Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Plum is Transparent

The term transparent has recently received a really “bad rap.”  Politicians and corporate America have guaranteed transparency, however, they have usually disappointed their respective constituents and customers.
Nevertheless, Jason and I believe that not only is transparency a core principle of Plum, it is essential in establishing trust. 

Transparent, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is as follows:

a :  free from pretense or deceit :  frank
b :  easily detected or seen through :  obvious
c :  readily understood
d :  characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices

Why have attempts at transparency, despite good intentions, failed so miserably?

First, I think it is really difficult to be all of those things when talking about complex issues.  Second, their motives are usually different than their audience.  For example, taking advantage of users and their money is much more difficult to do if you're completely honest about the reasons behind a certain product feature.  Additionally, it might be impossible to pass a law if the majority of voters oppose it based on their understanding of the motives behind it.  Thus, businesses become very opaque and politicians do what politicians do.

In TechCrunch’s recent article, “Why Privacy is the WrongConversation,” they highlight transparency’s role in these data-driven times. 

What makes Plum different?  Simply put, Jason and I are like you; we are the audience for Plum.
We do not want to participate in any social platform if we do not understand why and how our data is being used.  In addition, we accept the responsibility you entrust in us when you agree to join Plum. We commit to you, as the co-founders of Plum, to be as open and honest as possible.

To that end, Jason and I would like to share our Plum Pledge to you.

Our Plum Pledge  

  1. Ask - We Answer - We will always tell you what we are doing with your data and why.  To help this process, we will have a global group called, “Ask Plum Anything.”  
  2. Plum will not sell your data – That is a pretty bold statement given how much data is being bought and sold today, but we strongly believe that each of us are the sole owners of our data.  We want to make it perfectly clear, that if you join any Groups or Plum Groves, the creators\owners of those Groups or Groves will have access to aggregated information about the users.   For example, if company ABC were to have a Plum Grove and you joined it, then ABC would have an aggregated view of the data for all its members of that Plum Grove.  However, ABC will never be able to buy data about XYZ’s Plum Grove users.
  3. Protect and Respect – We will work to make sure that Plum protects its users’ privacy and provides a safe and respectful environment for users to connect and discuss topics of interest that range from the trivial to the sensitive.  To help provide this kind of environment, we will ask you to take a Plum Pledge when joining.   The User’s Plum Pledge will be about how a user will treat other users, what they will NOT do, and how each user will help enforce the community guidelines.
  4. Be Accountable – We acknowledge that mistakes will be made along this journey. However, we will be honest about them by taking responsibility and learning from our mistakes.  We ask for your patience and understanding. 
  5. Abusers will not be tolerated – If a Plum Pledge is broken, the issue will be addressed.  Except for Hate Speech, which will be handled immediately and unequivocally, we will take action on a case-by-case basis.  Hate speech is defined as: speech that attacks, threatens, or insults a person or group on the basis of national origin, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.   At the beginning, we will rely on your assistance to identify the abusers and abusive content. 

We hope you have enjoyed learning more about Plum and our company’s three core principles:

Plum is Transparent

We look forward releasing a beta in the near future and encourage you to stay connected, after all, its what we have in common.

Signed By: Jason Cone and Russell Cowdrey

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