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Groklaw Shifts Gears, Now Stressing Preservation 123

dan of the north notes a change of direction at Groklaw. Pamela Jones (PJ) writes: "I think we need to use this time to perfect our work and ensure Groklaw's preservation. It will require shutting down the daily articles and News Picks, at least for the forseeable future, but I'm convinced it's important to do it. One of the core purposes of Groklaw has always been to create a reliable record for historians and law schools to use our materials to teach and inform. ... I choose to make sure our work as fully reliable, comprehensive and, to the degree humanly possible, permanent. ... Groklaw's collection of materials is really valuable. I'd like to ensure that it survives. ... We've covered the SCO litigations since May of 2003, and it's the only complete record of this important phase in IT history."
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Groklaw Shifts Gears, Now Stressing Preservation

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  • Im troubled (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slugtastic ( 1437569 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @04:44PM (#26348383)
    Will be there something to cover after the SCO trial is over?
  • by CdXiminez ( 807199 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @05:42PM (#26349351)

    Submit all of Groklaw's electronic publications to the Library of Congress.
    They're a reliable long-term (centuries) repository of publications.

  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @05:55PM (#26349577) Homepage Journal

    Could be, could be, so perhaps the Groklaw community has an opportunity here, if they can pull together and set up a broader based site that's not focussed on a single lawsuit.

    But I've seen and been a part of so many groups like this, though, and I've found that once the original cause is won or lost they rarely hang together.

    Drawing a line under the SCO trial and archiving the whole thing will at least retain that focus for a while, and provide a resource for "the next time". The current "net neutrality" debate is awfully familiar to people involved in COSUARD in its day, but where is alt.cosuard now?

    Speaking of lawsuits, how would you rate NYCL's coverage of the RIAA's legal campaign by comparison?

  • by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @06:06PM (#26349741) Homepage

    And if possible to similar libraries in other countries as well.

    In Britain we have the British Library, the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales, and the University Libraries of Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin. Dublin is not in Britain, but nevertheless it is one of the British copyright libraries.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @08:54PM (#26351733)

    Groklaw is something like an established brand name. Groklaw has been quoted - or mentioned - in many major publications, groklaw has has won many awards, and has an established reader base.

    Groklaw is not just about the scox case. Groklaw has covered, in considerable depth, many legal issues relating to IT. For example the OOXML scam.

    Although I would welcome PJ to write more articles, I don't think groklaw really needs PJ anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @10:08PM (#26352403)

    As a supporter and advocate of open source software, and more importantly, the principle of openness, I don't understand how PJ can come now to the open source community in general, and veteran groklaw readers in particular, with a straight face, and claim that she is suddenly interested in preserving the so-called 'complete' record of groklaw.

    This, after she has spent the last five years systematically avoiding transparency in groklaw's operations, and maintaining an iron grip on its contents by blocking access to user's comments from archive.org, and the major search engines such as google, msn, and yahoo via robots.txt. And not only has she blocked outside search engines, but she has also deliberately disabled the ability within groklaw to search for comments by author, thus making it much more difficult to see how her own comments have changed over time, and have sometimes even contradicted themselves.

    I think that PJ has, through her own behavior, irreparibly harmed, if not totally destroyed, the value of groklaw as a historical reference, by her relentless exertion of absolute control over every comment posted, quickly deleting all posts that do not sufficiently toe the party line, and literally "disappearing" the accounts of some of groklaw's most valuable contributors when they dared to disagree with her even slightly. As a result, groklaw has become little more than a strident speaker on a soapbox, in the center of a large echo chamber, resounding to the shouts of "Amen!" by the true believers.

    Those of you who have followed groklaw from its earliest days will remember one frequent contributor by the handle of "AllParadox", who learned firsthand how groklaw really operates. A retired attorney by his own account, his insightful posts were the product of years of legal experience, both in and out of the courtroom. In the beginning, he was one of PJ's staunchest defenders and advocates, vociferously rebuking any and all criticism of her. Then, something happened, and his posts disappeared. In an instant, he became an un-person, and all who asked about him or mentioned him also ran the risk of being made un-persons by PJ. His own comments about what happened to him on groklaw can be found here: http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stocks_(A_to_Z)/Stocks_S/threadview?m=tm&bn=2942&tid=383807&mid=383807&tof=10&so=E&rt=2&frt=2&off=1&p=mq611k_AWrbLlqArvKx.K_r6c55v2m5DOHmUgyxq6.J5PYFCet.LUhM- [yahoo.com]

    What is perhaps even more troubling than the heavy-handed censorship of different voices on groklaw, is that PJ reportedly uses a very deceptive practice, sometimes called shadow-banning or shadow-deletion. The way that it reportedly works is to make the posts of a shadow-banned member invisible to everyone except PJ and the banned poster. Because of this, nobody except PJ can see, or know, what exactly is on any given page of the site. The version of groklaw that one ordinary user, "Alice", sees may be very different from the version that another user, "Bob", sees. This alone means that groklaw can never be taken seriously as an historical archive. An archive must have a fixed and immutable content; it cannot change itself depending on who is accessing it.

    Moreover, one of the most important aspects of an archive is that it provides us with an accurate record of the nature of the *debate* about controversial issues in the past, and to show how one side won the *argument* with reasons, and persuasion. Seeing how arguments were won and lost can be very informative, and helpful to us as we face new challenges. An archive would be virtually useless if it systematically expunged one side of every argument. Indeed, it would be very Orwellian.

    Over the years, when she has been questioned about her management of groklaw, PJ and he

  • Yeah but the GP wasn't really right. The court systems are only as open as you can afford. There were real costs associated with obtaining the mountains of court transcripts for Groklaw. Much of that cost was borne by a relatively small number of participants who resided near the relevant courthouses.

    Without the persistent action of a small number of people and PJ's tenacity, Groklaw wouldn't have ever gotten off the ground.

    In this day and age, it's a travesty court transcripts aren't published for free on the internet to be truly accessible to the public.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @06:21AM (#26355639)

    It is not only her own site she wants to sanitize.

APL hackers do it in the quad.