Privacy Issues on Employers Forum



  • Not so sure that would help much. I know that when someone asks for advice regarding an issue that varies depending upon state law the first thing I want to find out is what state they're from so I can answer intelligently (or at least not look like a complete idiot, anyway).
  • I don't feel we can maintain confidential issues if employees are permitted to view the postings. Perhaps another forum for employees could be opened? I know that I post things that if one of our employees read, they would be able to deduct who I was speaking about! THAT would NOT be GOOD! Thanks
  • I see that there are still some strong concerns about the forum participant’s anonymity. Here’s an idea … make the profiles accessible only to Employment Law Center subscriber’s. Registered forum users would be able to see the participant’s state in the message header, but would not be able to dig any deeper into a poster’s background than that. Law Center subscribers will have paid to become a member and the likelihood of them being an employee would be very narrow. Law Center subscribers would login using their subscriber’s user name and password, but appear as their current forum self.

    Another idea … add a conference area for subscriber’s only with restricted access. If we really want and need anonymity, then there is a price to pay. Or (maybe better!) put the conference in the subscriber’s area. We would then be assured of privacy because a non-subscriber couldn’t even access the area.

    We all should probably rethink our forum users name to de-identify ourselves. Didn’t you say once that that was possible?

  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 01-30-03 AT 03:34PM (CST)[/font][p]bsa, Forum users' screen names can be changed one of two ways - I can delete your profile and you can re-register (choosing a new screen name), or I can switch over your profile to a new screen name (which basically means I'm deleting your profile and re-registering for you but keeping all the same info). While I don't mind doing that, if all 3,000 of you decide to do it at one time, I might be a little overwhelmed!! xflash Of course, as we've discussed before, probably not all 3,000 registered members are still active on the forum, so I might be spared from an onslaught. If anyone would like to change your screen name, let me know if you'd like me to simply delete your profile so you can re-register or if you'd like me to change over your screen name for you. Here's the info I need if you'd like me to switch it over for you:

    - new username (I'll let you know if it's not available)
    - new password

    Christy Reeder
    Website Managing Editor
  • I must admit I like the idea of having profiles accessible to members only. At least that provides some protection.I tend not to think about who might be lurking when I post.

    I ocassionally go to SHRM's HRTalk and, not long ago, one of the members ended up losing their job because someone apparantly took what they had posted there and used it against them at work. It was an ugly situation that turned that forum upside down.
  • Now that is an excellent idea, Fran. Christy, that wasn't among your original options; but, I vote for it. People unwilling to pay to come inside the dance should not be allowed to peek in the window to see who's dancing. They can stand outside and listen to the music, that's fine. How much trouble would that be to put in place?
  • I'm not against this idea, but just curious. . I wonder how many of our regulars would be excluded? Anyway to tell Christy? You are stuck with me, but would hate to lose others who have bosses or budgets that prohibit membership. Am thinking Shrm follows this. .We are not members and I could not get into HRtalk. (was just curious, not interested in defecting)

    Finally, the getting fired for the HR talk participation was interesting. Have you ever wondered what has happened to some of the regulars. (Gar, TheCol, Cinderella) who have seemed to vanished?
  • Let me discuss with our group of forum moderaters on the suggestion of limiting access to the profiles ... from the little knowledge I have, it might be a tricky programming-wise, but we might be able to swing it.

    I can get an approximate number of how many forum participants are paying subscribers and how many aren't.

    I'll be back with answers next week!

    Christy Reeder
    Website Managing Editor
  • Christy,

    A thought just crossed my mind...

    If people are that concerned with their 'information' being out there, they can just disable their profile. It's their choice to make the profile visible or not, thus 'inviting' others to look at it. I personally don't think you need to do anything other than allow people who may want to change their user name for more anonymity, to do so. Which you have said is possible.

    Not sure why this is such a big issue...if people are concerned about not being able to help people...there is such a thing as a private inbox where they can send the person a message that is in more detail. I truly think this is being blown out of proportion...this molehill we had is most assuredly becoming Mount Everest!

    Am I the only one who realizes this???
  • On SHRM's HRTalk there are no profiles but one person was still able to identify an individual where they work through the posting. They copied and pasted what was posted onto another document (I think that is correct) and the original poster ended up unemployed. Making too much out of it? I don't think so.
  • I wonder how you would reply had you been the HR person in the "Sticky Situation" post. We still do not know how that one ended.
  • >I wonder how you would reply had you been the HR person in the "Sticky
    >Situation" post. We still do not know how that one ended.

    Rita and Fran...I was just offering an opinion to fran's earlier comment:

    >"I must admit I like the idea of having profiles accessible to members only. At least that provides some protection.I tend not to think about who might be lurking when I post."

    She is the one who said it would offer protection if the profiles were accessible to members only. I was simply making an observation that the profiles here can be disabled if she's worried about 'protection'. There is no easy answer to this (as with anything in life) and those of us who love the advice they find here, but aren't one who is a paying subscriber (through no fault of their own) will lose out bigtime if it becomes restricted to paying people only.

  • I think Cinderella went the route of the pumpkin. No, I don't think we're suggesting limiting anything but profile search.....making our profiles unavailable to the guests who don't pay and cannot contribute.
  • >I'm not against this idea, but just curious. . I wonder how many of
    >our regulars would be excluded? Anyway to tell Christy? You are stuck
    >with me, but would hate to lose others who have bosses or budgets that
    >prohibit membership.

    Sonny, I'd be one of those unfortunately... x:'(

    But if it has to be done, then so be it...I guess I'd survive.

  • Hey guys. I would love to take the credit but I think it was somewhere in someone else's posting before I put it out there, more obvious to the eye.x0:)
  • Just a thought but isn't this called the Employers' Forum?
  • Great idea! It has my vote too. th-up
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 02-05-03 AT 09:56AM (CST)[/font][p]Why is post #49 missing. What level of privacy has been assigned to that post?
    Edit: Sorry, I looked back up and found it.
  • I vote for #3. I was a "vouyer"- spelled right?? Maybe I should have said "peeping tom" before I joined the forum and it was because I was able to see the posts and comments that I felt it was worth while joining. I don't have much time to post but I try when possible and I have been helped tremendously by all different viewpoints that are presented. I often get a good laugh, especially from DonD and Balloonman when I'm having a bad day. So please, keep it like it is. I wouldn't want to see it change.

  • I also vote for leaving the Forum as it is. Although my department subcribes, I would rather read than post. I would not like to think that some regulars would be unable to be heard or that ideas etc from new contributors denied. It did not seem to me that that many employees were posting for it to be worth changing the Forum.

  • I vote for leaving it the way it is but I can appreciate everyone's concern for privacy. Personally I feel I can stand behind everything I have posted here on the forum (except for a couple of haiku's).

    Christy does a good job of keeping an eye on potentially troublesome posts.

    I see this forum as a tool for professionals who are sincerely trying to do their jobs to the best of their abilities and recognize the value of peer advice and comment.

    Its the HR people who don't bother to ask questions or seek help when in doubt that probably should be worried.

    Paul in Cannon Beach, Oregon (but I am not saying exactly where!)
  • Liked the option of # 4 that someone suggested - a restricted site for certain questions.
  • Really not much of a benefit for subscribing if it is open to everyone at no charge, is it? A restricted audience means that not only do you know who you are talking to, but also that the answers to questions posed might just have some value.
  • Well, we, of course, think there's a lot of benefit in subscribing - the monthly state-specific newsletter, the HR Answer Engine, the state and federal rules and regs, the policies, HR Special Reports, and other things that you get behind the password.

    But you're right - the benefits of a restricted audience are that you know who you're talking to, who else is listening (mostly), and who is probably responding.

    I tend to think the last of those - who's responding, and whether to value their responses - hasn't been much of a problem on the Forum. While we get the occasional employee asking a question, I can only recall a couple of answers that weren't from HR professionals, consultants, or attorneys. (Actually, the only one I remember is the one that started this whole thread.)

    The reason we made Employers Forum open from the beginning was because forums like this work best when they get "critical mass" - enough participants to generate a variety of opinions and something of a consensus on best practices. I think that's still the best reason to keep it open.

    But as always, we love to hear your opinions on the subject.

    Brad Forrister
    Director of Publishing
    M. Lee Smith Publishers

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