have pseudonymous moderators, and I have never observed that the pseudonymity as such has been a problem anywhere. Feb 23, 2015 at 12:34
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    @just_curious - I said nothing about the use of real world names. I meant that their actions on the site should be visible and their account marked with the fact they are a moderator/member of staff. If my answer implied this then I need to make it clearer.
    – ChrisF
    Feb 23, 2015 at 12:36

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