Ownership of the contents


(Public Enemy Nº 2) #1

Hi,
I’ve just noticed that Troy Sobotka is no longer in the forums. I asked him in a private conversation why and he told me that he was blocked so he decided to close his account.
Once again, somebody had issues with his maybe-too-fontal style of communication. Not surprising.
However that’s not all: he was also blocked from deleting his own content.
So somebody running this forums rightfully decided that his communication style was not welcome. Fair. So he decided to leave and delete his postings and he was blocked from that. Wait, WHAT???
How come that some language and expressions are unacceptable and at the same time it’s acceptable to block users from removing/editing their own content?
I am very surprised and concerned, and this makes me question my own permanence in the site and wonder about the terms (never signed) of contribution.
Am I not allowed to remove/edit my own content if the administrators of the site decide it?

Please, could you clarify this?
What do the rest of the users of the site think?


(Thomas) #2

From other forums I know the rule that own contributions cannot be deleted or changed any more after a certain time span. This ensures that discussions remain understandable and cannot be rewritten later.
In this forum, however, you can still edit after a long time. I agree that the procedure should be clarified what happens when someone leaves the forum. A complete deletion of own contributions I personally find rude with respect to the community, because this can destroy whole threads. One should stand to his earlier contributions.


#3

I think there is a cutoff time, or it happens after a backup or an upgrade. I am unsure because I haven’t been able to determine a pattern. The inherent limitation of a cutoff time is that it wouldn’t be helpful in cases where users are highly active in short bursts, which is what we have been seeing.


(Public Enemy Nº 2) #4

Rude or not, don’t you think it’s up to you to decide if you want to leave or remove the content you contributed?
He tried to help the community. The community seemed to be more worried about his communication style rather than the important contributions he made.
He’s blocked to contribute because somebody doesn’t like his ways. So in that case it’s fine to block his potential contributions but his previous contributions (even those packed with awful words as garbage, dimwit, assclowns and whatever word he used) become central to the community?
It sounds a bit like a double standard if you ask me.


#5

I really appreciated his contributions but not the language. Ideally, the offending language (i.e., the part that didn’t add to the discussion) would be edited out but due to the sheer amount of content I also feel that it would be a difficult task for the mods. I don’t know. As individuals, we are bound to offend someone no matter what we do or decide to do with one another.


(Public Enemy Nº 2) #6

I met Troy being a free software activist at the time when I sent him a private message asking him to tone down. I’ve been there (a long time ago).
What I learned after a few messages was that the guy is always ready to help. Yes, he’s quite frontal. Yes, he uses some “strong” language that may be too much for some people, but I realized that that strong language is just a way to cut the bullshit and stop pretending broken things will magically work.
There are some bad design decisions in the free software community. There are terrible design decisions in some of the main software projects, many times caused because people contribute bits without looking at the big picture.
When somebody comes and say it, the community get together to stop criticism as a way to protect free software. You get tagged as a hater, you get discredited, etc.
That sucks. And if you’re polite and soft you can never get to the point.

I’ve since changed my mind and my involvement with free software. I tried to be polite, helpful, etc. I was also a prick sometimes. You’d be surprised if I tell you what worked and what not.

Anyway. We have this guy who’s always ready to spend hours explaining and sharing all he knows with anyone who asks. Can we just ignore the harsh language and stop being offended each time somebody says something we don’t want to listen?


#7

I agree to a certain extent. I messaged him a few times for clarification and he was very nice and generous. However, if you are a visitor to the forum, I think aggressive language would be a turn off. I come here to be distracted from my otherwise depressing life, even though I have been following the threads now being questioned because I found value in what I read.


#8

Regarding the user Troy_S, a little zen story

One day a young Buddhist on his journey home came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier.
Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river”?

The teacher ponders for a moment looks up and down the river and yells back, “My son, you are on the other side”.

Now before drawing hasty conclusions… Troy is not the Zen master ,-)

There is not a zen master, only rivers and monks; some more desperate than others, some drunk, some friendly, some swimming naked, soma making dinner and a hut, some convinced beyond reasoning that they’re “the” zen master, HA!

 

Regarding ownership of the contents;

I am as anarchic, individualistic and selfish (though everything has its contrary) as they come, so I do understand the frustration and the impulse to remove “traces” but what are we doing here, really?
Each one of us contributes something, a pebble, and like Thomas said if we go (whatever righteous motive) and remove “our” pebble, there would be holes… maybe an avalanche… that pebble we put there is part of, making the whole now, so (to me) more important than tagging our “discourse” with ownership seems the quality (in content and motivation) of what we share, where does it come from, what’s the aim? In despite the huge limitations of the medium I still feel we grow together… a bonfire, each one puts a stick, the warmth of the fire reaches us all, that’s sharing at its best for me. Sure some will bring rachitic little sticks, I bet somebody has a tank of gasoline ready, bet is you @afre. But there’s no point in trying to take back you long burnt log; just don’t put green wood in there or someone will get a mutex_spark right in the eye. :fire: :fire: Fire fire fire!!!

 

That doesn’t take that things should be crystal clear from pixls’ part
I can’t say if they are now 'cause I shamefully haven’t read the small print =)


(Glenn Butcher) #9

If you go to the pixls.us top page, at the bottom you’ll find the copyright notice for the site, and a link to the license:

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

There’s a concerted effort by Pat and the others to make sure we properly tag our images with respect to the license we wish to post them under, not so certain by me how that applies to our written utterances. For me, I have no expectation regarding the persistence of my posted prose, except to personally assume that it can last for the ages. It’s one of the reasons i don’t pick cute monikers to go by; I stand by my words, and do consider them carefully.

Because Troy made some significant contributions interspersed with the color commentary (literary color), there’d be some significant holes in the discourse if he removed his posts. That said, if he really wants to remove them, I’d personally not be one to stand in the way, there are enough cognizant others here to continue the discourse. But the license, if applicable to what we contribute, is in play, I firstly think it’s intent should be upheld.


(Public Enemy Nº 2) #10

Well, regarding the license then:

  • The removal of Troy’s name in his posts is a violation of the license.
  • Anyone is free to copy or “remix” what he said, crediting him.
  • You can copy his stuff, but that doesn’t mean that you can force him to do/don’t do what he wants with his own contributions.

" No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits."

Discuss :smiley:


(Glenn Butcher) #11

#1: Yep, that’s pretty clear.
#2: Same Yep.
#3: I think we all decided what that meant when we hit “reply…”


(Joaquín Kierbel) #12

Hi, I often read on this forum, rarely comment.
A little thing to say about this matter is that I think the arguments regarding leaving gaps in threads as a consequence of removing posts is kinda beyond the point.
I would rather Troy not to delete his messages too, but this isn’t up to discussion, this is about autonomy.
Do you own your posts? Is it your right to remove them? I think the answer is (or should be) yes.


(Public Enemy Nº 2) #13

In this particular case, with Creative Commons licenses things may get tricky.
When you post something under that license the content is automatically licensed. You still own the copyright but anyone can copy it (as long as they respect the terms of the license), you can’t prevent it.
The issue here is that the posts written by Troy aren’t a COPY of his work licensed under the terms of the CC license, but his own creation. He wrote them.
He should be allowed to do whatever he wants with those contents. He owns them. However he was banned from it, so he couldn’t do it.


(Mica) #14

I would invite everyone to review the Forum FAQ and Terms of Service; you should decide for yourself if you want to be here or not.

I appreciate that he took time to share his in-depth knowledge, he clearly knows a lot about many things.

Multiple people reach out to Troy multiple time, both in private and in public to ask him to tone down his language. You can call it frontal or bullshit cutting or label it however you want to make it seem acceptable to you, but it is not acceptable here. Again, multiple admins asked multiple times. It isn’t that hard not to be rude, and yet, his behavior persisted many times. This was not a one time thing. We made it abundantly clear what the expectations for interaction here are, and he chose to continue to act in a way that is unacceptable.

Discourse, our forum software, locks the ability to delete posts after 60 days. This is meant to preserve the conversation. Each of your posts are part of a public dialog, it isn’t only the poster’s time to write the post, but others time to read, respond, and engage with those posts; the sum outweighs the single.


(darix) #15

He removed his name from the posts when he deleted his account. In that moment it will be replaced with an anonymous account. In many cases this is what users actually want.

As a general remark … I welcomed his knowledge but his style was super offensive. And that comes from a German who is often being blamed for being too direct.

I would happily welcome him back if he works on his style.


(Public Enemy Nº 2) #16

Oh, really?


(Mica) #17

We have the default ToS for Discourse.


#18

ToS take precedence no doubt, but I’d also assume anything communicated on a “public” forum is surely a matter of public record. Rewriting of history seems a strange thing to expect! Anyway it makes me sad… I’ve had friends like this who eventually relaxed, I’d hoped for the same. If a point can be made without it, then why say it :slight_smile:


(Public Enemy Nº 2) #19

Ok, there are several things here to discuss.

First of all, it seems that Creative Commons for the contents is incompatible with the setting of the forum software. Contributed material MUST be credited.
If software breaks that, then we have a problem. You may have whatever ToS you want, but the copyright of the contents is first. The Creative Commons license is basically a permission an author gives to copy the stuff she made. By not respecting the CC license you’re automatically violating the contributor’s copyright.

Second: You have your code of conduct, etiquette or whatever. You can block a user from further participation if she violates that code, but can you really decide on user’s past contributions unilaterally?
Does removing or modifying old content break conversations? Sure. Are you entitled to keep your users from doing it? Not so sure (sincerely I don’t care what the software does, you can’t justify with the defaults of the software you’re using for the forums).

At any rate, you’re not abiding to the CC license you designated for the site and you are acting as the contributed contents were yours to decide when it’s allowed to modify or delete.
The software excuse won’t cut it. Even the “respect for the community” excuse isn’t enough. You may think breaking conversations and removing content is rude and disrispectful (I could even say I agree to some extent), but you can’t force others to do what you feel it’s right.

This is broken and you have to fix it some way.


(Pat David) #20

These are all fair points and certainly worth discussing. Before going too far I want to make a couple of things clear.

I really, really don’t like having to resort to a measure like this. In Troy’s case I think his contributions were extremely valuable and helpful on a topic that is extremely complex. Not having him here to help out is a loss. (Like @darix, if he’s amenable to toning down his interactions a little to hopefully not put off others, I’d still welcome his contributions and help).

This has to be weighed against his rather brusque manner of communicating, and the negative overall response to multiple entreaties to please be a little more considerate for the community. This was literally multiple times from various admins.

As this particular instance is a first occurrence like this we are doing our best to balance things.

CC licensing does require an attribution. In this case I would imagine a post where we can link/identify troys old account name to the anon account will fulfill the requirements for the license. I would imagine we could probably even add an attribution on the @anon11264400 user profile. I’m thinking this is the best way to preserve attribution requirements of content.

We don’t want to be in the business of unilaterally deciding anything, but we (the site) was granted a license to use the posted material. We are doing our best to accommodate things here, and trying to do what’s in the best interest of the community.

(edit) - I have attributed his old username to the anonymized account.


Why I'm leaving the pixls.us forum