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Access Rights


David Coram
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Since a national publication has recently quoted members of this site out of context, and today another high profile contributor has removed his own remarks and opinions to prevent anyone external getting hold of them, I think it is time to ask the team to review the policy of access to this board.

 

I think that open, full discussion and expression is now being restricted, and the board's usefulness as a searchable resource of answers to questions, popular opinions and ideas is similarly limited if people feel it's necessary to delete their own questions.

 

I don't think it's particularly unreasonable to suggest that anyone wishing to read these pages should have to subscribe first, and that accounts dormant for longer than 12 months should be wiped. I think that small measure would give reassurance to people whose views contribute to lively debate. If those sometimes controversial views are no longer expressed, this forum risks becoming no more than a gossip column.

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This is exactly what I do on my own Forum: access limited, even for reading,

to the members.

I did so because after 25 years working with big firms, I do not believe

any more we live in a democratic society.

This is to say this very decision express disapointed views; in what kind of civilisation

do we want to live ?

The 20th century was a time of "...isms", brilliant ideas that wanted to "better the world"

and ended up into disasters.

I think we are still engulfed in such a "...ism", and it is going worse every day. Time for,

not a revolution -another ism!-, but at least questioning. If we need an "enclosure" to be

able to discuss as gentle a subject as the pipe organ, the Neo-Gulag may await us next door.

Or ?

 

This said, it might sometimes happen problems arise because names have been cited

in controversial situations: X did Y in Z (or with!). This should always be avoided in

public discussions, and it is true even from the Forums period....Of the Antiquity.

 

Pierre

Marketing Manager Magadan Palace resort :P

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I am not in favour. When I am Googling for information and am directed to a forum it irks me to have to register to find out whether the information is of any use or relevance: most of the time it isn't. Such a policy would, I suspedct, be quite an imposition on our already busy moderators - just search the list of members by descending date of joining to see the number of spammers trying to register.

 

If we feel it necessary to refer to specific situations that might turn out to be a bit sensitive, it should not be beyond our wits to word our posts in a non-specific, non-attributable way and still get the advice or response we want. It just needs a bit of care and a recognition that Big Brother is always liable to be looking over your shoulder.

 

(Hi there, Hele Huggers! :P)

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Guest Echo Gamba
I am not in favour. When I am Googling for information and am directed to a forum it irks me to have to register to find out whether the information is of any use or relevance: most of the time it isn't. Such a policy would, I suspedct, be quite an imposition on our already busy moderators - just search the list of members by descending date of joining to see the number of spammers trying to register.

 

If we feel it necessary to refer to specific situations that might turn out to be a bit sensitive, it should not be beyond our wits to word our posts in a non-specific, non-attributable way and still get the advice or response we want. It just needs a bit of care and a recognition that Big Brother is always liable to be looking over your shoulder.

 

(Hi there, Hele Huggers! :P )

 

Agreed.

 

"Hele Huggers" - priceless!! :P

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Oh dear! Here we go again. What seems to be misunderstood is that, at present, anything written on the Internet is, in law, published; our contributions to this and any one of thousands of Internet newsgroups, forums, etc are - in law - published. It is irrelevant that an Internet forum is 'public' or 'private'. Anything may be published, provided it does not break the laws concerning published material. It would be useful to bear this in mind, and not confuse it with the erosion of the right to free speech - which is 'free' as long as it isn't defamatory...

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Guest Echo Gamba
There could be some of the boards (within the forum) made private - for bona fide 'subscribers' only, leaving others are public read access. I run a few forums this way. Though I don't personally use Invision on mine (I usually use SMF, or phpBB, and one on Agora) I'm sure that Invision would allow this.

 

That way, it would be up to posters whether to initiate a new topic on a private board (non-public-read) or in the public area, request/suggest that a moderator to move a topic to a private board (usually a one-click task), etc.. Normal members would be able to post/read in all boards, but guests would only be able to read public boards.

 

This forum operates a "members only" section

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I don't think that it should be necessary. If a publication chooses to quote somebody out of context, then anybody reading can come back here to see the context. If somebody is misquoted then that is a different matter and appropriate action can be taken. Either way, I don't think that anyone here should feel inhibited about expressing their views even if they are accessible to a wider audience (as long as they do so in a lawful way).

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I don't think that it should be necessary. If a publication chooses to quote somebody out of context, then anybody reading can come back here to see the context.

 

Do you research everything which appears in quotation marks in the newspaper? No, thought not. You only know something's out of context if you already know something about the person making the statement.

 

The issue is not whether something falls within the legal definition of 'published'; that much is known and we all know there's no escaping it. I had thought earlier that we might prefer to have our conversation in the pub, with the door closed but unlocked to those willing to turn the handle, rather than down megaphones in a public park. After reading the thoughts of others, I've reached the conclusion that it wouldn't make the blindest scrap of difference whatsoever.

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(Hi there, Hele Huggers! :))

Hello ;)

 

I used to read the forum before I registered as a member, but I suspect I might not have registered at all if I hadn't been able to read first. Perhaps the best solution would be a fourth sub-forum, for topics of a more private nature, with access to read restricted to members only - the pub 'snug' rather than the debating hall. Not sure if the software or Manders' time allows for this, though.

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Guest Patrick Coleman

As I said before, I don't give a monkeys who quotes me, where they quote me, or what they say about it. That said, I do consider very carefully whether my words are expressive of opinions and views (sometimes strongly felt) or whether they are defamatory or unnecessarily hurtful, in which case I keep my mouth (and keyboard) firmly shut (not out of fear of litigation but because I think it's wrong to cast aspersions on another's character - even when the facts may be correct). By and large, I think this forum benefits from a membership who have strong views, are prepared to argue and defend them robustly, but do so with genuine, not creeping, respect for colleagues.

 

This is a Good Thing, and anonymous snitch episodes like that in the Church Times are reprehensible because they create Chinese whispers out of a genuine discussion and set up an atmosphere of paranoia.

 

If forum members are really going to be inhibited by such episodes, I would support having a section where only registered members may read posts, though it should be recognised that the security bar for such things is very low indeed.

 

My preference would be for us all to stand up for our views, argue for them persuasively, eloquently and vigorously in public, and face down the spoilers when they raise their twisted heads.

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I don't think it's workable. We're notorious for not sticking to the advertised topic of any given thread: how is the OP to know whether to start the thread in the snug, the bar, the debating hall or the park?

What might work would be a button that the individual poster could click to hide a given post from anonymous readers (and, more importantly, search engines). I'm pretty sure that Invision doesn't have that atm.

 

Even then, you'd have to leave a "hidden post" placeholder else somebody reading the thread anonymously - or a registered, but not logged on, user would see the replies to the hidden posts without the posts themselves which could be a bit disorientating. And then you'd get people who would quote hidden posts in unhidden ones. Maybe not such a good idea.

 

The fundamental issue is that anybody determined to cause trouble can under any system do so, simply by registering - as Patrick said, the security bar is very low indeed, so if you don't want people to know what you've said, either don't say it, or use a pseudonym.

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Well, if people cannot be bothered to use the software as designed, then they shouldn't be using it.

Hugely disagree. Software is there to serve its users, not vice versa. If people aren't using it as designed, that usually means that either (i) the design doesn't reflect the users' needs or (ii) they are using it faut de mieux because the software that they do need either doesn't exist or they haven't found it.

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There could be some of the boards (within the forum) made private - for bona fide 'subscribers' only, leaving others are public read access. I run a few forums this way. Though I don't personally use Invision on mine (I usually use SMF, or phpBB, and one on Agora) I'm sure that Invision would allow this.

 

That way, it would be up to posters whether to initiate a new topic on a private board (non-public-read) or in the public area, request/suggest that a moderator to move a topic to a private board (usually a one-click task), etc.. Normal members would be able to post/read in all boards, but guests would only be able to read public boards.

I think this an excellent idea, and it's probably going to be the way forward if a number of us are to feel reasonably free to contribute to discussion at times.

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Oh dear! Here we go again. What seems to be misunderstood is that, at present, anything written on the Internet is, in law, published; our contributions to this and any one of thousands of Internet newsgroups, forums, etc are - in law - published. It is irrelevant that an Internet forum is 'public' or 'private'. Anything may be published, provided it does not break the laws concerning published material. It would be useful to bear this in mind, and not confuse it with the erosion of the right to free speech - which is 'free' as long as it isn't defamatory...

Which just goes to prove that Mr. Bumble was correct in his conclusion that the law is, indeed, an ass.

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I see well your point, drd.

But the computer industry should learn something about ergonomy.

Any other products that would be so difficult to use would have been

out of market since day one.

(Of course I am an old nail, but far from being alone in thinking that way)

 

Pierre

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