I have used dreamwidth in the past and continue to do so from time to time because it is a thoughtfully designed, professionally managed, user supported site that genuinely listens and responds to the needs of its user community. I recommend it as a social blogging platform with a strong, rich set of access controls.

On September 24 I wrote a post locked to a group of authenticated people on this site.

Shortly after I wrote that post, Tom Boutell commented on it with the concern that the information in the post was available to Google and would be cached.

  • Tom may have overlooked the visual indicators of access on the post and erred in his statement
  • The site may have failed to honour my request to limit access to the post
  • Tom may have tested access, found it was effectively public, and warned me
  • Tom's software or privilege model may be buggy
  • Tom's understanding of access rights may be deeply flawed (this certainly matches discussions you can find elsewhere on this site: it takes a lot of hammers to convince the guy to not dismiss out of hand requests and explanations from people who want to give him a chance and use his stuff)
  • There may be a different explanation

The result when I went to bed was that I do not trust this site, nor anything else authored by Boutell, to honour access controls I place on my data. When I continued writing this, having received an email in the interim that started "Oh lord, Dawn. I am so sorry," nothing has substantially changed. I don't want to use this platform and I certainly don't want to encourage people I like and trust to use it.

It will take more than an apology to build my trust of Tom -- and more importantly, of a system he designs, writes, or maintains -- to a level where I will be comfortable placing anything other than "for public consumption" materials on this site or any other authored or co-authored by Boutell.

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9/25 '14 1 Comment
I understand that I have lost you as a supporter and that you no longer trust me. That is probably the cost I have to accept for speaking thoughtlessly last night.

It is ironic, because I would not have reached out to you about a possible privacy concern if I was a person who didn't care about privacy matters. But I should not have done so hastily and incorrectly. By doing so I squandered your goodwill. If I were in your shoes I'd have the screaming heebie-jeebies about this site too.

I have added a prominent privacy status icon to the title of every post on the site. That is the measure that would have prevented me from making a dumb mistake yesterday.

If there is a conversation you would like to have with me about improving or verifying the privacy of One Post Wonder, I am open to it. Until then, I'll leave you in peace.

Again, I'm sorry and I wish it were otherwise.
Thomas Boutell 9/25 '14