Wed 18th April 2007, 3:38pm
QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Wed 18th April 2007, 7:58am)
Neither Mr. Wales nor The Trustees have yet replied to this discussion concerning protecting children on WP.
This article at Wikitruth
about Section 2257 discusses a similar issue. Jimbo and the Foundation and the former general counsel, Brad, all know that they are essentially naked in front of the law if someone ever comes after them with a well-constructed defamation case or invasion of privacy case (Florida law), or child protection case (federal law), or whatever. But they have to keep the "immunity myth" alive in order to discourage complaints from victims who lack determination, and/or the lawyers consulted by these victiims who don't do their homework and fall for the myth. That's exactly why we need more clarity on Section 230 as it applies to entities such as Wikipedia. It's also why Jimbo is interested in pushing a code of conduct for bloggers.
As Seigenthaler has been arguing all along, once Congress gets into the act of clarifying 230, we all stand to lose a little bit more of the First Amendment. And Congress will act eventually, at the rate things are going.
The essential hypocrisy in Jimbo's position on blogging conduct is that civility should begin at home for Jimbo. Home would be Wikipedia. Instead of talking about blogs, he should be talking with the Foundation about new structures for Wikipedia: screening of new articles, edits are done on draft versions and subject to approval before getting published, cutting back on scrapers and bot access, effective sanctions against rogue admins, BLP opt-outs, lock down on finished articles, no porn at all, and so forth. In short, be a responsible publisher.
Jimbo is trapped. If he does this stuff, he is basically admitting that Larry Sanger is right. Jimbo cannot do that because it might deflate Wikia, Inc. To put it bluntly, it's too late because there's money involved.
It's like Jimbo created this big self-perpetuating, automated, defamation and privacy-invading machine in the form of Wikipedia. Now the sorcerer's apprentice is out of control. It's going to turn around and bite Web 2.0 if Congress decides to act. By talking about bloggers and not about the embarrassment of Wikipedia, it's rather like the magician's trick of distracting the attention of the audience to some fake activity, while it's really happening somewhere else.
Wikipedia will be affected with any revision of Section 230, and so will bloggers. Any comments added to a blog will probably have to be screened by the owner of the blog, or the owner might be liable. The same might be true with message boards and moderators.
Larry Sanger is doing the responsible thing with Citizendium in terms of imposing a structure of accountability on the editing process. He sees the writing on the wall — not because he's a legal eagle, but because he sees what happened to Wikipedia, and has applied some common sense to the problem.