anonymous emails
August 17, 2011 9:26 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a simple arrangement for tenants in my building to communicate w/ each other, and to the Owner as well, anonymously, if they wish. We need to address some issues. Users would need to have the ability to post w/out revealing their id's; and Owner can view, or the posts could be sent to him. Is there something I could set up, anonymously, and let loose?
posted by ebesan to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
A physical suggestion box in the lobby? If you want other tenants to see the notes, you could put up a glass covered bulletin board and post relevant notes there.
posted by Jahaza at 9:29 PM on August 17, 2011

Due to nature of Owner, this is not possible.
posted by ebesan at 9:39 PM on August 17, 2011

Ah... I assumed you are the owner.
posted by Jahaza at 9:45 PM on August 17, 2011

I googled "free public wiki" and got this: It seems as though it would work for what you want. Obviously you could give out the link to not just anybody.
posted by michaelh at 9:55 PM on August 17, 2011

Set up two gmail addresses: and - give all the tenants the shared username & password to the tenants account. This only works if you trust all the tenants not to abuse this. Alternately, suggest that they all set up their own anonymous gmail accounts, and create a mailing list for all of them.
posted by judith at 10:40 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Use a Formstack. I run a debate camp for high schools students at UCLA ( We have over 400 students and 60+ faculty/staff for the summer.

A lot of kids aren't comfortable communicating issues (and a lot of staff also don't want to be thought of as snitches).

It allows people to submit anonymously (or not).

If you'd like, each submission can route to an email address (or multiple addresses)... you can even have it route to different email addresses based on different answers.

When you create the form you can get the code to embed it into an existing website, as we did here:

They also create a website for your form: FORM.

Note: you can put any instruction on the Formstack created page... have multiple page forms, etc.
posted by bietz at 10:58 PM on August 17, 2011

Word press site with a theme that hides authors/commentors identities?

I guess the issue is that you can easily have straight up anonymity but you kind of need to identify the people to prevent strangers flooding your forum.

You might be happy with the kind of "security by obscurity" by only having certain people know what the website is.
posted by titanium_geek at 12:56 AM on August 18, 2011

Wordpress isn't a bad idea. Make it so that only registered users can post comments or new posts. Maybe have all of the tenants share the same login id, which you send to them. Give the owner a different ID if you want them to have their own for replying or posting.

Note, this could get contentious fast, and if you have problems amongst the tenants, you're going to get a lot of "user at 3:44PM is probably Jimbob in #7, based on his lies about the..." I'd moderate comments and posts, and prune the vicious ones out. Note this in your site policies, of course.

You could also have separate logins for everyone, assigning them random names when you hand them out. "Why am I Mr. Pink?"
posted by maxwelton at 1:06 AM on August 18, 2011

I would caution against too much across the board anonymity. Plausible deniability would create conditions where the potential for misuse (or worse) maybe high. My former workplace tried something like this and as it tended to be heavily populated by young males, there were pockets of extreme lulzing and harassment as it was the perfect opportunity.
posted by infini at 3:26 AM on August 18, 2011

nthing what infini says above. An anonymous board (even if limited to the tenants) is a guarantee of passive-aggressive behavior and vitriol.
posted by kuanes at 4:15 AM on August 18, 2011

Building owner has to maintain the building. Your local legal aid group will have tenants rights information. There are probably laws about noise and public nuisance that cover the issues. The owner has no choice about enforcing laws and making the building habitable.

If you really need an easy way to communicate, designate a piece of wall with masking tape, and provide postit notes and pencils.
posted by theora55 at 7:27 AM on August 18, 2011

As a person who used to have to moderate an anonymous suggestion/complaint email inbox I can tell you that it doesn't work. There are a few things that happen.

1. You get legitimate, detailed complaints that you can act on and fix without further information (5%)

2. You get things that are too vague to do anything about (25%)

3. You get things where you really need to know the person complaining in order to help solve the situation (20%)

4. Abuse (50%)
posted by magnetsphere at 9:36 AM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

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