mmviii [2008] - Civil Registry Discussion

Hi mmviii [2008]. You have successfully submitted your application to join the Civil Registry. Over the next 10 days, members of the Civil community may reach out to you with questions regarding your editorial policy, privacy policy, and business model. Newsrooms will get an email alert every time there is a comment relating to their Civil Registry Profile. Please make sure to check this discussion forum regularly to respond to community comments.

(Cross-posting from previous discussion forum, for posterity:)

CH
3 months ago
This isn’t related to this particular application in as much as all three applications that are being challenged. All three are newsrooms (Blockchain Trailblazers, Crypto Curation & MMVIII) are about cryptocurrency and/or blockchain. Coincidence?

I’m curious, did these three newsrooms apply because they see themselves as independent journalists contributing to the free press, civil discourse and public accountability? Or were they just interested in being involved with a new blockchain usage of cryptocurrency since that’s their passion? I do have some concerns on a disproportionate number of our newsrooms being on one subject, but that seems uncontrollable given the current constitution. My bigger concern is blockchain/cryptocurrency focused members becoming a controlling vote on how this platform proceeds. To my understanding, Civil is a blockchain solution to a problem that independent journalists are having. I’m a constituent concerned with independent journalists first, with blockchain being just our means to get there. But at the same time we need voting members who truly understand that mechanism of blockchain and crypto.

I’m kind of torn in a lot of directions about what will happen down the line with Civil. I’m curious what others feel about this?

PS: This is so awesome to have so many amazing writers laying down ideas here! Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts!
Benjamin
3 months ago
I see and share your concern, but one thing that I have been happily surprised by in the early newsrooms is the number of local news outlets. I think that shows that people will use the platform if they believe in it, even if it requires learning new technologies that they are not necessarily interested in.

I don’t think that we should restrict newsrooms’ participation on the basis of their topic, therefore I think that the best way to combat this problem is to try to recruit newsrooms to the platform, both new and established.
mariabustillos
3 months ago
It’s not surprising that crypto-savvy publications were the first to join at the outset, since it takes a certain comfort level to manage ETH, signatures, wallets and the like. A lot of newsroom leaders are using crypto for the first time, so there’s a learning curve.

I’m a journalist and am really only concerned with adherence to the Constitution. The rules are basic rules of ethical journalism having to do with accuracy, transparency and accountability to the public. There shouldn’t be any newsrooms on the registry that aren’t in compliance. With any luck, it will soon become evident that noncompliant publishers will be quickly voted off the platform, and lose their staked tokens.

mk
3 months ago
If I didn’t want to disclose that I run a consulting firm, I would not have included its site in my application. If you look at my journalistic work (although it covers the same space), it is clearly separate from the consulting work that we do. I believe, that once I start publishing articles, you see them as biased, then you should raise your concerns. All of us have some conflict of interest hidden somewhere. There is not a single person who is a journalist/reporter and nothing else and has no other identities.
dallendoug
3 months ago
I think that there are a whole bunch of unanticipated edge cases that have been uncovered here, and I hope that the Newsrooms and Civilians who are concerned about this write up their concerns, and discuss this with Civil and/or the foundation, and amend the Constitution with the results.

OTOH, I think this could be an awesome example of an evolving system in action, and Civil could come out the stronger for it.

To me, I think the submission was not up to a standard of diligence that I would expect for someone taking this seriously, and that may need to be more explicitly addressed as to grounds for disqualifying a newsroom. That being said, just “being sloppy” doesn’t necessarily violate the (current) terms spelled out in the Constitution. However, I do feel the “no” in potential conflicts of interest is clearly a problem, as has been spelled out in far more detail by several other folks in this thread.

I hope that both discussion is had about what might need to be revised in the Constitution, and also that the person behind this newsroom resubmits if they lose the challenge, having addressed the concerns of the community (if they are serious about it).
kmyers
3 months ago

The way I see it - there are 3 issues:

  1. who/what is the newsroom? This person can’t submit crypto insider since he does not control (and therefore would be infringing) but could submit a one person crypto newsroom.

  2. are the conflicts properly disclosed? Clearly not, but could be resolved, right?

(2.5, the tech issues with the headlines do feel like a reasolvable bug and not intentional and wouldn’t disqualify for me).

  1. can a consulting firm have a newsroom?

I strongly believe the answer to this is yes.

If the Civil community decides to say “this firm or individual cannot be a journalist because they disclose they are an activist/consultant/politician/mom” then that would be a huge step in having the Civil constitution actually used as a credentialing arm for “legit” (scare quotes intended) newsrooms – and that credentialing threatens who has rights to publish or even is protected where press has freedom.

Not sure what to do from here – if 1 and 2 are resolved for me (editing this charter)? Then this newsroom is fine.
kmyers
3 months ago
Also, below: one of the assumptions made by @blockchaintrailblazers was that the site needed to have original reporting. Is that a requirement of the constitution?

That would seem to block out a fair number of different kinds of newsrooms and I wondered if that was an intentional choice.

Anyway, I’m going to withhold my vote until I see how MK responds to the questions raised since he last posted on Sunday.
GustavMarwin
3 months ago
I think this is missing an important point: submission quality. I’m not going to bother participating to those challenges if such low quality submissions are accepted, and I’m pretty sure this rationale applies to a lot of people. If you want low curation of the Civil registry, accepting this “Newsroom” is how you’d get there imho.
kmyers
3 months ago
Agree on submission quality. I’ll log in and vote on that front.

However, despite what you, Maria, and Reidob have argued well-i do think having even this self - organizing group decide who is a “journalist” and not has not great implications for civil or for civil society.
GustavMarwin
3 months ago
Indeed it does have great implications, and for that reason we all want to do our best in curating this registry. Everybody is free to express themselves here (and hopefully soon on the forum) on what newsrooms should be accepted, and some of the criteria can evolve over time. You, me, all token holders, will have to work hard to unleash the true potential of this project. If you have a strong and divergent opinion to the rest of the community that you really believe in, you are welcome to try to convince us. I, for one, am eager to read more into your rationale and vision for the project.
Reidob
3 months ago
It just seems to me that this “newsroom” is nothing but a front for his business, not a serious effort at journalism. There has to be at least some semblance of a newsroom here for this to be a legitimate submission to the Civil platform.
blockchaintrailblazers
3 months ago
NEED MORE TIME TO EDIT – PLEASE…I So, if I understand you correctly (Michael), you are a writer who writes for Crypto Insider - but you DO NOT have ownership in Crypto Insider, which is the news site you are submitting. However, you do own a website for your consulting business, which is the name you are using to apply - MMVIII. Unless I’m mistaken… I believe that you must actually OWN (or be a part owner of) a newsroom in order you to apply for it to be part of Civil. — I don’t think you can apply to open a Civil newsroom with someone else’s news site. Am I correct in understanding this is what you are attempting to do?
nealmcb
3 months ago
(Edited)
Wow - the timeout seems to be less than a minute, but is not documented anywhere that I notice. So I strongly agree, having just wanted to fix a bit of grammar in my own post. And it’s far more important to allow a bit of proofreading when you need to add the words “DO NOT” that were left out by mistake.
I’d give at least 5 minutes, like StackOverflow does in their system.
testing after 20 sec.
nealmcb
3 months ago
(Edited)
OK, now I think it is less than 30 seconds to get your fix in. That doesn’t work at all!

Based on a google search for the error message ‘’(“You can no longer edit this comment. The time window to do so has expired. Why not post another one?”’’, the code for this seems to be at https://github.com/coralproject/talk/blob/master/locales/en.yml#L208

testing after 60 sec. Holy crow, now I see an “edit window, 4 minutes 2 seconds”.
Is this fixed already?
blockchaintrailblazers
3 months ago
(Edited)
So, if I understand you correctly (Michael), you are a writer who writes for Crypto Insider - but you have ownership in news site. However, you do own a website for your consulting business. I believe that you must actually OWN (or be a part owner) of a newsroom in order you to apply for it to be part of Civil. — I don’t think you can apply to open a Civil newsroom with someone else’s news site. Am I correct in understanding this is what you are attempting to do?

mariabustillos
3 months ago
The Constitution states: “Newsrooms must be clear and transparent about the lines between economic interests and editorial activities.” Furthermore please note the portion of the Constitution labeled “Accuracy.” This section describes the practice of journalistic integrity as newsrooms “keeping their responsibility to the public at the fore. They should aim to report and present facts with the highest degree of accuracy possible… this may include verifying information before releasing it, including verifying third-party content; consulting first-person sources; avoiding exclusive reliance on third-party reports… acknowledging when this is not possible; acknowledging where information comes from, crediting oher news organizations where appropriate as sources.” This begins to get at the positive commitment to ethical journalism required by the Constitution. This newsroom demonstrates no evidence of ANY “responsibility to the public,” let alone keeping that responsibility at the fore.
kmyers
3 months ago
Serious question: what would make you say this newsroom demostrates no responsibility to the public?

I won’t comment on the accuracy or conflict issues that I think are separate – but I wondered at the specific statement.
mariabustillos
3 months ago
I don’t see any information offered by this alleged newsroom that could be construed as valuable to readers; it’s clearly looking to get people to “book a consultation.” It’s not even pretending to be a journalism project.

mk
3 months ago
I appreciate everyone’s concerns, I’ll try to address them. 1. Picture - there is some bug within the Civil’s site that doesn’t allow me to fix it. Their support has been working on it for the past 3 days. 2. Different sites: My main work - I am the managing director at mmviii Digital Asset Group My journalistic work gets published at CryptoInsider.com However, I am not here on behalf of Crypto Insider and I am not authorized to represent them. That is why as my website I gave my company’s website.
greylockglass
3 months ago
Mr. Kapilkov, I am pleased to see that you’ve decided to involve yourself in this discussion. The challenge against your proposed newsroom makes no mention of the missing profile picture — the inclusion of your explanation is irrelevant to the questions at issue. I can only speak for myself, but your brief response to the rather lengthy discussion that this challenge has already engendered causes me to question both your understanding of Civil and the seriousness with which you take this process. The newsrooms that have been approved are not businesses that use gussied up content marketing pieces to lend credibility to their consulting services. They are journalistic organizations comprised of people who, first and foremost, use the platforms they have built to inform and educate. The revenue they receive is used to support the news reporting they conduct — not the other way around. If you had read the comments below, you would understand that the concerns being expressed are mainly the validity of MMVIII’s journalistic mission, and potential conflicts of interest, not the presence of an avatar.
spengrah
3 months ago
I agree completely with this summary of the concerns with mmviii’s application. While not explicitly stated in the civil constitution, my interpretation is that the burden is on applicants to demonstrate how they meet the standards outlined in the constitution. If the web property linked in the application does not make this clear, then the charter content needs to do some heavy lifting to fill in the gaps. Containing only 14 words, this application’s charter falls far short of demonstrating the application’s merit. It almost makes me think this poor application is a white hat plant meant to test the early strength of the civil governance process and community. In any case, unless there is a significant revision to the application and clarification about the poor initial quality, I don’t see any way that we cannot support this challenge and reject this application.
mk
3 months ago
mmviii DAG doesn’t have any journalistic mission - it is clear from the website, it is a consulting firm. As I mentioned before, my journalistic work gets published on Crypto Insider, where I have published over 20 articles covering blockchain and cryptocurrency.
GustavMarwin
3 months ago
Crypto Insider is therefore welcome to apply to Civil.
mk
3 months ago
I write for Crypto Insider, but I don’t run it.
spengrah
3 months ago
The Civil registry is for newsrooms that produce journalistic content. A newsroom can indeed be comprised of a single individual, but it is the newsroom itself that applies to the registry, not the individual(s) that create or contribute to it. As has been made very clear in the comment above, this application is by and for an individual person, not a newsroom. It should therefore be rejected.
kmyers
3 months ago
It should be accepted though if @MK wants to and understands what it means to run a newsroom staffed by a single person here.
GustavMarwin
3 months ago
No. People who apply should prove us, through their work, that they are worth being added to the registry.
blockchaintrailblazers
3 months ago
@greylockglass. There is no rule in the constitution that a newsroom cannot be owned by a separate business, only that there be transparency of this fact so readers can judge for themselves. Making a claim that a site like MMVIII is a ‘front’ for another business is no different than saying a local news site is a ‘front’ for a paid podcast series - as your site is, greylockglass.
greylockglass
3 months ago
I’m really hoping that the First Fleet of newsrooms are/plan on voting. No way to know how many have voted so far, but if the thin participation in this discussion is any indication, more of this community needs to act like they’re part of a community. Why aren’t we hearing from Sludge, the Colorado Sun, Block Club Chicago, etc.? I realize that there’s no requirement to join in on the convo, but I, for one, would at least like to see something along the lines of a check in to say, “Hey! Great to see that this community model is working as planned!” from the early adopters.
donnysludge
3 months ago
Donny from Sludge here. Can confirm that I have voted, and I’m pretty sure that the other two members of the Sludge team plan on voting as well. We’ve been following this challenge closely for sure.
Reidob
4 months ago
I agree with the stipulation that there would need to be at least a modicum of original reporting, but I also think it would be easy to get caught up in the minutiae of what is questionable about this newsroom application and lose sight of the fact that the most important question (and the only one that actually puts this application afoul of the Civil Constitution) is that it appears to be a rather blatant front for a commercial enterprise and has no stated purpose other than forwarding the financial aims of that enterprise. I haven’t committed my vote yet, but I would need to see some evidence from the applicants that this is not the case if I were to even consider voting in any way than to reject their application.
blockchaintrailblazers
4 months ago
There are many conflicts of interest in crypto news sites. They are an impropriety waiting to happen because they’re all about making money. It would be good to get this issue definitively cleared up because I expect there will be many more sites like this applying soon.
blockchaintrailblazers
4 months ago
For reference, I suggest reading sections 6.7, 6.8 and 6.9 on this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_of_interest#Finance_industry_and_economists
blockchaintrailblazers
4 months ago
As a solution, this newsroom could possibly create their own code of ethics on advertising, business affiliations, and investment conflicts of interest
greylockglass
4 months ago
Yeah, I don’t think we should get mired in distracting details, either. Challenging a newsroom wasn’t something anybody expected to have to do so soon, I’m sure. But if this community, this experiment, is to mean anything, we have to do our job and just focus on the facts, rather than try to come up with excuses or look through squinted eyes trying to see a newsroom where none exists.
The Call to Action button in the center of the homepage says, “Book a Consultation.” A news site would have news on the homepage. I’m going to give Michael Kaplikov & Co. a day to make radical changes that bring MMVIII into compliance before casting a vote. If the newsroom is legit, they’ll make those changes, or at least attempt to address the issues. If they’re trying to play this community, they probably won’t bother.
On an unrelated note, am I the only one who finds it TRAGIC that we’re supposed to be on the bleeding edge of journalistic tech, but we can’t even have line breaks or basic text formatting in our discussion board?
blockchaintrailblazers
4 months ago
Regarding my earlier comment about the need for original reporting, it makes sense that a percentage of original reporting on a newsroom should be produced by someone who’s on the roster. Otherwise, anyone could slap together a website and call it a newsroom.
kmyers
3 months ago
Is that in the constitution?
GustavMarwin
3 months ago
“Journalism can be defined as the the activities involved in an independent pursuit of accurate information about recent or current events.”
blockchaintrailblazers
4 months ago
I can’t find a disclaimer regarding the “endorsement of cryptocurrency.” So, if this website published content about an illegal ICO they could face charges. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems possible that Civil could face a legal challenge, too.
blockchaintrailblazers
4 months ago
While haven’t studied the “entire” website, it appears this site would be better described as a “News Aggregator” website, than a newsroom. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_aggregator Here’s my two cents (and 6 points)… 1.) There’s nothing wrong with using curated content. Most newspapers get some of their content from news agencies. https://www.easymedia.in/ever-wondered-newspapers-get-news-reports/ 2.) I believe a fundamental requirement of a newsroom is that there’s some original writing and reporting going on. Just aggregating news from other news websites or writers does not qualify a website as a newsroom (or at least I hope, not a Civil newsroom). 3.) As I see it, the whole purpose of Civil is to create ethical journalism, especially through the use of the “Credibility Factors” tool built into the Civil plugin. I think the majority of new content on a Civil newsroom should be original reporting. 4.) A newsroom owned by a Consulting firm could present a conflict of interest, but it’s is a fine line. All newspapers have their own agenda (usually political). Donald Trump hates CNN and Washington Post is owned by Amazon.com. 5.) Some of the press releases and articles on the site don’t look like news. While it’s true that the press releases has morphed into a “news release,” when they are written as “sale release” they can’t be called news. 6.) While it may be necessary to fill a new website up with curated content to get the ball rolling, the only purpose of sales oriented content going forward would be to appease a potential client (for the Consulting company) or to generate a fee (in which case it should be labelled as advertising). This is where this site could be ethically challenged. ------ Minimum Changes Needed to Give this Site a Pass (In my opinion) - Increase amount of original reporting (should be obvious on homepage) - Sort out URL issue - Eliminate non-news content - Label sponsored content
greylockglass
4 months ago
This is a tough case. Without being able to read minds, it’s impossible to know whether this is a situation that reflects an imperfect understanding of the application process, carelessness during application process, or intentional supply of misinformation in the application. Providing the URL of a separate, non-affiliated (as far as I can tell) news site, CryptoInsider, when MMVIII does, in fact, have a website of its own is a red flag. I find it difficult to construe that as an accident. On the other hand, assuming that the author of the works on the site is Michael Kapilkov, if one were to find these pieces in their own separate news site, I think the reader would be justified in judging the content to hold journalistic merit. I also don’t understand why none of the articles have bylines — I don’t think that’s a Civil requirement, but the lack of them adds to the sense that there’s a lack of transparency. That the pieces are, however, located on the site of a consulting firm, means that one can’t really argue that a plausible separation exists between the editorial content and paid professional industry advice. I’m tempted to offer suggestions about how they MMVIII team might go about trying to make changes that would bring their news offerings in line with the Civil Constitution, but realize that this challenge process isn’t meant to be prescriptive as much as it is to be deliberative. They have adjusted their site so the the article headlines are visible, and I think that could be a good sign of intent. I’ll just put the question that needs to be answered first out there: now that MMVIII has staked their CVL in the application process, should part of the challenge process involve negotiation and with the aim of mitigating any factors that prevent their newsroom complying with the Constitution? Or should votes be cast strictly on the basis of what was originally submitted by the newsroom? This is the first such challenge in the Civil landscape — we want to get this right.
GustavMarwin
4 months ago
Interesting. If such submission bypasses the challenge and get accepted, what message will it send to token holders? Who will risk loosing their tokens in a challenge if one like this gets accepted? The precedent this sets might be even more important that the actual outcome of this specific application.
nealmcb
3 months ago
Independent of this particular newsroom listing, I think this is a very important point and a tricky question.

The required deposit for both a newsroom and a challenge raise the stakes around elections, and create a confrontational “win-lose” situation, with no “win-win” alternative.

Is there any way to withdraw a challenge, e.g. if the application is changed, or if the practices of a newsroom that strays from the constitution fixes the problems? Who would have to agree to withdraw the challenge? Could others substitute their own deposit for the original deposit if a challenger wants to withdraw? If things like that happen, would the deadline for the challenge be extended?

I.e. how can we create win-win outcomes here, in ways that don’t tire out the voting members?
GustavMarwin
3 months ago
I think the missing part of this project currently is a forum, where people can discuss potential submissions and learn how to best participate to Civil. Once we have that I think it will become a lot more healthy flow. People will be free to bypass the forum discussions and go straight to voting but then take a risk to lose their tokens. Or they can play it safe and do a first community review with the members who are happy to give a hand to the newcomers.
blockchaintrailblazers
3 months ago
(Edited)
Civil Needs More Newsrooms, Not Less
If you agree that the Civil community is better off having “more” newsrooms rather than “less,” then this commenting process can only be one step in the process. Otherwise good writers will be rejected and the community will suffer. I used run Recruitment agency and I can tell you most companies make the hiring mistake of only looking for reasons “not” to hire people. This usually based on one dimensional view of a resume. In reality, “attitude” is equally (if not more) important.

Here’s a Possible Solution
Civil should consider creating a “Self-analysis Survey.” This could be based on the Civil Constitution using a simple Google Survey form. Taking such as survey would be like someone asking you questions about your newsroom. I believe this would help people visualize what they’re doing right or wrong before applying for a newsroom. They could avoid a challenge and save everyone some time and effort from digging around their website.

Example:
Once a newsroom is posted, results from such as survey could be pasted (with links to their site) into the comments section of their application for other members to review. For an example of this, check the information I’ve added to the comments on the challenge to my own newsroom (This explains my thinking and understanding of the Civil Constitution)
https://registry.civil.co/listing/0x49db84c3dbea7240293c7cd943827d59a8dc766b

  • In the future, if people are paying US $1,000 (and not getting a free 10,000 CVL grant), then their newsroom suddenly gets rejected for something they could’ve easily fixed, there will be a lot of pissed on people bad-mouthing Civil - everyone will lose.
    mariabustillos
    3 months ago
    It is going to take a lot of time and energy on the part of those invested in the token, the registry and the overarching concept of Civil to ensure that the Constitution is respected. Without this investment in journalistic ethics, the whole project is meaningless.

blockchaintrailblazers
3 months ago
Why Lengthy Voting Process?
I don’t understand why the voting process takes 2 weeks. What other reason could there be for having a long… drawn… out… 2 week Submit Vote / Confirm Vote phases if not to give the challenger time to correct their website.

I guess the idea is that challenged newsrooms are supposed to learn from the comments on how to correct their news site to be acceptable? If that’s the case then this won;t work if no one posts constructive comments.

I’m confused.

It would make more sense to give people a way to self-review their website, with examples of what’s acceptable and what’s not. Then they can roll the dice and apply to open a newsroom. And then the voting can be all over in one day.
Newsy
4 months ago
This newsroom appears to be run by the head of a blockchain consulting firm. While i’m not sure that’s necessarily disqualifying, it definitely seems like something that should be mentioned as a potential conflict of interest.