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  •  Just some observations (77+ / 0-)

    Although I generally agree with Kos's sentiments, I have a few points to make:

    • no laws were broken in obtaining the information about Buffy that we did.  No one needs Buffy's "consent or permission" to use google.  
    • Her real name and address were already known to at least one individual, which she provided voluntarily.  I determined her real name in about five minutes by simple googling after spending less than ten minutes perusing her diary entries (after never having read one of her diaries before)--no fancy PI tricks required.
    • There is a growing trend of suicide notes on the Internet.  The sum total of Buffy's diaries in the past two months paint a very alarming picture.  I was personally a part of an Internet gaming community in 2000 that lost a member to suicide.  He posted his suicide note for all to see.  But no one knew who he was and how to help him.  By the time someone figured that out, it was too late.  The community here took this threat seriously, as they should have.
    • But finally, Kos, you created this community here, and communities respond when people they care about are in trouble.  When you join a community, you give some expectation of anonymity; you have to--otherwise how can you connect with anyone?  

    No one has plastered Buffy's face over the news.  No one has staked out her house.  The people looking for her aren't "strangers," they're members of her online community.  Don't confuse the hundreds of ideas with the actual actions taken, which really weren't much.  The community responded in the only way it really could--public diaries.  

    As far as contacting employers, only her most recent two were contacted and you can rest assured that I am a professional and I didn't disclose to anyone the reason for my call beyond "confirming employment," which is all I can legally do anyway.  But consider this: if someone wrote about "giving everything away," "euthanizing" her pets, and what appears to be a suicide note documenting her deepest feelings of desolation on a public website, and that same someone can be identified (including her photograph) in fifteen minutes by a savvy googler, why no remarks on Buffy's own responsibility for her own writings?  That's got to be part of the analysis.

    That said, I believe I made errors in judgement.  I posted her physical description, for example, in a diary.  That should have been left for the two individuals doing the welfare check, and I regret the posting.  At the time, and given the need to act quickly in these situations, I thought it was a prudent decision.  Now, there's no need for that information to be out there anymore.  She's been missing for long enough that law enforcement can step in.  But those first 24 hours are crucial, and that's the time law enforcement can't really help.

    So, in a nutshell, I find Kos's critique to be spot on and cause for real concern.  But at the same time, I wonder what else people were supposed to do.  

    I think maybe it's time to give up this notion about "privacy" and "anonymity" on public Internet forums.    
    It's a way of avoiding responsibility for what you write, frankly.  That may be a good or necessary thing, sometimes.  These people here responded to the content of Buffy's posts, something that's alarmingly absent from the critique here.

    •  I agree with you in part. (9+ / 0-)

      I believe privacy is incredibly important, but I also believe that I've given up some of my privacy by making comments here about where I live and what I do. So, if someone tried to find out who I was...they most likely could do so. Would I prefer they not plaster my last name all over the site? Yes. I have not ever given that out or hinted at it. But in a way, if it comes out I only have myself to blame.

      I also think that several people mentioned that the diaries should be deleted when they were out of date...I think that should still take place.

      Of course, I saw nothing wrong with emailing her or sending someone to look for her when she'd clearly stated where she was.

    •  Agreed totally with you (10+ / 0-)

      Even if I had created a made up name for myself, it wouldn't take people long to actually figure out who I am, where I am and what I do. I'm a private person to an extent but to another extent I'm not. I gave that up in 1998 with my first usenet posting.

      I agree that some of the diaries should now be deleted. They have served their purpose. People will lose the mojo they got, but they can quickly earn it back elsewhere.

      But as someone who has actually attempted suicide (don't worry! That was long in the past!) I wish I had hundreds of people, strangers literally but not really given the nature of the community, checking on my well being back then. I say that in hindsight now, knowing then I would have been very embarrassed. In the end I took care of myself...but felt incredibly alone in the process.

      However on the other side, I see the slippery slope. The Right to Privacy is only implied...and I can see this going places that we never intended it to.

      things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

      by terrypinder on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 12:07:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  good points all, Angry Monkey (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee, Elise

      thanks for all you are doing! And the others too..

      I'm going to go prime my deck rails while the sun still shines...
      Please, All That There Is,  may Buffy be well,safe and whole when I come back...

      "Let us not be conservative with compassion. Be generous with compassion."

      by ilyana on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 12:12:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well said. (10+ / 0-)

      I agree with you both. While I understand Kos's alarm about privacy issues, I find most of the kvetching about it a little over the top. We were helping a fellow human being in dire need of help. We didn't out anyone for the hell of it (like, say Jeff Gannon). And personally, I don't know her name, nor did I try to find it out. I found the physical description helpful only in that I am in Mass and knowing what I'm looking for might help. And I don't think it's such a huge issue. I think that the work that was done yesterday shows just how powerful this blog can be, as well as learining to temper our concern with common sense.
      Now of course one might argue that Buffy is not a public person, but if you post here, you sort of are. Look at how many, including Kos himself, have made very public careers out of blogging. Would you say you're not a public person Kos? Heck, we not only know your name, but what you look like, sound like and what city you live in. Sure, nmopst of us are anonymous, but there are many here that share info freely. Being anonymous here is not hard. Buffy wasn't totally so, since much info on her could be found so easily.
      But staying anonymous? Perhaps we should just cancel the Kos convention next yer. I mean, we might actually see what everyone looks like and what their names are!
      OK, not trying to be sarcastic, but let's not go overboard.
      I found yesterday's seach to be one of the most heartwarming events I've ever witnessed. That a bunch of people could care so much for this person made me think more kindly of my fellow human beings. If I was in need, I'd hope for people who cared this much.
      That said, I agree with angrymonkey that the first 24 hours is crucial. After that, as soon as the police can take over, our job is done.
      Except...I sure hope that someone will give us an update should Buffy be found. I don't want details, I just want to know she is safe and sound.

      All Truth is non-partisan

      by MA Liberal on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 12:12:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you did OK (5+ / 0-)

      It's the later posts, suggesting that her cat be removed from her home and that people stake out her apartment 24/7 (among some other things) that I found disturbing.  

      I still find it hard to believe a woman who rescues animals would leave a cat unattended indefinitely but take the dogs.  It doesn't make sense.

      •  Actually, I think that the community ... (13+ / 0-)
        did a pretty good job at showing why the more outlandish suggestions would not work and would be counterproductive.

        What happens on DailyKos, stays on Google.

        by Jon Meltzer on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 12:33:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharoney, GN1927, flumptytail

          People did not hesitate to jump in and say, "No, don't do it" whenever someone suggested publishing her personal information or doing some other invasive thing. There was a lot of repetition because so many people were posting in such a short time. The mass of activity probably looked like "hysteria" to some, but very little of it, IMO, fit that description.

          I saw

          • People offering help
          • People asking how they could help
          • People communicating support/prayer/good wishes, etc. - A very small group of individuals stating that they had information that might be helpful but not saying what that information was and arranging to communicate by private email.
          • An even smaller group of people taking action, doing the things a friend would do, if they got that diary as an email from someone they knew.

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