May 17, 2020

Turnstilespringboard website terms of service

I’ve finally got around to publishing a firstsecond draft of Turnstile, straightforward, low-surprise, standardizable terms of service for websites.

Longtime readers will recognize this form as a small evolution of my plain terms of service published two years ago. The kicker? I’ve reformulated for use via springboard agreement. In other words, website operators can use Turnstile for their own websites by hyperlinking to it, not copying, pasting, and filling in blanks.

You can see Turnstile in action today, since I’ve adopted it as the terms of service for commonform.org. To spare you the click, the terms page for commonform.org now reads:

The Turnstile terms of service at https://commonform.org/kemitchell/turnstile/1e2d govern use of this website. To use this website, you must agree to those terms.

That’s it.

Thousands and thousands of websites either without terms of service or with terms that are poorly understood ought to be using terms by permalink reference like this instead. It’s easier on website operators, who don’t have to go trudging through the dusty free form files of the Internet looking for something to copy and paste. In time, it can be easier on website visitors, too, since they’ll come to recognize the terms, and get used to playing ball under them.

Even longer longtime readers will remember “Terms of Service; Already Read”, where I mused on how to achieve these kinds of benefits through software. As it turns out, technology can indeed solve this problem, but the right technology for the job can be much simpler, more intuitive, and time-proven than a bunch of new code. If I’d read my own blog more carefully, I might have seen that earlier.

I’m particularly interested in how this can help folks using off-the-shelf hosting solutions like blog, forum, image board, and other platforms. Looking forward to more conversations along those lines soon.

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