15

I was going to post this comment:

I really hope everything goes well for you. I think this could be a very useful post to many people, but I also think there might be enough information/context on this page to maybe compromise your security if it's seen by eyes that must not see it. It has received a lot of attention in just 2 days, and that's double-edged. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I'd recommend deleting it, and someone else creating a more anonymized version of it later (give it 6-8 weeks). Good luck!

The OP couldn't delete her question if she wanted. Seeking for guidance she did the right thing and found a very supportive community here (kudos to all of you!), and all those votes and reputation points and badges awarded are warranted, but worthless.

Now that the rest is in the OP's hands, this post with 37K+ views and a trace on Twitter has become somewhat dangerous.

The post could be edited-anonymized, but the edit history would remain publicly available. Comments could be deleted but they still technically exist.

I have flagged this post with a custom flag that says just about what the unposted comment says.

Is there any other option?


I clicked this post in the Hot Questions bar, I'm normally a Code Review critter. I created an account here just to flag the post for attention, because maybe the OP hadn't considered the possibility that the post becomes so popular that eyes that must not see it are forwarded a link to it, be it in two months or in two years.

Again, maybe I'm just being paranoid, but if that post ends up seriously backfiring on the OP, ...we won't let that happen. Right?

I'm deliberately not linking to that question. With the amount of views it has, you know which post I'm talking about.


PS - Nice site, I might hang around and spend some votes ;)

  • 1
    I think you can convert a post to community wiki. That will remove the author's profile from it, but leave the question as a useful info for others. – sashkello Mar 7 '14 at 2:49
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    Moderators now have the ability to redact individual post revisions. – Michael Hampton Jan 1 '17 at 22:59
14

A valid concern, and something we discussed briefly in the Travel chat room when it started blowing up and getting all the traffic.

Considering the OP has an anonymous name and no profile picture, that certainly helps.

Remembering that Travel.SE gets around 9.8k views a day, it's a tiny fraction of the users online. Yes, it got a lot of views, but that was still only 3x our normal view rate for a day, albeit on one question.

Now, if certain...parties...did come across it, it seems unlikely, for a few reasons, IMHO. One, they're not looking to get denied from the US, so are less likely to click on it unless out of curiosity. Two, even if they do, they may only skim and not notice details, like I'd bet a large proportion of users have done.

Finally, if they DO read it, perhaps they may notice the similarities between them and the post. It could happen, I'm not denying it. But the odds are incredibly small.

In addition, we need to consider the benefit to others searching for this information. Others may also be wanting to do something like this, and if it helps anyone, it could be of great value.

And yes, the OP can't delete it herself, but she can flag it if really concerned, and so far, that doesn't seem to have happened.

I realise there are likely opposing views, but I figured I'd take a shot first and put this view up, and see how the debate goes. It's certainly not one that I've locked my viewpoint on. Good on you for raising the question, and welcome to the site!

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    The situation may be more common than we would hope. I don't think there's sufficient information for identification. – gerrit Mar 3 '14 at 16:07
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    Still - if you go through the entire thing there's a lot of personal information in the OP and a lot more in the comments below, there are not THAT many people in that particular situation, more then enough to raise questions. It might be beneficial to edit the the thread to remove as much such data as possible without breaking the informative value or delete the thread entirely and replace it with one containing same scenario and advice. – bbozo Mar 5 '14 at 5:54
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As Mark says, a valid concern. I've already tried to contact the user via private chat on SE, and advised them to contact the mod team or SE staff directly if she wants the question removed. I stressed that privacy comes first and foremost, and that we won't hesitate to act even though we'd preferably like to keep the question around for future reference -- there's various and sensible pieces of advice throughout all of it. User hasn't responded as of this post (I initiated contact yesterday), but I'm reluctant to use their private email just yet.

Regarding anonymizing the question: I haven't looked at it from this perspective, but there are a lot of specific details (country of origin, country of residence of husband, country of residence for OP) which may potentially invalidate some of the answers. I'd personally prefer a binary approach here -- either leave it as it is, or delete it altogether. I'm sure you know about the dangers of improper anonymization. Deletion is much safer, and we're going to lose what -- a highly voted question and some potential traffic. Comparing this to the dangers of a certain third party discovering this post, I'd always prefer deletion if it comes to that.

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    The concern with using her private email is that other parties may have access to that... – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Mar 1 '14 at 7:44
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    @MarkMayo: since OP lives separate from their family in a country with no internet restrictions, I'd assume she's smart enough to use an email address her family doesn't know about. At any rate, contacting users directly via personal email is a breach of trust, and I'd resort to that only if absolutely necessary. – mindcorrosive Mar 1 '14 at 7:47

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