There have been a few posts lately on topics that some people seem reluctant to discuss publicly (sometimes there is a temporal element) - money in EA, political candidates, etc. I have seen this expressed in threads and to me personally in PMs. It seems like we may be missing out on valuable skepticism.
Would non-public (only for logged in members, perhaps even with a minimum of karma) forum posts or comments be a solution to this?
Obviously, there is huge value in openness and keeping most things public, but if a discussion never happens, or is skewed in one direction because people don't want to publicly criticize, that's not good either.
Certainly it would be bad if a lot of content was made non-public by default, or unnecessarily. Transparency is good most of the time.
The perception that there is a bunch "secret content" is probably not good either. How to weigh that with the benefits of people feeling more free to discuss things?
There is some precedent - some EA Facebook groups are private, for example.
Maybe, rather than the poster deciding, there could be a way for logged-in users to vote on switching a post to non-public?
Maybe people could have a choice of checking a box to make their comment (and presumably all replies under it) non-public?
I suppose there is also the risk it could make people feel too comfortable and recklessly discuss info hazards, etc.
Not sold either way on this.
A milder approach could be to just make posts less findable
- There could be a check box for users that added a noindex tag to the post.
- If someone doesn't want to draw attention from outside the community, they could use a codeword (and request that others do as well) for obvious search keywords - initials of a politician, etc. This is probably not all that reliable as commenters could do whatever they want.