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George_Apley

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For me, modern legal thought walks back in a relatively straight line to Greco-Roman philosophy and ethics. (If this overly Eurocentric worldview makes anyone uncomfortable, I apologize.) All I've ever been looking for in this matter is a just and fair outcome for everyone who shares their thoughts, ideas, and work here. It's always been my hope that we could collaboratively develop a TOU (and system of site governance) that would be unquestionably inviting and nonrestrictive to the current community of posters and to new voices -- writers, academics, public officials, photographers, filmmakers.

I think all of us can agree that the established aB community mirrors broader, real-world society. So much of contemporary life makes us suspicious, mistrustful, cautious, and change-adverse. And in many cases, there are rewards to feeling and behaving this way. Technology and the market-forces it influences are chipping away at our privacy, and our ability to control what's "ours." This wasn't an issue on aB until it became an issue here...
This is the root of the discontent that I don't think is ever going to be addressed. The desire for a communitarian governance is admirable and something I agree with. But that ship sailed when Briv abandoned the forum and made a snap decision to sell the site to a business owner. aB is going to go in whatever direction ownership wants. Edward's management style seems relatively hands-off, both in this public forum and in Modmin conversations, so it seems like he's going to let the community exist as it wants as a more backseat owner and admin, although with his prerogative and interests being a backseat driver. If making a community-driven, user-owned platform to discuss Boston, architecture, and urbanism is the most important thing to some, then making a new platform is probably your best option. I say that with no attitude or malice, it just is what it is. That said, I think that we'd all be better off remaining in a community together, and since this one exists and is established, I personally value keeping what we have intact more than I value the creation of something new under user control. And just to be candid, I believed that long before I became a moderator.

So let's fix it. Language like permanent, irrevocable, unlimited, and changed at any time without notice aren't your friends, even if you're not involved in any sort of creative endevor.
Again, I interpret "permanent, irrevocable, unlimited" as applying to the license to display, quote, and reorganize posts. Given that Xenforo does not provide an easy way for (user or modmin) to delete a user's archive of posts, even if the account itself is deleted, that language makes sense.

I'll repeat that I agree that the "can be changed at any time without notice" is the problem.
 

HenryAlan

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Thinking about this a bit more, the purpose of the "changed at any time" clause is probably so that the site management can act in an emergency circumstance without first having to notify content owners. I can understand that the site would need to protect itself in such a circumstance. I'd recommend language that indicates that notification must happen within a specified period of time, such as 24 hours. I'd be okay with leaving the room for immediate action prior to notification but that still mandated notification after the fact.

As for community management, given Edward's evident hands off approach, I think we have that to a certain extent. The moderators are community members, I consider them as representing the rest of us. So what we really need, along with a slight tweek to modification of terms clause, is a definition of what is meant by "permanent, irrevocable, unlimited" and how that squares with the content creator owning the copyright. And on this question, it's important that Edward provide an answer. Any interpretation by other people in this community is not in any way binding. He must articulate what it means, how he might use the content, and how he would be willing to limit usage. I agree with @George_Apley that it likely only regards site housekeeping, but it needs to be explicitly spelled out by the owner.
 

Justin7

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Because you hold the copyright? I think I squared that pretty clearly. Explain to me why that’s stupid. I’m open to being wrong.
I didn't call your interpretation stupid and did not to mean to imply it. I simply don't understand how you're reaching such a conclusion.



I've posted all of this before, but maybe it was deleted.

Like most of us, IANAL, but it seems clear to me that "unlimited" means just that: without limits. I believe we need to place limits.

unlimited license to use, publish, or re-publish your Content in connection with the Service.
So what is "the service"? Is it simply the posts on the archboston.com forum? If so, say so. Easy 20 second fix. What about banners as you've suggested? Retaining a copyright in no way restricts this. You've given Ed's company unlimited license to your content the moment you posted it. You can't take it back. That license is his for as long as he wants it. He doesn't own the copyright, so you can still use/post/sell your content elsewhere, but within the confines of the site he can do whatever the hell he wants with it.

So maybe some wouldn't care about that. But what if it's not just banners? What if your content is used on Ed's new archBoston development marketing site (similar to his other sites)? As long as its part of the service you've given him that license. What if someone's photo of an old beautiful but somewhat run down building is used to lobbying effort to have it torn down and replaced? Again, you've given him license to use your photo. He doesn't need to pay you, he doesn't need to ask permission, and you can't revoke the license.

You may see this as far fetched. I won't argue either way. I'm only pointing out that it is all legally within his right as long as these terms remain in place. What troubles me the most is how easy it to address these concerns and fix it in a way that makes everyone happy and yet what we get instead is lip service, absurd delays, and finally an "I don't see the problem." That is not ok.

Again, I interpret "permanent, irrevocable, unlimited" as applying to the license to display, quote, and reorganize posts.
You can interpret it that way, but it doesn't say that, so it doesn't mean that. It's not a large jump. I see that. But we're talking about a legal document so it needs to say what it means. If it is meant to be interpreted as "display, quote, and reorganize posts" then simply change it to say display, quote, and reorganize posts.

You are granting us with a non-exclusive, permanent, irrevocable, unlimited license to display, quote, and reorganize posts in connection with the Service. You retain copyright over the Content.
That's an improvement anyway.

Edward is not here because he cares about Boston or archBoston. He is here to make money. I'm not going to fault him for that, but I'm also sure as hell not going to simply trust him either. Fix the terms.
 

Beton Brut

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And all of a sudden, we have the makings of a productive discussion. Thank you @George_Apley & @HenryAlan

The desire for a communitarian governance is admirable and something I agree with.
As for community management, given Edward's evident hands off approach, I think we have that to a certain extent. The moderators are community members, I consider them as representing the rest of us.
If I haven't said so, the Mods are doing an exemplary job. I'm not sure what (if any) day-to-day interaction you have with Edward, but have any of you (as individuals or a group) brought this issue of site governance up? You're all intelligent, articulate people and, at this stage, you speak for us.
...I think that we'd all be better off remaining in a community together, and since this one exists and is established, I personally value keeping what we have intact more than I value the creation of something new under user control.
This is a sensible response. I've been guarded about the idea of "starting over" elsewhere.
I'll repeat that I agree that the "can be changed at any time without notice" is the problem.
So what we really need, along with a slight tweek to modification of terms clause, is a definition of what is meant by "permanent, irrevocable, unlimited" and how that squares with the content creator owning the copyright. And on this question, it's important that Edward provide an answer....(Edward) must articulate what it means, how he might use the content, and how he would be willing to limit usage...it likely only regards site housekeeping, but it needs to be explicitly spelled out by the owner.
To be blunt, nothing about this should be open to interpretation. And it's to Edward's benefit every bit as much as it is to any of us to have this delineated in clear, explicit language.
Thinking about this a bit more, the purpose of the "changed at any time" clause is probably so that the site management can act in an emergency circumstance without first having to notify content owners.
An interesting take, but what sort of emergency are we talking about? I'm pretty sure no one keeps bank statements, medical records, or missile codes embedded in their user profile.
 

George_Apley

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So what is "the service"? Is it simply the posts on the archboston.com forum? If so, say so. Easy 20 second fix. What about banners as you've suggested? Retaining a copyright in no way restricts this. You've given Ed's company unlimited license to your content the moment you posted it. You can't take it back. That license is his for as long as he wants it. He doesn't own the copyright, so you can still use/post/sell your content elsewhere, but within the confines of the site he can do whatever the hell he wants with it.
I think "the Service" could use a clearer definition as well.

So maybe some wouldn't care about that. But what if it's not just banners? What if your content is used on Ed's new archBoston development marketing site (similar to his other sites)? As long as its part of the service you've given him that license. What if someone's photo of an old beautiful but somewhat run down building is used to lobbying effort to have it torn down and replaced? Again, you've given him license to use your photo. He doesn't need to pay you, he doesn't need to ask permission, and you can't revoke the license.
Thanks. This is the kind of specific concerns I was asking about. And I appreciate the explanation of your legal interpretation

You can interpret it that way, but it doesn't say that, so it doesn't mean that. It's not a large jump. I see that. But we're talking about a legal document so it needs to say what it means. If it is meant to be interpreted as "display, quote, and reorganize posts" then simply change it to say display, quote, and reorganize posts.
Fair argument
 

HenryAlan

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An interesting take, but what sort of emergency are we talking about? I'm pretty sure no one keeps bank statements, medical records, or missile codes embedded in their user profile.
I don't think it's a likely issue, but, for example, if somebody posted content that doxed another user or mentioned the name of the Whistelblower, etc. I don't think such concerns are explicitly spelled out, nor do they need to be, but board staff should be able to modify content under such cases. Much of this goes back to my other point, which you've also articulated, that we need to know how some of the words in the ToS are meant to be understood, ie what is Edward's understanding of these words?
 

George_Apley

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what is Edward's understanding of these words?
Based on what he's said in modmin chats, I don't get the sense that he's very familiar with the ToS beyond that they are the default Xenforo terms. I may well be wrong and he's welcome to correct that impression. So hopefully this conversation leads to some enhanced understanding for everyone.
 

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