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The geek functions both as a social network and a database. There are a number of places where these roles come into conflict, but I am hoping to discuss one in particular: privacy.

Right now anyone with an internet access can access everything I have ever done on the geek. Open my profile, view my gallery, look at my collection, read my reviews, geeklists and thread postings, view the microbadges I have purchased. If they were dedicated they could probably figure out my schedule based on when I posted. And I have no control over any of this. The person doesn't even need to take a few seconds to make a geek account to see everything I have ever done on the site, and this continues to grow.

I'm guessing that for database reasons the geek wants potential future users to have full access to everything on the site, but since the site also functions as a social network I wonder if it would be possible to institute a few privacy controls for users security.
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Curt Carpenter
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frumpish wrote:
If they were dedicated they could probably figure out my schedule based on when I posted. And I have no control over any of this.

Well, you have control over when you post. If you care that anyone is reverse engineering your schedule.

frumpish wrote:
I'm guessing that for database reasons the geek wants potential future users to have full access to everything on the site, but since the site also functions as a social network I wonder if it would be possible to institute a few privacy controls for users security.

Yes, it would be possible, but I hope they don't go down that route. At least I would vehemently argue against such a direction. I don't want BoardgameFacebookGeek. I value the openness and think the site is, and always will be, better for it.
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Conte Pro
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Just joined the sit today...I think the dif between a site like this and facebook, is that fbook is more "personal" type information, where this kind of site is just info about a hobby / interest...so if anyone was to try and access what games you like etc, it would really be more of a waste of time on their part and probably not have any substantial effect on you...thought of course it is difficult to reduce internet presence.
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Agree with the former speakers. I have just quit Facebook because I've finally grown tired of the personal nature of the site, which calls for privacy settings here and there (and the fact that Facebook starts "suggesting" pages in my feed, to avoid the AdBlocks). I don't know what you had in mind, but I'd hate to see BoardGameGeek go down a route where you have to "friend" someone in order to see what, where and when they posted.

"Open my profile, view my gallery, look at my collection, read my reviews, geeklists and thread postings, view the microbadges I have purchased" is exactly the point of BoardGameGeek. If people couldn't, what would the idea be?
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Derry Salewski
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I think some really simple privacy might be kind of useful. I don't know how much. I don't care what anyone sees about me, and I don't really care about anything on anyone else's profile.

I mean, google me five years ago and you get nothing. Goggle me now and you get a bunch of bgg posts!!

But like people have said, no one is forcing a user to contribute anything. If your life is so top secret that you don't want people knowing when you're online . . . um, this is just the least of your worries.
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frumpish wrote:
I'm guessing that for database reasons the geek wants potential future users to have full access to everything on the site, but since the site also functions as a social network I wonder if it would be possible to institute a few privacy controls for users security.

No, the site doesn't function as a social network. Or rather, the site was never designed to offer that functionality: if it exists it has emerged from many people contributing in various ways. In addition the site is about a hobby, not about one's personal life. It should be fairly easy to seperate the two to the point where there is little valuable information to be gleaned from your contributions.

But suppose that you wanted privacy controls: what would you want to guard against prying eyes? Your profile, personal gallery and microbadges? If so, why is there sensitive information on there in the first place? Your reviews, geeklists and thread postings? Pardon me, but I think the point of this site is that people read what other people write, especially reviews. BGG is basically a huge customised forum: if you don't want people to be able to read what you write then don't contribute! Your collection? What is wrong with that...?!

In other words: even if privacy controls were instated, I'm not sure what exactly needs to be controlled.
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As a practical matter, it would probably be very hard to retrofit such fine-tuned privacy controls onto BGG, even if it were decided that it was desirable to do so.

(And as many privacy bugs and leaks and hacks at many websites over the years should teach us, it's wiser to not depend on a 3rd party website correctly implementing privacy controls - it's easy to get wrong in many subtle ways. If you don't want people seeing something, it's surely safer to simply not post it on a publicly accessible website.)

That said, I agree with the general principle of being conscious and careful about computer privacy/security. I'm just skeptical about whether trying to implement such customizable privacy settings make sense for BGG in particular.

(E.g. Joe Blow posts a reply to a public discussion thread and unwittingly marks it "friends only". Lots of room for confusion along lines similar to when an angry user deletes their account and all their content...)
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I've had elements of my BGG presence leak into my private life, but only because some obnoxious git went snooping. Otherwise I'm not bothered.

The key point you are missing is that any person writes in a consistent style. The personal lexicon you use, the way you use grammar or slang, these are signatures that identify you very clearly to analysts. So if you go onto another site, even where you think your IP is totally anonymous, and write something that may have repercussion, it's possible to trace you back to BGG just through your writing style. Apart from Grognards of course.

So as well as varying log on times, the OP might want to adopt a new style of writing just for BGG. And go back and edit all the previous work. Or just not be that paranoid bothered really.
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EYE of NiGHT wrote:
The key point you are missing is that any person writes in a consistent style. The personal lexicon you use, the way you use grammar or slang, these are signatures that identify you very clearly to analysts.

Cool tangent... the particular misspellings and grammatical mistakes a person does also fall into that category.

I've seen some quite interesting articles about research and software which very reliably tests whether different writing samples are from the same author or not.

If one didn't care about looking like an illiterate goober, a possible solution would be to translate one's text to a different language and back again via some automatic translators, to "corrupt" one's style. But that could render the intended meaning incomprehensible, depending on the text.

I think I've also seen mention of some privacy-oriented software which modifies text to make it more bland and generic (removing features which seem highly unusual compared to "typical" text or something).
 
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I would fully support privacy controls, and the ability of one to have a say over the exposure of their posts. Something like "hide my posts from Google" would be my first priority.
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cymric wrote:
But suppose that you wanted privacy controls: what would you want to guard against prying eyes? Your profile, personal gallery and microbadges? If so, why is there sensitive information on there in the first place?

The main thing I can think of that I would somehow like to shield would be my game play "location". Beyond that, blog posts are probably the riskiest area because they are more likely to get personal, but that's my own fault. Also, one of my real-life friends might post something that I wouldn't want said, but there's not much BGG can do about that either.

I try to be careful not to reveal anything about upcoming trips (or gaming events). Best not to tell the whole world exactly where you will (or won't) be at specific times. But sometimes it's hard to avoid while still accomplishing what you hope to accomplish on the site.

So while I wholeheartedly support a concern for privacy, I haven't heard or thought of any concrete steps BGG could do (other than making Play Location a private field). It's really up to each of us to censor ourselves (and to trust/educate our friends).
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kreikkaturkulainen wrote:
Something like "hide my posts from Google" would be my first priority.


That should be the standard default on every single site on the wed, in my humble opinion.

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I was wondering if there already IS a partial privacy option on BGG...not for posts, but for some game collection data. If you go to My Geek, then Collection to see all the games you've entered, you can customize the Columns that are shown. One of the selections under "Personal Copy" is "Private Info". If you add this column, and click in it to see the entry options, they are: Price Paid, Current Value, Quantity, Acquisition Date, Acquired From, and Comments. I've never tried using it, but it implies that others can't see this data.

Has anyone else tried this? If not, and you didn't know about it before, does it sound like something you would like/use? What do you think the main purpose of this function is?
 
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I tell people on Facebook the same thing I tell people on BGG. If you don't want people to have what you are posting to the internet public, then don't post it.

The only true defense against lack of privacy is yourself.
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kreikkaturkulainen wrote:
I would fully support privacy controls, and the ability of one to have a say over the exposure of their posts. Something like "hide my posts from Google" would be my first priority.

That would also vastly diminish the usefulness of this site, and thus I would vehemently argue against it. It's not reasonable to expect BGG to build the same level of search capabilities that Google has. Many people use Google to find what they're looking for in BGG, even when they know it's in BGG.
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curtc wrote:
kreikkaturkulainen wrote:
I would fully support privacy controls, and the ability of one to have a say over the exposure of their posts. Something like "hide my posts from Google" would be my first priority.

That would also vastly diminish the usefulness of this site, and thus I would vehemently argue against it. It's not reasonable to expect BGG to build the same level of search capabilities that Google has. Many people use Google to find what they're looking for in BGG, even when they know it's in BGG.


Perhaps. I still value my privacy more than any of that.

The database, ratings, even collection data can be free to the public.

I want to have the ability to shield my personal opinions from potential employers, family, curious marketers, etc.
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kreikkaturkulainen wrote:
The database, ratings, even collection data can be free to the public.

I want to have the ability to shield my personal opinions from potential employers, family, curious marketers, etc.

But the forum threads are at least as valuable as the ratings and collection data.

Perhaps BGG could limit google searching in the RSP and ChitChat areas, but that doesn't seem all that valuable to me.
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kreikkaturkulainen wrote:
I want to have the ability to shield my personal opinions from potential employers, family, curious marketers, etc.

And I want people to not have that ability.

Maybe make an alter ego if you care so much about that.
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Unlike facebook, etc - BGG doesn't require any personal details at all. You can register with a dummy email, use a nickname rather than your real name and opt out of supplying an address/location entirely. Clearly if someone really really wanted to know they could, with some technical know how, figure it out but most people will find your BGG account or your other personal details by typing your name into a search engine.

If your choosing to post under your own name then that's your choice. I also think for the vast majority of users' the bigger issue is using BGG while they are at work.
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Let me go out on a limb and argue that BGG is actually *more* private than Facebook.

On Facebook, there is the illusion of privacy control. However, as Facebook has demonstrated in the past, there are times when your privacy setting will be changed or otherwise altered without your consent -- or when something you thought was private leaks out into a public sector because of the actions of other users. That illusion of privacy control actually leads to less privacy in the long run.

With BGG, by comparison, you know exactly what is public because everything is public. Therefore, you have absolute control over what is and is not released. If you don't want something made public on BGG, don't post it. This is after all, the internet: a public network.
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curtc wrote:
kreikkaturkulainen wrote:
I want to have the ability to shield my personal opinions from potential employers, family, curious marketers, etc.

And I want people to not have that ability.

Maybe make an alter ego if you care so much about that.


I subscribe to the philosophy of "if you are afraid that someone might read it, then maybe it's better not said'.

There is no re-compulsions from work or family if you are writing things that could be said in 'mixed' company. If you are afraid someone might read it, then don't post it.

Everyone on the internet has the ability to control their privacy by not posting things they don't want to share.
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Guantanamo wrote:
Everyone on the internet has the ability to control their privacy by not posting things they don't want to share.

While I agree, I don't think that's fair or genuine to the OP or our Finnish friend Ηρακλής (whatever that is). Everyone knows they can refrain from posting. But it's also possible to build in some level of privacy controls, which at a minimum would at least reduce access by some degree of some people (even if only a pure laziness filter on the low end of simply requiring a BGG account to view). And while that's true, I'm trying to make it clear that such a move, while admittedly possible, would make BGG a worse place for me, and those like me who value the openness.
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There are things that I want to share only with my fellow board game geeks.

Telling me to put up or shut up is telling me to self-censor.

This may actually be making the site poorer, or at least not as great as it could have been, by not allowing someone to feel safe in sharing certain opinions.
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kreikkaturkulainen wrote:
There are things that I want to share only with my fellow board game geeks.

Telling me to put up or shut up is telling me to self-censor.

This may actually be making the site poorer, or at least not as great as it could have been, by not allowing someone to feel safe in sharing certain opinions.


How do you know that the people from whom you wish to hide your posts are not registered at BGG? Last I checked, the barrier to entry hovers around "I am not a sockpuppet", mostly a bit above, but sometimes dipping below, that level.
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kreikkaturkulainen wrote:
sharing


That's exactly what you are doing.
 
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