I came across this tonight, as I was perusing Pinboard’s FAQ, trying to learn something different about the service that I have been ignoring for the past year or so.

Is it true the site admin can see private bookmarks?

Yes. I routinely look at raw bookmark data, which includes private bookmarks. Most of the time this means I look at URLs without any identifying context.

I try to avoid looking at private data on people’s individual pages. However, this is sometimes necessary in order to diagnose and fix bugs in Pinboard, such as search errors, or strange formatting in archived pages.

I use the metaphor of a hotel manager. I have a key that opens every room, but I try not to use it without a good reason. And I can assure everyone that five years of running this site has eliminated any trace of curiosity I might have had about what people bookmark.

(Emphasis is my own. 🤣)