I've been pondering this question for a bit (foregrounded in my mind again by the latest wave of newly-minted dwenizens brought to us by LJ's unavailability this week and as a reaction to the real-names fiasco of Google+) and, failing to come up with any real answers -- or rather, coming up with too many conflicting answers, and none of them good ones -- I realized that the best thing to do would be to take it to you all, lay out my reasoning, and see what kind of solutions we can come up with when we all brainstorm together. :)

The task: Make it easy for people to find their existing friends on Dreamwidth, either while they're registering or after they've signed up.
The new-social-network problem: finding your existing social network. )
So, the questions I have for y'all:

* What other ways can you think of to help a new user find their existing friends who have accounts on DW easily, quickly, and with minimal hassle?

* How can we best balance your privacy with your desire to find people you know?

* How can we help preserve the right not to be found by people you don't want to find you?

* What else am I forgetting to think of?