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Thread: therian.org community hub

  1. #1
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    Default therian.org community hub

    Hey all,

    So I set up the website at therian.org . It's supposed to be some kind of community hub where people can get insight into a number of different Therian communities at once.

    I am interested in integrating the latest posts from other Therian communities and similar resources, including the Werelist. Technically this is achieved using a RSS feed, which seems to me to be turned off on the Werelist software. If you would be willing to have your latest (public) posts shared there, please send me a working RSS link and I will add it.

    Basically, the website does not store any information, the feed is retrieved in real time, so any content that is no longer public will instantly vanish from the site.

    Feel free to give any feedback regarding any changes you would find desirable on this page. It's sortof a work in progress and I hope it doesn't offend anyone.

    LP,
    Dusty
    Most problems are man-made.

  2. #2
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    While that sounds like a wonderful thing for the community, there are all kinds of ethical problems with taking user generated content from this site and publishing it elsewhere, in places they did not consent to explicitly. So no, we can't actually support that specific thing, even if we do support your efforts in general to create more content for the community. You can certainly ask people's permission to use their posts, or encourage them to post on your site, or link back to Werelist. But there has to be consent to display anyone's personal content that way.

    If it's remotely feasible, I'm going to loosely toss out the idea of setting up a public area where people would know it was public and that they were consenting to their posts being republished in this manner via your feed? I don't know how feasible that is, however.
    Last edited by Savage; March 6th, 2021 at 08:40 PM.

  3. #3
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    There'd be the risk, in any such area, of people joining from "recent activity" and not seeing the notification that their content would be hosted elsewhere. Moreover, it would force traffic to be split between different publicly viewable areas of these forums, and it would be an issue if there was a thread someone wanted to participate in there but they didn't want their content shared on your website.
    "If you are worthy of his affection, a cat will be your friend but never your slave. He keeps his free will though he loves, and will not do for you what he thinks unreasonable; but if he once gives himself to you, it is with absolute confidence and fidelity of affection." -Theophile Gautier

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    Good points, Cheetah. I was wondering if it would be feasible to do a little sub-sub-forum that was very clearly labeled as being such an RSS accessible feed that might be visible on other sites, but it might not be, for both technical and ethical reasons.

    Let's brainstorm how we can support such a hub while making sure that no one's personal content is published anywhere they do not explicitly consent to.

  5. #5
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    The thing is that this applies for basically everything you could put on it that's part of a feed. Like, it looks like it's pulling Tweets that use #therian, and posts from the r/therian subreddit. I don't see how the same problems don't apply to those mediums. The users probably don't even know that their posts are in that feed; the people using the hashtag almost certainly don't know; you can't really announce things like that on Twitter.

    There may be less of a big deal pulling from Twitter or Reddit, because the expectation is that a shitload of unrelated people are capable of browsing hashtags or subreddits... but privacy isn't the only problem with it you've laid out.

    Dustwolf could, possibly (I don't know how the coding works), only include material from people who had given permission and posted using a designated hashtag or a in a designated subreddit... but they'd get such a small subsample it would kind of defeat the purpose. The overwhelming majority of things happening in those communities, even on those websites, would not be in the feed.

    They could link to community sites. But we've got our own list of links, and plenty of other people have their own set of links too. It's also really not something that needs external support; therian.org already has one.

    They could host therian writings, as a variety of people do, but they already have a website that could be set up to do that. And they could make a directory of therian writings... but the Werelibrary already does that, and why divide efforts? Better to just submit any additional indexing using their contact form; the website is still being updated.

    In short, I don't believe it's possible to create a resource that fulfils the original vision while following the guidelines you laid out, and the alternatives are things that we can either not really provide constructive assistance with, and/or things that would just be duplicates of existing projects.
    Last edited by cheetah; March 7th, 2021 at 02:25 AM.
    "If you are worthy of his affection, a cat will be your friend but never your slave. He keeps his free will though he loves, and will not do for you what he thinks unreasonable; but if he once gives himself to you, it is with absolute confidence and fidelity of affection." -Theophile Gautier

  6. #6
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    Understandable. I think we will be limited to just supporting this site via a link to it and posts promoting it here, same as we do for other sites, for logistical reasons.

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    I find ethics debate about how public content may be used kinda pointless TBH. If you've made your posts public they might be re-shared on a hundred platforms that index this material and you'd never know. As a forum administrator I am keenly aware of the dozen or so bots that index all public contents of my forum at all times of day.

    If you are concerned with how your posts are used, don't consciously post them on public media, or use hashtags which are specifically intended for this purpose.


    Of course there are also advantages to standing in this global spotlight, if you wish to share your views more widely. As you know usually advertising isn't free. My offer is free.

    LP,
    Dusty
    Most problems are man-made.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savage View Post
    Understandable. I think we will be limited to just supporting this site via a link to it and posts promoting it here, same as we do for other sites, for logistical reasons.
    Alright. If you desire to write / modify the text that links the site you can send it to me at any time. I'm willing to offer up to a full page for this purpose.

    LP,
    Dusty
    Most problems are man-made.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DustWolf View Post
    I find ethics debate about how public content may be used kinda pointless TBH.
    TBH this reads as a major red flag, especially coming from a website administrator. If ethical discussion about the use of user-generated content doesn't concern you, that seems like a problem.

    If you've made your posts public they might be re-shared on a hundred platforms that index this material and you'd never know.
    Sure. And that maybe isn't ethical either, and it's absolutely worth talking about. The standards of data security and privacy online have been set by websites with a competitive and advertisement-based model, so we seem to have normalized ethical standards that would be abhorrent to us in a real-life equivalent scenario. Maybe we need a recalibration of our privacy standards online.

    If you are concerned with how your posts are used, don't consciously post them on public media, or use hashtags which are specifically intended for this purpose.
    I am concerned with how my posts are used, which is why I don't use public media, and why I disengage with platforms that can't meet basic privacy standards.

    It's also why people may not want posts in a semi-private circumstance like a small forum to be purposefully rebroadcast to a broader audience.

    If you're having a conversation in a public park, you are at least vaguely aware of the people around you who might be listening in. True, there might be people lurking and recording from the bushes, who you're just unaware of. It's kind of unavoidable.

    But if someone recorded your conversation and then blasted it out of a boombox from the top of the fountain in real-time, that would surely be seen as invasive and rude unless you had previously consented to it.

    I don't know for sure, it may be that some of these public media platforms have a provision in their signup agreements saying you agree to letting your posts be scraped for RSS feeds and the like.

    But absent that kind of agreement (which, honestly, most people aren't even aware they're agreeing to, because people don't usually thoroughly read the user agreements), I think it's just not cool for someone to make everyone else's content their own compilation. I see the value in it, but I don't think it's okay to do without seeking consent to republish even purportedly public content. It being legal or even it being the norm online don't make it ethically sound. And a disinterest in ethical standards doesn't absolve a person from ethical responsibility.

    As a separate point, Werelist's purpose is not really to share our own views as broadly as possible. Werelist functions as a community hub, pointing people toward resources and supporting efforts elsewhere. There isn't really a mission to control the narratives in the community or be in the spotlight.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DustWolf View Post
    I find ethics debate about how public content may be used kinda pointless TBH. If you've made your posts public they might be re-shared on a hundred platforms that index this material and you'd never know. As a forum administrator I am keenly aware of the dozen or so bots that index all public contents of my forum at all times of day.
    Yikes. Werelist basically exists to support other sites, but privacy and publication of user generated content on any platform without their explicit consent really is a significant ethical issue and I do think it is very important to open a dialogue about how our community feels about it. We do our best to respect the privacy of our users and make sure they are in control of their own content, and I honestly don't know how to best support your efforts while keeping that trust with our users. Certainly open to hearing thoughts and ideas and other perspectives on the subject.

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