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Questioning Assumptions

One of my clients was the Mississippi Partnership for Health, a non-profit organization that wanted to create a site at questionit.com to go with its national campaign against teen smoking. Because teens are quick to adopt new technologies, a web community seemed like a natural way to reach them. The organization behind the site had big plans for discussion boards, chat rooms, and more.

But the web is a big place, and you have to be aware of the kinds of people you may attract to your site. Starting a site that says “Welcome, teens!” and adding an unmoderated chat room is a recipe for disaster. Teens could gather to talk about how much they like smoking. Or worse, pedophiles could gather, looking for teenagers. I’m no lawyer, but that sounds like a bad idea to me.


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