The way it’s going to be on clipmarks.com

I’ve had it. I’ve worked my ass off for the past 2 years helping to create clipmarks.com. I’ve watched Derek and W and Adam and more recently Skiff bring their heart and soul to work every day and many nights trying to create a special place on the web for people. A place where people could enjoy themselves, learn from each other and share. Share what? Share information. Share ideas. Share opinions. Share perspectives. Share knowledge. Share confusion. Share anger. Share encouragement. Share experience. Why? Because I believe there is so much to learn. And because through learning, I believe people become better. They become better because they are less ignorant, less naïve, less intolerant. Through learning they become more open minded, more accepting, more aware. In my opinion, the best way to learn is from each other. That very fact alone demands that we don’t all see things the same way. If we did, then through each other nothing new would be learned. So I embrace disagreement. I embrace debate. I actually embrace realizing I was wrong. Better to realize it than continuing to go on falsely thinking I’m right.

It is with many of those ideals in mind that clipmarks.com was created. I believe it is with those ideals in mind that so many of us go out to the web and clip interesting things we find. And we don’t only post clips so others can see them, but also so that others can comment on them. We do this because it is though comments that everyone is given a chance to be heard. A chance to react, to present different points of view, offer different opinions, different approaches, different answers. That is how we all learn from each other and not just from the clips that are posted.

From my experience on this site, I believe there are two key components that are necessary to make the ideals of the site become reality. The first is that interesting clips about a wide variety of topics need to be posted. I’m ecstatic to say that together we are all creating a vast, diverse library of fascinating clips that offer an incredible resource for people to learn from. It is through these clips that bridges are made between people and ideas. It brings me great pride and happiness to be a part of it. The second necessary component is that people need to act with civility and respect towards each other. I believe that nearly all of the people who participate on the site do so in a way that i’m not only comfortable with, but i am extremely proud of. But amazingly, it seems to only take a few exceptions for a powerful, disruptive friction to grow that interferes with the positive nature and flow of the site. Not only that, but it is literally exhausting. Deciding whether to fight back or simply ignore mean spirited, antagonistic comments is not an enjoyable or productive way to spend your time. I want to be very clear. I am not suggesting that people should agree with other or that they even have to be friendly towards each other. But you must treat others who are on the site with respect and civility if you want to remain on it. Otherwise, I will deactivate your account.

Recently, Kevin Rose of Digg.com took a bold stance and decided that on behalf of his users he was going to permit a controversial story to remain on the digg.com web site. In conclusion, he said, “If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.” Well, I’m saying the same thing now in response to a different issue. Clipmarks.com will be a place where people can share information, ideas and opinions in a civilized, respectful way. It will be a place where people who are sick and tired of the typical hostility, name calling and bitter divisiveness that is so common in most of our media can come to get away from that without losing the variety or substance of the content. Clipmarks is not a place for liberals or conservatives, democrats or republicans. It is a place for liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans, and everyone in between or on either side of those all-to-often conveniently used labels.

I wish I could tell you there was some sort of black and white definition of what will be considered acceptable. Maybe some day there will be an algorithm in place for determining this (maybe Google already has something like that). But today, on clipmarks.com it’s just going to be based on our (and yes, that mostly means my) perception of what is reasonable. Track records will definitely be taken into consideration. But we will do whatever we feel necessary to protect the sanctity of the system we believe so much in. I have no idea how many people that appeals to, but that is who we’re going to appeal to.

Clip on!

eric (egoldstein)

 

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10 responses to “The way it’s going to be on clipmarks.com

  1. here! here!

    Just the type of gathering place which people need.

  2. Wow, eric and co. I must have missed the latest bruhaha! So sorry you’re going through this. I appreciate your efforts, and the difficulty of the task.
    I do love Clipmarks, and although I’m more likely to get angry or disgusted than to cry about it, I too have my days when I wonder if it’s worth the trouble. Then too, I have my days when I’m feeling frisky and tend to engage to a certain degree. I generally try to keep my comments within a certain reasonable range of civility, there are certain issues and responses that really push my buttons.
    Being a queer woman in a society of hate can be difficult at times. For some people a clip itself may be a slap in the face, or a direct challenge to one’s very existence.
    I hope you will never find it necessary to ban me, but I feel I must needs continue to let my own conscience be my guide, and admittedly I’m all too human and occasionally hit “submit” two seconds too soon.
    Have you considered the possibility of banning people from commenting and posting public clips, so if they can’t “play nice” they could still use the service as a sort of live bookmarks tool?

  3. cementedminds

    Eric, I’m sorry to read this post. You know that I’ve had problems on the clip before for exactly these reasons, but I decided to give it another go because of my belief in the site and my deep affection for most of its members, the core development team included. Alas, frustrating as it is, these problems will always be prevalent on a site like clipmarks – it’s just a matter of how much you want to enter into the fray. As you’ve said to me many times before!

    Ax

  4. Eric,I had no idea that Clipmarks was experiencing difficulty in this area.I applaud you in the stance you have taken to maintain important values such as civility,courtesy and respect.In this world we live in today,we find ourselves living our lives at an extremely fast pace.Too many people are rushing around without taking a look at the incredible world that surrounds them.A world inhabited by incredible people with diverse interests and backgrounds.On television we watch people being humiliated on a daily basis-it’s our new sport.I hope that your eloquent words will touch many hearts as it has touched mine.We can change the world! We can make a difference!Bravo!
    Alex51

  5. What Alex said, Eric… I’m applauding too. Thanks for showing me once again that my initial thoughts and feelings about Eric Goldstein and Clipmarks were totally true. It was a necessary and brave step, also a very important clip on the site. So congrats, my friend!

  6. Hey, Eric and Co.!! Just a note to say I’m lovin’ the changes to the site. I like seeing the recent clippers, but where did the featured clipper and popper go?? Also I seem to be having more trouble than usual posting comments, and the “save styles” feature of the clip to blog doesn’t seem to be working consistantly. It shows as having my preferences saved, but unless I click on styles and then go back, it reverts to default when posting to my blog. I’m confused!
    On the up side, I wanted to let you all know that I recently did an interview with a freelance writer (hard copy, and web, I think), who is writing an article about social networking sites. Although she was referred to me by a gaming site I use, I spoke about the value of Clipmarks at some length. I’ll let you know if you’re mentioned when the article publishes. Then again, you may hear from Maria!

  7. One of those rare finds on the web was a commentary on Wiio’s laws of communication (url is below). I mention this, first, because I’ll no doubt be consulting it afterwards to decipher just how badly I may have screwed up attempting to communicate a sentiment regarding your post.
    I won’t let the fear of being misunderstood get in the way of trying, no matter how likely it is. So, here it goes.

    I believe that as individuals we serve not only ourselves but the world we exist and act upon by knowing what our values are (and that we have values whether or not we’ve identified them as such. When in doubt, just pay attention to what is motivating our actions. Honestly.) and retaining the integrity to either defend them or abandon them if after critical inspection, they prove not a ‘good fit’ with who we believe we are.

    That said, values are highly individualistic. They are not objective. They are not tolerant. They are not open-minded, in and of themselves. In fact, I think they are the opposite and I hold that in this context, this is the only way to live by values. If they were founded on jello, so then would we live as if in jello. That’s not to say you can’t have a value that includes “I value tolerance and open-mindedness”. That’s the beauty of a laws. By sacrificing flexibility for rigidity, they server as the structure that can potentially be strong enough to contain that which is highly flexible and mutable. To support the ideals I heard espoused requires a formidable infrastructure that can withstand the chaos of change and diversity. That is why I urge you to reconsider for a moment the difference between Eric the individual contributor and Eric the representative of Clipmarks. I believe that by exerting yourself in the way proposed is counter-effective, at least in its logic (that could be flawed being the source–my ability to analyze a problem with too little data and too little time).

    As a representative, I personally can relate to the value of making oneself accountable for the safety of those in my domain-where and when that safety is compromised as a result of my domain, not the results of that which I have no influence or control (or at least shouldn’t have).
    As an individual, I also personally relate to the passion expressed when speaking to those values described.
    However, I think it could be argued that it is a very thin line to cross and that the risk is inherently implied that by acting on those values from a position of absolute authority, you thereby nullify them in their entirety and create a conflict that would get resolved eventually, but maybe not how it may be expected.

    I understand the motivation. I really believe I do. I just think caution is in order to remember that in order to be reflective of the human experience, one must allow for human beings and their tendency to err and to both misunderstand and be misunderstood. We would do better to learn ourselves how to respond to what is considered inappropriate or destructive and be less dependent on the individuals who create the infrastructure. If imposing limitations, make the infrastructure bear that weight–not you. I won’t comment on some of the less complimentary arguments I could make, here, because that isn’t necessary. This, again, being an example that just because we can, doesn’t mean that we should.
    If that makes no sense, or if the sense it makes made perfect sense, then I suspect my communication was, as Wiio would have predicted, an utter failure. If by accident that was not the case, fabulous. Otherwise, write me for clarification or just for more dialogue. There is much I concede I can’t know without the input of others 🙂

    http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/wiio.html

  8. One important step forward for ClipMarks would be a private messaging system, Please.

    Thank you
    Stephen

  9. Thank you, and thank you, and most of all…
    THANK YOU!!!!!!

  10. I find myself wanting to vote up or down user’s comments on clips (like you can do on digg.com) I think this would be useful to punish the users who are always antagonistic… this would be a better system than just ignoring the user altogether… other than that I love the site guys, thanks for making information overload manageable… and some of the organization on the site has helped me with web design in my current job so thanks.

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