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.