Why Teddy Hyde asks for your email
TL;DR : We promise to never spam you or share your email address. We collect your email for a few technical reasons and pledge never to send you email without getting your explicit permission first. With one small, fair exception once (read below for details). And, we are building a way to remove the email from the system.
The other day I was working with Alex Williams from Tech Crunch and he was trying out my new service Teddy Hyde for Jekyll blogging. He tweeted about his experience and several people have retweeted with feedback on Twitter regarding using it.
I think I finally understand why twitter is so interesting to so many people, and even more so, companies. Previously, I always thought that Twitter was something to look at, get distracted by the multiple conversations and lose several hours. Distraction might be my biggest problem these days. But once people started tweeting about the service and I started responding I got to see that perhaps twitter is like a living, conversational documentation system. I see value in that.
One of the questions that came up was: why do you ask for an email address? The answer is technical in nature, but the implications are far from technical for many users.
Briefly, I generally ask for email addresses when people log in using social logins like GitHub or Facebook or Twitter, because it allows me to associate another account coming from a different authorization service automatically. In other words, if you login via Github and then you log in later using Facebook and you have the same email address in your account I know you are the same person. This is somewhat of a challenging problem to solve otherwise and since requiring an email address resolves it easily I ask for the address up front. And, Teddy Hyde generates a blog for you and the blog configuration file has an email field, and the service automatically wires this in for you. I should make wiring in the email address optional or at least make users aware of this “feature.”
For this user, however, I understood that this was an issue of privacy. What am I going to do with this email address? Will I be spamming them? These are very valid questions.
So to put in writing, I want to say to tell you that Teddy Hyde will never spam you and will never share the email address that we collect. That is a promise.
With one exception: at some point in the future I want to reserve permission to send you a single email asking for your engagement in a digital conversation about blogging. I don’t know how or when that will unfold, but I want to ask that at some point. If you get the request, you can say no and I won’t contact you again. You can disregard the email and I won’t contact you again. I will add this to the initial stage of the registration and make this clear.
Finally, if it matters, I do think it is worthwhile considering how an email address has changed intrinsically over the years. Email address is a phrase that indicates communication and identity. Initially, it was all about communication. Now, I believe your email is more about your identity. Information wants to be free and people will find out your address by any number of ways. For example, did you know that if you make a commit to a public repository on Github that your email address is in that commit and completely public? You won’t find it in Google quite yet, but it will be searchable someday soon. So, better off using something like Google’s priority inbox to filter messages and spam, to automatically categorize importance, and forget about protecting your email. Focus on using email as your identity and be yourself (and be proud and public) on the net. As a provider of a service, I am happy to know that my users value protecting access to their email address, and accept responsibility to do so. and I hate to say that I think resistance in this direction is futile.
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