Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is this?
A. Intro is a place to share your thoughts and photos with your friends, on the internet. It is “alpha” software, in that it is under active construction and not yet feature-complete. If you find a bug, please click the ladybug emoji in the site header (it will appear if you are logged in), and file a bug report!
Q. Who can sign up?
A. Intro is open to persons at least 18 years of age.
Q. How do I sign up?
A. To be a member of Intro, someone needs to invite you by giving you an intro code. They’ll be your first friend on here!
Q. Who makes this?
A. Hi, my name is Christina Austin, and I’m on Intro as @clausti. I started this and have, to date, written all the code. Before this, I was a software engineer at Google, and before that I was a senior software engineer at One Medical working on clinical data, though I did a stint on the infrastructure team there, too. Before becoming a software engineer, I got a PhD in Molecular Genetics. I live in the bay area with my anchor partner and our two cats.
Q. Why did you make this?
A. I missed having someplace to hang out with my friends online without feeling like we were data-cattle and having to stare at a bunch of ads.
Q. Will Intro have paid ads?
A. No. I’d like to allow folks to sell their own art if they’d like, which is sort of technically an ad? But Intro will not take money to put something in your feed from a person or entity you haven’t followed, and it will never have site, e.g. banner, ads.
Q. Are you going to sell my data?
Q. Are you going to buy data about me from elsewhere online or track what I do?
A. No. Furthermore, Intro sends only text (non-HTML) emails, which means they cannot contain tracking pixels.
Q. Are you going for VC funding?
Q. How are you going to pay for this, then?
A. You can subscribe to Intro for $5/month, and you can pay for additional seats for friends for $5/month/seat. Seated members will get some extra features, such as the ability to save posts so they don't expire. (By default, Intro posts expire after 30 days.)
Q. Why should I pay for this?
A. You paying for Intro means it can be built to serve you, not advertisers or investors. Building and running a web app costs money, in server/infrastructure costs, labor, and living expenses. To pay for all this, the predominant business model of the web for the past decade or so was to offer services for “free” to users, but harvest their data and attention for resale. I want to try building a different kind of social network, where you get value out of it and pay for that directly, removing the financial incentive to manipulate users for maximum “engagement”.
Q. What if I need to use Intro anonymously?
A. I recommend you set up a unique email address to register your account to, and go to a physical store and buy a prepaid debit card with cash to pay for your membership. There are many types of surveillance this will not protect you from, but it at least ensures Intro does not have direct knowledge of your legal identity.
Q. When do I need to enter payment info?
A. When you are ready to pay for a membership. (You don’t need to enter payment info to sign up.)
Q. How is my password stored?
A. Your password is stored as a cryptographic hash, which is standard. This means that when you sign up, the server takes the password you entered, mixes it with the server's own secret password, and then does a bunch of irreversible math on it until what you get out of it looks like random garbage; we put the ‘garbage’ in the database. Because the math is irreversible, no one can get your actual password out of the database. But because it is math, if we give it the same inputs (your password and the server's password), we will get the same 'random garbage' again on the other side-- this is how the server checks if you gave it the right password when you log in.
Q. Who is welcome on Intro?
A. People who are interested in community. People who like having internet friends. People who like having a private corner of the internet to share tenderness with their irl friends. Women (which includes trans women), men (which includes trans men), nonbinary folks and feys. Artists. Writers. Thinkers. Crafters, Makers, and Empathy-havers.
Q. Who is not welcome on Intro?
A. You are not welcome on Intro if you harass others. You are not welcome on Intro if you think one gender or sexuality or race or religion is inherently superior to others. White supremacists are not welcome on Intro. You will be banned from Intro if you harass others. You will be banned from Intro if you espouse or advocate supremacist ideology.