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Leonardo
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That wasn't needed. They posted again and this time with a registered account ^^ (PMed her)

I guess this time it can be approved now

Theremin
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Sorry all- I know I'm late to the discussion here, but RL has been massively busy for me of late.

If you've already approved the rule change, I'm cool with it. I think we're missing the entire mark here, though. (But due to my tardiness I won't make an issue of it!)

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Leonardo wrote:

That wasn't needed. They posted again and this time with a registered account ^^ (PMed her)

I guess this time it can be approved now


If you're talking about me, then I didn't submit the original post. I just copied the text of that post into a calendar event.

Leonardo
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Theremin we have found something that we agree upon, but it's clearly possible that we are looking at the matter just from one point of view. If you have more things to say just tell them

Theremin
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Leonardo wrote:

Theremin we have found something that we agree upon, but it's clearly possible that we are looking at the matter just from one point of view. If you have more things to say just tell them

hehe. OK you asked for it :P

News organizations report on "Illegal activities" on a daily basis, murders, theft, copyright infringement, corporate espionage, etc. None of these organizations condone this activity. They may choose not to print details such as how to break into an office to steal corporate secrets without getting caught, but they will inform the community when this happens.

It has long been a tactic of organizations and groups to get "free advertising" by issuing press releases, hoping to get reporters to cover Grand Openings and the like. I think a better approach would be to take this stance and determine if what is being posted is actually "hard-core news", or simply someone advertising their wares. I don't think we should become the "moral police" of the Uru community. If someone submits a story about an illegal shard, including newsworthy details such as (but not limited to) the creator(s) names, how long they've been working on the project, the tools they used, the communities they're involved in, what prompted them to create the shard, etc., etc.; we can choose not to post a link to their site or an email contact if we so wish.

If they submit a news item about a shard opening on such a date and where to join, we can reject it simply based on the fact that it's advertising, if we so choose. Explorers who are looking for illegal shards will find them whether we post the stories here or not. We can post a disclaimer (and I think we should) to the effect that our publishing a story on our front page does not mean we either condemn or condone it, simply that we are reporting it.

Marten
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That is a worthwhile perspective to share, Theremin.  I'm not certain that I will agree with all of it, but I understand your perspective and appreciate that you explained your thoughts.

A few points in response.

* Most of our news is a form of advertising (events are all advertising!).  Very little of what we do is real news.  And because of that, I think it is difficult and too subjective to try to differentiate and permit some articles, and not others, based on whether they are too much "advertising" or not.  This might be an OK policy for the newspaper but it doesn't work out so well for the website.

* News organizations that report on illegal activities are rarely neutral about it.  They typically DO condemn such things.  I think it would be awkward for us to disclaim that we are neither condoning nor condemning.

* Because we have a very narrow focus (the community built around games from Cyan), we are not like a normal news organization.  If the Business Journal upsets HP by reporting on news that HP doesn't want public, they might lose HP's business as an advertiser, and HP may stop giving interviews.  Not a big deal, right?  HP is just one fish in the sea of all businesses.  But if we report on news that Cyan would prefer not be made so public, the consequences are different for us.  We could lose out on inside information from the only company we care about for such information.  If we were reporting on all MMOs... this situation might be different for us.  But we're not like that.

*  My last point is more of a formality.  Because we are not a real news organizaiton, at least in the USA, we are not immune from prosecution if we report on information that somehow aides or abets illegal activity.  I don't believe Cyan would ever take us to court for reporting on activities in the community, but I wanted to mention that it is within their ability and rights!

kaeebonrai
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please note, that shards are /not/ illegal.

Cyan never revoked access to shards - they just shut down the global auth server. Alcugs is also a completely legal open source program.

http://forum.guildofwriters.com/viewtopic.php?p=46702#p46702 <-- see here. =)

 

It is utterly /incorrect/ to call Shards illegal. At worst, extralegal, not illegal. =)

Leonardo
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I agree with Kaelis, Alcugs shards have very little of illegal, and that little part stands in the Grey Area. Then, there is still the fact that Cyan (chogon?) asked not to create public shards some time ago, iirc.

But Theremin brought our discussion to a wider topic. We shouldn't mix where we stand for the Shards and where we stand for general Illegal Activities.

I'm not sure on the Disclaimer. Yes it feels awkward, but formally that would tell exactly that we want to stay neutral, maybe we have to better define what Neutral means. To me neutral is more what Theremin described. We just have to care a bit about the contents that we publish and make sure that we publish the articles with the less biased point of view as possible.

Marten's points are built on the possibility of doing something that Cyan doesn't want; we could contact RAWA and ask what would be Cyan's thoughts if we publish news about Public Shards.

Theremin
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This is what I like, a good in-depth discussion with well thought out reasoning.

Yes, I agree that most of the "news" we publish is advertising of some sort or another, because there is very little other to report on. the only things happening that most explorers are willing to submit articles are events and such in the cavern. We don't have any "reporters" as such that are out looking for news, and this is understandable; no one is here because they need a(nother) job, especially one at this rate of pay.

I agree there are very few articles in RL news that could be determined as being completely neutral. It is a long-standing journalistic technique Szark and I recently discussed where you can take a stand by appearing completely neutral by not offering any personal opinions but selectively reporting on only those elements which support your position. (e.g., reporting or not reporting on the criminal's traumatic childhood)

I haven't been involved in the Messengers as long as others, but in the time I have been here, I have not seen Cyan give us any exclusive inside information that we could report on. I wouldn't be opposed to asking RAWA for advice, but to be honest I feel if CYAN is going to oversee the Guild of Messengers we need more direct input and help from them. RAWA will probably say what I would say if I were working for CYAN; don't report on anything that we (CYAN) don't approve of.

News agencies are rarely if ever prosecuted in the US for reporting on illegal activities. What they are prosecuted for is not revealing sources when that information is determined to be vital to an ongoing criminal investigation. (They won't be prosecuted for reporting on the location of a top-secret defense installation. They will be prosecuted if they refuse to reveal who the leak was that gave them the information. They won't be prosecuted if that leak is revealed in the article.) Since we are not a real news agency, I would have no problem turning over what information we have if asked/ordered to do so by an appropriate agency.

My understanding of our discussion here is that we want to appear neutral while keeping CYAN happy and not upsetting anyone else. We are trying to incorporate this into a policy that we can point to and say- "See? You can't be upset at us because we're following our policy!" We all know we all have different opinions on everything, which is a huge part of what makes us as successful as we are. We don't publish anything non-CYAN/Myst related, and we don't publish links to where explorers can download pirated software. Do we publish an article about someone who is writing an age and has obtained an FCAL, is following the canon guidelines issued, has involved a number of people on the project, yet admits in the article they are using a pirated OS?

Leonardo
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My answer would be "yes, provided we don't explain how to download/use/make a pirated OS or include links to articles that do that"

I haven't been involved in the Messengers as long as others, but in the time I have been here, I have not seen Cyan give us any exclusive inside information that we could report on. I wouldn't be opposed to asking RAWA for advice, but to be honest I feel if CYAN is going to oversee the Guild of Messengers we need more direct input and help from them. RAWA will probably say what I would say if I were working for CYAN; don't report on anything that we (CYAN) don't approve of.

That happened only once, I wasn't in the GoMe yet, and there was a lot of confusion because the community didn't expect the GoMe to have scoops from Cyan, so everyone started asking if what GoMe published was true.

I agree there are very few articles in RL news that could be determined as being completely neutral. It is a long-standing journalistic technique Szark and I recently discussed where you can take a stand by appearing completely neutral by not offering any personal opinions but selectively reporting on only those elements which support your position.

That's my point, to be neutral we should try to include all sides of the subject we are reporting of, of course we may not be able to find all of them, but at least we should include all the things that we know about the things contained in the article, sometimes just a link can be enough

My understanding of our discussion here is that we want to appear neutral while keeping CYAN happy and not upsetting anyone else. We are trying to incorporate this into a policy that we can point to and say- "See? You can't be upset at us because we're following our policy!"

Well, more or less. Yes we want to be able to say that, because we don't want someone saying that we approve or reject materials arbitrarily

Marten
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kaelisebonrai wrote:

please note, that shards are /not/ illegal.

Cyan never revoked access to shards - they just shut down the global auth server. Alcugs is also a completely legal open source program.

http://forum.guildofwriters.com/viewtopic.php?p=46702#p46702 <-- see here. =)

It is utterly /incorrect/ to call Shards illegal. At worst, extralegal, not illegal. =)

I see that post, and I also see Diafero's posts after it.

When someone says, "The shards are not illegal", it is important to think through all of the different things that are meant by "a shard".  A shard is a program... it is data files... but it is also some other things.   A shard is also the people administering it.  And, a shard is nothing without users!  And that is where the shards fail the test of legality.

Think about connecting a client to either a plServer or Alcugs shard:  Even if the shard programs, and use of the data files by the shards, are found to be legal, anyone who connects to one of these shards is breaking copyright law due to the precedent of Blizzard's lawsuit versus MDY, as I explained earlier.  It is not possible to connect to a UU or Alcugs shard without modifying the client software beyond Cyan's UU patch, because at a minimum you have to change the pointer to the authorization shard.  That breaks the EULA, and use of the modified software is copyright infringement.  And if you incorporate any data files from other software, like Myst V, you're now breaking the EULA of that software, too.

Shard operators are encouraging this copyright infringement.  Encouraging others to break the law is, as a general rule, also illegal, and this has been the subject of numerous court cases in the US.  It doesn't matter if you require end users to own the game.  Morally, you have the high ground, you're doing the right thing, Cyan would be crazy to take you down - you're a boon to sales, right?  But legally, you're a violator.  To make it legal, Cyan needs to issue a revised EULA, but as you can see from their position at their forums, this is unlikely.

I am not happy with the current situation.  Until the ruling in 2008, there was far less basis in law to argue that unauthorized shards were illegal.  But this is the world we're living in today - these are the facts as they are.  Enough with the denials.

We are trying to figure out a diplomatic way to report on these shards despite the challenges involved.  Denials of the problem are not going to help us do that.

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If we ask for Cyan's explicit permission to report on shards, then they have to say no, because they might conceivably at some point in the future want to charge for proprietary shard server software, or something. I recommend putting the article up and making clear that it will be taken down if Cyan explicitly requests that it be removed. That way, Cyan has the option of pretending not to notice, or not to care enough to go to the bother of telling us to take it down.

Leonardo
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*puts on mod hat*
I want to move before this gets out of control just like GoMa and GoW Forums. Stop arguing about how much legal the shards are, the topic now is related but different. We have already seen how these discussions end: bad blood, nothing more, I'm not going to tolerate that.


Now, since there are different opinions about how much a shard is legal and all that stuff:

I find that when you are in doubt the best move you can do is considering the worst of the cases and work with that, it's the safest way; then if things go better we are all happy.
In this case the worst of the cases is considering the shards illegal, it doesn't matter if it's true or not, it's just the ipothesis that are going to use to work our problem (posting about Shards, yes, no?)

From the posts of the participants I find that we are all more or less inclined to approving this kind of news or events (correct me now if I'm wrong) and we had even wrote a draft of a new rule. Now, to the light of the good points that Theremin and the following posters have said probably we want to change what we wrote before, this is the text:

The GoMe won't publish any content related to illegal activities.
The GoMe do publish content of Shards that incorporate copyrighted content that is either (a) already in the end user's legal possession or (b) used with the permission of the author.

 Maybe for timeliness, and because of the difficulty in identifying the actual submitter, we could make a decision that:

* Generally we'll contact the submitter to re-submit in future scenarios similar to this one, BUT
* We reserve the right to make an exception and go ahead and approve once the rule is changed, and we're doing so in this case


If we consider the Shards illegal (only our working ipothesis, ok?) then the first two rules are in contradiction; maybe we could consider stepping back of one move and return to the "except for" form

keiya
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'If you want to stay safe, don't link shards.' seems reasonable enough. Of course, reporting on illegal things isn't illegal - if it was, journalists the world over would be in a LOT of trouble, heh!

Theremin
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*puts on editor's hat*

Leonardo wrote:

The GoMe won't publish any content related to illegal activities.
The GoMe do publish content of Shards that incorporate copyrighted content that is either (a) already in the end user's legal possession or (b) used with the permission of the author.

Too vague and hard to verify. Will we not report on actions taken as a result of illegal activities? How can we verify whether or not the shard is incorporating copyrighted content in an illegal manner? How do we know they have the author's permission? I believe the Pelishard(?) claimed to be "legal" when it was later determined not to be. Are we going to follow up personally on each claim?

Personally, I don't want to promote the idea of people hacking, stealing, ripping off, or anything else of Cyan's or anyone else's property. Arguments can be made as to it's hurting no one, no one is dying, etc. but the principal of following the applicable laws remains. If we're going to be a news agency, rather than a "message" agency, I feel we should establish what types of articles we are going to publish, and then publish them, with edits as we deem appropriate. If the articles are not relevant to our established market (we wouldn't publish an article about a new Wal-Mart opening in Mexico City) then we shouldn't publish it.

The GoMe will not publish content unrelated to the Myst Universe.
The GoMe will not publish content related to shards. 
The GoMe will not publish content solely related to hacking/pirating games.

Marten
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Theremin wrote:
Are we going to follow up personally on each claim?

A good news organization does what it reasonably can to ensure the veracity of its reporting.

Theremin
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Marten wrote:

A good news organization does what it reasonably can to ensure the veracity of its reporting.

LOL- can't argue with that statement. (Sounds like Marten's volunteering to be the fact checker...)

Marten
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Theremin wrote:

Marten wrote:

A good news organization does what it reasonably can to ensure the veracity of its reporting.

LOL- can't argue with that statement. (Sounds like Marten's volunteering to be the fact checker...)

I could do that.  I honestly do not expect this to be a frequent or common issue.  There is rarely much reason to question the truthfulness of submissions to our feed, and suspicious stories and specious claims are really not difficult to spot.  Whether it's "Pelishard is approved by Cyan" or "Starfyre's player has died in a terrible accident", you just need to approach things with a little skepticism, look to see what evidence the poster has put forth to support their claim, and then do a little investigation on your own.

Any other thoughts on how we can improve upon the language, without creating compound rules (we permit x and y, except z) but avoiding rules that appear to be in contradiction?  Site rules and forum rules are not an easy thing.  Look at how much criticism Cyan has received for theirs. ;)

Here is my next attempt.  I've removed the phrase "illegal activities" and put in a clearer definition of what we will not allow.  I borrowed some of this language from Cyan's forum policies but have tried to sidestep the obvious landmines.

Quote:

These are the general rules of the Guild of Messengers Website, please follow them while submitting contents:

  • The GoMe will only accept content free of vulgar language.  Submissions must be family-friendly.
  • The GoMe will accept articles about independent Uru shards (servers), within the other limitations described here.
  • The GoMe will not publish articles promoting piracy (theft) or cracking (malicious hacking).
  • The GoMe prefers to publish only articles related to Cyan's franchises and the community built around them.  Articles that are unrelated are likely to be rejected; articles that promote commercial ventures that are unrelated WILL be rejected.
  • The GoMe is not a marketplace, and will not publish personal announcements related to buying, selling, or trading items (e.g. "Hi, I have an original copy or the first Myst episode and I want to sell it. the price is xxx$. First come, first served."). This doesn't apply to News from Cyan (e.g. "Cyan has released the new version of Riven for iPhone and iPod Touch at the price of 15$").
  • The GoMe will reject articles that are spam, trolling, harassment or unnecessary replication of other articles.

We happily accept feedback on articles published on our site.   If you see content on our site that seems in contradiction to the above rules, we would like to know.  For example, if you are an author of an Age being used against your wishes on a shard that we've helped to promote, then by letting us know we can reject articles relating to that shard.

The GoMe reserves the right to revise the above rules.  If revision affects content sitting in the submission queue, the GoMe will attempt to contact the submitter to notify him or her of the rules change, and the GoMe will either accept or reject the submission as it applies under the new rules. 

For the rules about forum posts and chat behaviour please refer to this document.

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I endorse this wording.

Lunanne
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sounds good to me

Leonardo
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Sounds good to me too Great choice of words Marten

Theremin
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*Me grabs hatchet*
  • The GoMe will only accept content free of vulgar language.  Submissions must be family-friendly.
    Sounds good.
  • The GoMe will accept articles about independent Uru shards (servers), within the other limitations described here.
    Sounds good.
  • The GoMe will not publish articles promoting piracy (theft) or cracking (malicious hacking).
    Sounds good.
  • The GoMe prefers to publish only articles related to Cyan's franchises and the community built around them.  Articles that are unrelated are likely to be rejected; articles that promote commercial ventures that are unrelated WILL be rejected.
    Sounds good.
  • The GoMe is not a marketplace, and will not publish personal announcements related to buying, selling, or trading items (e.g. "Hi, I have an original copy or the first Myst episode and I want to sell it. the price is xxx$. First come, first served."). This doesn't apply to News from Cyan (e.g. "Cyan has released the new version of Riven for iPhone and iPod Touch at the price of 15$").
    Would rephrase- "The Gome will not publish personal announcements related to buying, selling, or trading items." (The announcement from CYAN would not be a personal one.)
  • The GoMe will reject articles that are spam, trolling, harassment or unnecessary replication of other articles.
    Sounds good.

We happily accept feedback on articles published on our site.   If you see content on our site that seems in contradiction to the above rules, we would like to know.  For example, if you are an author of an Age being used against your wishes on a shard that we've helped to promote, then by letting us know we can reject articles relating to that shard.
I'd drop the last sentence- if someone brings that to our attention, then we would need to verify the truth of the claim. After that we can take appropriate action.

The GoMe reserves the right to revise the above rules.  If revision affects content sitting in the submission queue, the GoMe will attempt to contact the submitter to notify him or her of the rules change, and the GoMe will either accept or reject the submission as it applies under the new rules. 
On this one I would also go with just the first sentence slightly revised-"The GoMe reserves the right to revise the rules at any time." 

For the rules about forum posts and chat behaviour please refer to this document.
Sounds good.

Marten
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I can live with all of those changes.

A point has been made to me, elsewhere - if a shard is an independent MOUL (as opposed to an Uru) shard, and works with the MOULa client and does not require a copy of Uru: CC, then that is a different sort of beast and could be completely legal.  The GoW shard has been described to me as a "MOUL shard", which in my mind is distinct from an "Uru shard"...

Leonardo
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I'm not sure I see the difference. I'm supposing you say that it would be completely legal because MOULa files are publicly available right?

Looking at the screenshots of DI Shard I saw some MOULa-like errors messages so probably you are correct

Marten
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Leonardo wrote:

I'm not sure I see the difference. I'm supposing you say that it would be completely legal because MOULa files are publicly available right?

Looking at the screenshots of DI Shard I saw some MOULa-like errors messages so probably you are correct

If you use the MOULa client with the GoW's server, that might not involve violating the EULA of the Uru: Complete Chronicles software.  You might violate the MOULa client EULA, but I don't know how Cyan intends to enforce that.  Their forum rules treat discussion of the the two games differently, and Cyan has shared one piece of source for the client with us already.  It is a different situation, and I think the rules are not as well defined yet.

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Ok... Time to make some clarifications before decisions are made on (incorrect) information.

 

Firstly: The Deep Island is an Alcugs shard. It uses an alcugs client, which is a sort of mix of until uru and uru complete chronicles. kinda sorta. Its complex. (or at least, alcugs clients used to do that, not sure what stuff diafero does to make the client for DI work.) (anyone with better technical knowledge on the useage of the client used for alcugs, please step in and correct me. =P)


Secondly: Cyan has not opened any source for the client at /all/. They /have/ distributed the .max and python files for the KI, but that is not source for the client, that is content, not client source. However, there has been absolutely no license information distributed with it, so, as a result, it is completely useless.

 

However, to connect to a MO:UL server (there is only one publicly released at the moment, and its not really usable for real-world applications yet, or perhaps ever, but that's another story...) there is the possibility in the future (and as practical mo:ul-era shards are still a future thing this is /entirely/ relevant.) that one could use plasmaclient.

Leonardo
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ok......I'm even more confused now XD

However, if you all don't have anything else to add, change or discuss to the rules I think that we can publish them. It seems we have reached a consensus on them

The GoMe will only accept content free of vulgar language.  Submissions must be family-friendly.

The GoMe will accept articles about independent Uru shards (servers), within the other limitations described here.

The GoMe will not publish articles promoting piracy (theft) or cracking (malicious hacking).

The GoMe prefers to publish only articles related to Cyan's franchises and the community built around them.  Articles that are unrelated are likely to be rejected; articles that promote commercial ventures that are unrelated WILL be rejected.

The Gome will not publish personal announcements related to buying, selling, or trading items.(e.g. "Hi, I have an original copy or the first Myst episode and I want to sell it. the price is xxx$. First come, first served.")

The GoMe will reject articles that are spam, trolling, harassment or unnecessary replication of other articles.

We happily accept feedback on articles published on our site.   If you see content on our site that seems in contradiction to the above rules, we would like to know.

The GoMe reserves the right to revise the rules at any time. If revision affects content sitting in the submission queue, the GoMe will attempt to contact the submitter to notify him or her of the rules change, and the GoMe will either accept or reject the submission as it applies under the new rules.

For the rules about forum posts and chat behaviour please refer to this document.

kaeebonrai
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Well, other than the "piracy (theft)" bit, its fine. (piracy is not theft, it is more in the order of copyright infringement/violation (different laws are involved)) =)

Leonardo
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There is a nice post on the GoW forums about this thing, it was posted some days ago, but I can't find it.

Yes, piracy is not exactly theft. What about changing "piracy (theft)" to "piracy (sharing of copyrighted files)".....but then uhm....why this wouldn't be in conflict with the Shards rule? I still think that the Shards rule should be places as an exception of the piracy rule

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Leonardo wrote:

What about changing "piracy (theft)" to "piracy (sharing of copyrighted files)".....but then uhm....why this wouldn't be in conflict with the Shards rule?

I don't think it would conflict. In order to install a shard client, you have to already have a copy of the game. Shards don't enable access to any content that you don't already have.