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Community Standards

This document is being depicted as Facebook's "content moderation standard" but it isn't that. It's a document aimed at users and describes what Facebook is calling its "community standards" but is more like a plain-language version of its terms of service. This is an important distinction because the concept of "community standards" is originally (and still!) a representation of what the community thinks is appropriate, not a service provider.

That said, the document is worth a close read because it contains a number of what I might call "head-scratchers". For example, it disallows threats, but only "credible" threats. With some very few limitations, it is fine with guns and gun culture, but promotion of marijuana (soon to be legal in Canada, and already legal in many places) is a violation. Oh, and no swearing. Facebook redefines "spam" as "false advertising, fraud, and security breaches" (as opposed to the original definition, which is "unwanted advertising"). It disallows fake accounts but still won't remove fake news. It resists monetization of its incentives (eg., by requiring people to like, share, or recommend before allowing access to content). hen it receives copyright complaints, it takes down the content instead of simply notifying the person posting it.

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Opportunity or Exploitation?
Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, 2018/04/26


This the sort of innovation that would be classified as "disruptive" were is accompanied with an app and some Silicon Valley VC funding (which may yet happen; don't rule it out). Southern Illinois University i proposing a "zero-hour adjunct" status, which is essentially a way of appointing alumni to volunteer positions doing things like "service on graduate student thesis, departmental or university committees, along with lectures in graduate or undergraduate courses and collaborating on grant proposals and research projects." The objection from faculty, of course, is that "The issue is that SIU is devaluing a portion of academic labor to $0." But if the university is able to find suitably qualified people willing to do the work for free, why would they continue paying people?

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A Reality Check on Author Access to Open Access Publishing
Hilda Bastian, PLOS Blogs, Absolutely Maybe, 2018/04/26


I recently wrote an article about critical thinking for educators and I'm thinking that a follow-up on scientific reasoning might be a good idea. The machinations in this email exchange on open access journals is a great case in point. Heather Morrison reports that "73% of fully OA journals (about three quarters) do not charge APCs." In a PLOS blog post Hilda Badtian responds that the 73% represents a disproportionate number of journals that do not publish in English, are not indexed in PubMed, or do not issue DOI for the articles. In particular, says Bastian, Heather Morrison's data is "deeply misleading. And it does harm. As long as people can argue that there are just so many options for fee-free publishing, then there will be less of a sense of urgency about eliminating, or at least drastically reducing, APCs." Now that, to me, is a very bad argument for preferring one data set over another. You don't get to pick your data based on the argument you are trying to win. And doing so undermines the use of data in public discourse generally.

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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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