It's not unusual when analysing documents released under Freedom of Information laws to see slabs of redacted black text at the top of emails - the to, from and cc fields a mystery to the reader.
At the same time, some departments will share the names and emails of the public servants throughout email chains, right down to the executive assistants.
Of course, emails aren't the only documents falling under the disclosure laws where the names of public servants could be revealed - there's everything from meeting minutes and briefings to Whatsapp, Slack or Yammer messages.
Despite guidance from the Office of the Information Commissioner that disclosing public servants' names in documents is not unreasonable unless special circumstances exist, names are often excluded as irrelevant or because there could be a "substantial adverse effect" on personnel or agency operations.
Now Information Commissioner Angelene Falk is asking agencies and members of the public whether public servants' names should be included in documents released, and for agencies to detail their practices and concerns.
Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Hampton said the Information Commission wants to get the balance right between transparency in decision-making and "the right of individuals to be free from harassment or safety concerns".
"The disclosure of public servants' names and contact details has come up in a number of our reviews of agencies' Freedom of Information decisions," Ms Hampton said.
"Documents released under FOI are increasingly likely to be shared online, and some agencies have expressed concerns about these details being published due to potential safety or harassment issues. We want to hear more about these concerns so we can understand them better."
Ms Hampton said it was an important part of transparency to know who was making decisions.
"We also want to hear from people who believe that publishing the names of public servants is important for accountability and transparency."
Ms Hampton said the commission wants to ensure the policy remains fit for the contemporary environment.
"Following consultation we will consider whether the guidelines need updating to encourage clearer and more evidence-based FOI decisions," she said.
Decisions made in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and by the Information Commissioner across the last 13 years show the divergent rulings on public servants' names and details.
Despite one 2016 decision ruling it was contrary to the public interest to publish names and contact details of public servants, other decisions ruled it wasn't unreasonable to identify the officers on duty at a particular day at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, or who was present at meetings listed in the Attorney-General's Diary.
In other decision by the Information Commissioner, unsubstantiated accusations and identifying individuals under investigation ended up in the non-disclosure column, as were signatures, dates and places of birth and mobile phone numbers of public servants.
But if that mobile phone number is included in an email signature, it should be released as emails go out publicly anyway, according to another decision.
Australian decisions show a shift from most decisions falling on the side of naming public servants to more recent decisions saying names, even of SES officers, were irrelevant information.
The Information Commission in the United Kingdom, however, where the laws are different, has judged senior public servants are fair game to be named in documents requested under Freedom of Information, while junior public servants should have their details redacted.