Hiding a member?

Discuss questions around local unit policies for membership (creating records, transferring records, etc.) This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
geek
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Hiding a member?

Postby geek » Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:34 pm

I'm going to be intentionally vague and hypothetical here. But assume that I have a real-life situation here. Feel free to use your imagination.

This is an active, church-attending, tithing-paying, temple-recommend-holding member, who for some extremely valid personal reasons, does not want (or cannot) have his information on a printed ward directory.

(This might seem similar to the never-ending DoNotContact question. It isn't.)

Are there are any options? Obviously, we could create a custom field in MLS and write custom reports, but besides that ... is there any way to have a member appear in the system but not print out?

(We can do this in LUWS easily. But LUWS is inadequate when it comes to HT/VT reports or ward lists printed from MLS.)

Any other ways to deal with this situation?

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:08 pm

The way I did that back in the MIS days was to create the reports and then redact or adjust them before distribution.

I suppose one method would be to remove his address and phone number from MLS and keep that outside. Even then, his name will appear. Not really a good situation, but there isn't much in the way of options here.

Long term all I can suggest is that you pass this issue up through channels so some kind of enhancement to MLS can be scheduled for implementation. I'm sure the urgency of that task is directly proportional to the urgency of the problem. So the more problems CHQ is aware of, the sooner it gets done.
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RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:44 pm

Some automated way to flag such cases is a longstanding wishlist item for MLS. Unlike the issue of "Do Not Contact" members, which have no such status officially, I think that Church policy would favor honoring members' requests to be omitted from published directories. Many wards invent some ad hoc way to accomplish this.

Today, there is support for such suppression in LUWS, but not MLS. One workaround for printed ward directories might be to download the scrubbed directories from LUWS, which presumably reflect such exceptions, and print the directories from that source instead of MLS.

It would still be preferable to have a flag within MLS that denotes such status, I think. That flag should also be included in custom report criteria, and in the standard MLS export files.

Note, however, that suppressing publication in general ward directories is not the same thing as suppressing a name or address from all MLS reports. Such reports are used by church leaders in performing their callings (including home and visiting teaching), and they have a legitimate need to know such basic information to enable ministering to all the members. It would be a much more radical thing to suppress someone's name from MLS entirely, and I think such functionality would be more difficult to justify.

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Postby Mikerowaved » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:56 pm

boomerbubba wrote:...I think that Church policy would favor honoring members' requests to be omitted from published directories.

More than that, it happens to be the law in most states.

EDIT: Since I'm not a lawyer I will retract the above statement.
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Postby RossEvans » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:44 am

Mikerowaved wrote:More than that, it happens to be the law in most states.


IANAL, and I don't know about legal specifics. But even more on-point for us, I recall that you once referred to some Church policy (the CHI, or a policy letter?) instructing bishops somehow to honor members' requests to be excluded from published directories. If you could ever dig out the specific reference for that, it would help the technical discussion here. Assuming your recollection is correct, this seems to be a case where MLS fails to provide the tools to implement policy.

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:01 am

boomerbubba wrote:I recall that you once referred to some Church policy (the CHI, or a policy letter?) instructing bishops somehow to honor members' requests to be excluded from published directories.


I know that's a question posed during the test for new LUWS admins.

Actually, I think it would be helpful if someone could reference the applicable state laws. It would quickly escalate the need for the feature or a work-around. It would also help as a guide to know what rolls it should be omitted from and which ones it would still appear.
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Postby jbh001 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:43 pm

A lot of this depends on why the member needs to be "hidden."

It might be enough to just delete the phone numbers from MLS.

Moving the physical address into the mailing address slots might accomplish enough anonymity, or deleting the addresses from MLS altogether might be required.

If even having the name showing up is unaccectable, I would consider whether changing the "Preferred Name" field in MLS to some psuedonym would provide the requested anonymity.

But most importantly, since this is such an unusual request, I would ask the bishop to ask the stake president to ask the area authority seventy (or whomever the stake president reports to) for guidance (assumming having the bishop call Clerk Support for guidance yeilds no viable options).

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Postby greggo » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:38 am

jbh001 wrote:A lot of this depends on why the member needs to be "hidden."

It might be enough to just delete the phone numbers from MLS.

Moving the physical address into the mailing address slots might accomplish enough anonymity, or deleting the addresses from MLS altogether might be required.

If even having the name showing up is unaccectable, I would consider whether changing the "Preferred Name" field in MLS to some psuedonym would provide the requested anonymity.


These are all work arounds using what limited resources MLS provides.

IMHO, since the policy is to not include names in public directories of those who do not give their approval, there should be capability in MLS to "flag" those who have given approval (or not given approval) so that the generally distributed ward list adheres to the policy.

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Postby Mikerowaved » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:53 am

OK, since IANAL either, nor have the time to do the research, I will retract my previous statement regarding state laws.

However, I'll stand by the part about contacting the bishop to opt out of being included in a ward list. I will double my efforts to find the document (or PDF file) I used to have, but it was general guidelines about using membership data, including creating ward directories. Among other things, I clearly remember it stated that any such list must have, "This information is for Church use only and is not to be used for any commercial, business, or political purpose." (or something close to that) typed on it.

In it's absence, here are some bits and pieces you can use to connect the dots. I will focus mainly on the LUWS documents and hopefully explain why in the end.

This is one of the items a person agrees to when they register on their LUWS:
[INDENT]
  • I understand that participation in the membership directory at this Web site is purely voluntary. If I do not want personal directory information about my family or me to appear on the site, I will contact my bishop or branch president or ward or branch clerk.
[/INDENT]And in the user's LUWS HELP section, under Membership, it states:[INDENT]Q. How do I remove my personal information from the membership directory on the Web site?
A. Contact your Web site administrator, or contact your clerk if you are unsure who the administrator is. You can also contact the site administrator by e-mail by clicking Feedback on the title bar of the local unit Web site.
[/INDENT]Now, in the administrator's help section under System Maintenance we find the following:[INDENT] System maintenance includes

  • Removing member information when requested (ward Web sites only).
[/INDENT]Further down the same page is a section titled Removing Member Information (Ward Web Sites Only) that lists step by step how this is done.

Still further down the page under Frequently Asked Questions we find:[INDENT]Q. What should I tell a member who requests that his or her name be removed from the ward membership directory?
A. You may prevent the member’s personal information from appearing on the Web site. To make the change, go to Administrator Options and click on Membership Directory. Find the appropriate member. Click Change. Select which information should be hidden from view (home address, telephone number, spouse’s name, children’s names), or you may select the option, Do not show anything about this Family on the Web site. Please note that if a member does not want to have his or her e-mail address on the Web site, the member needs to remove it in the Update Profile screen.
[/INDENT]And:[INDENT]Q. Can I remove only part of a family's information in the directory?
A. Yes. All or any combination of address, phone number, e-mail address, spouse name, or children's names may be removed.
[/INDENT]Near the bottom of the page, under Administrator Quiz (which all admins took when they first logged in) we find:[INDENT]Question 1:
How soon should the administrator respond when a member requests that all or part of their personal information be removed from the Web site?

a. Within 24 hours Correct Answer
[/INDENT]And finally, the last sentence of the Administrator's Help document says:

[INDENT]
  • Always be sensitive to the requests of members who are not comfortable about their names being listed in the Membership Directory. If they request that their personal information be removed, you should promptly respond to their request.
[/INDENT]
I submit to you the Church's stand on this policy has not changed over the years, it's just been converted to electronic form by the LUWS system. A person can now make the request through the bishop, clerk, or website administrator. For individuals who's units are not part of the LUWS system, or who do not wish to participate in it by creating an account, have only one place to go to request their personal information not be published and that's the bishopric. Whether lists are published by the LUWS, or some other means (including ward lists taken from MLS data, RS directories, etc) it's the bishop's responsibility to see that the member's request is honored in each case.

May I also be so bold as to point out that since MLS has no provision to single out and exclude personal information from a general ward list, yet LUWS is abundantly full of these capabilities, that it's possible it wasn't an oversight on the part of the authors of MLS to exclude these features, but rather a part of an overall plan for ward lists to be created by the LUWS and not from MLS.
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Postby jdlessley » Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:16 pm

It is unfortunate that the Help FAQ section is out of date. The following is no longer true.
Mikerowaved wrote:Please note that if a member does not want to have his or her e-mail address on the Web site, the member needs to remove it in the Update Profile screen.
It used to be that you could register without an e-mail address and you could remove the e-mail address from your profile. However, updates to the LUWS have changed that so that an e-mail address is now required to register and you can no longer remove the e-mail address from the profile. If you try to remove the e-mail address you will get a message that says "Please enter your e-mail" when you click the "Submit" button.

The correct way to not have the e-mail address displayed on directories and lists is to select "No" for the option "Show your e-mail address in directories and lists?". To ensure complete unanimity then they should also ensure that none of the "Receive e-mail notifications for ..." are selected. Otherwise once a broadcast message is sent to a group they have selected to receive notifications their e-mail address can be stripped from message headers.
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