|No such thing as a small change|
I didn't have strong feelings about this when it happened and thought it was probably the "safe" thing to do.
Having thought about it for a while now, I really think it was a mistake (not that I fault Corion, just that I think this is something we should decide to not do in the future). And there are a lot of reasons why.
What was the risk of leaving the node up for "a while"? (Pardon me for being a bit vague in places as it has been a while since I reviewed this stuff -- besides I'm just a vague kind of person.) Well, recent legislation clarifies that ISPs can be held liable for copyright material that they "host" even if they weren't the ones who put the material there. Sounds pretty serious. But, they are only liable if they fail to remove the material after the copyright holder has requested that they do so. So not even the new industry-friendly laws managed to make ISPs responsible for hand-filtering everything that passes through their gates.
So the risk that vroom and the Monastery faced was: vroom might soon receive a (probably rather nasty) letter from some lawyers. If, soon after that, vroom chose to remove the material, then that would be the end of it (IMHO).
Of course, PerlMonks isn't an ISP, so things can be a bit more complicated. A while before the recent laws, some on-line services were held liable for "bad content" because they actively edited the content that they hosted.
So by actively editing questionable content, we actually increase the risk of legal problems for the Monastery.
I'm glad that the legal issues point us toward no editing of content (tho, IANAL) because I think the moral and practical issues point us in the same direction.
I am getting more and more interested in spending the effort (probably vroom's effort, unfortunately) to rename the editors group to be the janitors because the word "editors" holds too many of the wrong meanings.
The editors of a publication take a great deal of responsibility for the content of said publication and do a lot of work adjusting usage, syntax, style, etc. Feel free to send me comments (in public or private) suggesting how I could/should change the usage, syntax, style, etc. of my nodes, but I don't want anyone trying to make those changes for me. And I don't think we want editors making those changes for others in general.
Changing of content is a very slippery slope. Any changes of content that we decide are acceptable need to very clearly distinguishable from those that aren't. Possible copyright/license violations aren't an easily delimited set so we shouldn't jump on that particular slippery slope.
Title changes, changes in Categorized Questions and Answers, and changes requested by the node author are the only content changes I'm willing to support at this time. Those are very easy to delimit.
Well, I guess there is one other form of content change that I support: The reaping of unpopular nodes using the system currently in place, when vroom deems it appropriate, or under some future system(s) such as users submitting their own nodes requesting that they be deleted (but not by letting users just delete their own nodes, though that is another kettle of fish that I won't try to fry here).
In summary, I really think it is best for all if the editors strictly refrain from modifying content except for those specific exceptions I noted above.- tye (but my friends call me "Tye")