Dawn Keenan

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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.

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



9/24 '14 5 Comments
Psst - this is a google-able public post with your real name on it, so you might want to ponder that.
Thomas Boutell 9/24 '14
The comment form doesn't say "this post is public" at the bottom, which is, I thought, a reliable tell for whether or not someone else's post is locked.
Sean M Puckett 9/24 '14
A lock is set on this post, which is the same as it was when I wrote it, so your privacy model and my trust in this site are both broken.
Dawn Keenan 9/24 '14
Removed lock after editing post.
Tom, either you fucked up in your statement above or you have to fix some shit yesterday.
Dawn Keenan 9/24 '14
I fucked up in my statement. I got completely turned around and thought the ABSENCE of a message when replying meant the post was public.

"Tom that is totally ridiculous, you built this site! You know it works exactly the way Sean said because you coded it!" Yes it is totally ridiculous and I have no adequate explanation for my behavior. My inadequate explanation, if you care to hear it, is that I was rushing around doing way too damn much this evening and didn't think through what I was doing.

Did I bother to actually try to access your post via a logged-out browser or in any other way double-check my statement before scaring the crap out of you? No, because I'm a dipshit.

I have had cause to regret it exceedingly. The time and effort that Sean and I put into making this site secure may have been ruined by my carelessness, even though the site was never actually insecure. This is maddening to me and it is my own fault.

I am profoundly sorry and will be giving twice as much attention to security matters in future.
Thomas Boutell 9/24 '14

While I wouldn't say I go out of my way to pick fights, I do tend to get involved in discussions and situations that provoke feminist, queer-positive, privilege-examining, mental health destigmatizing, and similar responses in me. I try to encourage similar responses in others where it seems useful for moving some part of the general social discourse and awareness further towards equity.

At times it creates a bit of a hard-to-scratch itch that I don't seem to be getting very far except with The Usual Suspects, a collection of people who would fall in the "mutual respect and trust" and "many similar values" rings of friendship. And it feels like I'm repeating the same stories to the same handful of people with minor variations and not much changes.

Then they tell two friends, just like Heather Locklear in the 80s with her wheat germ oil and honey shampoo. And I may or may not see any second order effects. My experiences, analysis, and encouragements do make a difference.

Chief among The Usual Suspects is S, partner in thoughtcrime. As a tall, white, apparently on the high end of the middle class, midlife-ish guy with a record of community engagement, he has Audience Power. It turns out to be much more noticeably useful when he tells my stories, not only for the additional reach but for his astounding ability to get people to listen to him, engage with him, and treat him as a human being on equal footing rather than some uppity piece of property with teats. People responding to S are much less dismissive and generally not at all outright abusive, which some are to me on the same subjects with the same messages.

Still, it seems weird that for all my agency, I don't have a fulcrum on which to place my lever. And it does at times stick in my craw that the intersection of culture and biology gives a disproportionate amount of power and capacity to create change to someone whose overall politics, philosophies, and goals are aligned with mine. He's a go-getter; she's an abrasive bitch.

9/9 '14 1 Comment
Seriously. "If you were really listening to me, you'd listen to her."
Thomas Boutell 9/10 '14

For next term's MBA courses (he said a fortnight after Spring term ended, three full weeks before first Fall lecture) one of my two electives is a strategy-area course on sustainability. I've settled on strategy as my area of concentration because I have developed a kink for pushing the big levers that will Get Stuff Done and sustainability addresses my grar at the short-termism endemic in business that has leaked through to society at large.

Naturally I bought the course textbooks already. They arrived today and in the less than an hour I've been home since work ended I've read through the beginning material of both and the afterword of one. It's clear these books will give me specific problems to think about and, with the prof's guidance and classroom participation, tools to address them meaningfully. One can expect me to blurt out somewhat well-formed thoughts and ideas about social, economic, and environmental stewardship with greater frequency from now through mid-December.

The books themselves are Reconstructing Value by Kurucz, Colbert, and Wheeler (structured as a business textbook) and Capitalism at the Crossroads by Hart (appears to be built as a general business book, with an Al Gore preface and a Fisk Johnson foreword). I am glad to have the structure imposed on me to read both these books deeply and consider the contents thoroughly.

Although business books tend to overpromise, I'm intrigued that these two promise to change the way the reader thinks. I believe I have fewer and healthier assumptions than the average businessman, while continuing to run periodically into the brick wall of my societal programming.

8/18 '14 2 Comments
Looking forward to hearing more about this.
Thomas Boutell 8/18 '14
It does sound very interesting - please write more about it as you take the course!
Janelle 9/24 '14