I am updating the docs for a system. They will be client facing. Part of the task involves taking screen shots of myself using the system. Sometimes my full name and company email address are in the screen shots, but nothing more. Should I censor this out? For example should I put a black box after the first letter of my last name? Personally I do not consider myself very concerned with privacy, but I do have a very unique name.

In general when is it worthwhile to try to avoid giving out personal information and being concerned with privacy? This has been a topic on my mind a lot (from COVID19 vaccine status).

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    Why are you doing this as you, using your information, and not as a fake user with a fake name and fake information? That's what most companies do. Commented May 19, 2022 at 17:00
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    Even beyond privacy, I think sensoring out names/information is more professional. Extra points for editing the screenshots to have a fake, generic name - that would keep the information of where you would see account information while using the system, while also keeping your info private.
    – InBedded16
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 17:00
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    I edited "sensor" to "censor" which is the correct spelling, but "censor" isn't the best word. "Censor" refers only to editing out offensive material. For removing private information I would use "edit" or "redact", or just "black out". Commented May 19, 2022 at 17:02
  • On the paranoid size of things, showing real data from a real user may give attack vectors to skilled perpetrators. If your company has valuable secrets or your country is at war with anybody, that may not be a good idea. Commented May 22, 2022 at 7:47

3 Answers 3


Your name in these documents could give the impression to the clients that your company doesn't care about privacy. Unless all your clients know who you are, and have that information already, you should either redact the information, or ask your company to set up one or two accounts for you with names that look obviously fake.

It's not so much about your personal privacy, but about the impression that these documents make about your company.


If you're creating documents for a system, you should be using (licenced) stock images and fake names.

Don't black out names or images. That looks unprofessional.

Rather than try to modify the images manually, it's probably better to speak with whomever controls this stuff, and get yourself a test account.

If you need to replace screenshots of yourself, that's somewhat trivial to do for someone that knows what they are doing.

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    A test account is the way to go. Redacting text and images will leave the users wondering if they're actually seeing what they're supposed to see.
    – sf02
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 17:08
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    What are you talking about licensing for? This system I'm creating documentation for is created by us. This is all in house. I have the capacity to make new accounts myself. Do you think I should ask my manager before doing this?
    – GlaceBuff1
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 19:03
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    @GlaceBuff1, Or you could just blur things out. A blur looks way more professional than a black box. Commented May 19, 2022 at 19:53
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    @GlaceBuff1 Even if it is internal it is better to use false names. Not just for privacy reasons, but to avoid to make it too personal. Furthermore often new users actually type in those names they see into the doc just to see what comes out.
    – FluidCode
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 19:54
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    @GlaceBuff1 I think that when you said "screen shots of myself using the system" some people thought you meant photos of yourself instead of just screenshots of your screen. That's why they're talking about using stock images.
    – BSMP
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 17:51

Personal information? Privacy? Every time you send an email you're sending this "personal information". I fail to see how this is about privacy and personal information.

What I do see this as is how to create a professional presentation. Use stock images if available and use a "dummy" account created for this purpose.

Jane Doe, John Doe, Etc.

  • What do you mean by dummy account? How does using a fake name look more professional than using mine?
    – GlaceBuff1
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 19:52
  • People don't expect to see real names. They expect to see "example" names meant for illustrative and descriptive purposes. People have been using the names Jane Doe and John Doe for this purpose longer than you and I have been alive.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 23:34
  • Jane Doe, John Doe, John Smith, etc., etc.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 23:35
  • Sam Salesmanager, Pat Programmer, Chris Chiefexecutive, ... with emails [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] ... rfc2606
    – shoover
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 17:06

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