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posted by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @03:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-much-belated-story-post dept.
It's been a hectic couple of weeks since SoylentNews went public, and our young community has already seen it fair share of difficulties, drama, and growing pains. Due to an absolutely hectic travel schedule combined with good helping of emergencies, and other calamities, I've been dealing with both trying to keep us operational, and working towards defining who we are and what we will be. With my travel on hold until May, and with most of the pressing issues resolving, I feel that we've finally reached a moment where we can stop reacting, and starting planning. With that said, I'd like to take a moment to sit down, talk about recent events, and give you what I see our future as.

Here is what I'm going into on this post:
- My Vision for SoylentNews
- Incorporating: How, and Where
- The Community Voting System and Voting For Our New Name
- Disclosure on Recent Security Issues

NCommander adds: Well, that was bad timing. Our submission drought ended about the time this went live so its already off the main page. I feel that its important that most people read this so they can at least see the call for volunteers so I'm bumping it back to the top of the main page. At some point we need a featured article feature so things like important site news can stay "stuck" to the top.

My Vision for SoylentNews

So, the first, and perhaps most important question is, what are we doing on defining who we are, and how we operate. I'd be lying if I said the changeover in leadership was smooth, but as with any new fledged organization, we're victim to growing pains. There's been one sticking issue on my TODO list though since I took over, and that's provide indication of where we're going and how we're going to get there.

As most of you know, I was in Asia for two weeks due to my corporate job. During that time, I worked out a basic plan of where we are going to go. Not long after I returned from Asia, I wrote an email to the staff mailing list to act as a guiding statement, in lieu of a full manifesto. Unfortunately, my writing time has been curtailed by work, and other day-to-day Soylent operations, so as a down payment on that manifesto, I'd like to share that email publicly. It has been slightly edited for clarity, and to correct some misconceptions from the original. Contextual edits are marked in brackets.

Hey all,

So after two long weeks, I'm finally back home, resting and recovering from a ton of jetlag. I've caught up with recent events, and am finally able to take the time to lay out a clear vision for the future of the site, which is something that I know you have been promised now for some time.

First, I would like to formally announce that we will be organized as a nonprofit ([to become the equivalent] section 501(c) of U.S. tax law). I can hear you thinking, "why a nonprofit, and isn't this something the community should decide? These are valid and excellent questions, and I will address them one by one:

First, the nonprofit thing. To be very blunt, this is a matter of personal values, and commitment to the community. Slashdot sold out relatively early in its life, and changed from owner to owner until CmdrTaco resigned. While this process took over a decade, I consider that to be an exception to the rule. Plenty of other sites have been bought, and then quickly destroyed by greedy PHBs. While, given our current user base, I realize that as a for-profit business we could become rich and then sell out, it would be a betrayal of everything we forked from Slashdot for, a betrayal of the community. I'm not someone to take the money and run; I'm here because I believe we can change the world, and I stand by my word.

A nonprofit organization exists to further its mission, and frankly, I'm unaware (at least in the United States) of any major news source beside Wikinews which isn't for-profit. If we became a for-profit business, its possible (perhaps likely) that sooner or later, someone would offer the board of directors a *shit ton* of money, and to be honest, it is difficult for anyone to say no when a seven digit paycheck is staring them in the face. Slashdot, Digg, SourceForge, and many other sites have been bought out, and subsequently dismantled with the goal of profit and making money. Reddit is an anomaly having been bought out, but remaining largely independent of its mother ship. Furthermore, as a nonprofit, we won't have a corporate overlord that we have to please. We can report the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I realize that perhaps its passe, but I'm serious when I say we are going to change the world.

As we become more and more established, I'd like to transition to a world where we can be both an aggregator of news, *and* a primary news source. We can hire full-time editors, and find people to help train our editors, both volunteer and paid, to bring us up to standards on par with ArsTechnica, Engadget, and other large names in this field.

This won't happen overnight. Here's my tentative list of where I want us to be in one year; these goals may seem a bit modest but I would like our goals to be reasonable, and then have us exceed them if possible:

  • [To become the equivalent of] a federally approved (tax-exempt) 501(c) nonprofit organization
  • I expect this to take anywhere between 3-6 months, unlike for-profits, the registration process for these is long and arduous
  • Will require the creation of bylaws, board of trustees, etc.
  • All site assets will be transferred to this once we're founded
  • Selection of a permanent name (within next few weeks, but listing here for completion)
  • SoylentNews Manifesto to provide detail on how we will organize ourselves to strengthen the site and keep it running smoothly
  • SoylentNews Governance Model (see below)
  • Sufficient income to cover server hosting expenses
  • 5M pageviews daily by slash's internal count (slash reports ~2M pageviews daily at this point)
  • Average 30-40 comments per article
  • Sufficient income to support self-hosted servers vs. Linode (dedicated hardware/racks vs. Linode)
  • Sufficient income to allow us to hire at least 2-3 people *if necessary*

Because nonprofits need to jump through a lot of hoops and are subject to a lot of laws and scrutiny, the governance model for the nonprofit itself will be fairly traditional, with a board of directors, written bylaws, etc. That being said, for the most part, Soylent will not be directly affected by this, which acts as a nice segue to my next points.

You may be questioning how I can definitively say that this is something we're doing without polling the community. The answer here is that it falls in the category of an implementation detail. We are subservient to the community, just as a fire hall is subservient to its community. The community isn't directly affected by us being for-profit or nonprofit, they just want a site that's better than the other site, and no risk that we're going to Beta them (as well as being free of the slant).

For the most part, the relationship between the nonprofit and the "SoylentNews" site itself will leave the site relatively free to set its own destiny. My plan for this relationship will be similar to that between the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia, or SPI and Debian, or the original relationship between the federal government and the states in the United States. I'd like to see a future where there are host of Soylent-like sites on other topics, not just technical ones. The most popular articles on Slashdot were those involving politics, but a lot argued that they were rather off-topic for the site. Instead of trying to expand SN's mission, I'd rather see us have a "U.S. Current Events" site or similar, and perhaps a network of interconnected sites under a common constitution which outlines the rights and responsibilities each site has.

Aside from matters of law, each site will be free to mostly run and govern itself. While perhaps it is wishful thinking that we'll have more than just Soylent, there needs to be a clear separation of where the nonprofit ends, and where Soylent begins, lest we end up like for-profit projects where the community takes a back-seat to business needs. By having a defined relationship between the two at the get-go, the grounds on which an elected or appointed board of trustees can interfere with a community-governed site will be strictly limited. What we need is our "Freedom of the Press and Associated Rights" constitution, which will form the basis of the founding bylaws of the nonprofit, and then from there, work on creating a governance model for Soylent with the community, in which Soylent is represented and shielded by the nonprofit in matters of law, business, finance, and the like.

That being said, it has become clear that we need to become incorporated and organized as soon as possible so that we can legally represent ourselves in a sane and viable manner, as well as have an organization to shield individual people from specific prosecution should we ever manage to tick anyone else off. While this has always been the plan, it has become an absolute immediate priority lest another crisis come and make our lives miserable. To this end, Matt [will] post a journal article detailing the legal steps that we will take in the near term to set up the nonprofit.

--NCommander

I realize a lot of you probably wanted something more concrete, but we've been hashing out a lot of things to get to this point. When I took over, I promised the staff and the community that we would have transparency, and I intend to honour that promise for as long as I am in charge. I've said it before, and I will say it again, we are subservient to the community, and serve to fill the needs of that community.

Incorporating: How, and Where

This brings me to my next point. It's been raised that there are concerns with us being (legally) based in the United States. Given recent revelations, its fair to said many of these concerns are valid, and should be addressed. However, incorporation (especially as a non-profit) is difficult, and frequently requires local residency, fluency in the local language, and a strong understanding of local legal system. Furthermore, it is impossible for me to go through the legal codes of every country, determine fact from fiction, and comparatively weigh pros and balances.

I am not against the concept of international incorporation, and the option will remain open for the future. The problem here is specifically initial incorporation. Furthermore, despite everything, I do feeling the United States still has some of the strongest protections for bloggers, journalists, and freedom of press. I'm aware this is an issue that many feel very strongly about, so if you're interested in seeing us incorporate outside the United States, then we need you to step forward, and make yourself known. Come find me on IRC, and we'll go into depth on what is required, and what is expected.

For my part, I'm going to write up a rather in-depth pros and cons going through various case law, business regulations, and such to determine what we get for incorporate within the United States. I'm working with Matt to get a definitive list of questions we need answers to know to seriously consider for any given locale. Incorporation as a non-for-profit is a serious matter, and requires commitment and dedication to see the process to the end. If you're willing to put in the hours, accept any legal responsibilities required, and act as a definitive guru, then you're welcome to step up and make your case for your country.

Do not volunteer for this lightly! I'm going write an extremely detailed dissertation on United States incorporation, likely to be at least 10,000 words long. I expect the same of anyone else who has the commitment and drive to see this through. It will contain answers to the 'important considerations' such as citizenship requirements, legal reporting on matters of finance, as well as summarization (with citations) of journalist protections, relevant case law, and the like, both positive and negative. By taking on this responsibility, you are willing to essentially take charge on the bureaucratic aspects of our legal foundation.

The call for volunteers shall remain open one (1) week from the posting of this article. If no one steps forth to take on the responsibility, we will incorporate in the United States by default. We need to get incorporated both for the legal protections it provides, and to start building sources of funding so this isn't something that can be held up for months with endless discussion. I hope to have a report put together on the United States (with opinions of select states) within a week or two, followed by a discussion period should any viable alternatives step forward.

The Community Voting System and Voting For Our New Name

With that covered, I'd like to move onto talking about our progress on fulfilling our promise to hold a public vote on the site name. We're now over a month since go-live, and with each passing day SoylentNews as a name becomes more and more entrenched. I would have already liked to have the vote, and renamed the site, but as it stands, we're not just there yet. The biggest hold up is we don't have a realistic way to vote on issues; Poll Booth is unacceptable for this role.

Now, there are a million and one online survey sites which we could use, as well as various methods of polling packages. We could use one of these to get the job done quickly, but this is a case where its more important to get it right. We're going to have a future where a fair number of issues will be voted on by the community to be implemented by the staff. Furthermore, we value the privacy of our users. You may have noticed that we don't use anything like Google Analytic or the like on this site, nor do we log IPs of visitors. The only information we collect is a IPLD (MD5SUM salted hash) of the IP, a user name, salted password, and an email address (plus whatever a user enters in their profile).

We can't be compelled to hand over what we don't have, and such any voting infrastructure needs to be something we control, and something the community can audit. I won't pretend that we will have a perfect system the time around, but several devs have been hard at work at building an email based voting system, as well as looking into seeing if we can modify the Polling Booth to be acceptable for such votes. I'll allow our devs to speak for themselves, but I'm hoping we can demo the voting system, and get the ball rolling on the vote this week.

Disclosure on Recent Security Issues

This unfortunately brings me to a less happy subject. We've recently received what we consider a creditable threat against the site, with a supposed vulnerable in slash that will allow someone to own the site. Now, we knew going into this that security was always going to be a concern, especially as we're still tied to Apache 1.3. With threats being made, it was time to, as they say, step up our A game, and go through all the entire backend, make sure that everything is reasonably documented. A complete overview of the most recent round of updates can be found in my journal

Most of our backend infrastructure was put together rather hastily as we went towards go-live with rather little documentation, and hadn't been audited since the initial startup. One thing we found was that it was possible to log into the production machine with an easily guessed username and password which was left open to the world. The account (slash) was non-root nor sudo access, but did have read access to the configuration files that drive slashcode, including the database credentials. I've gone through the auth.log and doesn't appear that this was ever discovered, and we're reasonably sure that no one ever got into the production boxes in this manner. We've rectified the mistake, and implemented strong SSH usage policies to prevent this from reoccurring (see my journal for full details on the new policies). We became aware of this misconfiguration on Thursday shortly after we came back from our scheduled down time, and the mistake was immediately rectified. As we don't believe we were compromised, I held off on public disclosure until we finished auditing and hardening lest it service as an invitation to hit us while we were down. As this is our first known security issue, feedback on our disclosure practices is welcome.

As part of this audit, we've established secure ways to access our nodes, a list of all hardware and what they're running, and a set of directions to setup new node from scratch. Furthermore, I went through and created AppArmor profiles for Apache which should hopefully stop any arbitrary code execution from doing anything useful. The full details are documented on the wiki, and we invite anyone interested to audit slashcode or our infrastructure (documented fully on the wiki) and provide comments.

Closing And Stats

It has been an exhausting week to say the least, but I feel we're firmly on track. As I said in the vision statement, I intend us to change the world, one person at a time, and one step at a time, and we've finally got that first step planted in the ground. Now we just need to move forward.

As something of a tradition, I normally post stats when I finish one of these letters. Unfortunately, our new varnish config skewed slashcode's internal stat counter, so to celebrate, here's the output of varnishstat, recording hits for the last 17 hours.

0+17:41:39
Hitrate ratio:        1        1        1
Hitrate avg:     0.8705   0.8705   0.8705

      110979         0.00         1.74 client_conn - Client connections accepted
      269748         0.00         4.23 client_req - Client requests received
      225438         0.00         3.54 cache_hit - Cache hits
         713         0.00         0.01 cache_hitpass - Cache hits for pass
       33527         0.00         0.53 cache_miss - Cache misses
        4899         0.00         0.08 backend_conn - Backend conn. success
         446         0.00         0.01 backend_unhealthy - Backend conn. not attempted
           3         0.00         0.00 backend_fail - Backend conn. failures
       38944         0.00         0.61 backend_reuse - Backend conn. reuses
        2019         0.00         0.03 backend_toolate - Backend conn. was closed
       40971         0.00         0.64 backend_recycle - Backend conn. recycles
       22829         0.00         0.36 fetch_length - Fetch with Length
       17505         0.00         0.27 fetch_chunked - Fetch chunked
         200         0.00         0.00 fetch_close - Fetch wanted close
           1         0.00         0.00 fetch_failed - Fetch failed
         691         0.00         0.01 fetch_304 - Fetch no body (304)

NCommander also adds: Corrected a minor factual error. We collect IPLDs on all posts. Slash also keeps an internal hit log with IPLDs for all his for 60 hours. Admins do get their IPs logged as a way to SAN check against abuse.

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by sigterm on Monday March 24 2014, @09:20AM

    by sigterm (849) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:20AM (#20198)

    >Furthermore, despite everything, I do feeling the United States still
    >has some of the strongest protections for bloggers, journalists, and
    >freedom of press.

    Oh, do you, now?

    If this site really takes off and important topics such as surveillance, censorship and tech-related political activism are regularly discussed, what do you think will happen? Who do you think will be knocking on (or rather, down) your door?

    One word: Groklaw.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Open4D on Monday March 24 2014, @09:32AM

      by Open4D (371) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:32AM (#20203) Journal

      If this site really takes off and important topics such as surveillance, censorship and tech-related political activism are regularly discussed, what do you think will happen? Who do you think will be knocking on (or rather, down) your door?

      But that may be more a matter of where the volunteers (and servers) reside, rather than where the organization is incorporated. In fact, would United States incorporation give the organization more protection from the United States?

       
      If we're ruling out the USA then we probably have to do the same for the UK too. Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian editor said [theguardian.com]:

      "The British government has moved against the Guardian in a way that would be simply undoable in America. America has the first amendment and it has no prior restraint ... The British government explicitly threatened prior restraint against the Guardian - i.e. that they would go to the courts to injunct us and to cede the material which would have the effect of preventing us from writing about it."

       
      I was one of the people who suggested considering other jurisdictions, but I certainly wouldn't object to a choice of the USA. It works okay for EFF, FSF, etc..

      I think it is great if people want to suggest specific alternatives, but also more than reasonable for NCommander to say it will default to the USA unless anyone is willing to step up and do the work on one of those alternatives.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by TK on Monday March 24 2014, @09:42AM

        by TK (2760) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:42AM (#20212)

        On that note, has a line been dropped to the EFF? I'm sure they're busy with other more important things, but they may also have someone in the know willing to talk to a fledgling site about legal stuff like this.

        I'm sure (read: I sure hope) that the staff has taken proper legal advice from a licensed attorney, or are looking into it, but if not (or in addition), the eff has a note for this on their website under What if you just want basic legal information? [eff.org]

        --
        The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:17PM

          by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:17PM (#20502) Homepage Journal

          One advantage of being an ex-criminal justice major is I can read statue and not have my head explode. IANAL, but once we can make a reasonable deduction of exactly where to incorporate (even the default US option is complicated by 50 states and 6 terroriries), I plan on hiring both a lawyer, and a CPA to get us through incorporation and to 501(c)(3). I'm probably going to mark a retainer fee for consul and a CPA somewhere in our initial budget due to the sheer amount of regulation connected to it.

          --
          Still always moving ...
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:28PM

          by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:28PM (#20517) Homepage Journal

          And I completely failed to answer your question. The answer is not yet. We've got an email sitting in the hopper for them, but I want the where question resided settled. I consider international incorporation impossible without someone who will do the drudge work and can act as a go between so if no one pops up, the email goes out in a week.

          --
          Still always moving ...
          • (Score: 2) by TK on Monday March 24 2014, @10:16PM

            by TK (2760) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:16PM (#20694)

            Consider my query satisfied.

            --
            The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
      • (Score: 0, Redundant) by sigterm on Monday March 24 2014, @09:49AM

        by sigterm (849) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:49AM (#20216)

        >I was one of the people who suggested considering other jurisdictions,
        >but I certainly wouldn't object to a choice of the USA. It works okay
        >for EFF, FSF, etc..

        It works for the EFF and the FSF because they don't handle other people's personal details. Actually, we don't really know how well it works for either of those organizations, as some FSF projects are undoubtedly being targeted by Bullrun and the EFF may well be under constant surveillance.

        Look at how well it worked for Lavabit.

        Look at what happened to Groklaw, for cryin' out loud.

        Can we at least be realistic? The US is a country where secret courts operate and habeas corpus has been permanently suspended. These are proven facts, not speculation or a conspiracy theory.

        If SN incorporates in the US, we should either agree that the admins should just hand over SSL keys and the entire user database when asked, or that the site will operate until the first National Security Letter is received, and then shut down abruptly, never to reopen.

        (I do agree that the UK is no better.)

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Monday March 24 2014, @10:30AM

          by VLM (445) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:30AM (#20246)

          "we should either agree that"

          Don't have to be so binary.

          Look, we all know the NSA and/or who knows will take everything, we no longer live in a rule of law legal system, we no longer live in a legal system where there is equality under the law, and both are by intention getting worse over time, blah blah blah. So make a political statement, here's a giant bittorrent served tarball updated to as of last week of everything up to that point. Internet, you are now SN's backup system.

          If you know the bad guys are getting everything, why not just give everyone everything and be very explicit to the users that is whats going on?

          There's a moral and ethical aspect to this. Don't lie to me about privacy when you know you can't provide it. Don't write checks you can't cash. Put all this junk up for everyone to download, because you can pretend you won't operate that way, but when the men in black suits show up, you'll roll with em. So make a statement that you'll do what you say and say what you'll do.

          In a corrupt and unethical system, the fair and ethical man looks like a lunatic, which is why this idea superficially sounds crazy. But its not. I'm convinced its a great idea.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:24PM

          by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:24PM (#20509) Homepage Journal

          With respect, SSL is fundamentally broken anyway due to its design. One NSL and the NSA can get a signed CA key with any domain and perform a man-in-the-middle attack. We're using CACert for the moment, but there's a strong argument to be made to just self-sign the damn thing, then destroy the certificate authority when we're done (we can generate a new CA to renew the keys and announce it in advance; we'll put a very long expiration on the keys if we do this).

          The problem with not being CA-signed is we can't do SSL by default due to the scary looking warning boxes poppup up by chrome and firefox. For users in corporate environments using IE, you can prevent acceptance of self-signed certificates in general, so we need to accept the tradeoff of encrypt everything by default vs. preventing MITM.

          We can't prevent this, and its better than getting our private keys as we don't need to be informed we're being tapped.

          --
          Still always moving ...
          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by kevinl on Monday March 24 2014, @07:24PM

            by kevinl (3951) on Monday March 24 2014, @07:24PM (#20635)

            Can you at least do the following:

            * Publicize the proper SSL key fingerprint on a standard non-encrypted URL (maybe http://dev.soylentnews.org/ssl-key [dev.soylentnews.org]).

            * Encrypt all outgoing mail to user's GPG public keys. (Does it do that already if you put a key in?)

            * Provide a GPG public key for submissions via email.

            ?

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @07:41PM

              by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @07:41PM (#20638) Homepage Journal

              The former, sure, that's easily do able. We'd likely do something like this anyway if we went with a CA. We'd put it in the FAQ though.

              Outgoing mail is trickier. GPG encryption generally doesn't work very well to say the least, and when it goes wrong, it gives no clear indication on why it went snap (for instance, my encryption subkey expired; there was no error beside "no public key" that indicated why someone couldn't encrypt). I don't have time to code something like this up, but its definiately something I know some people would appreciate. I'll put it on a wishlist, but unless someone steps up to do it, don't expect it anytime soon.

              --
              Still always moving ...
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26 2014, @05:06PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26 2014, @05:06PM (#21753)

            I'm not so worried about SSL; Good to know would be if slashcode uses salts (or even secret salts for slowdown) in the database to properly encrypt passwords?

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by zocalo on Monday March 24 2014, @09:37AM

      by zocalo (302) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:37AM (#20208)
      Groklaw shut down because they were led to believe that email was totally insecure and that was how most of their correspondance was performed, that raised both journalistic and legal privacy concerns they felt too severe to continue. Press freedom was never an issue, I don't recall ever seeing any legal threats against the site or it's content, although several individuals did attack the site in their coverage of the SCO cases. Still, you have a point about the US and press freedom in general. Reporters Without Borders currently ranks the US 46th [rsf.org], a 13 place fall since last year. Top of the rankings, to save you having to RTFA, are Finland (for the 4th year running), The Netherlands, and Norway.
      --
      UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by sigterm on Monday March 24 2014, @10:03AM

        by sigterm (849) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:03AM (#20226)

        >Groklaw shut down because they were led to believe that email was
        >totally insecure and that was how most of their correspondance was
        >performed, that raised both journalistic and legal privacy concerns
        >they felt too severe to continue.

        PJ never said why the site was suddenly closed, but alluded to it having to do with communication being monitored.

        She's quite tech-savvy and knows very well how e-mail works, so she didn't close the site because she suddenly discovered that e-mail in general is unencrypted.

        In other words, she very reluctantly closed the site in a hurry because confidentiality was threatened by a party whose identity she wouldn't or couldn't reveal. I wonder who that might be.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by zocalo on Monday March 24 2014, @11:11AM

          by zocalo (302) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:11AM (#20273)
          I don't think it was that unencrypted email was insecure (well, duh!) so much as the insinuation to PJ from the owner of Lavabit that supposedly secure, encrypted email was also compromised. When some one who offers a "secure" email service tells you he's stopped using email outright, you tend to take notice. I would certainly have assumed that PJ would have been using public key encryption for sensitive emails, but it's right here [groklaw.net] in the final post; the reason for the shutdown was lack of trust in email.
          --
          UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
          • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Monday March 24 2014, @05:53PM

            by Blackmoore (57) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:53PM (#20590) Journal

            and PJ didn't want to put her contacts into jeopardy - because she no longer had a secure way for them to provide details, without some TLA government agency uncovering who they were.

            it's not like she wanted to shut down. she could no longer proceed as she had been doing.

            but hey you come up with a nice encrypted mail delivery - that strips off where the message comes from, but retains a signature to verify authentication and you'll have a bunch of us asking for it.

            • (Score: 1) by kevinl on Monday March 24 2014, @07:28PM

              by kevinl (3951) on Monday March 24 2014, @07:28PM (#20636)

              So sad what happened to anon.penet.fi.

          • (Score: 1) by sigterm on Monday March 24 2014, @11:31PM

            by sigterm (849) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:31PM (#20741)

            >I would certainly have assumed that PJ would have been using public key
            >encryption for sensitive emails, but it's right here in the final post;
            >the reason for the shutdown was lack of trust in email.

            Read that final post again, carefully. Here's the relevant part:

            I hope that makes it clear why I can't continue. There is now no shield from forced exposure.

            If the "forced exposure" she's talking about has to do with 3rd parties such as providers of e-mail services, she could simply have used PGP to get around it, or chosen an e-mail provider outside the U.S. In fact, she specifically mentions Kolab in Switzerland a few paragraphs down (she even gives out out her own mykolab.com address).

            Instead the chose to close down the entire site. That's because the "forced exposure" issue also affects Groklaw directly. No encryption scheme or foreign e-mail provider can prevent Groklaw from being served with a National Security Letter and forced to give up its encryption keys.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @03:59PM

        by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @03:59PM (#20480) Homepage Journal

        Rating between years for Reports Without Borders can not be compared as the criteria is different. There way of ranking is somewhat misleading unless you actually read the reports behind it. Furthermore, by absolute number, yes, the US is 46, but it still rates sufficient: http://en.rsf.org/IMG/jpg/2013_wpfi_world_press_fr eedom_map.jpg [rsf.org]

        I didn't say the US has the best freedom of press in the world (and if I did, I need to retract that comment), but it has very strong protection none the less. As I said, if someone steps forward as listed above, we will seriously debate international incorporation and determine if its practical.

        --
        Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 1) by number11 on Monday March 24 2014, @02:11PM

      by number11 (1170) on Monday March 24 2014, @02:11PM (#20402)

      If this site really takes off and important topics such as surveillance, censorship and tech-related political activism are regularly discussed, what do you think will happen? Who do you think will be knocking on (or rather, down) your door?

      One word: Groklaw.

      According to PJ, Groklaw closed because she was afraid what happened to Lavabit could happen to Groklaw. And was appalled by their situation (as were we all). But she never implied that it had already happened.

      It is also worth noting that six months or so earlier, PJ had withdrawn from Groklaw, and presumably came back because her replacement(s) weren't able to keep the thing going. So IMHO there is a bit of a whiff of burnout as well.

      Can 3-letter agencies (NSA, CIA, FSB, etc.) monitor communications? Almost certainly. Can they break SSL? Probably, though maybe not in bulk. Is there another country anywhere in the world where this can't happen? No. Is there another country where the intelligence agencies don't do that sort of thing, and/or don't cooperate with one or another of the "big guys"? Not that I know of.

      So, use a throwaway mail account set up from a library or Internet cafe to register, don't use the same username or password as you do anywhere else, then use a VPN or Tor to communicate, and you'll be mostly ok. But don't kid yourself, if agencies operating with unlimited budgets and the force of law want to spy on your online activity badly enough, they will. All you (and Soylent) can do is to make their life harder, perhaps to the point where it's not possible for them to analyze everything.

      • (Score: 3) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:34PM

        by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:34PM (#20524) Homepage Journal

        They don't have to break SSL; its pre-broken. The certificate authority design allows them to NSL any certificate authority, and man in the middle. This is a known security issue for years, and I'm sadden that no real viable alternative ever made itself known.

        --
        Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @03:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @03:20PM (#20456)

      I agree, US is a terrible choice. What are the alternatives? Snowden choose Hongkong, then Russia. What else is there and how does it work elsewhere?

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bob_super on Monday March 24 2014, @04:04PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:04PM (#20483)

        Iceland is the most obvious. Ireland is pretty lax, because they don't want to scare the tax evaders.

        And talking about tax evaders, there are lots of places where people set up shop to complicate immediate interference. It's not illegal to be registered in a tax paradise, as long as you correctly declare your lack of profits to the IRS.

      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday March 24 2014, @11:16PM

        by Reziac (2489) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:16PM (#20725) Homepage

        Wasn't Snowden's choice based more on whether he could be extradited than on freedom of the press??

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by weeds on Monday March 24 2014, @09:25AM

    by weeds (611) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:25AM (#20199) Journal

    I don't believe that every issue should be voted on by the general population. My ethics teacher in college, Mr. Zimmerman, told us, "The masses are asses!" Plenty of issues lie firmly in your lap and that's where they should remain.
    You did say that you wanted the polling for a site name to be done right and not just quickly. That does not preclude using an outside polling tool for this vote. I hope this isn't a case of NIH syndrome.
    We have the biginnings of a vision:
    SoylentNews (or new name) will be a not for profit, primary news source and an aggregation of technical news.
    SoylentNews' parent organization will develop and maintain several similar news sites in other interest areas.

    --
    Get the strategic plan going! [dev.soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by lhsi on Monday March 24 2014, @09:29AM

      by lhsi (711) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:29AM (#20201)

      The Pirate Party UK does member voting online using some voting software, for things like voting leaders etc. - it might be worth seeing what they are using and whether it would be possible to use the same thing for choosing a site name. I can't remember the exact voting system it uses, it might be STV.

      • (Score: 1) by wirelessduck on Monday March 24 2014, @10:23PM

        by wirelessduck (3407) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:23PM (#20700)

        Pirate Party Australia uses the Schulze method [wikipedia.org] for all their internal voting. All their voting code is available on Github [github.com].

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:31AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:31AM (#24030)

        So does the Pirate Party Australia [pirateparty.org.au]
        Their Voting System [pirateparty.org.au] is transparent online and is proven to work effectively

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by janrinok on Monday March 24 2014, @09:49AM

      by janrinok (52) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:49AM (#20217) Journal

      One of the potential problems with using an outside organisation to conduct a poll is that they would have to be given a full list of usernames and email addresses in order to identify who is eligible to vote. I would not support this. I left the other site partly because of vested business interests: I am not going help us to fall in the same trap here.

      --
      It's always my fault...
      • (Score: 3) by Open4D on Monday March 24 2014, @10:15AM

        by Open4D (371) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:15AM (#20232) Journal

        One of the potential problems with using an outside organisation to conduct a poll is that they would have to be given a full list of usernames and email addresses in order to identify who is eligible to vote.

        But you can find some fairly trustworthy outside organizations that do this kind of thing. One example would be the ERS [electoralreform.co.uk]. (They don't provide enough info on their website, but I could phone them up and ask them about prices, etc. if required.)

        Also, would handing over usernames be necessary? Perhaps just email address would suffice? Or, to allay your concerns, maybe we could only hand over usernames (which are fully public anyway?). The outside organization then sends email to Open4D@users.dev.soylentnews.org and the message gets forwarded to the verified address.

      • (Score: 2) by weeds on Monday March 24 2014, @01:27PM

        by weeds (611) on Monday March 24 2014, @01:27PM (#20354) Journal

        I agree with that. I didn't realize they would need usernames and email addresses.

        --
        Get the strategic plan going! [dev.soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday March 24 2014, @04:48PM

        by Nerdfest (80) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:48PM (#20538)

        Couldn't you generate a hash of the email address and user name for voting, or something similar?

        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday March 24 2014, @05:11PM

          by janrinok (52) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:11PM (#20557) Journal

          The company that we farmed the task out to would be receiving emails direct from users - hashing would not hide those email addresses but they could harvest them and use them as they wished.

          --
          It's always my fault...
          • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday March 24 2014, @11:06PM

            by Nerdfest (80) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:06PM (#20723)

            I'm thinking we could generate a hash on the Soylent user page and have them enter that as their ID on the voting page. No email required.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by SlySmiles on Monday March 24 2014, @10:00AM

      by SlySmiles (3841) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:00AM (#20222)
      SoylentNews' parent organization will develop and maintain several similar news sites in other interest areas.

      I'm really not sure about this one. Isn't this exactly the same concept of the front page stories being tagged in different categories?
      News and interests should be as broad a cover as possible. If all you're going to discuss is science and computing your site will wither and die.
      The world is vast and geeks interests also. Politics, finance, culture and art are just as important as space exploration and hyped up science press releases and latest shiny gadgets, so please don't specialise in the editorial department but let the community show where it's interests lie.
      Another point is being US centric: It sucks for a huge amount of your audience.
      • (Score: 2) by weeds on Monday March 24 2014, @01:29PM

        by weeds (611) on Monday March 24 2014, @01:29PM (#20356) Journal

        Good point (Note that I was only paraphrasing the original "story".) And exactly why this needs to get done!

        --
        Get the strategic plan going! [dev.soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday March 24 2014, @11:21PM

        by Reziac (2489) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:21PM (#20731) Homepage

        I absolutely agree. Tagging by category works just fine, and if you separate the tags into discrete sites, you WILL lose a lot of the audience, because the cross-pollination will go away and with it a great deal of the discussion (and the opportunity to learn from that).

        SN and /. *ARE* my primary news sites. I don't have time to dig through a bunch of other sites in addition to these. If people want to sort or restrict by category, that's all fine -- do what /. did to sort them out, and let everyone be happy, both the "show me every damn thing" and "I only want to see X and Y" types.

    • (Score: 3) by Gaaark on Monday March 24 2014, @01:41PM

      by Gaaark (41) on Monday March 24 2014, @01:41PM (#20373) Homepage

      Plenty of issues lie firmly in your lap and that's where they should remain.

      Totally agree with this: a 'benevolent dictator' is the way to go here, and it sounds as if you are 'benevolent'. (With the watchful eyes of teh others, Mattie, et al.)(and the NSA, goes without saying) :)

      I like the direction this is heading. Good on ya, mate!

      --
      This Sig for sale... beer IS an acceptable currency (bitBeer?).
    • (Score: 1) by Bot on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:29PM

      by Bot (3902) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:29PM (#21079)

      The problem I anticipate with a poll for the site name is:
      People looking at the poll and registering the candidate domain names in advance.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by digitalderbs on Monday March 24 2014, @09:33AM

    by digitalderbs (1314) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:33AM (#20206)

    is what to call ourselves. I hope Soylentils is out.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Jaruzel on Monday March 24 2014, @09:37AM

      by Jaruzel (812) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:37AM (#20209) Homepage Journal

      I'm not sure a new name is still worth pursuing this far into the game. Why lose the identity we already now have?

      Really, is SoylentNews that bad a name?!

      -Jar

      --
      Wash at 40°C, and hand dry only. My MUD Engine [jaruzel.com]
      • (Score: 1) by oodaloop on Monday March 24 2014, @10:00AM

        by oodaloop (1982) <jkaminoffNO@SPAMzoho.com> on Monday March 24 2014, @10:00AM (#20221)

        It didn't sound to me like he was questioning Soylent News, but what we as Soylent News users should call ourselves. Soylentils, or lentils, isn't the greatest name. Can't say it's any worse than slashdaughter though. Pipedaughter, OTOH...

        --
        Many Bothans died to bring you this comment.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Open4D on Monday March 24 2014, @10:00AM

        by Open4D (371) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:00AM (#20223) Journal

        I'm not sure a new name is still worth pursuing this far into the game. Why lose the identity we already now have?

        I am happy with it too. But I understand keeping it will be one of the vote options, so I don't think we can really complain.

        To me, the main thing is that there is a discussion of all the options, at least a few days before voting starts. That way, you would have the opportunity to argue this point, and people can make an informed decision.

        It's quite common in slashcode site polls to see comments like "I voted X, but having seen the above insightful comments I now think Y". Having a discussion in advance should eliminate that.

        • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Monday March 24 2014, @05:05PM

          by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @05:05PM (#20550)

          I think this is a good suggestion. We'll try to include a discussion period before the final vote.

          --
          (Score:1^½, Radical)
      • (Score: 4, Funny) by TK on Monday March 24 2014, @10:00AM

        by TK (2760) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:00AM (#20224)

        I say let the masses decide. The illiterate, unwashed masses. Surely they know what's best for us.

        --
        The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
        • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:31PM

          by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:31PM (#20522) Homepage Journal

          You say this in jest, but there's a lot of truth in this. A lot of times, apathy either sets in, or there's too much disagreement. That's why the decision on being a non-for-profit (or as I called it, an implementation detail) was not put to a public vote. This is a fine line to walk, but I'm pretty sure we'll get collectively whacked if we step too far out of line.

          As Churchill said, the best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with the average voter.

          Furthermore, its why most governments (theoretically) are setup as republics and not direct democracy. I expect site governance to run on this model with individuals elected by the community to represent them at large, but that will be detailed in the manifesto.

          --
          Still always moving ...
          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday March 24 2014, @11:24PM

            by Reziac (2489) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:24PM (#20736) Homepage

            Well, I have no complaints. Churchill was right. And you're the man on the spot. We're just peering through the keyhole.

            And I still like the SN name. "Soylent News is People" was a rare bit of brilliance.

            And "Soylentils" makes me laugh every single time. :)

    • (Score: 2) by everdred on Monday March 24 2014, @11:01AM

      by everdred (110) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:01AM (#20265) Homepage Journal
      There's always SoylentNewsies [media-imdb.com].
      --
      We don't take no shit from a machine.
      • (Score: 1) by captain normal on Monday March 24 2014, @04:36PM

        by captain normal (2205) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:36PM (#20525)

        Not sure where the link you posted is supposed to point, but get an Error 403-Forbidden.

        • (Score: 2) by everdred on Monday March 24 2014, @04:46PM

          by everdred (110) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:46PM (#20536) Homepage Journal

          Interesting. If you're curious to see it, try copying the URL and viewing it directly. (I guess IMDB rejects requests pointing directly to images when the referrer comes from another site.)

          --
          We don't take no shit from a machine.
    • (Score: 1) by iWantToKeepAnon on Monday March 24 2014, @02:49PM

      by iWantToKeepAnon (686) on Monday March 24 2014, @02:49PM (#20431) Homepage
      soy beans? (has a java tie-in as a bonus)
      --
      "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    • (Score: 1) by DECbot on Monday March 24 2014, @04:17PM

      by DECbot (832) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:17PM (#20501)

      In Soylent Russia, Comrade Soylent eats you.

      --
      • cats~$ sudo su
      • cats~# chown -R us /home/base
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Monday March 24 2014, @09:38AM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:38AM (#20210)

    I, for one, am going to allude to but not actually make a wisecrack about new overlords, and say it looks like we're in good hands with NCommander. I think his values priorities are right. I'm amazed and grateful that so many people are working so hard, for so long, for free to get this noble experiment off the ground.

    --
    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight who is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @10:03AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @10:03AM (#20225)

    "If this site really takes off and important topics such as surveillance, censorship and tech-related political activism are regularly discussed, what do you think will happen? Who do you think will be knocking on (or rather, down) your door?"

    This is why I love sites like Bruce Schneier's blog, where there's no shadowy PTB running (moderating) the show.

    What SoylentNews should do (as DuckDuckGo[1] did) is include a Tor Hidden Service (.onion) option for access to this site, and optionally to an IRC network.

    I don't know why someone would knock down your door for freely discussing said subject matter.

    [1] http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/ [3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion]

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bucc5062 on Monday March 24 2014, @10:11AM

    by bucc5062 (699) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:11AM (#20228)

    Your candor and openness are refreshing. Like others, I agree that somethings are not meant for the masses to decide (like corporation direction/business model). There are other decisions that are (name change, visual changes, stuff that impacts the daily life). The two may have blurred lines at times, but as you wear the leader hat, you get to decide.

    The only part I did not think was a good idea was splitting out or branching into silos of interest. We Are People and that means we have diverse interests. Some like to read/talk about politics more, others science, others ethics. When you blend that it could turn out to be mush or it could turn out to be a tasty cake. What I do know is if you don't mix the ingredients together, you make nothing in the end. (My analogy turned into baking and not cars*). That means you have a chance to be a good baker. taking what you said at face value, I think you just might bake a mighty fine cake (or pie or pastry...something good).

    *(Alternate car analogy, if you separate the pieces of a car, you only have a pile of parts. If you try to fit them together you may wind up with a Yugo or a Porsche, but at least it will be a car).

    --
    The more things change, the more they look the same
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sigterm on Monday March 24 2014, @10:29AM

      by sigterm (849) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:29AM (#20244)

      >The only part I did not think was a good idea was splitting out or
      >branching into silos of interest. We Are People and that means we
      >have diverse interests. Some like to read/talk about politics more,
      >others science, others ethics. When you blend that it could turn out
      >to be mush or it could turn out to be a tasty cake.

      This.

      From purely a news perspective, creating specialized sites makes sense, but SN (or whatever it ends up being called) is all about the comments.

      We all need a steady supply of impulses from people outside of our comfort zone, from people who's interests, experiences and competence we do not share, in order to mentally renew ourselves.

      The comments area on a sub-site with a narrow focus could easily turn into an echo chamber.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:08PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:08PM (#20487) Homepage Journal

      This isn't super clear from my wording above, but I intend to have SoylentNews essentially have manifest destiny on such matters. Basically, the NFP will define our constitution in terms of rights, and services to a member site. If Soylent chooses to go focus on politics, thats its own business, but if we are either approached by someone who wants to do a Soylent-like site on US politics, we can act as legal representation (similiar to how the FSF provides NFP services for software under its own domain.

      As I said, the vision statement is a downpayment on a full manifesto. I'm pissed at myself that I haven't managed to get it together or written, and as it stands, I need to get the country decision locked down before I can write it as that influences the NFP bylaws, so its probably at least a month out.

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday March 24 2014, @11:28PM

        by Reziac (2489) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:28PM (#20740) Homepage

        Oh. So this would be "Somebody else doing their thing under the Soylent umbrella" rather than "Soylent splitting into silos" ??

        Cuz I really do NOT want to see the latter, as I mutter about elsewhere (in agreement with others who don't like the idea, for the same reasons).

        Tho I'm not really sure the former is a great idea, either.

        • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:28AM

          by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:28AM (#20812) Homepage Journal

          I'm not being clear. Soylent is under the umbrella of the NFP, with a formalized relation between the two defined in the bylaws of the NFP. We will have mechanisms in place to allow the NFP to have additional sites (if desired, or if they come to us) under this umbrella.

          --
          Still always moving ...
          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday March 25 2014, @02:07AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @02:07AM (#20828) Homepage

            I must have missed something. What is the NFP ??
            [reads][rereads] Not-for-profit? I thought you said non-profit.
            My brain hurts. :)

            Anyway -- do you mean like entirely different sorts of sites??

            We wouldn't worry so much if it we didn't like this place so much. :D

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by WizardFusion on Monday March 24 2014, @10:12AM

    by WizardFusion (498) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:12AM (#20229)

    Unless people are really not happy with the current name, I say just leave it. We have had it for a month now (wow that long), and it's stuck. Get the other issues dealt with and leave the name alone.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Monday March 24 2014, @10:44AM

      by VLM (445) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:44AM (#20255)

      There are other people doing business using Soylent as their small t trademark.

      It would be wise to have everything prepared and spun up and ready to redeploy when the seemingly inevitable happens.

      I can't decide if shoving text thru a dissociated press algo until something acceptable appears is a good idea, or running puns off the "old site" is a good idea.

      The transition, assuming it doesn't occur under legal pressure, is not exactly rocket science, just redirect everything for dev.soylentnews.org to wizardfusion.org or whatever.

      "chmoda+r*.org" yeah well maybe some similar appearing unicode glyphs..

      "rmdashrf.com" sounds more liked f'd company.com reborn

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @01:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @01:29PM (#20358)

      I am really not happy with the name. It's terrible. It has nothing to do with technology or news, and has exactly two implications -- cannibalism and a flaky commercial food product.

      • (Score: 1) by kbranch on Monday March 24 2014, @06:18PM

        by kbranch (612) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:18PM (#20608)

        I find the name very appropriate. I don't see it as having a cannibalistic connotation at all in this case. Instead, the implication is that this is a news site made of (by) people, not corporate interests.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27 2014, @11:35AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27 2014, @11:35AM (#22087)

          Excuse me, but HOW does it NOT have a cannibalistic implication? If someone knows what it means, it's that they recognize "Soylent Green is people", which was a movie about eating human smoothies.

          If they don't recognize it, it means nothing to them.

          So, again, HOW does it NOT have a cannibalistic implication?

          • (Score: 1) by kbranch on Thursday March 27 2014, @12:15PM

            by kbranch (612) on Thursday March 27 2014, @12:15PM (#22104)

            It just depends on how you interpret it. Most people will, of course, catch the reference to cannibalism, but actual cannibalism doesn't really make sense in this context. Because the reference doesn't quite fit, my mind tried to find an alternate interpretation that does make sense - by people, not of people (or, still 'of people', but in the sense that they collectively form Soylent News through contributions rather than their flesh).

            Obviously subjective, but I like it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @02:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @02:09PM (#20400)

      I agree. Leave the name. You'll lose more than you gain by changing the name again. (yes again, remember?)

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:04PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:04PM (#20484) Homepage Journal

      Honestly?

      This is my personal opinion at this point, and it was a huge sticking point for me that we didn't have plans for holding a vote shortly after go live. Fortunately, as we properly own the domain now, we can just redirerct dev.soylentnews.org as well as inbound emails, so the transition should be mostly seemless (nuking static page generation went a long way to making this possible)

      That being said, we did promise to hold a vote on the issue, and we are going to keep our word on this matter; I'm not going to build a community of half-lies and broken promises.

      --
      Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by kbahey on Monday March 24 2014, @08:16PM

      by kbahey (1147) on Monday March 24 2014, @08:16PM (#20648) Homepage

      Seconded ...

      We were worried about the name because of the debacle of leadership, and domain ownership.

      Now, all that is behind us, and the team manages the domain and the site.

      The current name is catchy, it is reflective of "the site is the people", and we are not "an audience".

      So, keep the name, as it is now.

  • (Score: 1) by middlemen on Monday March 24 2014, @10:18AM

    by middlemen (504) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:18AM (#20236)

    NCommander, does this mean that if SN is a non-profit, then for things that matter like net-neutrality politicians can be "bought" because SN can also be a SuperPAC type organization ?

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by VLM on Monday March 24 2014, @10:18AM

    by VLM (445) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:18AM (#20237)

    "I'm unaware (at least in the United States) of any major news source beside Wikinews which isn't for-profit."

    NPR and PBS feed mightily at the corporate trough, but an argument could be made. I always kinda freak out when some science program is sponsored by the koch brothers. I mean, its just a documentary about volcanoes but are they warping it?

    WRT economic news I have no idea if zerohedge is for profit but they are not exactly financial industry toadies in practice.

    Science news sites like astrobites are operated by starving grad students desperate for fame.

    Then you get ultra-niche topical sites like Aaronson's blog might only cover quantum computing, and it is I guess funded however indirectly by his day job, but it is probably the most important news site for that very narrow topic. Johnathon's Space Report probably fits in this category. Another example is "In the pipeline" for organic synthesis chemistry (although I dropped out of ChemEng 20 years ago, it all looks good). For startup foolishness, can't beat PG's occasionally posted essays.

    It MIGHT be worthwhile when thinking about the market to consider not just tax status but ownership. I don't think anyone cares that TWIT fills Leo's pockets with cash, but is much more interested to know that their revenue and ownership structure doesn't involve the very people they're reporting on (almost all of the time).

    What I'm getting at is non-profit is probably a good idea, but more important is not eating at the multinational corporation feeding trough, no matter if profit or nonprofit.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:37PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:37PM (#20527) Homepage Journal

      The best way to ensure we are never bought out is to be a NFP, as we won't have any owners per say, just a board of directors, then get the bylaws to enforce that, and get a 501(c)(3) status so we can run entirely on donations without having one person writing checks.

      --
      Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:51PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:51PM (#20540) Homepage Journal

      Gah, I actually forgot about NPR, which is 501(c)(3), I very rarely listen to radio, and haven't listened to NPR since CarTalk ended. That being said, I didn't know for sure they were (501)(c)(3) until I looked it up.

      --
      Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 1) by nadaou on Tuesday March 25 2014, @05:35AM

      by nadaou (2929) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @05:35AM (#20881)

      Check out wpkn.org for a 100% user supported model.

      There's Pacifica, but a search for recent news on them might be instructional on what not to do.

      Setting up for applying for 501c[0-9] could take 3 months. Getting it may take 3 years. Tax exemption might only come with c3, which it is unclear if this group would get. I guess a news org passes the primarily edu test though. But don't take advice from IANAL, talk to the SFLC ASAP.

  • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @10:46AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @10:46AM (#20256)

    I was an AC at the other site since 03'. After reading almost all the post I am very stoked. When and where can I donate to such a promising agenda? I look forward to being an AC here in more than one decade. Thanks to all who do so much more than myself.

    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Monday March 24 2014, @12:42PM

      by tibman (134) on Monday March 24 2014, @12:42PM (#20316)

      Out of curiosity, why not make an account?

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @02:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @02:07PM (#20398)

        Not the OP, but I'll never make an account here because YET ANOTHER ACCOUNT is annoying. Very. Annoying. Plus it makes it easier to be tracked, and it's no one's business. Don't give me "remember passwords" or "blah blah software can manage your accounts", that won't work for everyone (like it or not). I regularly submit stories here that make it to the front page, and comment all the time, but if ACs are left forgotten from having a good experience I'll leave (and I've heard others express the same).

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:40PM

          by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:40PM (#20532) Homepage Journal

          In the interests of full disclosure, you can still be tracked as AC. Super admins (that is to say myself, robind and xlefay) can search by IPLD and see all posts from a specific IPLD address. We can also search by SUBLD (subnet ID).

          Hope this doesn't scare you off, but you should know the truth in advance ...

          --
          Still always moving ...
        • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:41PM

          by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:41PM (#20534) Homepage Journal

          Aside from starting at Score: 0, ACs are essentially the same as normal users. I'd like to be able to have slash set cookies so that viewing preferences can be sticky, but its optional, and obviously we won't force anyone to take a cookie who doesn't want it.

          --
          Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @09:45PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @09:45PM (#20677)

        Original poster. I just don't care to have numerous accounts across various sites. I do have a WoW account which I use only to log into the game. I don't post at the wow forums though. I also have an account for a mud I still play (since 96') and I post very rarely there. And those are my only accounts. I have an email for business only. I prefer to speak to friends or family. Don't know. Just have always enjoyed lurking and posting here or there as AC (though rare).

        Just enjoy venues such as this differently than most. And though somewhat of a Luddite with no twitter or FB etc, I love science and tech. And what is more my engineering major was in CS so no help there either :)

        But this community looks to regain what the old site had. And if it does, I honestly could see myself here in 20 yrs; posting perhaps a few times a year and enjoying it quite immensely.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @01:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @01:32PM (#20362)

    That big little typo seriously detracts from all the great writing that follows it.

    I was an early proponent for the 501(c)(3) Debian/FSF style of route and am VERY happy you're headed this way. It sounds as if you have exactly the right idea to make this site both independent and powerful.

    But please let us change the site name; it's bad.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @04:37PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @04:37PM (#20529) Homepage Journal

      *cough*

      Fixed. Turns out the slash spell checker doesn't check the title. That's a bug.

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @09:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @09:37PM (#20673)

        ...and "per say". [dev.soylentnews.org]
        I would think that a guy who has studied some law would recognize it when he tripped over Latin. [wiktionary.org]

        As for "Soylentils", I don't care what you call me, just don't call me late for supper.

        -- gewg_

  • (Score: 1) by SuggestiveLanguage on Monday March 24 2014, @03:48PM

    by SuggestiveLanguage (1313) on Monday March 24 2014, @03:48PM (#20472)

    I would like to offer a simple and humble "Thank You" to NCommander and the SoylentNews team for all your hard work as well as appreciation for making the hard decision to go non-profit, non-commercial and anti-tracking.

    You may have noticed that we don't use anything like Google Analytic or the like on this site, nor do we log IPs of visitors. The only information we collect is a IPLD (MD5SUM salted hash) of the IP by AC posts, a user name, salted password, and an email address (plus whatever a user enters in their profile).

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @03:52PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @03:52PM (#20476) Homepage Journal

      Er, oops. That’s a factual error. We *do* collect IPLDs of logged in users. Let me fix that. Also, for admins, we do collect unencrypted IPs as an audit log against site abuse (stock slash functionality).

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 1) by SuggestiveLanguage on Monday March 24 2014, @04:12PM

        by SuggestiveLanguage (1313) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:12PM (#20493)

        Boooo! Hiss! Guffaw!

        Nah, that is perfectly understandable. Just try to keep all that stuff to yourself if you don't mind. Thanks again.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bob_super on Monday March 24 2014, @04:00PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Monday March 24 2014, @04:00PM (#20481)

    It does not seem an excessive threshold to make people obtain a login to vote on a major site poll. You may require a few Karma points to weed out most duplicate or hollow accounts, and still filter IPs.

    While the result still won't be perfect, this would give you the best bang for your work as a first stab.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by e_armadillo on Monday March 24 2014, @05:01PM

    by e_armadillo (3695) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:01PM (#20547)

    After reading, I caught a theme. "Change the world." Then while doing my lunch time exercises, yes some of us geeks care about their aging bodies :), I thought of a potential slogan like, "News for nerds, stuff that matters." I think it could fit almost any name the community settles on. Here goes :

    "Changing the world, one geek at a time." or "one nerd at a time"

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday March 24 2014, @05:21PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Monday March 24 2014, @05:21PM (#20566) Homepage Journal

      Dude. I think you just won the awesome-user-of-the-day award.

      --
      Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 2) by gringer on Monday March 24 2014, @05:40PM

      by gringer (962) on Monday March 24 2014, @05:40PM (#20579)

      or "Feeding the world, one geek at a time."

      • (Score: 2) by unitron on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:22PM

        by unitron (70) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:22PM (#21030) Journal

        The double meaning there ties in nicely with the "...is people" joke.

        --
        something something Slashcott something something Beta something something