Change "Private Message" to "Message Individual"

(aaron) #1

Sorry, the resent previous topic was closed before I could address it, but I think I have a valid change/point.

Currently, I think the “Private Message” verbage should change to “Message Individual”, to remove some connotation that it is private.

The issue revolving this has been addressed many times before. I think the use case for this boils down to being able to effectively administrate, and moderate. There are other methods in which to carry on private communication, and although an additional step (and separate platform) in communication to make something private, or OTR (off the record) needs to be made, it should be the preferred method. At least in this scenario both parties are able to consent to the action of a Private/OTR conversation.

Admins can still read anyone's PM's by downloading the database
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(Sam Saffron) #2

Twitter and Facebook seem to use the word “Message” for what we call PMs. @codinghorror always loves less words I think it may be ok to rename “Private Message” to “Message”.

Super duper private messaging would require encrypting all comms and having the ability to share public keys, totally not something we have planned in the near future.

However, I like less words and think it may be fitting here.

(aaron) #3

Furthermore, It may also be effective to present a “Warning” or other prompt. (Much like the yellow box prompt I have been given for replying/creating a topic) stating that that your message is not private, and that it can be seen by an administrator/moderator, with a brief explanation as to why this a a feature and not a bug.

(Sam Saffron) #4

I disagree with that, twitter and facebook provide no “warnings” saying that “messages” you send your friends can be read by facebook and twitter admins (and the NSA for that matter), it is a given.

Messages can not be seen by moderators unless they are flagged.

(aaron) #5

Understandable disagreement, it really should be a given. However, as a new(er) platform I could see a number of pluses by giving a prompt:

  • Transparency: You are effectively addressing a very real concern with individuals.
  • Explaining the choice shows, that as a platform, considerable thought has been put into the decision.
  • Creates a further guard against various forms of trolling, and misbehavior. (Granted trolls will be trolls)
  • Encourages the flagging mechanism to be followed as a process.
  • Addresses the recurring “feature/bug” request.

(Jeff Atwood) #6

Probably fine, less words is better, the expectation that nobody in the world could ever discover your super-secret highly encrypted spy communications is not doing anyone any favors…

(Jeff Atwood) #7

Technically Twitter uses the words “Direct Message” which still might be preferable.

(Logan Mathews) #8

Using “Message” or “Direct Message” seems fine. It doesn’t infer that the communication is private. “Message Individual” however is not appealing (aesthetically speaking) nor is the term used anywhere else. There’s no reason to be distinct in this regard.

As far as presenting a warning, other form of prompt, or heaven forbid a modal, no. It would simply add to the visual clutter. Having too many warnings or other eye distractions not only muddies the minimalist design but also conditions the end-user to ignore text as there simply is more and more of it.

(Dev Jyothichand) #9

This made me laugh.

Seriously though, unless you actually spend time encrypting your messages and send them through some privately set up channels, none of your private messages are private. They can be read by the government, spy agencies, hackers, utilized by data aggregators and so on.

In fact I would say the only truly private way of communicating is telepathy, if that is possible that is.

(Mittineague) #10

Coming from vB I’m used to using “PM”.
The first time I saw “DM” it took me a short while to realize it was an equivalent of “PM” and that the D stood for Direct, But not all that long of a while.

Personally I’d be fine with either “Message” or “Direct Message”, but then again I have no trouble with PM either.
I agree that “Individual” is not needed as it is implied.

(aaron) #11

Agreed. “Message Individual” was simply the first thing I thought of, and was more of an example… I like Direct Message far better, it has a use case, and design precedence through twitter, instagram, and #slack.

I whole heartily agree with this sentiment in principle, and practice. I am simply trying to offer a solution for a perceived issue. The issue being “How to address privacy and administrative concerns”, in a minimal and thoughtful manner. I want to iterate that there is reason to be had by incorporating some UI elements for this. It would preferably serve multiple functions, add value, and drive process.

I guess the notion that I diverge on is that it is inherent and/or implied, and that this alone is cause to not incorporate some way of addressing the perception. Changing the verbage is one way of changing that perception, and may ultimately be enough, but I digress in that I believe it might take a bit more in addressing this perceived issue.

Clicking @user in post preview goes to new page, loses composed message
(Sam Saffron) #12

Thinking about it, I really like the term dm, but feel it does not fit right. Messages are meant for groups of people sometimes, direct feels a bit like its one-on-one thing

(aaron) #13

My two cents:
I like the word “direct” because it implies choice, not only one-to-one, but one-to-many. “I’m directing this message to a set individual or group” it carries more purpose. Where as message alone is somewhat more ambiguous. It has more connotations for inference. Sending a “broadcast message”. “Sending a message” has ambiguity for non-verbal cues. Ambiguity with “Message Board” as well…

(loopback0 - TDWTF) #14

While it’s not Super Duper Secret - I think Private Message works. It’s also terminology people are familiar with in the context of a forum.
You can be involved in a conversation with one or more people on a forum two ways - in public or in private. Private Message covers that.
Direct doesn’t work so well because you could direct a message to one or people in a public topic too.


“Personal Message”, so we can keep the abbreviation. Or does that still suggest privacy?

(Apparently Archetype) #16

I agree with @loopback0 here. this sounds like change for the sake of change to me.

we’re talking about a forum context and in a forum context the term private message is well understood.

if we have someone that is misconstruing that term to mean “super duper secret encrypted no one but me can read” then i would say we have an issue with a single user and not an issue with the terminology that everyone else seems to be A-OK with.

(Jeff Atwood) #17

Still, less words is better. And words have power, if someone is reading that and thinking “oh, this is totally 100% private” then the word is causing missed expectations.

(Tom Wrench) #18

I think Direct Message (DM) is the clearest and simplest way to call this. Plus it is already known and used on various social media sites. What is it about DM that you don’t think quite fits @sam?

(aaron) #19

I disagree with this sentiment as a blanket rule. Clear and concise language should be the rule. Often, that does equate to fewer words, but not always.

Honestly, I don’t think it really matters all too much whether it ends up just message, or direct message, it becomes an argument of nuances, and preference of language. I would lean toward “direct message” for clarity. However, in the current design, with the location and proximity of the message-the-user action, to the rest of the user profile information, there wouldn’t be any real confusion as to what that action was meant to do.

I would however drop any connotation to privacy. Make it absolutely clear, if not explicit, that there is none, and there shouldn’t be any implication there would be.

(Jeff Atwood) #20

OK, I changed all instances of “Private Message” to just “Message”. I think this better captures the intention of the feature, it is not meant to be a hard-core privacy feature!

cc: @downey