The downside of these hugely public, and permanent, appeals for information on someone is that everyone will want to know every detail of what happened, will discuss it, and dissect it publicly.
Imagine a situation where someone in our technology community quietly embarks on a suicide plan, as many people do every day. Once the word has gone out and a public search starts, there is an enormous pressure to go through with it successfully. Knowing that you're going to step back into a shitstorm of thousands of people asking what's happened. Which is going to encircle your name for a long time, if not forever.
I'm not saying there's anything to learn from this - it's just something to consider. I am in no way questioning the judgement of friends raising the alarm. It's just that strangers will feel, rightly or wrongly, that having read, and perhaps spread, an appeal that they are entitled to know the details of the outcome.
* I have absolutely no idea what's happened in this case.
Hopefully, she just went on a bender, had a absolute blast, but it got a little out of control- perhaps resulting in dehydration or something else without too much social stigma.
As long as we're using the absence of details as a springboard for wild speculation, we should also consider the possibility that she was kidnapped by a pack of wild monkeys.
Yet I suppose it's still a good thing in such cases that people care enough to do this ?
When it really becomes a problem is when the "kindness" is really misguided (religious nutjobs, etc.)
Timothy Joseph: Thank God! I'm so happy to hear this! What a great company to have done this. I wonder if my employer would have done this for me.
That is an interesting question. If someone where I work (ClearChannel, owner of over 850 radio stations, and dozens of high-profile websites like RushLimbaugh.com and GlennBeck.com) went missing, I wonder what company resources would/could be used to aid in a search effort.
Seeing how her friends and coworkers cared enough to start a massive online campaign to help find her reminded me of the importance of making connections and having people in my life who are looking out for me.
[everybody attempts to help]
OMG EVERYBODY THAN KYOU SO MUCH MY FRIEND IS SAFE!!!
[everybody: YAY! Gald to hear it - what happened!]
NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS YOU NOSY JERKS!
Yeah screw that. People will feel less inclined to assist - because they feel that they are an excluded outsider. If you are not told the outcome/reason for the situation in the first place - you are then further removed from the person/situation in question. Thus, you will have less emotional tie with the situation. Without any emotional tie - you will not help situations like this in the future.
The call for help is highly emotional "Our friend, and trusted colleague, who is a great and nice person is missing" -- you feel compassion here, as you would hate togo missing yourself - and you know how great you are as a person. So, you'll assist in this case through empathy.
Take that empathy away, and it gets worse for everyone.
Second, I have enough empathy and imagination to think about how she might be feeling... and in none of the circumstances I can imagine does anyone owe you, random community member, anything more than the exact "Thank you! She's safe!" you mentioned above. I can get my empathy fix just fine from that.
Classic "boy who called wolf" syndrome
A nice person would ask, but not press the point. A rare person would not even ask. And some will demand to know.
The real world is not like that.
Once invited to join a tribe by requesting assistance for someone, others who have joined that tribe by becoming concerned and investing time into worry and concern are not expecting to be paid, they are merely wanting to know what happened to the person they have been ASKED to care about.
It is exceptionally cynical and economically oriented to cast requested concern for a fellow human into something it is not.
"wanting to know" without also having the ability to help and without the other party appreciating your concern (i.e. it's not a personal communication) is not "concern for a fellow human" - it's curiosity. There isn't anything wrong with that, but don't make it out to be nobler than it is.
You are ascribing nefarious intent to people motivated by concern and empathy for the welfare of a fellow human being, whom they were specifically requested to care about.
I find such projection malicious in itself and unwarranted.
It is human nature that once you ask for help you are asking others to be concerned. It is not reasonable then to not expect others to continue to be emotionally invested and concerned.
glad she's safe