Forum Safety and the Disabling of PMs

Although I love PMs (and the excitement of having a green notification), this was the right decision.

@Cassykins and @bladepoint are right on this. These forums are great, and the people are some of the most awesome people I’ve met, but that should never be a reason to ignore any potential red flag situations. This is still an open (well aside from the hidden sections) forum. This is as much of a lesson here as it is anywhere on the online.

Also thank you to the team for leaving her post up for so long and for taking action. I’m sure it made a lot of people uncomfortable reading it, but it was 100% the right thing to do.


Sure, but I’m not really comfortable broadcasting my facebook address to everyone here. I don’t disagree with PMs being turned off, but meeting up off site is difficult if you do want to. [Edit: this is still probably a good thing].


That probably would’ve been much worse.


Can’t be helped I suppose. Always sad to have to remove features because of bad people. Nonetheless you acted fast and reasonably which I highly respect.

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True. The problem here is with the age difference/abuse, not with the tool used.


Its good to take action, and this is probably the best action for now. The problem I see is people who want to chat privately. They might give up more personal information in public which might put people even more at risk. I think people need to be reminded of that, especially if there are younger users on here. Though to be honest the most you can do is warn them not to post anything that might put them at risk.

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Hey guys. I’m really sorry that it had to be my situation that removed PMs for you. I really do feel bad. However, I think that this will make it safer for everyone.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive.

If you have been abused, please TELL SOMEONE! Especially if you (like me) are underage.

EDIT: Again, I’m very sorry that I ruined it for all of you.


Don’t worry, this never happens in person.

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Do not apologize.
You’re not at fault for this, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.


I won’t tell you how to feel, because that’s silly and patronizing. I will say, though, that this situation is not your fault and I would much rather PMs be disabled so that they can’t be used to hurt someone in the future. I don’t think anyone decent would blame you for this. I hope you have supportive people around you and that you’re able to stay safe and well.


Dude! Why did you place this as a reply to me? I feel dirty just opening the link.

I would hope this is not what you think of me.

Of you? No. I just thought your comment encapsulated the fact that online or not, it’s the same.


(Make sure you double down on the joke)


Fair enough. I’m staying in my room.

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Unpopular opinion, but then again, I hope I’m allowed to speak freely.
(My point of view is solely based on this thread which was also mentioned above. I have no other knowledge of this situation, knowledge which could change my opinion.)

I believe shutting down PMs is an unreasonable overreaction and a decision which I cannot understand, at least not based on the information made available.
There aren’t enough so called “abuses” to justify such a harsh reaction. One case is not enough to deprive a community of a feature like this. I also think people should know better than to give their information to strangers online to then have an entire community suffer the consequences for their actions.
I very much dislike it when others have to endure restrictions due to someone else, and I’m saying this without trying to blame the victim. My complaint is strictly about the way this situation is handled. In any case, a man’s home is his castle and if things ought to be like this then so be it.

As far as suggestions go:

Create a friend’s list and add custom options for PMs such as ignoring a user’s private messages or only accepting PMs from people on your friend’s list.

Situations such as this happen on social sites and in online communities. Add a visible notice such as “if anyone asks you for personal information please do so and so”.
I think a community needs to trust the majority of it’s users to behave by established rules and punish those who break them, not simply punish everyone.


That’s what I do, I don’t talk to girls, look at them, or come within twenty feet of them without an explicit invitation.


You are now my Senpai.

As you said, we don’t know the full context of that situation or what the WK team’s conversation about this issue involved. I disagree that the decision they reached is an overreaction, though.

From @koichi’s post:

When we discussed what actual purpose the PMs are there for, as well as how they can be abused, it didn’t feel like PMs were making enough of a contribution for the goals of what we want the community to be.

Do you really have to be able to PM someone on a language-learning forum? Is not being able to do so that much of an imposition? We also have to consider any possible limitations that the Discourse platform has built into it and how much effort or time it would take the WK team to implement the suggestions you offered.


As far as actually giving too much information goes, I’d rather do it here on WK than on Facebook or something. The WK community is small so if you mess up you can easily quarantine the issue by disabling your account. Trying to do it on other communication platforms such as FB or Google can be a nightmare, especially with all the accounts you have elsewhere that rely on that website’s account information (think of all the things you’ve signed up with on google+, etc.). Additionally, there’s the issue of those platforms being a goldmine for personal information (friends, school, workplace, etc.).

I personally feel that it’s safer for WK to have PMs rather than making users rely on other platforms. On the other hand, I understand that it’s a lot of responsibility and that they may not want to take it on after this.


I recently joined the joy that is the WaniKani forum’s so I have never really missed the PM function (used it once) but I would advise against using Facebook as a communication medium.
WaniKani is a tad more anonymous and better regulated (as it seems now, with the quick action) so people could be flagged easier (also in PM?) and if someone creeps you out after an x amount of messages they dont neceserrily know a lot a bout you.

From what I gathered the contact in this case got way futher than WK DM’s so while I agree that WK might be the instagater of the contact and further down the road the suffering I wouldnt say it could have been prevented by not being able to send a message.

I think the best way to prevent this is to make people aware to always be cautious. As indeed we are all strangers.

And again Elise, I am sorry this happened to you. I can relate a bit because if I had met the wrong person online I could have had something similar happen to me (met my fair share of people from the internet without a thorough background check beforehand). And I am happy you are safe :).