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Share your weightloss concerns...with everyone on the internet?

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Old 07-06-2013, 08:13 AM   #1
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Default Share your weightloss concerns...with everyone on the internet?

Recently, a member that was posting a lot, and some..um, uncomfortable things, then disappeared along with all their posts, got me thinking.

I've been here since 2008, and I've gotten very comfortable here. Maybe too comfortable. I post like we are all in some secret support group, free from prying eyes, but truthfully anyone can lurk on this board and read my deepest confession about my struggles with weight. Something I am very private about in real life.

The thought does briefly cross my mind when we get a brand new member, that anyone can join (or even read without joining) however, I remind myself the 99.9% of people that lurk here or join, even if only for a post or two, are doing so because they want to lose weight.

However last night I started thinking about that .1% that lurk for a laugh, or that actually join to mock, troll, or appear that they are here for weightloss but really have other motives.

Its not like I've ever given my street address, but I guess I got a little nervous, 5 years for me, of posts, and I wonder just how anonymous are we? My screen name is unique to this site, but still...

Do any of you, especially if you've been on this site for a long time and have gotten settled in and familar with the posters, at times forget that we are still on a public forum?

Maybe forget isn't the word, but when I reply to people I might throw in a tiny detail here and there because it is pertinent to that post. Like someone posts about weightloss on vacation, I might respond and include that I went to the Bahamas last June. (I actually didn't but you get the point). Anyway a little detail about my life, out there, and with enough someone could connect the dots assuming they had no life and endless time to look back on 5 years of posts. I actually started thinking about going back and deleting all my posts with little personally pieces of info in them, but the task seemed daunting!

Too bad there's not a way to at least stop lurking from non members, but I guess its good that those seeking weightloss support can come here and read some posts before they join. Afterall, I would think most of the people searching out this site aren't doing it to exploit or stalk one of us, they are likely doing it with their own weight and health in mind.

I'm not sure why I suddenly got so paranoid...
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:48 AM   #2
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I can see why you would get paranoid. I forget that this forum is not like my other forums that I visit - that are private. You can't lurk and read if you aren't a member and we recently changed who could even join to be a member. I forget sometimes that not all forums are that protected.

I just realized that I had my wedding picture as my profile picture. I had forgotten that I had put that there years ago.

I don't post such personal things here - I'm pretty open IRL about my weight loss and weight struggles.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:26 AM   #3
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Though... who really does have time do really look into you as a poster here? I mean there are a lot of posts.

I think it is good to be careful but mostly people don't really have the ability to hunt you down.

I did learn my lesson though. I would say that you should be careful with e-mailing people. Recently I learned that people can find out where you live via a code on your e-mail. Your IP address is sometimes on there (in the detail) and you can be traced pretty easily. Now it doesn't give your address but it does give when you live. Down to the town. Some providers give you the ability to opt out such as AOL... but you have to select that.

Overall though it is extremely hard to get personal info over the net.

ETA: Also, wasn't that member banned? And I am going to guess that the mods took care of his posts? So I think that is why everything went bye bye.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:53 AM   #4
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I guess the way I look at it is as follows:

a) Someone would need to know me before they would recognize me based on any personal information I might post.

b) I like to think I don't know any idiots who have nothing better to do with their time than troll around weight-loss websites looking through posts to see if they happen to know anyone in order to get their laugh for the day.

c) If I do happen to be unfortunate enough to know such a idiot, what do I really care what he or she happens to think about me? He or she clearly has far greater problems than I do.

So, I'm not particularly concerned about 3FC.

I have far more concerns about using my credit card number online and giving out similar financial details that, potentially, someone else (who doesn't know me from Adam) might get hold of and use inappropriately. For that reason, I hate shopping online and will do just about anything to avoid shopping online. Perhaps it's my age...but I just don't trust giving out financial information over the internet.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:03 AM   #5
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I wouldn't call it paranoid, but it's wise to be careful with specific life details (jobs, children's activities, etc.) ... and remember that photos posted can also be linked to your exact location of where it was taken with the embedded data. That's why I worry when people post children photos online - predators can access your location very easily. Obviously not many children's photos here but often in avatars, which is concerning.

I agree with GG - I worry that I share concerns about my weight/fitness level here that I hesitate to share with those in my inner circle in real life...
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:06 AM   #6
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I wouldn't worry, for every horror story you hear about the internet there are literally millions of stories where there are no stories because nothing happened. Just like you could get hit by a car by going outside the chances actually aren't that high.

That being said, I totally get it. I had extremely paranoid thoughts about being secretly filmed after watching the Truman Show. And then I realized that most likely isn't possible and plus I am so boring that I am sure the show has been cancelled by now anyways!
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:21 AM   #7
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3FC being public is the very reason I don't post or share much. I was in a weight loss group years ago and enjoyed it very much and could share way more than I can share now because it was private.
I do think people have shared a LOT of personal info. Someone mentioned the ip address and how people can find where you live but not exactly where you live. I think they can find where you live by the little things you post, like "I'm only 1 block from such and such" and by the photos you add.
Personally I don't want everyone I know (and don't know) to be able to find out how much I weigh and all about my personal life. So I will probably not be getting too personal here.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:36 AM   #8
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Hmm, I am concerned about it at times. I keep a blog where I'm very 'public' (my pictures, etc). I try to keep my kids protected, so far I only have pictures of them where their faces aren't clearly identifiable (from the side or back of head or looking down etc).

I do know there are sites 100% devoted to mocking and laughing and making fun of others. I found this out the hard way on another board I'm on (a natural parenting site) where I, among others, was the target of some extremely vicious and mean discussions -- by other mothers and grown women! I know they're pathetic, but it still stung to find that out.

So yeah, I would say anything you don't want the world to know, don't post. I'm fairly open in general but I don't link my blog for now because I don't necessarily want people in my 'real' life who read my blog to know all my thoughts on 3fc and vice versa.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:40 AM   #9
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I use my real name and location. Maybe it's different as a guy but what difference does it make? Is someone going to come to my door and mock me for posting here?

Serious question - did you have a conversation with puff the magic dragon before you posted this thread?
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:45 AM   #10
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I think it would be good if others couldn't click on your username and see all of your previous posts. I can see it can be helpful to the one posting to be able to go back and see when they posted this or that but why allow everything you've posted to be so easily searched?
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:06 AM   #11
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I'm not so concerned with random stalkers, but I recommend this site to a lot of people in my life, people who would or might recognize me by my screen name (it' a nickname my father gave me as a child, and still uses).

I did change my avatar from a photo of myself and my husband, and I try to avoid saying things that might upset close friends and family.

I'm not so worried about spilling my own guts, as I'm very open about my struggles, but I do find myself telling amusing stories about friends and relatives that said friends and relatives might not find so amusing.

It helps to remember that online and in real life, none of us are exactly what we appear to be. Some of us present our best selves to others, while others present their worst. Even those who are as genuine as they appear to be have secrets and an internal life that no one else sees or knows.

Every once in a while, I find someone here who I suspect is here for reasons other than support. Usually, if their question or post is something a sincere member might be going through, I will ignore my suspicions and will respond to the post as if it were genuine. Not for the suspicious poster, but for all the sincere posters who might be reading.

I don't block other members lightly. I've only done it twice in my ten years. I was about to do it again to a certain self-described misfit, when he disappeared.

I hadn't gone through with it only out of laziness and perhaps a bit of voyeurism. I suspected the moderators would warn and censor him, and I was mildly interested in whether he would "shape up" or be "shipped out."

If there had been a betting pool, I guess I would be a winner, because I saw where the poster was heading. It was like watching a trainwreck.

Whether for the sake of loved ones, acquaintances, or random internet strangers, I can't afford to be paranoid. I can't get the support I need without risking exposure in real life, to some extent. In hindsight, I would have used a more anonymous screen name, but the people I most would have to be concerned with are people in my life who should have taken my advice to come here, but haven't.

I know they haven't come here, because these people are horrible secret-keepers ( as are all of the women in my family).

On one hand I'm relieved that they haven't come here or at least haven't staid long enough to recognize themselves in stories I've told. And on the other, I find it disheartening that they have, as always, disregarded all my efforts to help.

I think it does make sense to protect ourselves, especially regarding physical safety online and irl, but to some degree we have to open up and be vulnerable emotionally. So before I share, I try to think what would happen if someone I loved read my posts. Would they be hurt by my post, or would I be embarrassed?

To some extent I have to risk embarrassment, because protecting myself completely would defeat the purpose of being here. For me, a large part of my success relies on my seeing and admitting to potentially embarrassing mistakes.
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatLib View Post
I wouldn't worry, for every horror story you hear about the internet there are literally millions of stories where there are no stories because nothing happened. Just like you could get hit by a car by going outside the chances actually aren't that high.

That being said, I totally get it. I had extremely paranoid thoughts about being secretly filmed after watching the Truman Show. And then I realized that most likely isn't possible and plus I am so boring that I am sure the show has been cancelled by now anyways!
DH and I were just talking about "The Truman Show" the other day!

GG- One thing that 3FC has really helped me with is being comfortable with my own body and feelings. I typically don't say things in posts that I wouldn't say to people who know me IRL.

As for the intimate nature of weight loss, I'm over it. I'm not ashamed of having been obese. I'm not ashamed of having lost weight. I'm not ashamed of using a weight loss forum (it's been so helpful!). If anyone that I "actually know" found my posts here I'd hope that they'd find them helpful.

As for creepers, well, I have to believe that the good people in the world outnumber the bad. Hopefully some of our dialogue will help the good ones!
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlamourGirl827 View Post
Recently, a member that was posting a lot, and some..um, uncomfortable things, then disappeared along with all their posts, got me thinking.
What on earth happened with Mr. You-Know-Who, did I miss a meltdown or did people just have enough? I was actually disappointed that several of my posts disappeared along with his threads (some from over a year ago!).

Whenever I post, I try to keep in mind that it's a public forum and question whether or not I'd post the exact same things on my facebook page. More often than not I wouldn't, but it has less to do with privacy and more to do with not wanting to be the annoying friend that won't stop harping about exercise, calories, pounds lost, etc. Not that I don't occasionally post about my successes and struggles there, but it's obviously a different atmosphere when we're basically all in the same boat, and some things my RL friends just wouldn't get.

I'm open to talk about my weight loss successes and struggles to those who ask, online or in RL. I mean, it's no secret to anyone that knows me that I've always struggled with my weight, and if they're bored enough to start digging around and read every little post I've made here, they can be my guest.
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:35 AM   #14
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Something to remember. Not only is this a public forum, but it is highly google-able. So even if someone isn't looking for a weight loss forum, they can stumble upon us. We've had several members who posted their real first and last names get burned that way.

I use my real first name, and my real pictures and try not to reveal details that I would feel really uncomfortable with a lot of people knowing IRL. I am pretty open IRL, so I don't have to self-censor a lot. But, for example, I just had an offer on a house accepted and am really excited about it, but I won't link to any pictures of it in this public forum.
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Only Believe View Post
I think it would be good if others couldn't click on your username and see all of your previous posts. I can see it can be helpful to the one posting to be able to go back and see when they posted this or that but why allow everything you've posted to be so easily searched?
And on the other hand, that tool also is very useful in identifying potential trolls. I don't normally pay attention to who is posting. When I start to notice a specific poster standing out to me, it's either because their posts have been extremely helpful, or extremely annoying. In the case of helpful posters, searching their posts helps me find more pearls of wisdom. In the case of annoying posts I can see whether the person is rubbing everyone the wrong way, or is it just me. Is the person positive most of the time and abrasive only sometimes or on certain topics? Or do they appear to be deliberately stirring controversy for their own amusement?

Knowing the context and content of a poster's previous posts help me decide whether to friend or block them.

I think the tool does more to help than hurt, because malicious folk are generally too self-centered to bother following, let alone stalking another person's posts. The benefit, in my opinion far outweighs the risk as long as all posters are using basic common sense such as not sharing their full name (especially if it's an uncommon one) or too specifically their location and habits.

As for disclosing weight and clothing sizes, I find it odd that we consider such information "private," because anyone with eyes can tell whether and to what degree we are overweight. I'm ginormously fat, and if by some miracle of physics I could weigh less than I look, I would still be ginormously fat.

If by chance, you look lighter than you are, that's something to be proud of, because it would likely mean you have a higher than average proportion of muscle. So if two twins look identical in size, but one is quite a bit heavier, the heavier twin most likely is leaner (and they probably don't look so identical naked).

Since a higher proportion of muscle is generally healthier and more attractive (at least to a point) shouldn't we all be aspiring to weighing more than we would seem to?

We sometimes act like fat and aging, especially for women, is invisible. I've always said that if I am ever tempted to lie about my age, I will claim to be older than I am, so people will tell me how young I look. In theory, it would make as much sense to lie up in regard to weight (though I'm not sure I'm ready to test this theory).

I am though looking forward to the day that I feel I look lighter than I weigh on the scale.
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