Private area?

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Private area?

Post by Sarah on Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:07 pm

I was thinking about this last night. I wonder if it is possible to have a private members only area, where we can discuss the more personal aspects of having migraines - or maybe the support area should become private?

I know there are pros and cons of having private areas on forums - eg. that people will be able to feel more open on there, in the knowledge that they can't be seen by just anyone (although in the knowledge that anyone can reasonably join, and therefore see their posts), with a con being that people might start only posting in that area.

I guess what I'm thinking is that it's really useful for browsers to be able to see the stuff about treatments tried etc, but that the more personal stuff should probably be more private.

Look forward to hearing what is possible and what people think. Smile
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Re: Private area?

Post by pīwakawaka on Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:42 am

Personally, I'm comfortable with the amount of anonymity provided by the existing user profiles. I subscribe to a number of different forums and have got into the habit of not giving away information that is personally identifiable.

Having said that, I suspect it would be possible for someone who already knows about my personal details to guess the identity of pīwakawaka. For that reason, there are some things that I would not discuss in an open forum.

The problem with a private area, is that it's not really private. It's relatively easy to join the forum. There's no guarantee that those people whom you really don't want to to know your most personal details won't join and discover your secrets anyway.

Other problems:

Much of the hierarchy of the in the public area will need to be duplicated in the private area, meaning the forum administrators will have more work to do.

Confusion is likely to arise as to whether the public or private area is the most appropriate are to post a thread in.

Searching the site becomes more difficult.

Search engines can't index the private area. If a significant number of posts are in the private area compared to the public area, there is less for the search engines to index, resulting in fewer referrals and possibly a lower ranking.

The problem with making very limited portion of the forum visible to the public is that there would be nothing here that would encourage new members to join. Facts and figures can be easily obtained elsewhere. It's the personal experiences of the posters, both good and bad, in these forums that make these forums what they are. Take that away, and what are you left with?

If I wanted to discuss something where I really wanted to remain truly anonymous, I would create an new user login and use that for those special occasions. The administrators might be able to match multiple users by the IP address, but by careful posting of information, no one else would be able to. Of course whether Tee would approve of such a practice is another matter... Wink

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Re: Private area?

Post by Sarah on Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:24 am

Oh I didn't mean everything should be private. I was thinking more along the lines of just the support section, rather than the threads on particular treatments etc. eg so people can post a little more freely about some of the more personal matters that I've noticed have come up on here since I've been a member.

And I do know what you mean about the fact that it's never truly private. I said in my post above that anyone can join. No-one should ever feel that they are truly anonymous on the internet.
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Re: Private area?

Post by Tee on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:11 am

Hmm interesting -I will have a look to see if you can have one section which is private - ie for members only which means the whole world will not be able to see what is posted - although this does not stop people from joining and then seeing it..... we can monitor it and if the topics are not really private then we can move them / copy them to the wider world, as I do know a lot of people who come and read and learn, but do not post and there is always PMs and I have had a number over the past year (wow just looked 268!).... and some of those are sensitive...

And I am quite happy for people to have dual profiles - I can see that some may want to stay hidden for some of the more personal posts....

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Re: Private area?

Post by Sarah on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:27 am

That's one of the things I was thinking of - that you get lots PMs etc. It would be nice for people to feel they could join and take part in the discussions. Not that it would definitely increase membership, of course!
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Re: Private area?

Post by Tee on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:52 am

I think I have sorted this - there is now a section called 'members only' which I have added tight security too - Whilst this part of the forum is closed from guests, and therefore more private - there is nothing to stop a guest from registering and gaining access to this section if they so wish. I do monitor access and from time to time run a program to check email addresses for spammers. However, if you wish you can set up another profile under an avatar and post in this section under a false name...

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Re: Private area?

Post by Sarah on Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:07 am

Thanks so much for this. Smile
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Re: Private area?

Post by Tee on Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:59 am

I have moved a couple of what could be sensitive issues to this space to get people started Smile x

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