Almost a year ago, I blogged (and sent to a mailing list) a little ditty on how people know who you are on the net.

One of the readers replied:

: Admittedly, there a many legitimate reasons to have two IDs on one bulletin board.

This might make an interesting follow-up article.

Does it? Let’s find out!

Some background information for the neophyte: Bulletin boards/forums have an ‘Admin’ who is the lord of all they survey. They run the code, generally the design, and have access to all things. Below the Admin are the Moderators, who have a varying degree of power. Some can only close nasty topics and some can do everything but blow the board’s code up. In other words, there are a lot of possibilities when we get into how much ‘power’ a moderator can have, so your millage will vary from board to board. Take this post with a grain of salt.

Reason One: You’re The Admin

In this instance, what you see logged on as the admin is not what you see as a user. For those of you at my office (and hi, I know you’ve found this page, I won’t tell anyone you read it from work, but I can see your IP address!), this is the same reason we have some people as admins and some as users. I’ll step it back.

A user can log in, read posts, post a message, maybe send someone a private message. Just the simple stuff. That’s all they need to do, after all. Read and communicate. That’s all a user needs to do.

An admin, however, can see the code, gets different error messages, and has control over not just the code, but the database with all the personal information.

Now, as an admin, you also get a very different layout for the board, and when you’re designing things, it can be a problem. You know that what you see as an admin doesn’t match Joe User, so you make a second ID that’s just a user, and use that to test things from a user’s perspective.

Reason Two: You’re The Admin

No, I’m not repeating myself.

If you’re the admin, sometimes you want to just be you. Having a second ID with which you can catfight with the best of them sometimes takes a load off people’s minds. It makes you normal and people have normal conversations.

Reason Three: It’s a gaming board and you have multiple characters

Some bulletin boards have roleplaying adventures and you can interact as different characters. Hence, different IDs.

Crap. I ran out of reasons.

Okay, so there aren’t a whole lot, but there are some.

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