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Wednesday, 18 February 2009


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Facebook REALLY messed up, didn't they?

Commenters retain copyright to their comments but presumably grant you the right to publish them on the website!

"Commenters retain copyright to their comments but presumably grant you the right to publish them on the website!"

I think it's implicit in the setup that when people comment, the comments are intended to be posted, isn't it? But even so, if people contact me and ask me to remove their comment, I do so. I don't think I've ever refused such a request, and I can't think why I would. And this isn't theoretical, as I've probably gotten a couple of dozen such requests over the lifespan of the website.


"Implicit in the setup" is not what a lawyer would call adequate protection. It may be adequate in the real world, though; some lawyers make a living by imagining threats to protect their clients from and then saying "see how well it worked!"

I suppose I might come down on the side of removing people's comments on request as well, but part of me is saying "but it's violating archival integrity!".

My guess is the "implicit in the set-up" is _why_ folks ask for their comments to be removed - regret.

I know I've typed something, and then thought to wait, and ended up not posting it at all.

Archival integrity, though…you could delete the comment but leave the space with a "Deleted at poster's request" notice, and if their comment resulted in much comment (and it's deletion robs context) ask to post a summary of their point(s).

Re comments, I should also point out that there have been a number of times (8-12, maybe) that I've received an excellent, well-written comment that I've converted into a separate original posting on the site. However, I never have done that without securing the author's consent and cooperation. In some cases people have been cool with just migrating the comment as-is, in other cases they want to do some rewriting or reorganization. In either case, they get to decide. My feeling is that when people post comments, they intend them to be comments, and if I use them for any other purpose, then I need to get permission, just like I would with any other adapted content.


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