Most writing on law is like a gas: it expands to fill the space given to it. But a new ebook by journalism trainer Cleland Thom bucks the trend, and it’s all the better for it.
Internet Law for Journalists, Bloggers, Students, Social Media Users … is as impressively succinct as its title is long. The book provides a tour through the expanding range of laws you need to consider when you publish online, illustrated with copious and simple examples, along with guidance for what you should do to avoid being added to the list. Continue reading
The EFF have an interesting investigation into WSJ and Al-Jazeera ‘leaks’ sites and terms and conditions which suggest users’ anonymity is anything but protected:
“Despite promising anonymity, security and confidentiality, AJTU can “share personally identifiable information in response to a law enforcement agency’s request, or where we believe it is necessary.” SafeHouse’s terms of service reserve the right “to disclose any information about you to law enforcement authorities” without notice, then goes even further, reserving the right to disclose information to any “requesting third party,” not only to comply with the law but also to “protect the property or rights of Dow Jones or any affiliated companies” or to “safeguard the interests of others.” As one commentator put it bluntly, this is “insanely broad.” Neither SafeHouse or AJTU bother telling users how they determine when they’ll disclose information, or who’s in charge of the decision.”
After the first two of my interviews with news organisations’ community editors , Reed Business Information’s Andrew Rogers blogged his own ’3 lessons‘ he’s learned from his time as Head of User Content Development. Reproduced by kind permission, here it is in full:
1. A community is only really a community if it builds (or builds on) genuine relationships between the members.
Otherwise it is merely interactivity. A corollary of this is that an online community needs to be focused around a common interest, need or passion (or simply “something in common”)
If you are to deal effectively with problems of misbehaviour you need to be able to point to the rule which says the user can’t do that.
You will still be accused of suppressing free speech/being a Nazi of course, but at least you can justify your actions in removing posts, banning users etc.
Spend a lot of time on developing the rules and lay them out in simple language
3. Find ways to reward the best or most prolific contributors
This might be through a reputation system, increased rights, or simply highlighting their contributions in some way.
Many users are driven to upload their photographs to the Farmers Weekly website in the hope that they will make it into the magazine.
It’s also true, of course, that one should aim to reward all contributors by ensuring that someone pays attention to them.