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Private forum on TolkienGuide cont.

Subject: Private forum on TolkienGuide cont.
by Urulöké on 2010/2/8 10:36:58

I have had some good discussions via email with enough people that my thoughts are clarifying in regards to a private "member" forum. These are still just thoughts, so feel free to chime in and continue the conversation!

There is no such thing as 100% assurances that a member forum is "secure" and will prevent a forger from seeing what is posted either immediately or at some point in the future. Passwords can be guessed - how many of you are using a secure password for an out-of-the-way forum such as this? [Admin note, I can't tell because the database is encrypted even from my eyes.] How do I or anyone else effectively know that a regular here at some point isn't a forger trying to appear innocuous for a long enough period of time to be accepted into the community? How do we know that a search bot won't find a way past the (currently effective) barrier that prevents them from caching and sharing what is behind the member wall?

Also, as evidenced by W&C's article for the LOTR Plaza, there is value in having these discussions in a public forum - there is educational value both for buyers and sellers in knowing that fakes are out there, and knowing where to come (or who to ask privately) before making a big financial decision.

My heavy preference at this time is to have the conversations in public (the regular forums), and the experts filter themselves to what they feel is appropriate in such a venue. If they are not willing to share something such as a scan in a public forum, but are willing to share it privately, then email or other one-to-one (to more than one if desired) makes the most sense. Providing the illusion of privacy that can falter at any time does not make much sense to me now that I have thought about it more and discussed it with others.
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