TuD Google results

I know that TuD wants to promote itself, but does anyone else find it a bit disturbing that blog and forum posts are often at the top of Google results?

I've searched for terms before and been surprised to see my own posts near the top of my search results. This evening I got an e-mail from a friend who found a recent blog post of mine when he was looking for a very board topic (did not include my name or anything about me in the search - heck, it wasn't even about diabetes).

I find it disturbing partly because it means that I feel like nothing I post here is really anonymous, but that's not all of it since part of that is my own choice by divulging details that are recognizable to people who know me and having a profile picture that people can recognize. The post my friend found was, in part, about how I had a serious allergic reaction last week and, rather than using my epi-pen and seeking medical attention, I stupidly chose to hide it from those around me for over five hours. Understandably, he was very concerned that I didn't seek help. When I posted that, I never thought anyone in my "real life" would find and read it. Luckily I don't mind that this friend did, and it just goes to show that everything you post online is public information.

But I think what really bothers me is the idea that people may find these posts near the top of search results and think that they are some sort of reputable advice. Mot of what I post is not advice. In fact, most of what I post is about stupid things I've done that I would NOT recommend others do! Obviously I would never recommend someone having the type of reaction I did to not use an epi-pen and seek medical attention, even though it's the choice I made (and obviously it turned out okay). A lot of what I write are my personal rambles or questions, and I'm not necessarily putting them out there for others to find unless they are a member of this site browsing the forums or blogs.

Am I the only one? Is there a way of marking blog posts (at the last) as private to TuD members or as not to be included in Google search results? I know there's an option to mark blog posts for friends only, but I don't often "friend" people on this site as it doesn't seem to have any impact on anything, so I don't have many friends. I'm curious what others think.

The more specific terms you use the more likely it is that other PWD will use the same terms for searching. The rank within the results is determined by the links pointing to your post. The more links to your post the higher the rank. The links act as your reputation for Google. Over the years Google made great effords to prevent that result or rank can be manipulated.

The idea to unite blogging and privacy is a bit bizzare to me. Privacy in respect to your identity is something I can relate to. But in respect to Google not listing your blogs I can not. The account "Jen" is anonymous to many people and to Google too. It is the photo that is transporting your identity plus the little grains of information you expose in your blog. But without exposing something your blog will not have the depth that really touches people. What about search engines not obeying the rules of restriction like the famous robots.txt? If the information can be found in the internet then computers and people will find it too. So it would be better to not write something you do not want to expose to the public. Another approach would be to increase the anonymity of your account by removing your photo for example. Last but not least you could re-edit your blog entries too. I know this is self-censorship but in the wake of the NSA scandal this is the bitter reality. Freedom of expression is the first victim of the mistrust the NSA has seeded.

I've always had concerns about privacy. I firmly believe you should own your own information and simply making available to read doesn't give others a right to use that information for purposes you don't want. Unfortunately with the current system, once the cat is out of the bag you lose control.

That is why I would encourage everyone to take some care with revealing their true identity. Don't disclose exactly where you live, your email, where you work or your occupation and now even your photo. Yes, you can search with google for your photo.

All that being said we need to understand the context of why our own posts come out on top when we do a google search. There is a good reason, relevance. Google tracks our history, where we are from and what links we have clicked through. Obviously TuDiabetes is high on your relevance list. The real question is whether it is high on anyone elses. Probably not unless they have diabetes and are always searching around for diabetes stuff. It is simple to check, just ask someone else who has no overlapping interest in diabetes to google for you the same terms.

I guess that is what surprises me - this friend doesn't have diabetes and wasn't looking for information on diabetes, he was looking for information on visual impairment. I know I post a lot about that, but I wouldn't have thought my post about such on a diabetes site would zoom to the top of his search results since it's on a diabetes site.

For some reason I view TuD's blog as less formal than my real blog. I came from LiveJournal years ago before I ever started "public" blogging, so maybe there's a fuzzy line there. Maybe I just need to stop seeing TuD's blogs as somehow more private (in fact I'm sure they get more hits than my actual blog does).

I remember on a site years ago there was a checkbox you could check to exclude posts from Google indexing. Maybe that can't be done anymore, but I just thought of it as a possibility.

Well, between this and my e-mail account sending spam to all e-mail addresses I've ever sent to (including supervisors, mailing lists about medical conditions I have, and family - so basically now my employer knows all my medical history and such!) I'm feeling like nothing I ever put online is private.

Which is fine with me that someone I know found one of my posts - obviously I'm posting it in a public location. It just surprises me that he found it so "easily" when he wasn't even looking for anything related to diabetes. When I post a blog on TuD I'm not necessarily posting it so that X person can find it when searching for Y but so people on THIS site can read it. Maybe I just need to start writing as if the entire world is reading.

What you describe is exactly what my friend did. He doesn't have diabetes and wasn't searching for diabetes, and as far s I know has never been to this site before, yet my blog post came up first in his search results. This is what prompted me to post this whole discussion.

This whole discussion has definitely got me thinking about privacy. I'm pretty sure even if I removed my photo, people reading my post who know me (especially if they were present during the situations I write about) would know it was me. Ditto with my Blogger blog - although at least with those posts I edit and each time think, "Would I be comfortable with my family reading this?" before I post. Maybe I need to start doing the same for TuD, except htat if I only post stuff I'd be comfortable with my family reading it means I wouldn't have a place to vent or discuss much about my health issues.

"Maybe I just need to start writing as if the entire world is reading." Yes, that's it exactly. I think if you post anything on the internet with your real name, you have to assume anyone and everyone will have access and can potentially read it at any time. And this is why I am the Shadow Dragon. :-)

Hmm. Might be a good idea to go more anonymous at least on sites like this where I want to vent about stuff and/or talk about stuff (like stupid decisions I make) that I don't necessarily want friends and family finding.

I would recommend that you remove your personal information. I really don't understand why people are so cavalier about putting personal information onto the internet. For example, what on earth is the advantage of linking your Tu posts to your facebook account? OK, if you're trying to make money from blogging or selling a product or your services, then I can understand it. But how many people here are doing that?

You can modify or change your picture in the "my page" link, and it will immediately change on all of your posts here. If your name and face is changed, it is unlikely anyone would match you from reading a single post. You can also disable third party cookies in your browser. Tu sends its data to LOTS of websites who pay for the information, simply so it can market diabetes products to you. Once again - what on earth is the advantage to me of that?

The NSA will track you regardless - they don't need your picture since they have your IP address and so they can easily connect the dots on any place you've ever been. The only thing that would help that would be for the American people to care enough about privacy to wholesale shut down the whole NSA mass collection of data program. So far the American people seem to be AOK with being spied on. Hopefully that might change.

Just so we are clear, there is a very detailed discussion of privacy and the rules that TuDiabetes operates under here.

DHF and TuDiabetes very specifically does not sell your personal information to anyone. I am really kind of surprised to see this misunderstanding.

What is this NSA thing? I'm not American so have no idea. I also thought Google already tracked and stored all searches and probably all information I've ever exchanged over their other services - how is the NSA thing different?

Thanks for that information about cookies. I think that might explain search results.

As for my personal details (which are only my picture and first name that I created when creating my account), I'll probably change them, but I've also known for a long time that if any close friends or family happened to come across this site (or my Blogger blog) it would be obvious that it was mine even without a picture. I'm okay with this - because the alternative is me simply not blogging, which I do enjoy. It would just make a lot more sense to me if my friend had been looking up information on diabetes rather than searching for a topic that, while mentioned in my post, is otherwise completely random and has no connection to diabetes. I've found the same when searching for other unrelated things myself - though someone explained this as happening because I visit TuD a lot, which makes sense.

I guess it just hadn't occurred to me before that everything I write here may end up popping up at the top of someone's random search result even when not looking for diabetes topics. I'll probably censor myself a bit more from now on - not because anything I ever post online is "secret" but just that some of the stuff I post here is not stuff I intend for people who are family or close friends in my "real life" to read. I don't want them reading and worrying about every high and low and health issue that I have - otherwise I'd just post all this stuff on Facebook!

I was just looking at my Blogger account and saw that it does have an option to not let search engines index blog posts. LiveJournal (when I used it) had a similar feature. That's why I was wondering if TuD had something like this. Obviously it's not foolproof, but I'd probably check it off if it existed.

I agree there are some reasonable steps that could be taken to protect privacy— such as, only members can see the identity of who posts and reply to forum posts, otherwise they appear ananymous, only members could view profiles and pictures, etc… It’s a tough balance to find between privacy and accesability

I would guess one reason TuD doesn't have such an option is that it has an interest in using search engines to drive traffic here and blog posts are probably one effective way of doing that.

wow yes I just googled my username and got like everything I ever wrote! I bet someone is googling what I'm writing right now! scary!

I do google my full name occasionally to see what comes up. The funny thing is not much comes up when I goggle my name, but these TuD posts come up when I google for information on other subjects.

There is a big hole in the Tu policy, namely that Tu allows their advertisers (who presumably pay them money) to "set and access their cookies on your computer. Advertisers’ use of cookies is subject to their own privacy policies, not the DHF Privacy Policy."

And I'll note that when I came to Tu some time ago, I didn't click on any ads or go to any other websites but found that Tu (and/or its advertisements that I did NOT click on) had hidden 27 other cookies on my system including those that sell or keep IP addresses forever. Which is why after visiting here one can be bombarded with ads for diabetes supplies, etc.

Here's a discussion I started about that: DataMining

I realize this is widely done on the internet; certainly anything you google is similarly data-mined using many of the same third party cookies (which is why I use duckduckgo.com instead of google for my searches). But it is worth reminding people just how little "privacy" they really have on the internet, so that those who find this objectionable can take steps to improve things.

I'm pretty sure my profile is only visible to members of this site. I think it would be pretty simple to have an option to make blog posts and forum posts the same, but then I don't know the technical details involved.

Hi Jen,

I'm curious to know how your friend found your blog, do you have your full name listed there? I always just see you as Jen so I'm not sure how he could do that. I agree not to put your full info here or in your blog. I wouldn't want others reading my blogs here and I have set my profile to visible only to members here I think but maybe there are other privacy settings like visible to friends only. But I have noticed that if I search tudiabetes on my phone to read posts, something I do sometimes, I can see my responses there to various questions or my own questions if they are currently viewable in the list of recent posts. This is when I'm not logged in I think, so if the privacy setting for members only is in effect, which I checked, I don't think I should be able to see them.

You used to be able to write x something to stop what you write from being archived somewhere, can you still do that?

Maybe a more anonymous name?

My full name isn't anywhere on here. All I have is my first name (and first nickname at that) and my one profile picture. I gave my e-mail address when I signed up for this site but I've never posted it publicly here, nor have I ever posted my phone number, address (the city I list is not the city I live in though it is the geographical area), last name, actual occupation (I have posted the field I'm in), names of friends or family members, and so on.

My profile is also set to members-only. If I log out of the site I can't see my own profile. This is why I was wondering if there was some similar setting for posts to be seen to members of this site only.

My friend was searching for information on braille, so my name wasn't included anywhere in his search nor was diabetes.

I guess there is no way of making things more non-searchable, so I'll probably settle for posting less detail about non-diabetes things and maybe changing my profile picture and name.