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From Antony Blakey <>
Subject Re: [Couchdb Wiki] Update of "CouchDB in the wild" by blackmagic rue
Date Thu, 22 Jan 2009 21:54:59 GMT

On 23/01/2009, at 6:12 AM, Noah Slater wrote:

> If you want to use CouchDB to build your porn empire, all power to  
> you -- but
> I think that expecting a link from our wiki is a little too much to  
> ask.

Why? It's a page about apps using CouchDB, not a moral statement by a  
group of developers. I'm particularly concerned with comments that say  
that pornography is obviously unacceptable in the same sense that hate- 
sites are unacceptable. What about sites promoting FPS games that tout  
the realistic nature of their ultra-violent gruesomeness? Is sex  
really worse than the increasingly realistic depiction of such violence?

>  * Gambling

Gambling is legal in many jurisdictions. The issue of the illegality  
of certain online gambling sites has more to do with issues of  
government control of revenue and taxation than any moral concern.

>  * Pornography

It's highly likely that a porn site linked from the couch site is  
actually legal in many jurisdictions. And while I'm personally  
concerned about the explicit misogyny of much porn, what about a gay  
porn site?

>  * Untrusted sites for professional services, legal advice, online  
> pharmacies, &c

What is untrusted? In any case, an online pharmacy may be the only/ 
best source of pharmaceutical product in some places.

>  * Political or religious extremism, racial hatred, &c

What qualifies as 'extreme' in a political sense is difficult to  
objectively determine. IMO you can't use the 'promotes hate' line  
because much of the mainstream political discourse I saw in the recent  
US election implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) promoted hatred.  
Racial vilification is a clearer issue, but what about homosexual  
vilification? And what is religious extremism? Is your definition of  
'extreme' determined by a western christian viewpoint?

>  * Sites related to illegal activities, drug taking, copyright  
> infringement, &c

Some drug taking that is illegal in the US isn't illegal in some  
jurisdictions (and in any case it's hypocritical considering the  
revenue raised from tobacco and alcohol, both of which are more  
dangerous than many illegal drugs). Still, IMO illegality is the only  
benchmark you can use for any of these issues.

Personally I feel sites whose primary purpose is copyright  
infringement should be banned, but I'm in a minority in the connected  
community wrt copyright.


I vote to allow anything that is legal in your hosting environment  
that meets the uses-couch requirement. Don't make ANY moral judgement,  
because you cannot objectively support such decisions, and it's only  
by making no judgement that you are insulated from the effects of  
making or not making a particular judgement.

Alternatively, if you avoid anything that could offend anyone, then  
you can't link to anything political, or religious. Or any sites that  
promotes reproductive freedom or argues for abortion rights, or that  
has anything to do with alcohol, or has pictures of people drinking  
alcohol (those last two are offensive to muslims) etc etc. I've worked  
tangentially in internationalization and come across some of these  
issues. It's a nightmare. Don't go there.

Antony Blakey
CTO, Linkuistics Pty Ltd
Ph: 0438 840 787

Reflecting on W.H. Auden's contemplation of 'necessary murders' in the  
Spanish Civil War, George Orwell wrote that such amorality was only  
really possible, 'if you are the kind of person who is always  
somewhere else when the trigger is pulled'.
   -- John Birmingham, "Appeasing Jakarta"

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