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Wish List - nanoHUB.org: Wish #372

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Michael McLennan

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.

Comments (0)

  1. Joseph M. Cychosz

    Thoughts.

    Paragraph 2, I think the way to look at the “List me in the Members directory”, means if private, then when ever the members table is searched, the user will not appear in the results. This will keep them out of search engine searches and will keep them out of local nanohub searches of membership. They will still appear along with any contribution affiliation.

    Paragraph 3, I think the way to look at this, is when ever there profile is accessed by contribution affiliation, the public/privacy attributes for each profile entity would apply and determine what is visible. I think when a profile is visited via affiliation linkage, the profile should be presented the same regardless of the “list me” status. After all at this point we know the persons name (its what we clicked on) and no privacy is compromised. The “profile private” message should appear when “list me” is off, and the page is probed via a direct link (i.e., incrementing number probe) or external reference (i.e, not from within nanohub).

    Paragraph 4, I would disagree with the “absolutley doesn’t want” comment. “List Me” as we have defined it is a public/privacy option just like any other profile field (e.g., email). Perhaps the privacy settings should be tri-state: public, groups only, private. This would all the user to control the visibility of information for group affiliations (e.g., email available to other group members).

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  2. Joseph M. Cychosz

    The question is what to do with existing users who have selected private profile. I would suggest we add “list me” as a new field that is inherited from the “private profile” status, and remove the private profile check box from edit profile. This way when they edit their profile, they will no longer be able to specify that there profile is private and they can make the decision to be listed just like any other profile field. For those members who have originally selected “private profile” the presentation of there profile will work as it always has. A user making a contribution will be prompted to review their profile settings and encourage to make a selection for there listing status. We don’t care what they select on this, but it will cause them to edit there profile thusly ending the “private profile” status for their account. Our justification of the change is that we are not really changing any privacy attribute, but clarifying what it means to be listed or not. After all if they are affiliated with a contribution, there name is known already.

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    1. Michael McLennan

      I think we’re saying the same thing here. The existing “Public profile” option will be removed and replaced with (or maybe just renamed) “List me in the Members directory”. Most of the behavior will stay the same. I think the renaming is important, as it helps people understand what the option actually does.

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  3. Shawn Rice

    The default privacy setting will be “public” for new accounts (already done).

    The wording for the checkbox will be changed to “List me in the Members directory (others may view my profile)”. (done on dev).

    When contributing resources, notify attached authors with private profiles? Or automatically set profile to public? The latter is current behavior but seems a bit … obtrusive.

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