for sale etiquette?

From: der Mouse <mouse_at_Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA>
Date: Tue May 25 22:30:56 2004


>> - They require you to agree to California legal jurisdiction
> As I've explained before, you have to be a real fuck up for this to
> even come into play.


Or more precisely, for you, or your successors-in-interest (which
latter is more likely), to see me thus.

> If we are ever in a situation where legal action is required, we
> would be stupid to not make it easy for ourselves to sue an offending
> party. This is standard in business.

Right, and it's one reason I don't trust businesses farther than I can
throw them. Actions that are considered perfectly normal for a
business would, in an individual, be considered psychopathic.

It is perfectly normal for a business to try to get every legal
advantage it can. That does not mean I should roll over and let them
do so.

In this case, it's not at all clear you could get more than an absentee
judgement against me in any case, but (unlike, apparently, a lot of
people) I refuse to pretend to agree to things I do not in fact agree
to just because I know it's unlikely I'll ever be held to the
agreement. (I also think this is way too small a thing to throw away
what freedom I currently have to visit friends in California over.)

> I don't know any business that would say "if we sue you, we'll do you
> a favor and sue in your jurisdiction to make things easy for you".

This is why legal systems include rules governing jurisdiction. Your
T&C attempt to brush aside those rules, which evolved for very good
reason; I consider that unacceptable.

>> - They require that the site be accessed via Web browsers only
>> (unacceptable to me, as I want to fetch pictures).
> As long as you aren't scraping our site and causing problems with our
> server then I don't think you'll hear any fuss from us.

I know perfectly well I won't, and I know perfectly well that what
you're trying to stop bears little to no relation to what I want to do.

I nevertheless refuse to agree not to do something when I still intend
to do it - and the third alternative, just not fetching images, would
rather severely cripple my use of the site (admittedly it might still
be better than not using it at all, if that were the only issue).

>> - It requires that I use my full legal name. [...]
> Why do we require this? To make sure all users are dealing in an
> open and honest manner.

And my point is that it would be working _against_ that goal in my
case. Using my "full legal name" (in the sense you mean it) _would_ be
hiding, since that is not a name under which I have any significant
reputation; I would be risking nothing, as compared to putting my
reputation behind my actions by going by the only name I have used in
my entire on-net existence.

> If you want to sell under an alias then use the Usenet or some other
> mechanism that allows you to hide your identity

You are sliding from one thing to another. You are writing as though
not using my "full legal name" is "hid[ing] [my] identity", by writing
of the two as if they are the same.

This is not so, and this is my point: using my "full legal name"
_would_ be hiding my identity. (I know this from experience. One of
the first computer-related conferences I was ever at, I started out
introducing myself by my "full legal name"[%]. After a few blank looks
which turned to recognition when I said who I was, I learned.)

[%] Not quite, actually, as my "full legal name" is one that is
    commonly abbreviated, as Patricia is to Pat, or Michael to Mike, or
    Robert to Bob, or Deborah to Debbie; I used the abbreviated form.

Still, your marketplace, your rules. I'm explaining why I find that
point unacceptable; I don't really expect you to change anything in
consequence, especially since you haven't after I already said more or
less the same things in a different channel some time ago.

>> - I may not engage in "activities that may adversely affect the
>> performance or stability of the Site". If I may not do anything
>> that risks crashing it accidentally, I can't even _touch_ it!
> This is also disingenuous. What would you like to do that you think
> risks crashing it accidentally?

Anything. I've seen software crash for the damnedest reasons. It
could be anything from a host whose FQDN is more than twice as long as
its dotted-quad form to a host whose address->name->address lookup
returns an IPv6 address as well as an IPv4 address. I just don't know
and can't guess.

> Also, nothing in that clause refers to "accidental" activities.

Exactly. There is no exemption for my _accidentally_ adversely
affecting the performance or stability of the Site. "Activities that
_may_" have such consequences is a tremendously broad brush, including
such things as accidentally misconfiguring my reverse DNS in certain

No, I don't think the present VCM people are likely to misuse that
clause. I (a) don't trust their successors-in-interest, especially
since there is currently no clue who they might someday be, and (b)
once again, refuse to agree not to do something when I fully expect to
do it - even when I know what the prohibition is actually intended to
prevent is not what I intend to do.


>> - They require you to agree to California legal jurisdiction
> Standard.

To whom? In any case, still unreasonable. There is a reason
choice-of-jurisdiction rules tend to make corporations come to

>> - It requires that I use my full legal name.
> My Pendantic-O-Meter is pinned. You admit that it's the name you use
> "in computer circles", so by your own words it is therefore a
> nickname.

And in banking circles, I use a different name. Is it therefore a
nickname too? Note that I use it with significantly fewer people than
I do the "der Mouse" one. (I have a significant number of meatspace
acquaintances, including some fairly good friends, who don't even know
any other name for me than the Mouse one. In a common-law
jurisdiction (which Quebec isn't), I could probably get legal
recognition for it as a name for me, even, if I cared to bother.)

> I think you're an intelligent and thoughtful enough person to
> understand the spirit and purpose of what we're asking for,

I think so. I just think that what you are asking for is not in line
with that spirit and purpose - see what I wrote above on the subject.

> and frankly having to argue this point with you is tedious.

You don't have to argue it. In fact, I see little point; you have
settled yourselves on that particular method of achieving that
particular goal, and nobody's mind seems likely to change.

Even if I think your means isn't a very good means - even if it _isn't_
a very good means and even if I'm an example of why - it's still your
system and hence your prerogative to impose that restriction if you
feel like it. I've pointed out the disagreement I see between what you
asked for and what (I believe) you want; you presumably disagree, at
least about whether it's worth changing the VCM ToS over.

I don't see anything left to argue about.

> We're not trying to be assholes.

I know perfectly well you're not, and I don't think I ever even implied
that you were. It most certainly was unintentional if I did.

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Received on Tue May 25 2004 - 22:30:56 BST

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