🧵 Problems brewing at PrivacyTools in 2020-2021 This is a continuation of our first thread on the history of PrivacyTools, which you can read here:
🧵 First, a little history of PrivacyTools: PrivacyTools was founded in 2015 and quickly became a trusted resource for those looking for privacy-respecting tools, software, and services. It was operated by one man with suggestions from Twitter and Reddit.
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5:47 PM · Sep 30, 2021

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The project founder's streak of erratic unavailability resumed, and since October 2020 no team member had heard from him at all, nor had he made any public appearances on Reddit, GitHub, or any of our other communities.
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There were three primary issues affecting the project at this point: 1. An inability for the team to alter domain records made it difficult to transition the services to the team's new sysadmin.
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2. An inability for even our longest-term Reddit moderators to make even minor changes to the subreddit because only the founder had the necessary permissions. and 3. A lack of project leadership overall.
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The team had been collaborating for a while, but much of this work focused in on their various areas of expertise. With neither of the previous "de facto project leaders" present, decision-making and project management became more difficult.
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Our team is entirely unpaid volunteers, all of whom have personal lives and responsibilities. Taking on even more responsibility — in the middle of 2020 of all years! — was a very difficult ask. It became harder to contribute and move the project forward in any meaningful way.
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To solve the Subreddit problem, our longest-term (since 2015!) Reddit moderator submitted a request to Reddit. Reddit allows for mods to be modified by the admin team to keep things running smoothly in certain circumstances, such as the other mod being inactive.
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These requests are only granted if all the other moderators are completely inactive for 60+ days across *all* of Reddit, including privately. This process also involves Reddit contacting the existing top mod (in this case, the project founder) just to double-check.
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Reddit granted u/trai_dep the top moderator position. Again, this was over 3 months ago with not a word from the original founder.
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Because of obvious events in 2020, the team was growing increasingly concerned by the absence of the project leader and founder. This no longer was a simple case of not having access to assets like the domain and Twitter handle, it was an existential threat to the project.
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If the domain name disappeared one day, it would take down all the effort being put in to the project today. We had absolutely no way to predict whether that would ever happen, or whether the project founder would ever return.
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For all we knew the domain could stop working as soon as February 2022, its expiration date at the time. To try and preserve our community and make the transition as smooth as possible, we decided we needed to rebrand by this Fall if we never heard from the project founder.
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That would have given us at least a few months to redirect traffic and let people know about the change.
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We didn't want to stick with the PrivacyTools name because it was unavailable on any good TLD, and because the .IO part was so engrained in people's minds at this point that we thought that keeping the "PrivacyTools" name with a different TLD would end up causing more confusion.
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In July 2021, we decided we had no choice but to put our tentative renaming plans into action.
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Here's what that plan was:
🧵 The team rebrands as "Privacy Guides" This is the third and final thread on how we got here. If you'd like, you can read our previous threads on... The history of PrivacyTools: nitter.net/privacy_guides/s… The problems that led to our new project:
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