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(Message started by: Andy Love on Today at 21:38)

Title: Midnight Voices Members' Archive
Post by Andy Love on Today at 21:38
Hail, Grand Sclonchmaster!  Hail Chorus!

Elsewhere in this impressive labyrinth of rectangular blue, Steve, you suggested today that the Members' Area of Smash Flops will close at switchover time.

I understand that, necessarily, the Members' Area can't be a going concern -- but are we really going to lose access to all that data?  

Had me and my CD writer better get busy, then ??!


Title: Re: Midnight Voices Members' Archive
Post by S J Birkill on Today at 23:24

Truth is, I haven't decided exactly what will happen. I need to analyse what the purpose of the 'private' bit was and how much of it can continue in the less-well-regulated environment of a Web-based forum. Thinking aloud:

We used it mostly to keep things away from the prying eyes of the General Public. The whole copyright thing is a minefield: generally and strictly you can't do anything without it technically being an infringement; frequently in a Web context 'blind eyes' are turned -- there's some kind of a shared understanding about what may be permissible, but none of it would bear legal scrutiny. Both Pete and Clive would frown hard on anything which blatantly bypassed their (or their publishers') control of their work, but have acquiesced to such fan-friendly leaks as lyrics, chord charts and low-quality audio clips of unusual performances, as indeed most artists seem to do in a non-profit Web context.

But there are some areas of copyright infringement I've judged would be overstepping the mark if applied in an open public environment. These include, for instance, copies of a poem or essay published in a newspaper but not yet available to buy in book form, high quality MP3 previews of forthcoming album tracks, and versions of songs not available on CD (Be Careful When They Offer You The Moon), all of which we have carried. Also (though perhaps less necessarily) I have included in this category the various video clips we've collected over the years, and recordings of recent BBC radio programmes. The tenuous justification for these is that MV constitutes a private members' club and in some undefinable way we were not releasing this material to the public at large. The same argument applied to the CD library during its run, and fittingly the library 'catalogue' survives here.

Alongside the copyright realm we have confidentiality. This takes in those items specifically released for the eyes of members only, including the MV User Guide, the list of members' names and the text archives of all MV postings from September 1998 to the present day, containing as they do the e-mail addresses of those who've posted during that time. Into this category fall also the spreadsheets of members' tour venue attendance plans, and any files members have made available for confidential sharing, plus the book presented by MVs to Clive on his 60th birthday with personal messages from members (one member even preferred not to share his contribution among his fellows).

There are a few other bits and pieces of more interest to members than anyone else: the press-quality scans of the Buxton Pete-and-Clive publicity photos, the hi-res version of the Website's PA logo (pinched in turn from the Secret Drinker artwork) and the graphic used on the MV members' "Walk Towards The Music" badge. Also a lyrics booklet insert for The Lakeside Sessions.

A lot of what's there we could just lose, as being out of date. Some we could transfer to the public areas of the Website without making too much noise about it: perhaps the videos and the radio shows. The birthday book would have to be deleted, as I guess would the poems and essays -- I need to check, but they're probably in print again now anyway, so their inclusion in Smash Flops would serve no purpose.

The MV archives are perhaps the most important resource, and the trickiest to publish. The e-mail address issue is easy enough to deal with, by replacing every occurrence of an address by <address withheld> or some such -- I'd have to catch phone numbers in sigs too. But I'm sensitive to the fact that members have been more open in the private forum than they'd choose to be in the public. And yet we can't go round getting the individual approval of everyone who's posted, many of whom are now no longer members and have changed their e-mail addresses, effectively becoming untraceable. Delete them and there'd be huge gaps in the archive, plus we'd need to ensure they didn't crop up in quoted form.

My thoughts on this at present are along the following lines: members posted safe in the knowledge they'd be read only by self-selected like-minded people. It mattered not that absolutely anyone could sign up as an MV, as that formed part of the self-selection process: no-one would bother receiving the daily or weekly mails just for the hell of it. If we could duplicate this perceived protection we could go ahead and publish on the Web. It seems to me that the indexing services are the bugbear: to imagine your drunken midnight thoughts available to anyone through a Google search is what would make most of us cringe.

So what I may do (and as I say I haven't yet decided) is to strip out sensitive personal data from the archive to beat the spambots and would-be stalkers or identity thieves, and publish on HTML pages (I won't necessarily do the full indexing thing as I did for Year 1 -- too time-consuming) protected by the "robots no-index, no-follow" meta-tag. This prevents Google and the others crawling the pages for indexing purposes, so posters' names and thoughts will not appear in any Web index, though they will be able to be found through links from Smash Flops (and from this forum) by those sufficiently dedicated (i.e. members) to seek them out.

I'm replying to your message, Andy, in the FAQ category as that's where you posted, but please don't anyone regard this as a full Answer -- it's more a Work in Progress.


Title: Re: Midnight Voices Members' Archive
Post by S J Birkill on 21.10.04 at 12:11
An answer to this question is now included in the Forum FAQ (http://www.peteatkin.com/cgi-bin/mv/YaBB.cgi?board=faq;action=display;num=1090753191) -- SJB

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