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GHN:Policies

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Contents

Security

Private Logging

Every time you visit a web page, you send a lot of information to the web server. Most web servers routinely maintain access logs with a portion of this information, which can be used to get an overall picture of what pages are popular, what other sites link to theirs, and what web browsers people are using. While we will be following these standard practices, it is not the intention of the GHN to use this information to keep track of legitimate users. Policy on release of data derived from page logs.

It is the policy of IEEE GHN that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs may only be released in the following situations:

  1. In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement.
  2. With permission of the affected user
  3. To the chair of the IEEE History Committee, his/her legal counsel, or his/her designee, when necessary for investigation of abuse complaints.
  4. Where the user has been vandalizing articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to assist in the targeting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers.
  5. Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of IEEE, its users or the public. IEEE policy does not permit public distribution of such information under any circumstances, except as described above. IEEE will not sell or share private information, such as email addresses, with third parties, unless you agree to release this information, or it is required by law to release the information.

Security of information

IEEE makes no guarantee against unauthorized access to any information you provide. This information may be available to anyone with access to the servers.

E-mail

You may provide your e-mail address in your Preferences and enable other logged-in users to send email to you through the wiki. Your address will not be revealed to them unless you respond, or possibly if the email bounces. The email address may be used by the IEEE to communicate with users on a wider scale.

Deletion of Content

Removing text from the IEEE GHN does not permanently delete it. In normal articles, anyone can use the “History” tab to look at a previous version and see what was there. If an article is "deleted", any user with "administrator" access on the wiki can see what was deleted. Information can be permanently deleted by those people with access to the servers, but there is no guarantee that this will happen except in response to legal action.

User Identity and User Info Available to Other Users and Administrator

User Identity

Publishing on the Wiki and Public Data

Simply visiting the web site does not expose your identity publicly (but see “private logging” above).

When you edit any page in the wiki, you are publishing a document. This is a public act, and you are identified publicly with that edit as its author. You will be identified by your user name. This may be your real name if you so choose, or you may choose to publish under a pseudonym, whatever user name you selected when you created your IEEE web account.

When using a pseudonym, your IP address will not be available to the public except in cases of abuse, including vandalism of a wiki page by you or by another user with the same IP address. In all cases, your IP address will be stored on the wiki servers and can be seen by IEEE's server administrators.

Cookies

The wiki will set a temporary session cookie (PHPSESSID) whenever you visit the site. More cookies may be set when you log in, to avoid typing in your user name (or optionally password) on your next visit. These last up to 30 days. You may clear these cookies after use if you are using a public machine and don't wish to expose your username to future users of the machine. If you wish to do so, you may also wish to clear the browser cache as well.

Passwords

Many aspects of the IEEE GHN's community interactions depend on the reputation and respect that is built up through a history of valued contributions. User passwords are the only guarantee of the integrity of a user's edit history. All users are encouraged to select strong passwords and to never share them. No one shall knowingly expose the password of another user to public release either directly or indirectly.

Intellectual Property Issues

Intellectual Property

The IEEE GHN operates under two license agreements developed by Creative Commons. Each type of content on the GHN falls under one or the other license agreement, with the exception of Oral Histories:

  • Topic Articles, Education -- Use of "Topic" articles and lesson plans are subject to the "Attribution, NonCommercial-ShareAlike" license. As long as attribution (crediting the source) is given, the first license allows users of the IEEE GHN to download and redistribute freely for non-commercial uses only. Furthermore, this first license also allows users to remix, slightly alter, or buildupon the content. All redistribution of the work, whether in its original form or reworked, must also carry this license and its restrictions.
  • First-hand Histories, Published Works, Archives and Milestones -- Use of all "First-Hand Histories", "Oral Histories", "Published Works", "Archives" and "Milestones" is subject to the "Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives" license. Like the first license, this license allows for content to be freely downloaded and redistributed, for non-commercial purposes only, as long as there is attribution. Unlike the first license, however, none of the content can be altered in any way.
  • Oral Histories -- These manuscripts are being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscripts, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscripts may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center. Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

The particular license that applies depends on the nature of the content being used.

By contributing content to the IEEE GHN, users are accepting that they are assigning "licensor" rights to IEEE and that their work will be subject to one of the three licenses above, depending on the type of content being contributed.

Contributors' Rights and Obligations

If you contribute material to the IEEE GHN, you agree to license it to the public under either the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives or Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licenses, depending on the type of content. In order to contribute, you must be in a position to grant this license. This means that either you hold the copyright to the material, for instance because:

  1. You produced it yourself. In this case you retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives or Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licenses for the copies of materials that you place here; these copies will remain under either of these two licenses until they enter the public domain.
  2. You acquired the material from a source that allows the licensing under these two licenses. In this case if you incorporate external materials that are subject to either of these two licenses, then you must acknowledge the authorship and provide a link back to the network location of the original copy.
  3. It is in the public domain. In this case there are no restrictions or reserved rights.

Using Copyrighted Work From Others

All works are copyrighted unless either they fall into the public domain or their copyright is explicitly limited, as in the case of creative commons licenses, or disclaimed. If you use part of a copyrighted work under "fair use", or if you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder under the terms of our license, you must make a note of that fact (along with names and dates). It is our goal to be able to freely redistribute as much of the IEEE GHN’s material as possible, so original images and sound files licensed under the these two licenses, under the GFDL or in the public domain are greatly preferred to copyrighted media files used under fair use.

Under guidelines for non-free content, brief selections of copyrighted text may be used, but only with full attribution and only when the purpose is to comment on or criticize the text quoted.

Never use materials that infringe the copyrights of others; it is a violation of the law. It could also create legal liabilities and seriously hurt the IEEE GHN. If in doubt, write it yourself. Note that copyright law governs the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas or information themselves. Therefore, it is legal to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to the IEEE GHN. However, it would still be unethical (but not illegal) to do so without citing the original as a reference.

Linking to Copyrighted Works

Since most recently-created works are copyrighted, almost any IEEE GHN article which cites its sources will link to copyrighted material. It is not necessary to obtain the permission of a copyright holder before linking to copyrighted material, just as an author of a book does not need permission to cite someone else's work in their bibliography. Likewise, the IEEE GHN is not restricted to linking only to GFDL-free or open-source content.

However, if you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work. Knowingly and intentionally directing others to a site that violates copyright has been considered a form of contributory infringement in the United States.

Copyright Violations

Contributors who repeatedly post copyrighted material despite appropriate warnings may be blocked from editing by any administrator to prevent further problems. If you suspect a copyright violation, it is your responsibility to bring up the issue on that page's discussion page. Others can then examine the situation and take action if needed. If it is your copyright that has been violated, please contact the Administrator at info@ieeeghn.org. Similarly, if there is a dispute regarding copyright, the Administrator can be informed at info@ieeeghn.org.

Image Guidelines

Images and photographs, like written works, are subject to copyright. Someone holds the copyright unless the images have been explicitly placed in the public domain. Images on the internet need to be licensed directly from the copyright holder or someone empowered to do so on his or her behalf. In some cases, fair use guidelines may allow an image to be used irrespective of any copyright claims. [US Copyright Office article on Fair Use]. Works produced by civilian and military employees of the United States federal government in the scope of their employment are public domain by statute in the United States (though they may be protected by copyright outside of the U.S.).

Disclaimer

All unapproved IEEE GHN articles may contain errors of fact, bias, grammar, etc. An article is unapproved unless it is specifically and prominently marked at the top of the page as approved. The IEEE and the participants in the IEEE GHN make no representations about the reliability of these articles or, generally, their suitability for any purpose.

Approved articles are intended to have few errors; however, we make no representations about the reliability or suitability of these articles.

Ethical Issues

User Responsibility

In addition to observing the legal requirements, it is necessary for users to maintain civility and appropriate language at all times. While GHN content will be available to the general public for viewing, content can only be added or edited by members of the GHN, which includes all IEEE members and others who apply for GHN membership. Membership represents belonging to a community of engineers, innovators and those that study their work and implies the responsibility to conform to the norms of collegiality and professionalism that distinguish our community. Anyone violating the IEEE GHN’s norms, or assisting someone else in doing so, can be blocked from the site by the IEEE at its discretion. Ethical behavior is of the utmost importance in such a community and falls into three basic categories.

  1. Respecting Intellectual Property (discussed in the previous section)
  2. Conforming with content policies of the GHN, including but not limited to:

          a. Content must reflect historical issues. The GHN is not a “how-does-it-work” site.

          b. Maintenance of a high quality/level of writing

          c. First-hand Histories must be restricted to actual experiences of the author and may not contain information beyond the direct experience of the author. Articles about an objective subject must be written as Topic Articles, not First-Hand Histories.

  1. Respectful behavior in collaboration on content.

          a. Vandalism violates IEEE GHN policy and will not be tolerated. Vandalism is any addition, removal, or change of content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the GHN. The most common types of vandalism include the addition of obscenities or crude humor, page blanking, or the insertion of nonsense into articles. Any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is not vandalism. Even harmful edits that are not explicitly made in bad faith are not considered vandalism. For example, adding a personal opinion to an article once is not vandalism — it's just not helpful, and should be removed or restated. Not all vandalism is obvious, nor are all massive or controversial changes vandalism. Careful attention needs to be given to whether changes made are beneficial, detrimental but well intended, or outright vandalism.

If you find that another user has vandalized this site, you should reverse the vandalism by reverting to the earlier version of the page and warn the user (see below for specific instructions). Users who vandalize the IEEE GHN repeatedly, despite warnings to stop, should be reported to GHNAdministrator intervention against vandalism, and administrators may block them. Note that the GHN Administrator is not required to wait for a warning in order to block a user; accounts whose main or only use is obvious vandalism or other forbidden activity may be blocked without warning.

          b. Attack Pages violates IEEE GHN policy and will not be tolerated. An IEEE GHN article, page, template, category, redirect or image created for the sole purpose of disparaging its subject is an attack page. The GHN has a policy of ‘speedy deletion’ which leaves such pages subject to being deleted by any administrator at any time. If the subject of the article is notable, but the existing page consists solely or primarily of personal attacks against that subject and there is no good revision to revert to, then the attack page should be deleted and an appropriate stub article should be written in its place. This is not meant to apply to requests for comment, requests for mediation and similar processes (although these processes have their own guidelines for deletion of requests that are invalid or in bad faith). It is not appropriate to target other users by keeping a "list of enemies" or "list of everything bad that some user ever did". Only bad content should be targeted. If a user repeatedly posts bad content, including attack pages, the Administrator may resort to blocking that user at the sole discretion of the Administrator. If you believe such action is warranted, please inform the Administrator (see below: Blocking).

Blocking

What Is Blocking?

Blocking is the method by which administrators may technically prevent users from editing the GHN. Blocks are used to prevent damage or disruption to the GHN, not to punish users. Any user may request a block by writing to the the administrators' notice board for specific incidents, or to a specialized venue such as the “administrator intervention against vandalism” notice board as described above. Users requesting blocks should supply credible evidence of the circumstances warranting a block. Administrators are never obliged to place a block and are free to investigate the situation themselves. If you wish to contest a block, see GHN:Appealing a block for further instructions. Except in cases of unambiguous error, administrators will not undo other administrators' blocks without prior discussion.

Purpose and Goal of Blocking

All blocks ultimately exist to protect the GHN project from harm, and reduce likely future problems. When lesser measures are inadequate, or problematic conduct persists, appropriate use of a block can help achieve this in four important ways:

  1. Preventing imminent or continuing damage and disruption to the GHN.
  2. Deterring the continuation of disruptive behavior by making it more difficult to edit.
  3. Encouraging a rapid understanding that the present behavior cannot continue and will not be tolerated.
  4. Encouraging a more productive, congenial editing style within community norms.

Important note – Blocks are intended to reduce the likelihood of future problems, by either removing, or encouraging change in, a source of disruption. They are not intended for use in retaliation, as punishment, or where there is no current conduct issue which is of concern.

For the purposes of protection and encouragement, blocks may escalate in duration to protect the IEEE GHN while allowing for the cessation of disruptive editing and the return to respected editing.