Private vs public poll


(Joseph Bayly) #1

Ok, @Settlers, it’s time for our second poll. This one is a big deal affecting the future of this community. You’ve got 24 hours to vote. :slight_smile:

Several of you have given us feedback about the balance of public vs private communication in this community, and some of us have spent quite a bit of time arguing (privately, ironically) about the pros and cons of various approaches. Time to open up the conversation.

Our current setup is that this is a public website and all content is publicly visible, except for private messages, and a couple of administrative areas. However, you need an account to post, and you also need to become a citizen before you can post in the Town Square.

With that explanation, here are a couple of questions for all of you.

Would you be more inclined to post if there was a "private" area of the site visible only to Citizens of Sanityville?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

What do you think we should do?

  • Have private & public areas.
  • Leave the whole site public.
  • Take the whole site private.

0 voters

Argue the merits below.

P.S. We are not promising to be democratic here. :wink:


Thanks for the feedback! Now here are the changes
(Tim Bayly) #2

Could see there’d be times I’d want to communicate with members, only; but generally not.


(Joseph Bayly) #3

Ironically, this poll is an example of a small privacy snafu. I specified to show the voters, but I had no idea that it would show what you voted for. I just wanted to know who had voted. :man_shrugging:


(Jon Swerens) #4

I’m saying yes to posting in a private area … but only because I think a small private area for particular topics might be helpful. All in all, I’d rather this be all public rather than all private.


(Timothy J. Hammons) #5

I would like areas where we could discuss things that are hard to discuss even inside the church. I have positions and views that I would like to share with other believers, that I cannot do so in a public forum. Given that, a private section would be most welcome, and safe. Not as in “safe space,” but safe to be able to say, “hey, whats wrong with my view of this…”


(Joseph Bayly) #6

That’s certainly a valid desire. One concern we have with having a private section is that we don’t think anything on the internet is truly private. Thus, you might have your questions and ideas screenshotted and shared outside the community. It’s hard to maintain an appropriate level of care in that pseudo-private context. Still, I’m inclined to say that there is real value to that sort of “safe” place, even if the safety is more of a feeling than a reality.


(Jon Swerens) #7

Maybe what we would like is a post that can be privatized only by admin fiat.


(Joseph Bayly) #8

In what context do you imagine that happening? Why would we decide to “privatize” something?


(Jon Swerens) #9

Dunno really. I mean, you’d make something private if someone requested it? This is obviously still a half-baked idea in my mind.


(Josiah) #10

There is nothing truly secret on the Internet. However, with more sensitive topics, it would be nice to speak more freely without concern that the quickest Google search of our name will turn it up. As a for instance, as a jail Chaplain holding to the historic Christian faith, which includes evangelism wherever we can get away with it, it would be nice if a disgruntled inmate or someone hostile to our ministry has a harder time finding gotcha quotes. There are things that I would say to a professed Christian audience that I would be wary of saying to someone looking to remove me from my position.


(Joseph Bayly) #11

This is one reason why I still think there’s a good case to be made for a private section. As an example, my sister @michal.crum asked if it was really wise to post publicly all the details of the best ways to take us offline (as I did over here). My response was that there’s nothing really secret about it. On the other hand, she pointed out that there are a lot of lazy and clueless people out there that are prevented from doing bad things simply by making it a tiny bit harder. It’s like a house lock in that regard. A targeted attack is not prevented in the slightest, because house locks can be picked by a child with a bump key. But drive by and opportunistic attacks can be thwarted with seemingly silly security measures.


(Joseph Bayly) #12

The problem with that is they’d have to post it publicly first and then request it be taken private (and hope we got to it quickly). That’s a nonstarter, I think.


(David Burchard) #13

That line decided my vote for private and public.


(Daniel Meyer) #14

I think with a private forum it’s hard to avoid a detachment from reality where men sound full of conviction and courage but this is based on their trust in anonymity rather than actual conviction and courage. And that if there’s a private area on the site, it will likely become dominant and the public side will wither.

Do we have the stomach for a public site? If not, let’s be honest about that and have an all-private site. But if we’re really going to try to do both, the private side has to be disciplined. Not seeing an effective plan on how to accomplish that, I’m skeptical that the public side would end up worth anything in that scenario.


(Keith D Knowlden) #15

One of the things I liked most and miss most about BaylyBlog was how everything was out front - from the hard-hitting posts to the nitty-gritty arguments/discussions in the comments. I’ve often shared links to blog posts with the admonition to read all the comments; and I’ve often said I learned as much, if not more, by reading those conversations than from the post that started it. It’s one reason I feel as if I know some of you, though our in-person relationship is non-existent.


(Joseph Bayly) #16

I think this happens online in general, but is also encouraged by anonymity online (as you go on to say). I suspect privacy adds to it, but I don’t see it playing that big of a role.

Do you have any suggestions for this?


(Joseph Bayly) #17

One of the tensions we’ve felt from the beginning here is that we want comments to return, but in a disciplined manner. That’s why we allow people to create accounts without becoming applying for citizenship. We want opposing arguments, and not just from people who are just like us or it will become an echo chamber.

At the same time, we do want it to be a community of like-minded people, which means that there needs to be a place where people can talk without worrying about randomAtheist23 coming in and interrupting.

I think we’re narrowing in on a plan where we can do both of those things. And I think it’s going to include a private area of some sort.


(Daniel Meyer) #18

I was thinking of having any private rooms have a specific focus, such as ‘Pastoral help needed’ or ‘Front lines’ (help in being wise as serpents and innocent as doves in a workplace that is hostile to the gospel). Always driving the private area to stay true to the purpose it needed privacy, to help avoid just getting comfortable and hiding our light under a bushel.

Or maybe don’t put any restrictions on the private area but call it ‘The Bushel’…


(Jedidiah Lawson) #19

I missed the vote! But you have chosen… wisely. (I expect someone to get that coughnathan albertson* Cough*)

Since I work for the “man” my social media posts would be HIGHLY frowned upon and I’m sure the items discussed here would not be appreciated.