Personally, I have been at Suite101 as a writer and editor (when it was a paid job) since 1999, and I'm not at all happy with any of this. I too am only sticking around so no one can republish my content as an ebook and sell it. I don't care if I don't make money, but dammit I don't want THEM making it! Here's the latest description from the discussion list:
"Over the past few years there have been changes in the opportunities available to the Contributing Editors at Suite101. Originally, the policy was "one Topic per Editor." We had requests from our writers that this restriction be lifted. We complied with this request.
Further there were a large number of retired Topics with continuing substantial traffic and content which related to existing active Topics. Some Editors wanted the opportunity to expand their readership by taking on the retired Topics. To this end, we started the Topic Adoption Program.
These changes in policy enabled the Editors to manage and contribute to a larger number of Topics with expanded readership and content. The Adoption policy allows an Editor to adopt a Topic but an Editor cannot adopt the articles written by the original Editor. The Adopting Editors may add new articles to the adopted Topic and manage the discussion threads but they must not edit the content posted by the retired Editor or take credit for this content. This retired content is protected by the original writer’s copyright. It is the responsibility of Suite101 to make best efforts to protect the integrity of these copyrights.
However, with over 55,000 articles and nearly 500 writers it has become an unmanageable situation to assure that content is not altered or deleted from the Suite101 database. We have now taken steps to assure the content is safe.
In a virtual community as large as Suite there are bound to be misunderstandings and disagreements. These disagreements might be between writer and Managing Editor, Managing Editor and Senior Managing Editor, Course Developer and Dean, or Copy Editor and Writer. Any of these individuals could also find fault with the team in Vancouver. Unfortunately conflicts do not always get resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, and a disgruntled Writer or Course Developer could and in some cases has, deleted his/her articles or Course when leaving Suite101. This poses an even greater risk to adopted material and guest articles, which must be protected from deletion or alteration whether in anger, good intentions or in error.
Suite101 is also vulnerable to any disgruntled writer who might go into articles they have written or adopted to post inflammatory content. With several thousand articles on the site, we have no practical way of protecting the content from the misdeeds of a very small number of writers.
Our virtual community is not unlike the communities we live in day-to-day. We lock up our assets to protect ourselves from a very small percentage of the population, not because we do not trust our friends, neighbors or co-workers.
When it comes to security issues the wise practice is to act quickly and with a minimum number of people being involved. If a businessperson is about to install a safe in the office it is unwise to give 30 days notice to the company’s employees and associates that the company's books and money will then be locked up. Likewise we do not give warnings when we are about to change the passwords to our servers or access code to the office’s security system.
For these reasons we have and will take steps to lessen our exposure to the loss of content from our site and/or damaging acts by those who have access to our database of articles and courses.
Steps taken or being taken over the next few weeks:
New article content will be "live" for 30 days after its published date.
Free access by the CEs, MEs, SMEs and Copy Editors to edit the new article content will continue during this 30 day period.
After 30 days from the date of publication, only MEs and SMEs will be able to edit content.
Editors adopting Topics will not have editing access to the articles written (including photos, graphics etc.) by the retired writer.
If an Editor wishes to make substantive changes or an upgrade to a previous article they wrote, they will treat the upgrade as a new article and link the new content to the original.
Editors will be able to request that their MEs make corrections to broken links or graphics, and instructions for this procedure will be released shortly. Such corrections will not constitute "new" material.
Course Developers will have 30 days to fine-tune their course materials after a course goes "live", during which at least one course session should have occurred. After this 30-day period, access to the course content will be restricted to the Dean of the appropriate School or SuiteU’s Advisory Board.
The steps we are taking may seem harsh to those who have had ready and open access to all of their writing here at Suite. The content that has been accumulated through the efforts of our writers, past and present, and at an expense to Suite101, is one of the company’s shared assets. We apologize for the inconvenience this change of procedures is causing some of our writers and understand this change is viewed as a loss of freedom. We are exploring a technical solution that will allow editing but not deleting of content. Best-case scenario is that we will have a solution within the next 30 days and the worst case is that we fail in our efforts. Work will start on this project Tuesday May 27th.
Editors are free to make copies of their articles and republish them elsewhere after the 30-day exclusive time limit has passed as laid out in the Contributing Editor’s contract. It is not our intention to restrict the Editors' opportunity to showcase their work. Our objective is to restrict the removal of content from Suite101. This restriction of deleting content is not tied to the Best of Suite program.
For the reasons outlined above we believe it is prudent to keep this asset out of harm's way. If we lose valuable assets we also lose some of our ability to earn the revenue it takes to maintain Suite101 so we can continue to offer the opportunity to publish our writers' work. We believe the steps we are taking are in the best interest of the total community."