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Dmoz (aka AOL) Changing Guidelines In Sketchy Way 157

The Cunctator writes: "The Open Directory Project Guidelines (also known as, purchased by Netscape and then AOL) have recently (10/18/2000) been changed, in a few dangerous ways. The two things of interest are: The newly censorious Illegal Sites description ('Sites with unlawful content should not be listed in the directory. Examples of unlawful content include child pornography; material that infringes any intellectual property right; material that specifically advocates, solicits or abets illegal activity (such as fraud or violence); and material that is libelous.') which would eliminate such categories as Culture Jamming (a category I edit) and Suicide and Hacking; And the new copyright notice, which now gives Netscape (aka AOL) full copyright, which before remained in the editors' hands." DMoz has pissed off a lot of editors in the past for screwing with their content, but so far not enough to actually hurt themselves.
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Dmoz (aka AOL) Changing Guidelines in Sketchy Way

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  • by Rupert ( 28001 )
    After the article about Nullsoft yesterday I was starting to think AOL may have acquired a clue. Apparently the clue is extremely localised.

  • Another one trying to be Politicaly Correct to avoid litigation. Another freedom bites the dust.
  • Carefull... Discussion of such a subject could get slashdot barred from millions of users.
  • any /.ers actually use AOL?

  • by beebware ( 149208 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @04:06AM (#681029) Homepage
    I'm a 'editall+catmv' at ODP (see my editor profile []) and have been an editor practically since it started, and these guidelines are currently being discussed on the internal ODP editor forums.
    The copyright, at no time, remained with the editor. If it did, then ex-editors could use court rulings to remove their listings. Netscape do own the copyright (and always have) - but with an 'non-exclusive licence', meaning you grant them the right to use the data but you still have full rights to do what you want with it.
    The illegal sites section has been under planning for about 9 months now - and the mud has 'flown' over certain issues (mainly drugs [] and warez [], but some porn []). What some editors fail to realise is the ODP could be sued, and Netscape lawyers are just trying to 'cover their backs'.
    As far as I'm concerned, this, like many other issues, will be resolved over time in the internal forums - with assistance from Netscape lawyers where there are 'gray areas'.
    Richy C. []
  • by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @04:06AM (#681030) Homepage Journal
    Suicide is wrong

    So what should the punishment be? Death?

    Suppose someone came to you and said he was going to kill himself by slashing his jugular with a broken W2K CD. You could either talk him out of it altogether, which will probably lead him to ignore you totally, or you could point out the relative painfulness of this method, and suggest he investigate alternatives.

    There are very few well-planned suicides. One of the reasons for this is that the act of planning to kill yourself can be a sufficiently positive experience to pull you back from the brink.

  • You simply can't have something that is "grassroots" and "open" combined with "owned by an enormous multinational". They're legally bound to protect their own interests, which means cracking down on anything which may compromise their interests (read "lose them money in a court case"). Its not as if you can't host your "Culture Jamming" (WTF?) information in 700 million other places.

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.

  • If someone really, truly wants to die, they will succeed in killing themselves.

    Hiding guides on efficient ways to do it doesn't stop jack shit.

  • All of the output from DMOZ is available in RDF logs.

    It would be possible (not
    easy, the code for the ODP is closed source) to start a new volunteer
    project based on these logs.

    -The Reverend (I am not a Nazi nor a Troll)
  • I believe Netscape (who own ODP) have been informed by their lawyers that linking to information about suicide could be seen as 'promoting suicide' and therefore place AOL, Netscape, ODP, and it's editors in a very tricky legal situation. They are just trying to avoid people getting in trouble.
    Richy C. []
  • A question for any copyright experts out there.

    Can you change a copyright agreement after the fact when under the original agreement you where not the holder of the copyright? I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be able to do this without the consent of the original copyright holder. From my reading of these agreements the original version gave dmoz the right to do pretty much anything with the information except stopping you from using it, whereas the new version is claiming to transfer the rights completely to them.
    I suspect their reasoning behind this is to reduce the difficulty of challenging someone who copies their data but it seems to raise more problems than it fixes.
  • This is amateur sociology and is in fact not true; if deprived of the means to cmmit suicide, most suicides will in fact lose the will to go through with it. The single largest fall in the suicide rate in the history of the UK, for example, occurred in the year when gas stoves switched from poisonous coal gas to non-poisonous natural gas.

    The vasy majority of suicides do not "really, truly" want to die; they are temporarily overcome by the wish to die. Whether this justifies censoring information, otoh, is another matter.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So what should the punishment be? Death?

    It is obvious that people who want to kill themselves have some kind of mental problem, and need to be protected from themselves until they can move on with their lives in a positive way. Remember, it's for their own good!

    Suppose someone came to you and said he was going to kill himself by slashing his jugular with a broken W2K CD. You could either talk him out of it altogether, which will probably lead him to ignore you totally, or you could point out the relative painfulness of this method, and suggest he investigate alternatives.

    Or you could take the hard, but moral, route and act for his own good. He's obviously not capable of acting in his own best interests, why else do you think we have pleas of "diminished responsibility". Sometimes people just aren't themselves and do things they wouldn't normally do.

    But if all it takes is a quick search on the net to find out how to do it quickly, then he's going to go ahead and do it before you can help him. A life tragically lost, and the people who wrote that said are complicit in a murder.

  • Several editors do, in fact, keep copies of the RDF [] dumps on their machine and it is well known within the ODP community that any action by Netscape/AOL that displeases a large majority of editors will result in us setting up a competing service (probably even with assistance of skrenta [] and co - the founders).
    Netscape know that any major fowlups on their part will result in them being shot in the foot.
    Richy C. []
  • So, you used to be a former Meta-Editor?

    When did you come out of retirement?
  • Usual question: Did you actually look at the site? It lists hundreds of sites that offer help and advice to people affected by all aspects of suicide: survivors; bereaved relatives; those contemplating suicide; support groups; studies of suicides.
    It seems to me that to take this list down would be denying many people of a useful source of information on all aspects of suicide. It's not just (even) a how-to.
    Besides, censorship is censorship. You can't have just the freedom to talk about things you agree with. It's freedom of speech or no freedom of speech. No middle ground.
    01 13 19
  • Quote from the guidelines:
    Netscape will have the non-exclusive right to use and modify this material.
    You are not giving Netscape the full copyright, and Netscape is not restricting usage - in fact, they encourage it - see the licence file [] regarding the data.
    Richy C. []
  • by devnullkac ( 223246 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @04:16AM (#681042) Homepage

    If a directory cannot point you to material which advocates currently illegal activities, then it cannot help you engage in reasonable discussions about how laws should be changed.

    Ah well... another forum bites the dust. Guess we'll have to take Thomas Jefferson's advice and build another directory, just a little farther out west :-)

  • <BLOCKQUOTE>Netscape do own the copyright (and always have) - but with an 'non-exclusive licence', meaning you grant them the right to use the data but you still have full rights to do what you want with it.</BLOCKQUOTE>


    If "you grant them the right to use the data but you still have full rights to do what you want with it" then you do have the copyright! Else you wouldn't have had to grant them anything.

  • by Eccles ( 932 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @04:18AM (#681044) Journal
    Yeah, we can get rid of this "Romeo and Juliet" filth:
    Act 1, Scene 2:
    But saying o'er what I have said before:
    My child is yet a stranger in the world;
    She hath not seen the change of fourteen years,
    Let two more summers wither in their pride,
    Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.
    Younger than she are happy mothers made.
    Then in Act 3, Scene 5, Romeo and the 13 year old Juliet are in bed together.
  • Well, specifically I think the illegal sites bit is a good thing. I edited Computers/Software for a while (someone took exception to my editing it, and removed me a while back), and remember several pages offering warez CDs. I deleted these sites, going on my own judgement that they were inappropriate (not to mention submitted about 20 times each), but I appreciate having backing from the guidelines now.

    IMHO, I think people should complaining more about the law, and what is considered illegal, rather than DMoz's attempt to protect themselves.

    I just wish they'd ban Spam software sites too (which tended to go mysteriously missing when I was editing, but AFAIK there is still a category of the damn things).

  • I think Netscape/AOL is perfectly justified in removing Illegal (Child Porn, Warez, etc) from the ODP. After all, by allowing editors to index the content, they are opening themselves up to lawsuits and encouraging people to break the law.

    The real problem that they have is: where do they draw the line? I think Child Porn is almost universally illegal and is justfied in being removed, but other categories are a little fuzzier, especially the Warez and Drugs site index, because Warez sites have some software (mostly No-CD patches) that are useful to people that own the game legally. Many Drug sites could also be useful to people simply for educational purposes.

    For all practical purposes, though, they are just making the illegal content harder to find in their index rather than stripping the index of all illegal content. People will just think of new jargon to categorize the illegal content under and the struggle to remove illegal content will continue.
  • With all the subversive material posted on here, its only a matter of time before it gets labelled as "abetting" illegal activity. All those articles about DeCSS, with links to source code, ya know.
  • by Crash Culligan ( 227354 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @04:21AM (#681048) Journal
    From their About [] page, I find this line to be so misleading as to be a 1984ism:

    The Open Directory is a self-regulating republic where experts can collect their recommendations, without including noise and misinformation.

    Uhhhh, yeah. With this new change, it's self-regulating except where other people regulate it, or it regulates itself to avoid controversy. And experts can't collect their recommendations in certain categories because they're deemed inappropriate.

    As someone pointed out, censorship is damage, and the Internet tries to route around it.

    This has given me a new metaphor for it: censorship is a form of noise, which actively seeks to drown out content with silence, and tries to keep people from finding out things they would otherwise want to know.

    Let's take a look at the sensitive issue of "suicide."

    Blocking "suicide," for instance, keeps people from learning about ways people can kill themselves. It also keeps people from learning ways NOT to kill themselves. I once saw a Suicide FAQ that described the various means people have tried, and the circumstances under which the people were left as vegetables. If a successful suicide is painful, try an unsuccessful one.

    Blocking that category also makes it harder for people to recognize suicidal impulses, or what to do to prevent suicide. They may be found under some other Mental Health category, but which I couldn't tell you because the server just bowed under the /. Effect.

    A proper "suicide" section might also include information for people trying to recover from the suicides of others. That might also be under mental health, but "mental health" is rarely the first keyword that pops into your mind when you think "suicide," is it?

    So they remove the knowledge. That won't stop people from trying it. It may keep a few from succeeding, but those people won't be any better off. And then the people they leave behind will wonder what to do about it...

    ...and they have the audacity to start the first chunk of the 'About' text with The Internet Brain. They view the Internet as a repository of knowledge, and then start selectively ignoring parts they don't like... I don't need to tell you what this reminds me of.

    (It's not until they actively try to excise those parts they don't like that it becomes a form of lobotomy.)

  • I guess the situation is:

    Your assumptions:
    suicide is wrong
    suicide is serious
    any discussion of wrong things should be banned

    it's not OK to talk about serious subjects.

    [I don't have time to fix up the logic so it actually works, feel free to do so.]

    Lets talk about Barney instead!

    Sorry, ducking the issue helps no one.

    I don't advocate suicide or even helping someone. I don't even like euthanasia. I must, however, say that such a site discussing any of these should exist from a freedom perspective, otherwise it'd be too easy to shut things down from any politically correct standpoint. If Netscape/AOL doesn't want it, get a real ISP that gives you net space.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Depends where its set; the age of consent is 12 in some european countries.
  • 1. You're assuming that giving information about suicide is the same as promotion. This is clearly false. I've read the alt.suicide FAQ - it's actually quite fascinating. It didn't make me want to kill myself. (Listening to right-wing politicians, however, has made me contemplate murder. Maybe we should censor them?)

    2. Censorship is bad. It goes against our rights to free speech and free thought. Now there may be situations where the harm from certain kinds of free speech outweighs the harm of censorship, but unless you can show that this is such a case (with solid evidance, not just conjecture) you shouldn't even think about suppressing the material.

  • Walk into any (name-your-favorite-or-most-hated-bookseller-here) and grab a copy of Derek Humphrey's book(s) on Physician Aid-in-Dying. There are some graphic examples and thorough instructions on how to end one's own life. The Hemlock Society exists to promote the availability of this information to those who may need it, as well as to those who may need to see it to realize that they didn't need it in the first place. Knocking off this website makes about as much sense as yanking Humphrey's book off the shelves, or outlawing the right to association enjoyed by the Hemlock Society. It is censorship, and it is wrong. Forcing your beliefs about the "sanctity" of life on those who disagree is irresponsible, at best.
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @04:24AM (#681053) Homepage Journal
    It's important to realise that the US First Ammendment concerns only the US Government, not private corporations. Even private corporations that are arguably more relevent to real life than the US Government.

    Secondly, censorship is not this great evil. Each and every one of us practices censorship every time we -don't- tell our respective bosses exactly what they can do with their latest batch of memos or policy decisions. Is that wrong? Ummm, I dunno about you, but I like being able to eat.

    Sure, that's "self-censorship", rather than mandated from outside, but if a given set of thoughts are (in themselves) intelligent and what you'd probably do anyway, WHO THE HELL CARES?! Is life on this planet so miserable that we have to resort to the Not Invented Here Syndrome?

    If society is grasping to the same straws that nearly destroyed companies like IBM and ICL, maybe there -should- be pages on suicide. NIHS is invariably fatal, usually slowly and often painfully.

    This kind of reminds me of attitudes I've seen in America, with regards to the seatbelt laws. I've seen plenty of people who do not wear seatbelts. Not because they don't want to, not because they don't think they're a good idea, but because someone ELSE had the nerve to tell them they should.

    If you do the opposite of what you would only do anyway, PURELY because someone else thinks it's a good idea, you are still letting those people control what you do. Resenting those people, then, is stupid and petty. But all too frequently observed.

    I'm not going to tell anyone here to get a life, because you already have one. Just stop handing it over, reversed or otherwise.

  • I tried several times to get a site added to the index. It was never added. I emailed both editors as well as dmoz itself; several times. Never got any email response either. I finally gave up. I had no trouble adding the site to other searches/idexes. Too bad since google uses dmoz. Whats the secret to getting the attention od someone at dmoz?
  • It's Slashdotted! Just when I was about to a few new breweries too!

    hardcode (aka zarquon)
  • ODP editors have also asked for clarification of certain issues (particular the warez category) as they feel 'uncomfortable' in dealing with the issue.
    In recent internal ODP forum posts, editors have raised the question about their own COUNTRY suing them due to strict regimes in the country. ODP is just trying to help their editors and their downstream users in whichever ways it can.
    Richy C. []
  • ODP has been suffering quite a bit of downtime the past fortnight - this is due to a hardware problem which is due to be fixed shortly (it /was/ scheduled for Monday at 12PST, but the maintenace was unable to be conducted for some reason).
    Normally, it is VERY fast, and hopefully will be again very shortly.
    Richy C. []
  • the problem is that OPD claims to be international. they say: no illegal links.. but what is illegal? illegal to US law? illegal to Chinese law? illegal to Verweggistan (Farawaysia, for the dutch impaired..) ? Illegal in the country the server is located? it's not clear enough. is reverse engineering legal? it is in europe...

  • Why should you not.

    What are you going to do ban "Suicide is Painless"

    Or every MASH episode that uses the song. Or what about the DOA song "No more Suicides" are you going ban referenecs to Shakespere, Or Hari-Kari, Or "The Far Pavilions"

    I have had several friends who chose that option, I do not agree with Suicide. But that is between themselves & whatever is on the other side of death.

    Suicide (and death) is a fact of life, If you do not discus it, and are not aware of it, how the FUCK are you going to deal with it when it is the choice of those around you.
  • Ensure your site is working, the URL is correct and it has been submitted to the CORRECT category (quite a few submissions are deleted because of this).
    ODP is human-edited, and therefore the site's got to be viewable by humans.
    If you send me the URL by 'editor feedback []' (when the server comes back up), with the details, I'll personally look into the matter and get back to you.
    There is no secret, it's just that there may have been something on your site that an editor couldn't see, or your server was down or ...
    Richy C. []
  • Some of the editors are just plain busy I spose, I always respond to emails and give feedback when needed (such as when a site was totally unuasable to netscape users)

  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @04:38AM (#681062) Homepage Journal
    It's also worth pointing out though that American laws only effect American businesses. The suggestion that something should be removed simply because it is illegal implies either that almost everything should be removed (because it's illegal somewhere) or that one set of laws should override all others, so America's crazy attitude to drugs should impact people in Holland, for instance.

    On which note, there's also the gray line. Does a site giving information on illegal narcotics and their effects promote use of those narcotics?

    And while I don't doubt the technical right of someone to refuse to provide information of a particular type, there's certainly a moral onus upon them to include as much information as possible if they're going to claim that something is a universal, open, directory. You could argue that technically they have the right to do anything, including sell your profile to other organizations, look for keywords and pass your names to government agencies if certain keywords come up, etc.

    I find a bunch of things worrying about this proposal. I worry about the implications for global free speech if US or any other law is used as a filter to determine what goes in and out of a resource supposedly there to look for information. And I'm concerned that this directory is going to be promoted as something it isn't.

  • by buttfucker2000 ( 240799 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @04:38AM (#681063) Homepage Journal
    I posted this story more than a month ago.

    I wrote [words to the effect]

    AOL's legal department has forced editors to remove their content. The warez category has now been replaced by something called 'Software Piracy'. See here: http://direct ory [] (this is the Google mirror, because Dmoz has been slashdotted).

    You can see the old content here ez/ []

    I wrote to one of the editors (all but one have since resigned), since there wasn't any explanation on the site, and here's what he said:

    To: Anonymous Coward Tue 19/09/00 07:14

    it's been decided by the legal dept of dmoz that we no longer provide links to sites giving out illegal material. so they have pretty much deleted all the warez sites. anyways i'm not involved anymore as i resigned from my position as warez editor.

    [name removed]

    Anyway, looks like AOL have censored the so-called 'Open' Directory out of existence.


    So much for freedom on the net. It looks like we are left with AOL stifling diversity again, just like it did when it censored words like 'breast' in the past.

    Basically corporations like AOL will control and censor the internet to suit its own interests, and there's nothing anyone can do. No 'free' organization could afford the infrastructure for a truly Open Directory, and so we end up with the 'Censored' directory.

    Even if someone did setup a true Open Directory (please), because AOL controls all the content, and because affiliates will use the AOL version, it wouldn't get the profile it deserves, and so it wouldn't get the sites - DMOZ gets most of its visitors thanks to its use on sites like Google.

    Anyway, I urge you all:

    • resign from the AOL directory.
    • retrieve the censored content from the google cache (do it like this: go to [], navigate to the censored section, and then append that URL to

      And do it now!)

  • What condescending drivel.

    This is the sort of attitude that's too prevalent in western society...*why* is committing suicide always wrong? *Why* is it better to live a life when you're in so much pain you wish you were dead? And I'm not talking about angsty teenage girls making passive attempts by overdosing on weak sedatives...

    The fact is none of you can answer those questions, so you avoid them entirely by invalidating those feelings as always temporary and somehow not real. It's a copout and it stinks.

  • They say it's illegal regarding US laws (California IIRC), but because they do have international editors they have tried to 'spell out' exactly what they mean.
    IIRC - Reverse Engineering in the UK is illegal.

    Richy C. []
  • by Basset ( 6083 )
    If one of the DMOZ editors did want to hurt themselves because of the changes, they would be unable to access the suicide category.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I *was* an editor at DMOZ too - until they forced me to categorize by English/Non-English sites first, and THEN by category. In other words, any given topic would be split over vast numbers of nodes, all with a single parent way way up the chain. The more logical and useful categorisation would have been with the language split happening last of all, and only if needed. There have been such signs of utter stupidity right from ther start, is the point!
  • Some time ago, I submitted a question to slashdot about the feasibility of an ODP based on a distributed database archetecture. My hope was that an open discussion of the technical merits of this idea would lead to a fledgling project, but unfortunately, Slashdot Editorial channeled my ideas into the bit bucket. Surprise Surprise! Now we really do need that Gnutella of Directories []!
  • Btw, everything I said in the above post should be considered a reply to streetlawyer's post as well.
  • I'm sorry, but whilst I disagree with them taking things like hacking down, I can't fault their choice of getting rid of pro-suicide information.

    You're missing the point. This is how censorship works. "I think that free speech is good, but you shouldn't say..."

    If people are only allowed to say things that the public accepts, then the First Amendment is totally pointless. Non-controversial things don't NEED protection. Yes, I understand that this is a business, and I acknowledge that they can refuse to link to whatever they want. But in the process they're lessening themselves drastically.

    And as far as suicide sites go, for what? Can you picture this scenario? "My life sucks. That's it, I'm going to end it all. But, erm, how can I do it? Better load up dmoz. Dum dee doo... damn! There's not a single link on here. Oh, I give up. I guess I'll live after all."

    Neither can I.

  • Suicide is wrong, and helping someone to kill themselves is no better than murder.
    Oh codswallop. Suicide is a consensual form of death. Murder, the death penalty, etc, are non consensual, unnatural forms of death. There's a giant difference between them.

    And while I might agree that promoting suicide is wrong, providing information on how to do it, cleanly and painlessly, is, IMO, neutral. If someone wishes to kill themselves to the extent that they're willing to go out and look for the information to do so, they're already more than half way towards doing it.

    This is a classic pro-choice issue. I can't tell someone whether they should commit suicide. For many, doing so will cause pain to their friends and family and it's not worth doing. For others, doing so will prevent pain, and possibly pain for their friends and family, such as the classic example of terminal cancer patients who see no reason to continue. The only person who can legitimately make that choice is the person at the center. Only they can balance the issues. Only they can decide what they want to do.

    And removing a source of information makes that choice more difficult. It corrupts the options, to the point of undermining the ability to make that choice, and compromising an individual's right to choose.

    If it is true, as the article claims, that this kind of thing is illegal under American law and therefore cannot be posted, it's time someone whapped the politians with a copy of the first ammendment and told them, again, to keep their noses out of something that's not their business.

  • Forcing life on someone who does not want it is just as bad as murder. In both cases you are claiming the power of life and death over another person.
  • Because we have been given life for a purpose, and it's not our place to decide when to end it.

    This smacks of religion, and is not an answer by any stretch of the imagination. Your personal opinions and beliefs are NOT a valid argument, much as it would make things incredibly easy for you if they were. Try again.

    I don't advocate or promote suicide. I wouldn't even consider happily sending a suicidal family member of friend to their self-inflicted grave. Don't read so much between my lines. I was attacking the attitude that people's feelings don't count if they're telling them to do something considered wrong. Inflammatory and ridiculous comments involving me pushing people off tower blocks do nothing except make you look foolish.

  • Oh shit. This is worse than I thought. This is closing the *entire* hacking section - in addition to the already closed warez section.

    But, more importantly, what is illegal about a link? It is the site providing the illegal content that is at fault, not the linker.

    Put it this way: if you ask me: 'Where can I get some warez copies of Windows?', and I say 'from the guy in the school car park', I haven't done anything illegal. Nor indeed have you by talking to that guy (reading the web page). It is only by buying ilegal software that an offense is committed.
  • This is amateur sociology and is in fact not true; if deprived of the means to cmmit suicide, most suicides will in fact lose the will to go through with it.

    The article and previous posts said nothing about removing tall buildings, bridges, razors, pills, carbon monoxide in cars, etc. to prevent people from killing themselves. Also, it is within our rights in most countries to describe methods for doing such a thing. In the U.S. we have things thing called the Bill of Rights, and within that, there is the First Amendment that basically tells us we can say whatever we want (the only limitations I am aware of are in dealing with public safety, e.g. not screaming "FIRE!" in a crowded theater, and libel.)

    Also, what makes you so sure of yourself that suicide is bad? Yes, it is against Judeo-Christian values, as well as a lot of other religions and cultures. However, there are sometimes valid reasons to kill yourself. What about someone who is dying of a painful brain tumor? What if someone simply doesn't want to live, has no hope, and doesn't want any help? It is not your right to tell someone how to live, and it should not be up to you to infringe on their right to die. If you are worried about "protecting" people, find someone who wants your help rather than those who simply want left alone.

    Also, according to you, a lot of people that commit suicide are only temporarily in that depression and really want help. Going with that, wouldn't it be a lot easier for a kid to read a discussion group that has other people that feel like they do on it? Maybe their intent is to end their life, but when they find out they are not alone things seem better...or...if it is a website only about methods of killing yourself, the child's parents will look through the history in the web browser or sees the page on the monitor (a responsible parent that doesn't rely on worthless censorware) will know that something is wrong in their kid's life and try to find a way to help.

    In any case, I don't think this stuff should be censored, and I think you may agree with me about that, I think the suicide thing should be viewed from another perspective.

  • Reverse Engineering in the UK is illegal

    The law disagrees with you []
  • I once had to. I was visiting a customer site and work neglected to give me my own laptop for the job. I hit an unforseen snag and needed pull some files off a puplic ftp site, from a well known directory, and quickly.

    All I had was someones AOL setup. Finding the files took around 10 times as long as usual, and then actually downloading them was even more horrible, not telling me where it had downloaded these files.

    Probably the most painful experience I've ever had with a modem, and that includes pulling files down with kermit over a 2400 baud link (ouch!).

  • > They say it's illegal regarding US laws (California IIRC), but because they do have international editors they have tried to 'spell out' exactly what they mean.

    So foreigners are subjected to California law ? I think it sucks.

    What would be needed is a distributed directory, so the warez part could be maintained outside of america. Corporation would give access to a map on the directory that would avoid the litigious parts, which will still be accessible by other means.


  • This is a good example.

    It's textual instead of visual and so (I'll bet) would most certainly escape the "censorious" claws of the corporate hawks.

    It's also a telling example -- and this is veering way, way off topic -- about how specific forms of "content" (in this case "visual" content as opposed to "textual" content) have been privileged above other forms of content.

    True, in America this might be considered "child porn" -- but the canonized status of "Shakespeare" (and all that falls under category "Shakespeare") would probably pass a "censorware" test, whereas the noncanonized category of "Anonymous Photograph of Child Porn in a dark room with splotched colors" would certainly *fail* said censorware test. Even though in theory the photograph could *visually* represent the same "event" that the text is textually representing.

    This is not to defend child porn -- not by a long shot -- but just to emphasize (in my mind, if no one else's) the ability for one media to be so drastically different and privileged than another form of media even though -- in theory -- each bit of media could be *representing* the same thing.

    Kinda make you wonder who sat up one day, wiped the sleep from his (or her) eyes, and made the rules: textual stuff okay, visual stuff bad.

    I've always thought it's the fault of those fucking American puritans. They pretty much ruined it for the rest of us. Work hard, do good, go to church, and live in spartan surroundings.


  • > Suicide is wrong

    Thank you for your universalist viewpoint.

    In some cultures, suicide is (or has been) a respectable way to go. Are your parochial views binding on such cultures?
  • by GauteL ( 29207 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @04:58AM (#681081)

    You really have to draw a line somewhere, otherwise I could put up a post stating:
    "$10000 to the person who kills Rob Malda".

    If someone kills Malda stating he wanted the reward, and the police arrests me, should I be able to plead "free speech, man.."

    Should I be able to plead "free speech" for shouting "kill all white children" from the rooftops (I bet this would _really_ scare children walking the streets below).

    While stating ways to kill yourself is perfectly legal (and IMHO ok), actually trying to push people to do it is not.

  • Score:-1 , Troll


  • by Ektanoor ( 9949 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @05:00AM (#681083) Journal
    If anyone takes an agreement then he may find a "clause of exceptions". Usually it refers to situations that may void the agreement. It is practice to state strictly these exceptions or parties may get into court and get some Bad Weather there. This sort of "Examples of unlawful content" would probably be one of the reasons for Netscape to get wet in court. As these "examples" are too foggy to be understood. Frankly here it would be enough to send someone to court. As such rules should carry the term "According to the Laws of the Russian Federation..." (V sootvetstvii s Zakonodatelstvom Rossiskoi Federacii...). Without it you can't state that an activity is unlawful. It is not you who should decide it but the courts.

    AOL/Netscape state examples. What can be behind? Reverse Engineering? On what bases? In Russia it is legal to do it under certain restrictions. Cracking? In Norway it seems that law can be only broken if someone does invades other's computer. Material that infringes any property right? On what base, under which law - UCITA, Millenium or Trepanarian acts? Or what the author believes is violation? Like Microsoft that even forbides to cite its user guide for nuns? Libelous? Under which base? The court decision or a phone call of the offended guy?

    And what is beyond "Examples"? "Flame AOL!"?, "Anarchy"? "Communism"? "Cult of the Dead Cow"? "UFO's"? "Martian Anomalies"? In this last example I still remember that I was kicked out of Yahoo! just because I was too harsh to NASA's folks. This flagrant example of Internet censorship was never explained to me. However I know this was made just by a few E-mails or phone calls from some "scientific authority at Stanford University", who considered that even Malin's place deserved a place at "Entertainment->Paranormalia->Martian Anomalies". This casts some shadows on this possible move of dmoz. You write something that doesn't fit the general trend and you get the label "outlaw"...

  • So just come out and say it, Eccles. You're pissed because they're cutting out kiddie porn. Isn't that what you're trying to say? Well, you're obviously smart enough to tell the difference between English literature and kiddie porn -- you gave this outrageous example. Don't you think anyone else is capable as well? Or, do you seriously think that just because a policy is made concerning child porn, that same policy will effect Shakespeare?

    Come on!
  • I have to admit that I was one of the first volunteer editors when the DMZ project started. I edited the "Anarchism" categories until I decided that my time was better spent fleshing out my popular anarchism website. I spent several hours using DMOZ's excellent web-based software to add hundreds of links.

    The first thing category editors should do is to start deleting the content they have added to the site. It's your intellectual work, so you can do whatever you want with it. If I still had access to the directories I was responsible for several years ago, I'd be in their right now deleting all of my work. It's pretty arrogant for a corporation to claim that it owns the work I did for what was once a volunteer-run project. Corporate arrogance is no surprise--thank god people are finally starting to fight back.

    A few mollies through the windows of Steve Case's mansion might put him on notice. Ultimately, we'd be better of organizing AOL workers into a union and kicking Case and management out of there.

    In the meantime, the idea of a collectively-run, decentralized disributed content directory is one worth pursuing. Several years ago, some fellow digtial anarchists and myself started the Freesearch project, which we envisioned as a distributed search engine which would have included a directory modelled on DMOZ. Our impetus for considering a distributed search engine project was worrisome news that the major search engines might start weighting searches towards paying clients. The search engines are one of the few things that ensure democracy on the Internet.

    Needless to say, our project stagnated, mainly because we were working on other projects.

    Then Napster and Freesearch came along and I had to laugh, because once again I had been involved in a project that was thinking ahead, but didnt' come to fruition. I'm glad that Napster developed critical mass and Freesearch is moving ahead.

    If anybody is serious about creating a open source, public domain, distributed content directory, they should get together with the librarians who are working on similar projects. They can bring to the project their knowledge about metadata and DOIs (digital object identifiers). It's a real shame that librarians didn't develop Yahoo! in the first place, but know isn't the time to discuss what might have been. There is a group of librarians working on open source library software. They call themselves "oss4lib," but I don't have their URL handy.

    DMOZ is dead. Let's create something that is truly free of corporate control.

  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @05:05AM (#681086) Homepage
    That point always bugs me, that something is illegal for falacious reasons, and you can't get any dialog going to enlighten folks because of the self reinforcing myth. A great example is the tomato []. Once upon a time, quite intelligent folks beleived that tomato's were deadly poisonious! BION. It's not too hard to imagine our diligent politicritters out pandering to the unenlightened masses proposing even more stupid laws to protect our children from 'poisonous' plants and other fabricated issues to pump up the self esteem and importance of their otherwise useless existance, and further entangle us freedom loving citizens with yet another legal speciality. A democracy needs FACTS, not media control and manipulation. Idiots.
  • I posted this story more than a month ago.
    The guidelines were only changed 5 days ago - but, admittedly, some action regarding the Warez section was taken. It was taken because several editors were complaining about it being listed, it is linking to illegal content and Netscape's legal department informed ODP that they couldn't be sure what position ODP is in.
    Therefore ODP took the only sensible cause of action under the circumstances - pull the content out of the directory (actually, I believe it's been temporarly moved to a 'hidden' area) while discussions in the internal editor forums decide what should be done.
    Richy C. []
  • Because we have been given life for a purpose, and it's not our place to decide when to end it.

    Great argument. Sadly you have no proof, being motivated only by religious texts which are open to many and varied interpretations. Doesn't free will enter into it somewhere?

    There is no real argument against suicide. You can tell people life isn't all bad, that it's a beautiful world, etc, but you cannot use logic in these situations: people seldom follow logic at the best of times, and in the grips of despair and/or mental illness, scarcely ever.

    Also there are many cases in our society where suicide or near-suicide are held to be virtuous. What about the soldier who throws himself on top of a grenade, or the martyr who goes to his/her death rather than utter a meaningless repudiation of his/her faith? Other religions, notably Islam, have even stronger notions of virtuous death, leading to suicide bombers and jihads.

    Not to mention the central place of suicide in literature: Romeo And Juliet, Tristan And Isolde, The Sorrows Of Young Werther, much of the Romantic tradition. I suppose you would like to ban any presentation of suicide as a glamorous or romantic thing to do.

    Of course, we should stop people committing suicide whereever possible, but don't tell me suicide is wrong based on the convictions of a religion based on someone who voluntarily died on a cross.

    There are also legitimate reasons for information on suicide to be available, e.g. to help us spot people likely to commit suicide and remove items they could use.

  • Of course AOL is justified in being completely 100% yellow-bellied cowards about this. The decision about what information is illegal is certainly easier than trying to decide what information is simply objectionable. Of course, in the US, obscenity enforcement is quite variable, such that content in New York City might be seen as ho-hum, where that same content in small town Tennessee might get you jailed. Promoting Nazi politics is highly illegal in large parts of Europe, but is perfectly acceptable in Idaho. Personally, I'm more interested in the relationship of these volunteer editors to the for-profit AOL. Shouldn't they be getting paid for all this work?

    What is needed if we are to have a truly human-built web directory, with categorization and true open-ness is a decentralized set of servers with a standard format (or at least a consistent underlying XML)-- either a script on the server which builds query-specific results, or serves a static file with ALL of that particular server's listings, such that a client or web page can be built to query those servers at the discretion of the user. The capability to provide smaller listings as a static file also makes it possible to store some listings on "free" servers and/or opens up the possibility for those users who have static web service as part of their ISP package, but do not have access to or skill in producing CGI pages.

    By keeping each server or listing file topical (and perhaps organized using some existing external system like Dewey Decimal--which works just as well for web directories as for library materials, plus the decimal categorization allows the files to be very specific or very broad based on how many decimal places the catalog number is specified to), the client can keep a record of servers which have certain topics and query only those servers. This keeps query time down, allows for redundant category listings (i.e. if I don't like your information about drugs or Scientology I am free to make my own, and others are free to decide that one set of links is superior by excluding the other set from their server listing-- or to decide that they want to use both), it decentralizes control over content, it puts power in the hands of users (parents can make sure that offensive categories or servers are not available), but also allows anyone to provide content if they choose, it also decentralizes computing (which means that no one is dependent on some corporation to maintain the large server that does all the work).

    I realize this proposal does not take into account the ability to do a comprehensive keyword search easily or quickly. Although it would certainly be possible to do quick keyword searches within categories, and it would be possible, but slow, to do broader keyword searches-- it just wouldn't be robust like google or altavista, but then it would be more likely to return useful results, too. Certainly this has some of the same sorts of problems that you have with Gnutella or Napster (possible bottlenecks, how to find directory servers and get them into your client, deliberately or accidentally malformed listings, etc etc). However, I think that with a little effort most of these problems can be overcome in ways that the existing services can't or don't work on preventing. The biggest problem is where to get and how to propagate a list of the listing servers. Just some thoughts... and I seem to recall reading about a project or two that are already working on this.
  • Why don't you select Highest scores first then scroll down until you hit the zeros?

    This site is so cool. Everyone can be happy.

    It's probably prevented a few suicides in its time.

  • No, that statement wasn't simply ethics. I'm not even going to elaborate on that, you know as well as I how full of shit it was to call a comment about life having a purpose and people's lives not being theirs to take, a statement about ethics.

    Only that I'm in the same low group as people that would push another person off a building. What's the difference, you troll?

  • Well, in the US, you also have these things called guns, which is why your suicide rate is five times that of us in the UK, despite the widespread availability of exhausts, buildings, razor blades, etc. Which rather goes to prove my point; people who are considering suicide tend to make just one attempt, and then reconsider. If the attempt is with a gun, they don't usually get a chance to reconsider.

    And the number of "attempted suicides" who are walking around today leading happy lives, who would very much have regretted not being able to lead those lives, is as good ajustification as you need for making suicide as difficult as possible. Yes, even if that does mean giving up the utterly (provably) fictitious "protection" of a privately owned handgun.

  • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @05:18AM (#681093) Homepage Journal
    It's interesting that they use the term "unlawful content", and then include in that definition "material that infringes any intellectual property right," and "material that is libelous." Those two instances aren't illegal, but they are acts upon which an injured party can bring a civil suit.

    This isn't about stopping crime, it's simply about keeping themselves as free of liability as they can. I guess it's a result of the lawsuit-crazy world we live in, that organizations are driven to these sorts of decisions.

  • Relax. The purpose of life is nothing more than being alive, nothing mystical about that now is there... and yes, it is an ethical view to consider someone being alive as being better than someone being dead, especially when you could have prevented such a tragedy.

    And of the part about our lives not being ours to take? Please explain. I'm really failing to see how that isn't a religious/faith viewpoint. I suspect you're lying about not meaning it in a religious context.

    I said that wasn't aimed at you in particular.

    Not, it was aimed at "people like me", which effectively the same thing, since you're saying I would do something just as bad. Are you now taking that back?

  • I thought the old rule applied ... if it starts to suck, make your own.
  • Was thinking of something similar, an alternative to DNS with a hierarchical structure rather than the current flat one, with extra fields for summary information.

    Having an human editor component would be pretty useful actually, the main problem I could think of with it b4 was that people would spam it.

    Possibly having a non-edited & || edited summary/keywords (because some sites wouldn't get edited I guess, just too many out there, but it would still be useful to have somethingas they would still be able to be found by drilling down through the heirarchy). Also if it was tied to DNS then it should be fairly complete (except IP & dyndns etc), not just the 30% 'known web'.

    Ho hum.

  • I'm sorry, I just had to jump threads to respond to this.

    Morality is indeed relative to cultural values. For example, suicide is neither condemned nor promoted by Buddhism. Instead what is important is frame of mind at the moment of death. Suicide committed in fear, anger or grief is frowned upon, but only because they aspire to a state of calm, level-headedness, and peace. Several suicides are glorified in their texts, due to the subjects reasons and the state of mind in which is was committed.

  • New guidelines [] and Old guidelines []

    Since the DMOZ server has been flakey today.

  • So just come out and say it, Eccles.


    Well, you're obviously smart enough to tell the difference between English literature and kiddie porn -- you gave this outrageous example. Don't you think anyone else is capable as well?

    Anyone? Yes. Everyone? No. Do a web search on "Romeo Juliet banned books"; I recommend Google. The guidelines here say "child pornography", with absolutely no information on what qualifies as such. Note also that "Romeo and Juliet" contains a double suicide, thus falling even further in violation of these guidelines.

    But if I even question that the guidelines might be too vague, and I get dimwits like you libelling me.

    I leave you with the following
    web site [] to read. You can skip to the 1990s.
  • by Vryl ( 31994 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @05:33AM (#681100) Journal
    This could provoke a shitstorm, but it has to be said:

    Can we have an informed discussion about the evils (or otherwise as some may argue) of child porn without access to it?

    First, to cover some objections:
    1. Child porn (that we all can agree is porn, ie non consenting sex with children) continues to violate the victim.
    In this case, I agree. However, it may be the case that some victims of this may (for the best of reasons) wish to have this available, perhaps for research, or to prove that it did in fact take place.
    2. That it legitimizes or furthers the child porn industry
    If the materials were being solicited or purchased then this is almost certainly true, however, apparently the material exists, and some people must therefore have access to them (police for instance).

    But, there may well be *legitimate* reasons to wish to access 'child porn'.

    The first is that it may well *not* be child porn and is being misrepresented. I know that a police investigator in Australia said that a lot of the stuff they find in pederasts houses is children's clothes catalogues and the like.

    The second, related in some instances to the first is for the purposes of research, journalism, discussion and counseling.

    Please Note:
    I am not apologising for pederasts, paedophiles or child pornographers, I find the idea abhorrent and am glad that our society shares this view. I do not advocate sex with children or support anyone who does. I do not, and never have possessed any material remotely likely to be classified as 'child porn'.

    My identity is well known (and easily discoverable), and I am posting this non-anonymously to make the point that you don't have to be some sleazoid hidden away on the net to have an interest in the *topic* of child porn and all that that entails.. I wish to make the point that censorship is censorship, and a lot of the apologists for censorship use porn, and particularly kiddie porn as the excuse to clamp down on freedom. Child porn existed before the net the material was shared thru various networks. Clamping down on discussion of this problem will not make it go away, and in fact will probably make the situation worse.

    The point is that people engaging in the sex, soliciting it, purchasing it, or profiting from its exploitation are the criminals.

    If someone has a site dedicated to the legitimate discussion of this issue, it may well have disturbing images to get its point across, or to facilitate proper discussion of the issue. I do not believe that this, is in the absence of the above criteria, makes the site or those pictures in that context, or links to the site, illegal or immoral.

  • Well if, as you claim, you're against suicide (although you're hardly showing it here) then it's not aimed at you at all is it?

    Seeing as you're now talking bollocks and aren't even willing to take responsibility for claims you made only a few minutes ago, I think it's time I left you to your delusions.

  • DNS does have a hierarchial structure. You can hardly tell from the way DNS is currently used.... but it is completely hierarchial.
  • The internet represents the greatest tool for free speech ever invented. There are many efforts underway to limit the freedom that the internet offers and inevitably child porn is the reason given. Now, I hate child porn as much as anyone, and would even help flay the skin off of anyone caught producing child porn, but, I cannot accept giving up our freedoms under the guise of stopping child porn. As for the other topics mentioned, suicide, warez, etc, as soon as we allow the right to limit access to information that is considered objectionable, we have given up the right to free speech.
    Can you people not see how precious the freedoms we enjoy are?
  • I'm also an ODP editor, and have been since nearly the beginning of the project in mid-1998. (My editor profile [] is readily available - if the server is down there's a less-detailed copy elsewhere [].)

    I agree with beebware that this will be resolved internally. The Open Directory Project prides itself on being a complete directory - I'm confident that useful listings (such as those about suicide, etc.) won't be lost when illegal sites are removed.

    Remember, it's "sites with unlawful content" we're looking at here - unlawful content. As far as I know (and I am not a lawyer), it's perfectly legal to talk about suicide - actually committing suicide is illegal, but you can talk about it all you like. Sites containing child pornography are illegal because the pornography itself is what's illegal. (Of course, this is the way I see it - it's up to the lawyers to decide what actually happens. And I'll keep editing after they do.)

    And an important note on the subject of this article: Dmoz is not "aka AOL" at all. It is owned by AOL/Time-Warner, but it's a separate project. Remember that ICQ has also been owned by AOL since June 8, 1998 [], and even Mozilla - related to Netscape - belongs to AOL. Just because a project is owned by AOL doesn't mean it's "aka AOL" - you got that part all wrong.

  • What we have on the web since it became hip to "do the email thing" is the same thing that happened in the traditional media.

    The power of editorial control or (as in this case) the power of gatekeeper to somebody else's content is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Now watch AOL/TimeWarner being bought by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp - there you'll feel the full flavor of corporate diversity tagged to the lowest common denominator!

    I don't buy all this bull about AOL/TimeWarner "protecting their corporate ass." If they cannot afford a little lawsuit over some links (hey - even can!), then why don't they just shut down their (yuck! shudder!) "investigative journalism programs" and stop crapping into the brains of the gullible public!

  • need to control for hours of sunshine; this is one of the best explanatory factors due to the extreme effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  • by Ektanoor ( 9949 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @05:50AM (#681107) Journal
    Sorry for the long citations but I think this needs to be well remarked. Besides this is directly related to my previous post.

    The newguidelines:
    "Sites with unlawful content should not be listed in the directory. Examples of unlawful content include child pornography; material that infringes any intellectual property right; material that specifically advocates, solicits or abets illegal activity (such as fraud or violence); and material that is libelous.

    Following these guidelines, editors should not use terms for subcategory names that would incorrectly suggest a category contains links to illegal content (e.g., Warez or Bootlegs). Similarly, ODP descriptions should not make reference to illegally obtained content (e.g., software or music), as such descriptions could incorrectly suggest an intent by an individual editor or the ODP to promote the distribution of such materials"

    The old guidelines:
    "Since US law governs the ODP, sites that infringe on US law should not be listed. Copyright infringement, certain kinds of pornography and death threats are illegal. The legality or illegality of a site is not based on the legality or illegality of the subject. When in doubt, just always remember - sites that clearly violate US laws or International law should not be listed."

    Sincerly, a great move by AOL... :) US law stops governing ODP. Any law stops governing it. Now it is just unlawful/illegal. By who? The Supreme Court of Directors of AOL?
  • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @05:53AM (#681108) Homepage Journal
    As a webmaster, I love dmoz. Dmoz is usually the easiest search engine to get to list you. After dmoz picks you up you are almost always covered by the other search engines quite quickly. Furthermore, because so many sites use dmoz's data, you suddenly have a couple hundred sites linking to you which shoots you up in the google rankings. Then because Yahoo now uses google rather than inktomi, you end up getting a lot of hits to your website just for a listing in dmoz.

    Dmoz doesn't seem to work well when editors can't decide what category something should be in. My Ladder game [] isn't listed. I've submitted it to several categories with no luck. The Java Games category points to web games and the editors there won't accept it because it doesn't run in a web page. Submitting it to other categories like arcade game specific titles, has recieved no response. Oh well.

    I have also applied to be an editor several times. but have been rejected. What helps to become an editor? I usually use a different email address for every category I apply for. Would it help to use the same account for every category? It asks about experience in the field. What helps here and what hurts? It asks for URLs. I assume three good URLs will help your chances. If there are any editors out there that could comment on this, I'd sure appreciate it.

  • Or the fact that we have too few editors to keep up with submissions in some areas.

    Robin Green
    ODP editor "greenrd"

  • Hmm... It wouldn't cache the web site, just X ammount of the meta headers, and a brief description of the content. I had an idea that the search could be protected by a signed PGP(GPG) key so that it couldn't be modified by 3rd parties...

    Sound interesting?
  • Suicide is wrong

    So what should the punishment be? Death?

    Only for successful reincidents.
  • If someone really, truly wants to die, they will succeed in killing themselves.

    That may be true, but it's the same of any crime against the state and legal order.

    You have to understand the historical significance of laws against suicide: you cannot kill yourself, because you are your king's subject, and you are not allowed to kill any of the king's subjects. We live in a world where individuals are given (and correctly given) greater autonomy to determine the destiny of their own bodies, but are you sure we want to take that last step and give them the right to destroy their bodies?

    Sure, you start dying as soon as you're born, so you're just postponing the inevitable by not committing suicide now. But at the same time, by committing suicide now, you're just showing your own impatience with that same natural biological and, again, inevitable process.

    Hiding guides on efficient ways to do it doesn't stop jack shit.

    Most suicides fail the first time (or second, or third). Each failure is another opportunity to get the person into counseling and convince her or him that it's in her or his best interest (and society's best interest) for her or him not to commit suicide.
  • by Anne Marie ( 239347 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @07:33AM (#681122)
    I get that a lot with my own comments, and it's hurtful. Are you so sure of your own righteousness that all opposing viewpoints must be trolls? You just illustrated Anne Marie's First Law of Slashdot:

    "As a Slashdot discussion grows more controversial, the probability of an allegation of 'troll' approaches one." (Anne Marie's First Law of Slashdot)
  • Well, as I understand it in the US, and canada, Child pornography is pretty much anything that depicts someone who is, or porports to be under the age of 18 having sex...

    By that, I think you could Throw Shakespeare in Jail for Romeo and Juliete -- but you'd have to dig his bones up, first. Personally, I think that it'd just be easier to shut down the Stratford Festival.

    If we took the time to do some research, I think we could get The Bible banned on the similar grounds.

  • by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @07:39AM (#681126) Homepage Journal
    Keep in mind that the editor of the Open Directory project are for the most part volunteers. If a site hasn't been added to a category, there may be a good reason (such as the ODP definition of SPAM... a little different from the rest of the computer world, which means somebody which is trying to get their site into about a hunderd categories or so. ODP guidelines suggest that a particular site only be listed once or twice, and that should only be the top-level of the web site as well unless it really does fit into multiple categories on lower levels. This is what the editors are supposed to do anyway).

    There are some things you can do to get listed in the ODP.

    1. Contact the editors of the category. If after a resonable length of time (about a week) you don't get a reply, contact the next higher level of editors. All editors of a higher-level category can take care of the lower levels, but usually try to leave that to the more specific category editors.
    2. Be polite. Because they are volunteers, they don't have to put up with abuse, and if enough people are chastizing them, they may simply give up even editing a category.
    3. Become an editor yourself. If it a rather obscure category, even if there are some other editors already listed, you will probabally get the category. This isn't always an option, but it can be quite rewarding. The people involved with ODP will be justifibly annoyed if you try to add your site and make it the cool site of the category, but they have ways of dealing with that as well. Adding your own site to the category isn't by itself against any guidelines.

      Adding to some the other search sites or indexes will justifibly be easier, simply because they are all totally automated. Keep in mind just what the Open Directory Project is about: Allowing people to edit what is cool and appropriate for a particular topic. I've seen some very impressive work in the ODP, and will still continue to support it in the future.
  • by Hacker Cracker ( 204131 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @07:51AM (#681128)
    Quoth the poster:
    You really have to draw a line somewhere, otherwise I could put up a post stating: "$10000 to the person who kills Rob Malda".
    If someone kills Malda stating he wanted the reward, and the police arrests me, should I be able to plead "free speech, man.."
    Should I be able to plead "free speech" for shouting "kill all white children" from the rooftops (I bet this would _really_ scare children walking the streets below).
    Oh, come on people... This tired old argument is none other than the same old argument that the first amendment (free speech) is limited because "you can't yell 'fire!' in a crowded theatre." This erroneous argument is usually bandied about as iron clad proof that there is a need for censorship. The truth is that the courts used this argument to censor someone who was passing out leaflets.

    Truth is, you can yell from the rooftops all you want--that isn't hurting anybody. It's when you stop yelling and start acting on your words that you cross the line.
    While stating ways to kill yourself is perfectly legal (and IMHO ok), actually trying to push people to do it is not.
    Err, this and other arguments to justify censorship are pretty specious. Again, you can talk and say whatever you want, even try to convince people to see things from your point of view. It's when you act, when you actually deprive someone else of their rights that you are in the wrong.

    -- Shamus

    O, Brave New World, with such people in it!
  • I very much disagree with you, and bringing the gun issue up at all is borderline trolling...and this thread has gotten way off topic.

    I have a lot I would like to say to refuse you, but I would save that for email [mailto] or an article that actually has something to do with the gun control subject.

  • Should I be able to plead "free speech" for shouting "kill all white children" from the rooftops (I bet this would _really_ scare children walking the streets below).

    So if something 'scares children' it should be illegal? Call off Halloween.

    How /. can have this argument over and over is beginning to amuse me, very simple rules on censorship: Censorship is bad - in any form. Because information/ideas are subjective, and unless you are willing conform to my beliefs then you should not consider asking me to live by yours.

    America is headed to becoming one of the most oppressive states in the world... no DeCSS linking, no fair-use rights, no nudity/swearing on public TV (WTF is that?), no suicide forums, no warez forums, public nudity is almost uniformly illegal, no drug forums, consumption of social/soft drugs is illegal, prostitution is illegal, broad censorship in public libraries/schools (via censorware), no bottom-less exotic dancers (in some states), no swearing in front of children (in some states), Napsters legal troubles (they are only providing information - and are not violating any copyrights), no sodomy (in some states), no oral-sex (in some states), violent videogames are outlawed (in some city (cities?)... land of the free is laughable...

  • by Evangelion ( 2145 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2000 @09:11AM (#681142) Homepage

    The major problem with the Child Porn meme (I supposed you'd call it a memetic disorder) is that people are so terrified of saying anything against the negativity surrounding it because of fear of being branded a pedophile.

    Is a mother taking nude pictures of her daughter (non-pornographic, but nude) child porn? Common sense says no, but I know of at least one case where a mother was approached by social services after being reported by the photo developing house (I hit google, but can't find a link for it -- anyone?).

    Here's a better question - say a pair young kids (as in, 12-13 year old) decide to grab thier daddy's camera and document themselves having sex (and if you don't think that 12 and 13 year olds are sexually active, then I really don't know what to tell you). Is this porn? Not anymore than me taking a nude picture of my girlfriend is. Is it non-consentual? Hell no. Would anyone who was in possestion of those pictures get lynched? You betcha.

    The internet crimes enforcement treaty discussed on slashdot a few days ago even made it a requirement of the treaty that it be illegal in signing countrys to allow production and consumption of pornographic images that even just *appear* to be child porn. I'm sure that there are several eurpoean porn actresses that, due to a genetic tendency, appear to be 15 or 16, when in reality they are in thier 20s (I'm not posting links, as last time I did, people freaked). Even worse, this could cover drawings and animations. In these cases, any child-porn based argument against it falls apart -- children aren't being victimised in it's production (whether women are victimised by simply participating in pornography is a debate best held elsewhere).

    Question - is drawing a picture that would be considered child porn an offence? Should it be?

    Is writing a story? In that case the ASSTR [] is going to have a problem.

    (In these situations, there are going to be people who still belive that these forms of child porn are harmful - in which case the main justification they can give is that "reading it may make one more likely to participate in Real child porn, or molest real children" or whatever, which of course is an isometric argument to "smoking pot paves the way for harder drugs", and just as bunk).

    This whole subject bothers me because of the fucking literal insanity that comes over people when the subject is mentioned. It's like, otherwise rational, freedom loving people are willing to say "yeah, I belive in freedom of expression, execpt for stuff like Child Porn" just out of social fear. I don't know how many times I've seen that used as an excuse or justification for accepting arbitrary restrictions on freedom or increased police powers. It's disgusting and insulting.

  • The major problem with the Child Porn meme (I supposed you'd call it a memetic disorder) is that people are so terrified of saying anything against the negativity surrounding it because of fear of being branded a pedophile.

    Thanx for this post. I thought for quite a while before posting, a got my gf to read it and edit it, and still felt I had to put a shitload of disclaimers in it, before I was brave enough to post it non-anonymously.

    Whilst I agree with most of your points, the point I will concede to anti-kiddie-porn censors is that to *some* degree, having available depictions of child porn scenes (with adults or anime or whatever) legitimizes in some ways that this is acceptable entertainment, or that the idea of having watching sex with children is entertaining/erotic etc. I am still unsure just exactly how I feel about this, or where you draw the line, but it is difficult.

  • Is a mother taking nude pictures of her daughter (non-pornographic, but nude) child porn? Common sense says no, but I know of at least one case where a mother was approached by social services after being reported by the photo developing house (I hit google, but can't find a link for it -- anyone?).

    Salon did a feature on this [].

  • Then you are an idiot.

    Good form for persuasive writing demands that the writer explicitly NOT use modifiers such as, "in my opinion". It is better to assume the reader is intelligent enough to separate fact from opinion.

    This notion that we are all weak-minded dummies easily duped by the latest advertising or rhetorical technique is harmful. If we continue to act as though we are all intellectually weak, eventually it will become true.

    Furthermore, your attack is hypocritical. Had he said, "Censorship is always a bad idea," I doubt you would have considered it a troll. Such a statement, however, is at least as broad and all-encompassing as, "censorship is not this great evil."

    Nevertheless, you insist that one point of view be prefaced with "IMHO" or "may". In effect, you are demanding the poster use weasel-words and weaken his argument in order to escape your self-imposed judgement of "Troll".

    If you believe the opening sentence of this post makes it automatically "Flamebait", then you have already succumbed to the notion that the unenlightened masses are incapable of critical thought. I shall amend the sentence to not offend your delicate sensibilities:

    Then, in my humble opinion, you are an idiot.

    There. Is that better?
  • "kill all black children" would be just as bad,
    I just didn't want to be seen as overly politically correct. ;-)

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