The OAC should not just be about academic debate, it should also be about finding friends and building a network. One of the ways to do this is to search for a "town/ country" or "School/Organization/Current anthropological attachment" in the members section of the website.

The other piece of information that people provide is a link to an external website and because of the fact that a huge number of members do not post anything else on the site this remains their only real link to it. Unfortunately external sites won't come up on a search on the members section but a new PDF has been published that lists all of the members of the OAC... The spreadsheet has been ordered alphabetically by website so it is easy to browse and I would thoroughly recommend taking a tour because there are some fascinating sites to visit.

For me this has been a huge step towards creating a more integrated network and I think it will facilitate communication between members. I think it shows that online networks and personae don't have to be about personal information or real bodies, websites and links can be just as valuable.

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Hi Nathan.

I think this is a worthwhile idea but I have a couple of comments that I think are worth considering.

1. I just clicked on the link and there is nothing there, no file is available.

2. I know a few people on here already, most via another site and 1 other because of his profile which I took a look at. My concern about creating the pdf (refer back to point 1) is that in doing this you (or who ever did it) has possibly opened up a can of worms regarding personal online security. I'll be honest if it wasn't for Keith commenting on my page I would not have put my full name up at all and I notice quite a few people on this site haven't done this anyway.

I may be paranoid, possibly from being chased over the net by someone who I would prefer never to have met, but if you are going to do something like this I think it would be nice to be asked if we want our details published in such an easily accessible form. People have to look for our own pages individually at least but a pdf that lists everyone with the details you mention is something akin to a phone book. I am personally quite deliberate about not publishing many details online about myself. I have had someone locate various emails, phone numbers (one of which was a work one that should never have been publicly available which then caused quite a problem for me), and other details and I have never been someone to post much personal information and certainly not anything that easily enables people to know my personal details etc.

So to sum this post up I feel if people want to contact others then let them search them out, that way it is more likely that they will contact people who have similar interests (say via the memberships of the different groups) and not have cart blanche access to every ones details. Just my humble point of view.
Michael Findlay said:
So to sum this post up I feel if people want to contact others then let them search them out, that way it is more likely that they will contact people who have similar interests (say via the memberships of the different groups) and not have cart blanche access to every ones details. Just my humble point of view.

This was Nathan's idea and his work, but, like most innovations here, it was discussed by the Admins team first.The question of privacy did come up, but was not thought to be decisive.

We are an open cooperative. We want people to know who members are and insist on a full name somewhere, either as ID or on their profile. The guidelines are posted and people can join on these terms or not. We ask new members to comply, if they initially fail to do so. It is true that some do not, but we keep an eye on them and are quicker to suspend them in the event of an infringement.

There is no other pressure put on members to supply more details about themselves, such as an affiliation or a link. What you seem to be suggesting, Michael, is that compiling a list of external links may be an invasion of privacy by making it easier for them to be found. There are two possible negative responses to this. If a member does not want the link made available in this way, they can ask for it to be removed from the pdf. Or they can take it down.

It hardly seems worth asking individual permision from almost 4,000 members to assemble this data, since it is merely shifting the location of information already made freely available. But we will be open to anyone who objects to their information being used in this way.
Hi Michael,

The link is working fine for me. Try right-clicking and "save link as" or "save file as". This might bypass any filters.

As for member privacy, there's nothing on this list that can't be found with a simple Google search. Further to Keith's post, members do not provide phone numbers or street addresses when joining the OAC, and we would never make emails public. The list was filtered to remove sensitive data before uploading. We ask for at least a name and location as part of our ethos of openness and transparency. Similarly, since you (and others) did not provide a URL or anthropological affiliation in your profile, that part of the list is blank beside your name.

Members who choose to join us and share their personal websites or blogs have contributed to a rich online database for anthropology, and I think it would be sad to lose sight of that over minimal privacy concerns (remixing data that is already publicly available). I hope that our members will agree that the OAC is not only of fleeting interest, but a priceless contribution to an immense body of anthropological knowledge.
Hi Keith and Francine.

I agree with you both to a certain extent I was just pointing out that what the pdf provides is already available anyway. I did say I thought it was a worthwhile idea. However, and as I said "I may be paranoid", "As for member privacy, there's nothing on this list that can't be found with a simple Google search." while this is correct I believe making it easier for undesirable elements to link pieces of information together is something that needs to be considered.

Openness and transparency are interesting concepts just like privacy and online safety are. Please understand I am looking at this through various aspects of my personal situation. My work actually more correctly the law dealing with my work, yes in Australia this is a legal issue. requires that certain groups of people I deal with on a daily basis are not "exposed" without their permission. I realise asking 4000 individuals is difficult but a post or announcement asking the group isn't. Like I said my full name is not available anywhere else on the net by my doing, yet it isn't difficult with information such as the net provides to find people it has happened to me and it is not a good experience.

All I am saying is I personally and due to my legal obligations to others find this a slight concern.
Hi Michael,

I do appreciate all the ethical and privacy concerns that you raise. Malicious people steal identifying data all the time and it's important to stay on top of it. However, I'm not sure that having one's own name and location on the Internet in association with an academic network can be seen as compromising the confidentiality of other individuals unless further details about those persons were divulged in an irresponsible way. As yet, there is no link between yourself as an OAC member and others that you work/interact with in your private life. The only way that would happen is if you were to post something about them here. In this respect, members of open networks are responsible for the precise amount of private information that they share (or expose).

Not to add to any excess paranoia, but undesirables do not need any help in piecing together information on the open web. It took the admins some time to compile that PDF, assess the sensitive content, filter the data, organize it, make it readable and useful. Data mining robots can extract and act upon the raw data from our member profiles and forums much faster, and odds are they're doing it right now. That's how your other data ended up on the web without your knowledge in the first place.

Just wait until the machines become self-aware.
Francine Barone said:
Hi Not to add to any excess paranoia, but undesirables do not need any help in piecing together information on the open web. It took the admins some time to compile that PDF, assess the sensitive content, filter the data, organize it, make it readable and useful. Data mining robots can extract and act upon the raw data from our member profiles and forums much faster, and odds are they're doing it right now. That's how your other data ended up on the web without your knowledge in the first place.
I know exactly how the other information ended up on the net and it was not from anything I personally posted instead it was via employment records and other such information which governments foolishly thought was secure.
Like I said, I think the idea has merits, I was just voicing some concerns knowing what can and does happen.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

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