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Vanilla 1.1.10 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

• CommentRowNumber1.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeFeb 8th 2009
What are these really saying? Are they just something generic provided by the software that Andrew never changed? They talk about some ‘community’ that's going to tell me what I can and cannot do and which from that context clearly does not include me!
• CommentRowNumber2.
• CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
• CommentTimeFeb 10th 2009
Yeah, guilty as charged. I just added the "please use your own name" to the generic one supplied with the forum software. In fact, the "terms of service" weren't getting displayed at all at first due to a bug in one of the extensions.

If you don't like the "terms of service" and have a better suggestion then please suggest away! However, as the main point of this site is to help the n-Lab I don't think it's worth much time getting it perfect.
• CommentRowNumber3.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeFeb 11th 2009
• (edited Dec 3rd 2019)

This is the only one of the $n$-Category web sites where one has to agree to Terms of Service. Maybe that's good; certainly ToS could let users know where we stand. However, these ones are not very friendly.

I'll quote them, so everybody that reads this discussion has them up front:

Please carefully review the following rules, policies, and disclaimers.

Considering the real-time nature of this community, it is impossible for us to review messages or confirm the validity of information posted. We do not actively monitor the contents of and are not responsible for any content posted. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any data posted by members. The messages express the views of the author of the message, not necessarily the views of this community or any entity associated with this community. Any user who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to contact us immediately by email. We have the ability to remove objectionable messages and we will make every effort to do so, within a reasonable time frame, if we determine that removal is necessary. This is a manual process, however, so please realize that we may not be able to remove or edit particular messages immediately.

You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this community to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violative of any law. You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you.

Although this community does not and cannot review the messages posted and is not responsible for the content of any of these messages, we at this community reserve the right to delete any message for any or no reason at all. You remain solely responsible for the content of your messages, and you agree to indemnify and hold harmless this community, Lussumo (the makers of the discussion software), and their agents with respect to any claim based upon transmission of your message(s).

We at this community also reserve the right to reveal your identity (or whatever information we know about you) in the event of a complaint or legal action arising from any message posted by you. We log all internet protocol addresses accessing this web site.

We reserve the right to terminate any membership for any reason or no reason at all.

Here there is a clear distinction between ‘we’ the community and ‘you’ the person applying for membership. In fact, since the community reserves the right to terminate my membership and there is no mechanism for community decision on that, apparently ‘we’ means Andrew Stacey (or possibly NTNU, or something like that).

It would be more straightforward and less alienating, yet without requiring any additional effort (such as formalising a community mechanism for revoking membership) to say something like this:

Please carefully review the following rules, policies, and disclaimers.

This forum is provided as a service to the users of the $n$-Category Café and Lab by Andrew Stacey through the Norwegian Technical-Scientific University (NTNU). Each poster is individually responsible for the content posted by that poster. Dr. Stacey, NTNU, and the $n$-Category Café and Lab are not otherwise responsible for any content.

By using this service, you agree to take personal responsibility for the contents of your postings. You agree not to post irrelevant or damaging material or any content that may endanger the other users or providers of this service.

The service is not secret. The content of your postings are available for viewing on the Internet. Furthermore, additional information, including timestamps and Internet protocol addresses, relating to your use of this service is logged and not confidential.

If you think it's necessary for your (or NTNU's) legal protection, you can add back such items as the ability to object to objectionable content (although you ought to provide an email address) or the indemnification. But the fact that you can ban users, delete postings, and so forth are included by default in the fact that you are providing the service; it's probably just as well not to promise a process for removal. And spam, privacy violations, copyright violation, and so forth are included under irrelevant material, damaging material, and material that endangers the providers; note that you don't really want a blanket prohibition on such things as advertisements and copyrighted material (which would included a notice of another $n$-Category site or my quotation of Lussumo's copyrighted default ToS).

• CommentRowNumber4.
• CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
• CommentTimeFeb 11th 2009

Looks okay to me.

I frequently get into trouble for my sense of humour but this has reminded me of the Vigor storyline on User Friendly. In particular the EULA comic.

• CommentRowNumber5.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeFeb 11th 2009
Heh, such a strange page that is. Such a short comment section!
• CommentRowNumber6.
• CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
• CommentTimeFeb 24th 2009

Right, that's changed. Sorry it took me a while to get round to it. The only thing I changed was NTNU's english name: it is the Norweigan University for Science and Technology.

• CommentRowNumber7.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeFeb 24th 2009
That looks good, cool!

I just realised that there is a bit of a mismatch between the end of these terms of service (where timestamps and IP addresses are not confidential) and the main application page (where one's full name and email address are ‘kept strictly confidential’). That's not exactly a contradiction, but it's odd; if you intend to keep the timestamps and IP addresses confidential too (which the original ToS did not), then you could just change the last sentence to ‘Furthermore, additional information, including timestamps and Internet protocol addresses, relating to your use of this service is logged.’ and leave it at that.

• CommentRowNumber8.
• CommentAuthorGuest
• CommentTimeDec 2nd 2019
"You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you." seems unnecessarily restrictive. Specifically, prohibiting copyright-holder -authorized posting. Does it prohibit fair use?

That one must agree to indemnify someone is concerning. Indemnity is the obligation that the indemnifier shall restore whatever harm to the indemnified, irregarding the cause of the harm. For example, by using nForum, I am obligated, explicitly, to pay Lussumo whatever money he loses. (Naturally, my pseudonymity means that he shan't be able to collect.) Indemnity is not appropriate here.
That such indemnity clauses are included in the conditions of use of many services is distressing.

"the right to reveal your identity (or whatever information we know about you) in the event of a complaint or legal action arising from any message posted by you" is somewhat concerning. The fact that anyone may file a complaint, or the generality of "arising from any message posted by you", which may be rephrased or removed to be more appropriate, aside, the concern is that personal data may be revealed by tangentially related juridical activity. It may be that including such a condition of use causes nForum to be obligated to perform such personal data revelation. I would prefer, and only in the case that some such condition of use is needed, that it be rephrased to specificity.
• CommentRowNumber9.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeDec 2nd 2019

• CommentRowNumber10.
• CommentAuthorRodMcGuire
• CommentTimeDec 2nd 2019

When one signs up for an nForum account at

https://nforum.ncatlab.org/people/?PostBackAction=ApplyForm

https://nforum.ncatlab.org/termsofservice.php

• CommentRowNumber11.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeDec 2nd 2019

Thanks. I didn’t actually know. This is legacy software. Thanks for bringing this up.

I don’t like this whole mechanism of heavy registering just to join discussion on the $n$Forum, in stark contrast to the vanishing threshold for editing the $n$Lab itself. This goes back to decisions from years ago due to our first sysadmin back then. I’ll bring this up with the steering committee, and maybe we can change it.

• CommentRowNumber12.
• CommentAuthorRichard Williamson
• CommentTimeDec 3rd 2019
• (edited Dec 3rd 2019)

Maybe I can mention that I am working on a complete rewrite of the nForum. The main motivation for this is that I do not wish to move the current ancient software to the cloud when we make the latter move. The rewrite is coming along pretty well, the user interface is more or less in place, and I am working on the code behind it. It will include a rewrite of the login mechanism, which should become very lightweight.

• CommentRowNumber13.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeDec 3rd 2019

I though that we adopted the text that I proposed in comment #3 a long time ago. (That comment had been mangled by subsequent software changes, so I just fixed its formatting.) Of course, that proposal is also out of date now, but it could be adapted to the present circumstances by updating a few names.

• CommentRowNumber14.
• CommentAuthorMike Shulman
• CommentTimeDec 3rd 2019

Yeah, that’s weird; in #6 Andrew said “Right, that’s changed” and I thought that meant he’d changed the ToS to the suggestion in #3. Did it get accidentally reverted somehow by a code change?

1. If it was reverted it was before my time :-).