We've gotten quite a bit of feedback on the fact that two of our Senior Moderators have newly created accounts. We would like to share the facts behind this in an effort to help everyone understand why this is neither extended anonymous moderation nor disingenuous. First we have to define our terms. When we're talking about anonymity, we aren't talking about personal anonymity. For us, the definition of anonymous moderation is: a system where the action a moderator takes cannot directly be traced back to a single person. Under our new system, every account with a moderator title has exactly one person operating it. This gives us the ability to enforce our guidelines on a per account basis rather than needing to highly control, audit, and monitor access to a single account. All of our members, including moderators, have the right to be as "personally anonymous" (or not) as they choose. We are all represented by a username, avatar, profile, title and post history. We don't require people to put their real name in their profile, use their primary email address, their actual city, state and country. We don't restrict people from doing these things either. There are plenty of reasons why one would choose to do be either tightly or loosely associated with their forum account. They may have real life friends they want to connect with on the boards, they may be active in FS/T or WTB/TF (where public profiles and sharing shipping addresses is a necessity), or they may take advantage of our technical forums to make real life business contacts (we do have a number of people primarily here for technical discussion despite the fact that OT is our biggest forum). Under the old system, AnandTech Moderator was used by upwards of 25 different people. The members could not know who did what under the AnandTech Moderator account. Each of our moderators backed up all the others and tried hard to enforce the rules we set down. This resulted in a kind of schizophrenic moderator who seemed to have different personalities at different times. Our moderators had some fun with this, using the "kinky mod" "mean mod" etc. monikers to try and place the personality on an ideal rather than a person. There was no single "mean mod" or any other type of mod ? everyone used these names when the situation called for it. This system had its advantages, as we were able to avoid issues like mod shopping and (in theory) we could keep people from personally retaliating against specific moderators over a perceived slight. In the end, for us, the negatives outweighed the positives. One of the big disadvantages is that of public accountability. This, combined with no real public list of guidelines, caused us to lose the perception of fairness among our members. The old system of moderation had been in place for a long time, and when the two members who have now created new accounts decided to become moderators, they had the expectation of anonymity. AnandTech has no desire to go back on what was essentially a promise we made to our moderators when they volunteered. These two members had shared enough personal information in their profiles and on the boards over the years (for all of the reasons we listed above) that they were not comfortable being publicly identified as a moderator. At the same time, these two members proved to be highly valuable and fair moderators who know the system and the community very well and care deeply about the future of these forums. They've served us well, and we do not want to lose them. In engineering this transition, one of our intermediate ideas was to create multiple moderator accounts (AT Mod 1, AT Mod 2, etc) and assign each person to one of these accounts. We decided not to do this, as we didn't feel it made sense with the sheer number of moderators we want to build up to. It simply would be very hard to manage if every moderator had more than one account. It also leaves open the door for blanket accusations of moderator bias. In moving forward, we decided that it would be acceptable to allow only Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster to create new accounts. These accounts are not just for moderation, as they have also been encouraged to transition their forum time to these new identities as much as possible. Only allowing two new accounts seriously cuts down on the overhead involved and oversight needed. These mods, as with all others, will be encouraged not to moderate in threads they are active in. Our senior mods all know the other accounts Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster use, and we will absolutely make sure that there is no abuse of the system. I agree that this is not as transparent as it could possibly be. This is not something that will be done going forward, but is simply a transitional step between our old system and the new one. I sincerely hope that all of our members will see how seriously we take the issue of moderation and that we have put a lot of time and energy into building the best system we could. I hope you will see that we are committed to making this place as open and fair as possible under our new system. Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster will be held to the same standards all of our members are, and they will follow the same guidelines as all of our other moderators. We will handle all personal issues between members and moderators through firstname.lastname@example.org or by PM through AnandTech Moderator as our administrators have access to these accounts.