Is Information Always a Good Thing?
Are you too comfortable when talking and posting in online groups?
For me, I am always aware of not putting out too much information when posting
in large online groups. I have no less than three online IDís, one I use for
friends in the BDSM community and for membership on groups I know keep strong
restrictions on just who they allow on their group. One I use for my public
website, communications and promotion of my many BDSM projects. And a third I
use to stay completely anonymous; the profile is very limited and offers little
to no information about my real identity. I use this ID when making first
contact in new online groups and see if they allow anyone in their groups. I use
this anonymous ID to see if the group is a group I may have an interest in, or
when I join the very large online groups that offer no restrictions as to their
I am always shocked when I join online groups at just how much information I can
find out about the members.
Case in point:
In one group I belong to, there is a couple that posts all the time and in the
past five weeks I have been privy to a description of their family structure
including that they have kids at home, the type of work they do in real life,
their real home address and directions to their home, that they have added a
third to their BDSM family, and that they have a dungeon in their home. I am
sure if I took a look through the past archives I could find out their
birthdays, as on this group people are always wishing each other happy birthday
and telling how old they are. If they had a death in their family, I can get
their real names as again on this group people are always announcing when one of
their family members pass away and the location of the funeral. A quick trip out
to the address they listed, seeing I have directions I donít even need a map, or
a trip to the library to check the address in a cross-reference phone book would
also give me their real names.
This type of information is given out all the time in online groups. I think it
is just smart people getting caught up in things and getting too comfortable and
the lack of good Moderators or Leaders either giving people a false sense of
security or not taking the time to make sure their members are aware that not
all people on their group are known by them.
If there is a person looking to cause them harm or a government agency looking
in on the online groups in their local area, this is too much information to be
posting on a public online group.
In my area, it is a known fact by all the online and RT BDSM group leaders that
in fact the local police have IDís on the open groups and do look in on them.
With this knowledge at hand it is always a shock to see the leadership allowing
people to post personal things about themselves -- in some cases, leaders and
moderators being involved in the conversation and in fact being part of even
more information being given out.
I do not know about most of the country, but in my state what we do is illegal.
I would guess that this type of information for people with children could be a
cause for much distress if it was presented to the child welfare authority.
Information like this also could be used to cause stress for anyone that works
at a job with a morality clause.
So remember when your chatting on an online group, unless you have met everyone
on the group personally, be careful what you say. Donít get so comfortable that
you start giving out information that could cause you, your partner or your
family harm, stress or embarrassment.
You know information is power; be smart, donít give people you donít know the
power of information over you.