Visibility of public posts (especially by search engine)

There is actually a interesting discussion on Diaspora* about visibility of public posts. (same topic from different pods)

People was surprised that public means public to the whole Internet and not only “public in Diaspora”. After a discussion, they understood that we can’t guarantee that a post will not quit the network.

But being easily researchable is a problem, so I think we should add a setting to allow or not search engines to index profile. The profile would be visible if an internet user has the url, but would not be found into Google / Bing / etc.

As the already disallow /u/ and /people/, I do not understand why we still find profiles on Google…

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I sincerely don’t understand how people can be confused by a word like “public” which does what it actually means.

Anyway, I agree that some settings to manage the visibility of a profile would be great. I wouldn’t say the issue is about indexing but just about who can see the profile. If you want your profile to be public, I believe it should be indexable (if not indexed).

I would love a ‘public to Diaspora only’ setting, so that my public posts wouldn’t be indexable by Google, etc.

However, the experts in the technical side of things have said that it would be extremely difficult to implement and would give very little in the way of real privacy benefits, so I don’t think there’s going to be any way to do it.

Perhaps the people who really want this can themselves work out how to do it, and if they can find a way that is neat and not unwieldy, they can make a pull request.

Really, I have no problem with Public posts being indexed by search engines and the like. That’s part of the nature of being public. It’s public content and public data; once you push it out onto the web on the Public setting, it’s available to everyone.

Proposal: Change label “Public” to “Internet” to be more clear

We should avoid confusion, and if some people confuse, that means we can be more clear. I propose to replace “Public” by “Internet” so everyone understand correctly.

Outcome: The label stays “Public”


  • Yes: 1
  • Abstain: 0
  • No: 14
  • Block: 0

Note: This proposal was imported from Loomio. Vote details, some comments and metadata were not imported. Click here to view the proposal with all details on Loomio.

I don’t see a problem with Public. Internet sounds more confusing. However you can help the user by placing a dedicated tooltip on each option.

I.e.: [All Aspect] -> tooltip: All contacts in your aspects will see the post.
[Aspect X] -> tooltip: Your contacts in aspect X will see the post.
[Public]: Post can be seen by anybody and outside Diaspora.

The real label should be “Public on the Internet”, but that’s too long =P

This might deserve a dedicated discussion, but it should be possible to assign more granular visibility. Combining a list of aspects / contacts and etc.

I think we need ‘Everyone’ (now public), Diaspora and Server/Pod.

@saschamorr @goob

We cannot propose the possibility of post “inside Diaspora” because we cannot be sure that the post will not leave the network. Why? Because everybody can create a pod, modify the code, and if this pod receives a post, we cannot guarantee that it will not publish it on the Internet. “Public in the pod” is possible, but I do not see a real interest to that.

This discussion has been had many times before :slight_smile: Internet would really be confusing - no one can post on the whole internet :smiley:

@flaburgan 3 days is way too short for a vote like this, I’d say 2 weeks at least

I think the answer to this issue is not to change the label, but to write clear user guides which explain exactly how Diaspora works, such as in this instance what making a post public entails (potential for being indexed by search engines, etc).

This is something I’ll try to help with.

@goob maybe we should have a FAQ directly inside Diaspora*. By the way, on, when I select “public” visibility, I have an information message "Public post mode on, post will be public internet wide."
As this is not translated, I suppose only has it…

I think that tooltip for Public mode is great ! It should be more visible though as we focus on the textarea when posting and not the very top of the page.

More tooltips would be nice.

Another good way to give people more control about the visibility of their post would be to inform them of the visibility of their previous posts. For the moment we only say “limited” when we should have the aspects in which the post in visible.

@goob user guides in diaspora sounds great! I think there should be something like a “help” section where users find information about aspects, visibility/privacy, markdown, …

@steffenvanbergerem I think it’s really important, and something I really want to work on. There are already bits and pieces, including on the project site Sean’s been setting up, but nothing which really explains everything about how Diaspora works and how to use it, in really simple, non-technical terms.