Skelemon

Feedback wanted: Changing the privacy of the Sex Talk Forum

What privacy setting do you think would be best for Sex Talk  

45 members have voted

  1. 1. What privacy setting do you think would be best for Sex Talk

    • Members-only
      40
    • Hidden
      5

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  • Poll closes on 10/18/18 at 11:40 AM

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Skelemon

Hey all, we've been discussing increasing the privacy of the Sex Talk forum and we'd like your feedback on this.

 

Currently, Sex Talk is public, which means that anyone can see it and read the threads in it, whether they're logged in or not, and thread contents appear in search engine results. We think that because of the sensitive nature of many of the discussions there, it should be made more private.

 

There are two options to choose between:

 

1. Setting the forum to members only. This is what we currently use for most of the community section (Meetup, Just For Fun, Tea & Sympathy etc) - thread titles are viewable by anyone, but you have to be logged in to view the contents of threads, and posts don't come up in search engine results. 

 

2. Making it a hidden forum, accessible to members by request. This is what we use for our hAVEN forum - you can't see that the forum exists at all unless you have been given access. All requests have to be approved by an admin, which will add some bureaucracy and waiting time.

 

The poll is open for a week starting now, so feel free to discuss before you vote if you want.

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Kumoku

Since AVEN is bound by American laws and sex is considered "taboo/obscene", I suggest making an "18+ sex chat" area and have it NOT be accessible to minors. Yeah, teens have questions about sex, I get it (I'm totally a sex positive advocate myself), HOWEVER, because of how the law stands, if a pissed off parent found their teen on a sex chat forum and wanted to sue? They'd be well within their rights.

 

So yeah, members only, but only for 18+ members. I know, not popular option, but this is the reality with how the USA law works. It's a slim chance of it happening, but if it does, AVEN IS SCREWED. 

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Cheshire-Cat
1 hour ago, Kumoku said:

Since AVEN is bound by American laws and sex is considered "taboo/obscene", I suggest making an "18+ sex chat" area and have it NOT be accessible to minors. Yeah, teens have questions about sex, I get it (I'm totally a sex positive advocate myself), HOWEVER, because of how the law stands, if a pissed off parent found their teen on a sex chat forum and wanted to sue? They'd be well within their rights.

 

So yeah, members only, but only for 18+ members. I know, not popular option, but this is the reality with how the USA law works. It's a slim chance of it happening, but if it does, AVEN IS SCREWED. 

The problem we have with this is relying on members putting their honest age when they create their account (and as they would need parental permission it's likely a lot don't). It would then need to be a hAVEN type forum where members would need to apply and have their age on their account checked prior to being allowed in.

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GhostGoesToWail

If the issue is keeping minors out of there, I'd go for making it hidden. Also, outside of that issue, currently when someone posts in any section, the thread title appears in the "Recent Topics" bar, Sex Talk included, and depending on how explicit it is, might make some members or passers-by uncomfortable if they're sex repulsed or came here specifically to get away from sex talk.

 

AVEN is first and foremost a place where people who don't feel for, want, or need sex can get input and learn how to navigate a sexualized world. While some of this may include discussing the finer points of sex, most of it stays PG-13 or cleaner.

 

I think it would be a good resource for older Avenites who know it's there if they need to talk about sex, even if it's hidden. But back to the original point, it's easier to control liability if it's hidden and has proper age-related warnings. As I've always said, you can only do so much to keep minors out on the internet because kids can lie, but better to take the precaution.

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Salmiakki
2 hours ago, Kumoku said:

Since AVEN is bound by American laws and sex is considered "taboo/obscene", I suggest making an "18+ sex chat" area and have it NOT be accessible to minors. Yeah, teens have questions about sex, I get it (I'm totally a sex positive advocate myself), HOWEVER, because of how the law stands, if a pissed off parent found their teen on a sex chat forum and wanted to sue? They'd be well within their rights.

 

So yeah, members only, but only for 18+ members. I know, not popular option, but this is the reality with how the USA law works. It's a slim chance of it happening, but if it does, AVEN IS SCREWED. 

Well that's a stupid law. 

 

If it (the Sex Talk forum) gets hidden how exactly can one get access to it?

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Skycaptain

@Salmiakki, if Sex Talk was to made restricted access, then members would have to ask admods for permission to join in. The conditions would have to be determined should this be our decision.

 

This is me speaking as a member, not as an admod. 

 

I feel that sex talk should be available to all members. The forum is proving a useful resource, particularly if people haven't had brilliant sex-ed at school. 

So far as the age thing goes, there's nothing in that forum any more intimate than text books. AVEN ToS already covers the publication of pornographic or excessively explicit material. 

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InquisitivePhilosopher

Hmm...Yes; I agree. It does make sense to change access for that forum.

 

However, I'm unsure how effective changing it to "members only access" might be, as I thought at least one other member mentioned in the past that it seemed some people were only signing up just to read the forums that are only accessed by members, then leaving and never posting or interacting with the AVEN community. So, it sort of just seems as though it still could be accessed by anyone (and be somewhat similar to how it is now, made public), as long as they signed up. But, I also agree that, with the "hidden" option, it'd be a pain and take a lot longer for mods to give everyone individual access.

 

3 hours ago, Kumoku said:

Since AVEN is bound by American laws and sex is considered "taboo/obscene", I suggest making an "18+ sex chat" area and have it NOT be accessible to minors. Yeah, teens have questions about sex, I get it (I'm totally a sex positive advocate myself), HOWEVER, because of how the law stands, if a pissed off parent found their teen on a sex chat forum and wanted to sue? They'd be well within their rights.

 

So yeah, members only, but only for 18+ members. I know, not popular option, but this is the reality with how the USA law works. It's a slim chance of it happening, but if it does, AVEN IS SCREWED. 

Hmm...well, I'm unsure whether this could happen or be successful in closing AVEN, as there's already another sex education forum for teens +13, Scarleteen, that's existed for 2 decades and, apparently won awards, without being shut down by any parent. Apparently, some parents have rated it highly

 

 

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Skelemon

Speaking entirely as a member rather than a mod, my preference would be for members-only, I think an entirely private forum would be a bit overkill.

 

My biggest issue with the current setting is mostly that everything is public and very personal/intimate posts could easily pop up in search engine results - I personally would feel more comfortable knowing that my posts couldn't be found that way.

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Salmiakki

If sex talk was 18+ originally that would mean that I wouldn't have been able to do the 3 threads that I posted there when I was still 17 lol

...the threads could be somewhere else too, though

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daveb

Also speaking as a member not as a mod, I prefer to make it members only. I think making it hidden and available only by request is overkill, in my opinion. 18 is an arbitrary age and many people who are younger than that probably benefit by having access to information/discussion (with the obvious exceptions of things that are restricted in general here). Seems like it's mostly people who are at least 18 who think it should be restricted to 18+? I assume the legal implications have already been taken into account and covered. As for anyone being able to see thread titles, I don't see that as much of an issue. We can edit thread titles that go too far.

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Una Salus Victus

Being members only makes sense with the points already stated. As for the 18+ thing, then what and where does anyone under 18 post the same things? AVEN does have a lot of members that are under 18, and that isn't an unusual age to be sexually active, or having tried it or even being curious. It seems rather exlusionary to cut out such a large group of people, especially to some that may need it.

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Janus DarkFox

The age of sexual exploration can and could even begin at 13+, likely the vast majority of sexuals are already sexually active by age 16.  I knew a handful of kids I knew from school starting families at 15 years of age.  While it is explicit content, I don't think there should be an age limit off sexual discussions, even 13 year old's can be sexually aware and could benefit from Sex Talk discussions  with a bit more privacy as members.

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Heart

To address one of the comments above, one additional benefit of it being changed to "members only" is that non-members have no way of knowing it exists before they sign up (unless they are super dedicated and snoop around threads that might mention it but be open to guests - and, frankly, if they are that dedicated, then creating an account has probably already happened). It would be similar to how members right now know about the "back room". Many of you probably know that staff has a forum to ourselves, where we discuss staff things. But you can't see it. This is how the sex talk forum would be for guests; they could maybe figure out it's there by reading enough other posts around the site if they really lurked, but they would have no other clue that it exists. So I think the likelihood of people making an account only to read about smutty sex stuff is low. And if they did... well, I'm presuming there are better sites out there.

 

Speaking here as myself, not a representative of the staff:

 

Remember, AVEN is not about erotic descriptions or imagery for the purpose of masturbation or arousal. It's about visibility and education. Sex ed is part of education, and a part that is sorely lacking in certain parts of the world. Granted, a community is not the best way to do this (we are strangers on the internet, not professionals, and we probably propagate at least some urban myths that are not entirely correct, for example). But it's so much better than nothing, and of all the communities out there, we're a pretty darned good one if I may say so myself.

 

So, for that reason, I don't think we'll be up against the law in the US. Granted, I'm no lawyer, and also not American, but again. We're not a porn site, we don't allow graphic images or porn, and we are mainly here for questions.

 

Speaking of, I'm strongly against any age restriction. I myself may never have become sexual, but I know from many curious asking of questions that some sexuals I know started exploring their own sexuality (things like masturbation) as early as 11.  I believe that making information available to people who are exploring at a young age is almost more valuable than other ages, because we can do the education thing before they get hurt. Maybe this is the Canadian in me, where sex ed started in my schooling even before puberty, but information is power. Restricting information for young folks isn't going to stop them experimenting, it's just going to mean they experiment without the ability to ask questions first.

 

I'm also personally against having it be invite-only and hidden. The workload on that is unnecessary in my opinion, and it's not more problematic than hot box, which is not invite-only. I see no reason to treat it differently. It makes a lot of sense to me to restrict it to members only so it doesn't allow guests to click in from search engines like google, but hidden is maybe a lot more hassle than it's worth.

Edited by Heart
Clarity... I hope.
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InquisitivePhilosopher
7 hours ago, Heart said:

...To address one of the comments above, one additional benefit of it being changed to "members only" is that non-members have no way of knowing it exists before they sign up (unless they are super dedicated and snoop around threads that might mention it but be open to guests - and, frankly, if they are that dedicated, then creating an account has probably already happened). It would be similar to how members right now know about the "back room". Many of you probably know that staff has a forum to ourselves, where we discuss staff things. But you can't see it. This is how the sex talk forum would be for guests; they could maybe figure out it's there by reading enough other posts around the site if they really lurked, but they would have no other clue that it exists...

Oh, so you mean like how the Hot Box forum is hidden from guests and only shows up for members who log in?

 

Okay; that makes sense. I was confused. At first, I thought the forum and titles of posts for it would still be visible for guests (and that that would be how they'd know it exists), like the Intersectionality and gaming forums and that they'd only have to login if they wanted to read the posts or write in the threads.

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Heart
9 minutes ago, InquisitivePhilosopher said:

Oh, so you mean like how the Hot Box forum is hidden from guests and only shows up for members who log in?

 

Okay; that makes sense. I was confused. At first, I thought the forum and titles of posts for it would still be visible for guests (and that that would be how they'd know it exists), like the Intersectionality and gaming forums and that they'd only have to login if they wanted to read the posts or write in the threads.

I guess technically we could do either. I hadn't thought of that, I had just assumed it would be like Hot Box. I honestly forgot the others were like that...

 

I'd be open to hearing which of the two people would prefer.

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banana monkey
2 hours ago, Heart said:

I guess technically we could do either. I hadn't thought of that, I had just assumed it would be like Hot Box. I honestly forgot the others were like that...

 

I'd be open to hearing which of the two people would prefer.

Well in the OP it stated that the titles would be viewable to all if it was members only so I was guessing it would be more like the meetup and T&S threads where guests could view it. Personally, given the comments on here, a setting similar to hotbox would be better because it would get rid of the problem which is a good point. It would allow even more privacy (given that the titles would not come up in search engines either) which is what we are aiming for here. 

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CBC

Members only. Hidden is, as others have said, definitely overkill. Loads of people will never even realise it's there if it's hidden.

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Heart
35 minutes ago, CBC said:

Members only. Hidden is, as others have said, definitely overkill. Loads of people will never even realise it's there if it's hidden.

This is also my experience with hAVEN. I think many members don't realise it exists, and when I find someone I think would benefit and suggest it, they often act surprised that this is an option...

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InquisitivePhilosopher
6 minutes ago, Heart said:

This is also my experience with hAVEN. I think many members don't realise it exists, and when I find someone I think would benefit and suggest it, they often act surprised that this is an option...

Yeah. I haven't come across members mentioning that forum around AVEN, so I thought it wasn't very active. 

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CBC
18 minutes ago, Heart said:

This is also my experience with hAVEN. I think many members don't realise it exists, and when I find someone I think would benefit and suggest it, they often act surprised that this is an option...

For sure. I didn't know about it for years actually, and it seemed like it was this mysterious thing when I finally did catch wind of its existence. I was part of it for a little bit, maybe a year or so quite a while ago, but then asked to be removed. I can't even recall why.

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divided_sky

What is hAVEN? I have never heard of it in 5 years of being here

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InquisitivePhilosopher
9 minutes ago, divided_sky said:

What is hAVEN? I have never heard of it in 5 years of being here

From what I've read, it's a private forum for members who wish to discuss more private, personal things they've experienced, like abuse, assault, etc.

 

Homer explained it a bit in this thread, around half the page down: https://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/168640-q-a-whats-it-like-to-be-aven-staff/?tab=comments#comment-1062736981

 

Quote

...Then there's (h)AVEN. All the admods have access to (h)AVEN. There's nobody specifically responsible for it, but we all are as a team. However you don't have to go in there if you're easily triggered by certain subjects. Contribution will be greatly appreciated though because this is supposed to be our most supportive forum...

 

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divided_sky

But what is it? What do people post there? That doesn't answer my question. What is it for? 

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TheAppallingPhantom

It's a forum for discussing personal problems, similar to Tea and Sympathy, but it offers more privacy. You have to ask permission to join.

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divided_sky

Oh jesus @InquisitivePhilosopher answered that in their post, I am fucking stupid and skipped to the quote they provided. Sorry

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InquisitivePhilosopher

Oh, no! Don't worry! I was in the middle of editing my answer, just before you responded, because after I posted, I realized it didn't explain what people write there. So, you probably read the old version and just missed my edit, while replying.

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Cheshire-Cat

Personally I don't think it should be 18+. Most 13 year olds know far more than we give them credit for and for many of those who are arguing for 18+ when they were 13 the internet probably wasn't around, at least not as it is today. As others have said sex education is important. Not only for younger sexuals who may come across this site, but also for asexuals of all ages who may well have shied away from sex education more when it was offered, but have now ended up in a relationship where they are having to have these conversations. Generally something goes far enough to break the ToS it will generally be removed, and there are far worse websites out there younger people can access.

 

Personally I prefer the HoBo type way of making it members only.

 

As for hAVEN. it is a pretty quiet board, and I didn't realise it existed until I joined declass as I only accessed AVEN via mobile and if you weren't a member of it it didn't show up. It's a much quieter board than I would say any other is but that's the point of it. It's where people can feel free to post about more personal struggles and difficulties they are having, and receive help and support. If anyone is quite a supportive member (maybe you post supportive responses in T&S) then it can be nice to join hAVEN to support others. You don't just have to be looking for support yourself, and it would be nice to have more non-staff available to respond to threads.

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InquisitivePhilosopher
2 hours ago, Cheshire-Cat said:

...As for hAVEN. it is a pretty quiet board, and I didn't realise it existed until I joined declass as I only accessed AVEN via mobile and if you weren't a member of it it didn't show up. It's a much quieter board than I would say any other is but that's the point of it. It's where people can feel free to post about more personal struggles and difficulties they are having, and receive help and support. If anyone is quite a supportive member (maybe you post supportive responses in T&S) then it can be nice to join hAVEN to support others. You don't just have to be looking for support yourself, and it would be nice to have more non-staff available to respond to threads.

Would it help to merge (H)aven with the Tea and Sympathy Forum? It sounds as though they're similar. Tea and Sympathy is also a hidden forum, only for members, just like (H)aven.

 

Perhaps, since some members aren't/weren't aware of (H)aven, there would be more participation/replies to others' (H)aven posts if it were merged, or is (H)aven kept separate because the posts might be more graphic or traumatizing for others on AVEN?

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TheAppallingPhantom
18 minutes ago, InquisitivePhilosopher said:

Would it help to merge (H)aven with the Tea and Sympathy Forum? It sounds as though they're similar. Tea and Sympathy is also a hidden forum, only for members, just like (H)aven.

 

Perhaps, since some members aren't/weren't aware of (H)aven, there would be more participation/replies to others' (H)aven posts if it were merged, or is (H)aven kept separate because the posts might be more graphic or traumatizing for others on AVEN?

Tea and Sympathy is open to all registered members, while you have to ask to join (h)AVEN, and usually have to meet certain criteria, like having been a member for a certain amount of time. I think it's good to have a forum for those who want to vent about things without having to meet the criteria or wait a certain amount of time, while also having a hidden forum for those who want more privacy. I don't think it's bad that (h)AVEN is slower than the other boards. It does seem like members are getting responses and support there.

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Goonie

(h)AVEN has some different rules that are significantly stricter than the rest of the board and T&S (unless something changed since the latest sticky in in T&S in 2012).

 

The original new forum announcement:

 

The sticky in T&S

 

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