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This is not a duplicate of Can there be an option to keep your list of bookmarks private? for the reasons mentioned below.*

When I started using the favorites (now, bookmarks) feature years ago, I had no idea that the list of my favorited questions was public. I was under the impression that it was a private list and used it as such for a couple of years or so until I realized it wasn't. I'm pretty sure many new users still use it under the same assumption (which is a very reasonable one) every day. This is quite misleading and could easily lead to undesired privacy issues.

I can't think of any good reason to make that list public. So, can you please either make it private for all users or at least give users the option to hide it from their profiles?

This has been asked before and it got declined due to the fact that we now have the Follow feature, which is private. However, as I said in a comment under that answer, the two features have very, very different use cases:

There's a HUGE difference though. When you follow a post, you get notifications for almost any action that's taken on said post. If you use the "follow feature" as a substitution for the (private) bookmarks, you start receiving a lot of unwanted notifications as your followed-posts list grows.

I follow a post when I want to be notified of every action taken on that post. I favorite/bookmark a question simply to make it easier to find in the future. I don't want to be notified of every little action.


I hope I made my case for why bookmarks should be private and how the Follow feature (as nice as it is) is irrelevant here. That being said, if that's still out of the question (shrug!), then please do the bare minimum and make it very clear to users that their bookmarks list is publicly visible. This can be achieved in a number of ways. One idea would be to display a warning message for the first n times the user bookmarks a question. For example:

A confirmation for bookmarking a question, with a note that says "the list of your bookmarks is publicly visible on your profile"


* In case it's not clear from the post, the following are the two reasons why I think this post is not a duplicate:

  1. The reason given for why the other request was declined was that the Follow feature can serve the same purpose that private bookmarks would serve. Here, I'm explaining exactly why that's not the case. So yes, it's technically the same request but with a counterargument. In my opinion, that alone is a good reason why this question should not be closed as a duplicate. See: Can we re-request features that were declined a sufficient while ago?
  2. It proposes an alternative suggestion in case the original request still won't be considered, even with the counterargument.

None of the two points above received a reply from the staff. If they end up receiving a as well, that's fine, but at least give them that chance to be considered.

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  • 2
    "could easily lead to undesired privacy issues." I'm having trouble imagining how bookmarking something could lead to privacy issues? I'd think your own publicly visible contributions are much more privacy-sensitive than what you're bookmarking...
    – Cerbrus
    Jun 13 at 10:25
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    Also, the only reason you provided that this question isn't a duplicate of the one you linked, is that the linked one got declined. That same declination applies here: "I've updated this to status-declined since the Follow feature was recently shipped and we have no plans at the moment to revisit this."
    – Cerbrus
    Jun 13 at 10:33
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    @Cerbrus Re: "privacy issues" Maybe it's not a serious issue like leaking sensitive information, for example, but if you put something on your profile thinking that it's private, and it turns out to be publicly visible, it is a privacy issue, nonetheless. Re: "duplicate" There are two differences between this post and the linked one: 1) It responds to the argument in the answer to the other post by explaining why the Follow feature cannot be used as "private bookmarks". 2) It offers another alternative in case the original request still won't be considered even with the counterargument. Jun 13 at 10:54
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    1 is irrelevant, and 2 is covered with "we have no plans at the moment to revisit this"...
    – Cerbrus
    Jun 13 at 10:55
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    They're not planning to revisit bookmark privacy, which is what this question is asking about...
    – Cerbrus
    Jun 13 at 11:03
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    @Cerbrus yes of course, and I guess that the staff answer is from after the other one. But this question does cover why the "follow" feature doesn't work as a substitute for "bookmarks", so I don't think it is a duplicate (even though the main point of the question, the inherent confusion about bookmark privacy, is in fact duplicated)
    – Esther
    Jun 16 at 16:09
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    Does this answer your question? Can there be an option to keep your list of bookmarks private? Jun 21 at 11:52
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    @VLAZ The official answer to the other question answers this. Hence its a duplicate. Jun 21 at 12:02
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    @VLAZ If Stack Exchange want to revisit they are perfectly capable of reopening and saying so. Otherwise not pointing to the official answer just gives you false hope. Jun 21 at 12:05
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    "BUT you need to bring something to the table to identify why you think the situation has changed, why is now the right time for the feature, for the community." This question doesn't bring anything new to the table.
    – Cerbrus
    Jun 21 at 12:22
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    There is a public indicator, and you can see them in other people's Profiles - so there's an expectation that they are publically visible. See text: "Are my bookmarks publicly visible?" and the Announcement: "The Follow Questions and Answers feature is now live across the Network".
    – Rob
    Jun 21 at 12:40
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    @Rob Re "public indicator": Does that mean that votes are public too? Because the same indicator also exists for votes. Just because the count of something is public, does not always mean that everything about it is also public. Jun 21 at 13:16
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    Does anyone know of any Q&A sites (other than SE / or any platform for that matter) that display users' bookmarks to the public? If there aren't any such sites, I really don't think SE should be the only one showing a user's bookmarks to the public...
    – Justin
    Jun 21 at 13:24
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    @Rob closing a FR as dupe of a FAQ post seems like a stretch to me.
    – Luuklag
    Jun 21 at 15:59
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    @Rob Sure, the devs can see your email address + every device & IP Address you've ever used to visit the site (+ probably many other PII). Are you saying we should make that information publicly visible for everyone to see? As others have said, by default, favorites/bookmarks are expected to be private (read: not publicly visible) because they are meant for yourself. The "OR" part of the title refers to the alternative suggestion that if SE isn't going to make them private, it should be made very clear to users that they are not private because they're very much expected to be so. Jun 21 at 17:35

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