Ray Saintonge wrote:
Michael R. Irwin wrote:
>Oldak Quill wrote:
To be really efficient the
individual staff contracts could require that all useful tourist photos
be submitted to the commons at the earliest reasonable convenience
prior to receipt of final performance bonus.
That's just like some companies who believe that they have a say over
what their employees can do in their own homes.
Not at all. If you pay for an emergency business trip you can define
the business requirements in the contract. The former employees in
limbo while the presumed legal issues are settled can accept or refuse
the terms and responsibilities cited in the contract.
The above and similar types of issues illustrate why sometime
prenegotiated contracts and prepaid binding options can be a good
idea. In an emergency one does not wish to be debating details with
critical resources. After an emergency is resolved one does not wish
to be in middle of vast disagreements between unreasonable nitpickers
and naysayers regarding methods and responsibilities. Often a formal
review cycle is setup to keep responsible nitpickers and naysayers not
easily satisfied or diverted busy with defining or suggesting
improvements the next emergency contract to placed on option.
Perhaps this could structured in advance as part
of the operations
plan. Setup the independent Swedish
chapter/corporation/foundation/nonprofit in advance with read only
mirror service kept up to date with a periodic database update via .....
what? DVD? Digitial tape? Backups were still under a gigabye back when
I messed with off-site backups.
Why not multiple distributed backups.
Cash, resources, attention span, etc? Probably all the usual issues in
a startup organization. I am not a board member, staff member or a
regular on this list so I really cannot provide details why deficient,
standard, or excellent business practices have or have not been followed
in the past few years.
Typically the path to multiple distributed backups lies through the
first and second offsite facilities or capabilities.
Besides this an issue of how we manage our growth. Are we a neat
little hobby of occasional benefit to someone too cheap or incapable of
buying real information resources or an indispensable international
information resource consulted or used regularly by diplomats,
government bureaus, and students around the world?
In the first case little backup is required. A little space can be
leased from a staff employee with some extra room in a tempature
controlled garage or attic and quarterly backups can be taken home.
In the second, a school district outside of the disaster zone might
reasonably expect for its hundred dollar annual donation the data is
reliably available 365/24/7. A diplomat might expect that her
government's allied government million dollar annual grant provides
reliable access when she is in middle of critical international
negotiations regarding WTO quotas or estimated troop requirements at
Obviously the above is a layman's view of how
to structure a reserve
operations capacity for transitional purposes. The legal beagles and
the Board would have to do the international contracts so it is legally
fullproof. The technical staff would have to figure an efficient
mirror or startup capacity and how to transfer data reliably and
routinely such that they could flyin and buy more hardware, bandwidth,
install the latest snapshot and have the Swedish site up and operational
in minimun time.
Maybe the WMF could ask for technical proposal and bids from any
associated international chapters with an appropriate non profit
organization in place and pick the best overall deal for the WMF's
donated funds to be expended upon.
The direct funding for that back-up facility should ideally come from
sources in that country.
Why? Do we currently require all donations spent in the U.S. to come
from the U.S.?
Believe it or not many potential donors, particularly large
institutional ones, will lookover an organization to see if it has more
than a web page or web site before making a large donation. If it has
mission statement like a herd of intellectuals but an infrastructure
capable of supporting a couple of tree shrews; they will often move on
without dropping any money.
Perhaps we should seek a "freedom grant" from some deep pockets and put
full facilities on each inhabited continent just as soon as they have
adequate international bandwidth to handle the cutover load in case of a
local or remote emergency taken down some of the seven facilities. Or
we could locate them by active internet pocket.
Technical desgin criteria probably must follow from the funders'
purposes to gain approval. Are we attempting to demonstrate U.S.
committment to is "atoms for peace" program by disseminating U.S.
nuclear data worldwide or supporting China's entrepreneurial efforts to
build Africa's local economy in pursuit of profits?
The situation is fraught with possibilities.
Probably depends mostly on
what the Board and the WMF staff feel would be useful, reasonable
(responsible cost effective expenditure of donated funds) and airtight
from a legal standpoint.
There is no such thing as an air tight legal opinion.
No but there is such a thing as an excellent legal position.
"Airtight" means you are satisfied you can demonstrate to potential
adversaries they (or their lawyers) do not want the issue in court.
Failing that, a reasonable judge will usually decide in our favor.
Failing that, the supreme court will probably resolve the case in your
favor while making it clear where they intend to take U.S. regulation of
information flows in the near future. Failing that, you restructure
you operation to be in compliance with new precedents while deciding
whether to fight on or happily comply with new clarity in application of
Most people will settle for a reasonable response to legititmate
concerns. Most judges will decide an obvious case correctly. If it
is not an obvious case then someone must pioneer new precedent setting
cases. If we are a neato internet club then we probably do not want
to. If we are a premier pioneering organization designing the next
century's information flows between all of humanity ..... then we will
probably be involved in some court cases eventually no matter what.
Better start saving some pennies when we can, in our management reserve,
to deal with emergencies.
BTW, have we started some kind of endowment fund so the WMF will
eventually have stable funding adequate to its position as a premier
provider of all free human information to all of humanity?
I still have a hard time envisioning serious legal
considering the statement of conditions each contributer agrees to prior
to submittal of material and the fact that we now have a paid operations
staff ready and willing to delete alleged offending material or
situations and investigate in detail later. It would seem like any
serious slander or copyright or other legal issues mostly belong to the
contributor as long as the WMF is careful to respond with due diligence
to complaints and/or particularly to subpoenas and court orders.
The circumstances that would trigger a move to servers in an other
country would be highly unusual. A simple copyright infringement
lawsuit is not likely to get that serious. Having paid staff working on
search and destroy missions would compromise the argument that they are
only running an ISP.
Compromise how? I am fairly certain that if I contact other large
internet organizations with a legitimate concern regarding
unsubstantiated slanderous material or material demonstrably from a book
or report or essay I wrote or posted to the internet without releasing
rights to the material that the ISP would respond quickly.
If they failed to respond then I simply list them along with whatever
infomation I have about the original offending poster and start tracking
expenses and time while I consider how to find a lawyer.
A lot of U.S. publishers and authors already have lawyers so satisfying
them useful action is underway might be critical to staying out of
court. Upon establishing to our satisfaction they are incorrect we
can simply put the material back and file applicable information
regarding our actions; just in case they are truly deluded and take the
thing to court confident they will win the day.
I have no problem with due dilligence in the
circumstances you describe, but even that should be guided by
even-handedness rather than panic.Complaints clearly need to be
investigated, but immediate deletions based on allegations without
standing should have the investigation precede the deletion.
Semantics. Considering the ease with which we can restore deleted
materials it seems rather irrelevent to me. Besides, the process
should be designed to satisfy the people with reasonable complaints when
possible. We are attempting to make friends and influence people by
providing accurate legal free information, not win as many cases in
court annually as possible.
I think the above offsite backup would be a
reasonable thing to begin
considering at this point even disregarding legal concerns.
These are still Plan-B emergency considerations.
Do we have a published Plan-B emergency plan or outline somewhere or is
this best kept tip top secret to prevent harrassment from well informed
To think that we will soon have another asteroid to
wipe out the
dinosaurs is pure wishful thinking.
No. Recent comet strikes on Jupiter demonstrated nicely that it hits
when gravity tells it to .... not when alleged sophonts citing multi
million year periods suspected between recent strikes and the
cosmological principle of mediocrity claim that it cannot (anytime soon,
no preparation required in current budget cycle).
OTOH, some people view a little redundancy in
information systems and
emergency preparedness system wide as a complete waste of resources.
Better to just keep a spare Wikipedia DVD, dehydrated dihydrogen oxide,
and last year's portable computer with proper power supply adapter in
the back of your vehicle and forget about kibitzing over jammed comm
systems in the unlikely event of an emergency.
Wasn't the internet invented in the first place to provide redundancy
for military communications?
Yes, TCP/IP more precisely. Plus robustness and cost effectiveness
and a few other buzzwords. Its development was funded by DARPA and
early implemention involved U.S. universities and military
installations. Its original purpose was to allow U.S. military
computers to be easily and quickly reconnected around communications
hubs vaporized in nuclear strikes by military technicians stringing
phone line point to point.