The 9-12 Project of Central PA

"You Are NOT Alone!"

I'll just throw this out to the group...

I'm not entirely comfortable painting a big red target on the back of my head, and I'm slightly less comfortable with the fact that this forum is completely available to the public (and therefore Google), even without registration.

Being an IT guy by trade, I know it's not possible to hide from the prying eyes of Big Brother, but it would be nice, at the very least, if Google didn't pick up some of these conversations. Imagine applying for a job with some of these posts in the public eye!

Of course, in a perfect world, we'd all stand up for what we write here, and while I am willing to a certain extent, there's no point in giving anybody a head start. Also, I do need to keep my job in the interim, so I'd like it if the site required registration in order to read posts to the forums.

Any ideas on this?

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Christopher Buchignani said:
I think this conversation is starting to go off track, if I understand the gist of Bill's original post (Bill, please correct me if I'm wrong).

I don't think the "privacy" issue is about plotting revolution or fear of some clandestine federal agency. Rather, it concerns the very real social and professional implications of freely engaging in this sort of dialog.

When you say 'implications', I think you are suggesting something like this example:

Someone applies for a job, at an organization, such as PSU, that has liberal leanings. PSU does a google search on that person's name, and finds a post here. PSU reads that post, as well as others on this site, and concludes that the applicant is a subversive, and denies them employment. (This is just one example of the implications I think you are suggesting).

If this is true, then the setting that Theresa described would not prevent that scenario. She said:

Public
Select Public to make your network visible to everyone. Anyone can sign up to become a member. What can visitors see?
☉Everything
☉Just the Main Page

If you go to the Main Page, you will still see lists of members, and quotes from recent posts in blogs and forums. This means that a google search could still reveal that you are a member of this group. Whatever implications you fear, would not be prevented by changing that setting!

Even if we completely eliminated the possibility that a Google search would reveal anything, this group still intends to have meetings, or events, such as Tea Parties, or possibly other protests. If those events receive any publicity at all, and you attend, your picture could end up in a newspaper article covering the event, or a co-worker could see you at the event, or entering our meeting.

If we decide to submit a petition to congress objecting to their actions, would you not sign it? Such a petition could also be used against you, and have some of the implications you fear.

In the end, I think people have to stand up for what they believe. If we don't do so soon, I think we will lose everything. If you think that associating with this group will have negative implications, I doubt changing that one setting will eliminate those implications. I also think you should consider the implications of NOT standing up for what you believe.

But again, if changing the setting so that non-members can only see the main page will make people feel more comfortable, I have no problem with doing so.
I agree and understand with all that is being said in this post. I think Christopher sums up my feelings. IF this is truly a place where like thinking people can gather and express opinions to try to reach a solution then we have to make this forum comfortable to as many as possible (never pleasing all). Otherwise we will have those who have been activist all along and will be no further ahead then we were when we started. I have tried to get several people to join. They would be excellent sources of knowledge and wisdom and would like to contribute . . . but they do not want their names posted. There are 68 members but only a hand full have posted comments.

I am in a business where I have worked with some of the most liberal members of our community. Most know exactly how I feel about politics and the state of our country. We have had heated face to face debates on many controversial topics and have remained friends. I would never post here using my name what I have said to them in person. Unless I have the opportunity to defend what I am saying, I will not say it. Posted here, the worlds can be read and the readers can drawl whatever conclusion they wish without your knowledge and without the opportunity to respond to their reaction. Words can be taken out of context. In this circumstance I do not want my name associated with my words . . . I still need to earn a living.

I believe our Founding Fathers met in private to discuss and form a plan of action.

When the paranoid me comes out . . . I believe there were 6 million Jews who may have wished their names where not on a list. (Ok . . . you can all go crazy with this statement :-)

So the question is . . . do we want only those who will always be activist or do we want the activist plus as many like thinking member as possible to join us in freely expressing our opinions with the goal of peacefully taking back our country?
Something posted on the Internet is forever . . . attending a meeting or signing a petition is totally different. I would not care if my picture where taken at a rally. Words to me are very personal and can have deep meanings and are often miss interrupted by others. I still think the question is . . . do you want this to be a small movement or a large movement.? If you want people to join, there must be some sort of animosity in a record that will be forever. As I stated above . . . few member who have joined have actually posted on this site. Are there others who feel the same???
Karen said:
Something posted on the Internet is forever . . . attending a meeting or signing a petition is totally different. I would not care if my picture where taken at a rally. Words to me are very personal and can have deep meanings and are often miss interrupted by others. I still think the question is . . . do you want this to be a small movement or a large movement.? If you want people to join, there must be some sort of animosity [anonymity] in a record that will be forever. As I stated above . . . few member who have joined have actually posted on this site. Are there others who feel the same???

Again, the setting we are discussing changing will not give you anonymity. It will only limit visitors (and the google bot) to seeing the main page. Go and look at the main page.

If you want more anonymity we would have to set our group to be PRIVATE (see Theresa's post on this subject, earlier). It still wouldn't be complete anonymity, all someone has to do is sign up for our group, and they can view anything. But, the Private setting would seem to defeat the purpose of this group.

By the way, internet posts aren't necessarily forever - you can delete them! Google only retains a cache of scanned pages for a certain period of time. Newspaper articles covering our events are more "forever" than a deleted internet post!

If you wish to discuss things in private, I hope we will be having regular meetings of our group, in venues where I hope people feel they will be free to speak!
I have read all the posts here concerning "privacy," and I am astonished by the "worry" so many have. We are NOT doing anything unlawful or considered to be treason here. We are AMERICAN citizens practicing our first amendment right...the FREEDOM OF SPEECH!

I will not let fear of the feds intimidate me or cause me to be silent. Nor should any of you.

It is the American way to say what you believe and believe what you say. The United States Constitution allows us the ability to question, discuss, and outright protest if we feel there is something(s) that our ELECTED officials are doing incorrectly. It further enables us the right to fire them and begin again. Have we as a country forgotten that?

Did our Founding Fathers cower in a corner worried that they would be discovered by the British? Did they idly sit by and watch their freedoms here in the New World be striped away by King George's taxes and unruly laws?

NO! They stood up and defended what they believed in so rigorously.

I am not ashamed of my beliefs or my concerns for my country. I am not worried that the Feds are going to get me. Put my name on a list. Watch what I write. Follow me for all I care. I am an American and I am practicing my GOD GIVEN AND INALIENABLE RIGHTS! Try to take them from me!

***An aside and perhaps on a lighter note - I agree with the idea that we should have set rules and guidelines. Perhaps appointing someone as a moderator would be a wise thing.***
First, idealistically, it is disappointing that in a "free" country this would even be a concern. I am sorry for those who fear consequences that would effect their livelihood and therefore, their family's well being and even safety.

Second, how would a private site work? Who makes the judgment regarding those allowed in our kept out? What would the criteria for acceptance and denial? How would the information given by requestors be validated as true or false? What would keep someone from presenting them as friendly actually be covert? Is there such a thing as complete and absolute privacy?

I certainly want to protect those who privacy is essential and do NOT mean to be difficult, I just truly do not understand how it would work. I have not read through the info posted by Shawn yet, and maybe this is clarified there. If so, my apologies for not doing so earlier.

Finally, some one referred to the fact there were those who had not joined because of the necessity to post complete names. For those individuals, it seems our meeting tomorrow evening at Schlow would be a great way for them to be involved without having to be concretely connected with a group that requires open registration such as ours.

As you can tell, I am not a tech person so thanks to those of you who "get it."

Kris Eng
OK, let's forget about hypothetical raids by Big Brother...I don't think that's going to happen any time soon if ever, and if it does, we'll have bigger things to worry about! I am more concerned with the local impact on daily routines, as Chris noted.

Let me tell you a real scenario that happened to me...

I had an interview for a good position at Penn State. Before we even got started, I was asked what my affiliation with a certain web site was, since it came up during a Google search on my name. (You can probably duplicate that search rather easily).

The answer was simple: it was my brother's site, and I occasionally contributed. Well, as it turns out, they didn't care much for the political leanings of some posts BY OTHERS on the site, and the interview went from bad to worse. Was that an appropriate question to ask? Was it even legal? Should I be judged by my association with others? All very good questions, but I can tell you that I didn't get the job, and I would've loved to have had it. I am convinced that I didn't have a change once I was labeled "conservative". Perhaps my mistake is applying for jobs at Penn State, but that's another issue :-) I do know that whenever I interview somebody, the first thing I do is search for them online...

I think Chris is stating my position better than I am...

I want to give others the benefit of my experience from my newspaper days when people would stop me in the street and yell at me. If you want to stand by your words, great! So do I, but I'm just warning folks who might not be so brave that these things can and will come back to you.

As for the founding fathers, Sons of Liberty, et al, I do believe their meetings were private, and their minutes weren't distributed world-wide!

By the way, I make web sites for a living, so I am familiar with the technology, and I've stated before that there's no way to keep things 100% private on the internet. It would be nice, though, if these forums didn't come up on casual internet searches. A robots.txt exclusion would do the trick, but I doubt that ning will allow that.

I'm looking forward to the meeting on Thursday, and on that note, I think this will be my last post on this topic.

I gotta say...I admire the spunk of everybody who's posted so far. Very encouraging!
Those who know me know I am not afraid to speak my mind . . . one on one or in a group. I do believe in free speech. I also know if someone wants information on people on the web, it can be gotten. I belong to TUG a timeshare user's group. We all sign up to become members. We all use "screen names" We can add addition information if we choose. We can post and reply to posts or we can send a private e-mail to any member. No one knows who we are unless we choose to reveal our idenity.

My daughter is a student at Penn State. In two of her classes her teachers advised they close or closely monitor their My Space text and pictures as their future employers very often will search MySpace before hiring. This is not My Space. We do want to be vocal and heard, but lets come up with a plan and lets get as many people to join in as possible not just cater to the those who will always speak up without fear!

PS. I know on this forum I have lots the argument :-) It's ok I will still do what I feel comfortable doing because I want to make a difference . . . that is why I joined . . . from one voice to many is my goal!
William Ames said:
Let me tell you a real scenario that happened to me...

I had an interview for a good position at Penn State. Before we even got started, I was asked what my affiliation with a certain web site was, since it came up during a Google search on my name. (You can probably duplicate that search rather easily).

William, I know you aren't going to be posting on this issue anymore. However, I am quite certain that it is illegal for an employer to ask you about political affilliations, or membership in organizations during a job interview, or to use such criteria to accept or reject you. I am not a lawyer, but you should have immediately complained to the higher-ups at Penn State about that interviewer, and if you didn't get satisfaction, you probably could have filed a lawsuit against them.
Karen said:
PS. I know on this forum I have lots the argument :-) It's ok I will still do what I feel comfortable doing because I want to make a difference . . . that is why I joined . . . from one voice to many is my goal!

I feel bad that you believe there is an argument to be won or lost here. I thought we were having a discussion, to find the best way to give those afraid to post here the security they are looking for. If we change the setup of this site, such that it only gives the illusion of security, it wouldn't do any good, right? If we close this site down too tightly, we will discourage new people from joining.

I don't think there is any way to guarantee the anonymity some seem to want. If anyone has any suggestion to the contrary, please say so.

Let's stay unified on the core principles of this group. We may disagree on things from time to time, but if we start viewing each disagreement as an argument to be won or lost, we may end up breaking up the group - then we all lose!
William suggested a "robots.txt file exclusion" in a previous post.

To explain, a robots.txt file contains a list of commands that most legitimate "bots", or "web crawlers" will obey when scanning a site. Web search engines use "bots" to scan the web, and build an index of keywords found on every web site. When the google bot first encounters a site, it looks for a file called "robots.txt". If the file is present, then google will look in that file, which contains a set of commands telling it which pages can be scanned, and which cannot (among other things). It is possible to create a "robots.txt" file that simply says, "Go Away! Don't scan this site!".

It is actually possible for anyone to view a robots.txt file. If you want to see the one microsoft uses, you can use this link:

http://www.microsoft.com/robots.txt

Robots.txt works only on those bots that choose to obey it. It is possible for a bot to ignore the robots.txt, and there are some out there that do. However, a properly designed robots.txt would prevent our site from appearing on major search engines. That might provide the secuirty that some here are looking for.

I just researched this, and found that it is possible for us to put our own robots.txt on ning.com. Probably, only the creator of this social network would have the access rights that would permit this. For those who are technically inclined, go look at this article:

http://help.ning.com/cgi-bin/ning.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faq...

As I said, this would simply stop google and other major search engines from scanning our site. It would not permit someone who wanted to research our group, for whatever purpose, from finding out who has signed up here, or what they are saying.
I'd like to include this topic in tomorrow's meeting agenda.

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