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I was speculating earlier that maybe the whole circle/sharing confusion boils down to conflation of privacy (restricting access) and noise management (not spamming people). Without actually knowing any of the user data, I think I have an idea how I might like things to work.

The basic principle is to avoid us having to reason about propagation, or implications of things. So..

1. Distinction between private and public. If you share with Everyone, it's public. If you share with a circle(s), or individuals, it's private by default.

2. If you share with a circle, you can tick a Allow Reshare box to make the posting public (but notice here that you still do noise mgmt, eg, you only share with your knitting circle, but you dont actually care if people outside that circle see it)

3. IMPORTANT: private/public must be hard boundaries. No complex reasoning, no transitive closures, just black and white, the ideal being something one can understand when drunk: private means no resharing. Full Stop.

3b. This means we can kill that silly admonition to be careful when resharing something Limited — “remember to be thoughtful about who you share it with”. Every time I see that, I just go “huh?” and figure I'm too dumb to work out what's kosher, so I don't bother

4. Private shares are visually distinct, eg a grey background. A smart visual designer will hopefully know how to make private shares feel obviously private in appearance

5. It is possible to toggle between private/public at any time (you can change your mind); hence also importance of the distinction being visually obvious

Does it makes sense? Am aiming for Actually Understandable more than Makes Geeks Feel Clever...
Thomas Schilling's profile photoConrad Parker's profile photoEric Kow's profile photo
I don't think that solves the problem.

The idea of a circle is a personal partitioning of the people you know (that's why no-one can see your circles). For the sharing problem we want public circles, or "communities". I.e., it should basically work like a mailing list. You join a community and you share with that community. I suppose one issue is that it's easier for spammers to exploit. Don't know.
There is a "Lock this post" option when you create a post; in the web interface it is in the dropdown menu where you enter names of circles. This is the inverse of your "Allow Reshare" suggestion (ie. posts are unlocked, allowing resharing, by default), and you are allowed to change it later.

However "Lock this post" is not obvious -- I only discovered it just now when I saw the lock icon on one of my own posts, after posting it, and I was only thinking about it because I had read what you had written above.

I really like your suggestion of making private (locked) posts visually distinct.
What's the sharing problem, exactly?

I guess I might be going on some assumptions here, for example, of the visual distinctiveness of private/locked shares applies also to other shares, that eventually somebody will complain "hey, I want to reshare this, did you forget to unlock it."

Another is the idea that sufficiently popular postings will eventually reach everybody in the community, just by sheer rippling
Ooh, thanks for pointing out Lock this post, +Conrad Parker

I guess some subtle differences: seems like one should have conservative defaults (eg opt IN to reshare, not out), which dovetails with the point about visual distintiveness. Making it super obvious if not to you but your readers too that a post has been too locked down hopefully means you can socially rather that technologically correct overly restricted posts (ie a human will point it out to you). Also, the fact that you have to explicitly opt in rather than out means that we can get rid of the notion of a post being Limited, no more thnk-before-you-reshare warning, which I suspect kills resharing
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