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Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Regarding Privacy


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Dear Ones,

It has come to my attention that some of our members are concerned about protecting their privacy on our site. Two of our members have reported that, after placing their names in a Google search engine, some of the messages they posted on our site "came up." As a result, they feel as if they've been misled about our site being "a private discussion group" and they've asked to have their posts removed.

Obviously some things need to be clarified, and this is my attempt to do that.

First, ours is not a private discussion group. Our Grief Healing Discussion Groups site is open – not only to those whose family members were patients on Hospice of the Valley's service, but to anyone who wishes to join us – whether that is simply to read what is posted in our forums, or to participate fully as a duly registered and validated member. In that sense, this is a public forum. Whatever is posted here is visible to anyone who comes to read it.

This does not mean that you relinquish your right to privacy when you join our site. It does mean, however, that protection of your own identity rests in your hands. The only way that others can identify you by name on our site is if you register with your real name. That is how your presence on our site can be traced via a search engine such as Google. If you register with a unique user name (not your real name), you will be known only by that name – and only those who know you and know that you've used that name will be able to identify you by that name.

If you've read our Grief Healing Discussion Group Guidelines (found via the link that appears on the top, right-hand side of our site's main page), you will find this paragraph:

Membership is free, but will require that you register with a unique user name (not your "real" name) and secret password of your own choosing. Bear in mind that whatever you post on our site will be visible to anyone who visits the site. In order to protect your privacy (and prevent Internet search engines such as Google from finding you here), please do not use your "real" name as your display name.

For some, using one's "real" name is not an issue, and if this is the case for you, everything can stay the way it is. (For example, I use my own name on our site, I'm quite comfortable doing so, and I prefer to leave it that way.) If, however, you've inadvertently used your real name when you joined our site and you would prefer to use a different name instead, please let me know (via e-mail, at tousleym@aol.com) and I will guide you on what can be done to fix it.

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