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Confused on Private Messages


Frankly Rich
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Deej: "For the record, management disapproves of posting private messages in public. Anyone doing so is on thin ice, particularly in a thread about invasions of privacy."

 

I don't post private messages as a rule. I can't think of one I have posted other than the recent one, which was an unsolicited message meant to insult me.

 

So I went to the FAQ and read the section on Private Messages. It says that you have the right to forward messages to other members.

FAQ: "Whenever you read a message, you will have the option to reply or forward it to another member of the forum. You may also have the ability to forward that message to multiple members of your contact list."

 

What's the difference? For one, what deej says is not enshrined in the rulebook, so how would someone be expected to honor it?

 

For two, if someone insults me in a private, unsolicited message why in the world would I have an obligation to keep that private? It seems to me that it is my choice, not an obligation, and since the FAQ allows me to forward messages, were on narrow territory here.

 

In the case where I posted a message sent to me, I first tried to respond to the sender, which is one of the two options in the FAQs. But his mailbox was full, perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not. But I was deprived of my opportunity to respond, so I posted it, which in my legal mind is the same as forwarding it to other members, which is not frowned upon by management, but allowed.

 

Ironically, the person whose message was posted is of the opinion that privacy does not exist on the internet. If you want privacy, don't put it on the internet.

 

None of this is to say that if management enacts a rule requiring private messages not to be posted that I wouldn't follow it. Of course I would. But it begs the questions: If the FAQs allow forwarding of private messages, then why could you not forward to anyone you chose?

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From the TOS: "If you have concerns about the actions of a moderator, please send an email to [email protected]."

 

There may be some concerns about the specific actions of a moderator and as such he should follow your directive. However, it seems to me that the issue of sharing PMs in an open forum is an important point that could use some clarification, either in the forum or in the TOS. Are PMs allowed to be shared en-mass or not? It seems that from what FR has found in the current TOS, sharing isn't an issue by forwarding to other members, and by extension one might assume also by posting it in the forum. So the question seems valid for clarification to the community in general.

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Are PMs allowed to be shared en-mass or not? It seems that from what FR has found in the current TOS, sharing isn't an issue by forwarding to other members, and by extension one might assume also by posting it in the forum. So the question seems valid for clarification to the community in general.

 

Jgoo, I understand your question and it's a good one.

 

Many members choose to communicate with other members through private messages rather than sharing their email addresses. In these messages, private information maybe revealed. Posting of personal information on the message center is a violation of the TOS. If a message is posted in any Forum and contains personal information, action will be taken.

 

Daddy and I have posted several times that if you feel a private message violates the TOS to send an alert. If we agree, action will be taken.

 

Not sure if this completely answers your question but, if it's "private and personal", posting it violates the TOS.

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Jgoo, I understand your question and it's a good one.

 

Many members choose to communicate with other members through private messages rather than revealing their email addresses. In these messages, private information maybe revealed. Posting of personal information on the message center is a violation of the TOS. If a message is posted in any Forum and contains personal information, action will be taken.

 

Daddy and I have posted several times that if you feel a private message violates the TOS to send an alert. If we agree, action will be taken.

 

Not sure if this completely answers your answer but if it's "private and personal", it violates the TOS.

 

Thank you Coop...that does answer my question and clarifies nicely how PMs can be treated in an open forum. Greatly appreciated.

 

Bottom line, from your response, I understand that a PM to a member can be copied and posted in any forum as long as content of that PM does not violate TOS.

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Jgoo, I'm sure you already know this but for anyone who's not familiar with sending an alert on a private message: look at the message you received, click on the triangle with the "!" in it, it's located on the lower left of the message. Type in the box the reason for your alert. It will be received and reviewed by all moderators. Remember, the same TOS that applies to forum messages also applies to private messages.

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However, it seems to me that the issue of sharing PMs in an open forum is an important pointor clarification to the community in general.

 

Yes, it is.

 

If you give someone enough information in a private message to ruin your livelihood, is that appropriate to share in a public forum? What conditions would you put on sharing private information? When is it appropriate? Is there a statute of limitations? Can you post it six months later? Six years later? When is it OK to betray a trust? Is there a countdown clock on juicy details?

 

Is it OK when you're involved in a petty argument or making a useless point?

 

It's always no. Private means exactly that. It is our position that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy when sending private messages (and it is our hope that you won't be a dickhead about it).

 

If you feel that someone is abusing the private message system, send an alert. We'll throttle the abuser. (Just be honest with yourself. You might find we throttle YOU.)

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Yes, it is.

 

If you give someone enough information in a private message to ruin your livelihood, is that appropriate to share in a public forum? What conditions would you put on sharing private information? When is it appropriate? Is there a statute of limitations? Can you post it six months later? Six years later? When is it OK to betray a trust? Is there a countdown clock on juicy details?

 

Is it OK when you're involved in a petty argument or making a useless point?

 

It's always no. Private means exactly that. It is our position that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy when sending private messages (and it is our hope that you won't be a dickhead about it).

 

If you feel that someone is abusing the private message system, send an alert. We'll throttle the abuser. (Just be honest with yourself. You might find we throttle YOU.)

 

I think I understand but respectfully that doesn't clear up my confusion (which I thought was addressed by Coop). If PMs are allowed to be forwarded to others then as long as they don't violate TOS in the content, shouldn't they be allowed to be posted...at any point in time, in an appropriate context, if it were to be used to support a point? But if all PMs are to be considered "private" and then forwarding shouldn't be allowed in the TOS. That seems to be the major point of confusion on my part so I still think it needs to be clarified. But maybe I am the only one confused and am beating a dead horse and it doesn't happen enough to warrant any action or the current alert system is sufficient to address this.

 

I hope I am not abusing this thread by continuing to raise the issue but I am genuinely confused and seeking some better understanding.

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If PMs are allowed to be forwarded to others then as long as they don't violate TOS in the content, shouldn't they be allowed to be posted...at any point in time, in an appropriate context, if it were to be used to support a point?

 

Jgoo, If the rules need to be adjusted, that will be discussed by the moderators, however, I'm confused by the above sentence. Could you cite an example of something you learned from a PM that you could post in a Forum that doesn't violate the TOS?

 

From the TOS re: Personal Information... "No personal information may be posted about other posters. This includes all information that could identify a person, including photographs and other images. Personal information that an individual has publicly provided may be allowed in some cases. But we ask you to always err on the side of respecting the others who come here and those who are the subject of discussion here."

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Jgoo, If the rules need to be adjusted, that will be discussed by the moderators, however, I'm confused by the above sentence. Could you cite an example of something you learned from a PM that you could post in a Forum that doesn't violate the TOS?

 

From the TOS re: Personal Information... "No personal information may be posted about other posters. This includes all information that could identify a person, including photographs and other images. Personal information that an individual has publicly provided may be allowed in some cases. But we ask you to always err on the side of respecting the others who come here and those who are the subject of discussion here."

 

Cooper, I think the problem lies in the fact that some people are conflating the Softwares FAQ section regarding how the Private Messaging system works with the site's Terms of Service:

 

http://www.m4m-forum.org/faq.php?faq=vb3_user_profile#faq_vb3_private_messages

 

One is just a standardize form of instructions for the software, while the other (i.e., TOS) dictates forum behavior, which I suspect override the FAQ:

 

http://www.m4m-forum.org/tos.html

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Scorpio, You are absolutely correct. The TOS does not mention sending or re-posting private messages but the FAQ states: "Whenever you read a message, you will have the option to reply or forward it to another member of the forum. You may also have the ability to forward that message to multiple members of your contact list."

 

Nothing in that sentence says you can re-post a private message in any Forum. And, yes, the TOS supersedes the FAQ.

 

Thanks,

Coop

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Cooper, I think the problem lies in the fact that some people are conflating the Softwares FAQ section regarding how the Private Messaging system works with the site's Terms of Service:

 

http://www.m4m-forum.org/faq.php?faq=vb3_user_profile#faq_vb3_private_messages

 

One is just a standardize form of instructions for the software, while the other (i.e., TOS) dictates forum behavior, which I suspect override the FAQ:

 

http://www.m4m-forum.org/tos.html

 

This could be part of the confusion/issue being faced. Still, as long as PMs are allowed to be forwarded, without violating TOS conditions, then it should be allowed to be posted publicly, which is the root of the issue. As far as the question from Coop, I am not focusing on any specifics but just trying to get clarification as I assume that there are PMs that don't provide personal information about the poster. And I would think that your comment about being addressed by the moderators is the right thing to do so it is clearer.

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Scorpio, You are absolutely correct. The TOS does not mention sending or re-posting private messages but the FAQ states: "Whenever you read a message, you will have the option to reply or forward it to another member of the forum. You may also have the ability to forward that message to multiple members of your contact list."

 

Nothing in that sentence says you can re-post a private message in any Forum. And, yes, the TOS supersedes the FAQ.

 

Thanks,

Coop

 

But nothing in the sentence also doesn't say you can't re-post (in public) either. So with the TOS superseding the FAQ, as long as TOS isn't violated, one could assume it is ok. It all goes back to what I think makes sense as indicated by Coop....something that needs to be reviewed by the moderators and possibly made clearer and more concise. I'll leave it at that as I think we have thrashed this out sufficiently at this point. Good and constructive discussion guys :)

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I don't seem to remember any of the admins having a problem when threatening PM's, sent from a former poster, were posted here by several of the members involved.

 

Is there a double standard? No personal info was involved but, just the same, those PM's were allowed to remain on the Forum.

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I don't seem to remember any of the admins having a problem when threatening PM's, sent from a former poster, were posted here by several of the members involved.

 

Is that former poster "former" by his choice?

 

Is there a double standard? No personal info was involved but, just the same, those PM's were allowed to remain on the Forum.

 

I don't recall anything being said about deleting posts.

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