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Musing on Monastery Content

by Old_Gray_Bear (Bishop)
on Oct 17, 2004 at 23:01 UTC ( #399993=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

It is a Sunday afternoon (local time), and I found I have some free time to put down some thoughts about a topic that I have been mulling over for some time.

A few weeks back there was a Monk, let us call him 'X', who, after a bit of acrimony left the Monastery in a Huff. (Note, I use 'He' here, as a neutral pronoun, not as an indicator of gender. I learned at an Olde School, and am rather set in my ways about pronoun usage.) As one of his last acts, X updated all of his base nodes to remove the content and replace it with a "I am Taking My Marbles Out Of Play and I Am Going Away Forever!" note. This left several (rather long) threads head-less, as it were.

To me, one of the appeals of the Monestary is reading the ongoing commentary that a Question or a Meditation engenders. The combination of differing view-points and new information (new at least to me) is always facinating. Thus, the "beheading" of the several threads meant that the context of the ensuing dialogs (polylogs?) suffered greatly. (As my Deconstructionist Son is quick to point out, context and content are inextricably related. You can not alter one with out effecting the other.) The Reader could infer some of the base-node content from the comments, but that would still be an incomplete summary of X's thoughts.

This decapitation immediately resulted in a Consideration to have the original content restored, in defiance of the Original Poster's express wishes. (I note that a compromise of sorts has been reached on some of X's nodes. They are now showing as Reaped, with a reference to the original content.)

This Consideration request gelled a question that has been quietly nagging at me for years. Who is the 'Author' of a collectively designed work?

The Perl Monks Monestary is a Community. The 'Intellectual Property' of the Monastery is tied up in the threaded discussions that take place here. Who has the right to remove this IP from the general knowledge pool that the Monestary constitutes? The Author of the inital comment? All of the Authors that contributed to the thread? The Gods? or PMdevs? Or does it take a collected concensus of the Monks, of level Friar or above? (Justify your conclusions in one thousand words or less. Use specific examples. Sorry, harking back thirty years to my high-school English classes.)

I have not come up with an adequate resolution to the dilemma.

On the one hand, I have to support X in his wish to remove his writings from general circulation. He wrote them. There was no 'license' attached to it releasing the words and ideas to the Public Domain. He is able to edit the node content at will. His retraction is merely a severe form of editing, but it is His Right.

On the other hand, X started a conversation. There are other monks who contributed to the conversational thread. The words in those conversational nodes are as important as X's original words. Other Monks spent time to respond to X's suggestions. Why should X be allowed to damage Their work by removing the initial impetus to the conversation? If I support X's claim to ownership of his content, then I have to also support his respondent's right to have their content left undamaged as well.

Gripping hand, there is nothing in the Web World that can not (in theory, at least) be recovered from the back-up tapes, see the current compromise. Consequently X's "final request" may be physically impossible to honor. The History on the Web is written in stone (or at least magnetic domains), and once the information is on the Web, it can not easily be rewritten or removed from the Collective Consciousness. In fact, removal of a datum from the Web may be both technically and physically impossible. You can not know all of the places that your words are cached and recorded. Not to mention that the Law of Conservation of Information and the Second Law of Entropy both begin to apply the instant you push <send>. Once launched into the Aether, you can not recall your actions.

So, who is the 'Owner' of collectively created works like a conversation in the Monestary? Does the concept of 'Owner' have any validity in the area of the Collective Creation? Does the concept of 'Author' or 'Owner of the Intellectual Property' really make sense in the context of an evolving conversation? I don't have an easy answer. I would like to say that this is another of those Questions of Philosophy that make for good discussions over a pint after-hours, but the current SCO vs The World law suit seems intent on defining one answer to this question. I am not certain that I like any of the potential answers that could come out of the court room.

So, being a Bear of Little Brains. I shall indulge in a recursive solution to my problem. I will start a conversation thread in the Monestary and see if the Monks can collectively come up with a workable answer....

----
I Go Back to Sleep, Now.

OGB

Comment on Musing on Monastery Content
Re: Musing on Monastery Content
by bradcathey (Prior) on Oct 18, 2004 at 01:08 UTC

    Interesting question, that frankly, I have never considered. But let me offer a reply in the form of a question: if we are speaking face to face with someone, and we say something we wish we hadn't, is there anyway we could retract our statement?

    Well, obviously not. In fact, even while dialoging in the CB what we say is unretractable. We can cover our steps with an explanation or apology, but never the less, it is out there. Done and done.

    So, bottomline, my feeling is that if you contribute something to the Monastery, and it's not offensive, immoral, or illegal, it's too late. If you pen an article in a magazine, or write a book, it can't be taken out of circulation. And neither should that happen here. Especially if it is edifying to the group, past, present, or future. What is done is done.

    Now, about that thread I started that got downvoted....

    Update: removed blockquotes

    —Brad
    "Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up." G. K. Chesterton
Re: Musing on Monastery Content
by talexb (Canon) on Oct 18, 2004 at 02:48 UTC

    Having posted on the Internet for some time, and before that, CompuServe, going back to the late 80's, I can certainly say that I've made some horrible posts.

    However, having once started a conversation, I think it's unfair to return later and significantly modify or delete something that has been a) read and b) replied to. With CompuServe, once you'd posted, it was there forever. My Canopus posts from ten years ago are all online, and man. was I ever a pompous ass sometimes.

    Going back and deleting all posts on this site is a little pathological, but I remember one case in the almost three years that I've had the privilege to hang out here. It was reversed.

    And I feel it's a problem because even an innocent reply can help someone understand something that's been stumping them for years. There are many monks whose replies I read with great care because they know so much about Perl I can probably ruminate over a five lines of code for some time.

    It's fine to go back and edit a node, to include a correction. I have started to use the strike and bold styles to mark my corrections so that it's clear what's old and what's new. I'm not happy when I make mistakes, but I'd rather leave the garbage (marked as such) behind when I make my changes.

    It's not OK to delete node contents wholesale. That's my vote, anyway.

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

Re: Musing on Monastery Content
by apotheon (Deacon) on Oct 18, 2004 at 04:04 UTC
    Don't confuse authorship with ownership. Once something is placed on the servers, whoever has rights to the servers gets to decide what is done with what is stored there. As they present it to the public through this website, so it becomes accessible to and manipulable by the public. As they make it possible and permissible for us to edit what we add to the site, so we have the right to do so. Since they still have the original text saved, even if it is edited off the website, so they have the right to repost it. You, meanwhile, have the right to copy it and post it elsewhere. The only really ethical restriction on all this is the necessity for proper attribution.

    That's where authorship comes in: you have the right to be given credit for your writings. Others have the responsibility of attributing your writings to you.

    The only real question in whether or not to re-post what "X" has attempted to remove is whether or not those who have the management rights to the backup copies respect his wishes. Such respect for his wishes need have no connection with any sense of "ownership" of or "rights" to the material he authored. His only real claim on us, in terms of his rights, is to be credited with authorship.

    Basically, all it comes down to is a question of preference.

    - apotheon

    CopyWrite Chad Perrin
      You seem to be unaquainted with basic concepts of copyright law.

      By law, authors are owners until they give that ownership to someone else (which usually involves a contract). This ownership is far less absolute than the MPAA wants you to believe, but it still exists.

        I'm thoroughly acquainted with copyright law. I'm discussing rights, not privileges. Law should derive from ethicality — not the other way around. By law, you're correct. By the standards of a valid system of ethics, however, you're not.

        - apotheon
        CopyWrite Chad Perrin
Re: Musing on Monastery Content
by tye (Cardinal) on Oct 18, 2004 at 04:32 UTC

    I wrote these words. I am their author. I own the copyright to them.

    I have posted them to a public forum so I have clearly granted the forum the license to distribute these words via the forum... forever.

    Technically, the forum hasn't done anything to prevent me from changing my mind and revoking this license that I implicitly but quite clearly granted them. But if I expect to have that right of revocation, then I am probably a fool at least because things change and forum sites have little motivation to ensure that they will always provide the resources to allow me to take back what I have given.

    PerlMonks should probably add a 'legal notice' page that states what should be obvious (you retain copyright but grant a right to distribute forever) and notifying all that the act of posting is declared to mean that you revoke your right to ever revoke this license to distribute.

    PerlMonks should also add some technical means for preventing people from deleting their contributions. Something like a change log for nodes.

    - tye        

      I agree with tye's analysis. It is fact (as he and Old Gray Bear both noted) that posting to a forum such as this DOES restrict one's ability to later cause that contribution -- no matter how wise or trollish -- to disappear

      But, more important, I believe such posting SHOULD be tantamount to irrevocable waiver of any right to revoke what tye calls "license to distribute."

      Hence, tye's "'legal notice'" deserves support and action... even if some could argue that it smacks of a "shrink-wrap license" scheme.

      Tangent: I quibble -- nay, even quarrel-- with this one section of Old Gray Bear's presention:

      On the one hand, I have to support X in his wish to remove his writings from general circulation. He wrote them. There was no 'license' attached to it releasing the words and ideas to the Public Domain. He is able to edit the node content at will. His retraction is merely a severe form of editing, but it is His Right.

      • Why (this is a serious question; neither troll nor flame) do you feel obliged "to support X..." re removal?
        Legal reasons; human rights? some other consideration?
      • Retraction may be "merely a severe form of editing" but in light of the fact that doing so reduces or destroys the value of others' contributions, I can't agree that it is "His Right."

      I suspect we'd be well served with the view that the right to edit one's comments in a thread to which others have contributed should be restricted to strikethrough and insert. The would-be retracter can easily enough use available mechanisms (css such as:
          &nbgsp; <style="font-family: serif; color: #bo400f; background-color: transparent;">
       
      might work) to highlight the retraction/disavowal of a comment which s/he later decided is untenable (in the light of further reflection or new evidence -- perhaps even an illuminating comment farther down the same thread).

      Posted, knowing that some flaw in my current thinking may someday have me wishing I could not merely retract, but could actually delete this rambling. <G>

        He does have the right to retract it. This is a public forum for discussion, in which each of us has the ability to contribute freely and the ability to edit those contributions. With that ability comes some rights and responsibilities, granted by the site's maintainers:
        the right to change our words later
        the responsibility to edit to make the store of knowledge greater
        the right to freely express our opinions
        the responsibility to share our opinions honestly

        There are more of both rights and responsibilities. With each right comes a responsibility, and with each responsibility comes a right. Neither works without the other, here in PerlMonks as in meatspace.

        You can't take away one without taking away the other. It's a good system.

        None of that negates the right the site admins have to repost what has been edited out of existence. Nobody said the right to retract would guarantee that a retraction would be permanent and irrevocable. It's something one should be aware of here in PerlMonks, because it's a fact of life here.

        - apotheon
        CopyWrite Chad Perrin
      tye wrote:
      I have posted (my words) to a public forum so I have clearly granted the forum the license to distribute these words via the forum... forever.
      This reasoning is sound right up to the point where you get to "forever." While it can reasonably be argued that posting a self-owned written work to a public forum implicitly gives license to the forum's owners to republish the work on the forum, it is doubtful that the implied license would be held by a court to override specific, written communications to the contrary. In other words, if you email Perl Monks and say that you don't want them to use your posts anymore, they would probably be in violation of U.S. copyright law if they didn't abide by your request.
      But if I expect to have that right of revocation, then I am probably a fool at least because things change and forum sites have little motivation to ensure that they will always provide the resources to allow me to take back what I have given.
      The problem with this logic is that the burden is upon the owners of the forum site to demonstrate that they have license to republish your works, should the issue of infringement come to trial or should you issue a DMCA "takedown" request to the site's ISP. Whether the owners give you the tools or have the resources to remove your works is immaterial. If you tell them they're not allowed to use your works, the burden is upon them not to – or to demonstrate that they have license to use your works despite your notice to the contrary.
      PerlMonks should probably add a 'legal notice' page...
      Absolutely. Because of the burdens placed upon the site's owners when it comes to republishing others' works, it is important that Perl Monks take reasonable measures to ensure that authors of works posted to the site understand that by posting they are granting license to Perl Monks to republish their works on the forum. Rather than having a legal notice page, I think that every page upon which there is a form to submit comments ought to give notice – right next to the Submit button – that posting to the site grants the site's owners license to republish the material on the site in perpetuity.
      PerlMonks should also add some technical means for preventing people from deleting their contributions
      I must disagree. People ought to be able to remove their own contributions. First, being able to remove bad posts lowers the barrier to contribution because posters need not worry about whether their ideas are good enough not to come back and haunt them later. They can contribute freely, knowing that if later they regret a posting, they can remove it.

      Second, allowing users to remove their own posts lowers the copyright burden upon Perl Monks. The fact that Perl Monks allows authors to remove their own posts provides strong evidence that the posts on the site are published with consent. (If the authors didn't want their works published, they could easily remove them.) Further, it would be difficult for a malicious user to threaten Perl Monks with an infringement suit or a takedown notice regarding content that could easily be self-removed.

      Cheers,
      Tom

        You misunderstand me. But I'll save the legalist mumbo jumbo for the end of this node.

        PerlMonks should also add some technical means for preventing people from deleting their contributions
        I must disagree. People ought to be able to remove their own contributions. First, being able to remove bad posts lowers the barrier to contribution because posters need not worry about whether their ideas are good enough not to come back and haunt them later. They can contribute freely, knowing that if later they regret a posting, they can remove it.

        Oh, I strongly disagree on that. The barrier to contribute is plenty low as can be seen by the flame wars, name calling, and other childish bickering that happens here. It doesn't happen here as often as it happens in many other technical forums. This is a good thing. This is why there should be some barrier to contribution. This is part of why there is a downvote and an XP game to go with it. There are, of course, problems with such barriers to contribution; they are not perfect.

        But I much prefer that people think (even consider) before they post than posting whatever dribble pops into their head and having a ton of Emily Latella nodes ("Oh... Nevermind") and even more ill-advised nodes which usually encourage more ill-advised nodes in the well known pattern of "flame war".

        I also see a barrier to contribution for fear of making a technical error. I think it would often be good to lower that particular barrier1, but I think proffering a "Delete whatever you regret. Free!" card to all comers is a horrid way to attempt that.

        (tye)Re: why a nodelet can be kept against author wish? covers much of my opinion on how one should deal with revising what one has written here.

        A better way to get people to overcome their fear of making technical errors is for them to learn that technical errors are inevitable and even the best of us make them. Even more useful is for them to see people dealing with their own technical errors in a mature fashion. So discouraging people from hiding their little mistakes and encouraging them to step up to the minor challenge of dealing with a mistake more maturely (by acknowledging it explicitly or at least letting it stand after a correction has been published), we can help to lower the barrier to contribution for fear of technical mistakes for some.

        The immature monk who can't deal with making a mistake in public will still feel this particular barrier to contribute, and this is a good thing since such people, having posted a mistake, tend to get into flame wars or otherwise react poorly to getting their feelings hurt.

        Now, back to how you misunderstood me.

        This reasoning is sound right up to the point where you get to "forever." [...] it is doubtful that the implied license would be held by a court to override specific, written communications to the contrary

        I was not saying that the license could not be revoked. That is why I expanded on that point in the next two paragraphs. I was saying that the implied term of the implied license is unlimited. It is "forever". The license will not end on its own. To end the license, the author must actively revoke it. There is no implied limited duration. It doesn't take much to see that content on PerlMonks is still being "published" even though it is years old.

        But if I expect to have that right of revocation, then I am probably a fool [...]
        The problem with this logic is that the burden is upon the owners of the forum site to demonstrate that they have license to republish your works, should the issue of infringement come to trial

        Yes, that is why the introduction to the paragraph starts with "Technically" and this sentense starts with "But". I'm not talking about technical or legal details here. "I am probably a fool" has no legal meaning. I am aware that this argument will likely have little weight in court (not that I pretend to be a lawyer or to even understand the less pedestrian aspects of legal meanderings).

        PerlMonks should probably add a 'legal notice' page...
        Absolutely.

        So write one. I said "probably" because I've seen too many cases of non-lawyers trying to cover their buts[sic] and getting themselves into more troubles (legal or otherwise). Whatever it might say, I'm quite dubious on it having much legal validity unless a lawyer is hired to write it and a specific "I have read and I agree to the terms of" page is required before each node is posted. But it is probably better to have these expectations explicitly spelled out in a reasonable way. Write up a draft and others can revise until a concensus is reached.

        Your last argument about having a mechanism for people to remove their own nodes from publication having legal benefits in the unlikely event of court action against PerlMonks makes sense to me. I'm not completely against allowing content to be removed for extraordinary reasons. If PerlMonks receives a cease-and-desist letter claiming to be from Tom Moertel's attorney and demanding that PerlMonks stop publishing any of his works (hopefully with an exact list of what he claims to have written, but we'll take a good guess and negotiate from there if needed), then we stop publishing those "works". (We'll expect you to object to this action if the letter is not genuine.)

        If someone considers a node for deletion or asks site workers to remove content because they too-late realized that this could get them into big problems with their boss or spouse or prevent them from getting a security clearance, then such a request would likely be honored.

        But none of those things have ever happened that I've seen. People usually delete their nodes because they made the simplest of mistakes or (rarely) because they've decided to storm off away from PerlMonks in a door-slamming gesture and feel the need for spectacle by "taking all of their marbles" in a fit of outrage and/or self-loathing.

        And I think both of those activities should be strongly discouraged.

        So I think your last point should be addressed by something more like an administrative request feature that is clearly meant for extraordinary circumstances and that clearly states that cease-and-disist letters are always taken seriously and handled quickly. But I'm so far removed from the site owners or anyone with a physical address connected to the site, that I have little idea how to set such a thing up.

        - tye        

        1 Though somehow magically reducing that barrier to nothing would be a mistake. People shouldn't be enthusiastic about posting things that they have absolutely no clue about. Sometimes it is good to post when you have no clue, but not frequently.

Re: Musing on Monastery Content
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 18, 2004 at 08:33 UTC
    I think the answer and solution are easy. "Ownership" isn't hard to determine. Almost any country in the world, including the United States, have signed the Berne convention. Which means that unless an author clearly revokes or changes his rights, anything someone creates (including writes) has his/her copyright.

    But copyright also gives a solution for the percieved dilemma. If you are afraid your reply isn't going to make sense on its own, then quote the parts you are replying to. Copyright laws do give you the right to quote if that's necessary to write your article.

    This isn't a new problem. Usenet has been around since, oh, 20+ years, and email even longer. Parent articles might not be available to the reader, either because they are superseeded, expired, or because they never made it to the reader. It's also inconvenient to have to swap to one or more parent articles. So people quote what they are responding to, and each article makes sense in its own right. They are self-contained.

      I don’t think there is any doubt that the author of a node owns the copyright, but as far as I know, copyright does not grant the right to retract published works.
        Indeed. As such, the author probably can't enforce perlmonks to remove his postings from their machines. However, since perlmonks doesn't have the copyright, it doesn't have the right to make those postings available to other people (that is, making it accessable on a webpage).
Re: Musing on Monastery Content
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Oct 19, 2004 at 03:09 UTC

    It's fairly clear that this sites administrators have the right to (and do) admininster the site in whatever way they see fit.

    I think the question of copyright has little or nothing to do with it. No one is asked if they wish to sign over their rights to what they post here, but it seems fairly obvious that having posted there words into this public domain, they have lost the right to retain control over them. Whether this is the strictly legal position in any or all legal systems is probably mute. Noone is going to try and sue to obtain the right to have their words modified or removed.

    Comparisons between posts on this site and either face-toface conversations, or magazine articles are also off base because of scope and time.

    In a face-to-face, the numbers of people hearing the conversation is very limited, and human beings have the habit of forgetting stuff (whether through time or choice). So the scope is limited to those that choose to remember the words, and the numbers are involved maybe a few 10s of people.

    With a (printed) magazine, there is almost certainly an explicit signing over of (joint) copyright or similar legal transfer or co-ownership involved. The numbers of people is also limited. It maybe 10s of thousands in a few of the larger circulation magazines, but in many cases less. Time is also a factor. After some period of time, only a few people will remember that a particular author said a particular thing--except for those rare things that really stir the imagination for better or worse. Even if a researcher is looking for statements made by a particular author, unless they know that the author wrote for the magazine in question and obtain back copies, the words they wrote are unlikely to resurface a year or so later.

    With open, on-line forums such as this place, it becomes pretty easy for a persons words to be found by anyone making a casual search. Future employers, spouses, whomever. From anywhere in the world, at a moments notice. The implications are wide.

    The more interesting question is why the administrators of this place feel the need to retain an authors words after they have expressed a wish to have them removed.

    One argument is that headless threads devalue the responses of others. Many threads contain links to offsite resources. When these resources change, the links are broken. Does that devalue the threads in question? Should we arrange to capture the content of external links at the time of posting so as to maintain the integrity of the the site?

    A second opinion is that others can learn from a persons mistakes. Then maybe we should not have the ability to edit posts--only add to them. That way, we can all learn from everyones typos, grammer corrections, case corrections, formatting changes. We will all becomes perfect spellers, with impecable grammer and ace HTMLers over night.

    Another expressed opinion is that the knowledge that your words can be reinstated against your wish should prevent people from posting anything that they will later be ashamed of or embarassed by. In other words, reinstatement is a punishment that can be inflicted upon those that make mistakes and attempt to correct them. Crime and punishment. Has a nice ring. Reflects the values of society.

    Though you know, in society, one has a right to trial, and at least notionally, the opportunity to influence the lawmakers and even change the laws. I do not see any similar mechanisms here.


    Examine what is said, not who speaks.
    "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
    "Think for yourself!" - Abigail
    "Memory, processor, disk in that order on the hardware side. Algorithm, algorithm, algorithm on the code side." - tachyon
      Such mechanisms do exist, just as they do for the creation of that "punishment". The mechanisms are ad hoc, mutable, and social in nature, however. They are not set in stone, explained in detail in a site use license, or otherwise strictly codified. That is, I think, appropriate for a website devoted to a community effort with an open source modus operandi.

      The key item to consider, here, is that nobody's natural rights are being violated. The rest is just flavoring. I happen to very much like the "flavor" of PerlMonks.

      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

        You've been around this place for ...um.. 12 days. And you know this?

        How?

        1. You read it somewhere? PLease show me.
        2. You have had it exlained to you by say {vroom]? Could I have your notes please.
        3. You've been adopted into the inner circle because your such a great guy, and this information then becomes freely available?
        4. Other?
      ++ on overall post and especially on your list of rationales for restoration or against deletion (despite a strawman or two), but quibble re last graf: Isn't a discussion like this a mechanism to influence the gods? <G>
        Isn't a discussion like this a mechanism to influence the gods?

        Well yes, I suppose it is and maybe that's why I wrote it. However, over the last 3 years I have seen this subject, and many others, come up every 3 months or so.

        The usual form is that one or other of the gods will restate the status quo, or point to previous discussion that does same, to much applause. There then follows a raft of support for the status quo, and few discenting voices against. The discenting posts are either downvoted, summarly dismissed, or ignored.

        And the status quo continues.

        Search as hard as I might (and I have), I have yet to see the discussion where the status quo was arrived at--and I conclude that things are, the way it was decided by the gods way back when, and thats the way it will stay.

        I've also yet to see any occasion where the status quo was over turned on any meaningful subject.

        Now, it could be that the status quo is also the general concensus, and for that reason, should remain that way. On the other hand, it could be that the site administrators simply have no intention of changing anything.


        Examine what is said, not who speaks.
        "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
        "Think for yourself!" - Abigail
        "Memory, processor, disk in that order on the hardware side. Algorithm, algorithm, algorithm on the code side." - tachyon
Re: Musing on Monastery Content
by johndageek (Hermit) on Oct 20, 2004 at 13:16 UTC
    The Old Grey Bear has started a discussion of great interest. The point that seems to have been grabbed and run with is the “Legal” rights and “Who” owns them, and who can do what to whatever who owns, does not own or who has the rights to do to what who owns etc. etc. etc.

    The sentence that grabbed my attention in The Old Grey Bear’s post was “The Perl Monks Monestary is a Community. The 'Intellectual Property' of the Monastery is tied up in the threaded discussions that take place here.”

    This statement strikes me as a expressing the intrinsic value of the Monastery. The value the community is derived from the threaded discussions that take place here.

    Let’s evaluate this statement in business terms, or if you prefer, how do we as a community derive the greatest value from the Monastery?

    1) Let the current rules stand. You have the right to modify your posts. What does this gain for the community? I believe many people are more willing to post, knowing that their right to edit is there, and is going to be honored, even if the community does not agree with their edits. We (as a community) risk the occasional loss due to (in the opinion of the community) unwise/unethical editing by a few authors acting in an extreme manner. But our gains are so much greater because everyone who posts recognizes that their rights to edit will be honored, and therefore will post more frequently and honestly. Many (as has been mentioned in this thread) are editing with strikeout and bold to denote editing – for this thank you!

    2) We can change the rules. Once posted, you may not edit or retract, or worse yet, the Gods will randomly override your edits or retractions. If this becomes the standard, I believe many who post will cease to post, or will post more with legality, and the immortality of their words in mind than the idea of helping others, and expressing their true opinions.

    While I disagree with X’s action of beheading/deleting his posts as a form of protest or revenge, it makes me feel better to know that even an extreme application of the right to edit will be honored. Also knowing that most other authors of posts will never take such action as intelligent and helpful people, they recognize the value of their posts, not just to the “Monastery” but also to all the PERL users who may read the thread.

    Thank you Mr. Bear!

    Enjoy!
    Dageek
Re: Musing on Monastery Content
by tmoertel (Chaplain) on Oct 20, 2004 at 19:16 UTC

    Here's an interesting idea that just crossed my mind. Rather than look at the situation in legalistic terms, let's think about social contracts. Can we encourage people to agree to a code of conduct that prohibits removal of content?

    Consider the following changes to the site that parallel Amazon's "Real Names" system:

    • Allow everybody to delete their own posts by default.
    • However, after attaining a certain level of experience, each user can make an irrevocable election to join the "Order of the Monks of Conviction," at which time they must agree to stand by their words for all time, give up their deletion privileges, and allow for the site to track and make publicly available the change history of their comments.
    • To encourage users to join the Order of the Monks of Conviction, we can display a Monks-of-Conviction badge next to the names of members of the Order, wherever they may appear on the site. (We can also give members free beer and the like.)
    What do you think?

    Cheers,
    Tom

      That actually sounds like it should be called "Martyrs", rather than "Monks of Conviction". If it gets called "Martyrs", I guess I'm for it.

      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin
Re: Musing on Monastery Content
by Your Mother (Canon) on Oct 23, 2004 at 16:15 UTC

    Logorrhea, cha-cha-cha. Logorrhea, cha-cha-cha.

Re: Musing on Monastery Content
by Diakoneo (Beadle) on Nov 01, 2004 at 20:54 UTC

    Stephen R. Donaldson posited in his "The Real Story" series that storage in the future would be virtually infinite. However, due to the distributed nature and structure of the data storage system, you could never delete any information. Of course, a character in the series figured out how to 'get around' this, but hey - it's his story, he can break all the rules he wants. :-)

    I took a quick look at Price Watch and it looks like you could put together a terabyte RAID for under $5000 US. That completely floors this old computer hack who was terribly impressed with the 180 KB floppy he had on his Commodore 64.

    These got me to wondering if there would be a push in the near future to force a large portion of the internet mirrored onto a distributed/infinite storage network. Up to now, storage costs made that idea unpractical. But it seems storage technology is finally keeping ahead of data storage needs.

    So where am I going with this? Well, directly into the arms of another fiction story, of course! :) Neil Stephenson spent quite a bit of Cryptonomicon on the ethics of data storage. He came at it from the standpoint of data warehousing and foreign, off-shore data storage. Obviously, well funded criminal organizations would want to use it, but it also examined the idea that information could (should?) be entirely private and protected.

    Being new to Perl Monks and programming in general, I wouldn't want to be presumptious. But I think Perl Monks as it is now is a good a balance between intellectual rights and the need to follow a thread.

    In my short time here, I feel a sense of community. But I also feel a sense of accountability. Without having to 'programatically' enforce it, it seems most want to 'do the right thing'. I worry when systems try to put code in place of ethics. If overdone, it can portray a sense of "I don't trust you", and down that way darkness lies.

    Sorry for the rambling - this thread just happened to coincide with some musings I have had recently.

    - Diakoneo

      Great observations, and references to good speculative fiction while you're at it. Nice.

      You can get a Snap Server 2200 .5TB storage device for less than $1500. That's 1TB for less than $3k. I seem to remember seeing a 1TB storage appliance for just over $1k somewhere, but I can't find it now to verify that it ever existed.

      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

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