Anonymity interacting with participation on a Q&A site
AI & SOCIETY
This article presents a study that investigates how anonymity influences user participation in an online question-and-answer platform [Quora (https://www.quora.com/)]. The study is one step in identifying hypotheses that can be used to address a research and design issue concerning the role of anonymity in online participation, particularly in sensitive situations where people are seeking social support. Based on the literature, we present a model that describes the factors that influence participation. These factors were used when analyzing the answers to questions in the health category on Quora. The results of this study were completed by a survey asking Quora users about their use of the anonymity feature. The main result is that the only significant difference between anonymous and non-anonymous answers is that: with anonymous answers, social appreciation correlated with the answer’s length.