I got to reading a couple of blog posts concerning how much information that you should share online, and got to thinking how Moderation is
important in that aspect. It really struck me when I read a blog post by Jim Storer, located here.

Now, I understand that transparency is the ultimate goal of many online communities, but want to describe this sharing of information in real-life situations.

Online communities have been described as a party, with the company/business/individual, being the host. When you register on that community,  you give certain information to the “host” of the party, but there are rules and restrictions (legally) with what they can do with that
information. Then you are allowed to attend the party and share whatever information that you would like with other individuals.

You may stand/sit around with a group of 4-5 people (# does not really matter) that you feel comfortable with and interact truly open and honest, and you may mingle around the room and stumble upon others that you do not feel the same comfort level with, so you just sit back  and observe the situation and interactions, not truly participating. You are allowed to ignore those that you do not choose to interact with or do not like. You may pass your business card to some, and choose not to give it to others. You may follow up with some people with a phone call or email, and others you may not even see again.

Now to put this in Online terms, you can try and interact with some groups of people, and you can try to keep some information “close to your hip”, but the fact of the matter is that information is open and available and searchable to everyone, at anytime. You had made the conscious decision to be open in one aspect, but not as open in others, but within an online community, it does not matter. All of the information that you had shared the entire time that you were there is readily accessible.
Now I realize that there are private communities, and some tools/communities have restrictions on who can see what, but even still
any and all information that you post is openly available to anyone within that community – even those that you may not want to have that information.

I understand transparency, and I understand that many want to be open and honest – but Moderation of the content that you share online is very important. I am not saying that you should not be open and honest, I am just saying to be careful, because as my grandmother used to say, “There are a lot of crazies out there”. Thoughts?

Note: Cross-posted at mzinga.com

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