Community Policies

Main Page Content

Keeping in mind that this site is run by one person who is trying to finish their doctorate, I will do my best to guarantee users of the site the following rights.

Positive user rights

  1. You have the right to a safe and supportive space for discussing Ulysses. The ability to flag individual annotations and comments for moderation will arrive before the site is opened from private beta-testing; flagged items will be removed from public view immediately pending examination by a moderator. Reports of abusive users can also be made through a contact link in the header of every page on the site, and these reports will be addressed as soon as possible in a manner that respects the privacy of the user reporting the abuse (e.g. your name will never be revealed to the person you report). Suggestions on improving the community's safety and inclusion are welcomed, and can be shared using the contact link on every page's header. If someone is making this community feel unsafe or uncomfortable, they will be blocked. 
  2. You have the right to know how your data is protected. I've created a plan for backing up and preserving content on this site, including all annotations and comments authored by users; this plan is available on the Data Plan page. In short: I'm not ultimately responsible for preserving anything you write on this site for you—server disasters do happen, and I won't be held responsible (monetarily or otherwise) for the results of anything you post on this site being deleted. That said, I'll do my best to protect your data by wrapping it into how I protect my data (this site), as outlined in the site's Data Plan—so you're not likely to lose anything authored here unless we all go down together in a majestically freak occurence. As with anything in the digital world, though, it isn't bad policy to periodically export and back up your own content; instructions on how to do so will be outlined on the Data Plan page once this feature is available.
  3. As part of the site's Data Plan, you have the right to notification should this site need to close down, cease accepting new annotations, or otherwise delete or unpublish your annotations and comments. This notification will be sent to the email address you used to create an account, will contain instructions for exporting content you authored on the site (and/or an export file of your content), and will give you adequate time to secure your content before removing it (at least one month). 
  4. You have the right to know what text you're reading. The Text page explains what printing of Ulysses this site's text is based on, and who was involved in transcribing and editing it.
  5. You have the right to understanding how content you create on this site can be reused by others. The citation page has advice for people seeking to cite an annotation, and the copyright/IP page has information on how intellectual property licenses apply to your content.

IMPORTANT: You lose these rights (in particular, the right to be notified and/or receive exported data) if you abuse other users or this site's intended purpose as a community for reading Ulysses. Examples of abusive use include spam and the use of belittling or offensive language toward another user.

For blocked users who aren't clearly spammy or abusively trolling, but just can't get along in our community, I will give the benefit of the doubt in choosing to export that person's data for them—I certainly don't want anyone using the site in good faith to fear data loss. However, I reserve the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent of the user. Individuals who aren't happy with this are welcome to create their own Ulysses site using my open-source code.

User responsibilities

  1. Be generous with other users; be welcoming to new and returning readers alike.
  2. If someone's annotations and comments aren't what you want to be reading, use the site's customization options to remove that user's content or tagged items from your display.
  3. Be polite in any disagreements and focus on discussing the interpretation and not the user who made it. Remember that written humor can be misinterpreted, and that it's an excellent thing to encourage new readers into a long and happy relationship with Ulysses.
  4. Ulysses has instances of racism, sexism, and other biases (as do most people and texts), as well as controversial topics such as the political relationship between Ireland and England. Offering multiple viewpoints on these issues is something I'd like to see this community support.


During the beta-test, annotations from new site users will initially only be viewable by an annotation's logged-in author; users who have demonstrated good faith use of the site (or are otherwise known as trustworthy by the moderator) will be upgraded to a role where all their annotations and comments will immediately be made public. A moderation flag will always be available on each annotation and comment in case a moderator needs to check something out.

This policy serves two purposes:

  1. reduce moderation time for the site moderator while she's defending her dissertation
  2. encourage use of the site by never publicly displaying spam or troll content

After the site's public 1.0 release in June 2015, we may be able to remove the publishing restrictions on new users if there are enough active users on the site willing to flag inappropriate content and upvote quality (or downvote non-useful contributions).

I reserve the right to hide from public view or delete content that is spam, defamatory, plagiarized (don't paste in someone else's work!), runs way off-topic, uncivil, or otherwise not supportive of the goals of the project. The following list (quoted from this excellent article on improving online community comments by Stroud, Scacco, Muddiman, and Curry) identifies several characteristics of uncivil comments:

  1. Obscene language / vulgarity
  2. Insulting language / name calling
  3. Ideologically extreme language
  4. Stereotyping others

When it isn't clear that the content is definitely straight spam or trolling but I don't feel an annotation is appropriate for the reading community, I'll err on the side of caution and either:

  1. Make the annotation only viewable by its author, or
  2. Contact the user via the email address they provided on signing up with an export of their annotation(s) before removing the annotation(s) from the site.

If you post useful information in a comment, it may be moved into an annotation under your username so that more people see it, as the filtering and sorting only works on annotations (note: comments are currently disabled, awaiting a bug fix; all comments have been changed into annotations that keep the original author and creation date). If you post pages of writing as an annotation, it may be broken up into multiple annotations by a moderator.