So one of the things I really liked about the project is point 1 of the privacy section of the Mechanics (Future). Proactive not reactive; preventative not remedial: When creating new features,...
So one of the things I really liked about the project is point 1 of the privacy section of the Mechanics (Future).
Proactive not reactive; preventative not remedial: When creating new features, think about what data will need to be stored, and consider how harmful it might be if that data was to be leaked in the future. Is it possible to reduce the amount of data being stored to lower the potential harm? Can the data eventually be aggregated or anonymized so that we're only storing recent data instead of a full history?
I think a good first step would be to not have a public comment/submission history. Users should evaluate other users contributions based on the conversation the are having/reading, not past submissions.
This doesn't make you anonymous, but at least it can prevent nosy people from knowing too much. (I get there are valid reasons to want to find other posts by the same user, but I think individual privacy is more important). At least, if not enforced for everyone, this should be an option, making your profile not display your history to others.
Now, one of my biggest problems with reddit is that it doesn't make it easy for you to stay anonymous and also keep your content on the site.
Let me explain. I don't like people being able to see my submission/comment history, because I don't want to give the chance for people to identify me if I don't choose to do so personally. It's not about reddit knowing what I like or do (I mean, I use Google, they know everything I do), it's about individuals, about other users knowing things I'm not happy sharing with them for whatever reason.
There are only two options on reddit: deleting my content (using a script or whatever or going one by one) or deleting my account. This results in me deleting all my comments and submissions on reddit every few weeks.
Now, I would love to be able to leave most of what I post on reddit online, because sometimes I have really interesting conversations and I try to be detailed and clear and other people might find (some of) my posts useful. But I don't want anyone who knows my username or anyone who sees a comment of mine going through my history. There's too many crazy people. Also, I haven't suffered doxxing, but that's just not nice.
There are many reasons why someone could prefer to not be identifiable. Just to give some examples that come to mind: people might have an ideology that other users don't like/respect, people might post pictures of themselves (think fitness groups, for example), people might post in local groups revealing their location, people might look for counsel and talk about their personal problems, etc. Putting all of that together might make it easy to identify someone.
So, what I would like to propose is a way to leave my content online if I wish to and giving other people the option to read it in the future, without it being publicly tied to my username.
How could this be done? Well, I think users should be able to anonymize their participation in a thread individually and throughout the site. There could be an button (on every thread for thread only anonymization and on your profile for full site anonymization) that you tap and your username is replaced all through each thread with a randomly generated username (it'd be great if the username is consistent within the thread, so people reading would know its the same person).
These usernames should be words, ideally, not difficult to parse by humans. Of course this would generate a great number of usernames, but there are some solutions.
One could be using something like Google Docs uses when several anonymous viewers are watching a document. Each gets a name (RedFox, whatever) which is consistently used throughout the thread. The same username (RedFox) can then be reused in another thread for any other anonymous user. (So RedFox wouldn't be referring to the same person in different threads, but to two random, anonymized persons).
I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to generate these (similarly to how reddit gives you suggestions to new usernames when you open an account).
Also, in order to avoid the admins having to reserve many usernames in advance, these usernames could have a special mark (like *RedFox or °RedFox, or
RedFox, for example). This way, a new user can register any available name without interfering with these anonymous usernames. A thread could have some non-anonymized user called RedFox and an anonymized user called °RedFox (or whatever mark is used).
In any case, the user should be able to access all of their submissions and comments on their profile even after anonymizing, being able to edit or delete them if they wish to.
Ok, I think that's it, I hope I was clear. I'm also not gonna be able to log in again until tomorrow. So please, go ahead and discuss and tell me what you think and I'll come back when I can.
EDIT: User karma should not be public either. I can make an argument for it tomorrow if needed or we can discus it on another thread.