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I need to vent a little, so this is going under my user page. None of what I say here is to be considered official policy of WikiFur.

People who don't want to be listed on a Wiki[edit]

Since this Wiki was started, I've seen a few complaints from people who don't want to be listed on here. Here are some of the complaints we've gotten, and my feelings on them:

  • "I don't want to be listed here, delete my entry!" - Sure, we could delete your entry, but there will still be links to it. It would only be a matter of time before some other well meaning person clicks on a link for your name, gets the edit screen, and writes an entry.
  • "How dare you violate my privacy by writing about me" - Chances are, whatever information was put here about you was freely available via Google. If you don't wan't things about you making their way to this or other websites, then don't put them on the Internet in the first place.
  • "Don't link to my Live Journal, that's private!" - If you are writing entries in your Live Journal that are public, then it is far from being private. In fact, anyone in the world can read your journal. If you really want privacy, then I suggest that you start locking down your journal entries. Don't get pissed at us because you do not understand how the web works.
  • "Don't link to my Live Journal / Website, that's illegal!" - No, it's not. I suggest you read this article from Wired where a judge ruled ruled that linking to other websites is not illegal. I also recommend reading the judge's ruling from the case of Ticketmaster Corp., et al. v. Tickets.Com, Inc. for further details. Get a clue before you start making baseless legal threats.
  • "There's inaccurate information here, I demand you correct/remove it!" - Clearly you have never used a Wiki before. See that link at the top that says "Edit"? Click it and fix the problem. Jesus.
  • "I have a long history of being a jerk/ripping people off/being a pain in the ass. I don't want my entry to mention that" - I'm still undecided on this one. On one hand, I would like to see people who are jerks have it documented and pointed out so that the rest of the community knows about them. On the other hand, do we really want to call attention to people who misbehave, when our time can be spent on more productive things? For now, I think the best solution is to resolve individual issues on the talk pages of any such articles. I'd like to hear what others think on this.

To sum up my feelings, I think that really irks me is when people show up and scream about an entry that was made about them, seemingly unaware of the issues pointed out above.

Now, as for constructive solutions, we have created a template called {{Protected-Excluded}}. If there is a page about you that you would like to see removed, we can cut out the existing contents, drop that template in, and protect the page so that no one else may edit it. That will effectively prevent anything from being written about you on this Wiki.

--Dmuth 14:51, 24 Aug 2005 (UTC)

Leave your comments[edit]

Comments are welcome. Please leave them on this page's Talk page. If you are replying to someone else's comment, remember to use a colon (:) for each level of indenting.

Just my 2¢: I think that "be complete" and "be bold" should be left behind at Wikipedia, in favor of "be considerate" and "be accepting." Almafeta 15:33, 24 Aug 2005 (UTC)

I disagree, we should be as complete as possible, we need to document this fandom, so when it goes in a new direction, we can keep an eye on the past. --Alohawolf 00:11, 26 Aug 2005 (UTC)

I agree (with Almafeta though, it doesn't hurt to be considerate. In cases where it's "I want to hide this bad thing I did in the past"... well, maybe said things shouldn't have been done in the first place. However, when it's "They're linking to my work's site" or "They posted my real life address" (or even name in some cases) I don't see why there has to be an all-or-nothing approach. I read on the discussion of the subject here that User pages may be locked so that only one person can edit them. That to me seems quite fair; maybe I do want to share my furry side with the world, yeah, but there should be a way to avoid sharing the part of my life that doesn't concern Furry, if I don't want to. --Tundu 14:02, 29 Aug 2005 (CST)

I think it's dependant on if the wiki wants to be /about/ furry fandom, which would mean documenting everything, even the stuff some people don't want to be known about them or their stuff (multipule usernames, backstory in which they were a total drama magnet, etc), or /for/ furries, in which case "I don't want you writing about me" is a valid, if stupid, complaint.

I'm pretty obviously for the former. --Xaxtiny.png? 19:25, 29 Aug 2005 (UTC)

WikiFur's tagline has historically been "By furries, for furries" - by which I mean, I used it a couple of times and it's currently the subtitle of the WikiFur livejournal community. I want this to be a site that the community feels at home in, even those "with a past", as it were. I don't really want this place to degenerate into edit wars, and pages about people are the natural place for those, and I think that allowing those who actually care the option to control them will head off a lot of them. I know I'm being a bit optimistic here (I of all would know, I get complaints literally daily about how I'm not running things properly one way or another, often in conflicting ways ;-).
Having said that, this is at the discretion of the administration, which means that if someone tries to ignore the fact that they burned Flayrah to the ground and then danced on its broken remains, we'd make sure it got mentioned. --GreenReaper(talk) 04:43, 30 Aug 2005 (UTC)
You might also want to look at my proposed personal information policy. --GreenReaper(talk) 04:49, 30 Aug 2005 (UTC)

Latest comments[edit]

I realize and understand what you're saying about the availability of information and that people shouldn't complain. I think there are a few valid complaints. One is that there is no accountability to what's being posted. Meaning, quite literally, anyone can edit, replace, slander, link, etc. without having to take responsibility for it. I'm all about free speech and the protections it offers, but I don't think /anonymous/ comments are all that cool, especially when they're made for the sole purpose of slander or libelous intent over a public forum. At least own up to what you're saying, right?

We're not too concerned about this, since most of the admins and some of the users here start our mornings by reviewing the changes made to articles as shown in Special:Recentchanges. Personal attacks are not allowed here as per our policies and will be removed on sight. Anything that looks like a serious accusation will be removed if there is no supporting evidence, or at least marked with the NPOV tag. --Dmuth 17:05, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Granted I trust that the admins are diligently hard working people who have protections/code in place to keep some of the peace, but then we're putting full faith and responsibility on a few shoulders. If Wikifur, for example, grows and grows and grows faster than the rate of information admins can digest, or if perhaps the admins become far too busy with daily lives . . well you see where we're going with this. I suppose in retrospect, it's really no different than moderating a high volume bulliten board, but the difference that I point out is that anonymous multi/repeat offenders have the potential to cause a lot of problems and grief for innocent people.
Well, we've seen very high rates of growth in the past (2,900 articles since August), and it's been nothing that's really overwhelmed us. --Dmuth 22:13, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
It's all a 'what if' scenario, and I admit that. However -- and I'm sure you can attest to it -- with the susceptibility to and proven track record of drama in the furry community and the general disdain from certain groups of non-furs (members of SA/burned furs, etc.), it's only a matter of time before civility gets thrown out the door and people take advantage of the anonymous loophole. Does Wikifur, for example, have the ability to ban IPs from repeat offenders or have any contingency plans for severe disruption?
Yes, admins can ban IPs (and entire netblocks) for any amount of time (or indefinitely, if need be). Usually, IPs are banned after the first case of blatant vandalism. We can also track all edits done by an IP such as in this example. Also, us admins have a special button called "rollback", which can be used to conditionally revert the changes to an article made by a specific IP. In cases where an IP vandalizes multiple pages (which happens every once in awhile), the first step is to ban the IP. Then we go to the page that lists their edits and click the "rollback" button next to each edit. The whole thing takes about a minute of our time. --Dmuth 22:13, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
There are currently 16 administrators - I added Siege just a few days ago. Granted, they come and go, but there's usually someone looking in every hour or so. Administrators (technically, sysop-level users) have the ability to create individual user or IP blocks, or even to block IP ranges, and we do use these features. Moreover, wikis are infinitely revertible, and not just by admins. We have the great fortune of being based on MediaWiki, which has features enabling it to be one of the most vandal-resistant wiki systems in the world. They are pretty resistant to damage as long as one person cares enough to fix it - and WikiFur gets an average of 1,250 visits a day, so at least a few of them are going to be checking over recent changes.
As for what ifs and SA . . . well, we were actually featured as Something Awful's Awful Link of the Day back in August, only two weeks after I first started telling people about the project. :-) It was possibly the best thing that ever happened to us. Sure, it was a painful 24 hours, but we weathered it, and as a result of the traffic boost we started adding pages at the rate of 10 a day. We handled that, and with half the admins that we have now.
We've had troublemakers, too. They've moved on once they realised their brilliantly written prose (or, alternatively, their blanking of hundreds of pages) takes about a minute to revert. --GreenReaper(talk) 01:17, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
They're not particularly cool, but one would hope that if they do exist they would be taken with a grain of salt. Once you recognize that anyone can edit a page you gain a healthy appreciation for references. In reality, most of the things you mention are obviously biased edits and as Dmuth mentioned are marked as such (if they contain some facts which may be useful) or just removed. Contributions can and are tracked per IP and per registered user, so if a pattern of edits becomes obvious it can be delt with. --GreenReaper(talk) 18:10, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

The second thing is that you see those advertisements on the right? I don't really think it's appropriate that a website is making money off providing information about someone/something without securing the rights to that information. Characters, for example, are protected property when properly registered nationally (or when not registered, they're protected automatically in the states they originated in). I'm not a victim because I'm not listed in Wikipedia; however, I can imagine someone showing serious complaint when another website is profiting off their name each time someone does a search for it. Wikipedia should really enforce a protected/ban list (or do they already?) for people who want to keep their property private and secure.

Just to clarify, WikiFur is not seeing any of that money. It goes to Wikicities, who hosts this wiki (and others).
As for "making money off of someone else's character", that's like saying that all Google adwords everywhere shouldn't be allowed. And it's not like we're hosting full copyrighted works here. Having an article about a comic or a novel is far different than actually having the text of it up here. --Dmuth 17:05, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
The distinct difference is that google is receiving income from linking to other's pages, not providing that content themselves. Let me throw out an example of what I'm talking about purely as a hypothetical. Let's say someone alters Kagemushi's page to go into more detail about his bio. They start putting up elements that details certain events in his life -- past jobs, current ones, and maybe even stories. Let's say that someone sees a synopsis for a story and decides to go into detail on that story, from start to finish, even throwing in the major punchlines. Now, you know and I know that Anthrocon sells tapes of 'Uncle Kage's Story Hour', the profits going directly to help fund the convention. Now (hypothetically) you have a specific instance where wikicities/wikipedia is making money off someone's work -- it's content. That page of content is not something you'd find off of google -- even Kage doesn't put his stories on his private webpage, but he does provide links where people can purchase them. Would, then, it really be fair for any company to be soaking up ad revenue on someone else's experience?
If they are describing the story in their own words, I do not see any legal issues so far as copyright violations are concerned. If the stories were posted word for word, then of course they would be removed. But simply stating facts (i.e. "this story is about x, the punchline is y") is perfectly acceptable under copyright law. As far as any ethical concerns go, I've never given that much thought before, so I'm not sure I'm qualified to discuss that point. --Dmuth 22:13, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Maybe not "fair", but probably legal. A story is an idea, which isn't generally copyrightable unless fixed in some tangible medium (e.g. written down). There may be some performance rights - I would have to look that up, as it's not a question that has come up before. At that point I think we'd be unlikely to support it on WikiFur anyway. We're not entirely uncaring. :-) --GreenReaper(talk) 01:17, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
And also to clarify, WikiFur is not Wikipedia - it is a furry-specific encyclopedia which happens to have adopted most of the same rules and cultural guidelines of Wikipedia (because they obviously work), and which runs using the same free-content (text) license. Wikicities is run by several people who are also involved heavily with the Wikimedia Foundation, but they are not one and the same, either. --GreenReaper(talk) 18:10, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying the difference. Wikipedia and wikifur is new to me, which is why I have the questions that I do. Initially my response, when I found out about it, was 'Wow. That's pretty neat!' But I'm just expressing a little bit of concern, doubt, and skepticism about such a system. I hope neither you or Doug take it personally.
Not at all. Many people are skeptical, and have precisely all your reactions. All we can really do is say "well, it's worked for six months and 2,900 articles, it's probably not going to fall over now". :-) --GreenReaper(talk) 01:17, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

The third thing, as it directly pertains to Wikifur, is that I see copyright protected images showing up on people's personal pages. And, when I look at the history, it becomes apparent that these people did not create the pages themselves. Thus it's easy to come to the conclusion that someone is, in fact, directly violating that protected work; doing such, I would think, puts wikipedia in a direct liability situation since it allows its members to freely post images. I'd hate to think Wikipedia has the capacity to go the route of 4chan/furchan/whatever-pirated-images-chan and end up being a haven for protected images.

If you see something up here that has questionable copyright status, please leave a comment on its talk page (click the tab labelled "discussion") and it will be looked into by myself or one of the other admins. --Dmuth 17:05, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
It's hard to be specific without knowing exactly what images you're talking about, but if you click on the images you should see a page describing the image. The image page should have details about the image, and will often contain a justification of the use of that image. For example, while commissioned pictures of fursonas are technically under the copyright of the person who created the work, it is generally accepted that such images may be used to represent the character online. I mean, why would you get them otherwise?
The first one I came upon was one listed in Rogue's page on wikifur. Now I don't personally know whether-or-not permission was given to post that image, however I do know that it was either a gift or a commission given to Rogue by, I think, Loopy (I'll have to go back and look for sure). But again, I was speaking in the hypothetical, as well as noticing the general media trends of personal pages.
Well, if you look at the left side of the image concerned, you can see quite clearly "distribute freely". I know, because I uploaded it personally, and I went through about half of Rogue's archive to find such a file. I do personally care quite a lot about artists' rights when they apply, as anyone who was reading a certain thread on the short-lived ChanPlz forums would know. :-) --GreenReaper(talk) 01:17, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Note that as WikiFur is a work of commentary on various aspects of the fandom, limited use of many types of copyrighted images without permission is permitted under the fair use clauses (in the US, at least, which is where the servers are based). For example, we do not own rights to the Anthrocon logo, nor have we asked Anthrocon for permission to use it. This could also be viewed as a trademark usage issue. However, such use is legal in both respects as long as it is not done in a way which misrepresents our association with them - it is fine to use it on a page about the convention, but not on a "list of WikiFur supporters" page (unless they were actually supporting us).
Commentary/press on work is permitted under the fair use clause, but it is severely limited to the following cases: "1) quotation . . . for review or criticism or in a scholarly or technical work, 2) use in parody or satire, 3) brief quotation in a news report, 4) reproduction by teacher or student . . . to illustrate a lesson, 5) incidental reptroduction of a work in a newsreel or broadcast of an event bring reported, and 6) reproduction of a work in a legislative or judicial proceeding" (Cheeseman, 232) [1]. No reproduction, redistribution, or altering is allowed under the copyright laws except for the reasons mentioned -- none of those are covered under the way content is displayed for entertainment purposes as I had outlined. Even if you consider Wikifur educational, it does not fit in any of those exemption provisions.
I disagree. It is not severly limited to those cases. Those are established categories based on existing case law - in the 1960s. They do not actually define the law, which is available here.
The text you quote is similar to that given here, where some examples of fair use are described. Fair use is a more general concept than that, and relies significantly on the substantiality of the work, the nature of its use, and whether any damage is done to the original copyright owner's ability to exploit the work. This is why if the Kage example you previously mentioned fell under copyright law (perhaps because he was giving out videotapes of his talk instead to those who attended) the reproduction of significant portions of the work would be an infringement, particularly because it reduces his ability to sell the same videos to those who did not.
In other countries there is a system known as fair dealing which does tend to be more limited in scope and restricted to specific examples of use. --GreenReaper(talk) 01:17, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
In practice, there has been precisely one case where someone asked us for an image to be removed on copyright grounds, and it was about half an hour afterwards, after I confirmed the nature of the image. --GreenReaper(talk) 18:10, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
And as I commented above, I have full faith in the admin team doing their best to monitor and protect users and victims from having their private works violated. However, and unfortunately, that doesn't prevent the actual violation from taking place. If the damage occurs, it occurs, and again we point to the lack of liability I mentioned before -- who do we hold responsible if one protected image is posted on a page and downloaded by five-thousand users before the admins can react?
We'd click the tab that says "history" and see what IP address posted the image. We would then leave a message on that IP's talk page explaining why the image was removed (MediaWiki displays a message at the top of every page when there are messages on your talk page) and ban the IP if problems continue. If the copyright holder of said image had an issue, they could persue it directly with the ISP that the IP belongs to. --Dmuth 22:13, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
The person who posted the image would be responsible, just as they would be if they posted it on (e.g.) Geocities. You wouldn't hold Geocities liable for their users' actions - you'd only have reasonable cause for complaint if they failed to remove clearly infringing content after being notified. Which we try to avoid. :-)
In practice, I think we probably do a better job than Geocities would; it would probably be spotted within a few horus, although it is true that borderline cases might stay up for a day or so while seeking confirmation/denial of permission. In the event that an administrator is not around, the sitewide Wikicities admins are also contactable in various ways and have full powers over the wiki. Ultimately, if necessary, it would be possible to track the IP that made the edit and contact the ISP concerned, who would probably have records of who was connected on it at that time. --GreenReaper(talk) 01:17, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
I appreciate both of you taking the time and effort to address my concerns. I still /like/ Wikifur and Wikipedia, but I do honestly worry about the dangers of potential abuse. I'm not trying, in any way, to attack what's being created here, but rather I hope I've succeeded in at least somewhat piercing the veil of perfection this specific medium of information seems to have in the eyes of so many people. I'm going to keep checking in and, hell, maybe I'll register and work on updating information myself -- I think it's a really neat project. Keep working hard, you two.
You're welcome! I hope our replies have gone some way to assuage at least some of your fears. People do try to abuse WikiFur, just as they do Wikipedia, though not as often as you might expect - they're usually trying to remove something about their own actions rather than insult others or post copyrighted artwork as a deliberate attack against its owner (I can't think of a time that latter has happened, actually). Personally, I'm not blinded as to its liabilities - I face at least one of them weekly, on average - but I do still think the system does a great job. I cannot think of another tool or process that would have given us the same results with the time and resources volunteered, or which would have encouraged the ~150 volunteers who have made 5 edits in the first place.
Of course, we can always do with more help, so if you'd be interested in helping out, we'd love to have you on board. :-) --GreenReaper(talk) 01:17, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to see all those things addressed, personally. --Puc