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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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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