We’ve added a feature that makes it easy to connect to people you know.
These include people who may be using the site already, but you don’t know their user name, and people you want to invite to the site. It can use contacts from your current email system, or manual entry.
An excess of caution. Automatic email systems like this have come under much criticism, including my own. After the nastiness that has hit other companies’ efforts, we’ve taken every precaution to avoid mess ups with our system.
The protections are quite extensive:
- Members can only be found if they want to. We added the checkbox for that a few weeks ago. All older members were set to “false,” unless they already had their email publically shown on their profile.
- No emails or other data are stored by us.
- Emails are only sent once, and can’t be resent by you either.*
- When your list of contacts comes back NONE are pre-checked. (The sites that helpfully pre-check 1,000 names are really flirting with disaster.)
- We have removed any option to check all contacts, so you can’t even do it by mistake. But we kept the option to un-check all contacts. If you do that by mistake, okay.
- Instead of misleading you about what will happen in one direction, we slightly mislead you in the other. That is, the button marked “invite selected contacts” (above) does not actually go ahead and send the emails. Rather it shows you the invite list one last time and asks you to reconfirm the list.
We are confident these steps together make LibraryThing’s invite feature the most conscientious of its kind.
*To know whether you’ve emailed someone already we do store a “hash” of the email, a mathematical derivative of it that can’t be used to reconstruct the original.