Why might people hide their profile?

Last month I pointed out that people can hide their profile. My assumption is people were worried about sharing information that the new platform surfaces, such as the amount of time they have spent reading the site. But hiding your profile also hides past posting history, which has always been available publicly and is useful for other people to see.

At the moment, 108 people have hidden their profile information. Most of those people joined before the new platform was introduced. So I’m curious why people have used that option. To try answering that question, I’m going to start a poll. Feel free to participate whether or not you’ve decided to hide your profile:

What stats in user profiles should be private?
  • Joined date
  • Last Post
  • Seen (when the user most recently visited the site)
  • Views (how often someone has looked at their profile)
  • days visited
  • read time
  • topics viewed
  • posts read
  • :heart: given
  • topics created
  • posts created
  • :heart: received
  • All of this data should be public.

0 voters

For reference, this is what my profile looks like to other people:

My goal with this poll is to get an idea of what makes people uncomfortable with other people seeing. It doesn’t mean we’ll be changing anything at this point.

Because someone could have given enough information in their handle, posts, likes, etc, that they could be identified?

Yes, that’s always a concern. It’s a slightly difference question, however. Making your profile private replaces all of that data with:

Screen Shot 2021-01-20 at 11.44.06 AM

That makes it slightly harder to find their posts. But it’s not hard to use Google to find those posts because they are available on the public internet. So hiding your profile provides false comfort.

For what it’s worth, we get requests just about every day to remove posts (usually in the What Are My Chances? category) because the author is concerned someone will identify them. We’re currently looking into ways to improve the experience for these people. But we also are aware that people use anonymity to cause trouble on the forums. So it’s not an easy problem to fix anyway you look at it.

I don’t mind if people see whatever I say. Honestly colleges and certain professors and admissions people have looked at my Linkedin more. I pay for the premium version to have that insight. It’s interesting to me. They also visited my Instagram.

I think posts and replies should drop off the profile after a specified amount of time.

I think people should be able to control what they want/don’t want others to see.
Strangely, I’ve often seen some posters refer to someone’s previous posts. In the sense that they went back and read for veracity or something. Seems a little bit like stalking someone to me.

1 Like

The poll does not really ask the right question.

For each item, it should be a choice of three things:

  • Always public.
  • Switchable by the user.
  • Always private.

My vote is that post history (and maybe last visit date) should be always public, and everything else switchable between public and private by the user.

4 Likes

I think date joined and past posts are really the only things that should be public. Nothing else is relevant. And if I can’t make the other stuff private, I’m going to have the whole profile private. I think it’s super creepy that someone could see when I’ve visited the site, how much time I spend reading, etc…

10 Likes

Posts should be public and always available. People should no be able to post something and then gaslight others into believing that it wasn’t posted. I believe that people should be responsible for what they post, and deleting posts relieves them from that responsibility.

Context is critical, and previous posts create context. Unless you want to deny things that you posted, change your story to fit later claims, or otherwise be dishonest, there is no reason to hide previous posts.

I have no problem at all with people verifying what I am saying now by looking at what I wrote two years ago. In fact, I think that it is important. I do not make up stories to post here, so I am happy to have that supported by comparisons, and I am happy to admit when I change my mind.

In fact, I know that a contradiction exists between my first posts and my present posts which I am always happy to address.

We have another thread about made up stories - comparing posts is the best way to identify these fakes, and is very helpful in keeping the CC forums relatively free of these disruptions.

In any case, calling this “stalking” is ludicrous. Even “a bit like stalking”. The unease that a person may feel because their post may be compared to a previous post is not comparable by any degree to the terror of not feeling safe at one’s home. It’s like comparing being rear-ended by a speeding car to having somebody checking out your license plate number.

4 Likes

Side note…If you use a smart phone you don’t have privacy. If you care about privacy don’t own one. Do you know most apps can access and record things through your devices microphone and camera, copy your text message history ,contacts ,galleries and collect information about everything you’ve ever searched for online. If you are on Facebook ,Twitter, Instagram or Tik Tok and are concerned take a few hours and dissect their terms of service. Use Google? look into that too. It’s shocking.

Does “text message history” include the text of the text message (in addition to date, time, sender & receiver) ?

100% Transparency is always most appropriate.

When a person with a hidden profile takes an aggressive stance, it would be helpful to be able to more easily understand where he/she is coming from - the more data the better.

2 Likes

I’d like to avoid this as an option. In my opinion, none of this information is particularly sensitive. But if there’s a consensus that some information is sensitive enough that users should have the option to hide it, we should just hide it for everyone.

Part of the reason is that it’s confusing. The current situation is clear because hiding your profile means people know nothing about you but your username and avatar. Having some information private for some people is not a great user experience.

But the bigger reason is that we are in this together. Anyone can see how invested I am in the community by looking at how many days I’ve visited the site and how long I’ve spent reading other people’s posts. If I can hide that information, then it creates a sort of division. In particular, it creates a division between people who have figured out how to change the setting and those who haven’t. That’s not a useful distinction in my opinion.

Now I do think it’s useful to know if someone who just posted has been lurking for a few days or if they are just posting a new topic without spending the time to learn what the site has to offer. So that’s why I like “read time” as a metric. But it’s a lot less useful if some people can hide that data.

1 Like

But then the current setup where everything is switchable by the user (but only all or nothing) seems to be unsatisfactory from this viewpoint (and other viewpoints).

I think some of the things tracked and shown aren’t really anyone’s business. I often log in and don’t log out so it looks like I spent 22 hours on here but that isn’t the case at all. Who cares how many posts I read or topics I viewed if I didn’t respond? The number of :heart:‘s I get shows I may be “trustworthy” but what does it matter how many I give? It seems like a lot of things are tracked to generate ad revenue, not necessarily to improve the quality of interactions.

6 Likes

@mwolf I think you are missing the words IMO. You gave your opinion which isn’t shared by all.
I personally find it odd that folks go back and compare notes on different threads for the same poster. You may not. I think its odd in the stalking sense, you may not.
I personally wouldn’t spend the time. But you seem like you would. Again your OPINION.
The OP set up a way to vote so they could get feedback. All good. Why don’t you give YOUR feedback rather than attacking someone else’s.
I will note that you seem to behave in this manner on multiple threads. I’m not going to say you gaslight or call you names but I do think it doesnt forward open discussion.

Also, CC now allows folks to delete posts on the updated site. I gave no idea why and I don’t gave an opinion. But it’s obvious not everyone on CC shares your opinions. Esp if they changed the interface.

I can tell you that is not at all the case. All of the things I listed are tracked as a part of how the site operates. This current platform shows this data by default, which is new. For instance, it needs to know which posts you’ve read so that it can scroll down to the replies you haven’t yet seen. Whether or not the data is shown, it still needs to be collected.

Currently we aren’t sharing the information I listed with advertisers. If we did, it would be according to the privacy policy.

Correct. :wink: The current situation is a temporary solution to the fact that some people are uncomfortable with the information the new platform displays. I’m interested in finding a more permanent solution.

I agree with the others that having public info on how much time, and when, a poster has been reading is too creepy. I am a profile hider. Want to discuss old posts where I said dumb things, fine, look them up. But, other users tracking my online reading time is gross. If I’m not posting, it’s no one’s business how long I’ve read or what I’ve read, in my opinion. (And yes, I know sites track these things.)

7 Likes