Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kafkaesque Policy Explained...Sorta

Let me bring you up to date on the commenting policy over at CHE. In a comment to a Brainstorm post , Alex, who identifies himself as an editor at Brainstorm, explains the appearance of a seemingly new policy on the Brainstorm blogs.

Regarding AHA’s remarks and comments 5, 9, and 10:

I just want to note that we in fact didn’t change our policies, but decided to display them prominently on Brainstorm as we have on our news blogs for some time. They are the same policies The Chronicle uses for all of its blogs. My colleagues and I are quite hands-off regarding comments, but do occasionally alter or delete those we deem obscene; wildly off topic; or so hostile that they will discourage civil discussion among our readers and bloggers, or frighten or offend them to an objectionable and inappropriate degree. If you think we’ve made a
wrong call by deleting a comment, or for that matter by not deleting one, please let us know.

The editors at The Chronicle have given a lot of thought to this issue, and I think our longstanding policies about blog comments make sense.

We welcome your thoughts in these comment forums or in e-mail The Chronicle’s editorial staff contact information is here: My e-mail address is

AHA, I hope you’ll rejoin the conversation. And we appreciate your interest in Brainstorm.

Yes, it does seem, ironically enough, that Alex's last name is Kafka. Why did Alex decide to explain himself so obscurely in a comment rather than in a more prominent locale on the site ?

The long standing policy to which Alex refers can be found by clicking the new link on the comment form. It takes you to a general user agreement which has been in effect since March 2007. It is typically legalistic and not specific to the CHE blogs. Buried deep within it are the clauses which Alex likely thinks are relevant to the CHE blogs. First is Section 3, clause g.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, you may not...use the Service to upload, transmit or otherwise distribute any content that is unlawful, infringing of intellectual property rights, defamatory, harassing, abusive, fraudulent, obscene, contains viruses, or is otherwise objectionable as reasonably determined by The Chronicle;
The other is Section 10
The Chronicle takes no responsibility for any third party content posted on or available through the Site (including, without limitation, content on discussions rooms, bulletin boards, surveys, classifieds, any viruses, or other disabling features), nor does The Chronicle have any obligation to monitor such third party content. The Chronicle reserves the right at all times to remove or refuse to distribute any content on the Site, such as content which violates the terms of this Agreement. The Chronicle also reserves the right to access, read, preserve, and disclose any information as it reasonably believes is necessary to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process, or governmental request, (b) enforce this Agreement, including investigation of potential violations hereof, (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, or technical issues (including, without limitation, the filtering of spam), (d) respond to user support requests, or (e) protect the rights, property, or safety of The Chronicle, its users and the public. The Chronicle will not be responsible or liable for the exercise or non-exercise of its rights under this Agreement.
One still must ask why the policy was made explicit when it was made explicit and why it was suddenly enforced when it was enforced.

I suspect that Graham had a hand in it.
[Update: I've responded to Alex in the comment section at CHE.]

Technorati Tags: , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

No comments: