beauty and ethics (part 2)

Comparisons on rules, and approaches to free speech: MakeupAlley vs. BeautyBash

Here are the current MakeupAlley rules about posting on boards:

Each board has a specific subject matter (except for the Café) and dialogue/posts must stay on that subject only.

The following is prohibited on all MakeupAlley boards: vulgarity/profanity, sexually explicit discussions or posts, soliciting/advertising in any capacity, religious posts, harassing or obscene posts, swap talk or RAOK posts, off-topic (OT) posts.

Members who violate any of the above may be removed at any time without notice. All posts are subject to our review and may be removed at our discretion. Please use common sense and good taste when posting. Thank you.

The Skin Care Board is for posting skin care products and treatment related topics only. No vulgarity, No profanity, No soliciting/advertising, No harassing or obscene posts, No swap discussion, No RAOK posts, No off-topic (OT) posts. Members who violate any of the above may be removed without notice.

The Go Green Board is for posting about green products and eco-friendly living related topics only. No vulgarity, No profanity, No soliciting/advertising, No harassing or obscene posts, No off-topic (OT) posts. Members who violate any of the above may be removed without notice.

(similar rules for the other boards…)

Here are the pertinent sections from the Terms of Service:

Your conduct

Any conduct by you that in our sole discretion restricts or inhibits any other user from using or enjoying the Site will not be permitted. You agree to use the Site only for lawful purposes. You are prohibited from posting on or transmitting through the Site any unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, sexually explicit, profane, hateful, fraudulent, racially, ethnically, or otherwise objectionable material of any kind, including but not limited to any material that encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any applicable local, state, national, or international law. You agree not to reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, resell or exploit for any commercial purposes, any portion of the Site or use of the site. You agree not to access the Site by any means other than through the interface that is provided by us for use in accessing the Site.

Message board/productville/member center rules

This is a public forum where your ideas can be expressed. Opinions expressed are the views of the person posting the message and do not reflect our positions. We do not necessarily endorse, support, sanction, encourage, verify or agree with the comments, opinions or statements posted. We are not responsible for the materials posted by our participants. Do not post any personal or commercial classified ads on the message boards. If you participate on the message boards, you agree not to use any obscenities, indecent or offensive language or to post any material that is invasive to another participant’s privacy, abusive, hateful, or libelous. Material that encourages criminal conduct, or violates any civil, local, state, national, or international law will not be tolerated. No unauthorized advertisements, pornographic materials, or junk mail is permitted. Participants agree not to tamper with, disrupt, or alter any materials that appear on the message boards. Postings on the message boards are not private. You shall not (i) select or use a member name or e-mail address of another person with the intent to impersonate that person; (ii) use a user name or e-mail address subject to the rights of another person without authorization; (iii) use a member name in violation of the intellectual property rights of any person; or (iv) use a member name that we, in our sole discretion, deem offensive.

Issues with MUA: paradox of control and lack of control. By moderators–leads to the start of sites such as BeautyBash. Now, I’m not saying this anti-MUA is entirely a positive thing (IMHO, etc). Nor that MUA is entirely negative. Just stating that for the record.

BB’s own introduction and policy-statement sums the problem up simply, as follows, plus some simple rules:

Beautybash was created to offer an antidote to the heavily moderated makeup messageboards like MUA. At Beautybash you can speak your mind without being ostracized and attacked as happens on MUA. Feel free to post what you like but try to refrain from stalkerish behavior – leave that to the fragrance board freaks.

Enjoy your stay and happy bashing.

The Rules

1. Don’t flood the board – You flood, we block you.

2. No religous crap is allowed. Keep your beliefs to yourself.

Some might quibble with the “religious crap.” Other than that, frankly, fair enough. Back now to MUA:

License: You hereby grant to us the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, translate, transmit and distribute any information or material you supply or communicate to us via such postings, in any medium now in existence or hereafter developed, for any purpose, including commercial uses. Indemnity: You are responsible for ensuring that any material you post, including but not limited to text, photographs, and sound, does not violate the copyright, trademark, trade secret or any other personal or proprietary rights of any third party. You agree to indemnify us and our subsidiaries, affiliates, employees, representatives, and agents, harmless from any and all claims (including legal fees) that may arise from your participation on the message boards. We shall have the right, but not the obligation, to monitor the content of the bulletin boards to determine compliance with this Agreement and any other operating rules established by us. We shall have the right, but not the obligation, in our sole discretion to edit, refuse to post or remove any material submitted to or posted on the bulletin board. Without limiting the foregoing, we shall have the right to remove any material that we, in our sole discretion, find to be in violation of the provisions hereof or otherwise objectionable. Notwithstanding this right, users shall remain solely responsible for the content of their messages. Participants of this message board agree to the above rules, which can be modified at any time.

Issue: again, control vs. lack of control–here, by members rather than moderators: aside from posts, over content. In other words, intellectual property. Leads to spin-off independent sites (ratzillacosme, your truly, etc.). They allow you to rant and rave to your little heart’s content. I’ve said it before, I’ve said it again: spin-offs are not necessarily against MUA interests, and it would be an interesting idea if MUA were to embrace this and set up a “federation” rather than an “empire.”

No, I don’t want to sell my blog (pfff, as if!–I mean, as if anyone would want to buy it. snicker.). Nor do I want to be in the kind of commercial blog-stable that seems to be suggested in a recent NYT article (on which more shortly). Above all, I do NOT want my work to be used for others’ commercial gain. This is one reason why I’m moving a lot of my MUA content over here, and under Creative Commons licence. I did not join MUA to have my work used and abused by sales, marketing, and other BS-wings of commercial companies; nor did I join MUA to produce materials for free that would then make money for someone else, or indeed be sold to any third party of their choosing and without my consent. That wasn’t in the contract / rules I signed up to in 2007. If the rules have changed in 2011–to such an extent–then all members should be contacted and invited to sign  a new contract (at which point they might also leave. And must be entitled to take all their generated content with them.). Otherwise there will be problems (for MUA) on attempts to apply legislation retrospectively… such as the following clauses:

License: You hereby grant to us the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, translate, transmit and distribute any information or material you supply or communicate to us via such postings, in any medium now in existence or hereafter developed, for any purpose, including commercial uses. […] Participants of this message board agree to the above rules, which can be modified at any time.

Utopian vision: an online democratic federation within the next 20 years? 2031: bicentenary of Tocqueville’s visit to America; 2035: 200 years after first French publication of the above book; 2038: ditto for the first English translation

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