We've had an influx of new members lately, some of which are from the forums over at the .com site, as well as new people attending RH events. So, I wanted to take some time to explain the 'Privacy' of the site. This has been one of the most asked about topics, as well as a hot button for some. Please bear with me as I try to communicate this in 'laymens' terms...
First off, to adjust the privacy of your Profile, click the "Settings" link found towards the top of the right column.
Once on the Settings page click the tab/link for "Privacy"
Everything else on that page is pretty self explanatory. When making changes and you want to save them make sure you scroll down and click the Save button.
Other components of the site, Blogs & Groups, each have customizable privacy settings as well. The 'admins' of Groups control the permissions of their groups, and 'posters' of their Blogs control the permissions for them. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with these settings.
One thing to be very aware of is that, if logged into the site, and you do not actually log out, you will retain your permissions. For example, If I'm logged in and then go to Google, and Google my name, I will see my RH.net profile. If I log out of RH.net, (and have my privacy set that only Members or Friends can see it) then I won't be able to see anything till I log into the site. I hope that makes sense. Even if you close the browser tab, or window, your browser will have a 'cookie' saved with your login and thus you will be able to see your profile from Google for example.
Another thing to be aware of is that when you are logged into the site, you will see things in the Activity feeds that you have permission to. Do not be alarmed and think every one sees what you see! They don't! They see what they have permission to see. For example, if I belong to the 'People Who Stare at Goats' group and that group is a 'Private' group, (where only members can see the content) I will see activity of that group in the Activity feeds on my profile and the main page, but I only see it because I have membership/permission to that group. Again, I hope that makes sense.
With all that said, I know that there were some private forums at the old .com forum site, and with the Group pages here on RH.net you can make it a private group and invite or allow only the members you want to be a part of that group. Each group page has the capability of a forum in and of itself. Also, group creators have that capability to assign admins within the group.
Ok, enough for now. Please don't hesitate to ask if you still have questions, or if you actually have more questions after reading this. :) I'll do the best I can to answer them.