CISPA April 20, 2012 3:39 AM   Subscribe

Can I get some comments on how the CISPA post should have been done?

I certainly wasn't as careful as I usually am with posts, but mostly the point was to bang out an extremely short but correct summary, and I wasn't finding enough quotes.
posted by jeffburdges to Etiquette/Policy at 3:39 AM (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Hey, you can do a CISPA post, but this one was essentially you posting your opinions and conclusions – with supporting links for your thesis idea. This would be a great post for a personal blog or a community blog that publishes editorial essays by members, etc., but for news/politics posts, especially, the convention is that we ask for a minimum of OP editorial/authorial voice. Also, if you can do a summary that still hews to the ordinary constraints of posting here, that's fine, but if you find that you need to fill in or tie together info with prose that is you explaining things first-person with your thoughts about what it all means, that's a reliable sign that the post may need rethinking.

I understand your frustration, because it's clear you spent time on this, but you can post tomorrow with less OP-editorial slant, framing, and exposition.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:59 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ahh, and linking to the deleted opinions and conclusions post. I see what you did there.
posted by terrapin at 4:10 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


That post sounds exactly like the old SOPA ones which not only weren't deleted were actually participated in by MeFi in an official way.

I fear they'll get this one through the way the powerful always can. A very few with dedicated interests can always keep ramming while it takes a lot of effort to organize the majority.
posted by DU at 4:27 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ahh, there is clearly editorializing after the comma above the fold, fair enough. Wrote it first and didn't revisit, sorry about that.

Anything else? I could perhaps replace the "At first glance" paragraph with quotes, but I hadn't found wonderful ones when I initially looked. Is that necessary? I could easily replace the "but .." clause in the countermeasures paragraph with "but vagueness in these definitions has raised fears that .."

I suppose the final large paragraph is fine except for rampant type-os. I felt uncomfortable linking directly to several "Press to Protest" pages but the EFF's is an infographic and CongressTMI was amusing, so I compromised by making them last and small, which I suppose is fine.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:37 AM on April 20, 2012


All the vagueness around the countermeasures language makes CISPA's impact sites like MetaFilter difficult to access, DU. Ignoring the countermeasures language, I'd imagine the major impact would be legalizing the sale of MeFi Mail, and deleted comments, for "cybersecurity" purposes. I'm unsure if only MetaFilter or also MetaFilter's hosting provider could make such sale.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:12 AM on April 20, 2012


At face value, CISPA therefore appears to extend...

In addition, CISPA is designed to encourage private entities to take "countermeasures"...


Who is saying this? You aren't quoting, you're explaining.

Finally, CISPA attempts to prevent legal challenges by creating a two year statute of limitations for suing the government and collaborating companies for privacy violations.

These companies would gain the ability to sell their user data to government agencies and benefit from increased protections against lawsuits for privacy violations.


These aren't quotes or links, but your own exposition.

In consequence, CISPA creator Mike Rogers (R-MI) has described any protests against CISPA as "turbulence on .. landing [bold=link]".

Smallish thing, but something like this should be phrased, "CISPA creator Mike Rogers (R-MI) has described protests against CISPA as "turbulence on .. landing".

The Whitehouse's relationship with CISPA has thus far been labeled "It's Complicated", but a veto sound unlikely.

Again, you are interpreting, explaining, projecting an outcome – as opposed to describing what's in the link. The link doesn't say "It's Complicated" or discuss the possibility of veto.

You are thinking of a Mefi post as an Op/Ed sort of analysis (with you, the poster, as the analyzer), when you need to be linking to news or analyses and allowing them to stand on their own, without your interpretation or editorial voice. Essentially, you are writing the thing that you would have liked to find all together in the form you prefer somewhere... but didn't. You can't just write the article that you would like to link to but can't because it doesn't exist. Yet, you can still do a perfectly good job of posting something that includes the relevant information about CISPA that is actually available on the internet, using quotes from those articles, even if it's shorter and not an exhaustive essay promoting exactly your thoughts in precisely the way you'd like them to be conveyed. It's not about your thoughts, but about what already exists that people may be interested in reading and discussing.

It helps to remember that the thread will yield more expansion of ideas, and when it's pertinent and relevant, you can always include more links in comments, as well as the opportunity to express your personal opinion (within reason, in terms of OP threadsitting).
posted by taz (staff) at 5:32 AM on April 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think when you're writing something about a controversial law where there are different opinions you really just need to say this is a thing and this is why group A likes it and this is why group B opposes it. If there is growing opposition to it, it's okay to say that and even reflect it. But if you don't acknowledge the side that supports it, it just looks like you had an axe to grind.

Let people draw their own conclusions based on the facts. You don't have to do it for them.
posted by inturnaround at 5:39 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Agreeing with taz here, this needs to be "Hey I found this sort of thing on the web.Here is a topic and people are saying X and Y about it" and not "Here is my essay on this topic and here is what I think with links to support my claims"

You're unlikely to find a lot of people here who think CISPA is hunky-dory but you're also risking becoming "that guy" who sort of uses MeFi as their own personal blog to post on their pet topic without paying enough attention to the conventions here.

So, taz has given you some good suggestions and I'd also suggest steering clear of the "Here is a totally aggravating pull quote to drive the point home that this bill is Really Bad News" technique that a lot of people use. The thread will go much better if you don't pre-enrage people. It's a topic that a lot of people here are interested in and would likely like to know more about, so trust the community to have the sort of discussion that you think you'd like and find links to the topic that are interesting and can speak for themselves.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:38 AM on April 20, 2012


Many post about SOPA were more editorial and not so intelligently framed as than this one from jeffburdges.
posted by - at 7:45 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which ones, specifically? Linking to search results doesn't tell us where the specific problems you see are. Certainly at a glance a bunch of those are in fact a whole lot less editorial in tone.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:15 AM on April 20, 2012


Many post about SOPA were more editorial and not so intelligently framed as than this one from jeffburdges.

Speaking as someone who's had stupid and massive shitfights about this very subject I've come to learn that there's a vast difference between the linked content and the tone of the FPP being an editorial/editorialized/neutral. And it's a very subtle one.

There's not a single post in that list that comes out with an opinion. The articles themselves are constructed carefully to convey a viewpoint but none of those posts even come out and say "SOPA sucks and we all know it, right?". The only one that even gets close is the GoDaddy one.
posted by Talez at 9:10 AM on April 20, 2012


The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a controversial surveillance bill that creates broad legal exemptions for the U.S. government and private companies to share "cyber threat intelligence".

In particular, CISPA is explicit that information obtained under these legal exemptions for cybersecurity could be used for all other law enforcement purposes.

CISPA appears to extend the NSA's wiretapping program into more private networks and makes it's results available for ordinary law enforcement, potentially including copyright enforcement and censoring whistleblowers.

CISPA is designed to encourage private entities to take "countermeasures" in on behalf of "cybersecurity purpose", defining these terms vaguely enough to permit blocking websites, disrupting privacy tools like Tor, or potentially even disrupting peer-to-peer technologies or distributing spyware.

CISPA attempts to prevent legal challenges by creating a two year statute of limitations for suing the government and collaborating companies for privacy violations.


CISPA's corporate supporters not only include the telecoms who collaborated with the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program and defense contractors involved in intelligence work, but also many tech companies who helped defeat SOPA/PIPA, like Facebook and perhaps Google. These companies would gain the ability to sell their user data to government agencies and benefit from increased protections against lawsuits for privacy violations. In consequence, CISPA creator Mike Rogers (R-MI) has described any protests against CISPA as "turbulence on .. landing".

The EFF, ACLU, CDT, and various others are organizing online protests against CISPA this week. Oh, CongressTMI is amusing form of protest. The Whitehouse's relationship with CISPA has thus far been labeled "It's Complicated", but a veto sounds unlikely. Also, Tim Berners-Lee spoke out against CISPA.


Would this text with the same links work? I think I took out all the editorializing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:21 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've no interest in competing with past posts for "who can squeeze the most under the radar". I scribbled the following version immediately after taz's second more detailed comment. It's clearer, offers more background, and less opinionated overall. It employes three EFF quotes, but the first two are factual, and "ripe for abuse" seemed quite precise. I'd revise it again before posting of course, well not entirely happy with how the first two EFF quotes were integrated. I dropped Tim Berners-Lee and the Whitehouse entirely because they really aren't the main story and the Whitehouse's position isn't trivial to state correctly. And an Obama-this Obama-that derail is potentially even worse for the thread than any issues discussed above.



The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a controversial surveillance bill that creates broad legal exemptions for the U.S. government and private companies to share "cyber threat intelligence" that goes well beyond the FISA Amendments Act which legalized the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program.


The EFF has observed that CISPA undermines "established [privacy] laws like the Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act [that] prevent companies from routinely monitoring private communications" by "creating a broad immunity against both civil and criminal liability".

Any information obtained under these legal exemptions for cybersecurity is then explicitly permitted to be used for all other law enforcement purposes, potentially including copyright enforcement and censoring whistleblowers.

In addition, CISPA has provisions allowing companies to take "countermeasures" on behalf of "cybersecurity purposes", which the EFF has labeled "ripe for abuse". They fear such purposes could include blocking websites, disrupting privacy tools like Tor, disrupting peer-to-peer technologies, or distributing spyware.

Finally, CISPA creates a two year statute of limitations for suing the government and collaborating companies over privacy violations, potentially too short for the violation to even come to light, must less survive a legal challenge.

CISPA's corporate supporters includes not only the telecoms who collaborated with the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program and defense contractors involved in intelligence work, but also many tech companies who helped defeat SOPA/PIPA, like Facebook and perhaps Google. These companies would gain the ability to sell their user data to government agencies and benefit from increased protections against lawsuits for privacy violations. In consequence, CISPA creator Mike Rogers (R-MI) has described protests against CISPA as "turbulence on .. landing".

The EFF, ACLU, CDT, and various others are organizing online protests against CISPA this week. Oh, CongressTMI is amusing form of protest.

tags : CISPA privacy surveillance wiretap wiretapping warrantlesswiretapping bill EFF SOPA PIPA Facebook



I suppose Cato should be credited for the spyware link since the EFF is credited explicitly now, probably should fix that.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:09 AM on April 20, 2012


Either of those are fine. I'd skip the smalltext "organizing online protests" part if it were me as a bit too "sign my petition" like for my tastes, but that's just a style issue and not any mod sort of pronouncement.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:15 AM on April 20, 2012


I suppose that's a good excuse to figure out what the ACLU is actually saying and work it in anyways.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:42 AM on April 20, 2012


It's interesting to see how other people construct FPP's. In this case, out of fear of editorializing, I'd personally probably have created one on this topic with fewer links, that read something like this:
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a proposed surveillance bill that would create broad legal exemptions for both the U.S. government and private companies to share "cyber threat intelligence." The bill, which has proven to be controversial, was created by Mike Rogers (R-MI), and includes measures that would affect copyright protection, whistleblowing and civilian privacy, in ways that go well beyond the FISA Amendments Act which legalized the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program.

CISPA's corporate supporters include the telecoms who collaborated with the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program, defense contractors involved in intelligence work and many tech companies who helped defeat SOPA/PIPA. The EFF, ACLU and CDT are some of the groups opposing it.


I wouldn't say the bill "creates" because it's only proposed legislation. I'd leave out the protests entirely, out of concern that I'd be constructing a "People should do something about this" post rather than a "this is something interesting that is happening" post.

Totally spitballing here. Not trying to tell you what to do. Just thought it an interesting exercise in "what would I do." :)
posted by zarq at 11:10 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I still think it ends being too explainey for a MeFi post, like the one paragraph that has the statute of limitations, but to each their own.
posted by smackfu at 11:10 AM on April 20, 2012


(That was about the other rewrites, not Zarq's)
posted by smackfu at 11:11 AM on April 20, 2012


"People should do something about this" post rather than a "this is something interesting that is happening" post.

Of course, it is a call-to-action post at heart. No one is really saying "oh, this is an interesting bill".
posted by smackfu at 11:12 AM on April 20, 2012


True!

Leaving them out seems less pushy. ;)
posted by zarq at 11:16 AM on April 20, 2012


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