General Question

SuperMouse's avatar

Deathswitch a necessary convenience or just plain creepy?

Asked by SuperMouse (30809points) April 1st, 2009

Last week I heard about a webservice called Deathswitch. Users are prompted to check in and confirm they are “still alive.” If they do not check in after a period of time they are assumed dead or critically disabled and an email is sent to a list of people provided by the user letting them know of said user’s disappearance. Would you sign up for a service such as this? Do you think it is a macabre and unnecessary idea?

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14 Answers

Darwin's avatar

Certainly there have been times when someone from an online community has vanished and I wonder what has happened to them. I understand that this has become a bit of a problem in some of the MORGPs. I also know it can be a problem on some of the selling sites, where the items are still listed for sale but the seller is no longer able to ship them.

Certainly, I have a stash of info set aside for my nearest and dearest in case something happens to me. I run a couple of online businesses and someone would have to use my passwords to go in and turn off various automatic things so my disability wouldn’t cause folks to be defrauded.

cak's avatar

Kind of creepy! I have a detailed list for my husband – even my daughter would understand to contact people.

I get it, but I still think it’s a bit creepy.

jrpowell's avatar

My mom used to freak out everyday thinking that I died if I didn’t answer the phone or respond to an e-mail. So now she checks my bookmarks on del.icio.us everyday to make sure I am alive. I just make sure I bookmark something everyday. She checks my last.fm page too.

I have a “digital will” of sorts. Just a list of people to notify if something happens. And a list of passwords.

cak's avatar

@johnpowellMy mom tries to call and if I don’t answer, she shows up. I have informed her, several times, that I feel very certain that my husband would alert her, if I kicked the bucket.

lillycoyote's avatar

It’s not so much creepy as sad maybe, that there are people who think they have no one in real life that would notice whether or not they were dead or alive.

Darwin's avatar

There are people like that. One of my neighbors disappeared and no one noticed except the mail carrier, because his box got full.

Turned out he was okay but for some random reason decided to extend his two-week vacation into a 6-week vacation, without letting work, kids, or ex-wife know.

Another friend died and no one noticed until his rent was past due.

cak's avatar

@lillycoyote – I think you are right, a better choice of words would have been, sad.

@darwin – how awful! (the friend that did die.)

Darwin's avatar

@cak – Yes, it was sad. Billie was an independent cuss and simply showed up at random intervals. I don’t think he realized we cared about him. He had no brothers or sisters, his dad died many years ago, and his mom died about two years ago.

The guy that found him had no idea he had any friends in town and so simply arranged for him to be buried without a service of any sort and not even a notice in the paper. I found out by chance when I was asking if anyone had seen him recently because I had something to share with him. I then let all his friends and colleagues at the University know – he had retired from there but still did some consulting work.

cak's avatar

@Darwin – wow. That really just touched me. It makes me think of how distant this world has become on some levels. I can honestly say that there isn’t a day where I don’t get a call from a friend or a loved one, just to see how I am doing. I consider myself to be very blessed.

How very sad that he was alone, all that time and then buried, alone. I think everyone deserves to have someone say good-bye to them.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@johnpowell and @cak, you make me feel sane! I only make them call me when they are driving more than 2 hours at night, to let me know they got home okay, and that they talk to me once a week…but when out of the country, I want an e-mail every day…so I know when to call the embassy…

KatawaGrey's avatar

It’s sad to think that in this age where we can talk to anyone from around the world just by turning on our computers, we are not nearly as connected as we seem. I have wondered about this when there are jellies who haven’t logged in a while. Did something happen to them or are they just on vacation? I would not use the deathswitch myself but I think if I was to fall terminally ill, I would tell some people my facebook and fluther passwords so that they could go in and inform everyone.

adreamofautumn's avatar

I agree with all the sad comments. I would hope that if I died someone in my “real life” would notice well before someone online did. The biggest downfall I see with this type of website is that for people like me, who would just forget it about it eventually, who knows how many times people would be told I died? I’d accidentally be the boy that cried wolf (err…the girl that cried “dead”?!?)

VS's avatar

http://www.thestate.com/166/story/734476.html
Maybe this is why people think this might be a valuable service. I hope that I will always have people who will check on me and be concerned for my well-being. Unfortunately everyone is not so lucky. This occurred about 25 miles from where I live.

AshlynM's avatar

@ vs That link doesn’t work.

I think it’s disturbing and unnecessary. It’s just a way for them to make money off of you. You have to pay to get an upgraded account.

Just because you don’t log in for a long while doesn’t necessarily mean anything. What if people are notified that you’re dead or missing but it turns out you’re alive and well? My bf once had a friend of his put out a missing persons report because he wouldn’t answer his phone every time his friend called. He wasn’t too happy with that.

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