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# A step to encourage the public transparency of the Azimuth forum

A couple of months ago we talked about increasing the transparency of the Azimuth project by making all threads readable by the public, but we never reached a consensus on it or took any action.

I do have a general preference towards which are world-readable. Some of our discussions are of interest to a broader group, and it is nice to be able to reference the posts by URLs, and have them available to web searches. On the other hand, there may be occasions where one really wants to communicate within the group, and not have such comments show up on a Google search. Also, because some posts have already been made with the understanding that they in private threads, some people may not be comfortable with this being retroactively changed.

As a resolution, I propose that we state that the encouraged visibility for new material is public, while still retaining the option for some threads to be private.

For this to work, we could create a new public category "X - public discussion" for every current private category X. Top priority would be for the categories Blog, Chat, and Strategy.

Or, we could create a new private category "X - private discussion," move all of the articles from X into that, and change the visibility of X to public. If the forum software supports these operations, then I think this is preferable, because it establishes the default, conventional visibility as public.

What do you think? If we agree, and we prefer the second option, we can ask Andrew about how to accomplish it, either directly through the front end, or with some updates to the database.

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1.

I haven't checked but I seem to recall that the "Strategy" and "Chat" topics on the Forum are not public. Seems near to what you're suggesting but somebody will shoot if I'm wrong.

Comment Source:I haven't checked but I seem to recall that the "Strategy" and "Chat" topics on the Forum are not public. Seems near to what you're suggesting but somebody will shoot if I'm wrong.
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2.

Just to comment on the technicalities: changing the visibility of categories is straightforward, as is moving discussions from one category to another. Both John and I can do this. If there are loads to be done then it's easier for me to do directly in the database, but in principle it can all be done via the forum settings.

Comment Source:Just to comment on the technicalities: changing the visibility of categories is straightforward, as is moving discussions from one category to another. Both John and I can do this. If there are loads to be done then it's easier for me to do directly in the database, but in principle it can all be done via the forum settings.
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3.

Right now only the "Strategy" and "Chat" sections are not public.

There are comments about individual physics crackpots in the "Chat" section which I would like to keep private, since the crackpots in question would find them annoying. These are utterly irrelevant to the main thrust of the Azimuth Project - I just wrote them to let off steam and relax.

The "Strategy" section contains grant proposals that I have some mild interest in keeping private.

There are also comments in either "Chat" and/or "Strategy" where I say that certain conferences would be fun to attend, but only for the charming location. I'd sort of like to keep these comments private, since they could annoy the organizers of these conferences.

David: is there stuff in "Chat" and "Strategy" that seems important to make public? Any post that contains substantial amounts of scientific information should really be in some other category.

Comment Source:Right now only the "Strategy" and "Chat" sections are not public. There are comments about individual physics crackpots in the "Chat" section which I would like to keep private, since the crackpots in question would find them annoying. These are utterly irrelevant to the main thrust of the Azimuth Project - I just wrote them to let off steam and relax. The "Strategy" section contains grant proposals that I have some mild interest in keeping private. There are also comments in either "Chat" and/or "Strategy" where I say that certain conferences would be fun to attend, but only for the charming location. I'd sort of like to keep these comments private, since they could annoy the organizers of these conferences. David: is there stuff in "Chat" and "Strategy" that seems important to make public? Any post that contains substantial amounts of scientific information should really be in some other category.
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4.

Maybe it would be good if the Spam announcement page were private too.

Comment Source:Maybe it would be good if the Spam announcement page were private too.
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5.

I agree, Frederik. The easiest way to do that is to put it in a 'category' that is private, since it's categories rather than threads that are either private or not. So, I'll create a 'Spam' category, make that private, and move the spam thread there.

Comment Source:I agree, Frederik. The easiest way to do that is to put it in a 'category' that is private, since it's categories rather than threads that are either private or not. So, I'll create a 'Spam' category, make that private, and move the spam thread there.
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6.
edited April 2013

John wrote:

Right now only the “Strategy” and “Chat” sections are not public.

Also Blog. Perhaps that is appropriate, since we're working out how we want to present ourselves. It's good to be aware of this, though, so that we can spin off discussions that may be of broader interest in other categories. That is why I put my last question, on How to display vector fields, under General, rather than putting it on the thread for the blog article that will use this.

I'm fine with leaving the visibilities as they are. Recall though that it raises an issue for our long term goal of maintaining mirror sites for the forum. All things considered, what I would advocate for is, when we get there -- I don't have time just now, but plan to return to this -- would be for e.g. me to maintain an unpublished backup of the data, and to sign some kind of agreement stating that the data will only be used for backup, restoration and mirroring purposes, and will only be made visible through software that uses the same permissioning data as the current forum.

p.s. Re: things that we are uncomfortable about in our forum posts of yesterday, it's never too late to edit them down to size. I have done that for some of my early rants on this forum :) Not that I'm saying that anyone should do this, I'm just sharing a perspective; it's all about one's own comfort level.

Comment Source:John wrote: > Right now only the “Strategy” and “Chat” sections are not public. Also Blog. Perhaps that is appropriate, since we're working out how we want to present ourselves. It's good to be aware of this, though, so that we can spin off discussions that may be of broader interest in other categories. That is why I put my last question, on How to display vector fields, under General, rather than putting it on the thread for the blog article that will use this. I'm fine with leaving the visibilities as they are. Recall though that it raises an issue for our long term goal of maintaining mirror sites for the forum. All things considered, what I would advocate for is, when we get there -- I don't have time just now, but plan to return to this -- would be for e.g. me to maintain an unpublished backup of the data, and to sign some kind of agreement stating that the data will only be used for backup, restoration and mirroring purposes, and will only be made visible through software that uses the same permissioning data as the current forum. p.s. Re: things that we are uncomfortable about in our forum posts of yesterday, it's never too late to edit them down to size. I have done that for some of my early rants on this forum :) Not that I'm saying that anyone should do this, I'm just sharing a perspective; it's all about one's own comfort level.