RationalWiki talk:Legal FAQ

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You're gonna kill me, but... can I make grammar edits? ThunderkatzHo! 07:24, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

WP:BOLD, as they say. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:25, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I am still mucking around with it, will open it up to edits before I do anything official with it, but proceed if you like. The most efficient path might be to wait for me to finish construction. Tmtoulouse (talk) 07:30, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I'll wait, with gritted teeth :p Reminds me of the good ol' days. ThunderkatzHo! 07:52, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Slander and stuff[edit]

The thing is that as a wiki project each page is constantly changing and evolving, the content changes, the style changes and the current version is always, really, a work in progress. This makes identifying and attributing anything defamatory. While on signed talk pages we can handwave things as not the responsibility of anyone but the indiviudal who says it, the contents of articles seems more complicated. If legal exception can't be made for a collaborative wiki project, then any diff, even one that is reverted, could be considered slanderous. So if that is the case, an unscrupulous individual can make a slanderous statement about themselves and then attempt to sue RW for libel merely for hosting their own comment. While I don't know if there's even a legal precedent for such a thing, I think this idea should be included somewhere in the answer. Scarlet A.pngtheist 19:01, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Truly slanderous material should be oversited. I am no expert but I think the law generally protects us in cases where someone inserts defamatory/libel into an article. It is the individual who inserted it that is responsible for it. Now if it is brought to our attention in an official capacity and we refuse to do anything about it, that is likely another story. I don't know how much we want to break into these details. Tmtoulouse (talk) 00:35, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Also, we should probably mention some kind of comedy exception (i.e., obviously untrue slander used for the sake of comedy). ThunderkatzHo! 01:19, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Well maybe we should do like other sections, keeping things brief here but doing a longer discussion on its own subpage. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:21, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
That works too. ThunderkatzHo! 01:39, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Do we need some general guide for the things we can say about living people?--BobSpring is sprung! 12:05, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
As I mentioned on the Talk:Ramanada Jhingade article, I don't think we do. Our policy of "true unless obviously comedy" applies to living people just as well as it does to anything else. --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 12:39, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but maybe we should have something in our user's guide telling people that if they make some true but very negative statement about somebody then it should be sourced or demonstrated in some way. OK, in one sense that's true for everything, but I think it's even more important with living people.--BobSpring is sprung! 12:54, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I fear that the chilling effect upon honest criticism, and creative satire would be too great to bear for the purpose of this wiki. The wiki holds that we will call bullshit bullshit. I do not think "we need to CYA" is a good enough reason to violate our deeply entrenched philosophies. At some point, RW is willing to stand up against the bullshit, and forcing all bullshit-naming to be heavily sourced seems.... un-Rationalwiki. --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 13:01, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Except that is what we should be doing. It's intellectual honesty. We can't just say "you're full of crap" without backing it up as thoroughly as possible. Also, I'd be careful about adding "comedy" caveats - humour is relative and even comedians can be done for slander. "Oh it's a joke" isn't a good defense or even a legitimate excuse for blatant falsehoods and insults creeping into the site. Scarlet A.pngtheist 14:05, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Let's say that somebody swings through here and writes that somebody has previous conviction for murder, theft or rape. Let's say that they put in an article that he is a paedophile. I'd say that anything like that should be pretty well documented. Indeed, anything criminal should be covered. Then let's imagine that we say that he's well known as a drunk in has local town - I'd say that we would need to be careful of anything like that as well and make sure that we could back it up and do it sooner rather than later.
On the other hand saying that somebody is into pseudoscience or woo is a different kettle of fish. We usually have ample stuff to back that up - and obviously if we don't then we shouldn't say it.--BobSpring is sprung! 14:27, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
This is why I'm weary of people talking about "obvious" woo. There are more than a few stubs where the judgment to evidence ratio isn't entirely satisfactory. I think complacency is the issue there and that many people are too quick to come to a conclusion without having attempted to research the thing properly. Every fledgling skeptic does this at some point as it's just part of the learning curve. Perhaps taking evidence and citations far more seriously could be the resolution for 2011? RationalWiki:Project Citation Found is a step in the right direction there. Scarlet A.pngtheist 14:54, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Removal of accusations that RW promotes vandalism[edit]

Accusations of that the site supports vandalism, hacking or other illegal activities are a personal defamatory attack on our members and particularly those that have stepped up to help run the Foundation. Such accusations made on RationalWiki will be removed as defamatory.

Is that really necessary or helpful? These kind of criticisms from certain quarters probably aren't going to go away in a hurry, whether we revert them or not. The best response is to refute them openly, not delete them which could imply that we have something to hide. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:12, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

I have to agree. Some members of RW do engage in vandalism, and other illicit activities against creationists. I would rather say that such claims are "baseless"... like homeopathy; rather than "defamatory". --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 13:24, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Really, Eira? Care to cite an example of a RWian currently engaging in vandalism? And not the CP definition of the word. Seriously though, those accusations come from one loser on a third-rate little hate-blog, who cites a 4-year-old article. It's easier to refute than to delete them. --Ψ GremlinSiarad! 13:31, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
You're asking me to cite examples for something that I explicitly state is a baseless claim. If I had or knew of examples, then I would not call the claim baseless. We all know that SOME users have done some bad things, but they have done it without the promotion or organization of RationalWiki itself. --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 13:45, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I read the "some members of RW do engage in vandalism" as implying that we do engage in vandalism. --Ψ GremlinKhuluma! 13:52, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
And what about parody? -- Nx / talk 13:52, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Our starting point is the generally publicly accepted definition of "vandalism" - not the one employed by one right-wing fuckhead who sees it as "somebody wrote something I didn't like. --Ψ GremlinRunāt! 13:59, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes but, it's not as simple as that. What about deliberately inserting false information? -- Nx / talk 14:00, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Rob, Ed, Ken, Karajou, the Terrys and Andy do that as well. - π 14:03, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
So what if a known troll or troublemaker signs up to RW? They still count as a member. RW cannot say that it's members don't engage in any activity from wandalism to downloading child porn. All you can say is that the site does not condone or co-ordinate or support those activities, and that what anyone who happens to be a user of RW does has nothing to do with the site. Scarlet A.pngtheist 14:09, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I have absolutely no doubt that some people who contribute to RW also commit vandalism. Probably some people who contribute to WP commit vandalism form time to time as well. The question is not what some people might or might not do but what is the position of the site in respect of vandalism.--BobSpring is sprung! 14:14, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with AMK & Bob. Whether somebody who edits RW also vandalises another site is irrelevant. What's important is that RW doesn't incite or organise that kind of activity. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 14:17, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Having re-read it, we would need to add "unsubstantiated" in front of every use of "accusation(s)". I'd certainly want to know if there was some corner of RW that I wasn't aware of where people were co-ordinating immoral or illegal activity. Scarlet A.pngtheist 14:22, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree there. The official stance is that we don't condone it and if we have people talking about it, we dissuade them. That said, given that accusations of vandalism only come from one site on particular, they can generally be dealt with with the contempt they deserve. --Ψ GremlinRunāt! 14:25, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Copyright information help[edit]


I hope you are well.

I wish to know if the content of Rationalwiki's articles can be copied/modified/amended for personal use. -- (Russ.mo (talk) 13:34, 8 November 2014 (UTC))

Yes, except where noted for certain content like images, you may do whatever you wish with it consistent with the CC by SA 3.0 license. I note images in particular because many users upload images with licenses that permit use on RW only. You'll just need to check each page to see. Thanks for asking. Nutty Roux (talk) 13:41, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm planning on to use Rationalwiki's articles information for a book, by copying/amending/modifing them... I won't be dealing with any images. I have also read through the following link (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/RationalWiki:Copyrights) nowhere it states that it is that I am allowed except when you go to edit the web page it defines "Please note that all contributions to RationalWiki are considered to be released under the CC-BY-SA 3.0, or any later version (see RationalWiki:Copyrights for details). If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then do not submit it here. You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource." I'm assuming for this reason I am allowed to copy/amend/modify the information to my suitability... I just wanted a clearence i.e., can I use Rationalwiki's information for a book...? I wish to do what I aforementioned i.e, copy/amend/modify the information to my suitability. (Russ.mo (talk) 14:25, 8 November 2014 (UTC))

It does state that you're allowed to use some of our material. From our copyright page:

For all RationalWiki original material, i.e., that material which was developed for release on RationalWiki, and did not expressly state other licensing, and hereafter referred to as "original content", the author(s) make the following license grant.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license, Version 3.0 (CC-BY-SA 3.0) or any later version.

A complete copy of the license can be read at Creative Commons Legal Code.

RationalWiki may include material which is not original content, and this does not necessarily fall under the CC-BY-SA. Unless released by the author(s), such material falls under the terms under which it was released by the original authors. Under these circumstances, the use of the material on RationalWiki is per allowance in the original license, or in some circumstances, per fair use.

The name RationalWiki is trademarked and the RationalWiki logo is copyright The RationalMedia Foundation, Inc. all rights reserved. Any uses, derivative or otherwise, require express written permission.

Enjoy. Nutty Roux (talk) 14:33, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

I have read through the link (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/RationalWiki:Copyrights). I have a bit of English understanding problem that's why I'm re-asking. One last thing Nutty Roux, once last clearance if you don't mind I'd be grateful. Is Rationalwiki just like Wikipedia, meaning, the way I can copy/amend/modify/delete words, sentences/paragraphs from Wikipedia, I can do the same with Rationalwiki web page articles? -- (Russ.mo (talk) 14:42, 8 November 2014 (UTC))
It's like Wikipedia in the sense that we use the same software. Yes, you can edit anything that's not protected from editing. Nutty Roux (talk) 14:57, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. -- (Russ.mo (talk) 15:59, 8 November 2014 (UTC))

Hi Nutty Roux, I hope you are well. I can't find 'Cite the page' link on the left pane 'tools' section. How do I cite a page of Rationalwiki's article(s) in a book...? -- (Russ.mo (talk) 05:33, 13 November 2014 (UTC))

Hello, can someone please let me know how I should cite Rationalwiki's article(s) in a book? I'm not sure where the gentleman (Nutty Roux) helped me is... -- (Russ.mo (talk) 18:14, 13 November 2014 (UTC))

I'm sorry I couldn't answer you as soon as you wanted. I don't look at RationalWiki very often. You're not asking a question that's for me to answer. It depends on which style guide you're using, e.g. MLA, Chicago, APA, etc. You may use the "permanent link" button on in the "tools" navbar to get a link to the version exactly as it existed when you cited it. Nutty Roux (talk) 20:46, 13 November 2014 (UTC)
It's okay Nutty Roux, I appreciate your help, and I am grateful for your guidance. Thank you very much... I guess permanent link will do... If not let me know... -- (Russ.mo (talk) 15:39, 14 November 2014 (UTC))
Using the permanent link is the responsible thing to do. This wiki is edited by a mix of smart decent people and knuckleheads. There's no telling what might happen to the article after you cite it. The permanent link is a snapshot in time. Nutty Roux (talk) 17:03, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
Thank you thank you thank you! :) -- (Russ.mo (talk) 05:18, 15 November 2014 (UTC))

Post it at the saloon bar too, but it's probably useful here too so, my assumption is that citing us is going to work about the same as citing wikipedia works, so, wikipedia's guide on citing itself probably applies correctly--Miekal 18:28, 13 November 2014 (UTC)
I kind of have an idea... Thanks. -- (Russ.mo (talk) 15:39, 14 November 2014 (UTC))