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Term
11-30-2014, 04:55 PM
At this time I would like to make a statement here on Weasyl that I prefer not to have to do ever, but is something that comes with being part of a site like this. As many of our users are aware, one of our staff accounts was recently compromised and logs were released to the public regarding a recent journal posted by one of our users (Hereafter referred to as The User), in which they attempted to warn users who plan on attending Midwest Furfest about someone they allege raped them in the past. Let me first be clear that we are in no way going to attempt to hide these logs, deny their authenticity, or stifle conversation about them. We also are not calling into question the veracity of the claims made by The User. For the purposes of discussion here, and because we take the privacy of our users seriously, we have redacted the names of any and all involved in the logs and screenshots to follow who are not Weasyl staff members. We apologize to those involved that we can't protect their full privacy outside of our site. You can find the log here: http://pastebin.com/tGBYjrA6 (http://pastebin.com/Gmi17dka)

What immediately jumps out to me, and others, is how I have come off as dismissive and unprofessional in regards to dealing with this case, particularly in a response I made, “But taw, [their] case is special” and again with a comment, “we’re an art gallery website, not the sex offender registry.” Those comments have rubbed many people the wrong way and is certainly not something I’m personally proud of, and I sincerely apologize for them. They were comments made out of frustration, as we had offered to open a line of dialogue with The User in order to reach a compromise, which had been met with the response “no”. My comments were out of an immediate emotion of frustration at potentially not being able to reach a solution that would be beneficial for all parties involved, and they were not up to the standards we hold ourselves to privately and publicly. For that I sincerely apologize to everyone who I have made uncomfortable, especially The User.

As a courtesy, I’d like to provide you all with as detailed an account of the events which led to that log. The person whom The User alleges raped them contacted us, along with other users, about the journal posted on November 27th. The primary issue at hand were the links The User posted to an off-site blog, in which The User specifically names the person they allege to have raped them, as well as a second link which details a story in which someone else makes a similar claim that they were also raped by the same person. We immediately took the issue to our moderation channels on IRC and, as we do with all reports of this type, discussed our options. The solution we came to on November 29th was to give The User the opportunity to edit the journal to remove the links while allowing the journal to remain up, with a 48 hour deadline to comply or we would be forced to remove the journal, as is consistent with cases similar to this. This deadline is still in effect. You can read the notice here: http://gyazo.com/c3f3caa22f8e0ba33ac73f163be5f37b

After sending the notice, I received a message from The User which simply contained the word “no”. The User then reposted the above message to a personal blog, expressing their disappointment at our decision. It was at this point I became frustrated and made my comments on the staff channel. The events following are detailed in the log that was previously linked. What wasn’t shown in the logs was that the second message being discussed and drafted in the logs was completed after an hour and a half of discussion and sent to The User (seen here: http://gyazo.com/c0a7cb60800ef7bd4e7235a199bd1b2d). As this more specific response illustrates, we proposed a specific change to one section of the journal, and left a deadline to change it in place; the user can decide what they wish to do. As of this writing the journal is still up and will remain up until our deadline Monday evening, assuming there is no contact from The User regarding the journal. We've even gone so far as to mention that if the journal is removed it could be reposted with the appropriate changes made. The User then responded that they wished to investigate for themselves if we could actually be liable for libelous content posted on the site. Somewhere around this point, someone compromised a staff member’s account and gained access to our staff chat, copied the logs, posted them online, and shared them with The User. The logs were also reposted to lulz.net and Vivisector.

Admittedly, we jumped the gun regarding the discussion on what we may be held legally liable for on the website. This was a new situation in which The User made serious criminal accusations against someone and we were put in an awkward situation in which we were dealing with a private dispute that was not only a violation of our callout policy, but we feared could also lead us to potentially being held partially responsible for any and all harassment or other actions taken against the accused. After a discussion involving those of our staff with a legal background, we determined we're not liable for the content our users put on our site in regards to accusations made against their character or acts. However, the callout policy has never been solely dependent on legal concerns. We also want to maintain a safe and positive atmosphere on our site, and enforce our guidelines in a fair and impartial manner.

Upon the release of the logs and The User’s own posts regarding the issue, several people have begun spreading misinformation and outright false claims about Weasyl staff and how we handle the site. At this time I’d like to address a few of these claims:

1. “Weasyl is punishing a rape victim.” – As can be seen from the notes sent to The User, at no time were they threatened with actions against their account. We are sympathetic to The User's situation and their desire to voice their concerns to the community, so we attempted to reach a compromise in which The User could keep their journal up in a way that adheres to our callout guidelines. The User was asked to remove the links which directly linked to the name of the person they alleged to have raped them. While the first message could have been more constructive and offered possible replacements, we did offer to meet them halfway by keeping the journal up so long as the direct link was removed and offered to sit down and discuss the matter to greater detail through PMs. Removing the journal was not and still is not our primary desire, and at the time of this announcement, it remains up. “Punishment” was never considered in this case, and that remains the case.

2. “Weasyl is protecting rapists.” – Weasyl’s callout rules apply to everyone, regardless of the situation in question. We also do not take sides in any private disputes between users. If roles were reversed, and The User was being attacked by another user in a journal pertaining to this matter (or any other reason), either directly or by offering to share the name via a link or through private messages, we would have taken similar action on that journal. This is because the staff believe Weasyl should not become a place where people call out users of this or any other site, which may potentially lead to harassment or other actions taken against the person being called out. The nature and authenticity of the claims being made is irrelevant to this policy. From the feedback we've received from our community, we also believe this is the kind of policy the majority of our users want as well.

3. "Weasyl has a Twitter bot that looks for any and all tweets made about them and posts them to the staff IRC chat." - Weasyl does not have a Twitter bot. What we do have is an IRC bot, named Wesley. Wesley does not become active unless a member of the chat posts a link in the chat. At that point, if the link is to a public tweet, Wesley is able to post the content of that tweet without us having to actually click the link to Twitter. For all other websites, Wesley simply reposts the page title. Weasyl staff have been known to look at tweets which mention us, either offhandedly or with an "@weasyl" mentioned in the tweet. Anyone can search for all tweets containing the word "Weasyl" simply by using Twitter's search bar at the top of their webpage. No bot is required to do this. This has been a great tool in the past for our staff, particularly the development team, to find out about bugs or other issues pertaining to the site on a technical level and resolve them.

As of right now our call out policy is under review, but it is still currently in effect. Any and all call outs made as of now in journals or submissions will still be subject to staff action.

Above all, our goal with this site is to provide a safe and positive atmosphere for users to share, comment on, and critique art. We cannot and will not condone call outs of any kind on this site. If there’s a concern with the content of a journal a user is looking to post, we’re more than willing to work with them to make sure it meets our callout guidelines, as we still are with The User. We also realize there are areas in which we’ve come up short, specifically in being clear and concise as well as, in my own case, my professionalism amongst staff. We are, if nothing else, a young site always striving to be better. This recent issue has been a learning experience for myself and the staff as a whole which we will not take lightly moving forward.

Again, to those individuals, particularly The User, who we have made uncomfortable recently, I speak for the whole of the Weasyl staff when I say I sincerely apologize. To those who have decided to leave Weasyl because of this issue, we offer our condolences and wish you luck in your future endeavors. For those who are still here, and those who are still coming to Weasyl, I promise you that we are committed to being the best site for your art as we can be.

Thank you for your time,

Term

- - - Updated - - -

This thread will also serve as a general AMA for Weasyl concerns and an opportunity for users to discuss this post directly with staff. Please be respectful to your fellow members.

Swampwulf
11-30-2014, 05:09 PM
Somewhere around this point, someone compromised a staff memberís account and gained access to our staff chat, copied the logs, posted them online, and shared them with The User. The logs were also reposted to lulz.net and Vivisector.

As much as I understand how upset the staff is about having to actually deal with a real problem here, I'm more concerend at how THIS is being brushed off.

Which Admin?
What level of breach was there?
Do you have any idea of what other information was taken?
Was the payment information I used to access to the Forums broached?
Has any attempt been made to locate the source of the 'hack'?
Which, of course, leads to the question of the rumors that 'Spacekitten' had a hand in coding the site and what that means for future user security.

RedSavage
11-30-2014, 05:34 PM
Which Admin?
What does it matter?


What level of breach was there?

Obviously, an admin account.


Do you have any idea of what other information was taken?

It seems that if they had knowledge of any other info taken, they would have said so.


Was the payment information I used to access to the Forums broached?

User account =/= Premium payments. Again, see above. It would have been mentioned.


Has any attempt been made to locate the source of the 'hack'?

Honestly, it sounds like a password got found out. in some form or fashion. But this is the one thing I can only speculate on. Honestly--was it a hack? Or did someone stay logged in too long on unprotected servers?

Second, would admins want to admit to a security weakness until they could get it handled? Seriously. Why would they want to reveal where the gap was? That's inviting more mayhem.


Which, of course, leads to the question of the rumors that 'Spacekitten' had a hand in coding the site and what that means for future user security.

THis makes me wonder if Dragoneer hired SpaceKitten on FA staff simply to have someone with malovent coding abilities to make another site vulnerable or dysfunctional. Hmmmm.

Rotten
11-30-2014, 05:46 PM
Lets not start a rumor mill. I feel this response to the situation is appropriate and it is not the responsibility of an art site to handle personal/legal disputes. The parties involved if rape did occur and knows the name of said person should contact local authorities instead of attempting to stir up drama and smear tactics. The actions are immature, shady, and inappropriate The User should take this off the internet and take real actions to resolving their problems.

Swampwulf
11-30-2014, 05:47 PM
how about we let an admin with some actual answers have a go at these instead of simply speculating?

Fay V
11-30-2014, 05:55 PM
As much as I understand how upset the staff is about having to actually deal with a real problem here, I'm more concerend at how THIS is being brushed off.

Which Admin?
What level of breach was there?
Do you have any idea of what other information was taken?
Was the payment information I used to access to the Forums broached?
Has any attempt been made to locate the source of the 'hack'?
Which, of course, leads to the question of the rumors that 'Spacekitten' had a hand in coding the site and what that means for future user security.

This post was not intended to brush off the security concerns, here is the information in that regard in detail.

The account in question was a moderator account on main site, moderator accounts also have some privileges on the forums to view and comment in staff areas. These accounts however do not have access to payment information or sensitive information, which is viewable only with admin accounts and higher (payment information in particular is only accessible by high level accounts beyond admin level)

The Moderator account in question has already been removed from staff and all access was removed as soon as staff were made aware of a "compromise". At this time, based on the information at hand, we are virtually certain the moderator while claiming to have been compromised was acting of their own accord.

The development staff have been reviewing the site security measures since yesterday when the compromise was first indicated to us by the staff member who has been removed. Of all activity at the time, the only suspicious activity was accessing the IRC staff logs for November 29, which coincides with the information leaked to The User, and beyond. Meaning that the extent of the breach was only accessing staff logs.

The staff logs specifically are part of the irc staff channels. The discussions of the channel are automatically logged and stored in a separate area of the server which requires staff privileges to access and understanding of where the logs are located. These logs are kept so that admins and moderators are able to review discussion they may not have been present for.

This is deeply concerning to staff, and we have been taking this opportunity to review site and staff security. However the leak only pertains to the specific log posted, and moderators do not have access to sensitive information both on main site and on the forums. Moderator access only pertains to reviewing tickets, reviewing "friends only" submissions for moderation purposes, account information, and access to 'staff notes' which is a history of action taken on an account. Moderators do not have access to higher level chats nor the logs of these chats where more sensitive information (IDs, legal names, etc.) may be discussed by higher level staff.

As for the rumor regarding "starrykitten", this person has not worked for Weasyl by this name nor known aliases.

Rotten
11-30-2014, 05:59 PM
I'm sure others share the same respect toward the transparency. I appreciate it and y'alls work.

Fay V
11-30-2014, 06:00 PM
Admin Notice: Please keep commentary on the actions of "The User" to a minimum. While we have redacted the name for privacy this is still a sensitive topic and we do not wish to invite discussion on what an individual should or should not do regarding their private life which does not pertain to this site use.

Swampwulf
11-30-2014, 06:01 PM
Thank you Fay.

Richard K Niner
11-30-2014, 06:54 PM
Strangely, I'm not seeing any actual rule violation on the part of the user, unless they were calling someone out on Weasyl.

Does the Weasyl community policy apply to every website now?

RedSavage
11-30-2014, 06:59 PM
Strangely, I'm not seeing any actual rule violation on the part of the user, unless they were calling someone out on Weasyl. Does the Weasyl community policy apply to every website now?

The journal was linking directly to personal information and names. Weasyl isn't trying to moderate what's going on with the other website. It would simply prefer to not be a platform for unproven accusations. Just because I host a NSFW image on another site and link it into my journal, that doesn't mean I'm not violating ToS and ratings rules.

And as XoPachi said. They have the right to enforce the rule as the admins choose to interpret the rule. And I for one trust their judgement on it.

Jim
11-30-2014, 07:02 PM
So, just to basically reiterate and ensure I've got things straight here.

The user is cool, and isn't getting in trouble for what they did. They can keep their journal up. But they can't link directly to their aggressor's profile on Weasyl?

If that's the case, can they still link to personal blogs off-site that explain things and name people? Since it's not on Weasyl I don't see how it would be an issue with the rules. If they're not directly calling them out on Weasyl, or linking to assets on Weasyl, and they're doing so on other websites, it's cool, right?

The way their journal is currently structured I really don't see the issue. They're not pointing at the user's Weasyl profile and saying "sick 'em!" they're just telling people to avoid that person. And they only name them off-site, not on Weasyl. Reading the journal you cannot figure out who the individual in question is without going to a different website entirely. I feel like deleting their journal, despite their best efforts to redirect traffic about the specific person's identity to private messages and other websites, is counter-intuitive to not punishing them. They've obviously made efforts to avoid making the journal a total call-out journal.

Are they allowed to privately respond to inquiries? Like, if I asked who the human garbage was could they tell me in a note/message? Or would we have to finagle that off-site?

And another thing I'm wondering about, if it did officially come to light the person being accused actually did commit a crime that hurt users of the site, or were further demonstrably shown to be a danger to the furry community, would the Weasyl admins/staff disable them for the sake of user safety? I get not wanting to jump the gun without precedent or solid evidence, but if it was there, would those in charge of Weasyl take such measures?

I mean really, if we KNEW the person did it, and there was proof (or they even admitted to doing it in a journal) would the administration be willing to terminate their activities on Weasyl? Their behavior may not directly affect the site, but as a danger to Weasyl users as furries and con-attendants surely it'd be a reasonable means of limiting the offender's access to our community and vulnerable individuals within?

Half the reason Weasyl even has the traffic it does is people wanting to get away from horrible conflicts of interests and the support/protection of terrible people by admins on... other sites. If you guys ever find out someone on the site is being god-awful or doing terrible things would you be willing to take a stand on the issue and tell them to go hitch a ride? I'm not necessarily talking about this case in particular, but if it were to be super evident a user was a danger to users of the site, or just a blight on the community in general, would you guys do something about it or just sit by and make excuses for inaction like a certain alcoholic digital monstrosity? You guys say you care about the users and their safety, surely minimizing the effect and contact a harmful person could have on users would be a means of doing this as well.

Which brings me to another thing, this kind of stuff coming up reminds me of issues we've seen elsewhere in the past. Just in general can you guys promise to avoid becoming the next ... you know? The next THAT website? There's so many different things they've done terribly or shadily it's hard to get specific or fit into a short line or two, but most of us are aware of it. Are you guys going to avoid that stuff in general? And if so, what are you doing to ensure things don't head in that direction over here?

I will say, the transparency and open discussion is nice. Nobody's been banned or had messages deleted in this thread so far which is a breath of fresh air. Also the user in question hasn't had their journal deleted (yet) or account banned over this issue, and it doesn't seem like you basically told them to shut up as not to sully a popufur's public affection, though you have told them to stop being specific about it, you guys are still doing leaps and bounds better so far. The fact that I feel confident enough to post this inquiry without worrying about a ban or forced deletion of the post speaks volumes.

SpikedKanine
11-30-2014, 07:15 PM
PERSONALLY?

The way I see it-- the very second that journal went up, the Weasyl Admins were screwed.

If they left it up-- they would have been bending their own rules and turning a blind eye to people just because they supported their cause.
If they took it down? "OMG! RAPIST SUPPORTERS!".
They were stuck between a rock and a hard place the very second the journal showed up.

I also feel like part of the "RAPIST SUPPORTERS" accusation popped up so quickly because of how that other furry website poorly handled their rapist-among-us situations.
Despite the fact that Term got emotional and said some things he shouldn't....(Tho-- To be honest we have to remember that admins are human beings and WILL get angry or frustrated. They are not highly trained robots that just call down actions with the flip of a switch), I think this was handed extremely well.

They realized that they had been put in a tough spot-- so they just put their hands up and said "Well Shit. Theirs not much we can do to make ourselves look good, besides offer our side of the story and not hide anything-- despite the fact that people might have already made up their minds about us". They realized they were in a tough spot, and just made a public announcement about it as soon as possible (before the journal was even taken down, might I add!) and then just said "Hey-- Make your own judgements, but regardless we're going to try to fix the grey area in our Rules".

Even if you think this was handled terribly-- I still think this was handled 250% better than that other site.

Richard K Niner
11-30-2014, 07:19 PM
If that's the case, can they still link to personal blogs off-site that explain things and name people? Since it's not on Weasyl I don't see how it would be an issue with the rules. If they're not directly calling them out on Weasyl, or linking to assets on Weasyl, and they're doing so on other websites, it's cool, right?
Evidently not, since that is exactly what the user in question got in trouble for.

Ibuuyk
11-30-2014, 07:25 PM
Hey, on the bright side all this shit's caused the forums to break its record for the most users online at once! If there's anything that attracts furries to a forum like moths to a flame, it's drama.

Nonetheless, I agree this was handled surprisingly well, especially compared to previous issues that simply got swept under the rug with all those involved mysteriously silenced. Maybe the staff's realized it's time they start working on their behavior so they get a better reputation? If so, Weasyl's future is looking bright indeed.

Vae
11-30-2014, 07:36 PM
I still think this was handled 250% better than that other site.
I don't really think Weasyl should revolve their decisions around "Well, at least we aren't that guy."
Because when that guy sets the bar so low, it doesn't take much to step right over it.


OT: I think the decision made is fair.
Those who want to know the identity of the accused could find such information if they truly wanted to, the important information is still available in the journal, and Weasyl upholds its rules.
If the user complies, that is.

KaydenFrei
11-30-2014, 07:41 PM
There will always be some people who jump ship at the first whiff of trouble and I hope the leavers wont discourage the staff too much. I think this was handled about as well as can be.

I think too it is imporant to remember that those comments made were made in private confidence, and although they may not have been the most tacktful i think it is fairly obviously they werent made with ill intent and werent really dismissive of the issue at hand.

Will there be furthur public updates as the wording or rule may be changed and to let us know of any furthur corespondence on the issue? Although the rest of us users arnt directly involved it seems best to me that the transparency be kept up so we can all see the whole of how the issue will be dealt with?

Gamedog
11-30-2014, 08:02 PM
I have to say, I think this was handled appropriately.
Nice work, Weasyl team.

I agree with the rule against allowing call-outs on the site, no matter what the call-out may be about. I agree with Rotten, CC, RedSavage, and SpikedKanine on this.


Strangely, I'm not seeing any actual rule violation on the part of the user, unless they were calling someone out on Weasyl.

Does the Weasyl community policy apply to every website now?

I saw the journal and didn't have to do any snooping to figure out who the alleged rapist is. That's a call-out and therefore rule violation.

[Admin note: Content removed in reverence to off topic material]

Ikani
11-30-2014, 08:14 PM
Admin Notice: Please keep commentary on the actions of "The User" to a minimum. While we have redacted the name for privacy this is still a sensitive topic and we do not wish to invite discussion on what an individual should or should not do regarding their private life which does not pertain to this site use.

Reiterating this: the substantiation of the claims at the root of this issue was not a factor in our decision, and should not be at the heart of this conversation. Please keep the discussion focused on us and our handling of the situation, and not "The User". Thank you.

Fay V
11-30-2014, 08:33 PM
A reminder, please everyone stay civil in discussing these events, both on and off site. We absolutely do not condone any harassment both toward the users, or supporters of any view in regards to this situation.

Now I apologize for the slow responses, we wanted to be sure everything is being covered in the replies.

@ Richard K Niner-

The policy does not apply to every website, specifically the problem with the journal is the use of direct links which directed to posts that named the accused user. We do not expect anyone to adjust offsite content, however the use of direct links does not eliminate the problem of a call out violation.

The pertinent CG passage: Community Guidelines. III.A.6.
"Linking to or otherwise making available items otherwise prohibited by Weasyl Terms of Service or prohibited elsewhere within the Community Guidelines."

Our intent had always been to have the journal edited so as to remove the direct link, this could have been better stated in the first message, and the message being drafted in the logs we believe better shows this point.

@Jim- This is a long post, hopefully we address everything to satisfaction.

Yes the user is cool. We do not intend to punish this user, just as generally we do not punish on journals or submissions where we request minor content edits.

The journal can stay if the direct links to material which calls out the user by name, even though the actual content is off site, are removed.

I noted a relevant CG rule above that explains linking to offsite content is not appropriate on Weasyl as it is a method to circumvent site rules. We understand the user wished to communicate their concern with others but these rules must apply across the board, and while in this case they may not have desired harassment, in many other cases a user may draw attention, then link to off site material giving both a name and a call for harassment. This is a case where the rules have been put in place to protect the community overall and in one instance has been disruptive toward a goal that may not be malicious in nature. It is unfortunate and as stated into the announcement we are reviewing the policy and will be looking for the application with the most utility.

Could they respond to private inquiries? Yes, notes are considered private information and not public calls. However if a user begins to use the note system to incite harassment, their account will be in violation of harassment policies.

Will Weasyl staff take measures to protect user safety? Yes, Weasyl policy specifically states that we will remove permissions and ban users who use the site in order to harm others, or use the site to coordinate illegal activity. We also may remove permissions for the safety of the site, which, if a user is deemed a safety concern, we may choose to do.

These decisions are not made lightly however. We do not want to make this discussion a focus on proof or questioning the claims of any user. The staff does have measures to protect the community and does take them seriously.

In regards to the final comment, this would require too lengthy a response even for an open forum such as this. First and foremost, we don't simply want to be better than other alternatives, we want to stand on our own merits. We do have measures to ensure that we are always good for the community.

As seen in the logs, our staff actively work with one another. This particular incident was troublesome and did not represent our staff in the best or the most accurate light, but we do work as a team, and we do work to determine our best course of action. We believe transparency is good for the community and so in the past we have been open for discussion, and in this case we have laid out the specifics of what has occurred.

If there are specific concerns you would like to address, please bring them up, but for now I would like our policies to speak for themselves. We hold ourselves to the Staff Code of Conduct, we hold ourselves to a position of transparency and communication with the community, and we have a very dedicated staff.

RedSavage
11-30-2014, 08:37 PM
Damn. On top of it. Weasyl site staff are a buncha ballers.

Fay V
11-30-2014, 09:32 PM
I have the comments which do not pertain directly with the discussion of staff's actions and the site policy. We have warned twice not to discuss what The User should and should not have done, and at this point these discussions are detrimental to the overall goal of these threads to better inform our users about Weasyl.

Future comments that get off topic in order to focus on The User, their choices in this matter, or how they should have handled the events in the past will also be removed and the poster will be issued an infraction.

- - - Updated - - -

Thread re-open. I am sorry for the temporary closure and wanted to be sure the thread could be cleared without disruption quickly and efficiently.

Again, please keep this discussion to questions regarding staff policies.

Gamedog
11-30-2014, 10:03 PM
Sorry about that Fay, I slipped up a bit and it won't happen again.

On topic: It's my understanding that the staff member in question had been banned from the site. Is there any chance that said staff member may still have access to private material? (For example, emails, notes/private messages, passwords to other areas of Weasyl where confidential information is held)
I'm sorry if this has already been answered, I'm a little confused as to what "sensitive information" entails.

RedSavage
11-30-2014, 10:04 PM
I guess sorry if I came off as a tremendous douche nozzle. I do empathize with The User---but I guess I'm low on tactfulness. Anyhow. Moving on.

I feel that the definition of a Callout is what's mainly at play here. I feel that any sort of description of another individual's vilifying behavior coupled with their identity regardless of where said identity is, or what the intent of the description is, is very well a call out, as well as direct links to said content.

Am I wrong here on this?

ChaosCalix
11-30-2014, 10:05 PM
Haven't read through the entire thread thanks to my limited time, but I did read a fair bit, and I just wanted to make an account and post to say I really appreciate and support the professionalism and transparency that the Weasyl staff has displayed in regards to these issues.

A strong and welcoming staff presence is a great thing, especially for a community as young as this one. Keep up your great work everyone.

Socks the Fox
11-30-2014, 10:08 PM
I'm of the opinion that Weasyl is in the right here. I think that enforcing the rules fairly, no matter the content of any journal that technically violates them, is one thing that should help Weasyl stand apart from the competition. It's one thing I've noticed several other sites fail on.

The fact that you all even attempted to help them coerce their journal back within the bounds of the rules goes to show you are trying to go above and beyond what you needed to do (many staff teams would just go "get rid of it or we will") to help your users.

My question: If there's no direct link, but a user says "the info is on my tumblr" and somewhere on their profile they have a generic link to their tumblr (as many people do) is that still in violation?

ChaosCalix
11-30-2014, 10:11 PM
My question: If there's no direct link, but a user says "the info is on my tumblr" and somewhere on their profile they have a generic link to their tumblr (as many people do) is that still in violation?

My understanding of it is that, as long as no link is given on the journal in question, and no direct link is given elsewhere that is within easy reach (i.e. a direct link to the name-and-shame on their profile), it is within bounds of the rules.

As Term stated in line 61 of the pastebin log:
that requires a bit more snooping on someone's part then "click here to see my rapist"

Fay V
11-30-2014, 11:07 PM
@ Gamedog

The staff member in question has not been banned but has been removed from staff and all staff access has been removed. There is
no chance this ex-staff member has access to any private information.

Additionally, even with a moderator account the moderator would not have access to notes as we do not provide site staff with tools to access notes they did not send or receive

They would have access to the staff chat where normal ticket work and site discussion takes place, admin logs require admin access, the passwords for such areas are behind many more doors (I will not be completely transparent here for concern of site security)

The point overall, is user info is not at risk, the most sensitive information that a moderator may see is profile information and the email used for the site.

@RedSavage

A call out is a description or immediate reference to draw negative attention to a specific individual (whether it uses an alias or a legal name)

@sock the Fox

If they say "the info is on my tumblr" that is fine as long as they do not directly link to a post which calls out the other individual.

RogueSareth
11-30-2014, 11:07 PM
I heard about this on Tumblr ( The User made a pot about it there that was reblogged by someone I follow) the post only contained a basic rundown of the situation so I withheld forming an opinion until more was know. I was not, however, expecting to log in today and actually find a notification about this forum thread, and for the staff to be so upfront, transparent and honest ( used to the not so great behaviour of mods/admins on ....Other Sites) and I've got to say its really refreshing and really bolsters my faith in this site and its staff.

I think the staff is handling this very well, and I think those who choose to leave based on this one situation ( and probably assumptions about being like...Other Sites) without looking at all the information made a hasty decision.

I hope Weasyl continues on this road of openness with its users, which has already made it stand out on its own.

Gamedog
11-30-2014, 11:14 PM
Oh! Sorry, I was confused.
Thank you, that's a load off my mind :) That's all I have to ask for now

ErithacusRou
11-30-2014, 11:48 PM
Very nicely handled. I and many other users very much appreciate the transparency. I notice not only the effort to apologize for inappropriate emotional reactions to situations like these, but also the willingness to help the user change the journal to keep it up, instead of just taking it down with just a point in the direction of the TOS. It's refreshing to see site staff behaving in a friendly way towards other users as opposed to the "remove all offenses; no discussion" tactic that most sites take. This site really stands out with its interactions with its userbase.

I personally believe the policy on callouts is fine as-is; keeps everyone safe and out of liability without hampering users' ability to warn others. Thank you for being firm but kind, and opening this discussion with the public!

medacris
12-01-2014, 01:07 AM
It's a complicated issue. From what I can understand, The User hacked into a staff account to alert others about a rapist?

On one hand, I believe that the only ones with the ability to lock an admin out of their account are the other staff members. They're above us other users for a reason, and they get the final word on everything. We don't. I believe the reason The User was punished didn't necessarily have to do with why they did it.

On the other hand, I also believe that conventions are a very dangerous place, and that people should be warned if someone potentially dangerous is in the area. I want people to stay safe, and I believe that was The User's intent, too. But I'm not sure how I'd personally go about doing it. Callouts can be tricky. Some callouts are real, some are fake and only aim to harm someone innocent, some are real and go beyond what's okay in retaliation (i.e. people threatening to harm the accused's family, who were uninvolved/unaware of what happened). And I don't entirely know Weasyl or Tumblr's protocol when legal issues get involved.

(Although I agree, if someone says "link in my blog", they should link to their blog. Especially if they don't specify whether they mean Blogspot, LJ, or Tumblr, or if they have multiple usernames.)

I have not even an inkling of an idea who The User and The Accused might be, but I will believe The User was sexually abused, until proven otherwise. And I hope they can get the therapy they need to get past this traumatic event.

Fay V
12-01-2014, 01:33 AM
To clarify, there was no "hacking"

The User posted a journal on their own account and linked to off site material naming another user. We asked for these links to be removed as they went against the current call-out policy. Everything is laid out in the first post, but of note The User was not punished and will not be punished. The only action that will be taken on the account in regard to this event is the journal will be removed if the changes are not made as requested to the journal.

The staff account "compromise" was not a hacking. We believe the staff member acted of their own volition. Even if said staff member was not the agent acting and the account was compromised, it would have been a case of password compromise, not a problem in the code.

Xinnova
12-01-2014, 08:39 AM
I find this rather funny... People, this is something that's been around since FA began. You guys should know well enough not to do Callout journals. It should be common sense at this point; did you think you could come to a new site and do things you couldn't on the other and think it would be okay? O.o

I commend the team of Weasyl for their efforts but I also feel that you guys should know this stuff already. >.<

Then again, Weasyl team. Didn't you already have something regarding callout journals in your ToS? If not... O.o Same words go out to you guys too. Anyways, keep up the hard work guys and gals and hopefully people understand that this is an art site and not a teen drama site.

Hendikins
12-01-2014, 09:19 AM
Then again, Weasyl team. Didn't you already have something regarding callout journals in your ToS?

Sections II.H.2 and III.A.6 of the Community Guidelines (https://www.weasyl.com/policy/community) are relevant here:


Journals may not be used to slander, defame, or otherwise call out anyone, regardless of whether or not they are a Weasyl user.


Here at Weasyl, it is important that all our users behave in a courteous manner when interacting with one another. As such, do not engage in the following practices or encourage others to do so: [...] Linking to or otherwise making available items otherwise prohibited by Weasyl Terms of Service or prohibited elsewhere within the Community Guidelines.

The sections quoted above were added as part of the Community Guidelines and Ratings Guidelines updates published on June 16, 2014.

medacris
12-01-2014, 12:03 PM
The staff account "compromise" was not a hacking. We believe the staff member acted of their own volition. Even if said staff member was not the agent acting and the account was compromised, it would have been a case of password compromise, not a problem in the code.

Ah, I misread the post. My deepest apologies, I hope I can be forgiven.

DrunkCat
12-01-2014, 12:09 PM
We believe the staff member acted of their own volition.

Sounds like a fun situation.

Cerelia
12-01-2014, 04:14 PM
I guess I'll add in my two cents; there seems to be an awful lot of negativity, which I personally find needless, about this whole ordeal.
I am actually glad staff acted as they did, even if some comments did seem rude (to be fair, I'm awful at telling what is rude and what isn't) and didn't bend the rules for just one person, and I feel that people leaving over this is sorta silly. thanks for not pushing this under the rug like so many site auth would do and actually addressing this.

Gamedog
12-01-2014, 05:19 PM
Ehh to be honest, I don't think that the comments made in the IRC chat were rude. Staff get stressed out, they vent, we ALL do.. and if you say you've never said something along the lines of "Jesus Christ I want to punch this person in the face" when on the internet, you're lying.

The IRC chatroom was private for staff, those words weren't a big deal and did not affect the outcome of the situation, they didn't change the way the staff treated that user and they were still treated fairly. It would be a lot different in my opinion if the staff were saying those things or acting discriminately towards users to their faces (or having their private, angry words apply to how they handled users), but something along the lines of "God this person is irritating me" is something to be expected from any user and any staff on any site at any period of time.

That's the way it works, we're people and we get aggravated - that doesn't mean the staff dislike a certain person or will treat that person differently.

Moogle
12-01-2014, 05:25 PM
I find this rather funny... People, this is something that's been around since FA began. You guys should know well enough not to do Callout journals. It should be common sense at this point; did you think you could come to a new site and do things you couldn't on the other and think it would be okay? O.o

I commend the team of Weasyl for their efforts but I also feel that you guys should know this stuff already. >.<

Then again, Weasyl team. Didn't you already have something regarding callout journals in your ToS? If not... O.o Same words go out to you guys too. Anyways, keep up the hard work guys and gals and hopefully people understand that this is an art site and not a teen drama site.

Hm? So you're suggesting everyone here's from FA? I find this rather funny given Weasyl stands on its own, regardless if there's some members from the other site. But yep, common sense for everybody not to do callouts.

More OT: Though I haven't really followed this very closely and would rather watch this unfold from afar, I think the weasyl staff has done an exceptional job at sticking with their own rules and letting everyone in on what's happening. Really shows how hard it is to run a site, always gotta be on the ball! :x3:

Bri Mercedes
12-01-2014, 05:40 PM
Props to the staff for being professional in dealing with this situation and sticking to the site rules under pressure.

ChaosCalix
12-01-2014, 08:48 PM
Ehh to be honest, I don't think that the comments made in the IRC chat were rude. Staff get stressed out, they vent, we ALL do.. and if you say you've never said something along the lines of "Jesus Christ I want to punch this person in the face" when on the internet, you're lying.

The IRC chatroom was private for staff, those words weren't a big deal and did not affect the outcome of the situation, they didn't change the way the staff treated that user and they were still treated fairly. It would be a lot different in my opinion if the staff were saying those things or acting discriminately towards users to their faces (or having their private, angry words apply to how they handled users), but something along the lines of "God this person is irritating me" is something to be expected from any user and any staff on any site at any period of time.

That's the way it works, we're people and we get aggravated - that doesn't mean the staff dislike a certain person or will treat that person differently.

Gotta agree with you.

Every site where I've been on the site staff, or advising for the staff, this happens all the time. It's only when it begins to influence their decisions that they need a smack on the wrist and told to straighten themselves up, which thankfully isn't all too often on websites with a good team, like Weasyl :3

Rilvor
12-01-2014, 09:00 PM
I'm also going to agree in that I think the staff is doing a stellar job here. Perhaps the bits Term is being called out for were a bit more frank than some would like, but I just overlooked it myself.

I mean usually when you want to get a message out like that you have to be excruciatingly careful to find a way to go about it so you can not explicitly break the rules. In this instance, the Staff even were telling The User how to go about it so it wouldn't be a problem anymore. It seems to me this shouldn't have been an issue in the first place.

RedSavage
12-01-2014, 09:28 PM
You know, I don't think anyone should consider what was being said "unprofessional" because that implies that it was ever intended to be part of Staff-to-User interaction. Basically---no one was meant to see those chat logs. No one needed to see them, and they were posted completely out of context.

I'd liken it to a break room in any given establishment. You go in the front door to the desk, everyone is all smiles, and they're going to do their job well. DAMN well. Everyone is polite, uses nice language, and everything is cool. So---one day someone sneaks a camera into the break room. And, GASP. That girl at the front desk! She just used foul language. And gasp. That guy who helped with the paper work, he's doing a silly imitation of a guy who came in and yelled at everyone! How dare they be unprofessional in their own time and in a private place where no one is supposed to stick their nose.

Basically, everyone is allowed to use sarcasm, exasperation, and off the cuff expressions to get across their exasperation with other people--except staff members in their own private areas? Think about that. If your boss told you, "You have to always smile and put on your best face when interacting with a customer--and while in the break room. And while in the break room! Even while you're in your car you need to have your customer pleasing attitude. Because they could always be watching."

This is unrealistic, imho. I mean---heck. You know presidents? Those super nice guys that come on the TV and talk about all sorts of stuff in their most patriotic voice lined with optimism for the future? Do you really think those guys sit in the oval office and never talk shit about the dumb country their trying to run? Heck, I'd be swearing daily about this and that democrat/republican, or congress, or supreme court, or how ABC/Fox news took my latest quote out of context completely.

Put this in perspective. This was not "on the sales floor" interactions. This was casual interactions between staff. And despite this---they still apologized, even though they had every right not too.

And that's some humility right there. That's some down in the dirt humility and not something you see hardly anywhere.

Gamedog
12-01-2014, 09:39 PM
"I don't think anyone should consider what was being said "unprofessional" because that implies that it was ever intended to be part of Staff-to-User interaction. Basically---no one was meant to see those chat logs. No one needed to see them, and they were posted completely out of context. "

This, 110%

If you're doing your job well, and someone comes in and says "this person said 'a customer today was a real douche' on Facebook!" you'd find it pretty damn unfair that they're leaking shit from your private, protected Facebook and using it to discredit you as a stand-up employee, whose opinions of customers do not effect your work ethic.

BasementZombie
12-01-2014, 11:33 PM
i'd like to make a quick comment here.

the reason people found the "sex offender registry" comment offensive wasn't because it was unprofessional. it was found offensive because it could easily be taken as a rape joke, one that downplays the significance of rape at that. i don't blame anyone for feeling uncomfortable at it, especially if it was posted by a mod.

i do appreciate that term apologized for the comment, but i think more people need to understand why the comment was bad in the first place, regardless of the location it was posted.

armaina
12-01-2014, 11:36 PM
Speaking as an individual, even if it's 'behind the curtain' venting, I don't think it's wrong for people to expect us to take responsibility for it, not only in this individual case, but in any similar situation. I, and a lot of others get really tired of people using 'too bad I said it after hours' as an excuse to not be held responsible for saying some really awful things (far worse than what was vented here) so that's... really not a good argument and an utterly thoughtless one at that.

Time and time again many individuals, especially those in any form of minority, will see micro-aggressions escalate to full blown bigoted and terrifying acts. They literally have no idea what the person's 'true thoughts' are and if it ever does seep into how they view other people. Because honestly, if you do not know these people and you don't know their history, it absolutely looks like the venting is implying that there is some underlying dismissal about the journal's content, or even about the user themselves. And for a person that's had their trust abused time and time again? Going "but I didn't mean it that way" is something you hear all the time, with no sincerity, how can they afford to trust it this time?

Yeah, people can say some ugly things when they're frustrated, and probably everyone's been guilty of it. But at the same time, people are allowed to be afraid of that frustration, they are allowed to be scared or angry for their lives and well-being because it happens all the time.

Now, in regard to this instance specifically while many of you noticed the statements made in the logs as ill-spoken things in a time where people were frustrated and feeling cornered about what to do, I really don't think it's fair to belittle or dismiss the people that were frightened or concerned about the things said and the intent behind it. Because they genuinely do not know, and many of them are not in a position where they can afford to give those 'maybe's.

Rilvor
12-01-2014, 11:46 PM
I don't know, I understand where you are coming from but I think it's always reasonable to ask someone to clarify what they meant by that. We should all be patient with one another, is that not the reason for this?

Edit: Note, I'm not interested in wading into a situation I have little knowledge of and no part in. I'm just making a simple statement based around the idea we should all attempt to understand each other a little better in this limited medium.

RedSavage
12-02-2014, 12:33 AM
Speaking as an individual, even if it's 'behind the curtain' venting, I don't think it's wrong for people to expect us to take responsibility for it, not only in this individual case, but in any similar situation. I, and a lot of others get really tired of people using 'too bad I said it after hours' as an excuse to not be held responsible for saying some really awful things (far worse than what was vented here) so that's... really not a good argument and an utterly thoughtless one at that.

No no I'm not saying that it's wrong to own up to it. I mean--it was said. People found out. People got irked. It already happened. Best thing to do is to own up to it.

Really, it's more of a critique on the user base. They shouldn't expect everyone to be faultless and to have (gasp) their own feelings on things, both negative and positive. People really need to think about that and realize that staff isn't some anonymous set of robot interactions somewhere. They're people and are allowed to make mistakes.

Besides, I'm just a firm believe in that one chooses to take offense to something. Those comments were pretty harmless and not meant to directly insult anyway. Just because they "can" be read that way doesn't mean you "have" to.

Damian
12-02-2014, 12:33 AM
Hmmmm. I can't agree on that, personally. Especially in the case of Term's comments. I interpret that logic as saying we need to be constantly happy and perfect all the time. That's just not possible for anyone. I still appreciate him apologizing just because it showed his integrity as a staff member, but I don't feel he should have been forced to do so.
I'm sure you all put up with a LOT and to say you shouldn't vent? Behind closed doors at that? I feel that's not at all fair to any of you.
It could go either way depending. There was one instance where an off-duty cop was going off on Obama and calling him a nigger in a bar or something. That's a bit concerning because that reflects his character. Like, how can you trust him not to be biased?

Then there's this case where, imo, the comment didn't come off as a rape joke to me. Seems more of an exasperation of how far they seem to be expected to go.

armaina
12-02-2014, 12:40 AM
Hmmmm. I can't agree on that, personally. Especially in the case of Term's comments. I interpret that logic as saying we need to be constantly happy and perfect all the time. That's just not possible for anyone. I still appreciate him apologizing just because it showed his integrity as a staff member, but I don't feel he should have been forced to do so.
I'm sure you all put up with a LOT and to say you shouldn't vent? Behind closed doors at that? I feel that's not at all fair to any of you.
For the record, my statement wasn't implying that people have to be 100% perfect in every venue of their life. Rather, if an uncouth vent does happen to make it's way to into the open, you can't just go "well too bad, it wasn't supposed to be public. I don't have to take responsibility for anything". I have seen this literal defense used for people who have said actually bigoted things, extremely harmful things, so I don't think that line of reasoning (regarding anything being said behind closed doors being free game) is a valid one. This case wasn't nearly that extreme of course, but still this is why it was felt an apology was needed.

Basically, I'm seeing a few counts of "it was private, they can say whatever they want" being used as argument or validation in this thread and I feel very.... "eeerrrrr no" about that. If that clears that up.

Gamedog
12-02-2014, 12:54 AM
I don't think it's wrong for people to expect us to take responsibility for it, not only in this individual case, but in any similar situation. I, and a lot of others get really tired of people using 'too bad I said it after hours' as an excuse to not be held responsible for saying some really awful things
That's not what we've been saying. We're not saying that it's wrong for people to be upset over what was said, we're saying that it's unreasonable to call the staff "unprofessional" for a single, stressed comment in a private chatroom.


Because honestly, if you do not know these people and you don't know their history, it absolutely looks like the venting is implying that there is some underlying dismissal about the journal's content, or even about the user themselves.
I can't really say one way or another, but I'm sure if a staff member like Term continuously shat on the userbase, flags would be raised about it (privately). In the end, Term's comments did not seem to effect how the user was approached.


I really don't think it's fair to belittle or dismiss the people that were frightened or concerned about the things said and the intent behind it.
We're not.

Fiz
12-02-2014, 12:59 AM
It could go either way depending. There was one instance where an off-duty cop was going off on Obama and calling him a nigger in a bar or something. That's a bit concerning because that reflects his character. Like, how can you trust him not to be biased?



It does but I'd say there's a big difference between someone being flat out racist off the job and someone being frustrated at a situation and getting snarky over it.

Kind of hard to defend someone who is being utterly racist/sexist/genuinely hateful by saying "WEEEEEEEEELL they were just venting!!". Though, meh, as Armaina said, people have used that sort of defense to try to get out of saying something hateful.

Gamedog
12-02-2014, 01:04 AM
Yeahh, I wouldn't be backing up Term if he had said something like "this faggot (or replace with any other slur) is pissing me the fuck off!" in IRC. I'd expect him to be reprimanded for something like that.
I too think there's a huge difference between even a weak insult ("this idiot"), and just expressing frustration (which is what he did).

I wouldn't even consider "this fucking idiot is pissing me off" to be "venting frustration" either. An insult towards a user is tasteless even when in private.

Damian
12-02-2014, 01:06 AM
It does but I'd say there's a big difference between someone being flat out racist off the job and someone being frustrated at a situation and getting snarky over it.

Kind of hard to defend someone who is being utterly racist/sexist/genuinely hateful by saying "WEEEEEEEEELL they were just venting!!". Though, meh, as Armaina said, people have used that sort of defense to try to get out of saying something hateful.
Like I said, it's situational. There's times where it really is a person just like "Ugh, screw these people" and really it shouldn't affect them that much unless they do it in front of the actual people they're dealing with.

BasementZombie
12-02-2014, 01:33 AM
i don't think the issue here is that he insulted anybody directly. he was venting, okay, i'll buy that, but he did say things that made other people uncomfortable when they came to light, and for that reason alone an apology was called for. and as armaina said, hiding behind the "it was meant to be private" excuse wouldn't have helped his case at all.

like i said before, it wasn't that the phrase was "unprofessional", it's that it came with implications that could (and did) reasonably discomfort others, even if he didn't intend for those implications to be there.

venting is perfectly okay, but it pays to be careful how the venting is worded. i'm hoping term and the other mods will keep this in mind in the future (it seems like they will; they've handled it pretty well so far.)

Rilvor
12-02-2014, 03:56 AM
And that's why I told armaina that I feel her logic comes across as "you need to be happy and perfect all the time" as it still does to me, personally. Because people will misinterpret anything Term had said as something malicious. Any negative statement would be misconstrued so the only way to avoid that would be to keep quiet altogether and not get frustrated. Someone somewhere would be upset no matter what he said as long as it was negative.

This is why I could never be in these kinds of positions of authority on an internet forum. You can attempt to use as neutral wording as possible, and someone yet will slide in the implication that it's still negative because that means they're hiding something or some other outrageous amount of spin.

This seems to happen on a recurring basis. If it's not something someone said in IRC or Twitter it's that the submission policy or whatever else have you wasn't worded well enough for someone. I'm of the opinion (just that, an opinion) that Staff gets pushed around too much on Weasyl. It's a bit absurd.

Gamedog
12-02-2014, 04:03 AM
"I'm of the opinion (just that, an opinion) that Staff gets pushed around too much on Weasyl. "

I am as well. I've said before and I'll say it again, I think they walk around on eggshells these days.

DrunkCat
12-02-2014, 10:31 AM
Someone should sweep the eggs up then.


Speaking as an individual, even if it's 'behind the curtain' venting, I don't think it's wrong for people to expect us to take responsibility for it, not only in this individual case, but in any similar situation.
Hm.

RedSavage
12-02-2014, 11:33 AM
You know, I think people should note this example and the contrast between FA and Weasyl's reactions. I mean, I don't think Weasyl is being "bullied". I think they're being so much more understanding and professional that we're flabbergasted that they're bending over backwards to handle situations in such a manner.

Cause, technically, FA doesn't put up with "bullying". Whether it not anyone/everyone agrees that they're deserving of it, the reaction of said crowd is well known. Weasyl is in no good position to act in the same way simply because there are groups (including myself) that think they're "not really at fault". There was a group of people upset. There was a need to address it. The only way of really doing so in a way that please the upset majority was in the manner they did.

Weasyl had to think: Do we want to take a stance to defend our right to privacy or does this need to be about addressing the obviously upset feelings of a certain crowd?

I think the choice is clear. Maybe they didn't have to act as they did, but it was truly better that they did. Just as in real life, the person that gains the most respect is a person that accepts responsibility, doesn't place blame, and bows out of an argument -even when they think that they may be right-.

KattoTang
12-02-2014, 10:31 PM
And that's why I told armaina that I feel her logic comes across as "you need to be happy and perfect all the time" as it still does to me, personally. Because people will misinterpret anything Term had said as something malicious. Any negative statement would be misconstrued so the only way to avoid that would be to keep quiet altogether and not get frustrated. Someone somewhere would be upset no matter what he said as long as it was negative.

I think you're misinterpreting what Armaina was saying. I took from her explanation not that everyone should be happy and perfect all the time, but rather that if they do or say something that ends up being hurtful, that responsibility should be taken for that action. Which means not brushing off people who've been hurt by it, but instead apologizing for the unintentional pain caused. Which is exactly what Term did.

It's a matter of accountability, not putting on a constant perfect facade.

armaina
12-02-2014, 11:02 PM
I think you're misinterpreting what Armaina was saying. I took from her explanation not that everyone should be happy and perfect all the time, but rather that if they do or say something that ends up being hurtful, that responsibility should be taken for that action. Which means not brushing off people who've been hurt by it, but instead apologizing for the unintentional pain caused. Which is exactly what Term did.

It's a matter of accountability, not putting on a constant perfect facade.
Yep! Spot on. Thanks!

Storm
12-03-2014, 03:08 AM
Alright, so I read the log and also many - but not all - replies here as well. I am by no means completely aware of every details but from what I can see, the staff just have proven two things: One, is that they are "humans" too, and second, that they have the best intentions and know how to handle problems.

Drama happens all the time, you can't always avoid it. but what's important is how you handle it, how you learn from it, and how are you moving forward into a brighter future.

Keep up the good work guys!

Antosaurous
12-03-2014, 07:07 AM
Serious props to the staff for how they handled this, honestly. Rules are rules are rules and they shouldn't be expected to back down under any circumstances so the fact they have tried to be kind and help figure out compromises is seriously just an added bonus.

I also took Term's comments at absolute face value (I guess I'm not good at picking up on sarcasm without inflection to back it up) what he said was true, not a joke. It IS an art site, not a vent/call out site. I think it's awesome of him to own up to it and apologize but personally I really didn't think he needed to considering he was stating a rather obvious (if poorly worded) fact.

Storm
12-03-2014, 11:58 AM
what he said was true, not a joke. It IS an art site, not a vent/call out site. I think it's awesome of him to own up to it and apologize but personally I really didn't think he needed to considering he was stating a rather obvious (if poorly worded) fact.
I absolutely agree on that.

Even tho we can understand why someone would want to give out that kinds of warning on this site, it is not what it is for. It's like going to the theater and start collecting signatures to ban nuclear weapons, in the middle of the play - it is really not the time and place to do that, however good your intentions may be.

They didn't have to try and help the person in rewording that journal, they didn't have to give them a chance or anything, it's not their job, yet, they did it which is an act of compassion, and they got back a single word "no" as a response... I would have been mad as well in their shoes, if I've gone way further than my responsibility requires in order to try and help, and get a slap in the face in return.

You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

Gamedog
12-03-2014, 07:27 PM
One thing I'm still failing to understand is why a staff member has been forced to apologize for something said while stressed, in private, and that was leaked.
I swear on Skype all the time, should I have to apologize for anything I say?

*leak occurs*

[5:08:02 PM] GD: God I hate that guy


oops, what about now? Suddenly my private interactions are being put under the spotlight to he judged. I stand by wht I said, nothing Term said was discriminatory or biased in any way. He made a point and he made it in a sarcastic manner. The outrage over this private chatlog is over the top, in my opinion.

Like I said
eggshells.

Ransom
12-03-2014, 07:52 PM
One thing I'm still failing to understand is why a staff member has been forced to apologize for something said while stressed, in private, and that was leaked.
Nobody forced an apology; it was the polite thing to do, and helps diffuse the situation. Being both crass and obstinate isn't a good combination for public relations.



Journals may not be used to slander, defame, or otherwise call out anyone, regardless of whether or not they are a Weasyl user.


Here at Weasyl, it is important that all our users behave in a courteous manner when interacting with one another. As such, do not engage in the following practices or encourage others to do so: [...] Linking to or otherwise making available items otherwise prohibited by Weasyl Terms of Service or prohibited elsewhere within the Community Guidelines.

The sections quoted above were added as part of the Community Guidelines and Ratings Guidelines updates published on June 16, 2014.

I have a couple of questions for the administration, for the sake of clarification:

Does that mean that prior to June 16th, 2014, call-out journals were allowed under the terms of service?
Is that change in policy retroactive?

Gamedog
12-03-2014, 07:54 PM
Nobody forced an apology; it was the polite thing to do, and helps diffuse the situation.
Ehhhh I don't think so. I've seen the shit flung at Weasyl, their hand was forced in my opinion.

ChaosCalix
12-03-2014, 08:01 PM
Ehhhh I don't think so. I've seen the shit flung at Weasyl, their hand was forced in my opinion.
I kinda agree with you. It wasn't required, but honestly, it was clear that they had little choice on the matter if they wanted to keep positive public relations.


I have a couple of questions for the administration, for the sake of clarification:

Does that mean that prior to June 16th, 2014, call-out journals were allowed under the terms of service?
Is that change in policy retroactive?


General procedure is that if a rule is added onto a site, all things prior are allowed unless stated in the rules itself that it is retroactive. If they're reported after the rules are added, then it's usually up to the staff's discretion to remove it or not. Weasyl may operate differently though.

Fay V
12-03-2014, 08:16 PM
Only forced in that we saw people genuinely upset by the statement. One can take a cynical view and claim it is an apology purely for PR relations, but that's not really what this was.

We've talked about how apologizing for offending someone is not required but it's nice. I say things in my office when i'm pissed off, but if I learned that my office mate were insulted or took something I said as offensive I would apologize. Because it's recognition that I made her uncomfortable and while I may still defend my venting I didn't intend to be hurtful to someone else.

The fact is Term's comments did offend some and make them uncomfortable. The intent was not hurtful and apologizing was in part a gesture to show that the act of making someone uncomfortable is regrettable.


As dor the rules, no call out journals were never allowed, the date of June 16th is the last time the CG was updated so even if it were changed it has been up as a rule since june at least.

Gamedog
12-03-2014, 08:20 PM
Mm, I guess I understand where you're coming from, Fay. That makes sense.

RogueSareth
12-03-2014, 08:26 PM
You know, I'm going to say-as someone who has been raped-I don't find what Term said offensive.

Fact of the matter is Weasyl IS NOT the sex offender register, and The staff attempted to work with The User directly to modify the journal so that it complied with the rules. Unlike other sites that would have just deleted the journal, deleted any user comments calling them out on it, banned members for speaking out on it ( even if the spoke about it ON ANOTHER SITE)

The staff acted professionally, Term has owned up to what they said-even though it was said in a moment of frustration in private-they have not tried to sweep it under the rug or punish users who disagree.

I am firmly on their side with this one and do not-at all-think what was said came off in any way as a rape joke or making light of rape.

Ransom
12-03-2014, 10:40 PM
As dor the rules, no call out journals were never allowed, the date of June 16th is the last time the CG was updated so even if it were changed it has been up as a rule since june at least.

Hi, Fay. Long time, no chat.

One thing that's drawing criticism towards Weasyl is the inconsistent enforcement of the no-call-out rule. Some people have the perception that journals that slander Fur Affinity have been allowed to stay online, whereas others are taken down. In my own observation, that doesn't seem to be the case; one of my friends had her anti-FA journal taken down recently. In fact, the selection seems random. I thought it may have been just a matter of more strictly enforcing the rule recently, or an update to the policy, but some old journals have gone down while some new ones have remained up. I haven't been able to pick out a pattern in the enforcement. Can you shed some light on how the staff find these journals and enforce this rule?

RedSavage
12-03-2014, 11:38 PM
One thing that's drawing criticism towards Weasyl is the inconsistent enforcement of the no-call-out rule. Some people have the perception that journals that slander Fur Affinity have been allowed to stay online, whereas others are taken down. In my own observation, that doesn't seem to be the case; one of my friends had her anti-FA journal taken down recently.

I'm curious. Are the journals in questions making claims against a website as a whole entity, or are they making claims against staff members or certain individuals? This would be an important distinction I think.

Ransom
12-04-2014, 12:11 AM
They're against the staff members of FA, criticising them and their conduct. A site's staff's decisions and policies do affect the quality of the site itself, though, so they're practically one in the same. Criticism against FA is usually aimed directly at its owner and/or particular staff members in the same breath.

Jim
12-04-2014, 12:18 AM
Yeah I was gonna bring that up too, I noticed a lot of new developments against FA's better interest poppin' up on Weasyl. Though as far as being pulled for being call-outs it seems a little inconsistent, there's journals doing the same stuff from as far back as January that haven't even been edited to be less call-outy.

Fay V
12-04-2014, 12:29 AM
Hi, Fay. Long time, no chat.

One thing that's drawing criticism towards Weasyl is the inconsistent enforcement of the no-call-out rule. Some people have the perception that journals that slander Fur Affinity have been allowed to stay online, whereas others are taken down. In my own observation, that doesn't seem to be the case; one of my friends had her anti-FA journal taken down recently. In fact, the selection seems random. I thought it may have been just a matter of more strictly enforcing the rule recently, or an update to the policy, but some old journals have gone down while some new ones have remained up. I haven't been able to pick out a pattern in the enforcement. Can you shed some light on how the staff find these journals and enforce this rule?

Hi!

First and foremost these journals are found by the staff via reports. The biggest product of inconsistency is people simply not reporting content.
Our staff simply don't have time to browse every single journal posted (particularly after an event with a lot of community reaction) and check for violations ourselves, as well as effectively moderate the content.

There's been a lot of accounts of people complaining offsite about journals but just simply do not report it, which makes it much more difficult to moderate all the violating content evenly.

Another thing is, we are attempting to work with many users. We offer time frames (as can be seen with the leaked logs and notes). The time frames allow the user enough time to adjust for the rules.

Finally, there has been some confusion regarding this point. Simply speaking negatively about publicly available information is not a call out. For instance, the recent FA announcement has several journals discussing the content and perhaps links to other content that is provided, or was provided in public areas on the net.

This is viewed as criticism, in the same way that users making a journal about Ubisoft and a recent announcement to speak negatively of the company is not a call out. The notable parts of this is A) the information was publicly available. This differs from call outs in a veracity aspect, meaning that the staff are not judging truth claims, and it is not bringing out any information that the other entity or person did not already provide. B) The commentary is on a company or entity. This differs from call outs because it is critical generally of a message or action. It is not making a judgement or comment on the character of the person or persons.

Another example.
"I disagree with Weasyl's recent action. I think the stance is hypocritical. This statement "blah blah blah" by Fay was disrespectful and made me uncomfortable"

That's fine, not a call out. It's criticism of a particular entity (Weasyl) and uses public information (my quote)

"Fay is a fartnugget liar and she told me in a chat once that she punches babies to death"

This is a call out. It's a character judgment (I'm not a fartnugget, nor a liar) and makes accusations with non-public information (a chat no one else was privy and can not be verified)

This is all the current approach, we do welcome feedback and are still examining the policy (this sort of matter does take time) but I hope this helps.

Most importantly we really need users to actually report content. Even if old content was removed and new content remains up, we don't have time to constantly check up on users to be sure they didn't make the same mistakes again, meaning we do need users to always report violations they see.

Finally, please be patient, we are human after all. There is a certain standard to be expected from site staff, but we do need time to complete tasks and sometimes things take longer than one might think. If you think something is a problem report it. We have some new tools to check on the status of those reports to give an idea of where we are in the moderating process, but ultimately we do need some level of trust from the users that we're not trying to purposefully be deceitful and it's simply the innocent case that if there's something that's in violation of the CG and it's up either A) we haven't seen it or B) there hasn't been time to fix it.

--------
Edit:

To expand further
"Another example.
"I disagree with Weasyl's recent action. I think the stance is hypocritical. This statement "blah blah blah" by Fay was disrespectful and made me uncomfortable"

That's fine, not a call out. It's criticism of a particular entity (Weasyl) and uses public information (my quote)

"Fay is a fartnugget liar and she told me in a chat once that she punches babies to death"

This is a call out. It's a character judgment (I'm not a fartnugget, nor a liar) and makes accusations with non-public information (a chat no one else was privy and can not be verified)"

The first example does criticize a single person (for a quote) but in the capacity of working with the site. In the same way one could say "the president of Ubisoft is making poor game decisions in this announcement"

But the second example is attacking me personally and doesn't have anything to do with my work with Weasyl.

So comments about a company action focusing on a certain person is fine if it is criticism of the action associated with that company, not if it is simply attack the person and their personal life.

Jim
12-04-2014, 01:13 AM
First and foremost these journals are found by the staff via reports.

This adds a lot of context to the original subject of this thread's genesis and discussion.



"Fay is a fartnugget liar and she told me in a chat once that she punches babies to death"

This is a call out. It's a character judgment (I'm not a fartnugget, nor a liar) and makes accusations with non-public information (a chat no one else was privy and can not be verified)"


Not to make light of, or imply immaturity of the user attempting to call out a potential sexual predator, though. I'm sure that example is a silly little hyperbole for the sake of your explanation, but I think certain people could easily assume it's heavier-handed than that.

Anyways, for this example, if the chat got leaked and became public as a result (confirming the assertions made), would that mean the assertion in question would no longer be a call-out, being that the leaked chat would then be considered public information to support the claim?

Could the user then in fact state Fay is a fartnugget liar, citing the chat log in which Fay admits to murdering infants?

Fay V
12-04-2014, 02:21 AM
My hyperbole was in no way meant to comment on The User and the original issue addressed in this thread. I used the statement of hyperbole to provide a very obvious case of call out, to demonstrate a case that is unarguably wrong and to dissect its parts.

Take note however, that all of these call out issues don't necessarily refer to cases of attempting to out sexual predators. In fact, it is an extreme outlier in terms of the type of content we deal with, which is why the original case is so problematic. It falls under a set of rules that applies to the majority of other content easily. We get a lot of content that does basically state "X sucks and will steal your money" or "Y is a dirty character thief".

So no, I do not mean to imply The User is immature or frivolous in their comments. We do however get many immature call outs, and immature nonsense such as my hyperbole comment is very easily demonstrably wrong.

"leaked" information doesn't necessarily act as "public" information. When a statement is publicly presented, it is presented within the appropriate context and is fully viewable by essentially anyone. Logs however are private, have uncertain context, and were not originally accessible to all, throwing the actual truth of the matter into question. It's possible that leaked logs can be faked.

So let's say a User calls me (Fay) a fartnugget liar, and posts a skype log where it appears that I say that I murder infants. This is still a call out simply because there's the possibility that it is fake. This is compared to a journal, in which I publicly state for 100s of eyes that I murder babies. If someone were to screencap that journal to demonstrate proof in a journal, it is not a callout as the journal was publicized by the person involved and is still readily available. The important aspect here is the information is readily and easily verifiable.

Now I want to make it absolutely and completely explicit that these rules were not made with sexual predator journals in mind. When we as staff discussed such a policy and the requirements we had things like Commission problems, art theft, bad dealings with customers in mind as we planed for the art community, and we found that moderating such issues was untenable preferring a blanket ban on call outs (because the majority of such cases are more like my hyperbole) and because other sites are much better suited for such information (Artists beware). We could act in conjunction with these sites so that our staff could continue to moderate effectively while such issues were still handled.

The idea essentially is to do one thing very well, not two things poorly, and moderate an art site as well as moderate community disputes are two things that require full staff attention.

Again, let me reiterate. These rules were designed to cover the majority of our cases, which are not cases involving sexual predators. Thus the dilemma which we were faced with the journal which is the origin of this thread. It is a very serious issue. We understand that the majority of sexual predation cases are not false and we understand that many in this position simply do not have the resources to gather empirical evidence at the time of the crime. These are outlier cases, but we were stuck between a rock and a hard place between such a prominent issue and consistently enforcing the rules of the site.

Ultimately, obviously now, we chose to enforce the rules but offered alternatives to create the best possible compromise. I'll also reiterate again that this case was concerning for us, and we are reviewing the policy for clarity, better enforceability, and simply overall making a better policy.

Qeyhzx09
12-04-2014, 02:45 AM
It's nice to see a site try to take defending civil discussion seriously. At the same time, I don't think Jim's concerns upthread are totally answered, and in fact, I think there are two or even three different issues that are not discussed clearly here. I'm not trying to push the site in one direction or the other, except that I feel that there should be a constant focus on protecting the community from predators - not just thieves and DDoSers - those are the kinds of problems that ruin lives and websites. I think that calls for a visit to a real attorney for a discussion of these issues, because nobody who isn't registered to practice law now, and doesn't have an understanding of these issues, can really tell you what your obligations are as a website. Anyhow, I'd like to share some ideas about how this looks:

Apples: The "no callouts" represents part of the site philosophy, and an aspiration to do something beyond what's actually required. There's no free lunch, so choices like this come at the expense of other good things the site might try to do.
Oranges: The law is concerned with trying to find foolproof methods of preventing bad actions, and is (currently) concerned with topics like sexual abuse, libel, and cyberbullying. It can always change.
Pears? Ethics. Site philosophy and the law both try to take ethics into account, but we assume that ethics is kind of out there chilling somewhere, doing its own thing. Just because something isn't covered by the site philosophy or the law doesn't mean that it isn't what's really important. But it's also important to note that ethical concerns can lead us in the wrong direction - I'll link to an explanation about that below, but think about what it would be like if we didn't have a First Amendment because everybody hates liars or people who aren't patriotic.

Everybody should be clear that we don't actually know what happened here. Who was wrong - one person, both, many, none? This explains how the law got to be the way it is: The legal landscape continues to shift the view of a site's obligations in cases like these. But it's widely acknowledged that a site can't investigate the actual facts, and it's also important to know that trying to take some action to do "the right thing" can lead to unexpected problems.

>>>> This short article (http://scholarship.shu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1062&context=student_scholarship) gives an overview of some of these issues. Frustratingly, it doesn't say much about how courts tend to rule - but a top-flight website shouldn't rely on out-of-date articles anyway; get professional legal advice.

Defamatory content is not really the only potential issue here. Libel isn't the same as having "facilitated" predators (sexual, bullying, or other) with services. For example, that article's Section III A states: "The role an online social network takes when inadvertently facilitating sexual abuse varies from case to case." Whoa! For cyberbullying, the article points to many states passing laws (and the federal government working on them), though those appear only to target the actual perpetrators. I'm not going to say whether to be excited (about better protecting users) or concerned (with loss of freedoms), but I feel safe saying that there's more at stake here than just the Section 230 issues. It is certainly worth getting legal advice to find out what the current story is.

OK, what about bad results of trying to do "the right thing?" The article's section title, "Part IV: Ineffective Solutions Encourage Deception," pretty much spells it out right away, but the details are interesting too. Are the burdens the website shrugs off - or puts on users, or however it's thought - worth the perceived gains in civility?

* Even the choice to demand nobody take a stance represents a choice, and that can be bad. For example, upthread a user seems to say that a person should not spread their story (possibly even if we can assume that it is true and the person has no other way of getting justice). Ummm, no, that is pretty terrible. This is basically saying "I'm not going to make any ethical judgments here, except that my own comfort and 'da rulez' are more important than somebody else's quest for justice." The site certainly can, and maybe even should, make the requests or demands that they have. Yet criticizing users believed to be pursuing justice the only way they know how...that's wrong. If a user is telling the truth, they have no obligation to censor themselves - none! They are not exempt from consequences, like having their journals deleted - at the same time, who else has the right to tell them what they should do on their own behalf? *head asplode* Civil disobedience. Right action > da rulez.

Qeyhzx09
12-04-2014, 06:31 AM
Sorry, I'm a bit slow here - so the question is "what to do?" In a serious case like this a user might be seeking actions that Weasyl staff can't or shouldn't provide, but that doesn't mean a cry for help should be shut down. It should probably be fine to have an open door policy on talking to users who have issues with other users, even if it needs to come with the warning that users can't post allegations and site staff might not have any grounds to take an action. Additionally, there appears to be another staff that should be alerted to this issue, if they aren't already. Those things may appear to be outside the scope of what staff should do - and I'm not volunteering anybody for taking on social work here - but pointing a user in a better direction seems better than simply shutting them down.

Or maybe all that is a wrong assumption and this actually is, despite what the site staff intended, the best forum available for making known allegations, from a user's perspective. (I'm not discussing the particulars of this situation, please note.)

RedSavage
12-04-2014, 08:49 AM
I think we have to ask ourselves, to what effect is the cause?

A callout for a single person doing X (X being art theft, scamming, assault, sexual assault, or anything else unspeakable), might be effective in this SINGLE instance. But wouldn't it be more effective, and in fact an "ethical duty", to provide resources and reading materials and techniques and precautions to take on avoiding or coping with X behavior?

That's why I'm a bit ambivalent on it all. At what point is this TRULY a call to action to empower oneself, or a -personal- call to action to hurt/ostracize/effect an individual?

I'm not saying going down the street to the nearest art thief of my works to give a punch to the face isn't personally and emotionally gratifying, or therapeutic in a sense, or technically even -wrong-. But how can I call it an ethical obligation/action whenever I don't even act to prevent art theft on a proper grand scale? Who knows. Maybe my intentions are completely pure and it really WAS about teaching an art thief a lesson, but it's not only ineffective, but easily misconstrued as a personal act of satisfaction rather than an actual cause.

That's why I think call outs are kind of a bum thing. Even if they're true, even if they avoid the problem in this single instance, they usually do nothing to solve the root of the problem em masse, and speaks of "being personal".

Ps: I am NOT making any sort of claim or assumption towards The User. I am referring -strictly- to the hypothetical argument of ethical obligations to call out people for poor behavior and why it should/shouldn't be allowed.

KaydenFrei
12-04-2014, 11:56 AM
I do have one quick question Fay, for clarifications sake. In this case we do not know if the person accused was in fact guilty, so let me see if I understand all this correctly.

If the person in question had been convicted for the rape discussed and this could be proven in a clear public way, would it then be considered acceptable rather than a callout to post a warning journal, since this would obsolve Weasyl from judging truth or a statement?

Secondarily if the above situation were true, but it were only linked to their real name, would it be acceptable to spread a warning about their real name but not link their online accounts, if one were to know them, as that also could not be proven?

I appreciate how short and sweet weasyls rule set is, being in plain english easily readable to the users rather than a lawyer. Unfortunately it does mean there is a lot of grey area, which is what legal documentation is generally written to avoid.

RedSavage
12-04-2014, 12:20 PM
Unfortunately it does mean there is a lot of grey area, which is what legal documentation is generally written to avoid.

Actually, in legal speak, this is not a "grey area". This is called "interpretation of the rules", of which is, in the end, up to the establishment to decide. This is what lawyers defend certain actions with, and is for the judge to decide whether that interpretation is just or not.

As Weasyl is a -privately owned- website, they are the final authority on that interpretation. From what I understand, it does not matter whether or not the person is truly and indefinitely "guilty". No callouts. (I know you're not asking me---so this is my two cents).

However..... if a person is convicted and is reported on in an online article....well. Public info is open to public criticism. That person is no longer a "private individual".

So I am curious to Fay's official answer though. Would online police records be public enough to post a warning? Or does the definition of a callout/warning towards an -individual- differ from the callout/warning to corporate or private entities (FA, Weasyl, etc), regardless of publicity?

Qeyhzx09
12-05-2014, 04:34 AM
The more I think about this issue, the more hopeless the plan starts looking.

A callout for a single person doing X (X being art theft, scamming, assault, sexual assault, or anything else unspeakable), might be effective in this SINGLE instance. But wouldn't it be more effective, and in fact an "ethical duty", to provide resources and reading materials and techniques and precautions to take on avoiding or coping with X behavior?
So, what did you expect a "callout for a single person" was intended to do? Shoot the socks off a bystander? I mostly want to agree with you, but I'm confused by the supposed implications of the revelation that this is a rare case. It's not going to destroy the site to acknowledge this is a thing (which in fact has already happened - I had no problem researching the people involved with the headline case) and it's also, properly, what the whole business is about. The person making an allegation is only immediately concerned with that story. They either win a day in the court of public opinion, or they get ignored. "Most people aren't murderers, so my client is innocent!" "Most people aren't rapists, so we shouldn't let people allege that anybody is a rapist!" I understand the appeal of trying to keep things civil, but we have to be clear there are terrible drawbacks in this ideal if it means that you simply don't get heard, ever.

The thing is, there aren't any notable enforcement mechanisms in many cases that the community cares about. We all know that there are operators who target fandoms - not just the furry one, I've seen plenty - because they know that they can execute a certain level of nastiness without the justice system noticing. So the community has to step beyond this very, very low bar for sending somebody to court / jail in order to protect itself. This is obvious.

There's always Artists-Beware for art issues, but what of rape? (If anybody out there thinks that an allegation of rape will naturally lead to a trial and conviction if it's true, just...stop what you're doing and read something.) Just linking to these resources seems to me to defeat the purpose of putting Weasyl in a bubble to begin with. But that was already apparent when I went and did my research on this case - the news is already out there and it is very easy to determine the parties.

If there was no big name, say Bill or Cosby, attached to an allegation, what chance is there of a person getting their story heard when the only relevant community sites all decide to have a media blackout? How are users supposed to be informed? Is there going to have to be a shadow site, which should be known to everybody on a site like Weasyl, but you can't mention its existence?

So it comes down to the balance of possible harms. I have to question the purported harm of allowing a journal to stay up, or allowing predatory persons to stay because they haven't broken any rules on the site, compared to the harms provoking the accusation in the first place, and the harms of having an unwary community! Being banned for predatory behavior towards members (the harshest possible response a site can take) is still not a death sentence, so the site can err on the side of caution in a case like this, in my view. Trying to use legal standards adhering to severe penalties that result in the loss or forfeiture of "life, liberty, and property" isn't appropriate.

It's also effectively an attempt to cut the community out of the story. There is going to be a court of public opinion - and there are going to be people who do not fit within the ideal range under which forcing people not to voice unsettling opinions is going to work. Those people might include everybody who ever had a reason for posting a so-called "callout" in the first place, about art thieves, non-performing artists, scammers, whatever the case may be. Anything else is just "you're a fartnugget" and I know the moderating works there.

The whole idea of having a nice site without any method for openly discussing the issues happening under the surface of any community seems unlikely to work well, and it puts a larger burden on moderating staff in making decisions when they are necessary, while denying them access to the best arguments or evidence, and cutting the community out of the loop entirely. Maybe some part of it can be saved - but if the ideal is "we can't talk about the things which actually harm the community," I think we need to look critically at the idea that talking about things is what leads to the death of communities. It's what is actually happening - not the words being said about it - that provokes these problems, even when there is a good intention behind censorship.

RedSavage
12-05-2014, 08:34 AM
I have no idea what you're talking about anymore. So I'm just gonna shrug and walk away. But firstly, I'm not implying anything. I say what I mean and that's it. If you want to put ulterior meanings to my words--whatever. I was trying to keep it to the hypothetical argument of callouts in general, but you keep bringing it back to rape and sexual assault and the actions of The User, which is still off topic.

You can describe and share your experiences without naming names. You can vent your pain and emotional trauma without naming names. No one is censoring anything. The rules are being enforced. There's a difference.

It becomes clear to me that underneath everything, you feel like they're should be exceptions to the callout rule. Okay. I will politely agree to disagree. This doesn't make me bad or oppressive. It doesn't make Weasyl bad or oppressive. They are a private art website with no place in these matters. And they are under -no- obligation to take up any sort of social cause, no matter how valiant and empowering it may be.

You can read this as oppressive affirmative action, or you can read it as following their own rules em they you agreed to when you signed up. That's your choice.

Peace out yo.

skippyfox
12-12-2014, 05:40 AM
I have some concerns about the information leak, and am hoping to see some more information on that.

As a disclaimer: I am friends with the staff member in question so there may be some predictable bias in his favor, but I assure you I am writing this only on my own behalf - not the staff member's or anybody else's.

Recap:


At this time, based on the information at hand, we are virtually certain the moderator while claiming to have been compromised was acting of their own accord.


The point overall, is user info is not at risk, the most sensitive information that a moderator may see is profile information and the email used for the site.


The staff account "compromise" was not a hacking. We believe the staff member acted of their own volition. Even if said staff member was not the agent acting and the account was compromised, it would have been a case of password compromise, not a problem in the code.

These statements have several logical implications:

1) That the staff member was connected with the people involved in the original incident, had motivation to look up and leak this information, and knew exactly where to find it;
2) That for some reason the staff member chose to call attention directly to himself by alerting the rest of staff to a potential security issue where there was none;
3) That you acknowledge the possibility (however remote) that the staff member's account was hacked; and
4) That if the account was hacked it could not possibly have been the result of insecure software and could only have been due to bad password-keeping on the part of the staff member.

My concern is that despite claims to the contrary, there may still be a security hole allowing a hacker to compromise any account - mine, with access to private notes or submissions, or another staff member's, with any access to any private information, or anybody's account.

What actions were taken to verify that the account was most NOT hacked? Can you explain the staff member's implied motivation to break the rules and share leaked information? Can you explain why the staff member chose to call attention to the issue by falsely claiming their account was compromised if you believe they leaked the information themselves? How did the staff member find out the account was compromised?

And if the account in question was truly compromised, how can you be sure that it was a "password compromise, not a problem in the code?" What actions were taken to verify this? Has anybody attempted to find a vulnerability that could have resulted in the account compromise?

I hope none of this comes off looking like an attack. It is clear to me that Weasyl's staff means well, from the respectful way information has been shared with the public up to this point. I'm just looking for more info out of a concern for everyone's privacy and well-being.

Struguri
12-12-2014, 09:15 PM
Thank you very much for the honest feedback. I'll try and address your concerns now.


My concern is that despite claims to the contrary, there may still be a security hole allowing a hacker to compromise any account - mine, with access to private notes or submissions, or another staff member's, with any access to any private information, or anybody's account.

When this event was brought to light, we consulted 3rd-party professionals within our network to help us clearly understand what was going on. After giving them all the information on the situation, their analysis concluded a rogue actor over compromise.

Since the nature of information security is simultaneously a moving target and a zero-sum game, we are only able to respond to security concerns through preventitive practices (i.e., secure coding) and when evidence arises. In the event that there is evidence of structural compromise anywhere on Weasyl-- be it reported in a situation like this or by independent analysts-- we respond immediately. A structural compromise would warrant a full audit of the code, but as there was no evidence of such, measures such as these would be a bit excessive.

Insofar as structural security, our developers are aware of secure-coding practices and have taken all measures feasible in order to securely develop and present the software that runs Weasyl. So, for the most part, we have strong reason to believe that the structure of Weasyl is sound. But in the event, however, that our users do some poking around and find something nasty, we strongly encourage you to tell us so we can fix it immediately.


I hope none of this comes off looking like an attack. It is clear to me that Weasyl's staff means well, from the respectful way information has been shared with the public up to this point. I'm just looking for more info out of a concern for everyone's privacy and well-being.

I wouldn't say airing your concerns as a user is an attack. This had the potential to affect you as a user, and as a result, it's understandable that you have questions and concerns. Believe me, an active and inquisitive userbase is something we're happy to have. :)

Rilvor
12-12-2014, 10:05 PM
That was an interesting and informative read, thank you for sharing.

ManderPander
12-15-2014, 09:39 AM
My question is, why is the user's journal still up?

It's been well over two weeks, and they have made no attempt to alter it.

Fiz
12-15-2014, 01:03 PM
My question is, why is the user's journal still up?

It's been well over two weeks, and they have made no attempt to alter it.

They did edit it. The links were altered as we had asked.

ManderPander
12-15-2014, 06:23 PM
Unfortunately I had to do almost no digging and I found exactly who they were talking about. It seems a little.. odd to me that while they're not 'directly' linking to it, they're still directing people where to go to find said information. Specifically the F.A.Q. section. It's right there on the home page. I still somewhat see this as a call-out, but it's not my decision, merely an opinion.

Damian
12-16-2014, 12:50 AM
Unfortunately I had to do almost no digging and I found exactly who they were talking about. It seems a little.. odd to me that while they're not 'directly' linking to it, they're still directing people where to go to find said information. Specifically the F.A.Q. section. It's right there on the home page. I still somewhat see this as a call-out, but it's not my decision, merely an opinion.

It links to her homepage then you have to go to the FAQ and read down some.

It's not linking to his page, it's not linking to something that in big, flashy letters says who it is. It still had to be searched for.