Friday, November 09, 2007
Tobold's MMORPG Blog Terms of Service
After discussing various aspects of game's terms of service, and having had several discussions this week in the comment section about what is acceptable use of this blog, I've decided to formulate *my* terms of service. Of course I am not a lawyer, and this isn't a legally binding document. But it should give you an idea of what I consider my rights and your rights regarding this blog.
1) This is Tobold's MMORPG blog. The opinions expressed here are mine, unless attributed to somebody else. While I strive to be rational and give balanced views, it is inevitable that everything I say is just a subjective opinion. I don't claim to speak in absolute truths. Feel free to mentally add "In Tobold's opinion," in front of every sentence you read here.
2) I have the right to talk about any subject I want. Most of my posts are about various aspects of massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG). But occasionally I do talk about other games, other sorts of entertainment, or just about things that happened in my life. You have the right to simply skip the posts you don't like. I tend to mostly talk about the games I am currently playing. But even if I play one particular game for a longer period of time and write a lot about it, there is no guarantee that I will not stop playing and writing about that game.
3) You have the right to propose subjects for me to talk about. Preferably you'd do so by email, there is a clickable email address in the upper right corner of this blog. I have a good track record of replying to my mail and many of the reader suggestions made it into blog posts. But I do reserve the right to not post about the subject you suggested if I find it doesn't fit in here. If you want me to quote you, please add instructions to what name I should attribute the quote. When I have no instructions I tend to not mention anything that looks like the real name of my readers, for privacy reasons, so you might want to sign your letter with whatever pseudonym you usually go by on the internet.
4) You do have the right to comment on this blog. Be aware that your comments are moderated by me before appearing on the blog, which could take a while. You also have the right to disagree with what I say, or with whatever other commenters say. You do not have the right to voice this disagreement in the form of personal attacks or by using foul language. In the interest of keeping the level of the discussion at a high standard, I do reserve the right to delete comments that are insulting or full of profanity. If you want to be heard, try to present a counter-argument in a polite and rational way. I will never delete well argued comments just because I disagree with them, but if you ended your argument with a phrase like "your review of game X sucks, go back to game Y" the whole comment will end up in the bin, because I can't selectively cut out offending phrases, even if the rest is written reasonably.
5) You do have the right to privacy. You are not required to give your real name at any point to comment on this blog. You are, however, required to have a free account under some pseudonym with one of the following services: Google, OpenID, LiveJournal, WordPress, TypePad, or AIM. This is a policy I am not terribly fond off, but it turned out that even using captchas didn't prevent my blog from being flooded with anonymous comment spam when I allowed anonymous commenting.
6) You do have the right to include links into your comments. But be aware that only HTML coding works, so you need to use code like <a href="http://tobolds.blogspot.com">Look at my blog</a> to make your links clickable. Please be aware that Blogger automatically tags all your links in the comment section as NOFOLLOW, which means that linking to your site in my comments section will not improve your Google pagerank, and will be ignored by many other search engines as well. Thus comment links will only produce traffic for you if other readers find them relevant enough to actually click on them. It is therefore advisable to link to specific posts on your blog with a good description of what the link is about. Just putting a general link as your signature is less effective. I do reserve the right to delete comments if a link in them leads to a site which is overly commercial or otherwise inappropriate. Specifically I frequently delete comment spam leading to sites selling gold or cheats.
7) You do have the right to quote me, and use my posts partially or in full, as long as you attribute them correctly as having been written by "Tobold" and link back to the source (preferably directly to the individual post, although linking to the blog is acceptable). I do not have the time or resources to start any sort of legal action if you steal my stuff without linking to me. However I do reserve the right to point fingers and mock you mercilessly on this blog if you do so. As you probably stole my stuff to gain credibility somewhere, you would probably find that being pointed out as a thief on my blog is counterproductive to your purpose. You have been warned! You do have the right to use my RSS feed as feature on your website, as long as it is set up in a way that links back to my blog.
8) I do try to attribute quotes and ideas to the sources I got them from. If you think I quoted you without properly naming the source, please send me an email and I will rectify the situation if the complaint is justified. Please note that in the case of "news" I might just quote the one blog where I saw the news first, or not quote any blog if I see the news at many different places at once and can't really follow the news to its source. Please note also that MMORPGs are a relatively narrow field of interest, with a limited number of subjects, so it is perfectly possible that I post an idea similar to some idea you had some time ago without having actually read your blog, and thus without a link to it. Feel free to add a "I wrote something similar on my blog" comment with a link to your blog post in my comment section in these cases.
9) If you have a blog and feel that I am ignoring you, feel free to send me an email with a link to your blog, so that I can have a look at it. I do not guarantee that I will link to you, but if there are some particularly interesting articles on your blog, I might link directly to those. I do not have a blogroll, nor do I plan to add one, as I found that the quality and quantity of blog posts on most blogs fluctuates, and I don't want to spend lots of time verifying the blogs on my blogroll constantly. Nor do I want to get into fights which blogs should or should not be included. Feel free to include this blog in your blogroll, but if you only list blogs there that link back to you I totally understand if you leave me out.
10) I do not run advertising in the form of banner ads or similar permanent front-page links on this blog. I do reserve the right to change this policy if somebody offers me large piles of money. Although I am not as religiously opposed to gold selling as some other people are, I do refuse to link to sites that sell gold, sell guides or cheats, as well as to sites that offer a platform for this sort of trades. Not because I hate them, but because I want to stay away from the controversy. If you have a product or website that you think would be of interest to my readers, you can send me an email, and I will have a look at it and judge whether I will post about it. If you have a game you want me to write about, I am willing to test it if you give me trial or beta access to it. In no case will the fact that you invited me to your site or game as opposed to me having found your site or game on my own make any difference to the way I report about you. I will always try to report about any site or game in a fair way, but if your game is bad, I will say so, even if I got in for free. You can't buy good reviews on this blog. Furthermore, following FTC rules, all freebies I receive will be disclosed.
I would appreciate feedback on whether you find this terms of service fair. Please also tell me if you think that I have forgotten to cover something I should have mentioned.