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elmcitymaven

Reconsidering the TOS: A message to the Captain and the mods

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Captain, as I'm sure you're aware there has been much discussion for some time regarding the TOS, its interpretation and how it does (and does not) merge with community standards. As someone who has read the TOS many times, and who now strives to abide by it as much as possible having spent time in TOS jail in years past, I write to press the case that the TOS is no longer fully fit for purpose and needs to be reconsidered and restated.

I do not suggest that the TOS be scrapped. In fact, I think there is much to commend in the existing document, particularly its flexibility. However, sometimes this flexibility can result in decisions that appear arbitrary at best, and prejudicial at first. I agree that the mods have a tough job, and that for the most part they rely on reporting of members to enforce the TOS. That's great! It makes the members accountable to other members, which in turn fosters a greater sense of community and allegiance to keeping the site run well.

But there are any number of problems that should be addressed beyond the question of arbitrariness that arise from the TOS as currently constituted. A cursory glance just now at the TOS reveals a number of glaring typographical errors and several terms that appear to be defined but lack an actual definition. The website itself is referred to as "VisaJourney.com" and "Visajourney.com" with no reason. Perhaps even more importantly, despite there being clauses relating to remedies, severability of provisions, disclaimers of warranties and of damages, indemnification, non-waiver and limitation of liability, there is nothing to indicate jurisdiction. Captain, this really needs to be present in order to give any meaning to the admonitions present in the document.

My reasons for wanting to open up a discussion about the TOS are twofold. First, a clear restatement will give members confidence that the TOS protects them as well as the site. I certainly know I have been protected by it on many occasions. Second, a clear restatement will protect VJ in the fairly unlikely event that it does get into some sort of hot water. To this end, I make a modest suggestion. I recall several years ago being part of a team to beta test what was then a new iteration of VJ. There were mods and users of some standing involved in the testing. We all worked together to make VJ a better website and while there were some bumps when it was rolled out, everyone got used to it. I propose that you consider putting together a committee to reconsider the TOS and make it a stronger and clearer document while still retaining its flexibility. Like the beta test team, members should be drawn from the mods and the users -- preferably level-headed examples from both ponds. :P The committee could take its time, solicit suggestions from within the group and from the community at large, and work to make a TOS that will result in fewer "OMG WTH WHY ARE THE MODS PICKING ON MEEEEEEE" threads from old and new users alike.

I am happy to be shot down if there are good reasons that this should not occur. And I promise (maybe) not to be amongst the whingers if my idea is rejected outright. :)

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Like the beta test team, members should be drawn from the mods and the users -- preferably level-headed examples from both ponds. :P

That basically rules out anyone and everyone from CE&HST. <_<


Don't interrupt me when I'm talking to myself

2011-11-15.garfield.png

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I have this vision of TOJ jail and showers and....

it-computers-prisoners-crimes-tallying-c


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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VJ really does need a clear idea of what its community standards are, as far as determining what is or isn't in the TOS, rather than allowing the situation where individuals apply their own - the recent stuff about acceptable language use being a case in point.

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