In exploring how to be a more accessible community to those leaving and recovering from Mormonism, I would appreciate your feedback on whether Life After Mormonism (LAM) being a private community (only main page can be viewed without registration) had any influence on deciding to register (positive or negative). Originally the site was made private to encourage those looking for place safe from malicious lurkers, but has not been determined whether that has actually been achieved. Please take a moment to respond to the 3 questions below as I consider moving LAM back into the public domain to reach a wider audience, while maintaining the options for you to make your profiles, photos, videos, and blogs private, essentially making it possible for people to lurk in the forum without having to register.
Other considerations as you contemplate these questions and this possible direction for LAM:
Currently, anyone can register on LAM so long as they have a valid email and can answer the quiz and captcha correctly under any anonymous name they want, thus making detection of malicious lurkers difficult even now, but has not been a problem so far. Going to a public forum would not change this and the house rule of personal respect would continue to be enforced as it is now, suspending any users who become repeat offenders (has only had to happen once so far). Your profile privacy can be set to Anyone, Members Only (registered users), or Just My Friends. Pictures, videos and blogs can also be set to Just My Friends, or even Just Me to keep privacy protected there, or to have private discussions with just your friends. The Chat room will continue to require registration to both lurk and post. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have, or to share any additional comments (positive or negative) regarding LAM returning to a public forum.
Edit 4/3/2011: Resurrecting this tread as I am reconsidering the direction of a mixed public/private community. If you haven't responded previously, please feel free to make your opinion known now.
Edit 4/9/2011: LAM will become a mixed public/private community with each user being responsible to set their profiles, and content to private if so desired. This change goes into affect 4/24/2011. More details here: http://www.lifeaftermormonism.net/xn/detail/2425233:Topic:52853
In regards to question 1, being a private community is specifically why I registered, otherwise I probably would have just stuck with postmormon. Being private made the community appealing.
For the third question, I wouldn't leave, I just wouldn't use it as much.
1. Yes, I joined LAM only because it is a private community. I post under a pseudonym at all of the open post-mormon online communities. Given that the majority of my extended family remains active LDS, I am not interested in having any personally-identifiable information about me available in an open forum.
2. Yes, I object to LAM moving back to a public forum, for the reasons I have cited above. The fact that LAM is a private community is what makes it stand out among the other post-mormon communities, and it is the chief reason why I joined.
3. Yes, I would leave LAM should it return to a public forum.
Whatever you decide is fine with me. I'm happier outside the church; I've found a new life and I'm finally enjoying my life and my family. I don't care who knows, I don't care if they decide to come after me, the LDSC has ignored me up to now, I don't care if that changes. I can't visit frequently, but will visit from time to time.
Thanks for asking.
No on all 3 questions for me, but I can completely see why some would want these discussions to remain confidential. It can be a very difficult transition to make, and with all the indoctrination and fear-based thinking we need to overcome, the additional "heat" we may face from TBMs could make it all the more difficult.
If LAM goes to public formatting, it may be good to give everyone a "heads up" so they can change any details on their profile that may reveal their identities to Mormons that may cause them distress.
Just my 2 cents.