Post Reply  
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
30-06-2008, 14:27   #1
seamus
Dental Plan!
 
seamus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 64,662
Send a message via MSN to seamus
Boards.ie and Privacy

Right, let's see if I can phrase this properly without looking like I'm bitching and moaning or without talking complete nonsense. I didn't want to bring it up at the beers, because frankly that's a stupid time to talk to admins about this kind of stuff. They just want to have beer too.

I'm not talking about privacy here in terms of boards's legal obligations. That's irrelevant.

There seems to be some general concern, not about the direction necessarily that boards is heading, but about the implementation of new functionality after upgrades and the likes. Specifically about the volume of links which can be made between a poster, their activity on boards, and their other activities on the web.

First and foremost, the inclusion of "social networking" functions seems to be drawing the most ire. Cloud will hate me for saying this, but boards.ie is not a social networking site and never will be. Myself and 150,000 other posters didn't sign up to boards as a social networking site. We signed up to boards to participate in boards. If we want social networking, we'll go to social networking sites, who are now miles ahead down the road on that bandwagon.
I don't know what the current idea of social networking is going to evolve into, but as far as I can see, boards.ie has missed the social networking 1.0 boat. That ship has sailed and bebo, facebook and myspace are taking up all of the seats.

I think for each upgrade, you need to examine the new functions and by all means include them, but make them opt-out by default. If I want visitor messages, then I'll tick that box. If I want to participate in social groups, I'll tick that box too. But I'd prefer if I wasn't getting spammed or stalked by other members without first having agreed to it.*

Other things like PMs and ignore lists have been around for donkey's years and I think there are very few people who would insist on turning them off by default. Adding new ways for people to link to you or send you messages is all well and good, but I don't think it's appropriate any more to assume that everyone is happy to have these thrust upon them. Even a short email or a sitewide annoucement letting them know that these things have been added and details on how to turn them off, would be a step in the right direction.

Secondly, I think boards needs to think strongly about the non-private, but ultimately superfluous information that is displayed in a user's profile. As a programmer, I understand completely the rationale behind the makers of vBulletin's wish to extract as much information as they can, twist it and interpret it in all sorts of ways and then display it for anyone to see. It's fun, in a "look what we can do" kind of way. Yes, programmers are sad. I also understand the legal standpoint of "The minimum information necessary". I think we need to align ourselves with the general Irish/European feeling on privacy - which falls somewhere in between the two extremes.

One example of this is profile visitors. A person's profile shows me (and I understand, every other registered user), who has been looking at my profile. What purpose does this serve? All it essentially does is track people's movements around the site (yes, that's a tad alarmist, but it's all I could think of) or perhaps some people like to see how popular their profile is.
It's a probably part of the social networking package so that indeed, people can measure their popularity based on their profile.

OK. I hope there's something cohesive in that. I don't want to come across in a "stop changing things", old grouch, bitching kind of way. It might just be the scope of exposure I've had to change management in recent times that makes me stop and look at this kind of stuff. The programmer in me (my inner child) still goes "cool" when this stuff appears, but then there's this grown-up guy who says, "Yeah, it's cool alright, but tell me why it's there again?".

*For the record, I haven't been spammed or stalked, but some people have and others have raised it as a concern
seamus is offline  
(85) thanks from:
6th, Amz, Asiaprod, Basq, Beruthiel, Blowfish, BossArky, bringitdown, BuffyBot, Caoimhín, CathyMoran, Chinafoot, Chong, copacetic, cornbb, darraghdoyle, Diddy Kong, DJ_Spider, Dord, Dragan, drive3331, endacl, event, feylya, freeze4real, funk-you, g'em, Gandalf23, GhostInTheRuins, giggsy664, Gordon, Hagar, Heisenberg., Hobbes, hullaballoo, HurtLocker, Iago, Jack Sheehan, John Mason, johnny_ultimate, Jonathan, Karl Hungus, KatCookie, KevIRL, LadyE, Lumi, Marcus.Aurelius, MIN2511, Nevyn, ojewriej, okgirl, ongarite, Orion, Our man in Havana, Overheal, parasite, Pherekydes, Rb, Red Alert, Red Hand, reverandkenjami, roonaan, RuggieBear, Ruu_Old, Sherifu, Shiminay, Sparks, Steve, Stokolan, stovelid, subway, Sully, Susannahmia, The Sweeper, unkel, Victor, WanderingSoul, Wazdakka, Wibbs, YeatsCounty, Zaph, [-0-], _blank_, _JOE_
Advertisement
30-06-2008, 14:31   #2
Sparks
Moderator
 
Sparks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 38,258
There are also some bits of information which are of serious use to moderators, but no use at all to ordinary posters. What a poster is now doing, for example. Handy for a mod if that user is off on a tirade against "De Man" and you may need to edit/ban/whatever, but no use at all for ordinary users.
Sparks is offline  
30-06-2008, 14:34   #3
Shiminay
Moderator
 
Shiminay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 1998
Posts: 27,233
I think it was partially down to Cult telling us through his actions that he's definitely the man for the job

Have to agree with most of that seamus, especially the "social networking" stuff. I don't want any of that and don't think it has any place here on boards.
Shiminay is offline  
30-06-2008, 14:39   #4
Beruthiel
omnipotent and omniscient
 
Beruthiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 38,848
Quote:
Originally Posted by seamus View Post
One example of this is profile visitors. A person's profile shows me (and I understand, every other registered user), who has been looking at my profile. What purpose does this serve? All it essentially does is track people's movements around the site (yes, that's a tad alarmist, but it's all I could think of) or perhaps some people like to see how popular their profile is.
It's a probably part of the social networking package so that indeed, people can measure their popularity based on their profile.
Unlike you seamus, I have no tact and did bring it up at the beers the other night.
I was talking to CuLT about the above.
I don't want to know who's stalking me.
I also don't want others to know I'm stalking them, especially if it has something to do with my smod duties or I'm keeping an eye on a trouble maker.

I have turned off the messaging thingie to Mods and friends.
Don't know what else you can do at the minute though to restrict access.
Beruthiel is offline  
Thanks from:
30-06-2008, 14:43   #5
Ron DMC
Registered User
 
Ron DMC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,141
This will hopefully lead to an interesting discussion.
I certainly can see reasons to have the features "opt-outable". While I wouldn't be too worried myself over privacy and what I say on boards etc, some users mightn't like their real-life identity being linked to what they say online (employers tracking them etc).

On the other hand, there's definitely no case for abandoning new features completely. Unless changes and updates are implemented boards will get boring and die, the internet in general is constantly evolving and boards needs to keep up (and we need to give Cult something to do).
Ron DMC is offline  
Advertisement
30-06-2008, 14:44   #6
Hobbes
Registered User
 
Hobbes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 1998
Posts: 20,766
I would disagree. It has always been a social networking site. What is changing is the features.

For example:
One person who had a serious beef with me I found using boards.ie as a jumping point his personal address, phone number and his other hobbies and dating habits. I could of been a dick and took it further but I just put the person on ignore. I did that because the level of harrassment suggested they knew me, they didn't. Turned out they were just a dickhead.

This ability has always been there (well for as long as the search has been active).

FOAF has been active for years as well, although no one used it (except Mr B).

If you don't want to play with the personal profile stuff just ignore it.

My point is that people seem to think that there is some kind of anon ability with the net. There isn't and even if we disabled everything people would still find information on them on what they posted.

Making people aware of that rather then crippling features would be a better route imho.

Lastly you can switch off some of the features at the user level afaik.
Hobbes is offline  
(3) thanks from:
30-06-2008, 14:44   #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 32,525
The is one thing I have noticed, that us s-mods have to check profiles of users every now and again. I'd rather not have that showing up. Good post, seamus.
Ruu_Old is offline  
30-06-2008, 14:49   #8
Hobbes
Registered User
 
Hobbes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 1998
Posts: 20,766
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beruthiel View Post
I also don't want others to know I'm stalking them,
Watch now as numerous people will go check their profile to see if Bru was there.

I think invis mode should stop you from showing up on the lists. Its in your settings.
Hobbes is offline  
30-06-2008, 14:51   #9
justsomebloke
Registered User
 
justsomebloke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 9,904
ah I think you are all just grumpy ol feckers who are too stuck in their ways to appreciate that how people want to use boards has changed as compared to when you first joined.

I for one wouldn't actually compare the social aspecting side that boards has now taken is directly comparable to the other social networking sites like bebo or facebook. Now I agree partially that things like your last 10 stalkers and your stalker points have no benefit what so ever, but I think that poeple thinking that the changes have brought about the stalking are a bit dilussional. The means to stalk people have always been there the format to how you had to do it was just slightly different.

Looking at the thank you list of the first post it is all people who have to around quite a while and I think they have to realise that what younger new members of boards want out of a site like this is different to what they want as they have settled in there ways and would prefer things not to change
justsomebloke is offline  
Thanks from:
Advertisement
30-06-2008, 14:52   #10
CuLT
Pro-fessional. Anti-oxidant.
 
CuLT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 9,278
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruu View Post
The is one thing I have noticed, that us s-mods have to check profiles of users every now and again. I'd rather not have that showing up. Good post, seamus.
If you're set to invisible, you don't show up in the profile of whomever you're looking at (unless you're an administrator or smod, in which case you can see everyone regardless, just as with forumviewing).

Hope that clears that one up.
CuLT is offline  
(4) thanks from:
30-06-2008, 14:53   #11
seamus
Dental Plan!
 
seamus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 64,662
Send a message via MSN to seamus
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post
I would disagree. It has always been a social networking site. What is changing is the features.
Well, I think I'll always disagree with that. I see social networking sites as extensions of blogs. Sort of linked blogs, if you will. You could argue that forums are extensions of blogs, with people giving their opinion, but I think the important difference is that nobody "owns" a discussion on a forum. Threads talking about oneself are largely frowned upon/deleted and the site as a whole is regarded as community rather than an advertisement for an individual's life. Social networking sites as far as I've seen tend to just be complete ego wank-fests.
Quote:
If you don't want to play with the personal profile stuff just ignore it.
My argument is that if you want to play with the personal profile stuff, then you can choose to. If you don't, then you don't have to do anything. Yes, you can switch it off, but it should be opt-in, not opt-out.

Quote:
My point is that people seem to think that there is some kind of anon ability with the net. There isn't and even if we disabled everything people would still find information on them on what they posted.
I'm totally in agreement with that, and I'm not specifically talking about allowing people to remain anonymous. Although I'm loathe to say it, I think the size of boards.ie means that it shouldn't be OK to put up information just because someone with a great deal of web savvy can obtain it elsewhere.
A few people know enough legal tricks that they could get someone's home address from their cat number plate. Does this mean that the government should just go ahead and publish the database because it's open information anyway?
Quote:
Making people aware of that rather then crippling features would be a better route imho.
No argument here. Leave the features in, and leave them opt-in.

Indeed, I'm all on for embracing the social networking phenomenon. I think a great idea would on a profile would be to allow people put in their bebo/facebook/myspace username. Then any of their friends on boards can click on it and it sends a "friend request" from the appropriate website.

Perhaps what I'm trying to say is that there's no need for boards to try and copy the functionality that dedicated social networking sites have been developing and winning with for the past few years.

Last edited by seamus; 30-06-2008 at 15:00.
seamus is offline  
Thanks from:
30-06-2008, 14:54   #12
dr.bollocko
Moderator
 
dr.bollocko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 33,387
Anyone fancy giving me an ould stalk?
dr.bollocko is offline  
30-06-2008, 14:57   #13
Beruthiel
omnipotent and omniscient
 
Beruthiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 38,848
Quote:
Originally Posted by CuLT View Post
If you're set to invisible, you don't show up in the profile of whomever you're looking at
So people don't know I'm checking up on them then?
Well, that's great. Thanks.
Beruthiel is offline  
30-06-2008, 15:00   #14
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 10,546
Quote:
Originally Posted by seamus View Post
No argument here. Leave the features in, and leave them opt-in.
I agree. There are options to turn off the messages on your profile but I think it would be best if it was set to "off" as default. That way if you want that stuff you can have it, otherwise you don't need to bother.

I've just turned my profile messages off, a bit annoying tbh. It's a bit of a novelty, best off using PM's if you want to talk about anything with any content. Profile messages just seem to be "oh wow, I'm stalking you" or the likes.
Dord is offline  
30-06-2008, 15:01   #15
John Mason
Hosted Moderator
 
John Mason's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 10,038
HMod: PFJ
How do i set my profile to invisble?

is there anyway of turning of the vistor messages and who is viewing your profile

(sorry am far too lazy busy to read through the thread
John Mason is offline  
Post Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Remove Text Formatting
Bold
Italic
Underline

Insert Image
Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text
 
Decrease Size
Increase Size
Please sign up or log in to join the discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



Share Tweet