Friday, December 21, 2007

Suggestions on what comment policy should be for "Recording Industry vs. The People"?


1. I find comment moderation problematic because of the time delay it causes.... but I feel it may be necessary to prevention of comment spam if I allow anonymous posting.

2. Should I allow anonymous posting?

3. If someone posts anonymously but doesn't put in some kind of 'handle' should I reject the post?

Input on these issues, or any other suggestions, would be appreciated.

Keywords: digital copyright online law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs


StephenH said...

I support the current comment policy. It is very clearly defined, and that comments have to be ethically correct and not spam or off-topic.

Anonymous said...

Find someone else with more time that you trust to handle the moderation tasks for you.

The downside of that is that, at this time, we are assured that you see every post, and hopefully every helpful suggestion. You might be more likely to miss ideas if you're not seeing the messages.


Jadeic said...

I have no quibble whatsoever with your current comment policies. Moreover, given the profile of your blog, such policies are required to maintain the integrity of the postings. On past evidence I have no problem either with the slight delay moderation causes but am ever conscious of the burden this places on you - but see no way around this. As regards anonymous postings, the recent short debate on this issue produced a preferred solution to allow such postings but request that the individual sign off with an adopted handle in order to make it possible to follow the ebb and flow of comment by several, presumed different, anonymous individuals. By and large this voluntary code seems to have worked well and has improved matters. Now you ask whether to block anonymous posts without a handle... this is more problematic and my best guess is that you will make such decisions on a post by post basis. I would hate to think that pertinent points are lost simply because the poster desires/requires anonymity. One possible solution would be that you yourself copy and paste the comment into your own post and assign a handle, anon01... anon 02 etc., that we can refer to in any responses. Cumbersome I know but it could work - but more work for you.

Hope this helps.


Unknown said...

It's my opinion that you should disallow anonymous posting. It's not a significant hassle for people to have to login and identify themselves in some way. Moreover, commentators build a certain reputation depending on quality of their comments or lack thereof. Part of the beauty and helpfulness of this blog is how it fosters a sense of community amongst readers. Being able to readily identify who is who helps maintain that sense of community. Additionally, requiring a login will prevent any kind of "identity theft" in case one commentator tries to discredit another by signifying they are someone they are not.

Alter_Fritz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Reluctant Raconteur said...


Keep it moderated
Allow anonymous postings
the handle does make it easier to follow

Mojo Tooth said...

If it really comes down to a tradeoff of "good comments" versus "moderation effort," then I would suggest you disable anonymous posting. While the rare anonymous poster spouts some gem of wisdom, by and large APs have nothing to say.

raybeckerman said...

Alter_Fritz, you of all people, violated comment policy #2. Here is corrected version:

My thoughts
1) the time delay might be an issue in so far that it prevents these kind of comments that can take into account what another commenter might have said valuable about topic just shortly before another comment was written but it took several hours between your viewing visits and the liveswitching of both of them at once.
So I think I see what your concernes might be.
If I understand your laws correctly YOU as the blogowner are not responsible for the comments of the posters, So even if someone spams here uselessly or violates your comment content rules and his post should be visible for a few hours between your visits it will not have legal negative consequences. (other than if you would be a german blogger and face some of the silly judgements of the court in Hamburg)

So if I were in your situation and jurisdiction I would try the setting to allow those "non blogger" postings too, but have the captcha thingy active to prevent at least the automatic spam bots from dumping their junk here if that setting is choosable.

If you would make it clear in your introductional 1,2,3,4 piece that you have a fight against RIAA to fight beside watching this blog for unappropriate comments and that it therefore could be that ******** could be visible for a few hours I guess that would be enough to prevent that RIAA-Richard might start to cite those part time "bad apples" in bad faith to judges.
Of course It would be usefull in such a case that the genuine commenters will not refer in their own comments to such ********* if it appears before their own post to not have it look awkward once you do your patroling round and delete the shit.

2) concluding from the foregoing; YES

3) NO, you should not! But if you feel uncomfortable to have many guys with the same "name", disable "Anonymous" if it is possible to do just that but leave the option number 2 to post as nonblogger with the filling in of a nickname.
In the end there is no difference if someone post as "anonymous" but signs of his post with "--LMAA" in the text or has LMAA as name a few milimeter below that place.
Of course psychologicly you might feel more comfortable if you see some kind of signature that you THINK you "know" or can trust or be a bit linient if a "known" commenter walks on thin ice with regard to your policies, but the truth is, even a registered nick is NOT a guarantee that it is one individual (remember this thingy that an IP address is not a person mantra we try to get thru to judges?).

Sure if you have a comment suppostly written by a guy that identifies itself as "Identity: IsBlogger Alter_Fritz" that might give you a better feeling then "identity: NonBloggerwithNickname Alter_Fritz" or "Identity: Anonymous --Alter_Fritz" but in the end, they all could be the same individual or totally unrelated persons.
While the "IsBlogger" identified onces might be more likely to be from the same guy those too could be from totally strangers since all that prevents some other guy to use this Handle is some kind of password that could get guessed or stolen or even willfully given by me to other persons to post as "me"

"on the internet nobody knows that you are a dog" cartoon comes to mind.

Conclusion and prayer for relief
Don't play so much around with the blog. It was irretating enough to have some symbols now.
Keep Allowed commenting as nonblogger.
Use captcha against machine spam
Any further relief the blogowners see just and propper.

Anonymous said...

I support the Anonymous posting and ask that they continue.

Considering the nature of the plaintiffs, and their "Sue-Often" position, I do not feel comfortable to post except as anonymous, and I would be very unlikely to post if the anonymous option is taken away. I am also worried of the tying of my google searches to my comments on this blog, which do become possible if I log into google. (It does not appear that a Blogger (only) id can be created anymore)

Also, I also make technical comments that I do not want to reflect on my employer.

Since the Blogger interface does not let you add anything to the comments, just post or reject, I think that assigning a ID to each post is more work than it is worth. Thus, if you feel you wish to enforce your sign-off policy, I would support your rejection of blank anonymous comments.

Do be aware that requiring a log-in is no assurance that single persons are not posting under many logins, as someone can create more than one ID.

Too bad the Blogger system does not support the "Magic Word" system used on other systems. A lot of forums require anonymous comments to contain a specific word. Those posts containing the word are passed right away, leaving the rest for moderation. Although a comment spammer could read the forum and find out the word, 99% of them dont....


Anonymous said...

Ray, in all seriousness, this IS the internet. Anyone can sign in with different nics, at different times, days, and still be one person. So whether someone is truely Anonymous, or Anonymously registered with a handle (acorn390 :) it matters little. What does matter is the material being posted.

It appears you have little time for dealing with all this, and I think someone suggested you have a trusted person helping out with the site, and that would be a good suggestion.

So many of us here appreciate this site and the time you can afford here. Thank you


Alter_Fritz said...

Mea culpa Raymond

"feces" was not in my "ready to use without looking it up" english treasury of words.

I will try to remember it from now on ;-)

Alter_Fritz said...

Calm said...

BubbaT says,
If spam is all you are worried about,
allow semianonymous postings.

Let people create accounts for which you do not collect any private information. Delaying approving these accounts by 24 should significantly reduce the problem internet mischief.

Art said...

Ray, first of all, thank you so much for the work you do. The information and insights you provide are priceless to us all.

Personally, I don't get much "quality" out of the anonymous posts, but they don't bother me either as I appreciate the diversity of opinions. I'd suggest that if they cause you more effort than not having them, that they be dropped. The stories can be cross posted to slashdot or similar site, where moderation and weeding out spam and malicious posters is handled by a distributed set of peers instead of wasting your valuable time. Perhaps we can do a better job of reading these other sites and giving consise summaries of any important or new points here. Also, regarding anonymity, it's possible to get a google account to post and still maintain some extent of anonymity.

Finally, I'd ask you how we as non-lawyers can better help you with our comments on the blog. (Of course, I'm sure we're all already contributing to the legal funds...).


Anonymous said...

I second what Matthew said.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm going to put in a vote for anonymous postings.

The fact is that the RIAA doesn't care if people are guilty before filing suit and they are more than happy to drag innocent people into court, through litigation and discovery. There is little to keep them from deciding to subpoena Google for the ID's of people who post here. Although Google could probably provide a great deal of desegregated data even without a Blogger ID, I see no reason to encourage the RIAA by requiring all posters to have registered Blogger IDs.

It would be nice if Blogger would let registered users post immediately and send anon posts to you for manual moderation. Also, many people may not realized that you can simply click on the "Nickname" button and type in a handle. Perhaps there is a way to remove the no nickname "Anonymous" button but leave the "Nickname" option?

Juan Cierva said...

Mr Beckerman,
I'm in no doubt you have far better things to do than weed out inappropriate posts to your blog, but am also conscious of the danger of not moderating them. A difficult one.
I second the proposals of RJ and Art, above.

Anonymous said...

I may be coming to this discussion late, but I will mention that I am only able to comment via Groklaw & Slashdot due to their permitting anonymity. Thus, I greatly appreciate that Mr. Beckerman has allowed such as me to comment.

That said, I think that it's safe to hold anonymous comments until you approve them and simply never approve the bad ones. I do NOT recommend just removing them later, though. I just don't trust the RIAA that much, particularly after the revelation that they were willing to pay thousands of dollars to acquire TorrentSpy's emails, yet somehow surprised that that might not happen in a legal manner. I wouldn't buy that excuse any more than sooner than I'd buy a cheap stereo that "fell off a truck." And the information in the MediaDefender leaks made public merely solidifies in my mind just how... ethically questionable... they're willing to be.

If you lack time, I support having a trusted third party do the approval. But I don't think the comments are that time-sensitive. Most of them are messages for you, anyhow, so you can just avoid approving them when you don't have time.

Anonymous said...

Ray, while it does make more work, allowing anon comments (or nicknames) is essential for those of us who do not want to use our Google IDs for posting (I am one who had mentioned this to you :-) ).
There may be a middle ground (I will see what I can come up with.