en.swpat.org is a wiki.   You can edit it.   May contain statements End Software Patents does not endorse.

October 2014: US Supreme Court reining in software patents (Alice v. CLS)!

SitemapCountriesWhy abolish?Law proposalsStudiesCase lawPatent office case lawLawsuits


Talk:Discuss this wiki

From en.swpat.org
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive: dormant discussions (still editable)

To ask a question, click "[+]" along the top of this page (or "[edit]" and scroll to the bottom).

This is a page for general discussion about en.swpat.org. People looking to contribute might find interesting starting points at:

Contents

[edit] Fostering an inclusive community

There's a big long discussion about women in free software on LWN.net, which got me thinking (more than any previous discussion of the topic did). I never would have thought that swpat.org could seem unfriendly to women, but from the women in that LWN discussion, I guess having no visible problem doesn't make a project "friendly", it just makes it "not necessarily unfriendly", which equates to "potentially unfriendly".

It also seems, from that discussion, that to make a project "friendly", we just have to write a policy that sexist comments will not be accepted, and that comments shouldn't assume everyone is male, and enforce it. Seems reasonable, and it seems to be just putting in writing what we would have done anyway.

I've previously avoided making policies for swpat.org because I see policies on Wikipedia mostly being used to revert new users, which makes people feel unwelcome, but this sort of policy wouldn't have that problem. Instead, it might make a lot of people feel more welcome.

Any comments or suggestions for what policy to adopt? What examples are there? What's better, a policy explicitly to prevent exclusion of women, or a general policy of civility with no specific mention of women but which would obviously imply that sexist comments aren't allowed? Ciaran 11:57, 28 August 2009 (EDT)

Another thing which might be useful is advice on keeping discussions friendly. On other wikis, I've noticed that questions on Talk: pages are sometimes met replies which start with an overly definitive "no". Such assertive/aggressive replies are used in competitive/saturated projects (like the Linux-kernel mailing list, and what some parts of Wikipedia have unfortunately become) to push people away from reviewing/developing certain areas of a project. Doing it on swpat.org could never be useful. So maybe what would be useful is more of a "How to be nice" guide. It might even be worth considering a two or three line statement under the edit box as well as or instead of writing rules/advice on a page. Ciaran 18:24, 20 September 2009 (EDT)
Here's the sort of thing I think could go in a good code of conduct: We have so much work to do, we need all the help we can get. Cooperation can be difficult sometimes but politeness, respect, and compromise are part of building as big a community possible for the fight for freedom. Ciaran 22:39, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Describing "failing" initiatives

I'm wondering how to best name the collection of non-abolition initiatives launched or considered to reduce or solve the problems of software patents.

Some are complete failures (e.g. using antitrust law, buying litigation insurance), and others have very minor benefits but will never get us where we want to be (e.g. defensive patent pools, invalidate the most harmful), and others are partial victories (e.g. abolishing business method patents or securing an exclusion from patent infringement when the reason is compatibility/interoperability).

The current name is too kind: "Steps that don't bring us closer to our goal but might give some temporary protection", but the only other name I can think of is probably too harsh: "failing solutions".

In reality, there's a spectrum, and some are closer to the former name and others closer to the latter.

The dangers of being too kind are more serious (readers might think we endorse those methods as solutions) than the dangers of being too harsh (contributors to those projects might be offended).

What name could better represent the situation?

Or should the division be refactored by changing the "Arguments" page to "Arguments for abolishing software patents", and then have a page for "non-abolition initiatives" which could list all the failing and minimally useful initiatives, with a clear note at the top of each such page about why we think that initiative is not worth focussing on.

(I just thought of that last idea while writing this question, and I'm starting to like it) Ciaran 09:35, 7 September 2009 (EDT)

I still like that last idea, but "non-abolition initiatives" is too vague - it could even include pro-swpat campaigns. What description could convey that these initiatives were launched to save people from the dangers of software patents, without letting the reader think that they are what we support? We need a succinct name for "Initiatives which were proposed as solutions, but which didn't aim for abolition and thus failed". Ciaran 14:52, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
"Palliatives" would fit the bill, unless you want to emphasise the "failing" bit. Palliatives ease the symptoms for a time, they do not cure. Or is that too high-falutin' a word? steelpillow 16:47, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
Maybe it could be one part of a two-name title. If there was a word for failed attempts at solving a problem, then we could have "Palliatives and $OTHERWORD". We might have to go with a long descriptive title in the end. Ciaran 17:14, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
"Palliatives and failed efforts to fix the problem"? (but then that could included "failed" abolition campaigns - but maybe I'm being too demanding here) Ciaran 17:18, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
Other possibly useful words: stopgap, mitigating, attenuating, alleviate, lessen, limit. (with help from dict.org) Ciaran 17:25, 7 September 2009 (EDT)
"Palliatives and failed remedies"? steelpillow 14:54, 8 September 2009 (EDT)
Ok, let's start with that. Palliatives and failed remedies. Ciaran 07:50, 5 October 2009 (EDT)
The falutin' of "palliatives" is a little high. I still haven't thought of a replacement word, but here's a dump of my thoughts: "crutch" is good, but not really descriptive enough. Is there a word to describe something that a badly wounded boxer or soldier gets so they can continue to fight just a little longer, while incurring more and more damage the whole time? Is there a word for putting nice coat of paint over something that's rotten and rotting? Or if we look for something that's purely descriptive, is there a slightly shorter way to say "Expensive, inefficient, minor help and failed remedies". Ciaran 18:36, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
We use chewing-gum or sticky tape for a temporary fix, patch or lash-up, but those don't necessarily imply ultimate failure. For that, we talk of "painting over the cracks" or "short-term patches". Nostrums and snake oil are quack medicines, but is "nostrum" is as high-falutin' as "palliative"? How about "Patch-ups and snake oil"? steelpillow 13:29, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Then again, what about "bad", "dud" or "broken" ideas, as in say "Patch-ups and broken fixes" steelpillow 17:33, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
I like "duds". Most of those initiatives were launched with great fanfare (and many were surely just PR stunts), and duds describes what they've turned out to be. I've moved it to Duds and non-solutions now. Ciaran 15:01, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Possible changes to category names

Some categories are "out growing" their names. Nothing urgent, but here are some observations. Currently, the only way to change category names is the tedious way, so I won't make any changes until they seem logical and defined. That sort of tedious work doesn't bother me at all actually, but as the wiki grows, that work grows at least linearly, so I'd like to get it as right as possible in these "early" stages. Ciaran 09:37, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

There is no need for sub-categories to be mutually exclusive or to be carefully planned in advance. Sub-categorisation can (and sometimes should) also be recursive - think more "related" than "sub". The hierarchy we have stuck with so far is beginning to creak at the seams. Perhaps the time has come to move on to richer cross-linking. If a particular category seems like a good idea, just create it, link it to any suitable parent category/ies, and move any suitable articles and child categories over. This usually keeps the work manageable. steelpillow 21:19, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Category:People

Might have to be split up, but I'd split it as minimally as possible, just into two, three, or four subcategories.

Category:Organisations has parallel issues. It might be good to do the same for both, e.g. create cats for "Campaingers against swpats" and "Organisations against swpats" at the same time; both could then be sub-cats of each other and of "Campaigning" as well. steelpillow 21:19, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Category:Arguments

A large portion of this is now filled with "indirect arguments", for example, articles about problems with the current patent system such as Costs of defending are astronomical for developers and SMEs. They're useful for pointing out problems, but it's a "direct" argument only for reducing the costs of filing/litigation/defence. They only become directly an anti-swpat argument when put in a context that explains that the costs will never become low enough or that there are so many of these practical problems that they're unsolvable. If someone sees these are our "arguments", they'll think we've misjudged the solution. I don't know if this category should be split in two (is a clear split even possible?) or if it should be renamed to something more general "Arguments and problems"?

I guess we have a similar issue with Category:Why it matters. I think it's useful to keep them both as they are, for direct issues of principle, law, etc. By all means have an indirect category, perhaps something like "Problems with the current system", and move the indirect stuff over. steelpillow 21:19, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Yeh, the more I think it through, the more sense it makes to start making a clear distinction between fundamental problems and practical problems. Pages on the latter could then have a note at the top explaining that they're not the core issue (but that, in context, they do for part of a core issue). I'm tied up with other work today, but I think I'll implement this later this week.
I'm not sure what direction to take with Category:Why it matters. An idea which would appeal to logical categorisers would be to make it the union of the fundamental and practical problems, but from a communications point of view that would be a mistake. People will be able to see that info just by looking at the two categories, so it would be a trivial convenience and would lead to people missing the vital distinction between fundamental and practial problems.
Another possibile use would be to house articles such as Why consumer organisations should be involved and Why tech groups should be involved (but that comes with the caveat that, given their weakly developed state, those articles might change in the future), and the cats for fundamental and practical problems would be sub-categories. Any ideas? No rush - I doubt this will be resolved this week, probably not even this month. Ciaran 18:32, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Category:Campaigning also could do with some lovin. The campaigning info on the wiki is generally higgledy piggledy. I'll try to turn Organising a campaign into a kind of parent article for this topic. Ciaran 06:16, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
That is partly my fault. I got muddled as to whether it was about news of campaigning activity, how to conduct a campaigns, campaigning organisations, or topics that come up during campaigns. steelpillow 15:14, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Category:Patent infringement suits

Update May 2010: this cat has been replaced by Court cases and litigation

I was going to make a category for articles about case law and patent office practice in the USA (and another for the EU would surely follow). Category:Patent infringement suits already contains many of the articles that would go in these categories (some wrongly, since for instance, there's no litigation in in re Bilski - it's a grant rejection dispute). I guess that category is useful because it can include cases that were filed but which were then settled before the ruling (thus no case law created, so wouldn't be in the new case law categories), so we'll have two largely overlapping categories, but still, that seems the right thing to do.

Yes, largely overlapping cats is fine, because they have different focus and are not wholly overlapping. It's how the category system is meant to work. steelpillow 21:19, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Obama administration

Which category should it go in? People? Organisations? something new for political entities?

Both People and Organisations, of course. Maybe by creating new sub-cats for "politicians" and "political organisations" as with my campaigners example above. steelpillow 21:19, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Adding a "series" navigation aid

I've been doing a stock take of all the articles: User:Ciaran/temp-frontpage

The original goal was to update the front page, but I was wondering if there's also another way to use this organisation effort. My first thought was we could have a box for each of the ~20 sections (which I'll call "series" since "sections" already has a MediaWiki meaning), with 10-30 articles. The relevant box could be included at the bottom of each article. So, for every article about a person, there would be a box with a list of all articles about people, and at the end of every article about a court case, there'd be a box with a list of all the articles about court cases, etc.

But, this is a bit bulky, and it might overshadow the categories.

My current idea is to make an overview page for each of the ~20 series. This already exists for some/most, like Countries and litigation. And, for each series we could also have a template that gets included and is diplayed at the top-right of the article, like the box that's currently on Bilski v. Kappos (2009, USA).

This seems maintainable and useful. My hope is that when people land on a page from a search engine, be it a good page or a poor one, they should easily see ways to look for other interesting topics. Ciaran 15:14, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

I think the overview pages with lists of links is a good idea. But it needs some care:
  • Some pages may want to end up in more than one series.
  • On the overview page the link list should probably go near the top, on the other pages it might be better along the bottom as you first thought - that way, a couple of them on a schizophrenic page would not clutter the main content.
What shape to make the link lists? See my rough hack of a possible main page layout. The lists run horizontally, and could easily be templated as tasteful boxes.
I think this system would be flexible enough and have about the least maintenance overheads.
Meanwhile, there might be some scope for bringing the categories a little more in line with your series titles. Don't be afraid of overshadowing the categories - if they fall out of favor, it might be for good reason.
steelpillow 22:06, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
I like your Test2 hack. When we have overview pages for each of the ~20 "series" (maybe 20 is too many), I think that style will be the way to go. What's holding me up is that there are still a few articles to sort into the series, and there are some series (e.g. "Arguments and problems") that might be split or differently defined. Should be ready in a week or so.
I want to limit as much as possible the repetition of pages between series, but yeh, articles like Bilski-v-Kappos will have to go in series Bilski and series Case law. Categories provide the navigation functionality of having multiple ways to find an article - so I want "series" to offer a different way to navigate, but I won't let purity get in way of being useful. Ciaran 13:56, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Standard sections for pages on organisations

(I haven't forgotten any discussions, IIRC, but the ACTA leak has distracted me.)

Most types of pages can't be made uniform, but it hit me that maybe the pages about companies, or about all organisations, could all include these sections (even if they just say "no known info"):

  • Patent acquisition history
  • Litigation by and against
  • Lobbying and consultation responses

Just what's in my mind. Ciaran 13:29, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. What about templating some of the key highlights in a box, say type of organisation, pro/anti/neutral stance and country of origin? Also not thinking deeply. steelpillow 19:26, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Yeh. I think that's a logical way to go, but I can't think of how to word it. Summarising positions is very difficult:
  • Google - I'd say anti-swpat, but they sure do a good job hiding it! They're also stockpiling a lot of worrying patents, so it might be misleading to put them in the "with us" category.
  • Novell - I'd say strongly pro-swpat, but I've never actually found evidence that they lobbied or pushed for software to be patentable. I have a memory of some from the EU lobbying around 2004, but I've no proof.
  • Oracle - currently pro-swpat, but previously anti-swpat. The current stance is obviously more important, but do we weaken our case by oversimplifying their position?
But maybe my problem is tunnel vision. Maybe there's a better way to summarise things than simply "for/against". Ciaran 19:46, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Maybe one thing that can have a one word answer is "Has used software patents aggressively: "
On it's own, it wouldn't make for an interesting box, but it's a start :-) Ciaran 22:59, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
Rather than have a statement which must then be true/false, I think it better to have a descriptor and a short summary. For example "Position on swpats: " can then be "for", "against" or "Not known". Stockpiling patents is not an indicator - the FSF (or an associate?) does that. I think it's worth including some detail, for example Oracle could be "For swpat, previously against". Quotations, links, etc. can then go in the body of the article. steelpillow 15:37, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Could Template:navbox vertical go on every page?

I've shrunk the size of Template:navbox vertical and I think it might now be ready to be put on every page.

Remaining problems:

  • It doesn't work well with text-based browsers (like lynx) - you see all the navbox contents, hundreds of lines, before you see the page.
    • Possible solution #1 (best): could we use some <div> taggery with float properties to put the template at the end of the text but have it displayed at the top? Maybe by putting the whole article in one tag, and then having the template on its own in another tag just after? (I've tried in vain, but I'm no wizard)
    • Possible solution #2: copy the table code, making "newtable" with a way to have the box only displayed if the browser is gecko/webkit/ie.
  • I wonder if this will also cause problems with how search engines categorise the page contents (but, this can't be much of a problem since a lot of news site pages are overloaded with crap and they get indexed okay).
  • I've no idea if this might cause problems for browsers used by blind people.
  • I still have to develop a method of keeping it up to date. I think this will require writing a few scripts and maintaining a table with all the articles and what series they're in.

The goals of the navbox are:

  • Make it easier for first-time visitors to see our other pages
  • Mention "End Software Patents" - build the campaign's reputation
  • Mention it's publicly editable
  • Link to Finding things on en.swpat.org
  • On rare occasions, it could be used to display big announcements

Anyone got comments on the readiness of Template:navbox vertical? Or insight on the problems above? Ciaran 08:54, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

I've made Template:welcome a redirect to Template:Navbox vertical, just for a trial, so it can be seen in action on the pages which use Template:welcome: Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Welcome.
One other thing: some pages also need their own box. I'm not sure yet how to combine this one with another. Ciaran 10:26, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Some thoughts:

  • The only way using div tags would be to create a whole column for the navbox. There is no way to do this without adding the div code to every page. Might as well use a table.
  • But not doing that leaves it all before the main body.
  • How about dropping it (or something like it) into the left hand menu space that is served with every page? Sorry I don't know how this is done. Say between the search box and the toolbox. Or would that put it ahead of the main content for text browsers too?
  • You could put a horizontal navbar along the bottom of every page.

Sorry that doesn't help much. - steelpillow 20:58, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Damn. The div tags idea might have been wishful thinking :-) Putting it in the left-hand column is probably the long term way to go. AFAICT, that will require a sys-admin patching some file, so I'll put it in my queue of sys-admin requests (but, the state of Parserfunctions gives an indication of how quickly that queue moves). I'll look into the broswer detection idea - that might be doable without any sys-admin intervention. I'll give the bottom-horizontal bar a try, maybe it would work if it was like a set of tabs with multi-colum lists, but it might not be prominent enough. Thanks for the sanity check and new ideas. Ciaran 23:11, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I just realised that the real solution would be to have one thing (short list of links) displayed when javascript's disabled, and another (navbox) when it enabled. I think HTML might have tags for doing that. Will take a look... Ciaran 08:08, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I did look into this, but found no solution. I've made notes about the problems and possible solutions at Template:Navbox. Ciaran 13:23, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Reorganising example patents

For these articles:

I was thinking of making the commonality clearer by renaming them to all to "Effects of patents on insert-topic-here", etc. The last one might get renamed soon to something about "multi-touch" rather than its current very general name. Ciaran 12:58, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Lengthy titles are seldom good. I'd be inclined to keep the "Xxxx patents" form, even change Phone patent litigation to Phone patents. That way the title stays relevant even though the focus of individual articles currently differs. It might be worth creating a category for "Effects of patents" or "Technology patents" or similar, if nothing suitable exists yet. steelpillow 20:00, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Or maybe "Patents on xxxx"? That would be almost as short, and it would still be more noticeable that there's a connection between these articles. Ciaran 23:55, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
Not sure I have an opinion either way. Go for it. steelpillow 20:19, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Right. I think I'll go ahead with that, and make the category. And then a second set of articles that I'd like to make more uniform is:
And maybe there are more with that kind of focus - specific patents or specific sets of patents owned by a single entity. Ciaran 08:08, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Restating the problem

What I'm wondering about is how to break down this list into two, three, or four "sets" of articles:

  1. Micro-blogging patents
  2. XML patents
  3. micro-blogging patents
  4. audio-video patents
  5. Webpage and web service patents
  6. Image processing patents
  7. Phone patent litigation
  8. Divine e-commerce patents
  9. MPEG video formats (Maybe this should be "MPEG-LA's video patents")
  10. Microsoft FAT patents
  11. DE10232674 (More or less the same thing was granted in the USA as US2003226110 - two articles wouldn't make sense, so what's the best way to do this? A descriptive title with two redirects and put the redirects into categories so that DE10232674 will appear somewhere?)
  12. jpeg
  13. JPEG 2000
  14. Ogg Theora

There's surely more but that's probably enough to show the range. For 1-7, I'd say they're articles about the affects of patents on a *domain*. 8-11 are about specific idea (patented in one or more countries) or sets of patents owned by a single entity - number 11 is about a specific patent granted in a specific country, not sure if it still fits in. 12-14 are specific standards. But is that breakdown right enough to be worth formalising?

If it's useful, they can also be put in a kind of hierarchy:

No rush, any comments welcome. Ciaran 18:05, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

My instinct is to split them into two kinds of space - one for technology areas and one for patent owners. Your hierarchy might serve as the germ of two new articles, each organising the relevant detailed articles. Some articles would appear in both lists. That way, there is no need to allocate each article to a given space. steelpillow 20:44, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
For an article about patent owners, patent trolls should also be added.
But for now I'm thinking about the technology areas. What do we want readers of the above list of articles to see? I think they should show the harms of software patents through real world examples. I'm not sure what change this implies, but I just feel that this set of articles lacks a direction, so I wanted to juggle them around here a bit to see if anything emerges... And now that I think of it, maybe court cases should then be a subset of this "effects" series (but because court cases are so important, they would still get treated as a top-level set).
For individual patents (example DE10232674), I think a short article just for that patent would be fine - even if it was just a template that displays where to view that patent on the various websites that show patents, plus links to articles we have and third-party articles mentioning that patent. But, an individual patent isn't necessary an "effect", so maybe the minimal articles about individual patents should be separate.
Then, threatening use of a patent could get an article such as "Divine e-commerce patents" (or "Divine threatens e-commerce"?), and if there was litigation, either a new article could be started for the case, or the "threatens" article could be turned into a "court case" article depending on what's appropriate. And then articles such as Micro-blogging patents would be "Threats to micro-blogging".
What got me thinking is that I was telling someone that at en.swpat.org, they could find all the necessary example of the harm done by software patents. Then I started looking at our current structures, and I think this aspect is actually missing. The Arguments page tries to cover it, but the examples angle could be better. Ciaran 00:16, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
Another twist: Trend Micro v. Barracuda (2008, USA). Trend attacked Barracuda. A law suit was filed. They settled out of court. Now Trend is in dispute with Fortinet over the same patent. A Separate Trend Micro v. Fortinet article wouldn't make sense. How to organise these situations into articles? (I think this confirms that court cases are a subset of real world effects) Ciaran 03:08, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm looking into this again. NetApp's filesystem patents is an article that also deals with multiple litigations over the same patents. Maybe the current "court cases" should be split in two: aggression and rulings. Bilski v. Kappos is only interesting from the ruling point of view. NetApp v. Sun is only interesting from the look-what's-happening point of view. I'll check if all cases can be split into these two groups. Ciaran 20:18, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
This might be a good idea. One set would have names like "Bilski v. Kappos ruling (2010, USA)" and the others would be "NetApp litigation against Sun and others (2010, USA)". Ciaran 22:32, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Nah, "litigation" is the wrong word. We need something that includes threats and other ways of forced licensing. "NetApp patent aggression against Sun and others"? Ciaran 22:34, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
(Much later...) I was going to rename most of those articles from "X patents" to "Patents blocking X", but what about areas where it's not clear that a blocking patent exists? I don't want to create the impression that, for example, JPEG has patent problems if it doesn't. "Patents and JPEG"? Ciaran 10:05, 19 January 2012 (EST)

[edit] Reorganising arguments

So arguments can be stated as refutations of myths, and vice versa, so I guess arguments and myths should be under the same umbrella. The other obvious thing to try is to split arguments between practical problems with current software patent regimes and fundamental problems that will always exist as long as software is patentable.

I haven't gotten far in the planning of this reorganisation, but I'll flesh some ideas out here. Ciaran 16:25, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

(Previous discussion on this: #Category:Arguments)

Maybe the correct approach of this is think of it in terms of a future legislative proposal. Which arguments could be nullified by the sort of reforms that IBM might push for (anti-troll measures, increase the speed, lower the cost, etc.), and which can only be nullified by abolition. And then myths are a third subsection. Ciaran 16:39, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't think "myths" is a great term. "False [counter-]arguments", or "false claims" would be better. Ciaran 17:58, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

First try at splitting this list on fundamental/implementation problems.

First, the fundamental problems:

Implementation problems:

False claims (refuted):

Looking at this list also makes me wonder if some of these should have more descriptive names to describe why they're specific to, or at least particularly problematic for, software.

  • All businesses are targets --> All businesses use software, all have risk

? Ciaran 19:31, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

My first reaction is to ask if there is a difference between legal arguments and other kinds such as moral, pragmatic (implementation) or factual. Broadly, Software is math is a legal argument, Patent ambush a moral one, Low risk pragmatic and Software patents harm SMEs factual. OTOH, many fall across several of these classifications.
Then, every argument has its counter-argument. Should false claims that "X is so" be presented in reverse, as "Why xxx is not so", or maybe go the other way and treat "Insurance against patent litigation doesn't work" as the false claim for "Insurance against patent litigation". Either way, I'd like consistency.
steelpillow 20:08, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Yeh, I think software is math and Just a Use of the Patented General Purpose Computer shouldn't be here, or at least should be renamed. They are currently arguments for how to abolish software patents. If an article was called, "Software patents block people from using math", then that would be an argument. (I'll reply again later to the rest) Ciaran 21:48, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
"Why xxx is not so" makes complete sense. It seems obvious now that you say it, but it never crossed my mind. In "arguments", these articles could be in a subsection "refutations" (for want of a better name - they're also "counter arguments", but in the context of an anti-swpat wiki, that would sound like counter-arguments to our own arguments, which they're not).
For what remains, which I split in two (fundamental/implementation) and you split in three (moral/pragmatic/factual), my goal is to prepare for upcoming legislative battles. I'm worried that instead of the "us versus them" battle that we fared very well in in the EU, our coming battles will be over what change to make: should governments abolish software patents or just tweak the numbers to make trolling unprofitable. I think there'll be a lot of support for making trolling unprofitable, including among people whose software patent problems don't come from trolls. I think our challenge will be to explain why aiming for "reform" is wasting an opportunity. So, the goal of the division in this particular case isn't so much to help readers find things, as it is to highlight why abolition is the solution.
This goal is also more important than perfect coherency. For example, the 20 year term of patents, is that reformable or not? Well, technically it is, but in reality it's very unlikely to get reformed, so it's a grey area for where to place it, but I'd rather have grey areas and explain the reform/abolition distinction than eliminate the grey areas but lose the above point. Ciaran 01:15, 9 June 2010 (UTC)


[edit] Planned changes to structure

Nothing radical, but I'd like split court decision analyses out from the other pages that collect info about court cases. Two initial examples:

I'll make a category for them, then start to look for existing articles that should be renamed in this way.

I'm also looking at how to split the arguments up into fundamental problems and the unsolveably numerous practical problems. Ciaran 20:08, 24 November 2011 (EST)

I don't like this idea anymore. There's a new ruling in Germany and I want to make a page for it but I don't yet know if it contains substantial case law or if it's just one more court case awarding some money to someone.
With German rulings, where the rationale behind the ruling isn't published until weeks after the publication of the decision, it's actually not even always possible to know if a ruling will contain substantial case law.
I think I should go back to having the same title format for all cases, but have a page listing case-law-making cases, and a category and a standard-ish note at the top of all such pages. Hmmmm.... Ciaran 03:53, 30 December 2011 (EST)
Or, another solution would be to have a page for each case, and a second page for an analysis of the ruling if it's interesting. So if we don't know if a ruling will have interesting case law, it's still possible to make a page for it. A page for the analysis can come later, if worthwhile. Ciaran 06:29, 30 December 2011 (EST)
Yes. Separate pages for the case in general, and the decision. If a German decision hasn't been published yet, it's simply a case, until the decision is published, then a page can be made about the decision. Decisions differ from cases in that they have a single precise date. This should be in the page name. Something like:
...preferably something that can be put directly into a sentence. Ciaran 08:51, 14 February 2012 (EST)
Also has to accommodate court cases that are referred to by code, like German cases:
I think I'll go with this:
  • Microsoft v. Siemens ruling on 10 April 2010 by the German BGH - this is code named "X ZR 27/07", but I won't put codes in page titles
  • Cybersource v. Retail ruling on 16 Aug 2011‎ by the US CAFC
Ciaran 12:55, 21 February 2012 (EST)

End result: I went with:

Having a date in the middle was just weird, and using completely correct English made them too long.

Case law articles (the ones with the new naming convention) are now in this category: Category:Court ruling analyses.

That was a lot of work. Ciaran 19:16, 23 February 2012 (EST)

[edit] I deleted navbox's content

I've blanked Template:Navbox and moved some of the functionality into MediaWiki:Sitenotice.

The main reason was that the Navbox was very broken for users who have javascript disabled. Another reason was that it was a (minor) maintenance burden.

In the future, I might move the "Navigation headings" from Sitenotice back into Navbox, and maybe make a series of derived boxes with more navigation topics for case law, countries, court cases etc. So I'll leave all the Navbox tags in the articles for the moment. Ciaran 12:52, 21 February 2012 (EST)

[edit] Pruning the categories

The wiki has outgrown some categories. Category:USA and Category:Legal topics could easily have +100 articles, and it would be such a mish-mash that no one would no what to be looking for there. One of these days I'll make a list and delete a lot of categories.

I'm also wondering if subcategories are a good idea. They make category pages very messy and might defeat the purpose of categories as an organisational tool. I'm going to experiment with sticking to a flat structure and manually adding links if they're very relevant. Like this:

. Ciaran 13:16, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

I'll have to categorise categories into objective and subjective. Pages can be objectively put into "Court rulings in Germany", but it's not always easy to know if a page really belongs in a category like "Campaigning" (which is a worthwhile category). Ciaran 16:40, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

[edit] Court rulings or case law?

I seem to have decided that "case law" was a better term than "court rulings".

Should I change every instance of "court rulings" to "case law"?

I'd tend to say yes, but "court rulings" does a slightly better job of highlighting the individual pages are about individual court rulings.

Is using both terms better for search engine pickup? Is there a useful distinction?

And then should "Template:patent office decisions list" also be changed to "Patent office case law"?

... Ciaran 13:32, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

Yes, there's a difference. I can have a list of court ruling analyses, but not a list of case law analyses. Case law is the whole. Court rulings are parts. It can sometimes be hard to say if a ruling is part of case law (i.e. does it really have an impact), but it's usually clear that a ruling is a court ruling.
Grey areas include preliminary injunctions by courts, and rulings by "commissions" such as the USITC, but I'm going to classify both of those as court rulings. Ciaran 13:59, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

[edit] Court rulings and case law again

Problem: I wanted the "court rulings" pages to be about individual texts that contribute to case law, but the name "court rulings" also suggests that Apple v. Microsoft should be in the category.

What the category name really should say is "Analysis of case law from court rulings", but that's too long. "Case law" seems better.

Here's a starting point for looking at what categories will need to be renamed (when I've decided on the name change):

. Ciaran 06:42, 13 August 2012 (EDT)

[edit] Babelfish has been replaced by Bing Translate

I'll have to update the Template:translate de set of templates, but can't do it right now since Bing Translate is giving me an error. Ciaran 09:13, 5 October 2012 (EDT)

[edit] Change people articles "on" to "and"

It would be better to have

than the current

That's more accurate, particularly when we talk about judges who talk about patents in general or software in general. Those comments might give insight to how that judge would approach software patents, but it's not a comment "on software patents". Ciaran 21:57, 31 December 2012 (EST)

[edit] Wiki software and config to-do, Summer 2013

Some things to do after May's upgrade to Mediawiki 1.21.1:

  • Fix the display glitch caused by my Questy patch, displaying questions twice
  • Make a new theme, based on vector, to resemble Wikipedia, but using ESP style
    • Make ESP logo that uses full available space
  • Enable more editing buttons, like on Wikipedia
  • Check what thing (gadget?) has to be enabled to get hover-over ref tooltips
  • Dig for ideas in Wikipedia's InitialiseSettings.php, CommonSettings.php, and Special:Version
  • Code for LocalSettings.php to change my question from time to time, say, by picking the question based on the month
    • It could even just be "What month comes after $currentMonth?"
  • Get reflist working with a ref= option so for list-defined footnote text, like Wikipedia does
  • Check if I can enable page renaming for non-logged in users
  • Clarify copyright situation, as I described on wikemacs.org
  • Why does my cite_web always print the url a second time?

If you have more, now's the time to suggest them. Ciaran (talk) 04:42, 17 June 2013 (EDT)