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It would be nice if users could opt-out of broadcasting their activity on their profiles to other users. I don't see why anybody else necessarily needs to know which questions we answered, asked, edited or commented on. I can see how this information might be neat to share, but perhaps it should be optional. Of course all users would still have access to their own history.

Can we have some checkbox-goodness that lets us turn off personal-activity-listing on our profile?

The "Why?"

A couple of users have asked why, specifically, am I requesting this. While I don't think my personal reason is relevant (let's stay away from the Genetic Fallacy), I will share my personal reason:

UserA wants to see SO work properly, so he answers, asks, comments and edits. UserB wants to annoy UserA, so he uses UserA's activity-timeline to scatter down votes on random users, and occasionally UserA. A grudge against UserA can be carried out in far more clever ways than down voting UserA exclusively.

The recent-activity information shares comments, revisions, questions, answers, etc. If this information could be made more private, it would be more difficult to trail UserA as UserB did in the aforementioned scenario. UserB could only cast downvotes when they stumbled upon content by UserA.

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Are you talking about the whole question and answer list or just the recent activity tab? –  mmyers Mar 16 '10 at 22:16
@mmyers Just the recent activity list, really. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 16 '10 at 22:20
I would prefer we can optionally make it private. While I may not want the world seeing what I have done, it does prove useful to me to check on the comment I made yesterday. –  HAL 9000 Mar 16 '10 at 22:24
I don't really think this is necessary. Are you afraid of being stalked? =p –  Andreas Bonini Mar 16 '10 at 22:27
@Kop Just because I am paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me –  HAL 9000 Mar 16 '10 at 22:28
@Kop Are you working with them!? Who sent you!? WHO SENT YOU!?!!!111ONE!11ELEVEN –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 16 '10 at 22:35
@Yacoby: Did you mean to quote Nirvana? (tinyurl.com/yfu4ekn) –  Dexter Mar 16 '10 at 22:59
@Kop: StalkOverflow –  IAbstract Mar 16 '10 at 23:13
@voyager: The problem with you link is that movie was made in 1997 and the Nirvana song I was talking about was made in 1991. –  Dexter Mar 16 '10 at 23:28
@Lucas: the resemblance is uncanny! gravatar.com/avatar/… –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 2:33
@Jon: could we change UserA and UserB to Alice and Chuck? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_and_Bob If we agree on that, then how do you difference between Dave downvoting Bob and Chuck downvoting Bob because Alice edited the post? –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 20:23
@Jon: And you don't seem to understand what I'm saying, may be it's my fault: How do you know if a specific instance of a downvote was casted by either Chuck or Dave? The only difference is intent. Moderating (and discerning) intent is worrisome. How can we know that a seemingly innocuous comment or vote is done with a harmful intent (to a third party, of all!)? You cannot. There is no way to even speculate that it was done with malice without access to the database, and even then, intent can hardly be proved. –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 20:31
@Jonathan: still waiting to see some evidence of this (indiscriminate down-voting of anything you touch). If you want to argue in abstract, then yes, such behavior is abusive... But I'm still not seeing this happening in real life. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 21:20
And even if it existed (which I'm not convinced) the proposed solution solves nothing! –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 21:22
@voyager: well, that's the next step... If it's occurring, the only real solution is to enable moderators / site-admins to track it and correct it; it's just too easy to "follow" a user to stop it outright with ham-fisted data-hiding. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 21:26

6 Answers 6

Given that the site is community moderated there is good reason to give the community visibility into an individual's activities. Remove this and you eventually need to remove things from the data dump to match.

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I agreed with you a lot today, so I won't upvote you or else the evil anomaly voting detector will get me –  jmfsg Mar 17 '10 at 0:09
@Downvoter - I'm sorry. I'll try to be more incorrect in other posts. –  Adam Davis Mar 17 '10 at 0:37
This request is regarding live activity. I'm not concerned with data dumps. All of your comments, questions, and answers are already public. I simply see no reason why they need to be updated in real-time for everybody else to enjoy. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 1:58
@Jonathan - I understand that's your main point. But there's some unintended consequences, and once the SO API comes into play are we going to restrict feeds simply because the same information can be had real time with a little parsing? –  Adam Davis Mar 17 '10 at 2:19
No, if somebody wants to achieve this through the API, they can. The vast majority of users on SO will not be playing with the API though. If they are, they're welcome to generate the report themselves. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 2:22

Why have the activity tab at all if you can turn it off? Let's just all turn it off and be done with it. Transparency is one of the best features of this site. If we hide something, especially as moderators, it really sends bad vibes.

I can't think of a single good reason why this feature should be implemented. It would actually be a bad thing. Consider the case where I'm a big bad spammer; I turn off my recent activity and go on a rampage on one of the sites. Sure, a mod will see the flags, but I, as a normal user, would also like to be able to see this activity and really be certain that his recent actions are indeed nefarious and press that flag button knowing that what I'm doing is the right thing.

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@alex I can think of a good reason, which is why I requested it. Imagine a user trailing you, leaving unwarranted down votes on everything you touch. This is made easier via the recent-activity page, where your comments, revisions, etc, are all stored. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 18:33
@Jonathan: you can't down-vote comments or revisions. Actually, you can't down-vote anything but questions and answers, which are easily tracked without ever viewing your RA page. If the root of this suggestion is someone with a grudge against you, then say that - it's a well-discussed problem here on Meta and UV before it, as I'm sure you're aware, and you could save us all a lot of headaches by building on what's already been said. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 18:36
@Shog9 I didn't say comments or revision got downvoted. I said "everything you touch" referring to other people's questions, answers, including your own. Comment on a question, the question gets downvoted. Comment on an answer, the answer gets downvoted. Edit tags, the question gets downvoted. Edit a question, the question gets downvoted. This is what I'm referring to. It's not exactly abuse against me, but against the community as a result of my participation. This is what I find immature. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 18:39
Edits bump questions. Comments can often change the way other users interpret what they've read. Heck, commenting on and then editing a post are well-known and accepted ways of getting fresh voter attention for said post! Are you sure you're not being paranoid here? –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 18:40
@Jonathan If I'd want to downvote you, not having the activity tab would not stop me. Just sort your questions/answers as newest and bingo, downvotes ahoy. Your reasoning for disabling the activity tab is a bit silly: I don't want to hide my password in password.txt, I want to hide it in pass.txt where no one will look. –  alex Mar 17 '10 at 18:42
@Shog9 No paranoia here, Shog9. It's unequivocally demonstrable. No user should gain a down vote merely because I comment on their Q/A. No user should gain a down vote merely because I remove an unnecessary tag. The immaturity of this particular user is taking its toll on others, more-so than myself, which concerns me. You would think we could expect more from adults, but this is the intarwebs:) –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 18:47
@alex Sure, you could go find my Q/A, but that won't show you my revisions or comments, which is the primary item drawing down votes. I edit and comment a lot more than I ask and answer. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 18:48
@Jonathan I've said it before, but I'll repeat. You're a moderator; we, as a community, should be able to scrutinize your actions. It's called transparency. Would you like your politicians to be able to do whatever they want and have it hidden by default? I wouldn't. –  alex Mar 17 '10 at 18:53
@Jonathan: read what I wrote. You've been on SO for a year, I don't believe you don't know what I'm talking about. Any edit, no matter how trivial, will tend to bring fresh attention to a question and its answers simply because they get bumped to the front page. This is by design! But enough. You can see more of this than I can, and certainly know how to report it; if you can prove, "unequivocally", that there is abuse going on, then you need to take it up with the other moderators or the site admins. You know all this. We've all gone through this, and it's all been said before. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 18:53
@Jon: No paranoia here, Shog9. It's unequivocally demonstrable. Really? No user should gain a down vote merely because I comment on their Q/A. Links please. No user should gain a down vote merely because I remove an unnecessary tag. I find that hard to believe coming from even the most vicious of trolls. The immaturity of this particular user is taking its toll on others, more-so than myself, which concerns me. Wait, what? Who are you talking about here? You obviously have someone in mind. –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 18:58
@Shog9 I agree, but if all of your activity brings the same attention, resulting exclusively in down votes on practically everything in your wake, I'm sure you can see how this is contrary to standard activity on the site. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 19:00
@Jonathan: honestly, this is all too abstract for me to be able to properly assess any harm that might come from it. When I complained about revenge down-voting way back when, I used my own questions as the example: they'd long been asked and answered, and were collecting fresh down-votes during periods of time when I was actively closing and commenting on new questions: this struck me as a fairly clear indication that something fishy was going on. But I went through some of your recent activity, and I'm not seeing what you described. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 19:36
@Shog9 Again, the votes are not necessarily cast against me. They are cast against those questions/answers that I participate in be it retagging, commenting, fixing spelling errors, etc. Again, this type of abuse becomes difficult to discern when you approach it hours later, or when you approach it as a standard user who doesn't have access to additional sets of data. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 19:39
@Jon: again, that is linkable activity. Right now I feel like talking to a new user that demands the site to be changed because it feels like it should be. How can you be sure that the downvotes are because of you and not simply that the downvoter saw a problem with the question? –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 19:43
@Jonathan: yeah, I read that. I went through questions you'd commented on (one or two down-votes that could easily be attributed to the very issues that drew your comments - poor formatting, vague questions...), questions where you'd posted answers (few/no down-votes), other answers (precious few down-votes to be found) - if this problem truly exists, it is exceedingly subtle, and I wonder at what you could be looking at that would make you attribute it to anything other than chance. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 19:44

First, Jon, you are a totally uninteresting person. If someone stalks you, then he is an idiot.

Second, the easiest way to follow you are the RSS feeds. Doesn't matter if you disable the activity page or not.

Third, if you think someone is abusing the system by downvoting everything you touch, then, hell, inform Jeff Atwood, master of SOFU, to figure that out, holy shit!

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@John You've arrived a bit late here, feel free to read the comments on other posts to get a clearer understanding of this request. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 19:02
@Jon: I'm late because I've already read them. –  Ladybug Killer Mar 17 '10 at 19:03
@John Then I don't get the point of your post since it seems to ignore context, and offers nothing to the request. You're essentially insulting me and at least one other user, reiterating something @voyager already said, and tacking on some colorful language for fun - did I miss something? –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 19:06
@Jon: Yeah, you're still missing that you want to solve an edge case by implementing a general rule/option. That's the wrong way. This is something Jeff has to deal with. Your suggestion does not prevent your problem anyway. –  Ladybug Killer Mar 17 '10 at 19:10
@John: You're correct that this doesn't prevent this type of behavior, but it doesn't greater diminish it. Without the activity-tab being (by default) public to all users, your revisions, and edits aren't broadcasted. Users are restricted to participating starting from questions, and not from user-activity-tabs. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 19:12
@Jon: You're correct that this doesn't prevent this type of behavior, but it doesn't greater diminish it. You are either a but too much or a n't too much. Either way, if it isn't clear by now, I disagree. –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 19:16
@voyager It's clear that you disagree, but I appreciate your participation anyway. An opposing perspective forces me to re-evaluate the entire scenario even more. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 19:19
@Jonathan if I have a grudge against you and I want to downvote you, why would I give a damn about your edits and comments? I don't downvote revisions, I downvote your Q&A. Therefore, the activity tab has no bearing on whether I'll downvote you or not. People that follow and downvote you couldn't care less about your activity. –  alex Mar 17 '10 at 19:49
@Alex Certainly you've read some comics in your life :) Standard protocol to destroy the good guy is to hurt those he's associated with - this is Bad Guy School 101. UserA wants to see SO work properly, so he answers, asks, comments and edits. UserB wants to annoy UserA, so he uses UserA's activity-timeline to scatter down votes on random users, and occasionally UserA. A grudge against UserA can be carried out in far more clever ways than down voting UserA exclusively. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 20:12
Sorry @Jon, I'm lost again. Who is UserB? –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 20:14
@voyager UserB is the "bad guy" in the scenario ;) Do you not understand something about the scenario? Actual participants in real-life examples aren't relevant at this point. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 20:15
@Jon: How can it be deduced that 'UserB' is one guy, and in particular one guy with malicious intent? –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 20:18
@voyager For the sake of my scenario, UserB is one guy. No other details are relevant - the entire scenario has been laid out for you. Either you feel UserB is not in error, or UserB is in error. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 20:22
Oooh, I love comics! I'm gonna call UserA "Rorschach" 'cause he sounds like the sort of long-suffering vigilante who gets no respect from his peers and persecution from society at large... and UserB can be "Adrien", the popular business man and former superhero who secretly meddles in the affairs of others, and tries to get Rorschach discredited and put away. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 20:27
@Shog9: Hey! I'm not UserA! gravatar.com/avatar/c658f5d2eae05b8e7cab26a40106cd7c.png (may require cache flushing) –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 20:35

I disagree, specially for a mod. If anything, I even think that mods should have some other actions added (closes/deletions) to the recent activity list, but may be that is something just for mods to see, I don't know.

But I don't know what is the problem with people seeing what we've been up to. The info it's out in the open, someone determined enough can already follow another user and even script it.

Is there an specific reason for this [feature-request]?

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Ummm...I'll guess - he's requesting a new feature? idk...just a shot i the dark... –  IAbstract Mar 16 '10 at 23:14
@dbo, you misunderstood the last phrase –  jmfsg Mar 17 '10 at 0:10
@Downvoter: ah, I see... –  IAbstract Mar 17 '10 at 0:30
@voyager The "specific reason" is privacy. Is there some reason every user must have their minute-by-minute activity structured for all others to see with no option to opt-out? –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 2:20
@Jon, I know what Jeff's answer will be: If you don't want people to know about something, don't do it –  jmfsg Mar 17 '10 at 13:04
@Downvoter: Why is it necessarily the case that you either do nothing, or provide a timeline of all that you do to all others? You can think of no middle-ground? –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 16:45
@Jon: As a moderator, don't you believe all of your actions should be transparent to the community? –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 16:51
+1 - Excellent point on being able to moderate the moderators. After all, moderators are community voted, so it should be easy to see how moderators are behaving in the community. Someone who volunteers to be a moderator, and is then "elected" to that position has less of an expectation of privacy than others in the community. –  Nick Mar 17 '10 at 17:57
@voyager: My moderator status is of no relevance here, this is about me as a user. I'm open to moderators having privacy with every action that is not itself a moderator-action. It makes sense to alert question-closes, tag-merges, deletions, etc. I don't think standard-user-activity needs to be alerted though. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 18:32
Really @Jon, that makes no sense to me. –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 18:33
@voyager (In my opinion) Users should be concerned with what moderation moderators do, not with everything moderators do. This is the case with every position of responsibility. Users ought only be concerned with that which is done in moderator-capacity. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 18:42
@Jon: Wrong (IMO). I don't, but might as well start doing it now. Moderators have been voted by users at large, if one happens to go around and posting offensive comments or doing any other nefarious activity, I want to be able to find it easely. Keep in mind that no matter if the Recent Activity Tab were removed, I could still find any user's activity with a large amount of tools at our disposal. On the other hand, removing that Tab takes away usefulness, and more importantly, transparency to the site. –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 18:48
@voyager Offensive comments get marked when they're found. Any 10k user can see how quickly offensive comments get canned when they're posted. Nobody needs to have access to a users personal-history to keep offensive comments off of the site. If you whip up your own tools to track users, that is another story, but the user shouldn't be obliged to help you in that task. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 18:50
@Jon: I'm taking offensive comments as an example. There are lots of ways to act in bad faith that are perfectly accepted by the community but might not be Moderator worthy. –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 18:52
@Jon: you seem a bit to grow defensive on this thread. We are against the feature-request. –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 19:00

Good grief... If you don't want people to know what you're doing, just create a different account. It's not hard, and as long as you don't abuse them you'll be fine. Trust me.

If you're really paranoid, use a Tor proxy or something.

Yeah, you'll lose whatever rep you had, but you can still ask, answer, and with a trivial amount of effort comment - so if that's all you want to do, then it should suffice.

There are a wealth of existing tools meant to aid you in remaining anonymous, and SO works reasonably well with these... I don't see why any additional support is necessary (or desirable).

If I'm missing the point, then please explain. Here's how I see it...

Anyone who visits the site is immediately presented with a great big list of recent actions on the front page. In addition to this, there are numerous views and search keywords for filtering and refining recent activity, and feeds for users who wish to keep tabs on SO activity off-site. And that's just the stuff that anyone, even users who never bother to create an account can see... Users with >= 10K reputation points get even more.

I think it's safe to say that recent activity is kind of a big deal.

Of course, I'm talking about the aggregated activity of all users on the site*, while you're talking about the activities of a single user. But what's special about your recent activity? Well...

  1. It associates actions that might not be otherwise related. For instance, answers about CSS and edits to DDE questions.
  2. It has your name/info above it.

#2 is completely under your control, of course. If you want to change your name to "SiamKing" and your picture to a bowl of tasty tom ka gai soup, that's easily done. And... #1 is under your control as well. Really. The only actions you need your primary account for are those that require rep (or mod abilities); everything else can happen on another account... or no account at all.

...And so I return to my original point: if you don't want SO to associate your actions, then stop telling it to associate your actions by using your account for everything. If you don't want SO to associate your actions with you, then stop telling it who you are!

The trolls/griefers manage to figure this stuff out without explicit support from the site; I know you can handle it.

Ok, so after a long, drawn-out interrogation in the comments, the end result of this is that you want a major change made to how the site operates to prevent a form of abuse that might occur, but isn't currently occurring, and could probably be handled on an individual basis by moderators or site-admins in the rather unlikely event that it ever did occur.

I don't see the point.

*ignoring for the time being that you can search for activity by a specific user and filter by timestamp without ever visiting their bio page; I assume you'd want that blocked as well...

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Should users really have to create false-accounts just to keep private what their day consisted of? Note that I'm only speaking of privacy as it relates to the Activity-Tab, which illustrates your entire day into a nice timeline. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 17 '10 at 2:19
@Jonathan: no one's forcing you to use your real name, location, web site or any other personal details on your bio page. You voluntarily gave up privacy that you had by default, and put about as much effort into doing so as would be necessary to create a separate account. Could the site shield you from some amount of casual scrutiny? Sure... but why, what good would it do? It's as though you've moved into a glass house and now wish to install decorative window blinds... –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 3:09
@Jonathan: Why? –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 5:42
@Jonathan: almost everyone wants some privacy for personal reasons now and then. Most of us just... stop posting for a bit. Some of us use a throw-away accounts. I've heard of a few people who like to maintain separate accounts for work and home, just to keep those lives separate. It's also a fairly effective barrier to casual stalking, (which I must again remind you is quite easily possible without the aid of your "recent activity" page). If you want / need to segregate parts of your life, I won't pry further - that's your business, and I only remind you that it's easily possible now. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 15:01
@Jonathan: again, you're making the choice to associate your actions by registering an account and using it for all of your actions. The trade-off of associating your actions is that... well, your actions are associated. Most people are fine with that... but it's your decision. As for handing them to everybody on a dish... If I actually wanted to stalk you, it would be embarrassingly trivial with or without the 'recent' page, or any other SO support, simply because you use the same name for everything. I guess it speaks to your character that you don't know this, but it's rather naive. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 16:58
@Jon: you are aware of meta.stackoverflow.com/feeds/user/130154, right? –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 17:24
@Jonathan: it's hard for me to address a point that you're making intentionally unclear. At this point, I'm working on two theories: you want to hide the sum of your involvement on SO from your employer, or you want to prevent other SO users from seeing your meta (non-Q&A) activities on SO. The only effective solution to the former is to post anonymously, and I cannot condone the latter. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 17:37
@Jonathan: again, trivial to track any of your activity that can be voted on without the RA page. The RA page includes things like comments and edits, neither of which can be down-voted. And again, I am absolutely dead-set against anything that would allow users to hide their "meta" activity on SO - the very idea rubs me the wrong way. If you don't want your edits reviewed, then don't edit. If you don't want your comments read, then don't comment. Etc, etc... –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 18:39
@Jon: then you want to block user feeds too? That thing is really useful! Does a couple of downvotes affect you in any measurable way? First of all, downvoted posts attract pity upvotes, secondly, you have a great amount of rep, that is not to be affected easily through downvotes, third, any given user has a limited amount of downvotes per day, fourth, if a user heavily downvotes you, the anti-cheat script kicks in. Do you just support transparency as long as it is not you? –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 18:42
@Jonathan Are you serious? (Without the activity tab, you cannot follow each edit, and comment around. You can only stumble upon them.) You're a moderator, your actions are really, really important. If we can't audit what you do, that's a major problem. You have quite a bit of power due to that ♦ next to your name. –  alex Mar 17 '10 at 18:46
@Jon: upload it somewhere, add it to the question, something. Convince us! –  perbert Mar 17 '10 at 19:17
Regardless of what the goal is in a debate, the goal when proposing a feature should be to convince readers (and more importantly, the site's developers) that the feature is necessary or useful and that its potential benefits outweigh its potential disadvantages. @Jonathan, we've wasted the better part of a day so far just trying to suss out what problem you're trying to solve... –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 19:30
@Jonathan: which is my point... When you're intentionally cryptic about the goals of your suggested change, it's hard to comment intelligently as to its worth! –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 19:38
@Jonathan: because that doesn't really say anything specific about the problem you want to solve (for which you are suggesting a very specific change to how the site operates). It's akin to asking, "Please provide me with a way to color-code answers, so that I can see answers with different background colors" - why do you want such a thing, and what good does it do you or anyone else to have that ability? –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 19:47
@Jonathan: yes, I was using an example of a request that doesn't really have any down-sides (apart from chewing up developer time) to illustrate that a suggestion can still be vague and confusing even if no one disagrees with it in principle. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 17 '10 at 20:23

Recent Activity is a good way for the community to moderate itself. Turning that off means there's something that someone is trying to hide. Which isn't a good thing.

Say there's a user who goes around posting inane upvotes on new users who post their first question, when it clearly is of no effort or readability. Something along the lines of:

+1 Welcome to Stack Overflow.

Or maybe they've gone and left some profane edit summaries on other users' posts.

Recent Activity is the only way to show those both at a glance and allow the other users of the site to flag such behaviour as offensive or such.

Making that optional means less transparency in how the site runs.

We don't need less transparency.

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@random I disagree. Most moderation takes place upon finding items to moderate within questions, not within user-activity tabs. Abuse edits will be found within questions. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 18 '10 at 3:13
Recent Activity will show if that's a one-off case or if a user is a bad apple. –  random Mar 18 '10 at 3:16
@random All activity is still visible directly from questions. The user-activity page isn't needed. Most flags happen as a result of users moving around, reading questions. Not squatting on a single users activity page waiting for a bad action to report. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 18 '10 at 3:26
So you're saying there's no reason to remove the Recent Activity page because nobody is there sitting on it annoying another user as in your prime and only hypothetical example? @jon –  random Mar 18 '10 at 3:44
@random: No, I'm saying it is not what the community uses to do its job. It can be used to squat on user-activity for abuse though. –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 18 '10 at 4:12
You can abuse flags, gravatars, editing other users' posts, bounties, the answer list, the questions list, should we remove those as well? @jon –  random Mar 18 '10 at 4:51
No, I'm not even suggesting the removal of the activity-page. I'm merely suggesting an opt-in privacy option. Abusing flags is dealt with already. Abusing gravatars is dealt with already. Abusive edits are already dealt with, as are abusive bounties, etc. What do they have to do with the activity-page for every user being public for every other user? –  Jonathan Sampson Mar 18 '10 at 5:06

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