CYBERsitter Correspondence Round 1

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The MoJo Wire:

To: bmilburn@solidoak.com
From: Eric Umansky
Subject: Why are we being blocked?
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 1996

Dear Mr. Milburn-

It has come to my attention that one of your pieces of software, Cybersitter, is blocking *one* of the domain names of our site, The MoJo Wire. The domain being blocked is www.mojones.com. The MoJo Wire is the online sister publication of Mother Jones, a magazine dedicated to "investigating and reporting on the important social and political issues of our time. " While Mother Jones prides itself on engaging substantive issues, we do not host any pornographic material or material that would be inappropriate for those under 18 (your own criteria).

Please explain why a site such as ours, that has a political focus, is currently being blocked. Or, if our site was blocked unintentionally, please remove the block.

By the way, any explanation for blocking one of our urls www.mojones.com and not blocking the other www.motherjones.com?

Sincerely,

Eric Umansky
Associate Editor
The MoJo Wire

Solid Oak’s response:

From: "Brian Milburn" bmilburn@solidoak.com>
To: Eric Umansky
Organization: Solid Oak Software, Inc.
Subject: Re: Why are we being blocked?
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 1996

Eric,

MoJo Wire was blocked because of our educational customer complaints (9) last year for gay/lesbian issues. I am sorry, I do not have any more detail than that.

I have reviewed both sites. My *personal* opinion of Al Franken is that while he is a comedic genius, he is one of the most illogical, shallow, and overrated dim wits given any creditability whatsoever when it it comes to politics and social issues. I would like to see him blocked until the cows come home. Just because someone is well known it doesn't mean they have the ability to reason.

However, my personal opinions are not the criteria by which a site is included in the blocking list. Upon review, you have (or now have) a magazine format that is totally acceptable (except Al Franken) and I don't believe would be considered offensive to anyone.

I will see to it that the site(s) are removed from the filter file tomorrow and that all updates will reflect the change. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Brian Milburn

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A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

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