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In re Draft Everything2 Terms of Service.

Some things I think we all understand but maybe haven’t thought about:

When you post something to Everything2, it gets published to the whole world.

That includes whatever “personal” or “private” information you choose to display on your homenode. The only exception to this is the disclosure of “real name” and email address associated with an account. In that case, and in that case alone, the site agrees *not* to disclose the information to anyone other than administrators.

Contributors don’t get to dictate how their content appears to users, or what gets displayed with it.

Users can make use of ekw or Zen themes, so your content can appear in wide variety of colors and fonts and page shapes. It may appear on the same page with advertisements, or next to other people’s content which you may disagree with.

Stuff on the internet gets indexed and linked, and Everything2 allows that.

If you’ve done a good job on a writeup, or it happens to be topical and interest many people, it will appear as a search result in Google. Now it’s possible to block such downstream “use” of Everything2 content, but except when the traffic is bogging down the servers, we don’t. I have supposed everyone looks at this sort of derivative “use” of our content as a good thing, in the nature of a book review or the listing of a book on a bestseller list, but technically it’s a “use” which we “allow”.

Some of us contribute code and/or documentation to Everything2 with the understanding that we have relinquished control over that work.

Mostly when we think of contributions to Everything2 we think “writeup”, but some of us do more “behind the scenes”: code, documents, CSS sheets, graphics, elaborate statistical models, etc.. I think that those of us who volunteer this kind of work understand that we are giving it to the site, and it no longer belongs to us. That is, it becomes part of the “Proprietary” content of the site, and belongs to Blockstackers.

None of this excuses the overly broad language in Section 5 of the proposed Draft Everything2 Terms of Service. The people who reviewed this draft (including me) dropped the ball on that, and for myself, I apologize for any grief it may have caused people worried about the loss of rights over their writeups.

For myself, when I saw the word “Proprietary” I thought it referred to site code and documents, not writeups. In that case, a perpetual and irrevocable license to Blockstackers makes perfect sense. But this distinction is far from clear in the draft, and I should have caught it. You may abuse me now.

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