Michael McLennan @ on
Change the way we handle "private" profiles
Let’s change the “public/private profile” option so people can understand it better and make it “public” by default.
Instead of “Public profile (others may view your profile)”, let’s call it “List me in the Members directory” and have it checked by default for all members when they first register. When this is checked, the user shows up on the /members list (their name, at least), and their profile entry may also show up as a separate search result. Note that their name might show up if they’ve contributed a resource, asked a question, submitted a wish, etc. But their profile will also show up as a separate search result if they have this “list me” option checked.
When a member has the “list me” option checked, following any link to their profile page will at least show their name, and will also show other “public” information items on their profile. If the “list me” option is turned off, going to their profile page won’t show their name, but will just give the “this profile is private” error. This avoids a security problem of probing pages with random member numbers to find out who is registered.
We should encourage people to check the “list me” option when they fill out their profile. When people contribute/publish resources, we should bug them again about filling out their profile if this option is turned off and the profile is incomplete. But if someone absolutely doesn’t want to be listed in the member directory, they can turn this option off—even if they are a contributor. The site search will still find their name and still provide a link to their profile. But following the link in that case would give the “this profile is private” error. Bad practice for a contributor, but allowed if someone works hard enough to turn this option off.