Internet Culture

An Apology For Irresponsible Social Media Behavior

Submitted by C B Wright on

This is a pretty minor thing, all considered, and if I were to just move on and keep it in the past there's a good chance it would be forgotten and done with. But the way we handle the big stuff is usually based on the way we live our lives day to day, and I'm not happy with something I did today, and I feel I owe the person I did it to an apology that is at least as public, if not more so, than what I did. Which is what this post is all about.

Inkoutbreak's Hidden Revenue Stream

Submitted by C B Wright on

I don't really get involved in the day to day world of webcomics any more, and I'm not the go-to guy for information on How Web Commerce Is Supposed To Work. But this goes beyond a simple disagreement in how to run a business: as far as I can tell, is secretly embedding ads in the websites that use its service. I present my observations below.

Update 26 Jan 2013, 8:58 PM EST: Brian King of InkOUTBREAK responds in comments.

Aaron Swartz

Submitted by C B Wright on

I never met Aaron Swartz. I wasn't familiar with the name until Saturday, when I learned that he'd committed suicide the day before. I never had any direct contact with him (that I know of), never followed his work... as far as I can tell, I never had any personal or professional dealings with him at all. So I am certainly not qualified to contribute to the discussion surrounding his death.

That said, I think it's important to point out two things:

  1. He was one of the original designers of the original RSS specification. Fully one third of my audience accesses my content via RSS feeds.
  2. He was one of the architects of the Creative Commons License. Adopting a CC License for my entire body of work is one of the biggest decisions I've ever made.

I never met him or knew him, but his fingerprints are all over this website. I think it's appropriate to acknowledge that.

Terms of Service; Didn't Read Needs Your Help

Submitted by C B Wright on

Two months ago I wrote an article about a great web service called Terms of Service; Didn't Read. I just found out they're nearing the end of a fundraising drive at Indiegogo.

As of today they are six days away from the end of the drive and still need to raise 1500 Euros to meet their goal.

Now I don't make a habit of asking you guys to give me money, but I would like to ask you to consider giving them a donation and helping them meet their goal.

ToS:DR is a service that I believe the we really, really need. Companies bank on us not reading the Terms of Service in order to get away with doing pretty much anything we want, and it's a pretty smart strategy: even if we were to read everything, the way those things are written makes it pretty hard to untangle the specific claims and privileges they are claiming and that you are agreeing to.

You can contribute via PayPal, American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, and it will help fund something that will benefit everyone who has ever had to click "I agree" before getting to the next page.


Submitted by C B Wright on

I've always wanted there to be a service like this. I just didn't know I wanted it.

I've spent many, many, many years lampooning the computer industry's tendency to use the Terms of Service (or, for software, the End User License Agreement) as an excuse to justify doing anything they wanted, to anyone they want to do it to. And from time to time we'd see a news article or a post about specific terms in a ToS that seemed... well... beyond the pale. But we've never had the opportunity to actually compare various Terms of Service with each other.

Until now. Terms of Service; Didn't Read has changed all that. Now we can see exactly how ridiculous these terms are--as well as reward companies who have adopted terms that actually approach sanity.