So we have a bit of a dilemma: in order to have the right 'feel' to create a closer community, The operators here would like more 'intimacy' and hoped more people would add profile pictures. But we are searchable and accessible to robots and 'bad actors' that might steal our pictures and use them for bad purposes.
Firstly - let me say that this virtual community is one of the best around. We've had very few 'bad actors', no one falsely selling nonexistent machines to dupe members, and very few flames/rants, and a tiny fraction of the drama that occurs on HobbyMachinist.com
There are a lot of ways to skin this community cat.
Starting with photos: One thing is suggesting ways to make the unauthorized use of your photo too bothersome to capture. I have done my face in profile, but that is one of a hundred ways to do it. If anyone is interested, I can post a thread on this.
Locations: I feel that being 'one in a million' is about right for location. So I might use Calgary, or GTA, or 'Northern Ontario' 'Windsor' is too small, so "Southern Ontario' would suffice.
On Names, if you have a common first name 'Dave' or 'John' doesn't identify you, but 'Wilfred' will single you out too well. Unless your first and last names are really common, avoid first name and initial. Correlations on this are astoundingly accurate. I have chosen to directly allow correlation between this and a few other machining sites by using the same name, 'Dabbler' because I want people to know I am that same person.
On other sites I use completely different handles.
Mostly, in order to have people get to know you socially, you have to reveal some of who you are in the postings, instead of just sticking 'to the facts'. Opinions help. anecdotes help even more.
This, however can go too far. Strong feelings in controversial areas only divide instead of creating community. No longer is it just politics and religion. It can be any controversy. There is no need to proselytize here.
If you are online at all, and you use a search engine, or do any online banking, you are already tracked. Your browser uniquely identifies you, so for those that haven't revealed anything about themselves, know if you have only browser, you are completely and uniquely profiled all over the internet already. I use 7 browsers, for instance, each of which have 4 or 5 levels of anti-tracking provisions added to them (which also creates a kind of unique fingerprint).
There are a lot of ways to engage so the community HERE gets to know you without risking any kind of identity theft. There are ways to make your info unsuitable for tracking, but can help members interact with YOU well here, which is what this is all about.