qilin: A qilin roof ornament silhouetted against the sky, overlaid with qilin in Chinese characters. (Default)
Qilin ([personal profile] qilin) wrote in [site community profile] dw_biz2009-06-30 12:38 pm
Entry tags:

TOS Update #1

Preface


As promised in [site community profile] dw_news, this is a summary of the activities of the TOS team since launch. The TOS team currently consists of the site owners [staff profile] denise and [staff profile] mark, who set the policies, and [personal profile] jennifer and [personal profile] qilin, who co-manage TOS support. I've tried to strike a balance here between transparency and privacy; I hope it gives you a good idea of what's going on without violating anyone's confidence.

Name squatting and account trading


You may remember this news post describing actions we have taken against name squatting. We've probably made mistakes on both sides of this equation--some active communities or accounts ended up renamed (though to my understanding this could be fixed if reported soon enough), and some squatting communities or accounts probably remain. Overall, though, we've tried to be fair and not overzealous. This is also a good time to remind people that account trading is also against the rules.

Adult content and provocative content


Some people have been asking about our adult content policies; our policy is--go for it. Adult content that's not illegal is allowed; additionally, you do not have to mark it as adult content, although those tools are available if you wish to use them.

We've received several reports of understandably upsetting content; some people requesting that we remove it. However, this content to our knowledge is not illegal, so according to our operating principles it can remain. Fortunately, the content in question has decided to self label itself as 18+. You can set your display options to filter 18+ content and thereby avoid running into content labeled 18+ without warning. Keep in mind, though, that we do not require people to use adult content flags, so this is not a bulletproof method of avoidance. Browse carefully!

TOS copyright concerns


Some people are concerned by this clause here:
VI. License to Reproduce Content

By submitting Content to us for inclusion on the Website, you grant us a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content, solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting the contents of your account, including through downloadable clients and external feeds.

If you delete Content, we will use reasonable efforts to remove it from the Website, but you acknowledge that caching or references to the Content may not be made immediately unavailable.

Basically, this clause is designed to give us the permission to display your content on the site and distribute it through things like site APIs and clients. It's world-wide, because we don't block anybody from accessing the site based on their geographical location. It's royalty-free because we're not paying you to display it. It's non-exclusive because we won't keep you from also publishing that content anywhere else.

When you delete content, we don't have any intention on keeping it around unnecessarily, but it might be cached somewhere that doesn't get cleared right away. It might also be cached on places like Google that we don't have any control over. It might be contained in site-wide backups we make until those get rotated. That's why we put in the disclaimer.

TOS change concerns


We have also received concerned comments about this clause:
We may change our privacy policy from time to time. If these changes are minor, we will post them to this page. If the changes are major, we will post them to this page and notify users through our Dreamwidth News journal and through messages sent to your account's Dreamwidth Inbox. Your continued use of this site after any change in this Privacy Policy will constitute your acceptance of such change.

This clause is designed to give us the flexibility to update our Terms of Service as new, unforeseen situations arise. Given the nature of web sites in general, it is very difficult to get everybody to go through some process to agree to an updated Terms. We have chosen not to require this, and will instead announce changes to the Terms of Service in our [site community profile] dw_news posts and in inbox messages.

In case you'd like to keep a close eye on changes to the TOS, there is an Atom feed of changes to the TOS file in our repository. Any change, even the correction of a typo, will show up there. The feed account for it is [syndicated profile] dw_tos_feed.

Malicious Impersonation and Harassment


We did deal with some cases of malicious impersonation and harassment. While Dreamwidth doesn't reserve usernames for people on other services (that is, just because you have "userx" on LJ doesn't mean that "userx" will be yours on DW), using a Dreamwidth account to impersonate someone on another service violates the Member Conduct section of our TOS:
You agree that you will not use the Website to: ... 3. Maliciously impersonate any real person or entity, including but not limited to a Dreamwidth staff member or volunteer, or to otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with any person or entity;
The offending account was renamed and suspended, and the username given to the person who was being maliciously impersonated to prevent it from happening again.

There was another instance where someone reported content they disliked on a journal with a name like one they had on LiveJournal; however, no real links or claims were made back to the person in question, so it did not count.

Another user was having issues with harassing commenters who were making unflattering posts. In this case, the solution is to ban the culprits or close commenting only to those people you trust. Ban evasion is a violation of ToS, so if someone suspects people are evading a ban by creating new accounts, they should contact us. While defamatory and libelous content is against the ToS, they are terms with specific legal meanings we are unable to make judgement calls on, and thus we require a judgment from a United States court or a Maryland State court saying that the content meets these definitions.

Feeds and the Reproduction of Content


We had a complaint about our feed account system reproducing content from a blog. Our policy as it stands is to not remove feed accounts as long as the feed they use exists. However, some changes are on the todo list for feed accounts in order to help allay complaints such as these:

* Feed accounts will all be set to be nonindexable by bots, such as those used to index by search indexes
* A new feed account style will be created that does not show full posts on the recent entries page
* If the feed supports comment links, the reply to link will go to the page described as the comment page

Note that although the advertising on the feed mentioned wasn't working properly, it wasn't because we were stripping it--many feeds do carry ads and we do not intend to strip them.

Making accounts for underage users


Because of COPPA, we do not allow the creation of accounts by minors under 13, because we cannot store their personal information without much paperwork and safeguards we would rather not worry about. However, if an adult wishes to create an account for their child, they can do so with their information and let the child use it. This does not violate COPPA, because we are not collecting the child's personal information.

Questions or concerns?


This is the place for them! Let us know what you're thinking.


Changes


ETA1: The RSS feed was found to not link to changesets correctly; switched the link in this article to the Atom feed. Also clarified wording on the topic stripping ads from feeds.

ETA2: From the suggestions of [personal profile] azurelunatic, there now exists [syndicated profile] dw_tos_feed!
lacey: Me smiling. Taken in either April or May in 2008. (Me- Smile)

[personal profile] lacey 2009-07-03 08:49 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for posting this, it made for informative reading.
andrewducker: (Default)

[personal profile] andrewducker 2009-07-03 09:05 am (UTC)(link)
* If the feed supports comment links, the reply to link will go to the page described as the comment page

YES!!!!!
marcmagus: Me playing cribbage in regency attire (Default)

[personal profile] marcmagus 2009-07-03 03:25 pm (UTC)(link)
This is quite exciting.
kerravonsen: (Default)

[personal profile] kerravonsen 2009-07-04 01:14 am (UTC)(link)
Thirded.
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)

[personal profile] cesy 2009-07-03 09:28 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for explaining all this.
afuna: Cat under a blanket. Text: "Cats are just little people with Fur and Fangs" (Default)

[personal profile] afuna 2009-07-03 09:30 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I enjoyed going through this.
erilyn525600: (Default)

[personal profile] erilyn525600 2009-07-03 10:01 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for posting this.
tree: a figure clothed in or emerging from bark (Default)

[personal profile] tree 2009-07-03 11:52 am (UTC)(link)
very clear explanations. thank you.
chris: (panda)

[personal profile] chris 2009-07-03 12:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Extremely interesting, not least because so much of it is actually relatively mundane. :-)

How frequently do you intend to make these updates?
mark: A photo of Mark kneeling on top of the Taal Volcano in the Philippines. It was a long hike. (Default)

[staff profile] mark 2009-07-03 01:11 pm (UTC)(link)
"As often as necessary" is probably the best answer. Right now, the volume in the Terms of Service category is maybe one or two requests a week. When a few things build up, these posts will get made.

I'd hand-wave and estimate every two to six weeks, give or take, depending on the volume. As the site grows, and we get more requests/problems, we can do this more often (and start just picking more interesting/new things).
zvi: self-portrait: short, fat, black dyke in bunny slippers (Default)

[personal profile] zvi 2009-07-03 02:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Can you clarify the difference between a TOS change which would appear in DW News and one which is handled as a bug report? What's the difference between major and minor?
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)

[staff profile] denise 2009-07-03 02:57 pm (UTC)(link)
For the ToS:

Adding a sentence or so to clarify something that we intended all along, but someone pointed out that what we said wasn't clear enough: minor

Adding a new provision that wasn't in there before: major

For the privacy policy:

Adding a sentence or so to clarify something that we intended all along, but someone pointed out that what we said wasn't clear enough, or adding a section to cover a new feature or update the list of outside vendors: minor

Adding a new provision that wasn't there before: major
syderia: lotus Syderia (Default)

[personal profile] syderia 2009-07-03 04:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the information !
lo_rez: green-on-black classic radar circular grid (Default)

[personal profile] lo_rez 2009-07-03 07:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Information much appreciated; thank you!
pthalo: a photo of Jelena Tomašević in autumn colours (Default)

[personal profile] pthalo 2009-07-03 08:46 pm (UTC)(link)
This all sounds perfectly reasonable. :)

One question about this sentence "many feeds do carry ads and do not intend to strip them." what does that mean?

(no subject)

[personal profile] pthalo - 2009-07-03 20:55 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] poulpette - 2009-07-03 23:30 (UTC) - Expand
msilverstar: (Default)

[personal profile] msilverstar 2009-07-04 12:10 am (UTC)(link)
Sensible clarifications to a sensible TOS, always a good thing :-)

Is there any way you could link from the TOS to these explanations? Because no one just reading the TOS would know to look here.

~~
I tried to click on one of the TOS Change feed links and got this error:
Mercurial Error

An error occured while processing your request:

No match found

I reproduced it by clicking on other links.

Also please note that there's a typo (occured) and that my blockquote tag is not showing up during preview of this comment.

Re: Comment pages for feeds

[personal profile] azurelunatic - 2009-07-07 21:22 (UTC) - Expand

Re: Comment pages for feeds

[personal profile] azurelunatic - 2009-07-07 21:29 (UTC) - Expand

Re: Comment pages for feeds

[personal profile] azurelunatic - 2009-07-07 23:41 (UTC) - Expand

Re: Comment pages for feeds

[personal profile] azurelunatic - 2009-07-07 23:56 (UTC) - Expand
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)

Comment pages for feeds

[personal profile] susanreads 2009-07-04 11:03 am (UTC)(link)
If the feed supports comment links, the reply to link will go to the page described as the comment page I don't know whether that will affect this, because I don't know how to tell whether a feed supports comment links:

I recently managed (after several failures) to create a feed for somebody's LJ who isn't cross-posting to Dwth yet, and her recent entries appeared on my reading page. They include a link to the original post, but there's also a "Leave a comment" link, which goes to a page that looks like an entry page on a journal (I hadn't realised it created pseudo-journals for all the feeds).

Isn't this some kind of ethics issue? I don't think we should be able to comment on a feed within Dwth, because the pseudo-journal isn't controlled by the original author of the content. I'd want to comment at the original site (and it would be really cool if my reading page showed the number of comments there, but I expect most feeds don't contain that info). If there isn't a reply page for the "Leave a comment" link to go to, I think it should go to the original entry or not be there at all.
msilverstar: (leaf)

Re: Comment pages for feeds

[personal profile] msilverstar 2009-07-05 03:46 am (UTC)(link)
I don't think there's an ethics thing -- feeds work that way all over the Web.

But it's really darn inconvenient.

Re: Comment pages for feeds

[personal profile] triadruid - 2009-07-06 15:38 (UTC) - Expand

Re: Comment pages for feeds

[personal profile] triadruid - 2009-07-14 03:26 (UTC) - Expand

Re: Comment pages for feeds

[personal profile] susanreads - 2009-07-06 21:46 (UTC) - Expand
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2009-07-07 09:18 pm (UTC)(link)
This makes fascinating reading.
risha: Illustration for "Naptime" by Martha Wilson (Default)

[personal profile] risha 2009-07-07 09:27 pm (UTC)(link)
This is a great way to make sure people read your updates! At least, people like me, who love the local newspaper's police blotter. :)
princessofgeeks: (Default)

[personal profile] princessofgeeks 2009-07-07 09:43 pm (UTC)(link)
thank you.
gchick: Small furry animal wearing a tin-foil hat (Default)

[personal profile] gchick 2009-07-07 10:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm not sure I'm getting this:

* A new feed account style will be created that does not show full posts on the recent entries page

Do you mean that this will be an option at the time a feed account is created, or that all feeds will be summary-only, even when the publisher of the feed has set up the feed to syndicate full posts?

If it's the latter, I'm really pretty bothered by the change: first, because the reason I prefer reading a lot of things here rather than in another reader is that they're integrated in my normal flow without having to do a lot of clicking to get to each article; and second, because feed publishers can already control whether they put out full stories or not.

(no subject)

[personal profile] gchick - 2009-07-07 22:27 (UTC) - Expand
auburn: (Green Book & Glasses)

[personal profile] auburn 2009-07-07 11:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Lucid and informative, thank you. I never imagined I'd find myself reading about TOS and being both interested and enjoying it.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2009-07-08 12:13 am (UTC)(link)
The only thing I'm really having any concern over (and it's not a personal concern, it's an obsession-with-the-details concern) is an apparent possible contradiction between "don't accept accounts that others have made for you" and "if you're under 13, a parent may make an account for you with their information". I completely understand that this is intended to be perhaps the sole exception, but it doesn't appear to be acknowledged in the text of the TOS.
toshirodragon: (Default)

[personal profile] toshirodragon 2009-07-08 02:07 am (UTC)(link)
I don't use feeds so I am rather bleh... on that aspect of the update BUT I am LOVING this:

Some people have been asking about our adult content policies; our policy is--go for it. Adult content that's not illegal is allowed; additionally, you do not have to mark it as adult content, although those tools are available if you wish to use them.

We've received several reports of understandably upsetting content; some people requesting that we remove it. However, this content to our knowledge is not illegal, so according to our operating principles it can remain. Fortunately, the content in question has decided to self label itself as 18+. You can set your display options to filter 18+ content and thereby avoid running into content labeled 18+ without warning. Keep in mind, though, that we do not require people to use adult content flags, so this is not a bulletproof method of avoidance. Browse carefully!


I mean just WHAT ARE YOU THINKING making people be responsible for their own browsing! How UNAmerican can you get!?

As an adult with adult tastes I thank you again for this part of your TOS. *applauds loudly*

velvetjinx: (Default)

[personal profile] velvetjinx 2009-07-08 09:11 am (UTC)(link)
This is one of my favourite things about DW - when there is a change, or when something is unclear, you explain it. You explain it in simple terms, without unnecessary buzzwords, and you make sure that we really know what's going on, which is really very much appreciated.

You guys win the internets.
ogam: (Far Out!)

[personal profile] ogam 2009-07-08 07:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Another stellar example of why I call DW "LJ done right."

I you guys.