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  1. #81
    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.)

  2. #82
    Rattlesnake Flavored RedSavage's Avatar
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    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.

  3. #83
    Junior KaydenFrei's Avatar
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    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.

  4. #84
    Rattlesnake Flavored RedSavage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaydenFrei View Post
    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?
    Last edited by RedSavage; 12-04-2014 at 12:27 PM.

  5. #85
    The more I think about this issue, the more hopeless the plan starts looking.
    Quote Originally Posted by RedSavage View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Qeyhzx09; 12-05-2014 at 04:55 AM.

  6. #86
    Rattlesnake Flavored RedSavage's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #87
    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:

    Quote Originally Posted by Fay V View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fay V View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fay V View Post
    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.

  8.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #88
    Retired Staff Struguri's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the honest feedback. I'll try and address your concerns now.

    Quote Originally Posted by skippyfox View Post
    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.

  9. #89
    Senior Rilvor's Avatar
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    That was an interesting and informative read, thank you for sharing.

  10. #90
    Junior ManderPander's Avatar
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    Good question.
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    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.

 

 

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