denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_biz2011-08-03 04:27 pm
Entry tags:

Finding people you know on DW

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 problem: Preventing new-user-dropoff (someone who registers an account, pokes around a bit, and then never returns to your site) is a function of a lot of different factors, but one of the biggest ones, with a social networking site, is: are the people I care about already using this service, and if so, can I find them? If people don't find the group of people they care about using the service already, they're more likely to wander off and never come back.

Services try to deal with this in a lot of different ways. The most common is an "address book reading" function: the site asks for access to your email address book, searches its database, and coughs up a list of people with those email addresses using the site. If it's done well, this can be helpful. If it's done badly, it's a privacy disaster. It also requires you to provide the site with access to your email account, and in most cases, requires you to be using a) a web-based email provider b) that they have programmed into the system (so, pretty much Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail).

Other methods are things like a "you may know" service -- like how Twitter suggests "similar users" (based, I believe, mostly on who follows whom), and Dreamwidth's popular subscriptions page (a paid feature on DW, since it's resource-intensive to calculate). That kind of thing is good at identifying people who are in your extended network (friends of friends) once you have a few people in your circle, but they don't help to prime the pump: if you don't subscribe to anybody up front, those tools don't return results.

There are other technical solutions that people have thought up over time; things like various data files and formats you can import into a new service and have it scan for people who match (much like the email address book, only slightly less privacy-invading). Problems with those include user education, the fact those standards aren't well-known and well-applied, the fact there are tons of competing standards ...

So everybody, everybody keeps coming back to the "share your email address book, scan the users database for accounts that match those email addresses, return the results". And I can find solutions to most of the massively problematic portions of that concept, and things that could make the function more useful and flexible:

* Problem: what if I don't want anyone who has my email address to be able to find me? Solution: Allow DW users to choose whether or not they can be "email matched" -- if they say "no, people shouldn't be able to find me", then we respect that. (And release the feature pegged initially to the privacy settings that users have put on their email address: if you don't display the email address on your profile, you don't get the email search turned on, which essentially only automates the existing 'search by email' function that's in the site-wide search bar.)

* Problem: what if one of my friends is using a different email address on DW than I have for them? Solution: Allow DW users to add "other email addresses I should be searchable by" to their accounts, so I could (for instance) confirm that I own the email rahaeli@livejournal.com (which is the email address I was using for a really long time) in addition to denise@dwscoalition.org (which is the email address I use with the site now). The other confirmed email addresses wouldn't display on the site, but it'd let people search and find you by. (You'd still run into the problem of people having outdated email addresses that you couldn't confirm anymore -- there are still people who know me by email addresses I haven't used in over a decade, I'm sure -- but we wouldn't want to allow people to use any arbitrary email address, lest I say that I'm billg@microsoft.com and hilarity ensues.)

* Problem: what if my address book is full of people I sent email to once and don't want to ever talk to again, or companies with whom I interacted but don't want to be social with (true, and amusing, story: webmaster@dreamwidth.org gets invited to new social networks all the freaking time), or (for instance) family members such as Aunt Margaret who would keel over and need smelling salts if she found out that I write porn about TV characters in my spare time? Solution: don't automatically add the people you find from an address book crawl, but instead just give people a list of the accounts returned by the address crawl, and let them choose whether or not to either a) add the person to their circle directly or b) send out an email saying "Hey, I'm on Dreamwidth now!" and let them choose whether or not to begin a relationship.

There are other problems I can think of, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind as the biggest concerns, and all of them are workable-around. You can also take the same idea behind "address book crawl" and extend it to other services: do things like letting people add/verify their Twitter account, for instance, and match it against other added/verified Twitter accounts, or add/verify their LJ account and match that, or really any other social network that has any form of automated function for returning "list the people I have relationships with". (And, of course, there's the method of building "places I have lived/worked/gone to school" fields into the profile or the site directory, so you can search for people who graduated school with you, or people who worked at $formerjob from 2002-2005, or people who lived in downtown Baltimore from 1997-2002, etc. But that requires a bunch of overhead in validating and sanitizing input, so you don't get eight thousand variations in spelling, which is what made the LJ schools directory so incredibly human-intensive and part of why we discontinued it on DW.)

I'm sure there are other possible awesome ideas that I'm just not thinking of, though, and I'm also sure there are other problems with the "mine your list of connections on other sites and match against the DW userbase" idea that I'm just not thinking of off the top of my head. So, I figured I'd throw it out to y'all at large, seeing as how you are a) extremely intelligent people b) who want to see DW succeed c) and are used to carefully thinking through an idea and evaluating it on privacy, security, and usability grounds.

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?
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)

[personal profile] ironed_orchid 2011-08-03 09:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I really hate it when sites ask for access to my email address book, and never allow them to do it. So I'm biased against that idea.

I much prefer a "popular with circle" approach, but as you say, it requires people to have some subscriptions in the first place.

What about something like offering a list of potential matches when people import their friends from other sites?

Something like:

"you've imported ironed_orchid@livejournal.com. There is a dreamwidth account with the user name ironed_orchid, why not check to see if they are the same person?"
beatrice_otter: SG-1--Walter in his seat, sparks flying. (Walter)

[personal profile] beatrice_otter 2011-08-04 06:20 am (UTC)(link)
Yes, but some people like it. I don't see a problem if it's coded with an attention to privacy and strictly opt-in. But YMMV.

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chagrined: Marvel comics: zombie!Spider-Man, holding playing cards, saying "Brains?" (brains?)

[personal profile] chagrined 2011-08-03 09:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Oops, I typed a whole thing about maybe matching by LJ or Twitter or something and then realized I'd skipped that whole paragraph, haha. Anyway, I like that idea, especially as someone who has different usernames on LJ and DW, but not b/c I don't want my LJ friends to be able to find me on here (I do).

Anyway, I like the ideas of both address book crawls and things like LJ friends crawls or Twitter crawls, as long as they are indeed verified and also opt-in on both ends. I probably wouldn't use an email book search but would definitely use an LJ friends search, since many of my friends also have different usernames on both sites, and sometimes maybe I might miss someone's announcement post or something saying what their username is.
sami: (Default)

[personal profile] sami 2011-08-03 10:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Not sure offhand how "avoiding people lying" would work with this one, but: allow people to list other usernames they've been under? e.g. I could have on my profile something that says who I was on LJ, and who I am on Twitter, etc, and have that be searchable.
jumpuphigh: Pigeon with text "jumpuphigh" (Default)

[personal profile] jumpuphigh 2011-08-03 11:53 pm (UTC)(link)
+1 In fandoms past, I was known as jumpup until the internet got so popular that I couldn't get that username anywhere. On Twitter, jumpuphigh was taken before I got there. On Tumblr, I use another name due to some outing issues I dealt with this spring. I'd like to be jumpuphigh everywhere but I'm not even though all these services are the same online me.

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mark: A photo of Mark kneeling on top of the Taal Volcano in the Philippines. It was a long hike. (Default)

[staff profile] mark 2011-08-03 10:30 pm (UTC)(link)
I think that this is a good feature to have, but I would want us to implement it with some pretty strict privacy controls and good defaults. What you suggest for the default of respecting a user's current setting for visibility is good.

Further, I'd probably specify on the page and in our privacy policy:

* We do not retain the email addresses you choose to submit -- they are used once and immediately discarded.
* We will NEVER use the email addresses someone gives us for ANY purpose other than matching. (Reinforce the first point.)
* All information is submitted through secure methods (SSL required) so we never expose this data to MITM attacks.
* Hey, the code is open source, _check it out here_.

Maybe there are other things we should say, too. I think that if we make it clear what we do with this data and we make sure the code is available, that should make it easier for people to be comfortable with it.

Another thing we might consider is making it a little backwards -- when someone submits their address book, they already have an account. We can make it so that a user can select a privacy setting of "when someone submits my email, notify me, but don't tell them".

For example, if you log in to DW and submit your address book, and I have this setting on, you will NOT see me in the results list. However, I will get an email/notification that says "Denise has joined Dreamwidth, here is her account!" That puts the "exposure" penalty on you -- and gives me the choice on a one-by-one basis to expose my account or not, instead of just disabling the entire feature.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

[personal profile] matgb 2011-08-03 10:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Another thing we might consider is making it a little backwards -- when someone submits their address book, they already have an account. We can make it so that a user can select a privacy setting of "when someone submits my email, notify me, but don't tell them".

I was trying to think of a way to word this but gave up, but yes. If I search and don't find people that can be frustrating, but if they get notified I found them and can them come get me if they want to, that can help.

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branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)

[personal profile] branchandroot 2011-08-03 10:30 pm (UTC)(link)
One thing that strikes me is adding LJ, Twitter, Facebook, NextBigNetworkSite under "Other Sites" in the profile (which are heavily slanted to IM services right now). Some people use the same name across the board, but a lot of people change their names when they move. If there was a field to say "this is who else I am" that would make the "look at my relationship list at $SITE and then look for matches here" a lot stronger. It would formalize for search purposes what people who want continuity already do, which is list their other names in the freeform field. And anyone who doesn't want to be matched that way can leave the field blank just like they do already.

Some note on that set of fields, about it being searchable, might be wise, though, just to remind people before they auto-fill.
kerravonsen: (Default)

[personal profile] kerravonsen 2011-08-04 01:21 am (UTC)(link)
I like this idea. Because again, this puts the control in the hands of the person being searched for rather than the person doing the searching.

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matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

[personal profile] matgb 2011-08-03 10:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I quite like the 'find friends from X site on Y' site stuff. These days I rarely email friends, they're all on Twitter/Facebook/DW/LJ (my initial use of LJ was very much Facebook style, all real life friends from university &c), so Gmail isn't a good way to contact them, the only email address I had for my future best man I know is now defunct as I let that domain expire and told him on LJ.

But for all the hype and initial work that people like Brad and Dave put in for Social Network Portability, it never seemed to get anywhere as a standard protocol.

Obviously, for me, I have no problem with anyone finding me from elsewhere as I'm at the extreme edge case of very open of who I am--I'm not quite at the stage of putting my postal address on the site, but it came close last year, that is Googleable if you know how. And this is my only extant online ID, no secret alter egos and similar.

But I also have close friends who really need to have their disparate ids kept secret and wouldn't want anyone from one circle lapping into another.

So I think a strong opt out feature is essential. I also think a promise to not store the data that's definitely kept is good--it's so bad on G+ that the few people I do email regularly are constantly at the top of the "invite your friends"-they're not friends, they're Cllrs and/or clients.

For those very secretive, a strong opt out is essential, but for others of us, that can be annoying. But if they can still search, then at least they can find me even if I can't find them.
lanterne_rouee: glowing multicolored lantern (Default)

[personal profile] lanterne_rouee 2011-08-03 11:02 pm (UTC)(link)
At the risk of being unique, I honestly don't believe this is a problem or something people need & want in order to return to a site. Usually, if people want to talk to the same people on multiple sites, they let it be known themselves - either in personal conversation or by posting links to their various sites. A lot of people (most?), actually like to start fresh in a new place, particularly when it comes to blogs/journals.

Personally, I never use any of these types of options, on any site. Putting a lot of time and resources into a 'find people you know' option seems like it would be wasted effort to me.

I think to make a site 'sticky', the emphasis only needs to be on interesting content, ability to search for common interests & interesting content, and creating a welcoming atmosphere so people feel comfortable starting their own conversations/posting their own content, (and an attractive, easy to use interface). All of which DW does really well already. :)

Sorry if that's not helpful, but that's my honest experience and opinion on it.
white_aster: (Default)

[personal profile] white_aster 2011-08-04 12:19 am (UTC)(link)
You're not alone! I often don't do this, either. I have more than one online persona, and to be honest, trying to find everyone sounds like work. If I switch services and put up a notice that I'm moving over here, and they don't come and friend me or give me a handle to friend or whatever? Oh well.

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ariestess: (Default)

[personal profile] ariestess 2011-08-03 11:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Any time a site asks for access to my address book, I decline. I HATE that idea. Just because I'm testing out a new site doesn't mean that everyone I know is going to want to do the same, and I totally respect that. Plus, I just have issues with how easily a lot of people's emails get hacked and spam crap is sent out.
florahart: (writing)

[personal profile] florahart 2011-08-04 12:16 am (UTC)(link)
I don't think the problem you are noting (about others not wanting to do the same) is the one being discussed here, though.

I think you are saying, I don't want to give you my address book and have it go pester people with this service ("I joined NeatoBlog, come join to!!"); whereas, I think the thing being discussed here is, offer up address book and allow a page to populate from that which says, you gave us bob@mail.com, and we have an account here--bobbobbob--using the email address bob@mail.com. Do you want to circle/subscribe/whatever bobbobbob? Which is different from it saying, we don't have a bob@mail.com--let's email bob and ask if bob would like to create and account! (ew.)

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yourlibrarian: EverybodyWants Sam (SPN-EverybodyWants-misty_writes)

[personal profile] yourlibrarian 2011-08-03 11:13 pm (UTC)(link)
I think one thing that would be enormously helpful would be to search by communities (if not individual accounts) by activity level. What is a "popular" subscription in one's circle is often misleading. I took a look at what was showing for me and several people and many communities shown as recommended subscriptions are not actually active here.

Several people in my circle who were active on LJ have created accounts or updated their accounts here in the past few weeks. However all are complaining about the lack of activity -- but as much of communities as individuals. LJ's troubles haven't just been disrupting individual posting but also community activity such as fests, challenges and prompts. There has, luckily, been increased use of AO3 during this time as a result but it highlights a problem with activity on DW.

What would help everyone would be to see "where the action is" on DW, whether it's something or someone one would think to look for or not. If anything, finding something one wasn't thinking of would be more of an incentive to use DW instead of simply trying to clone their experience from somewhere else.

As regards using people's email address books, speaking for myself there are only a few people I currently know on LJ or DW whose emails I even have. When I can comment to and PM people easily, there isn't a lot of reason to gather their emails, and the ones I have may likely not even be up to date
greenwitch: Tea (tea)

[personal profile] greenwitch 2011-08-04 12:21 am (UTC)(link)
What would help everyone would be to see "where the action is" on DW, whether it's something or someone one would think to look for or not.

A lot of people had been asking where to find active communities -- right now, there's the "Latest Things" page for recent posts -- would it be possible to get separate "Latest Communities" and "Latest Journals" pages? Or maybe a list of most active communities, similar to the list of RSS feeds (that's sorted by popularity?) I don't know if that's possible, practical, or if there are any coding issues with doing that -- just an idea.

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libskrat: (Default)

[personal profile] libskrat 2011-08-03 11:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Is interest-based matching part of the answer here? Enter 10 interests and we'll see what comms/accounts you might like?
kerravonsen: (Default)

[personal profile] kerravonsen 2011-08-04 01:32 am (UTC)(link)
I like this idea. Currently the "interest" searching is very limited, because one can only search for one interest at a time. What would make it much more useful would be to be able to search for people-or-communities who have InterestA AND InterestB AND InterestC, or, even more awesome, ((InterestA OR InterestB) AND InterestC). The latter would cover things like (("icons" OR "iconing" OR "user icons" OR "avatars") AND Gimp), for example.

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ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)

[personal profile] ursamajor 2011-08-04 12:15 am (UTC)(link)
For me, searching email addresses isn't the be-all-end-all of finding people I already know on Dreamwidth. I would like to be able to find people by submitting my Twitter contacts list, my Facebook contacts list, my Google contacts list, etc - via their available mechanisms where I don't have to share my password for each of those services with Dreamwidth just to import contacts. (I already trust that you guys would do this sensibly and securely; it's just startling the number of other websites that expect me to hand over my Facebook password or similar just to find my FB friends on that website. Ridic.)

Re "search by," what other services would be common enough? Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, probably Yahoo, maybe Microsoft or AOL email/IM? LJ would certainly be popular for those who choose to associate specific LJs with their DWs, though that could be another can of worms for people who can no longer prove they owned a specific LJ ...

(And seriously, the way Google does their address book thing, I am not sorting through 500 contacts just because I bought something from someone once five years ago, ugh.)

From the reverse angle, granularity re what services someone can use to find me by would be a good thing - for example, I might want to be findable by my Twitter handle, but not by my email address or Facebook username. Even if I'm willing to put this contact information on my profile for those whom I've already granted access, I might not want to be searchable by that same contact info.
Edited (typos and clarification, i should probably eat dinner) 2011-08-04 00:17 (UTC)
florahart: (writing)

[personal profile] florahart 2011-08-04 12:20 am (UTC)(link)
From the reverse angle, granularity re what services someone can use to find me by would be a good thing - for example, I might want to be findable by my Twitter handle, but not by my email address or Facebook username.

+1

I mean, anyone who can't find my from my Twitter and LJ and IJ handles may be doing it wrong (as they are all florahart), but if they were not. And I don't want Facebook folks to find me on DW, thanks, because, you know, coworkers and relatives and children, oh my. But I probably would allow non-FB things, and would like to select individually.

I am assuming that DW would never (assumption based on cultural norms already established here) turn this on as something one has to opt out of, leaving a period of minutes or hours or days in which one could be unhappily found.

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dreamwriteremmy: treetops & sky, text reads "Dreamers United" (Dreamers United)

[personal profile] dreamwriteremmy 2011-08-04 12:32 am (UTC)(link)
We prefer [staff profile] mark's use of the email function... Not so fond of matching via social networks... unless it too works on the same function as [staff profile] mark's suggestion where the exposure is on the information submitting party.

Also email searching might get awkward for plural systems like us (most of us use the main system email for our personal journals -- that MIGHT get really confusing, though a couple of us use our own throw-away emails for our personal journals).

I also like a combination of [personal profile] yourlibrarian and [profile] cavlec's suggestion of interest matching and active communities.



[personal profile] feathertail 2011-08-04 02:23 am (UTC)(link)
+1 on the interest matching and communities. I especially think it'd be neat to help people find readers for their writingness.

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[personal profile] feathertail 2011-08-04 02:13 am (UTC)(link)
This feature is premature optimization. It's at its most useful on a site like Facebook, which is primarily about social networking and has millions and millions of users. It's at its least useful on a site like Dreamwidth, which is about meeting and connecting with interesting people / communities and has only a handful of users. If someone you already know is here, she either came with you or probably doesn't want to be found.

Not only are the kind of people who come here more likely to be hostile to this suggestion (as some of the comments show), but the kind who would love it wouldn't get much use out of it. It's hard to get right, doesn't have an established standard to play off of, adds another feature to a feature-rich and straightforwardness-lacking environment, and will have a negligible effect if it's done well.

I think helping people find readers and new things to read would be more beneficial, to Dreamwidth's community and its stated goals.
falena: Picture of a girl hiding behind a camera, reflected in a mirror. (Default)

[personal profile] falena 2011-08-04 06:20 am (UTC)(link)
I agree, I don't think this feature would be that useful, right now. Perhaps in the future, if the site grows.

This being said, I'm not particularly against this, even though I'd be happier if the DW team concentrated on creating new features I feel more passionately about.

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msilverstar: (corset)

[personal profile] msilverstar 2011-08-04 04:05 am (UTC)(link)
For what it's worth, one of my main problems with Google+ is that I'm trying to put one set of friends from a mailing in one circle and am a little worried that I'm going to accidentally add someone who's not on the list.
aphelant: (Default)

[personal profile] aphelant 2011-08-04 04:28 am (UTC)(link)
I really like the idea of being able to (opt-in to) have my email address(es) and Twitter &c searchable by people joining/using the site. I have the same username here as I do everywhere else so I'm pretty easy to find, but not all of my friends do or will. I know that you brought this up primarily because of user drop-off, but if this is a feature that could be initiated at any time like the importer is (because maybe I just joined Tumblr and have made some friends there and want to see if they're here to; or I've added a lot of new people on Twitter since I first created my journal and did that initial search for my contacts) I think it would be really useful. I mean, I would expect a feature like this *would* be available to existing users, but I wanted to say that as an existing user I would use this search function, too. :) Also, +1 to the above comment re: granularity of searchable handles!

I imagine if username searches are on the table that it would be a manually inputted process? In my fondest imaginings I picture this to be like the multiple-icon uploader, where I could type in a bunch of addresses/usernames/blah blah and if I want to search for more I just click a button to increase the number of fields. (so much love for the icon uploader, seriously, it is one of my favourite features of the site -- no word of a lie, I nearly cried when I heard it was being developed)
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[personal profile] silveradept 2011-08-04 05:48 am (UTC)(link)
We think that blogging platforms with social aspects like LJ and DW are really about finding those people that you don't already know but who have similar interests, styles, and projects. (Or who are totally different than you, but very good at their writing.) Finding your friends is neat, too, but there's usually some posts at OLD_PLACE about what NEW_PLACE handle to look under to find them, if they want to be found.

What would be nice is if we could have a bit more machine-usable metadata associated with ourselves (should we choose to divulge it) - being able to say "I write mostly fanfic in big giant chunks" might make me more attractive to some, and avoided by people who are looking for people who talk meta about fanverses in short yet poignant posts. We have free text blocks, sure, but I suspect it would be better and easier for us to decide (perhaps with radio buttons, perhaps with sliders) some form of numerical or quantitiative scale for various aspects of posts and profiles (or fanishness and it's antithesis).
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[personal profile] snakeling 2011-08-04 06:25 am (UTC)(link)
It would be great if it was clearer that a comm's reading page is made of the entries of the people who have joined the comm and therefore are likely to post about things that interest you. Maybe there ought to be a message everytime you join/subscribe to a community that says something like "Hey, do you want to read what the members of [site community profile] dw_biz have to say? Maybe you can find people to subscribe to."
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[personal profile] noxie 2011-08-04 08:13 am (UTC)(link)
I agree with what someone else said above. When I came here, I made a post on LJ letting people know where to find me on DW. Those who had an account here added me. It was as simple as that. :)

I never give sites access to my email address book. The idea freaks me out, to be honest, and I'm always put off by sites that ask me if I want to do so on joining.

Another problem I have, even if I weren't opposed to the whole accessible email address book thing is that no-one is going to find me by the email address I'm using here. I'm using a different email addy everywhere else. For others it might be the same.

I'm all for the option to include a field on the profile where you can say who you are on LJ / IJ etc, and have that be searchable for (new) users. Maybe match that with their imported friends-list if possible. Twitter, Delicious etc are already there - why not add more for other journaling sites? Then those who leave the fields blank could avoid being found if they didn't want to. This is by far the least intrusive and most sensible option in my opinion. :)
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[personal profile] azurelunatic 2011-08-04 11:01 am (UTC)(link)
I do like going through my email address book and seeing who is findable, but for safety's sake, I would prefer to submit a bunch of addresses console-style, appropriately rate-limited.

I like the same-name-is-that-them tool that someone made, though there are common names and then there's also deliberate impersonation, which happened to an author friend-of-a-friend on Twitter.
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[personal profile] artisan447 2011-08-04 11:16 am (UTC)(link)
I admit, I really dislike sites that pull in contacts from an address book, so this is a really good, thinky question for all social networks.

Someone may have already suggested this (sorry, haven't had a chance to read all your replies) but I think you already have a section in a user's profile where they can put their ID on external sites (Twitter, Delicious etc). I think it's the 'about' section? It seems like that's designed to allow people to find you outside DW. If you make it possible to add other social network IDs (like LJ, Facebook, Google+ etc.) could those fields be searchable? Then a user could search for their friends by the username they knew on the other site?

[personal profile] rho 2011-08-04 11:26 am (UTC)(link)
I would be a lot happier with this if there was an "export your address book and then upload that to us" version as well as/instead of a "give us your username and password for your email and we promise we won't be evil" version.

Even if 95% of people end up using the version where they give us their password, I think having the other version exist is an excellent good-faith gesture. Sort of something along the lines of "This option is easier and simpler, but we totally understand if you're reticent even with all the promises we're making and the precautions we have in place, so if you don't want to use it, that's cool too, have a version which is more work for you but will let you keep your piece of mind".
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[personal profile] triadruid 2011-08-04 12:22 pm (UTC)(link)
That would at least be a step in the right direction, yes.

(no subject)

[personal profile] moem - 2011-08-04 12:55 (UTC) - Expand
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[personal profile] liv 2011-08-04 11:52 am (UTC)(link)
The idea I like best out of what has been suggested is to make the "other site identities" field searchable. That way you have complete control over whether you want to populate those fields, and which online identities you want to link up or keep separate. Would need to be expanded to include LJ.

I don't really want to be findable by email address, even if the security issues of address-book scraping can be addressed. My primary email addresses are linked to my birth-certificate name, and I use them for business interactions. For this reason, I use throwaway addresses to join social network sites anyway.

I'm quite wary of even notifications that someone has joined DW; right now Google+ is cheerfully telling me exactly which of my rabbis and bosses has signed up for the service. Even if they have been very careful to keep their profiles sanitized, this information is in itself is a privacy leak. The other thing that this system leaks is the social graph; I really don't think it's appropriate for every customer service grunt I've ever emailed to have a way of finding out whom I'm connected to online!
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[personal profile] attie 2011-08-04 01:39 pm (UTC)(link)
I am strongly against asking for anyone's password, for any reason - this is an established Bad Thing that only Bad People do, so it either makes DW look bad or legitimizes an unreasonable action (or even both simultaneously).

However, I very much like the suggestion to make the "other site identities" fields searchable. I would also be OK with a "pull my friends from service X and compare to identities provided by DW users" feature for services that offer OAuth or OpenID (or any other way to access the social graph without asking for passwords).

You might even - and I'm not sure of the implications of this - offer something like "show me the DW accounts publicly associated with accounts of publicly-viewable friends of user X on service Y", without the need to verify that you are X. This would only use publicly available information, but would also make stalking other people by mass-adding their friends easier. Also, most services do not allow you to hide the fact that you are friends with someone, so it's hard to tell if that info is public because people are OK with others using it, or just because it's impossible to hide. So the "publicly associated the two accounts" is key, but also very complicated - for instance I quite often want to have only a one-way association: I am quite OK with my fandom friends knowing my RL identity, but I don't want the masses of uninitiated acquaintances and co-workers from facebook to be directed to my RPS fic without some deliberate action on their part.
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[personal profile] kyrielle 2011-08-04 01:41 pm (UTC)(link)
A lot of my social networks, I don't even HAVE their email! All contact is through the websites.

Allow me to use authentication to claim other-site accounts (OpenID, whatever the Twitter API is, etc.). And allow me to say whether or not it publicly displays, and whether or not it's searchable, if I claim it, for each account.

Then give someone a way to say "find me kyrielle from livejournal, please".
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[personal profile] lanterne_rouee 2011-08-04 05:31 pm (UTC)(link)
A lot of my social networks, I don't even HAVE their email! All contact is through the websites.

Excellent point.

(no subject)

[personal profile] ciaan - 2011-08-12 18:50 (UTC) - Expand
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[personal profile] liv 2011-08-04 02:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Also I think new users not finding their friends is more caused by their friends not actually being here (because they are all still on LJ, or because the person found DW randomly and none of their friends know about it), than by technical issues with finding people on DW.
fulmar: (Default)

I agree!

[personal profile] fulmar 2011-08-13 11:43 am (UTC)(link)
The friends I have from LJ know where to find me and I know where to find them. The issue isn't invisibility, it's that not many people I know moved here in the first place. The challenge is to make a new community, not port over the old one - and I thought that was what Dreamwidth was aspiring to.

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