Privacy Warning- The mail icon for "private" messaging is NOT private.

For a lot of us here, that mail icon was for what we assumed to be for "private" discussion among other members & friends. While MS does claim that "all content" is subject to moderation, it then negates that by holding out a mail icon for "direct conversation" with others which leads us to believing that yes the open boards are moderated, but surely mail as we all know is/should be private. There is also no specific verbiage or warning that our direct conversations or mail are subject to uninvited prying eyes. I believe that this should be addressed ASAP by changing the mail icon to something else and add an advisory message to all the private or direct conversations that they are a moderated discussion and NOT private. Nobody should feel tricked or spied on here, especially when privacy & trust is such a huge deal to most of us. If the moderation of private discussions here is truly for safety sake, then MS should fix this so that there is no misunderstanding as to privacy here for that same sake of safety.
 
I disagree about the meaning of the icon for me, agree MS should look into an alternate icon, and let me explain why. @George you have been around a long time, and so have I. We have benefitted greatly in our lives from MaleSurvivor. When we joined, we agreed to the terms of registering that all communications are moderated, including conversations sent between members. So that verbiage and warning is already provided. Yes, an envelope "mail" icon is the icon for starting a conversation, but the mouseover text says the word "conversation", but that does not change my understanding that it is moderated. I don't know that it can be changed to another icon and would expect it is a default icon selected by the developers. I want and need all communications on this platform to be moderated so to minimize bad actors and fraudulent communications. I have lived with the icon that way, never thought about it. I would imagine the only time I would is if I was called on the carpet for violating the terms of communication here on this forum by the moderators. Private and trust, I cannot live without both of these, and need them in my life, and here.
 
Because we are a moderated community, it is important that registered users be aware that ALL communications made on the MaleSurvivor website are filtered by the website for content and subject to review by site management personnel.

(listed in the guidelines - TWICE -- here: https://forum.malesurvivor.org/threads/malesurvivor-guidelines.81333/ )
 
I disagree about the meaning of the icon for me, agree MS should look into an alternate icon, and let me explain why. @George you have been around a long time, and so have I. We have benefitted greatly in our lives from MaleSurvivor. When we joined, we agreed to the terms of registering that all communications are moderated, including conversations sent between members. So that verbiage and warning is already provided. Yes, an envelope "mail" icon is the icon for starting a conversation, but the mouseover text says the word "conversation", but that does not change my understanding that it is moderated. I don't know that it can be changed to another icon and would expect it is a default icon selected by the developers. I want and need all communications on this platform to be moderated so to minimize bad actors and fraudulent communications. I have lived with the icon that way, never thought about it. I would imagine the only time I would is if I was called on the carpet for violating the terms of communication here on this forum by the moderators. Private and trust, I cannot live without both of these, and need them in my life, and here.

You are right, I've been here 21 years right from the start of MS, if I am shocked and surprised when I got a creepy mod warning about something I was writing about in what I thought was private, then how many others here wrongfully think the same? A lot of us have sent or received VERY private and sensitive stuff and even personal family pictures and such in what we thought was private, and believe me, are not gonna be happy to find out now that some uninvited unknown guy was looking over our shoulders peeping, because that's exactly what it feels like now. I feel violated by this, no I'm not looking for pity or even an apology, I want this fixed so no one else here has to feel violated, by MS of all things. And no offense to the mods in general, but there has been issues with some in the past and certainly wouldn't want them leering at my family pics or what I or anyone wanted privacy for.

If MS wants to moderate private convo, then do it, but make it plain to everyone what the rules truly are, don't hide behind some vague or tricky legalese verbiage all the while offering conflicting promts. I can tell you this though, it will be chilling on personal convo, leading guys to go off the platform to maybe more unsafe situations.

@brother2none You are on the staff here, you would have more knowledge than most as to what is going on, so it's not like you are the average guy coming here making the same assumptions as I or the rest.
 
Because we are a moderated community, it is important that registered users be aware that ALL communications made on the MaleSurvivor website are filtered by the website for content and subject to review by site management personnel.
While MS does claim that "all content" is subject to moderation, it then negates that by holding out a mail icon for "direct conversation" with others which leads us to believing that yes the open boards are moderated, but surely mail as we all know is/should be private. There is also no specific verbiage or warning that our direct conversations or mail are subject to uninvited prying eyes.
NC, if I was on the board here I would not want to have to defend their current position when it is easily rebuffed with that mail icon and no specific warning as to no privacy in that mail. What do you think a judge or a jury would do to MS should some mod go rouge on what was an assumed private conversation and acted out harming the the writer? I can assure you that it wouldn't go too well for the defendant if a suit was brought, specifically because of that assumed privacy.
Think hair dryer warnings about not taking them in the tub or shower with you, those warnings are there for very expensive reasons.
 
@George, you are being unfair to me. I am a volunteer here on the board of directors for two years, after being a member since 2009, I volunteered to help continue the mission of Malesurvivor. But I remain first and foremost a survivor like you who is struggling with balancing life and being a survivor. Everyone here has agreed to the terms to post and contribute, you included.

MaleSurvivor is looking for new volunteers and new board members. It is a rewarding experience.
 
While MS does claim that "all content" is subject to moderation, it then negates that by holding out a mail icon for "direct conversation" with others which leads us to believing that yes the open boards are moderated, but surely mail as we all know is/should be private. There is also no specific verbiage or warning that our direct conversations or mail are subject to uninvited prying eyes.
NC, if I was on the board here I would not want to have to defend their current position when it is easily rebuffed with that mail icon and no specific warning as to no privacy in that mail. What do you think a judge or a jury would do to MS should some mod go rouge on what was an assumed private conversation and acted out harming the the writer? I can assure you that it wouldn't go too well for the defendant if a suit was brought, specifically because of that assumed privacy.
Think hair dryer warnings about not taking them in the tub or shower with you, those warnings are there for very expensive reasons.
I have known since day 1 that direct messages are moderated. I had no issue with that.
 

Nathan LaChine

Webmaster
Staff member
Members,

MaleSurvivor is not hiding the fact that all content is reviewable by our site management personnel. We post that information in the Terms of Services (Everyone has to put a check in the box agreeing you have reviewed and will follow before you can creating a account), it's also posted in the Terms and rules link (at the bottom of the forum pages), and in the thread MaleSurvivor Guidelines which is posted on the forum.

The software does not refer to direct messages between users as "private message," it refers to them as "conversation." MaleSurvivor didn't pick the image used by the software developers to indicate starting a conversation. We used the word "ALL" to make it clear that all communications made on the MaleSurvivor website are moderated. Using the conversation option to communicate with another member is communication and is filtered by the website for content and subject to review by site management personnel.

Nathan
 

AlexBoyd

Registrant
@George Thank you for bringing this issue to everyone's attention. It's unfortunate that you are getting responses either minimizing or dismissing the distress you are experiencing. It's always been my understanding that the private messages are subject to review, so it's no surprise to me that mods have access to them to review them. HOWEVER, it's the circumstances in which they are being reviewed that I am finding troublesome in the last several years. It's understandable for a moderator to monitor private messages when an individual's behavior has been reported as possibly violating site guidelines and there is a reason for the mod to review the private messages. That's a significantly different situation than when a moderator is snooping and prying into messages simply because he has access to them. That feels invasive and creepy. That feels like someone is abusing his power. I, and quite a few others, suspect that there is indeed a certain mod who is abusing his power. Chat has suffered because of those suspicions and a certain mod's past behavior, and some of us have resorted to communicating offsite about private matters because we have felt violated here. Administrators and the mod team need to take a closer look at the behavior of a certain mod.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
I have removed my comments as they were not germane to the topic of the post.
 
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Nathan LaChine

Webmaster
Staff member
Everyone,
The monitoring and alerting to the moderators about content on the site is triggered in two ways, 1. User generated reports and 2. Automated generated reports (AI/Software). Site volunteers are not snooping and looking at users at random. Once they are notified by the above mentioned ways then do they start reviewing content. If you feel this is not the cause please email me directly Webmaster@MaleSurvivor.org. I want to hear and see the evidence and get the concern addressed, if a site volunteer is using their position incorrectly it will be addressed.

@AlexBoyd and @Shyshark please email me, lets setup a time to talk. This offer is open to anyone and everyone, I may not be able to share with you all the information or give you the answer you want but I want the opportunity to engage with you in a productive conversation.

Keep in mind that ALL site volunteers are first and foremost survivors and our brothers in healing, they are volunteering many hours a week to keep this place safe and healing. They do an amazing job as we are the largest and oldest forum for male survivors of sexual abuse.
 
That is unfortunate @Shyshark to have reached out and not received a reply, totally understandable to have that reaction. I would have probably responded the same way. I'm sorry that happened to you. What can we do about it now? You have been around a long time, we have shared in many conversations together and I remember them well.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
I'm so sorry George for hijacking your post. I sincerely apologize.
As you can see I've removed them.
Thanks for understanding.

Sharky
 
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So some have posted to say that they knew all along that the mail was moderated, good for them. That still doesn't change the fact that there are those that don't. MS knows that the mail icon is problematic and could lead to the assumption of privacy and instead chose to obfuscate that fact with obscure verbiage instead of changing the icon and/or adding an advisory like, "These communications are subject to moderation and not private" to the "conversations" page. A checked box on a terms of service page is not the immunity that a lot of you think that it is when and if it comes to a tort claim.
MaleSurvivor didn't pick the image used by the software developers to indicate starting a conversation. We used the word "ALL" to make it clear that all communications made on the MaleSurvivor website are moderated.
I understand that MS didn't pick the icon, but MS is wrongly & knowingly using it. I would ask the webdevelopers to change/fix this asap if it is beyond MS's purview then, the developers too would be on the hook if a claim arose due to this so I would think that they would want to fix this. We are only talking about a few key strokes to fix this... That "ALL" is not so clear, if it was there would be no issue here. There's one thing that those in the position of changing this can't claim, that is that you didn't know about this should a claim arise in the future.

I'm not looking to be an ass, I just don't want others to be hurt here with this privacy issue. I'm in a good place but others here wont be as strong or as in a good a place in their lives it this comes and slaps them in the face. It amazes me that there is any kind of push back to fixing this. Here we are all in agreement that MS is worth so much to us, yet some are okay with leaving it vulnerable & exposed the way that it is. It scares me to think how vulnerable it is and that you guys don't even know it, how fast and easy the world here could change.
 

DavidM-LT

Moderator
Staff member
I'm kinda surprised by this whole thing. From day one, it made sense to me (granted, yes not everyone thinks/understands the same way) that everything, yes everything, is moderated. The greeting message that everyone receives (which has gone through some changes over the years) specifically states:
that ALL communications made here are filtered by the website for content.
The word used is "communications". It is not "posts", "replies", "chat", or anything else. And it's also clearly stated that said communications are "filtered." For the less technically-apt, and I've discovered that there are definitely a fair share of guys who are not so technically apt (this was new to me), perhaps that might not be clear. But, to think that someone is regularly reading every line on here... that's kinda crazy.

Could the wording there be changed to something better, more clear? Probably. It's rare that something can't be improved.
But for the quantity of technology and user agreements that we blindly agree to in this day and age, MS is most definitely not a deceitful or sly actor here.

When I first joined, I was taken aback when I received a friendly (yes, it was friendly) mod warning about having shared and email address or suggested going off-site. Part of why I was taken aback was needing to come to terms with my own naïvety. But I wasn't surprised that it got caught. And I was rather thankful for the work that the mods do to make sure that this is a safe place. And after the whole infiltration debacle about 2 years ago... boy oh boy... the mods have certainly got an important job. But they're human, and also need to remember tact. I know they always have been with me.

I very much disagree that the mail icon is misleading. The drop down menu clearly states "Start a new conversation". There's nothing misleading there. If you're having a convo in a pub, bar, restaurant, café, bus, train, plane (much worse on a plane!), anyone can hear you. Your private email account isn't so private either. And changing the icon is just not a feasible thing.

Maybe I'm wrong here. But I also disagree about the necessity of putting a warning on a hair dryer. Put it there if you want, but the requirement to have it is crazy.

The mods and admins can't force anyone to read guidelines, or even a warning on the page that starts the PM, or whatever we'd like to call it. And even if there was something there, doesn't mean that it would be read. And to have to check a box before sending every message... that's crazy.

Of course, it would also mean that the mod who's gotta intervene in a PM-situation needs to be careful and sensitive to how the intervention is introduced. There's a huge responsibility there.

I gotta say too that whole staff does a great job. My personal concerns have been taken seriously, situations looked into. They're very dedicated, and serious about this place, and even more serious about guys here. That's a promise. And after having actual conference call with some admins, I can only confirm and reaffirm and reaffirm their efforts and dedication and devotion.
 

AlexBoyd

Registrant
I'm kinda surprised by this whole thing. From day one, it made sense to me (granted, yes not everyone thinks/understands the same way) that everything, yes everything, is moderated. The greeting message that everyone receives (which has gone through some changes over the years) specifically states:

The word used is "communications". It is not "posts", "replies", "chat", or anything else. And it's also clearly stated that said communications are "filtered." For the less technically-apt, and I've discovered that there are definitely a fair share of guys who are not so technically apt (this was new to me), perhaps that might not be clear. But, to think that someone is regularly reading every line on here... that's kinda crazy.

Could the wording there be changed to something better, more clear? Probably. It's rare that something can't be improved.
But for the quantity of technology and user agreements that we blindly agree to in this day and age, MS is most definitely not a deceitful or sly actor here.

When I first joined, I was taken aback when I received a friendly (yes, it was friendly) mod warning about having shared and email address or suggested going off-site. Part of why I was taken aback was needing to come to terms with my own naïvety. But I wasn't surprised that it got caught. And I was rather thankful for the work that the mods do to make sure that this is a safe place. And after the whole infiltration debacle about 2 years ago... boy oh boy... the mods have certainly got an important job. But they're human, and also need to remember tact. I know they always have been with me.

I very much disagree that the mail icon is misleading. The drop down menu clearly states "Start a new conversation". There's nothing misleading there. If you're having a convo in a pub, bar, restaurant, café, bus, train, plane (much worse on a plane!), anyone can hear you. Your private email account isn't so private either. And changing the icon is just not a feasible thing.

Maybe I'm wrong here. But I also disagree about the necessity of putting a warning on a hair dryer. Put it there if you want, but the requirement to have it is crazy.

The mods and admins can't force anyone to read guidelines, or even a warning on the page that starts the PM, or whatever we'd like to call it. And even if there was something there, doesn't mean that it would be read. And to have to check a box before sending every message... that's crazy.

Of course, it would also mean that the mod who's gotta intervene in a PM-situation needs to be careful and sensitive to how the intervention is introduced. There's a huge responsibility there.

I gotta say too that whole staff does a great job. My personal concerns have been taken seriously, situations looked into. They're very dedicated, and serious about this place, and even more serious about guys here. That's a promise. And after having actual conference call with some admins, I can only confirm and reaffirm and reaffirm their efforts and dedication and devotion.
On second thought, I will reply to you via PM.
 
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