I'd like to ask some questions about interpersonal conflict in the work-place--some topics and points which may make me look bad or weak, and others which may make others look bad or weak. As you can see, my real name is my profile name. Obviously, when discussing others, I won't use their real names. But for myself...well...it's already there. Should I be worried about this? Should people make an effort to conceal their real identity when discussing sensitive things about the work-place?

Example topics one might ask may include:

  1. Why someone is worried about getting fired.
  2. How someone is not meeting expectations.
  3. Why someone wants someone else to get fired.
  4. How someone wants to leave their company and work somewhere else--including timelines.
  5. How to politely leave a job, or when to leave.
  6. etc. etc.

As you can see, these are sensitive issues. Maybe the asker's employer sees this and fires them just because now they know the asker is looking. Maybe the person the asker is struggling with at work sees this and now the conflict escalates. Maybe some random person sees this, clicks around on the asker's profile (ex: my own profile), and contacts the asker's employer just to show them this post. I don't know.


Related, but not the same thing:

  1. [not a duplicate in my opinion--and they don't have an answer there anyway] Does The Workplace have a fundamental issue with throwaway accounts?


If you decide to create a new, anonymous account to use for posting sensitive questions, here is how:

  1. How to create a new account without having to change email, so I can ask questions anonymously?
  2. Need to ask a question anonymously
  • The answer to the title for me would be "With indifference." It seems like you were trying to ask a different question though based on your comments below and I'm finding the main post here hard to follow. Can you clarify your main question? Or has it already been addressed sufficiently in the comments below?
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Apr 14, 2021 at 10:24
  • 2
    You may want to take a look at this question + all the linked questions on there. How can I ask questions on this site anonymously?
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Apr 14, 2021 at 10:25

3 Answers 3


Should I make an effort to conceal my real identity when discussing sensitive things about the work-place?

It's up to you but yes, you can... and personally yes, you should.

First, perhaps consider not using your real name as your username. Otherwise anonymizing your posts may have null impact.

Second, the standard way here that many many folks do is to anonymize the names. Use, Bob, Alice, etc. for names, or company ABC or ACME, inc. for company names, etc...

  • I guess that leads to the same follow-up question then--which has no answer and is cited in my question: on Stack Overflow, where I have a pretty decent reputation, I want my real name used. Can I anonymize my name just for here, or should I create a new account just for here? I hate to have to separate my real self I want people to know on Stack Overflow, Arduino, Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange, etc, from the concealed self I may need to use here. Apr 14, 2021 at 1:12
  • I recall that one can have different usernames per Stack (when editing it says something like "update in all SE sites"), if that's what you are asking... although it would suffice for anyone to go to your profile, click on the SO link and arrive to your username there
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Apr 14, 2021 at 1:14
  • Or...I just ask away and accept the consequences and that's that. Being open perhaps isn't such a bad thing, so long as I'm respectful. Worst case, me/the asker gets fired because an employer finds out their employee is looking. But...is that such a bad thing if it's a bad fit anyway? Best case, the employer addresses the issue and the asker now gets a long, happy career where otherwise they'd have had misery by not saying anything. Apr 14, 2021 at 1:14
  • To be honest... I just browsed to your profile, and you even have a link to your Twitter there, as well as to other sites that disclose your identity... this suggest to me that disclosing that info is really not an issue for you, at the moment... perhaps you can reconsider if you really want all that information there, as well as if you really really need to use your name as username.
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Apr 14, 2021 at 1:17
  • Yeah, I'm transparent intentionally. But, I've also never come right out and said, "I hate working at X because of this problem with so and so, and am thinking about leaving in the next Y months. Should I tell my boss and maybe they fix it or maybe they fire me, or should I just leave?" Instead, what I've usually done is demonstrated my engineering and software skill in such a way it should be part of my job profile and public persona, and even placed at the top of my resume (Twitter aside--that's a different story--I'm talking about my Stack Overflow and GitHub accounts). Apr 14, 2021 at 1:20
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    @GabrielStaples In general, if you truly wish to hide your participation on this particular SE site, we recommend that you create a second account with a pseudonym to participate on any sites you don't wish to be tied to your real name. While we do have a feature that allows you to hide specific sites, it doesn't guarantee that someone can't find a connection between them - there are places on the network where those connections will be visible to anyone who knows how to find them. The only way to have a truly separate identity is through a second account.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Apr 14, 2021 at 1:22
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    @GabrielStaples another option I can think of is. Go ahead and post your question. As always, remember to be polite and professional. Then, modflag asking for us to disassociate it from your account. That's the only alternative I can think of currently... but yes, as Catija said, basically there are pros and cons of disclosing that. By being intentionally disclosing, you are accepting the consequences it brings
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Apr 14, 2021 at 1:23
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    Having more than one account is perfectly allowed provided you don't do anything with two accounts that you couldn't do with your single account, such as voting up your own posts or double voting on the same post. In general, in your case, I'd recommend either not using your primary account on TWP at all or determine that you will only vote on TWP using your secondary account to prevent such issues.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Apr 14, 2021 at 1:23
  • @Catija, I recommend you make that an answer here. I think that's the end result I need, unfortunately. Or, I just risk it and that's that. Learning how to deal with conflict is a skill we all need, and I could probably help others at work if they knew my true identity and struggles. I could become a "case study", in a good way, resulting in positive change, even if I was fired, which ultimately is probably just a fear and most likely wouldn't happen anyway. Apr 14, 2021 at 1:24
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    Disassociating is an option but since it requires staff to do so, we generally avoid it unless absolutely necessary - we'd prefer that you maintain two accounts because it allows you to retain control of the question meaning that you can still accept an answer and respond to comments without looking like a third party. If you respond to comments after disassociating, it can lead others to assume that you are the asker, which sort of defeats the purpose.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Apr 14, 2021 at 1:25
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    @GabrielStaples Before I was hired, I was a moderator on a similar site, Interpersonal Skills and it was very common for people to use secondary accounts because the content there can be very private and people often don't want their personal conflicts to be tied to their more professional accounts - it's 100% OK and we even have a guide for it on the main meta... meta.stackexchange.com/questions/57682/…
    – Catija StaffMod
    Apr 14, 2021 at 1:30
  • One common interpersonal-skill-related interview question is "How do you deal with conflict? What is a case where __ happened? How did you deal with it? What was the result?" If nothing else, I can use myself as a future case study in an interview like that, and just give them the link to my question. I'll probably risk it and be transparent (well--I don't know---I'm really vacillating on this one). Speaking one's mind respectfully should lead to more respect, I think. Apr 14, 2021 at 1:30
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    @GabrielStaples I am completely sure that one can talk about tough issues or situations in the workplace in a professional and respectful way, regardless of being registered or not, or using your real name or not.
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Apr 14, 2021 at 1:34
  • @DarkCygnus, the one caveat I think: if someone expresses their incompetencies or reveals a low performance rating, it may come back to bite them in the future with a future employer who now doubts their skills because of a poor rating they see here. It may stick with them when it shouldn't. In other words, in job A I may not meet expectations, because I am a poor fit for Job A but a perfect fit for Job B. Job B employer comes along and sees my revealed low rating at Job A and now won't hire me for fear I am a poor fit at Job B too. That's a real danger/an unfortunate potential side effect. Apr 14, 2021 at 1:35

Pretty simple, if in doubt, don't use it.

People can rationalise all day long, but the only real reason to use your real name is if you're thinking of moneytising or gaining some personal fame out of doing so.


Imagine a prospective employer coming across your question during a background search, or maybe your current employer comes across it while you’re still there. Or one of your coworkers.

Are you ok with that?

If not, then you should take steps to prevent it.

I personally use a throwaway account for any question that I don’t want being tied back to me in the future.

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