Studio H- supporting social change through the arts.
Worcester Global Action Network (WoGAN
Worcester Artist Group
Worcester State College communication department
Radical Cheerleaders Worcester
Worcester Peace Works
Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center
Worcester Computer Collective
We are a grassroots, community-based collective striving to provide universal access to news media without corporate filtering. This is a progressive outlet commited to amplifying the voices of everyday people and especially those working for justice and equality in central mass and around the world
The Worcester IMC website newswire is an open publishing system, and its use for both posting and reading messages is available to anyone on the Internet. The newswire is primarily intended for the posting and discussion of news, opinions, ideas and experiences that relate to current events and news, particularly that of interest to people in the greater Worcester area. The Newswire is especially intended to be available and useful to peoples, ideas and news that are overlooked or systematically excluded from the dominant media. These are necessarily broad categories of postings that include a wide diversity of approaches, however there are types of posts and posting behaviors that are not included.
The newswire is a virtual commons that the IMC intends to be open fairly and equally to all who would want to use it. As a commons, there are basic ground rules that allow the commons to be fairly available and useful to as many people as possible. The principle guiding these rules is that the IMC discourages postings that compromise the availability and usefulness of the newswire as a commons and the IMC reserves the right to hide or remove such postings.
When considering posts containing speech that may be unacceptable and detrimental to the newswire's status as a commons, the IMC Steering Group should keep in mind principles of free speech which advocate for using more speech to counter unacceptable speech. This principle must be balanced against the real harm that speech can do both to individuals and to the usefulness of the newswire itself, with an attempt to gauge if more speech can actually counter any real harm done.
In all considerations it must be recognized that the IMC newswire is only one amongst many hundreds or thousands open posting forums available on the Internet, and therefore the IMC cannot fully silence any voice on the Internet. Commensurately, it must also be recognized that the IMC newswire's strength is its openness, and the significant hiding of posts will weaken its use and goals.
The IMC Active software that runs the newswire has a feature allowing posts to be hidden from view on the newswire without being deleted from the system. These hidden posts can still be viewed through the "story administration" page that may be easily linked to. The IMC Active software does not provide a provision for deleting posts, however it does provide for the editing and deleting of text within a post, and such changes are permanent.
In most cases where posts are deemed as unacceptable they should be hidden from view on the newswire, with an explanation for the hiding attached to the post. Posts should only be edited or deleted in the few cases outlined below in which their appearance anywhere on the site threatens the financial or legal status of the IMC.
II. Guidelines for Editing and Deleting Posts
Guidelines for Hiding Posts:
The following are types of situations and posts which may be hidden by the IMC Steering Group, along with guidelines for determining what should be hidden.
‑Duplicate Posts ‑ if a single post is duplicated during a relatively short time period, all duplicate posts may be hidden. In determining duplicate posts it should be understood that it may be appropriate to repost information in order to bring information to the attention of website visitors after a reasonable amount of time has elapsed since it was first posted.
‑Threats and Intimidation‑the IMC newswire is not intended to be a forum for primarily publicizing hate nor for making direct threats against individuals, groups or classes of people. The IMC recognizes that such speech can be harmful in and of itself and may create at atmosphere in which physical action becomes more likely. In any post under consideration the threatening speech should be weighed against other ideas or expression in the post. If the majority of the post nonetheless is intended to contribute to discourse or debate, then the issue of hiding it should be considered very carefully.
‑Flooding or Spamming of Posts ‑ this is when a single individual posts multiple times in a short period in a manner that indicates that the poster's purpose is to flood the newswire or push other posts off the ftont page of the IMC website, which typically only contains ten to twenty of the most recent posts. This type of posting behavior can only truly be identified after several occurrences, and depends heavily on the amount of volume of posts. It can be difficult to stop because posters can change screen names at a whim. Therefore the utmost care must be taken to make sure that only posts that are made by a known "sparnmer" are hidden.
‑Off‑Topic Posts ‑ this is perhaps the most difficult category of inappropriate posts to judge, since the IMC Newswire intends to be a forum that is open to a broad range of topics and ideas. Nonetheless there are posts that are baldly and clearly inappropriate, whose purpose seems clearly to be other than informing, educating or adding to a public discourse. In the worst cases their appearance on the IMC Newswire may indeed discourage other visitors from using the site. Isolated posts are typically not problematic, and so the problem of off‑topic posts is usually related to flooding or sparnming. Therefore the frequency of off‑topic posts of a particular type should be considered when deciding whether to hide them.
‑Commercial Solicitation ‑ the Newswire is not intended to be used for commercial purposes, therefore commercial solicitations and advertisements for commercial products should be hidden.
Guidelines for Editing and Deleting Posts
The following types of posts may be edited or have text deleted by the IMC Steering Group.
‑Illegal Speech ‑ very few kinds of speech are considered illegal in the US, however those that are must be dealt with seriously. One example of such speech is a threat against the US president. The appearance of such speech on the IMC website can bring unwanted and unnecessary scrutiny and harassment from police and the government. Any conceivable benefit or contribution such speech might make is far outweighed by the threat it presents to the health and existence of the IMC.
‑Direct Threats ‑‑ These constitute direct threats on specific people or small, easily identifiable groups of people. The purpose behind editing or deleting such posts is to not feed into the violence threatened. (Note: Direct threats posted to the Newswire may be actionable under the IMC Website Abuse Abatementpolicy in order to ensure the safety and welfare of the IMC, its volunteers, members and users)
III. Procedures for Deleting/Hiding Articles
Definition of active editors
The active editors are chosen by the editorial collective. The editorial collective trusts the active editors to internalize the values of the group and to act according to these values. They should be somebody who goes to meetings regularly, and can read the website regularly (once a day). It's not good for any one person to be an active editor for too long, and it's the editorial collective's responsibility to make sure this doesn't happen.
PROBLEMS REQUIRING IMMEDIATE ACTION
A. (spam/advertising, duplicate posts, off topic/no news)
1an active editor identifies a posting as a problem and immediately hides it
2.the editor appends a signed comment to the hidden article explaining why it was hidden
3.the editor addresses and explanatory letter to the author (if e‑mail provided), and sends it first to the editorial collective.
4.if no objections are raised by the collective within 24 hours, the explanatory letter is forwarded to the author.
B. (illegal speech/direct threats/infringement of privacy)
1. an active edito6identifies a posting as a problem and immediately deletes/edits it.
2. the editor appends a signed comment to the hidden article explaining why it was deleted/edited
3. the editor addresses and explanatory letter to the author (if e‑mail provided), and sends it first to the
4. if no objections are raised by the collective within 24 hours, the explanatory letter is forwarded to
5. if a member of the editorial group wishes to reinstate the posting s/he proposes it to the editorial
collective. If this proposal is not blocked within 24 hours the post will be reinstated.
C. Postings that create concerns but are not in the categories requiring immediate action (more general threats and intimidation)
1. an active editor identifies a posting as a problem and alerts the editorial collective,
recommending that the post be hidden or removed.
2. at least two additional editors must concur with the first editor's judgment. And none express
disagreement, or 24 hours must pass without any editor expressing disagreement.
3. the editor hides or removes the posting.
4. the editor appends a signed comment to the posting explaining why it was hidden.
5. the editor sends the author an explanatory letter (if e‑mail provided), also forwarding it to the editorial collective.
This Category recognizes the evolutionary nature of our editorial policy and that future postings may contain unforeseen problems requiring editors to intervene and then further refine our policy. In such instances, the editors use the following process:
Lan active editor carefully articulates specific reasons why the editorial should be changed to address the problem in question.
2. at least two additional editors must concur with the first editor's judgment and none may express disagreement or 24 hours must pass without any editor expressing disagreement
3.the new restriction becomes, provisionally, past of the editorial policy. As soon as possible, the editorial collective should critically discuss the provisional policy change, deciding whether and how to alter the written policy.
4.Online policy documents are altered to reflect changes in policy.
IV. Creation of Features Column
Feature articles can be selected from the newswire by anyone in the editorial collective, or they can be written by members of the editorial collective. Anyone in the editorial collective who wants to post an article to the features column first sends it to the list. If nobody objects within 24 hours the article goes to the features column.
- 14 Mar 2004