Why Can’t I Choose My Own Username or Password?

When we first conceived of the idea of a website with the sole purpose of allowing people to state their position on any issue they wanted, it was clear that anonymity would be a nice feature to offer users. We want you to feel free to voice your opinion. We have no interest in knowing your personal information.

 Our serious attitude about privacy is also why we assign you a password. We take every precaution to safeguard users’ data. But only an idiot would claim that a website’s data was totally 100% safe. No website is 100% safe from hacks, as we are reminded every few weeks or so.

Since we cannot offer you 100% safety from hacks, the next best thing is to offer you 100% damage control. First, we do not sell anything and do not take any financial information. And the only personal information we ask for is an email address. Frankly, if you want to create an email address just for this site, that’s fine with us. We are not interested in learning anything about you other than your opinions on public issues that you choose to share with the world.

Second, if this site is hacked, the most the hackers will have is (a) your email address, (b) your password for this site, and (c) the issues you created and voted on. Information (c) is not going to do the hackers any good. We’ve never heard of someone’s identity being stolen because the thieves knew the person was against hydrofracking. And while (a) might get them started if you use an email address that is connected to other accounts, without a real name or birth date or address or password for those other sites, the theft will die right there.

The only piece of information in that list that we have is a password. And while everyone knows that you’re not supposed to use the same passwords across different sites, everyone also knows that most people ignore that warning. So we’ve made it easy. We’ve assigned you a unique password for just this site, so that if the hackers grab it, they won’t be able to do anything with it except sign into this site. That is, unless you use the Issue Box password for another site. But that would be your doing, not ours, and we strongly advise against it.