Sharing of texts: private or public? / 


(modified Nov 1 2010)

[01 Sep - 31 Oct 2010 **UPDATE**] Community Poll - Site Improvements


Hi everyone,

Many thanks for letting us know your thoughts and concerns about having the Share toolbar available on PoetBay - all of them were taken into consideration for our decision. Many good points raised and suggestions offered, so here’s the break down :-)

The majority of participants to the present poll disagree and/or do not feel comfortable with this technology having any part in our poetry community. The concerns that were expressed range from :


Worries about the copyright implications; confidentiality issues that were personally experienced within those social networking websites; unwillingness to add to the profits those websites make for their use; uneasiness as to whether it is polite to share someone else’s works; discomfort at finding works spread over the Internet without knowing or having had a say in it; the possibility of turning PoetBay into a distracting, gimmicky website which gets too big to retain its character, purpose and sense of community.

Some of the participants who would like to see the share toolbar implemented have not expressed a preference for it to be for the authors’ private use or for the whole public’s use. And some would prefer it was made available to the author privately.


Going by the good points raised and the concerns expressed, and because some of them cannot be found a suitable compromise, we understand and agree that implementing the share toolbar could not achieve serving most of the members’ expectations. Therefore, we will NOT be implementing the share toolbar on PoetBay.

The alternative suggestions that were put forward were good (thanks!), but unfortunately not possible without a massive remodelling of PoetBay’s present code. Considering the majority’s response is not in favor of it, we also feel it would not be productive use of the little resources we have to run PoetBay to undertake this coding project.

We thank again all who have participated. We hope this result is satisfactory, and not too deeply disappointing for those who were keen to have this new feature.





Community Poll / Update by Technical Team
Editors' News / Tech / Announcements & Surveys
Posted on 2010-11-01 at 05:51 CET




This is to inform you that the poll is still ongoing. We have extended it until the end of the month.  



Community Poll by Technical Team
Editors' News / Tech / Announcements & Surveys
Posted on 2010-10-15 at 9:34 CET




With the advent of social networking and bookmarking technologies now available on the web, we would like to offer to our members who use these technologies the possibility of an easy access to them on PoetBay by the Share toolbar (pictured above) which would be placed at the bottom of texts, before the comments listed.


But we also realize that these technologies are not necessarily everyone's cup of tea, and since we don't want to intrude or cause discomfort to anyone's experience on PoetBay, we are turning to you for your thoughts :-)




1.  Should the Share toolbar be made available privately?


This would mean only the PoetBay author of the texts would see the toolbar on his/her own texts and could decide to share them or not through social networking sites.




2.  Should the Share toolbar be made available publicly?


This would mean that everyone who views a text on PoetBay would see the toolbar and could decide to share it through social networking sites.



NB:  The toolbar facilitates the sharing of a link which would lead to a text,  it does not facilitate the sharing of a text's integral words.


(modified Sept 3 2010)


Community Poll by Technical Team
Editors' News / Tech / Announcements & Surveys
Posted on 2010-09-01 at 11:27 CET

Diary by Editorial Team The PoetBay support member heart!
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Written on 2010-11-01 at 00:00

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As usual I'm late to the conversation.

I am not in favor of the public option. I find my poems scattered over the internet, how they got there I don't know. At first it seemed pretty cool, then I realized, it ain't. Let's try to keep the poet in control of their poetry.

My bigger concern about poetbay is this: I've watched two other poetry sites go viral over the last two years. What I mean is that they have become too large, too quickly. They have lost their character, there is no longer a sense of community. They are plagued with problems, both technical and ethical. Poems by the hundreds pour in daily, the comments are facile to the extreme.

Poetbay's brilliance is its size. Adding a social network, as a public option, has the potential to change the nature of the site. I would really, really hate to see that.


Thomas Perdue The PoetBay support member heart!
Personally, I feel that the vast majority of those who commented on this poll do not understand what is being asked. This poll has nothing to do with texts being shared: it has to do with implementing a new feature to facilitate easier access to sharing as such. I can understand that most people do not want their texts being shared by others, I am not one of them, but I respect their desires. So, I would recommend giving users an option in their settings to either include the tool bar on all their posts by default (and possibly giving an option to change that setting text by text), or not including the tool bar at all by default, or (as a third option) blocking access to their texts by anyone other than a logged in member. This is just an idea I had, and I do not know programming, so I don't know how easy or difficult this would be, or if it is even feasible, but I thought I would add a suggestion!

I may not have said all that right, but what I am trying to say is I vote "NO!"


Personally, I prefer to have mine left alone. If I want to share them then that is what I will do, but that doesn't mean I wan't everyone else to share them with just anyone that they might want too. You know your writings sometimes (though not always) get very personal.

Damon D. Brewer

Bob The PoetBay support member heart!
I don't mind if people want to share my poems.

SecretWords The PoetBay support member heart!
I vote "no" to making sharing available publicly.

I also vote "no" for the toolbar itself, as in particular Facebook automatically takes the rights to content to anything published there. Wouldn't this mean that we would lose the rights to our poesm and texts published her, but shared on FB?

I wonder how difficult it would be to have a box, in the 'options' section of 'my page', to choose weather or not a 'share toolbar is present or not? Not being a programmer I'm not sure of what this entails, but perhaps it isn't a huge task and such a compromise could satisfy both sides of this.
My view for not wanting this is based on the belief that writing is a discipline that takes concentration. It is an endeavour which, over the years, has been found to be better practised in the serenity and quiet of libraries and secluded places where there is less to break the continuity of thought.
The other qualm I have about the toolbar is the possibility that it is the tip of an iceberg, and that it may be followed by various other appendages, advertisements and distractions which will further subtract from the purpose of this site, which is to share poetry among fellow poets.
There are many rooms in this great mansion called the internet. There are rooms for all tastes. I think we must beware though, in trying to make a room that tries to cater to all tastes, for once we've knocked down walls to put in large doors, we may not be able to go back and find the essence of what was once here.

Anne Westlund
Since you are just sharing a link to the original text I think it is OK to have a share bar.

On a different note:
Are the numbers of readers of our poems accurate? I find it hard to believe that many people have read my poems! Or that each poem has been read that many times!


night soul woman The PoetBay support member heart!
Hm I somehow understand the - No answer -. But if I understand right the toolbar can be available to me, as a member of poetbay.

Every time I log in on poetbay, on my account(privately). I as the author of my poems/photographs/paintings I 've been given the choice, I can decide if I want to share one of my published artworks on poetbay to another social network site

By Just Clicking On A Button

(instead of copy and paste link, log in to the other site or save text or upload photograph in that other website - that might take some minutes and it can be perceived as "waste of valuable time").

I will be back to read what the rest of poetbay thinks about it and I need time to think about it as well:)

ken d williams The PoetBay support member heart!
I vote no.
Ken D Williams

Stan Cooper The PoetBay support member heart!
Simply put, I agree with NO to share toolbar


Lets keep the purity and value of Poetbay intact. Its a very personal place for many and allowing sharing feature might impure it.

I say "NO" to sharing feature.

Thomas Perdue The PoetBay support member heart!
I am not particularly familiar with the sharing toolbar. I have seen it around on various sites before while surfing the net, but it is not a part of any website that I regularly use. However, as to my understanding, all it actually does is share the LINK to the posted text, correct? It is not re-posting the text anywhere else on the Internet?

If that is so, then the toolbar is not allowing or promoting users to do anything that they cannot already do. I could post any link I want on Myspace, facebook or any other similar website that I want! However, this tool would make it more easily done, easier access to do so.

As for copyright laws, I do not see that being an issue here, since the vast majority of the work being posted here is NOT copyrighted. That aside, I do see it as being good courtesy to not post links to people's works on sites if they do not wish for it to be posted (even though the text is actually published, and as such it is available to anyone with an Internet connection).

I don't want to sound like a broken record player or anything, but why not put something in the account settings to allow users to decide whether or not they want the toolbar to appear publicly on their texts? Or maybe decide on a text-by-text basis? Decide as we post? I dunno, maybe that's not such a good idea!

In any case, I'm definitely in favor of the toolbar. And I do not see it as infringing upon anyone's privacy (there is no privacy on a public website, unless you block non-members from viewing texts). It may encourage more people to share texts on social networking sites, that could be a downside for those who do not want their works shared in a forum where so many people they do not know will be seeing it.

In conclusion, I would have to say that PoetBay is a small website, some people may prefer to post here since that means their work is being seen my a smaller audience. If that's the case, then they should be given the choice to not have their work shared elsewhere on the Internet against their wishes (even though this cannot be guaranteed). The toolbar might infringe upon that since it would encourage people to do so. All the same, I'm in favor of it. What's on the Internet is public! This site is already referenced by Google anyway!

Sorry if I seem to contradict myself, I'm just trying to look at it from all angles, in addition to expressing my own views. :-)

Rob Graber
Until I hear countervailing arguments, I find myself agreeing with Nick, Peter, and Ken. Thanks!

ken d williams The PoetBay support member heart!
I prefer my work remain from the all social networking sites . If any needs to find my work , well let them find my work. I do not wish my work to be devalued by those sites. As they are but cash cow , well I will not add to their profits. Fore free! I'd rather delete all my work than in any way profit them damned site's , thank you!

Ken D Williams

Peter Humphreys The PoetBay support member heart!
Just to add, I agree with Nick's comments completely. Peter

Peter Humphreys The PoetBay support member heart!
Dear Friends, Many thanks for the thought you have given this idea. However, though I use e-mail extensively, I withdrew from social network sites, such as those above, because of confidentiality infringements experienced by me and my friends. So I would not support this proposal in general I am afraid. In fact for network users it is not difficult at present I think to cut and paste the poem(s) reference details to as many people as they may wish. If pushed to decide one way or the other, I would therefore prefer the first option. Thank you for consulting. Best wishes, Peter

I wonder what the legal ramifications of providing a tool to facilitate the exchange and /or proliferation of intellectual property would be. If this utility is incorporated into Poetbay, I would suggest consulting with someone well versed in copyright law pertaining to the internet. I tend to believe that the act of incorporating this utility into the site directly contradicts the part of the statement '...a safe haven for poets.' Is there, anywhere on the site, a legal disclaimer pertaining to exactly what poetbay does with posted texts? This is a complicated issue and it involves individually, every single author who has any work posted here, therefor I suspect the onus falls on Poetbay to contact each of these authors to inform them that the conditions implied when they posted their works, have changed.

I am of the distinct opinion that it would be rude for me to take your sandwich and offer it to others. It isn't mine to offer.