Reduce confusion around certified profiles and "empty" galleries #15
There are a couple of confusing scenarios a user may run into on this site surrounding other users' certification status and photo gallery.
A profile may be marked as "Certified" but:
- All of their gallery pics are Friends-only or Private, so you can't see any pics on their profile at all.
- Or their profile pic shows the blue "shy" placeholder image.
What happens in the latter case is that they signed up, posted their certification selfie, got approved, and then they removed their default profile pic (showing the blue placeholder icon instead). To that user's experience of the site, they are considered to be not certified: trying to access the Forum or Gallery would show them a message saying they need both the Certification Photo (which they have) and a Profile Picture (which they don't). The user is in that pre-certified restricted state, however, because of the "Certified" badge their profile may still appear on the Member Directory when filtering for certified-only users.
Some ideas for changes the site should make to address these confusing situations include:
- For friends-only or private pics, show a placeholder image on their Gallery for each such picture that you aren't allowed to see. So then you still know they have pictures at all and they aren't just a blank profile.
- For certified, blue avatar users: have pages such as the Member Directory check that they have a profile pic when filtering for certified users. That user's experience is of being non-certified, so the site just needs to act consistent when showing that user on the Member Directory to others.
Also some ideas to handle the "all photos are friends-only or private" users may be to:
- If your entire gallery is non-public, partially restrict your site experience to where you can only interact with your friends. But I'm not sure yet exactly how this will look as compared to the non-certified status.
- Should one public picture be required for certification?
Some tangible steps I could implement to tighten this up while not alienating/kicking off/changing the contract on the existing private profile users include:
- Add a couple of utility functions to the back-end code to check the user's status:
- IsPrivateFrom(other User): returns true if the current user is effectively a "blank profile" from the point of view of the other user. Meaning: y'all aren't friends, your profile is private, or all of your pics are private and the other user would not be able to see them.
- IsEmptyProfile(): a fuzzier check as to whether the current user could be seen as a "blank profile" from anybody (private profile, or lack of one public picture at all).
- DMs: if you (the owner of a private profile) are private from the person you want to send a DM to: you are not allowed to send a DM. You would be told "Because of your private profile and lack of public pictures, your DM partner can not see any of your pictures and you are not allowed to initiate a conversation with them." (IsPrivateFrom()).
- Gallery: if you are the owner of an empty profile, your view of the Gallery will be restricted to only you + your friends' photos without being able to see any picture by other users. (IsEmptyProfile())
- Member Directory: if you are the owner of an empty profile, you will only see other members who have empty profiles.
- Forums: because DMs would be blocked anyway, I think it may be OK to let private profiles still participate on the forums.
- Chat: empty profiles would be blocked from entering the chat room altogether - as the chat room has its own DMs and with the webcam feature, users will be more comfortable that anonymous creepers can not see their camera.
Deleting a branch is permanent. Although the deleted branch may exist for a short time before cleaning up, in most cases it CANNOT be undone. Continue?