The Short Second Life of Post Secret; or How Griefers, Sexters, and Haters Ruined an App in Only Four Months « The Learned Fangirl

Today, the Post Secret app officially died. How things spiraled down so quickly is a highly cautionary tale for anyone who fully trust anonymity — and expects it not to become a tragedy of the commons. As Frank Warren, the founder of Post Secret, states on the website, this was a difficult decision made, but one made necessary due to problems with some of the anonymous secret postings:

via thelearnedfangirl.com

Post Secret's iPhone app was taken down from the store today due to abuse from their estimate of 1% of users.

It seems like they could have controlled this a little bit by letting users report offensive/off-topic/sexting/abusive posts, then they could have had their volunteers review those. If deemed inappropriate (and this can be problematic here but any policing is better than zero policing), the volunteer moderators could have banned all secrets from those reported handset IDs from the public sphere. The problematic users wouldn't know they were set to hidden, but their stuff wouldn't get seen by the world. That seems like it could have helped lick the problem users in the bud pretty quick, and prolonged the life of the app.

3 Comments

  • What are ya gonna do about the pple who for this app?

  • Matt – I don’t know what kind of technical team Frank had working on this, but he could probably use your expertise if you have time to give it. This seems like a real shame, and as you are the creator of one of the shining examples of a positive online community, I can’t think of a better person to help him out.
    (That came out pretty ass-kissy. Sorry.)

  • A small point: the phrase is “nip it in the bud”, as in “keep it from growing”. Normally I’d try and restrain myself from such pedantry, but “lick it in the bud” sounds like something very different!

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