Private as in keeping any doubts to oneself?
I think we need to be careful and recognize there is a nuance between "RL" and "RL issues"
- spending a bunch of time with your girlfriend and then not making time to play the game you are signed up for is "RL" but it is not an "issue" and is not an excuse to not participate as much as you should be
- being in a serious days-long fight with your spouse to the point where you can't focus or have the energy to play is a "RL issue" and is a fine reason for not participating as much as you should
- taking a 3 day vacation to go to the beach is not a "RL issue", so no coming in and saying "sorry, RL got in the way" for that shit
- being in a vehicular accident and hospitalized for 12+ hours is a RL issue.
- simply saying "I've been busy in RL" is not a "RL issue" and I think it is fine to explain yourself that way without it falling under the abuse that the spirit of the rule is addressing. Players are still free to believe you or not, and if not, still okay to scumread them for it if you want.
I think we should be free to contact the mod about any concerns and that is part of "keeping it private" - or address the player AFTER the game is over about it
I think one of the biggest problems is that players have felt the need/desire/responsibility to police player participation themselves, but really THE MODERATOR is in charge of this stuff and it is up to them to determine if their players are playing within the confines of the rule and prod ranges.
This is why we HAVE prods, and I've been really perturbed at players taking issue with other player's participation levels to such a degree. Leave it to the mod to prod players. If a player is posting minimal content but not being absent enough to get prodded, make it simple: do you scumread them for their shittastic lurking? did they miss addressing something that you want them to address? be specific about it. If you're scum and you want to try and paint a towny scummy for minimal participation, don't start harassing them about their participation, just explain that you think they're a scummy lurker, don't make the reasons for the lurking content, just the lurking is content.