Anonymity, ads, and Mr. Q

Anonymity revisited

Thank you to the readers who support my anonymity. To those who are offended by my paranoia, well, it is what it is. If I get found out, the project collapses AND things get very hard for me professionally. However, when the project is over, I will out myself. I want control over when my own identity comes out. I would like to be the one to tell the principal versus being called to the office and questioned like a criminal. In either scenario, wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation?

So if I seem paranoid now, it’s because I feel like the project and the blog hinge on me not being found out. But once I’m not eating school lunch every day, I will come out, take any potential lashes, and move on with my life.

That being said, I’m going to try to be a little less paranoid.


I still am not crazy about the ads. I put ads on the blog mid-March. I was torn about it, but I did it. I find the Adsense ads to be unobtrusive, but my husband thought I should try an in-text ad company called “Infolinks.” Mr. Q thought that the in-text ads were even less obtrusive than Adsense. So for about two weeks those were up. But I didn’t like them that much and when I received a very nice email from a reader about how the infolinks are annoying, I removed them. 

Unfortunately having ads gives the impression that I’m doing this “for the money.” Well, that is not true. You should know that I haven’t even gotten a cent off the ads thus far and when I do it won’t be that much. Just to make things perfectly clear: I want to donate ad revenue when I finish the project. I’m not rich and could use the money, but I want to do the right thing. After I cover my expenses (I do pay for the school lunches every day), I would love to be able to make a donation to my school for equipment in the lunch room. We’d have to make sure they can accept it due to school rules and district regulations (sad but true). How cool would it be to make enough money with the blog to be able to buy my school a salad bar? Then we’d have to fill it with salad…but I can dream!

Mr. Q

A twitter follower @allysm wanted Mr. Q to do a guest blog post. I laughed, but I asked Mr. Q what he thought and he said, “Sure, I’ll think about something to write.” Let me tell you this because you don’t know him — there is a lot he could say.

Mr Q wants to change it up and decided he wants to take questions from the readers. Here’s your chance to ask Mr. Q anything you want! Please put questions below in the comments.

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39 thoughts on “Anonymity, ads, and Mr. Q

  1. I don't understand why you shouldn't make a little money from ads, personally. What's wrong with that? You're putting time and effort into this. You have nothing at all to apologize for! As far as anonymity goes, you're entitled to that, too, I think.

  2. I love stories of how couples met, so that's my question for Mr. Q. How did you two meet and what was the first thing you noticed about Mrs. Q?

  3. I've been a high school teacher and totally get the need to stay anon. Why does it matter? Your writing sure has credibility, and actually I think your need, for professional reasons, to stay under the radar makes perfect sense. In fact I'm surprised that you're going to out yourself at the end of this. Regarding ads – go for it. Noone would eat school lunches for a year just to make a few bucks – I'd think of it as 'coffee money' – you've definitely earned it 🙂

  4. I'm sure you're justified in being paranoid, I'd just prefer more focus on the food and the issues instead of constant banter about anxiety over being outed. I think that takes away from the real subject here and over-dramatizes a side issue. I don't a week goes by that you don't address the anonymity piece.

  5. I think what you are doing is wonderful. I feel like this blog might just be the thing to get the attention of the decision makers of many school districts. 🙂 My question is –
    does Mr. Q agree with what you are doing? Was he worried when you started your mission that you could or would get in trouble?

  6. You'll definitely have to let us know how the conversation goes when you "out" yourself. You might be surprised though it could be less dramatic than you have built it up to be.

  7. You'll definitely have to let us know how the conversation goes when you "out" yourself. You might be surprised though it could be less dramatic than you have built it up to be.

  8. Mrs. Q. Do what you think is right but I wouldn't begrudge you a profit. It is your intellectual property after all.

    Mr.Q. How's life?

  9. I'd like Mr. Q to tell us about the lunches at his work place. Does your work place have a contract food provider? If so how similar or different to Mrs. Q's school food is your work place offerings? Are there truly healthy options or is there a great deal of pre-cooked processed or packaged foods?

  10. I was a little ambivalent, I admit, about the whole anonymity thing until…you guessed it, I was completely outed on my blog by the Globe and Mail. EVERYONE in my workplace knows that I blog now; which, in some ways, can be really cool if they are supportive.

    In your case, I'd be terrified that I'd lose my job so I can see how it must be quite overwhelming and feel kind of strange to have so much attention.

    Keep going, Mrs. Q. We're behind you!

  11. Please stay anonymous – those who don't teach have no idea the pressure that exists to not say anything about our schools/districts (even when we're just trying to help). Heck, I won't even comment on education related blogs without remaining anonymous.

  12. I gave much thought to the anonymity question when I started blogging, but felt that it was important in order for me to say what I felt needed to be said while still in job search mode. I felt like, given your story, that it was the right approach for me. Don't let anyone give you a hard time about it. Until they walk in your shoes, they have no clue what they are talking about.

    Re: the ads. . .I wouldn't worry about them either. Most people don't pay much attention to them since we are so used to "not seeing" them on Google, Facebook and other sites. Most people don't realize that it takes an incredible # of hits to just make a few pennies of those ads anyway.

    Why don't you consider a donation button if the ads make you uncomfortable. Julie Powell talks about her decision to do that in her book "Julie & Julia". She was shocked that her readers wanted to donate, but they insisted that they wanted to help her buy the expensive cuts of meat. I bet folks would donate to your project to help defray the cost of your lunches & time.

    Plus, I have many teacher friends & know that many of them buy alot of supplies, etc. for the children out of their own pockets. You could use donations to do more activities such as the one you did last week when you fed the children salad as part of your educational activities. Just an idea!

    My question for Mr. Q: What has life been like while adjusting to Mrs. Q's new found "celebrity" (albeit anonymous celebrity) via this project? 🙂

  13. I appreciate your anonymity. It takes your personal life, professional life and life choices out of the spot light and thrusts the actual point (you know, that little thing called horrifyingly non-nutritious school lunch) in to it.

    I applaud your decision, and for what it is worth, stick by you in that choice!

  14. Mrs. Q: I think your doing a great job! Keeping you're identity a secret makes you sound like a super hero. 🙂 Keep on fighting!

    Mr. Q: Does Mrs. Q complain about the school food a lot @ home?

  15. I have blogged for 3 years and have only revealed my first name. I don't think you "owe" it to anyone to reveal yourself. The internet is full of crazy people (and great people too!) and no one should "reveal" themselves if they are not comfortable for any reason. I would say that fear for your job is a pretty big reason! In my case, my husband doesn't want personal info on the web. He works with computers for a living and sees first hand the dangers. He wants to protect our family. Do not let anyone make you feel bad because you want to stay anonymous. That is your right!

  16. My question for Mr. Q (actually, for both of you!) – what was lunch like when you were in school? Did you have a hot lunch program, and was it any better than what the kids get today?

  17. Mr. Q,

    Have you noticed a change in Mrs. Q's mood and attention span since she started eating school lunch everyday? Research shows that eating a healthy, well balanced diet improves concentration and mood. So, does one meal a day change things drastically?

  18. Mrs. Q, please don't feel bad about the ads! I, for one, recognize the importance of advertising both to consumers and businesses, and no one would begrudge you the small pocket change you'd make. I'm sure this is a time consuming and stressful project, at times. Which leads to my question for Mr. Q: What's it like being married to a full-time blogger?

  19. I have a question for Mr. Q, if you don't mind. I know it might be a bit personal for you Mrs. Q, but I'm curious.

    Mr. Q, what changes have you noticed in your wife since she began this project, both physically and emotionally?

  20. The decision on whether or not to reveal your identity is completely personal.

    You are doing a fantastic job!

  21. Mrs. Q.
    I'm a board member in the largest school district in my state and I completely support your decision to remain anonymous. I know that my own teachers would harbor the same fears.

    Keep up the great work! Your blog has inspired my own interest in our Nutrition Department.

  22. A question for Mr. Q! I am a wife supporting a husband/teacher who is for change in school systems. Do you ever feel like its an uphill battle with landslides like I do? Maybe not, but sometimes I wonder if people really want whats good for kids in the school system! Thanks for supporting Mrs. Q! I love reading her work!

  23. Do what makes you happy – anonymous is the way to go sounds like. If your school doesn't figure it out, then I say, don't even out yourself in the end, unless you change jobs. The ads don't bother me, I just skip over them like on every other site – definitely put up a donation button!

    I like reading the guest bloggers from other countries – you should solicite some more!

  24. What are some of the biggest changes that you have noticed in Mrs. Q (behavioral, physical, or mental)?

  25. I would love to ask Mr Q questions about the changes he has noticed in you, like in supersize me they asked the vegan girlfriend about any noticable changes in her boyfriend, she said something like "he smells like fast food, his skin feels different and he is lazy in bed" though i would expect more things like "she is cranky, demands food when she comes home from work"

  26. You are CRAZY to reveal your identity at the end of this project to your principal. If you think you'll lose your job over it now, why would that change just because your project is over?

  27. Mr. Q. – Do you worry about your wife's health in conjunction with this project? How difficult would it be for your family financially if she were to lose her job over this? Do you two ever argue about the risks she's taken with her health and the family's income?

    Mrs. Q – Respect. Love ya. Don't worry about the ad revenue or the detractors. If you get fired when it's all over, I'm guessing there's a book deal out there for you. (Wait, I think that's the second time I've said that!)

  28. Just be careful…hopefully outing yourself at the end doesn't make it harder to change jobs if you were to move or something. Some school district administrators wouldn't want "movers and shakers" in their school unfortunately. They want teachers who follow, not lead, because it feels safer and easier and more in their control. BUT then we as a public never stretch ourselves and learn new heights and make the world a better place. This is what tenure was supposed to be about: being able to explore new ideas within reason to challenge students to grow so teachers wouldn't feel they had to constantly kiss-up to keep their jobs. (Unfortunately, the downside of tenure means some teachers kiss-up until they get the tenure and then really become who they want to be–taking advantage of the system and not caring about being a good teacher anymore. It's sad.) In this day and age, you have to protect yourself. After all, look how many people are anonymous in comments (including myself).

    I also agree you should not post about the anxiety so much. Opponents of the blog and the idea latch on to this as a weakness and attack you because of it. Maybe the real reason is because change and anonymity scares them.

    Mr. Q, I have a few questions:
    1. Do you help make school lunch for your child? (I believe this child is school age? I can't remember.)
    2. Because it seems you are in a listener's role rather than participating yourself, have you been able to see ways that make sense to you to improve school lunch?
    3. As a father and husband, what do you think other husbands and fathers could do to help their children want to eat more healthy and even learn how to prepare healthy food themselves?

    Thank you for being willing to do this. We can all benefit from learning from each other, no matter our jobs or positions.

  29. I think you should put a 'donate' button on your site instead of the ads. You'll make way more money and those who want to help financially, can.

  30. Mr. Q have you noticed a difference in how Mrs. Q acts since she started this project? Also how do the lunches Mrs. Q posts about compare to the lunches you had when you were in school?

  31. How lovely that you would donate the ad revenue for a salad bar! Or how about a fruit snack cart? Or physical activity equipment? At our school, even those apple corer/slicer gadgets would be a welcome addition in the lunch room.

  32. I don't know if it's such a good idea to even out yourself when the project is over! Maybe wait a couple of years?

  33. Mrs. Q: I graduated from high school a year ago, and I never ate the food they served in the cafeteria. The salads were always wilted, and the fries were insanely greasy. In fact, you could rub one single fry across the table and it would cover the entire thing in grease. It was absolutely disgusting. And the other "food" they served too… it never looked like food fit for humans.

    Mr. Q: How is your wife as a cook?

  34. Okay Mr. Q….actually, scrap that. I'm fairly certain that Mrs. Q is all there is and that Mr. Q is just a character of Mrs. Q that she will use to reveal her dark side. So, Mr. Q: Do you like being imaginary?

  35. It's funny that one of the posts I saw complaining about your anonymity was also anonymously posting. Can you say…. Hypocrite?

    I applaud you for doing the blog, Mrs. Q. I also don't fault you for remaining anonymous. It's your choice, and no one else.

    There is always going to be someone who will comment on your blog with negativity purely just to be mean. Ignore those people. In fact, ignore the negative nancys altogether. You are doing the right thing and I appreciate what you're trying to accomplish. We ALL need to eat healthier and teaching our kids that from the beginning might just save us all from being obese someday. I sure wish I had better eating habits taught to me as a child. I most likely would not be in the position I am today.

    Mrs. Q, I respect you greatly and I hope you continue your blog and that maybe when your school DOES find out who you are, they take it as a positive, instead of a negative, that you created this blog.

  36. As for your anonymity, I really don't care. I just want to point out that the cafeteria is an outside contract, not people that the school board specifically hires. They hire the company and the company sends people to the schools, therefore you can criticize it all you like and never get in any trouble.

  37. Mrs. Q, congrats on this blog.

    I second those who mention being careful about outing yourself when the project is over. Do what you want to do in this regard. Stick to your guns regarding anonymity for yourself! You don't owe any explanations to anyone on the Internet!

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