Brainstorming Board

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NOTE: I'd be interested in people's comments on the solutions, and I'd be even more interested in other people's ideas for solutions, but I am adamantly not interested in hearing over again why people hate the BBC policies for h2g2.
If you want to discuss the latter, I suggest you check out the Zaphodista page. The Zaphodistas and I don't exactly agree on methods1, but we do seem to share a vaguely common goal of wanting h2g2 to be a place where everyone can "share and enjoy". smiley - cool

Many people have been complaining about moderation, and want to know why we can't go back to the policy of "moderation after the fact".

The BBC legal team has apparently already examined this policy and determined that it poses too much of a liability risk.2 The lawyers aren't going to change their minds simply because people don't like the current policy, and the BBC isn't going to expose its pocketbook and legal hiney, even if a bunch of people threaten to walk.

The problem here is *not* moderation. The problem is how to protect the BBC from legal liability due to people's postings. Moderation is simply a solution to that problem, and is unfortunately one most of us are not overly fond of. If you want to get rid of moderation, you need to come up with another solution to go in it's place.

Unfortunately, the possible solutions I can come up with are simple enough that I'm assuming the BBC/h2g2 people have already discussed them. But, it does seem like it might be more reasonable and productive to brainstorm and discuss possible solutions than to repeat over and over again the Zaphodista demands? Maybe if we can come up with some decent ideas, we might be able to get TPTB to explain to us why some of them are unfeasible, and then we could come up with better ideas, that might even work.

Anyways, if anyone is interested, I have posted a list of some possible solutions to some of the different problems below. I've suggested this kind of discussion before, in the fora, but no one seemed interested. So, I decided to set up my own entry, and post my thoughts here.

These solutions only pertain to the potential problem of someone suing because they are grossly offended. They do not deal with the policies currently in place due to copyright reasons, which includes the ban on offsite pictures.

  1. Have all h2g2 members sign statements accepting full legal responsibility for the content of their postings. One problem with this solution is that it would have no face validity unless h2g2 had real valid names and contact info for all of the members. Right now, people can register under anonymous email addresses, and I'm assuming most people would like to keep it that way.
  2. Have all h2g2 members click OK when they join to a statement that basically waives their right to be offended. For non-members this would probably have to pop up every time they try to enter the guide. Many other sites work this way, although it does not provide as airtight of a protection as some other options. The bigger the company, the deeper the pocketbooks, the more conservative policies generally have to be in order to protect the company from litigation.
  3. Have, in essence, 2 versions of the guide -- one moderated and one not. Non-members can only see the moderated version, members have the option of seeing the moderated or non-moderated. Members would only be allowed to see the unmoderated version if they had waived their right to be offended. Admittedly, this option would require considerably more computer power and at least somewhat more manpower. However, it's possible that the resources of the BBC would make this option viable.

One problem with most, if not all, of these solutions is that they do not necessarily protect the BBC from the specific kind of litigation involved in the Demon case, where libel is involved. In libel suits, not only is the plaintiff claiming that *he* was offended by the post, he is also claiming that he was injured by *other* people reading the posts (in this case, his professional reputation was damaged due to falsified posts). This is one of the reasons why the BBC is worried about "after the fact" moderation -- by the time person/company XX sees the nasty things that have been written about them and hits the yikes button (or otherwise complains), it's entirely possible that thousands of people have read the post and the reputation of person/company XX has been therefore damaged.

I also have some ideas regarding the other "issues", but am too tired to post them tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

1And they have, apparently, called me a Loyalist Stooge of Tyranny or somesuch, for the grievous sin of preferring alabaster. Yes, I'm a girl! And I like girlie colors! I admit it! And I can't read white print on a dark background any more than I can read Braille. smiley - blush2I, along with others, have tried to explain the legal reasoning behind this -- I'm willing to explain again, but only if someone asks, as I don't think anyone really cared the first time I tried to explain.

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