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crowd-sourced database ethics #297
In order to finish #249 , we need to lay out and agree upon some ethics. Chet's response to earlier questions, and our urging him to make his private dances public, left an impression on me. I'm inspired by https://www.cambridgefolk.org.uk/contra/dances/ethics.html . Here's a first crack at how I would define our ethics---and I hope we can talk with other active users so the community ideals can surface.
We believe that when contra dances can be easily searched and easily discovered,
and that there are many moving parts within the contra community. The rights of choreographers and of users to their content need to be respected. Our current understandings of choreographer consent, public vs private dances, and user contact are outlined below. If our current understandings don't match yours, let us know.
We respect the rights of choreographers to their intellectual property. Before entering a dance, check the choreographers catalog to see whether they've given unlimited publishing consent. If nothing is marked, and if you're able, reach out to ask permission. (If you receive unlimited consent, let adminisaur know so the catalog can be updated.)
If you're unable, my 'operating principle' thus far has been
We hope to enable, at choreographers' option, links from a choreographer's page to a donation or microdonation link, see 292.
We acknowledge that the creation of a crowdsourced database containing creative content from many people has the potential for inaccurate or undesired information.
private dances, public dances
public 'variation' using copy button
We respect each user's generously given time, and we will not meddle with the content they have generated lightly. Still, there may arise situations where the privacy of others would warrant 'admin interference'. These would include a choreographer revoking permission, a misspelling of a name, or use of a name requested redacted. We reserve the right to alter content to protect the privacy of others.
If a dance has been published in an unready state, or if a choreographer requests a tweak in how it is represented,
We respect the time of all users, and will not email without [ ] the user opting in upon account creation and [ ] a specific purpose.
Feb 28, 2018
To me, this suggests the scenario: I want to put a dance in the database, but its author hasn't given permission. So I share it on SharedWeight, and now it's okay for inclusion in ContraDB.
So you may want to distinguish between cases when the author has done the online sharing, vs when someone else has.
Presumably "lightly" is meant to modify "meddle", but it appears to modify "generated". You could move "lightly" to before or after "meddle", but it still sounds odd to me. Maybe drop "lightly" and say "we will rarely meddle with" (or "we will rarely modify").
Let's keep an eye on this. I'd probably lean towards simply emailing adminisaur. I feel like I get issues submitted that are a little off, and non-actionable, but I don't wanna close them because that seems dismissive. At the same time, having a discussion on why they're not a good use of resources isn't a good use of resources. Then they take up space in the issue index and I have to mentally filter them out. They just sit around forever, as a tax. It's not the best.
If they pass a filter, then they could be submitted as issues, either by the submitter (preferable) or adminisaur.
Or maybe I need to become more ruthless in cleaning out old issues. I'd accept that feedback.
Big wall of text, sorry.
In terms of the actual text, and what's relevant to this particular thread -
I agree with most of what's been said here, both in terms of the policy and the suggested corrections. The idea of choreographers asking for donations for their dances seems a little silly for my tastes, but if that's something other choreographers would like, then I'm willing to go with the crowd on that.
In terms of things that just make more work for you and should probably be their own tickets instead of a single comment -
It would probably be a worthwhile feature to block on submission based on choreographer consent - if they specify and they're marked as something other than "Always" then deactivate the submit button and gate on a checkbox saying they've reached out to the choreographer or have permission to publish this dance. Obviously that doesn't stop someone from lying, but then you can just remove people that violate the requirement.
It would be nice to have an "Original Choreographer" credit or something similar for dance variations. I have a number of dances that I don't consider entirely my own, but that I've made a big enough change to feel deserved in giving myself some credit. I know this is a much deeper request, but being able to specifically search out variations of a dance that aren't just named "[Dance Name] var." would be very helpful. I know I'm bad about renaming variations on a whim.
Allowing choreographers to edit dances that they didn't upload would be excellent. Someone copied down your dance wrong or you want to add teaching notes or a preamble? Being able to fix that yourself would reduce friction. Just being able to flag a dance for admin review would be a nice feature. You'd probably need to have a choreographer verification system for this, though, which adds admin work.
To a similar end, allowing a choreographer or an uploader at the very least to mark a dance as a work in progress, at least to let people know that the final choreography is subject to change would be good.
What bothers me is that database is in the hands of a benevolent dictator. We're dependent on him being a nice guy in order to safeguard the work of dozens of people. What if he gets hit by a bus, and his heirs shut down the site? All the labor of dozens of people gets wiped away. That's breach of the values of contradb.
That data is a lot of work, and it needs to remain in the hands of the people who contributed it. It' s not fair that it's in my hands. Such are the moral perils of cloud computing.
Data Freedom Proposal
Choreographers and Users each can check a "Creative Commons" box on a dance. If both check it, then the dance is licensed under a Creative Commons license. Through UI, we zestily encourage users to check their side, and we gently ask choreographers to assess and sign off on their dances.
Oh, great question!
[colorful rant inserted for entertainment value, facts not verified]:
Zack Brown, dance choreography/FOSS expert writes:
So technically I don't think we'd have to get the choreographer's consent to publish, but I think this falls under the "don't squander goodwill, don't be jerks just because you can" clause of ethics.