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What Additional Privacy Features Would You Like to See Here?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

As a follow-up to my experience with some name-calling on a recent blog, I emailed some of SparkPeople's Community Leaders to suggest some additional measures that could be taken to ensure that SparkPeople continues to be a safe environment for people to express their thoughts about their weight management, health, fitness and overall wellbeing without fear of being shamed or put down.

I've had chats with a number of people since then who have offered additional suggestions and thought I could gather some more ideas and feedback here that I could share if I hear back from any of the decision makers here on the site. Among the great suggestions I've heard are to:

-Only allow people to post comments on blogs who have created profiles. This would take some of the anonymity out of posting comments on blogs and ensure people have a chance to respond directly to any comments they feel are hurtful.

-Allow people to block individual users who they don't want having access to their page. Currently, SparkPeople allows users to make their pages private, meaning only people whose friend requests you have accepted can see the content of your page and leave comments. Rather than shutting everyone else out, why not be able to simply block individuals who you're not comfortable with?

-Create a privacy menu within our settings that's filled with options similar to what Facebook has, where you can decide which things on your page to share with everyone and which to share with people whose friend requests you've accepted. People have different comfort levels concerning what they're willing to share and although some of us might be comfortable sharing general information with everyone, we don't necessarily want to share more personal information and photos with a wider audience (family photos or more revealing progress pictures of ourselves, for example).

If you have any other suggestions you'd like to add, please add them to the comments section below. I'll compile a list that I'll have on hand in the event I can get a dialogue going with someone who can take these under consideration for the future. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope that this will help take a negative situation and transform it into something positive that will benefit many people in the new year and beyond.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I totally agree with Simonekp. I have my page public right now just so I don't shut everyone out, but then I have to filter myself because anyone on the net can find it. And I don't like making the page private because sometimes people don't feel comfortable requesting a friend add on.
    1639 days ago
    Spark could solve a lot of the issues by simply making the site a closed system, only members can see and interact with members.
    1639 days ago
    Even though can get annoyed with all the changes Facebook makes, I do like alot of their privacy features. I agree with overactiveelbow~you just have to realize there is no "real privacy" out in cyber space.....it is sad to see people use such a positive site (and social media in general) as a way to stalk, bully, and harass others.

    Why is it something more and more of us are having to deal with?? Are there more "psychos' out there then I'm willing to believe!?! I've already had to deal with one for about ten years.....now I've stumbled across another! You know, if your life is constantly filled with drama, you should look at the common factor.....(you).
    1642 days ago
    I try to remember that anything I write on the internet is possibly accessible by anyone else who has internet access... For those old enough to remember party-line phones.. you never knew who was or could be listening... someone in one of the other 7 homes sharing your party line or the operator who was a little bored or nosy at the time. But the saving grace was that the privacy invader did not want anyone to find out they were eavesdropping...So they usually never said anything to you, good bad or otherwise. Also, if they didn't like what you said... they hung up and went away. Unlike here on SP. If they don't like what you say, they click on the 'Report Inappropriate Comment' button and your comment is made to disappear, and maybe you too. Oops, got carried away. Sorry.
    Obviously, I would love to feel free to post a joke without fear of being made to disappear from Spark People. I would miss my friends who would wonder where I went and why..
    1642 days ago
    I agree with everything you are suggesting, Tina. It would be great if these were possible! I am really sorry for what you went through lately though, I have only had one bad experience on SP in almost 3 years here, and I am very glad. I am wondering whether it would be possible at all to have certain blogs made 'private' (i.e. for Sparkfriends only)? I know I would feel more comfortable sharing about certain more private things that way.
    Thank you for taking this initiative, Tina! emoticon
    1642 days ago
    I would LOVE to be able to block someone like on FB. Make it so they can't see anything you post. Really wish they'd add that! (Although as on FB, they could always make a fake profile and follow you that way as well.... Some people are just CRAZY and it seems you can't escape them!)
    1643 days ago
  • GABY1948
    This is a GREAT blog! I hope the things you mention do get done! Good can certainly come from bad! Have a Merry Christmas, Tina! emoticon
    1643 days ago
    I really like your ideas, I hope that the "powers that be" here on Spark see this blog and consider them. emoticon
    1643 days ago
    I think your three suggestions are the three key items. Thanks for taking on this negotiation with SP admin on behalf of all of us. Something good coming from something quite out of keeping with the SP ethos!
    1643 days ago
  • KANOE10
    I like all of theses. I do not think someone should be able to post without a profile and that you should individually be able to block anyone. I am all for the privacy regulations .

    I still am sorry you had a bad experience. I hope Spark supports you on this.
    1643 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    Awesome Blog as Always. I would Love To See These Put In Place on the Site so People Feel Safe using it. People from the outside have no business coming in and reading Blogs etc!!! It makes the Members of SparkPeople feel very unsafe being on the site themselves. Let's hope the Leaders will take the needed steps to make us feel safe. God Blessings to Everyone Always. Jesus is the Reason for the Christmas Season.
    1643 days ago
    Just playing catch-up on Spark today (good heavens, after how long of a hiatus?) and saw this whole series of events you were writing about. a) it's terrible, b) glad you reported it, c) glad you are being proactive!!!! You are awesome and Karma is a beeeoootch...so whoever wrote whatever... they just opened themselves up to some serious karmic trouble.

    Peace my friend.... we all got your back here. emoticon
    1643 days ago
    Those are great suggestions!! The individual blocking is something that I would be interested in for sure. I had thought about making my page private because of one person, but like you said I do not want to shut out everyone!

    What might also be nice is to make our page private to anyone that is not logged in to Spark People. I hate that ANYONE if they google my username which I used for another site, can instantly pull up my profile and see everything. I know it's not a huge deal and I know that people aren't really googling me, but it would be nice to know it was just spark users that were able to view my page.

    I hope they can get some of these issues taken care of. It is sad that we have to deal with such nonsense on a support site, but it definitely happens and it's happened to far too many of us!
    1644 days ago
    Excellent suggestions! And we should all keep in mind that people who are extremely rude, use bad language or name-calling, should be reported regardless of who their bad behavior is aimed at. This way, as you stressed out in your last blog, those people will be confronted and the bullied ones, who may not be strong enough to react accordingly, will be helped.
    Thank you for your great initiative, Tina. And I hope you never have to read bad comments on any of your great blogs again.
    emoticon emoticon
    1644 days ago
    I think those are great ideas.
    1644 days ago
    I read the blogs from the team pages & comment on them but never heard that there have been negative comments sorry it happened to you
    1644 days ago
    I agree with the FB-like privacy controls that we can choose to limit the audience for each post/blog and other things on our pages.
    1644 days ago
    Great Ideas. I would love to see those in place.
    1644 days ago
    These are all great ideas!
    1644 days ago
    I've been thinking along these lines myself. Especially important to me is allowing comments on blogs ONLY if they can be contacted back/have a page. This is a very important one.

    1644 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Yes, these are all excellent suggestions. I think it might help if friends could be sorted into lists (this has frequently come up on the SP business team but never implemented) so that information such as blogs could be shared with some but not others.
    I particularly agree that non-SP internet users and those with no profile should not be able to have free access to the site. It's meant to be a supportive community, not one where people can feel free to express unhelpful views.
    1644 days ago
    Okay.... I did not post blog but I received an e-mail from A sparks person that was really nasty. People can make nasty comments on your blog or they can e-mail you nasty comments. This person that sent me an e-mail was not my friend. I forwarded the E-mail comments to sparks people Community leaders and they just told me to ignore him and block him from sending me e-mails. I'm really sorry this happened to you! I would say 98% of sparks people are positive and have great intentions! Sending you some hugs!
    emoticon emoticon
    1644 days ago
    Hi Tina,
    While internet trolls always seem to find a way..... I think you have some great ideas here.
    I also like what JerseyGirl 24 suggests -- like the Spark recipes --where you can decide each time whether you want the blog shared or not. I think that's a good option.

    I use a screen name because I wanted some anonymity, but it actually never occurred to me that someone could Google and find me! I'm not crazy about that idea either, actually.

    Again, I'm sorry this happened to you, but thankfully - you are strong and not new to this game. That same incident could have finished some off completely if they were new. Hence - we do need to try to make some changes.

    All the best to you and yours, this holiday season and in 2014!
    1644 days ago
    These are great ideas and hopefully SP will be able to implement them.

    1644 days ago
    I am sorry you have had bad experiences with blogging. You should be able to blog freely without being afraid of what people would say.

    Personally I would like to be able to blog and to keep the blog totally private (or perhaps accessible only to certain people). This would be on a "per blog" basis, not for every blog. Sometimes I would like to blog my private thoughts and keep them just that, private. I know that there is a private journal option available in SP, but it would just make life a lot easier if all the blogs could be in one place. This does not address some of your issues, but it is just a thought, and I would appreciate having the issue raised if you can indeed get anyone to listen.

    1644 days ago
    Thanks for sharing
    1644 days ago
    I'd like to be able to have my page public here on Spark but it not be searchable for the entire internet. I don't know if that's possible but I have kept my page private for a long time because I'd rather not have non Spark members seeing it. Right now I have it public again but I still don't like it showing up for the whole work to see during an internet search.

    I'd also like to be able to block individuals if the need ever arose. So far I've had a very good experience here but I would like more options for privacy.
    1644 days ago
    These are great, esp. the first two.
    1644 days ago
    What I would really love is the option to open my friend feed to anyone who adds me, whether or not I add them back - that way people can follow me if they'd like, and I don't have to feel the pressure of interacting with everyone. I can focus on the people with whom I have strong friendships, but others can still see what I'm up to and we can have the chance to get to know each other. Right now, people can add someone with a public page but still won't be able to see any of their friend feed unless the person adds them back. I dislike this.
    1644 days ago
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