Site talk:Policies

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I am going to change the policies around a bit this evening. If you don't like the changes let me know.--Matthewfaulconer 07:36, 25 Mar 2005 (CET)

Copyright Issues[edit]

I didn't get everything done. I still need to flesh out about how to handle quotations. Also need to address copyright of non-oritinal commentary content. --Matthewfaulconer 08:36, 25 Mar 2005 (CET)

Don't forget that the site may be protected under "fair use" of copyrighted work, as this is a quasi-educational work (quasi is the only term I think is appropriate). Quotations of certain lengths, particularly in work available in the first half of last century will typically be okay to use under other copyright usages. I personally think quotations are much needed in any scriptural commentary. Just a thought. -Visorstuff 19:02, 25 Mar 2005 (CET)
Hi Visorstuff, I'd like the site to take a conservative interpretation of fair use. Also, I'd like to give people guidelines. What do you think a good, conservative guideline is for the maximum length of a fair use quotation? --Matthewfaulconer 17:29, 26 Mar 2005 (CET)

Although I took some communications law classes and seminars at one time, I do not pretend to be a lawyer - I'd reccomend asking someone who is a communications lawyer - they will give you an extra-conservative view.

According to Wikipedia:

Fair use makes copyrighted work available to the public as raw material without the need for permission or clearance, so long as such free usage serves the purpose of copyright law, which the U.S. Constitution defines as the promotion of "the Progress of Science and useful Arts" (I.1.8), better than the legal enforcement of claims of infringement. The doctrine hereby attempts to balance the interests of individual copyright holders with the social or cultural benefits that follow from the creation and distribution of derivative works. Insofar as this doctrine protects forms of expression that might otherwise be enjoined as copyright infringing, it has been related to First Amendment free speech protections in the U.S. Constitution. [1] (emphasis added).

That said, a simple rule is that anything which has been published in the past 75 years is still under copyright protection - it is much more complicated that that, but it is accurate enough. However, if the work is quoting someone who was alive prior to 1900, you could probably cite the source as a source of the quote, as you could get it from a number of other sources or primary documents. For example, anyone who quotes Joseph Smith, the Smith quote would be covered under fair use, and to be honest, I think the author gets a bit of advertising by you using their work over an unpublished mss or someone elses.

Second rule, is that if you can find the work under a GNU licence it would be fair game. If the quote is posted online, that is a fuzzy area, but most would consider it fair to use.

Third, as long as you are not copying significant portions of a work [2], I think site editors and you as site owner are safe. For me, I try to make sure not to use more than about 250-300 words of any given work on a given page or in a given research section (for two reasons, first, credibility - if I rely too much on one source, it seems fishy; and second, copyright issues - but this is secondary concern). I may use more from a given work in another area, but that is to me a different contribution, and should be treated seperately.

However, as site owner, you have more to worry about, as you hold the whole site. If you had it on different servers in different locations, that would be another story. It can get pretty complicated. I'd read some of the readings about the Internet and Cyber Law, and Digital Rights from Wikipedia external links section. I think many people assume improperly that they cannot copy a CD or DVD, which is untrue under fair use, but rather, it is how the copy(ies) are used and the intent of the copier. For all practical purposes, as long as I do not re-broadcast or widely distribute (some rulings have said about ten copies) or distribute for compensation, I can make a number of copies of a given work. However, you can guess that the line between "broadcast," "distribute," and the concept of the Internet are complicated and fuzzy. Also, technically speaking, the embedding of the site in your own could be considered a copyright infringement, however, it wouldn't be held up as this is an "educational" site.

A recent movement on Wikipedia is that each editor keeps his own copyright (and is thus legally accountable for his own edits) and they licence it for distribution. I have a similar licence on my Wikipedia page - see I only multi-licence. There are a number of licences available - see my talk page on wikipedia for more details - this topic has come up a number of times in relation to images, the licence and so forth.

Personally, I think you are safe as long as you have a site policy that states the authors are responsible for thier own edits (and by editing, editors agree to it), and that they need to not infringe on copyrights. Remember, this site's stated purpose is to bring together commentary to educate others, and I believe contributions, if not abused fit under "the Progress of Science and useful Arts." If you really want help with drafting a policy, I'd suggest asking one of the lawyers that contribute to, to help wiht the language (or find something like wikipedia that you feel is appropriate to pattern after). I'd prefer not to help, but can if you need. However, if that is the case, I'd be equally responsible, so, more rights would be needed in my behalf. I'd be glad to help if you need. Let me know. Sorry for my ramble - feel free to archive or delete later... -Visorstuff 03:24, 27 Mar 2005 (CEST)

One more thought, you may want to remove your own site copyright (at bottom of page) and licence under fair use to remove your own responsiblility. Your copyright would in effect in some countries be considered as a broadcast or distribution.

Also, see -Visorstuff 03:26, 27 Mar 2005 (CEST)

Visorstuff, thanks for the information. I haven't digested it all yet. There's a lot here. Hopefully I'll have figured out how to put the site policies back together by tomorrow evening. Thanks for your help. --Matthewfaulconer 07:52, 27 Mar 2005 (CEST)
Visorstuff, I still haven't digested it all. I revised the policies and hopefully this resolved some concerns but I think I haven't addressed everything you discuss here. I am hope to address your other points by week end. Expect some additional questions. --Matthew Faulconer 10:24, 29 Mar 2005 (CEST)

Mar 29 changes request for feedback[edit]

All, I made some major changes to the policies. Any feedback or suggestions on the new policies are appreciated. Thanks, --Matthew Faulconer 10:21, 29 Mar 2005 (CEST)

Commentary Rules[edit]

I disagree with rule one, not in principle, but in the way it is written. Who is the judge as to whether a view can be supported by a believing member... I'm actually quite certain that if Joseph Smith was to add some of his views, he could be considered in violation of this rule.

Furthermore, Rule 1 seems to conflict with Rule 3, which allows for a nuetral point of view agreed upon by all editors. Rule one is black and white, where rule 3 allows for the gray area that will always exist.

I'm also going to object to rule 6, as how exactly are we going to discover which views are acceptable and which are not without them being put on the site? Views that are extreme to one person may be perfectly fine to another.

I would suggest dropping these rules and going with a rule that says something like "This site is not meant to be anti-mormon, and editors who consistently contribute anti-mormon views will be banned"

Hi, Thank you for taking the time to read the policies and think about how to make them better. To address your concerns I suggest the following. Let's leave your concerns noted here for a time. Let's all give them some thought, and let's address them in a couple of months. One reason for this pause is just to give others time to mull over your suggestions. But for that we don't need a whole month. The more important reason is to give you time to become an active contributor to the site. I am honestly glad to hear everyone's thoughts and comments on the policies, but when it comes to actually changing them I value most the opinions and thoughts of active contributors. So with that, I ask that over this next month or two you become an active participant. Read the scriptures, login to the site, share with us your best questions, your best insights--your best commentary. Don't seek out controversy here for we want to work as one team. Then in a month or two, after you have become a regular contributor, if these policy issues are the thing that you think it is best for us to address, let's return to your points and figure out together the best solution. I believe that most differences of opinion are pretty easily reconciled when people share the same goals (as I believe we all do on this site) and sincerely do their best to accomplish them. Does tihs plan make sense to you?
--Matthew Faulconer 09:24, 10 Aug 2005 (CEST)
I suppose you have a valid point that I haven't become a regular yet, and I'm not sure that I will anyway. I am a 'regular' user of Wikipedia, though still quite new to that site, I make edits and contributions 2-3 times a week. I guess you wouldn't say I'm a power-user, but I think I'm moving off the point here...
When I think about all the bloggernacle viewpoints I've seen, and combine that with my experiences on Wikipedia, it lead me to disagree with a couple of your policies. I'm not going to "Be Bold" and change them, but I do think that they need to be changed. I am perfectly fine with these policies being further discussed with other editors.
Furthermore, Matthew, I see that you are trying to guide this project in a certain direction, but as this is a wiki, to some extent you have to release control to the editors, whether they be regular users or annonymous fly-bys. Wikipedia shows that this works, admittedly with some frayed edges here and there.
As the creator, I believe you should clearly define the scope of the project, but after that, it is up to the contributors to decide exaclty how it plays out.
Now, feel free to accept or disregard my opinions. I'm not going to force any issues. I'm only here because of a freind's email, and I decided to do some fly-by editing and commenting to see how it would play out.
Ultimately, I'm looking for a "Mormon Doctrine" wiki, so I'm not sure I fit here. But I'll have to keep tabs on it now that I've commented so much, eh?
Hi, I hope you do keep tabs and if you change your mind and think it is a good fit, I still hope that become a regular contributor. Either way, good luck.
One day I hope that this site has a large enough group of people to support a policy committee ala wikipedia. I would be glad to focus more on the scriptures and the associated commentary and less on the policies and other related administrivia on the site. But for now I think it would be unwise to organize a committee for policies when we tend to have a max of only 10 people commenting in a single week. Everything has a time.
--Matthew Faulconer 06:38, 11 Aug 2005 (CEST)
PS also thanks to your friend who recommended the site in an e-mail to you. This word of mouth is I think the most important way for the site to grow.