Anonymous Reply Pseudonyms in Slack

Per-thread unique pseudonyms for anonymous replies in Slack!

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Mar 12, 2021


1 min

Anonymous Reply Pseudonyms in Slack

Sharing your thoughts anonymously within Slack threads allows sensitive voices to be heard and amplifies the overall critical thinking of your team.

The result is more effective, thoughtful and valuable discussions.

We are happy to introduce an improvement on anonymous replies - Anonymous Reply Pseudonyms, which adds the ability to relate to authors of anonymous replies.

It looks like this:

Anonymous Reply Pseudonyms in Slack

Authors of an anonymous replies are mapped to per-thread unique pseudonyms. For instance, R1 relates to the first anonymous replier, R2 to the second, etc. If the replied to message is an anonymous message (as shown above), the pseudonym of the original poster is OP.

How it Works Under the Hood

We don't want to store user IDs of authors of anonymous interactions, yet to in order to be able to pseudonymize an author we need to store a state which relates to the specific user.

Currently, we cryptographically pepper and hash the user ID and the message ID that began the threaded conversation. The secret pepper is injected in runtime and isn't stored inside the code (that is, even if an attacker gains access to our source code she won't be able to obtain the pepper).

We are researching ways on how we can use Confidential Computing to achieve the same functionality without knowing the pepper. We take inspiration from to Signal's Secure Value Recovery. Stay tuned!

Comments and Thoughts

We're constantly striving to improve OpenSay and would very much appreciate your feedback. What could be better? Which feature is missing?

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