Friday, February 10, 2006

Censored Thread from Gardenweb

This entire thread was removed February 10th from the Suggestions and Comments forum of the Gardenweb after it had been there for 15 days. Something must have happened after Trudi d 7 had the last few comments removed on the 9th.

This I think is the beginning of what is to be expected as large media corporations begin to take control of the internet. Anything that may interfere with their role as advertising platforms will be subject to legalese Terms of Service and out right banning.

A Moral Question
Posted by ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Thu, Jan 26, 06 at 20:19
A Moral Question
Let’s say that I as an individual start a web site and forum called Widget World. People from all over the planet post comments, thoughts, pictures, processes, anything and everything to do with Widgets because they just love everything about them. I as an individual claim copyright to all material submitted on my forum. I also collect all the e-mail addresses of everyone who participates. Now I have a vast treasure trove of addresses and Widget info and photographs. Now I start selling it all without acknowledgment, notification or payment to the original content provider to Widget Digest and other publications and other businesses. Would you consider this ethical behavior?
I realize that GardenWeb’s terms of service are not very different in any way from other sites. The suggestion is that this legalize language is to protect themselves and people who post to the forums. There really is no intent to sell or derive profit from content provided. I also realize that most content submitted may not have much real value as a stand alone item for sale. However most content found in any other site, magazine or other forms of media that is sold to the public is far from original or unique. The internet is also uncharted territory as far as copyright law is concerned
My question is not an attempt to single out GW as heinous in its behavior. My true question is why are we as a society allowing corporations and business to engage in behavior that would be deemed unacceptable for an individual? What ethical standards should corporations be held to?
These questions may belong in another place but I would like spewey and Josh particularly to answer this. What do the rest of you think about this subject?


Follow-Up Postings:
RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: minibim (My Page) on Fri, Jan 27, 06 at 6:16
As was stated in another post, the Terms of service are very clear about any POSSIBLE intentions Ivillage has.
why are we as a society allowing corporations and business to engage in behavior that would be deemed unacceptable for an individual?
Because it is called capitalism and the majority will decide how Ivillage conducts itself. If Ivillage loses viewers, click thrus, posters etc. - all things that control their advertisiing revenue - hopefully they will change their ways. On the other hand if they increase click thrus, revenue dollars etc., it will stay the same.
If you are truly worried about Ivillage being able to use something of yours, then it's probably wise not to post it. If you are truly concerned about Ivillage's TOS and moral standards, then you should not be viewing or posting here - PERIOD. You can't have it both ways, to say that their TOS is unacceptable to you, but still post/view this site.
Unfortunately, I think Ivillage's advertising techniques will drive away people and discourage new people, more than anything else. The vast majority of computer users, use some variation of Internet Explorer as their browser and if I had to deal with all the ads as many complaints have been about, I KNOW I would not return to this site. In your face advertising just annoys people, and hardly sells the product.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Fri, Jan 27, 06 at 12:05
Since you asked ME, I would say that the GW site does not parallel your hypothetical Widget World, as they are upfront in acknowledging in their TOS about their right to use your work and email addresses. There's nothing deceptive here.
I take issue with your statement that the internet is uncharted territory as far as copyright goes. The US Copyright Office has clear policies that state that almost any work is protected regardless of how it is published (whether in print, on film or tape, or posted online). Of course, by posting to a site whose policies claim the right to use any posted material, one grants non-exclusive use to the site owner to use the material. IF THIS BOTHERS YOU, DON'T POST. Simple.
As minibim noted, if the GW TOS concerns you, or if you are worried about your work or email being used, don't post here and don't share your email address. I'd take that a step further and recommend not posting either anywhere on the internet.
Some people may not like the terms and may leave or stay away, but I am still seeing lots of excellent content being posted in the forums, and see new faces quite often.
Everyone has a choice whether or not they view ads. If the majority of people persist in using IE, they'll be subject to ads here, and they'll faces ads, spyware and other annoyances in many other places on the internet.
I don't see any real moral or ethical issues being raised here, as iVillage/GW has made their policies clear and hasn't acted in a deceptive manner. I have no connection to them other than as a poster, but their policies are no different than those on many other sites, and hardly different than the policies in effect here under the previous owner.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: seatofmypants99 (My Page) on Fri, Jan 27, 06 at 21:33
You vote with your clicks. The more you click, the more they get paid, the more power they get over you.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 17:37
I think we really need to ask iVillage to create a Histrionics Forum. I suggest a picture of Henny Penny for the header.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: bob_z9_ca (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 19:22
LOL Trudi.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: agnespuffin (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 20:33
Now, if they had said that they would never, ever share our information, and then did it anyway.....that would be unethical. But we have been told, warned and advised. We are even warned when we go from a secure to non-secure site where our information will be shown for all to see. I don't know how much "moral" you would want it.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 20:38
I have heeded your admonitions and warnings not to post if I do not like the TOS or the morals of Ivillage or any other internet site for that matter. I do not view my contributions of such value that I should worry about it much. I am new to computers and the internet forums and blogs so I ask for my own edification. Again this is not an attempt to single out GW and IVillage. The situation I am describing does exist here though and you cannot deny the chilling effect it has had on many people whether you consider them right or wrong.
minibim was the only one who seemed to get the jist of my question. Her answer and others appears to be that Capitalism and the pursuit of money trumps all other ethical considerations. A while back someone said that it was just best to let IVillage be what it is, which is an advertising platform and protect yourself from all the ads on your end. The same would apply to content. That is a rational and common sense approach, but will this lead to a dumbing down of content caused by the chilling effect of the generous rights IVillage gives itself?
You tell me my only right here as a consumer is not to view or post. Is that the only option we as consumers have while corporations every where grant them selves unlimited rights in contracts and terms of service? Shouldn't we as consumers have the right to speak up and challenge business in how they conduct their affairs?
With this kind of value that the pursuit of money is primary and takes precedence in regards to intellectual property and copyright, then we as a nation have no business admonishing the Chinese for intellectual property infringement. Does China have a law that says if you do any business in this country we have rights to all your processes, patents, ect? Does a library have the same rights because books are stored in their space? What will happen when Google digitizes the Library of Congress? Will Google then grant themselves this same extensive list of unfettered access and use of all material hosted by their system? You don't see any ethical or moral questions involved here spewey?
Bit by bit we rollover to corporations and grant them rights no person is allowed. Is this the path you suggest we all follow? Again I ask "What ethical standards should corporations be held to?"
Trudi D may I suggest you stick Henny Penny up where the sun don't shine.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: minibim (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 21:18
As a consumer it is a very powerful "right" not to, view or post to these forums. If everyone exercised this "right", Ivillage's advertising dollars dry up. What stronger message can you possibly send?
The rest of your arguments frankly don't make any sense to me. I can choose to start a for profit corporation tomorrow and do the same exact thing Ivillage is doing, so can you. Which is another wonderful "right" about capitalism, if you don't like it, invent something better.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 21:25
End of Story, The Pursuit of Money trumps all other values and considerations. Period.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 21:28
Since you ask ME again (and I have no idea why you single me out twice in this thread), no, I see no ethical issues involved here. iVillage has been perfectly open about its policies.
You clearly are confused about copyright issues. Both China and the US are signatories of the Berne Convention. Libraries may contain copyrighted works, but mere possession does not equate transfer of copyright. [Nor does posting here mean you would lose your copyright rights over your own work, but by voluntarily posting you agree to the Terms of Service of the site and thereby assign rights to the site to use your work as well.
Google has no plans to digitize the Library of Congress, and even if it wished, it is doubtful Congress would grant unrestricted access. You are clearly confusing the LOC with Google's Library initiative, which has been limited mostly to certain content in academic libraries. Google has a clear policy on copyright use, and will remove illegally posted content when evidence of copyright violation is presented, replacing the search engine link with a notice of said copyright violation.
Despite your rude and childish retort to Trudi, you are dealing in paranoid histronics rather than reality. No one is forced to post anything here.
Shouldn't we as consumers have the right to speak up and challenge business in how they conduct their affairs?
That would require a change to the Constitution, which, while it provides for freedom of speech, applies that only to public speech, and does not require private companies to extend free speech to others. That's why you may write letters to the editor of your newspaper, but they have no obligation to publish them. What you are asking for is government control over private enterprise, which would be required to force private publishers and website owners to allow unfettered free access.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mrbrownthumb z5 Chicago (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 21:33
I'd like to know the names of the coroporations you brought down to their knee's to give you a free computer and free internet access.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 21:57
I wish that you had stated before that you were new to both computing and the internet, and had asked questions for starting a dialogue where we all can learn. A give and take dialogue between posters can provide insight on a lot more than its subject, it will provide insight about the posters themselves. However, (im)posing morality as a basis for your concern, and then lashing out at those who oppose your view cannot help you, but instead has frustrated you even further and backed you into a corner.
You have a clear opportunity now to turn things around and become the hero here. Have your lawyer look at the iVillage disclaimer and give you a definitive and unchallengable regulation or law. Have the lawyer provide the exact numerations for verification and post them here. We will be grateful to you for setting the record straight regardless of the outcome, and all of us will sleep better through the night knowing the exact issues we should or should not be concerned with.
You can help us.

For those who might look--
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 22:12
I'll paste in the link to
Here is a link that might be useful:

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 23:35
You asked and pointed in the right direction and I went and looked. What I found may not mean a thing, since I am not a lawyer and this is an 18 page law from 1998, but it is on their site.
Title II of this is most pertinant here it seems. Here is some of what I read.
In order to qualify for this limitation, the service provider’s activities must meet
the following conditions:
! The transmission must be initiated by a person other than the provider.
! The transmission, routing, provision of connections, or copying must
be carried out by an automatic technical process without selection of
material by the service provider.
! The service provider must not determine the recipients of the material.
! Any intermediate copies must not ordinarily be accessible to anyone
other than anticipated recipients, and must not be retained for longer
than reasonably necessary.
! The material must be transmitted with no modification to its content.
Section 512(c) limits the liability of service providers for infringing material on
websites (or other information repositories) hosted on their systems. It applies to
storage at the direction of a user. In order to be eligible for the limitation, the
following conditions must be met:
! The provider must not have the requisite level of knowledge of the
infringing activity, as described below.
! If the provider has the right and ability to control the infringing activity,
it must not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the
infringing activity.
! Upon receiving proper notification of claimed infringement, the
provider must expeditiously take down or block access to the material.
So you decide, do the new TOS seem compatible with these condidtions from the law? Or by continued participation do you give these rights away?
Here is a link that might be useful: THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1998

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: seatofmypants99 (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 23:42
Well, if they can't modify it's content, then I'm thinking a watermark would be the way to go if you didn't want them using your pictures.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 23:57
Since by posting you agree to the terms of the TOS, you agree to grant the site non-exclusive rights to the use of your work. That is 100% compatible with US copyright law, and really no change from the earlier copyright policy of this site.
As has been noted many times, if you don't like the terms of the TOS, you shouldn't post any material here of concern to you. No one is compelled to post, but if they do, they do so under clearly defined terms.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mrbrownthumb z5 Chicago (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 0:03
ilima you are no Denny Crane.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 0:36
So you are saying then spewey that a corporations TOS can supercede the law and we grant them special rights above the law by posting? Is that correct?
I understand completely what is going on here. It is not about me and my pictures, thoughts or stories. It is not a question of what, it is a question of is it right that we allow business and corporations these special rights?
Now here is a little Histrionics for you, I am from the South so embellishment is a second nature art form: As a gardener who finds solace and a spiritual comfort in my connection to nature, The Pursuit of Money Trumps All demeanor of our hosts here feels a bit like having the money changers lined up in front of the temple, demanding their fee before access.
Don't tell me again. I heard it the first five times. I know this is not the only temple. It was merely a thought for the rest of you to consider before I decide if I should go.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 0:47
I did not say that nor infer that. It is not a question of the law being superceded at all. By agreeing to the Terms of Service, you in essence enter into a totally voluntary agreement with GW that assigns non-exclusive rights to the site. You are in no one way compelled to post anything, and have the complete right not to post anything for which you have concerns or for which you wish to retain exclusive copyright. Note that this policy predates iVillage, in that the previous site owners also reserved all rights to posted material. In fact, the iVillage TOS does not claim "all rights reserved," but only non-exclusive rights, meaning your own rights to use your material on your own are retained.
As for fees, no fees are being charged us. In fact, there is at present no longer any option to pay a membership fee.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: poohbear2767 Dunlap Tn USA (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 3:21
The legalese you posted applies only to Internet Service Providers.
The section has to do with situations such as if I wrote a book and emailed it to a publisher. The email would first be transmitted and stored on a mail server at my ISP. At this point my ISP would have a copy of my book but this section of the DMCA explains that this is not a copyright violation because the mail server is only storing it temporarily, only a limited number of people have access to it and only for technical reasons, and the email containing the book will be forwarded toward where it is going without being modified.
The section also deals with automated indexing tools that index websites for search engines. A portion of the text of a website might contain copyrighted material that would get indexed and portions of it copyed to the search engine database. Without this section of the dmca the search engine owner would be committing a violation of copyright.
Title 2 of the DMCA doesn't apply to this site.
Pooh Bear

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: minibim (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 6:07
The King Tut exhibit is currently in town. I would really enjoy seeing this exhibit, but the money changers have lined up in front of the temple with their hands out charging $40 a ticket.
Apparently it is not important enough to me to pay $40 for a ticket. I haven't tried to convince them yet that morally they should let me in anyway so I can see this interesting bit of Egyptian history. I mean how can the pursuit of money trump ancient history?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 8:57
I have to admit ignorance here as I hardly watch the tube anymore 'cept CSPAN and CSI reruns during dinner. I had to google Denny Crane (gee whilikers!)
Here is a link that might be useful: who is Denny Crane

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: minnie_tx (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 11:42
Thanks trudi, I didn't know who he was either.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mrbrownthumb z5 Chicago (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 12:29
Tee hee.
I figured since the person made a tv reference in another thread about "Darpa&Greg" they'd appreciate the Boston Legal reference.
Denny Crane is William Shatner's best character ever. My favorite part is how he shouts his name whenever he wants to get attention.
"Denny Crane!"

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 13:01
Admittedly I thought (at first) that is was either a type of sandbox toy for digging or a type of fishing bird.
T--who, as a child, wasn't allowed to play with her brother's tonkas and adored Marlin Perkins.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: harper 8 (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 14:08
I love Denny Crane!
and wasn't it Darma & Greg?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: malonanddonna z7 NC (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 14:54
mbt - you appear to be mixed up in your recollection of posters.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mrbrownthumb z5 Chicago (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 15:45
Yes it is/was Darma&Greg but malonanddonna turned it into "Darpa&Greg" after Trudi mentioned DARPA in the other thread about nobody wanting to post pictures.
I'm osrry MD that I gave credit to someone else for your joke. But yall (the angry ivillagers) just sort of melt into one after a while. Kinda like the Borg ;0)
"Denny Crane"

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: kmickleson z9 CA (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 15:48
...why are we as a society allowing corporations and business to engage in behavior that would be deemed unacceptable for an individual?
The heart of ilima's point concerns the broader question of how, from the time the colonists arrived protesting control and exploitation by English corporations, American corporations evolved. At first they were entities granted the privilege of citizen-governed charters to conduct activity beneficial for public need. An early capitalism based on civic responsibility to the citizenry was incrementally supplanted by one where self-serving businessmen gradually bought influence to promote legal changes to the constitution which favored profiteering over projects for the good of the people. They used the 14th Amendment, originally enacted to protect rights of freed slaves, to grant corporations the same rights as individuals. These changes have been so thoroughly imbedded in our current assumptions of "how things are" that views favoring policies for public good over the sanctity of profits are scoffed at. (A helpful summary of this history is linked below.)
Given our current environment, in which "data mining" and the freedom to spy on our phone calls or internet records can all be summarily recast as "fighting the war on terror", without telling us what they're really doing because it would "give information to the enemy", it hardly seems paranoid to wonder what any corporation might do with whatever information it collects from us. Sure, we have the "right" not to participate in iVillage. But so do we also have the right to question whether the laws governing such businesses encourage them to serve our public interests as vigorously as they do the corporations' interests.
You can't have it both ways, to say that their TOS is unacceptable to you, but still post/view this site.
That's like saying that people against the war should go live in some other country if they don't like it here. Or, that real patriots don't question their Commander in Chief. are dealing in paranoid histronics rather than reality.
This brings to mind the oft seen contemptuous dismissal of any spirited, emotional response to perceived illegal or unethical policies of our administration as "too angry", "over the top" or "losing it"--as if highly rational human beings cannot also be angry, and for good reason! I'm angry that iV changes here have caused participants I enjoyed and respected to depart to other sites. Too often, feeling angry is met with, "Well, then do something about it!"--In this case, take your clicks somewhere else! Discussing one's disappointment and anger about the changes doesn't always have to have an action end point. Ilima or I may or may not leave, but can still value opening discussion of the broader issues involved and members' feelings about them.
Many will think, "But GW is not a political vehicle". True, but ilima's question here raises the moral questions implicit in iV's business policies, much as the colonists might have questioned whether those policies served the public good--a question no longer even asked in civic discourse. The morals of business practices are inevitably political.
P.S. I highly recommend the 2004 documentary, The Corporation, which examines the evolution of corporate ethics in a most powerful and balanced way.
Here is a link that might be useful: History of Corporations

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 16:06
iVillage and GW are .com, not .org.
This is a profit making machine, it wasn't built for anyone's personal pleasure, it was built as a business for profit.
WHERE did that truth get lost?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mrbrownthumb z5 Chicago (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 16:43
I see what you're saying but that's a bit of a stretch. It's not like telling someone to move to another country. You don't have to give up your job, home, family, friend's and all the other things you've collected, or learn a new language just to stop posting on a site where you don't agree with the pracitices.
You can go to another site or start your own without ever leaving the comfort of your home if you don't agree.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 16:46
Excellent post, kmickleson. It was starting to read like a transcript from 'Crossfire'.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: gina_w CA-10 (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 17:28
ilma, if you are new to the internet, then fasten your seatbelt for a bumpy ride. You have issues regarding the ethics of companies on the internet taking possession of your posts and pictures?
Try this on for size - now every page on the web is "archived" by Google and others, so that you can search and find any page with any content ever posted to the web (since the archiving began). So what you post here today, whether it's opinions, recipes, addresses, names or pictures of your children, will be archived to be found by anyone who searches whenever they please.
So what one company does with their freely-submitted users posts is a small consideration when compared to the new issues at hand.
Recently a local newspaper reporter emailed me after finding me on one of these forums to ask about a local new store opening. After chatting, she asked for my name. I politely declined and she asked why. I told her that if my name is included in a story printed by the newspaper and duplicated in their online edition, my name will be online, archived and searchable forever and ever. She had no idea about this.
Things are changing and happening on the web far faster than any laws can keep up with.
So, you see, it doesn't matter what site you post to or publish on your own - it's going to be out there for everyone to use, steal, learn from, etc., and there's nothing you can do about it, except not participate.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 18:01
Yes and no, Gina. If you publish your own site, you can set code in the message headers that prevent search engine 'bots from scanning the page. Since you mention Google, they recognize the robots.txt coding, and they provide a mechanism to disable page caching, as do other search engines.
I have a few sites and they do not show up in search engines because of simple coding; others I do not mind being listed, and some of them are.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 18:03
Identity theft is costing Americans 53 billion dollars per year. That's the main thing to watch, as far as I am concerned--if iVillage does something that might expose me to that, then I will have to take measures. And that's why when I left for awhile I asked them to delete my member page, so it wasn't sitting there waiting for spambots for nothing.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: minibim (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 19:13
Wow, I had no clue America was founded because of corporate abuses. Wonder why such an important issue was left out of the Bill of Rights?
BBoy, you just need to get rid of your internet access altogether. Your ISP knows more about you that Ivillage ever will.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: inkognito (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 19:37
A moral question, or is it? Is it a question of decency afterall. If I knowingly engage in gossip then the rules of gossip apply and what I tell may come back and bite me in the arse. When I talk to someone I am not primarily concerned with how this might be written later in my biography but with something I feel is far more organic. Decency is a genuine notion of shared confidence. If this does not exist and denying this in fact becomes a statement of intent then decent people recoil. What then remains is a choice between avoiding that situation or trying, as illima is doing, to explain that the pursuit of money may not be the only option. I don't want intrusion into my life, hence the name but I do want to talk with people about gardens and gardening. If there has to be a commercial angle to this then explain to me what that is and i can agree or move on.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 19:52
Another good post (>A moral question, or...<). Glad to see some meat on the old carcass.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 20:17
The commercial angle, I am guessing, is that this site's founder sold the site for a considerable sum, and the new owners, which are part of the Hearst publishing group, bought it as an investment with the hopes that they might not only recoup their investment, but eventually generate revenue to pay their shareholders.
As a gardener, you have a site to post in and discuss issues of that interest you. You can accept it on that level alone, or move on if you indeed wish to.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: tally (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 20:19
"If there has to be a commercial angle to this then explain to me what that is and i can agree or move on."
Well, who's going to pay for the programmers, the salespeople, the servers, the utilties, the office space, the xerox machine, the postage, the insurance, the legal advice, the office staff, the accountants, the taxes and the coffemaker that it takes to provide you the opportunity to talk with other gardners?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 20:20
We are all free to start our own sites and make them into what we want them to be. If we want to be competitive with other sites we need to promote our own site and should it grow large we'll need to support it. We can pay out of pocket, get grants (if possible) or we can have advertising to defray or completely cover the cost.
We can be controlled or we can be the controller. Our frustrations, time, passions and desires will be our impetus for site development. We have many choices and they are ours to dismiss or use to our advantage.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 1:33
Yes I am new to the internet and forums and blogs. I have been both shocked and amazed by the power of this medium and what it can do. I have also been learning to use that power to my own advantage as well.
I may possibly be a little naive, but I am not uninformed or unwilling to search out and find answers to my questions. Pooh Bear was correct in his evaluation of the legaleze I posted above. It applies to ISP's not websites. I went looking again briefly and didn't find anything directly for websites. The closest I found was about the Napster file sharing deal in which the website was held liable by enabling its users to infringe copyrighted works.
A valid question though is, "Should a website be held to the same standards as an ISP?"
The bottom line here for me is that the content provided by us, the users of the website is what gives it value as a money making advertising platform. Whether or not the content is common knowledge or something new and unique does not matter. The content we provide for free creates the value.
I understand the need for ANY website or forum to protect itself from copyright liability. They need that in order to function so they must claim copyright. That was not enough for iVillage and GW and they have gone a step further and claimed a non-exclusive right (including any moral rights) to all content submitted ect, ect, just in case right? In other words they will have the exact same rights as the author of any form of work submitted. They can license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, sublicense, assign, derive revenue or other remuneration from, communicate to the public, perform and display the content (in whole or in part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed. They do not need this to function. They want more money if they can get it.
You can call it Capitalism and wrap it with lawyers and make it voluntary but it still amounts to a taking they are not entitled to or need. That is called theft in some places. Do you want to allow business and corporations to behave in this manner?
If it was just a question of Decency then they would not have included this (including any moral rights) in the TOS. They know it is a MORAL QUESTION.
If you still don't get it perhaps a gardening metaphor will work for you. It is time to divide your daylilies so you dig up the clump, clean and separate them and make many new plants. The manufacturer of the shovel now tells you that you need to give them a portion of your new plants because you used his shovel to dig them up. You say I already paid for the shovel and helped your company and he says to bad, without my shovel you wouldn't have new plants so you owe me more.
If you still don't get it, follow this link for a discussion of the bigger question I ask you to ponder as you roll over and submit.
Here is a link that might be useful: The Bigger Question

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 8:25
The guy with the shovel forgot that I can also use anyone else's shovel or just a plain stick and work the clump out of the ground. He can be savvy and offer me a coupon on an another shovel or the sharpening tools and storage hooks for the shovel or he can be an idiot and lose his business for ridiculous business practices.
Can you PLEASE offer us something less ridiculous. Right now, I'm tempted to order that guy's shovel 'cause in your post there's a LOT to shovel.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: josh_ivillage 6 (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 11:59
This seems to be a great opportunity to let you know about the new HotTopics forum we've just created on GardenWeb. The description of the forum is: "If you have an opinion on today's current events or other hot topics, feel free to discuss it here. These topics tend to appeal to articulate people with strong opinions and often these debates are sometimes heated. You may challenge another's point of view or opinion, but do so respectfully and thoughtfully, without insult and personal attack. You are responsible for your own behavior and if you cannot follow these rules, your posts may be removed and your membership privileges may be revoked." So Marquis of Queensbury rules apply.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: wellspring (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 15:13
I'm going to tilt at windmills for a moment … so I hope you'll bear with me.
Conflict in every realm of human life is inevitable. It is, in fact, helpful, even enjoyable, when at its lowest level. At that level we would probably give it a different name, like "problem solving". Most posts begin at GW-IV with someone stating their problem, i.e. "Which tree / shrub / perennial would you …?" or "What would you recommend planting in my 100' x 2' shade border" or "How would you landscape my front yard (pics inside)" or "Is design essential to the garden?" etc.
When it comes to group dynamics, the whole has the potential to be greater than the sum of its parts. That may be why we seek the group for answers in the first place. For more on that, I hear that the book The Wisdom of Crowds" is interesting. When the discourse remains in the healthy, positive range of the conflict spectrum, the result is heightened energy, creativity, multiple options proposed, greater clarity of the original issue or issues that emerge.
This powerful level of working the energy of conflict (or problem solving) happens when people remain committed to being hard on issues / soft on people. Experience and habit has taught us to do the opposite. We tend to be soft on issues and hard on people. The more we perceive to have at stake, the more likely we are to respond in negative ways.
Ilima's post expresses an issue that's been on many of our minds. She's put it out there when anxieties and feelings are high anyway, so it's that much easier to move into the "hard on people" mode.
So … in an effort to be hard on the issue, I'm needing help with the basic definition of moral here.
I think I'm hearing … from various posters …
1. What GW is doing is moral because everyone else is doing it.
2. What GW is doing is moral because they have not deceived anyone; they have told us that they are doing it.
3. What GW is doing is moral because if you don't like it you can leave.
4. What GW is doing is moral because they must make a profit for their investors.
5. What GW is doing is immoral because they are staking a claim to something in perpetuity that they do not need to have in order to do business and which is not theirs by right.
6. What GW is doing is immoral because they are placing profit as the highest priority rather than the benefit and welfare of the community.
Am I getting it correctly?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 16:21
There is no theft or deceit here. However one feels about iVillage, they did post the Terms of Service well before placing them in effect, giving fair warning of the changes, and allowing time for any who did not agree to them to cease posting.
No one has since been forced to agree to post. Every one who has posted has done so voluntarily under the terms of the TOS.
To use that absurd shovel metaphor, if you read the label on the shovel and don't like the terms of use, don't buy the shovel. Find another shovel. No one is forcing you to buy that shovel, any more than anyone is forcing you to post here.
As for the commercial aspects of the web, I take it some of you would like to see the government privatize the web and offer a state-controlled garden forum, rather than one provided by private enterprise. If that's not the case, and you simply don't like this company's management, I see nothing preventing you from going off and starting your own competing site. Just don't let the door slap you in the as you leave.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mwoods (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 18:14
so much fuss over a freebie. We are using their web space to post our pictures,converse and for some,to strut their stuff without paying a dime for any of it. If I had a photo which I didn't want the world to see,I sure as heck wouldn't post in on the local grocery store bulletin board anymore than I would here. Of course profit is their motive,they are a business. What do some of you think this is....a social service of some kind?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: inkognito (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 18:19
I think you summed it up well wellspring, I wonder is spewey read it?
Ilima (a person of the male persuasion btw) has a valid concern closer to what we thought the internet was to be than yet another vehicle to get us to buy stuff so can we listen without giving a knee jerk reaction to an opinion some see as anti American or some such nonsense.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 19:13
Exactly, inkognito. Concern about corporations overreaching is not rare in today's America, asking about something of this nature is not coming from a radical viewpoint.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: wellspring (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 20:11
Ooooops. Just shows that you can learn something if you pay attention. Sorry, Ilima. It's that "a" on the end that persuaded me, but perhaps that's not reliably a feminine ending in the islands.
Inc, you can lead ahorse to water … Thanks for the affirming word.
Spewey - government controlled GW? Wouldn't that be fun! I'm afraid, however, that I don't think that would improve the moral landscape.
I agree that it was good practice for GW to inform members about recent changes in policy, but I do not remember receiving an e-mail to that effect. I heard about it on the grapevine.
My stake here is as a long-time lurker / occasional poster who deeply appreciates the intellectual stimuli and good, helpful advice I've received on my favorite pasttime. I wasn't around much in the first half of 2005, and when I came back, after IV had bought the store, I could no longer log on with my old name. Sure … I know I can leave it if I like … but that hardly seems to be the point of this virtual environment.
And, what if … what if … there are ways to make the environment better, more fun, more creative, more morally responsible and, perhaps, even more financially lucrative?
So what if the new policy isn't remarkably different from the old one. Perhaps we should praise the new management for putting the issue on the table, and somehow get to work to make it better.
I went digging in my files for a couple of references to share. The first is from an article by Colman McCarthy, When college graduates put ideals before dollars, The Washington Post, June 5, 2000, C4, which describes a new meaning that graduating seniors are giving to the acronym GPA. It means "Graduate Pledge Alliance". McCarthy writes:
"Coordinated as a national campaign since 1996 by Prof. Neil Wollman of Manchester College, a Church of the Brethren school in Indiana, the pledge is taken by graduating seniors who are conscientiously selective about which companies or organizations they will work for. Ideals before dollars.
"The voluntary pledge reads: I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve those aspects of any organization for which I work."
And, it isn't outside the realm of possibility for a corporation to step outside the box of "business as usual" and begin to think and act more ethically. One such company is the natural-toothpaste company, Tom's of Maine, led by CEO Tom Chappell. His story was featured in Linda Tischler's article entitled "God and Mammon at Harvard," Fast Company, May 2005, 80-83.
Chappell spent his mid-life crisis, after agressively growing his company, at the Harvard Divinity School. Four years later, he asked one of his professors to meet with his company board and help them draft a mission statement and business strategy based on moral and ethical principles, concepts that are the bread and butter of religion. As a result, Tom’s of Maine promised to honor its commitments to all of its stakeholders, including employees, owners, vendors, consumers, the community and the environment. The company also adopted a plan that committed the business to start a series of three partnerships each year that promote the common good, such as saving America’s rivers, community gardening and support of a local dental clinic for the poor.
I believe that "moral" can mean something more than simply what is standard operating practice or what is legal.
I believe that it is at least possible that GW could be better, more creative, more ethically responsive, and, yes, more profitable than it is … What might that look like?
Wellspring, a.k.a. Don Quixote

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 20:43
I agree that it was good practice for GW to inform members about recent changes in policy, but I do not remember receiving an e-mail to that effect. I heard about it on the grapevine.
The notice was posted, in duplicate, at the top of every forum page for weeks before the new TOS was placed into effect.
Maybe those with moral qualms about this site might like to start a new one that is more in line with their own sanctimonious ideals.
For my part, I think GW is rather socially responsible, particularly through its provision of NatureNet and the environmental forums there, forums on THS regarding renewable energy, vegetarian lifestyles and old house conservation, as well as many forums on GardenWeb proper regarding conservation-minded garden practices.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 21:07
Thank you so much wellspring.
I remember one of your posts from a few months back. It was so well written just like the above. Maybe we will bump into each other somewhere else out there.
It is best not to admit
That I knew all along
I was tilting at windmills
Until near the end of your song

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: wellspring (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 22:03
Not leaving, Spewey, unless there's no one left here to knit together a worthy discussion. And, I'll be the judge of where my moral qualms lay.
Don't care how great GW may or may not be, there's always room for improvement. I suppose that's why this forum is here, unless it's just for show. Who knows? The powers-that-be might actually like to see something substantive here.
Good point about the links that you mentioned. Nope, I didn't see the notices about policy changes … sort of difficult from my perspective.
The approach is still pretty "soft on task / hard on people", but a few options have been offered … jammed … our way:
1. Leave if you don't like it here.
2. Live with it.
3. Get your own website.
4. Work on changing things so that needs of all stakeholders are adequately met.
5. Tell really, really good jokes until all of us are falling all over each other with brotherly and sisterly affection.
O.k. that one hadn't been mentioned. I just threw it in there.
Wellspring, A Tiltin' & A Singin'

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: malonanddonna z7 NC (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 22:35
The notice was posted, in duplicate, at the top of every forum page for weeks before the new TOS was placed into effect.
Oops, not quite correct Spewey. It was posted in duplicate for some reason on the Home Forums but not on the GardenWeb forums. So not quite "every forum page".

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: dublinbay z6 KS (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 22:41
It was posted for weeks on the Roses Forum and Antique Roses Forum--but whether in duplicate I don't remember.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: baci z10Ca (My Page) on Tue, Feb 7, 06 at 5:10
In terms of this issue, I side with ivillage. I get sick and tired of posters that constantly use this forum to promote their own site. iVillage has to pay for their promotion – why should the free GW users get free advertising for their site? If they want to promote their site then they should go through the proper channels & pay for it – just like iVillage.
Maybe this post should not be one disguised under "morality" but entitled "I am angry because I can not promote my web site for free on GW any more."

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: little_dani 9, S. Tex Coast (My Page) on Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 0:42
I understand the deal with iVillage and the choice to post or not to post and all that.
I am a little confused about one thing tho.
Does Trudi d work for iVillage? I seem to see her everywhere on the GW, and lately she is rather nasty and rude to just about everybody. I have actually defended Trudi in the past, but I am thinking that I must have made a mistake.
I am not singling her out for criticism, but I am wondering why she is immune from the rule about being nice to each other? I have seen several posts lately that I would be surprised if the recipients of her mean attitude ever posts again.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima (My Page) on Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 4:50
She either has clout or has whining and complaining perfected to a T who has posts and whole threads removed on a regular basis.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 18:17

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: little_dani 9, S. Tex Coast (My Page) on Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 20:33
My mother always taught us that good manners were a mark of good breeding. She wanted us to always be known to be of good character.
I guess character, good or bad, always shows.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima (My Page) on Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 21:12
Yawn is a sign that you have hit a hot button and the cavernous Pit is about to open. Janie you can expect this whole thread or the last few comments to fall into the void shortly.


Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Yes you may comment.

Anonymous said...

How fascinating.

I'd 'googled' to find out why Gardenweb was so dead. Haven't been able to garden for a few years because of an injury, but now I can and am looking forward to getting it going again this year, so naturally I went back to Gardenweb, where I was one of the first posters way back in the olden days of the net in maybe '95? '96? It was so long ago, in net terms, that I saw Gardenweb grow from shortly after it's inception. In fact, 5 or 6 of the forums there at least are there because I suggested them, when there were only a handful of forums - no gigantic list. One could comfortably skim all the forums in two hours in the evening for new posts.

This thread has given me a wealth of information about what I was seeking to know; thank you all.

It's apparent to me that Gardenweb has left this world with a whimper, and it doesn't matter one fig what the idiot Trudi's of the world proclaim, because Gardenweb is as dead to the world as is the original intent of the internet.

I'll tell you all why, too. It's because the masses are asses. I see this principle exemplified in this thread loud and clear.

The internet is a different beast now than it ws back when Gardenweb started. Back then, we all used our real names on Gardenweb, and on other places on the internet, and we used our real email addresses. It was no big deal. It was a big deal to get a single spam in one's mailbox. How dare they! It was a big deal for people to be rude to each other! People were generally civil and thrilled with the opportunity to make new connections across the planet via the internet. IT WAS A THRILL! People cared about what they posted, their words meant something, they tried to present their thoughts in writing as concisely as possible, checked their spelling, apologized for typos, didn't use many 'net abbreviations', tried to present their thoughts and content in complete sentences, etc. See - only the intelligent people were on the internet back then. Only the intelligent people saw the value of the internet, and it was as intellectual mind candy, it was as a bridge between like miinds and hearts and passions that otherwise would never have the opportunity to come together, both contribute and take away and log off being bettered by the exchange. And that's what there was to read, too, even if one didn't care to post often - meaningful, thoughtful, EARNEST exchanges between intelligent, kind people who were thrilled to take part in this amazing process.

There has to be a special place in hell for Bill Gates now, reserved for him who made it so easy and so affordable for everybody with a spare couple hundred bucks to get online now. For the masses have taken over.

Our founding fathers fully understood this same principle, the masses being asses, and that's why the USA is really a republic and not a democracy. One only has to look around them to see that the masses perceive freedom as a free-for-all; they miss the most relevant point that freedom is really a responsibility.

Big sigh.

So, this mass-ass attitude has overtaken Gardenweb. People have fled from there, it's apparent. I visited over a dozen forums and one page into most of them were posts from two years ago. That never used to happen there. The content of the posts was generally insipid, too. The tone of many posts was snotty, curt, churlish; one could sense the disdain the person carried for their fellows. The knowledge wasn't there, it was more talk for the sake of talking. Blah blah blah, I can type, blah blah blah, I have a garden wheeeeee.

I saw very little passion, very little intellect, very little genuineness. Little to no comaraderie.

This is the way the whole net went, OP. The masses have taken over. And when they do, and there is no 'republic' in place to keep things stable while the masses (who mistakenly think they live in a democracy) go about their merry mindless way, things crumble, like all great civilizations inevitably do when the masses outnumber and overtake the sincere, the intellectual and the earnest.

For what it's worth - at least Gardenweb was one of the last bastions to fall. They hung in there longer than most.

And now it's just another place on the internet, nothing special, nothing unique about it, just another corporate for-profit lapdog, just another part of the money machine.

The masses/asses taint every good thing that comes down the pike. Everything becomes about how to make a buck, whatever it takes, people be damned. The masses/asses are all about their rights to earn said bucks and others to earn said bucks, and their attitude is if you don't like it too bad for you, shove off. The masses are egotistical without basis, as if most of them craved nothing more than to be a tattletale hall monitor in high school, were overlooked, and now they finally can have that opportunity to lord it over their fellows. It feeds them, for they are empty inside. They value anonymity - not as a protection from those like themselves (who are the very people who gave the rest of us reason to have to make up internet names instead of using our real names), but as a tool they can use to behave online as the true ass that they are inside. (no offense intended towards our four legged friends the donkeys, btw).

You'll rarely see true compassion come from these folks, they've turned the internet into a place where compassion no longer holds value - afterall, the buck is the main consideration. The more bucks, the better. They're all about money. Gimme more money. Gimme the information I need. Gimme it now. Then I'll move on, I won't share what I know, it won't be an exchange - I'll just take and move on to where I can take some more.

So, perhaps you can see now, OP, that you really are right and everybody who disagrees with you is wrong, for they are devoid. It's their choice to be like that. They have the right to be asses and no matter what you say they will never, ever know any better. They are addicted to the dollar and they are prostitutes of the money machine. Most of them don't even realize it. Most of them don't think, for they aren't capable of deep thought, they just go with the flow. Most of them came online long after this black tide had already begun to sweep over the net, washing away the greatness and replacing greatness with the mediocre. For mediocre means, to the masses, that they don't have to try very hard, that little has to come from them personally, so they can then feel good about their mediocrity. Which will enable them to keep that money machine going for the corporate conglomerate that's presently outsourcing America and restructuring the planet in questionable ways. They're content to play their small parts, to give up their personal sovereignity in favor of instant gratifications. You can't change them, OP. For they are the sad majority. You can, however, stick to your guns and continue to speak for those things that are right, and good, and true. Sing out for compassion over tripe, for earnestness over the flip Trudi's of this world.

Don't give up. And don't ever, ever let them change you. If they change you, then they win.