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Old 01-16-2018, 01:12 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is online now
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Request For Rules Clarification re: Legal Action

In the announcement about dougie_monty's banning, ecg said (my emphasis):
Quote:
We have also been asked to make sure that it is clear that all threats of legal action, even if not directly specifically against the Straight Dope Message Board, will get you banned without further notice
and I just wanted some clarity - if I'm discussing my bad neighbour, and I say "I should sic a lawyer on his ass", is that a "threat of legal action" under this rule? Or does it, as I suspect, only cover all threats against both the Dope and other posters? That seems like the intention of the rule, but as phrased, it's ambiguous.
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Old 01-16-2018, 01:31 AM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
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Thanks for posting this as I was about to ask myself. I had heard that threatening to sue the SDMB or its owners was a HUGE no-no, but never legal threats against another poster. Why is this such a touchy subject, anyway?
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Old 01-16-2018, 01:36 AM
galen ubal galen ubal is offline
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Originally Posted by buddha_david View Post
Thanks for posting this as I was about to ask myself. I had heard that threatening to sue the SDMB or its owners was a HUGE no-no, but never legal threats against another poster. Why is this such a touchy subject, anyway?
I suspect it's because they don't want to get in the middle - after all, how could a poster be identified without help from the Board?
Hell, it's hard to think of how someone could be identified with the help of the Board, but that won't keep lawyers from trying, I'm sure.
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:21 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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Note that threats of illegal actions against another poster is also banned here ...
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:37 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
and I just wanted some clarity - if I'm discussing my bad neighbour, and I say "I should sic a lawyer on his ass", is that a "threat of legal action" under this rule?
No, that's not a threat of legal action under the rule. It's a perfectly fine IMHO thread topic.

Don't threaten legal action against other SDMB users, the SDMB, its owners, or any company or person related to the SDMB or its owners like the advertisers here. For example, threatening to sue one of our advertisers can get you banned.

This is something that we moderators have absolutely no discretion with. We are given no legal training whatsoever and are not authorized to represent the company in any way. Any threat of legal action gets the user immediately banned or suspended, and everything gets forwarded and kicked upstairs. No exceptions.

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 01-16-2018 at 07:38 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
For example, threatening to sue one of our advertisers can get you banned.
If Coca-Cola starts running banner ads, and unrelatedly, someone posts about opening a can of Coke to find an insect - what happens if someone says "you should sue them!" Maybe clarify your statement to "threatening to sue one of our advertisers as it relates to their ad content can get you banned"?
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:46 AM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Don't threaten legal action against other SDMB users, the SDMB, its owners, or any company or person related to the SDMB or its owners like the advertisers here. For example, threatening to sue one of our advertisers can get you banned.
Alright, I'll admit the highlighted portion is the one I didn't think of, and God knows how much of an irritant the ads can be. Thanks for highlighting that. (It's a damn shame The Dope has to stand by the random and often terrible advertisers brought to us by the advertising brokers it's contracted with, but there you go.)

Last edited by gnoitall; 01-16-2018 at 08:47 AM.
  #8  
Old 01-16-2018, 08:49 AM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
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Originally Posted by galen ubal View Post
I suspect it's because they don't want to get in the middle - after all, how could a poster be identified without help from the Board?
Hell, it's hard to think of how someone could be identified with the help of the Board, but that won't keep lawyers from trying, I'm sure.
Plenty of dopers have given away information that could help to trace them. They might give their real namer as their username, or as their email in their user profile, state their date of birth, give their location, tell us what job they do, and so on.
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:14 AM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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IANAL but this 'threat' was so laughably baseless I would think he had to have been joking. I know the poster in this case has a history of blowing a gasket over small perceived slights and going all Internet Tough Guy at the slightest provocation, but really? A lawsuit claiming that someone on the internet doubted his story about an unnamed cousin auditioning for a TV show half a century ago is not going to make it to the discovery phase. And using phrases like "how DARE you?" etc., I'm pretty sure in this case he was trying to be humorous and not a litigious Internet Tough Guy - although I guess it's possible.

I understand the corporate mentality that leads to a black and white, no exceptions rules like this but even in the most corporate of corporate environments saying something ridiculous like you're going to consult your lawyer about that guy who keeps taking the last cup of coffee from the breakroom without making a new pot isn't going to get you in trouble.

If the poster is petitioning to be reinstated after having learned his lesson I hope TPTB have the flexibility to consider it.
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
If the poster is petitioning to be reinstated after having learned his lesson I hope TPTB have the flexibility to consider it.
I doubt they do, and if they did, I wouldn't be in favor of reinstatement. He crossed a bright line, even if he may have stumbled blindly across it.
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:48 AM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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I doubt they do, and if they did, I wouldn't be in favor of reinstatement. He crossed a bright line, even if he may have stumbled blindly across it.
The rule about not threatening the board itself is a pretty bright line but the same rule applying to other posters, ad providers, etc. is actually news to me and I consider myself to be generally up to speed on the rules here.

What defines a threat is always subject to interpretation. Does it need to be a credible, practical threat? The mods here are obviously not trained to make such calls but if, after having been reviewed by the suits upstairs the threat is dismissed as utterly baseless, and at the same time TPTB here think it might have actually just been meant as a joke to begin with, then I'd hope the mods could apply their own judgement at that point if keeping an otherwise contributing and longstanding member is of any value to them.
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:58 AM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
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Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
The rule about not threatening the board itself is a pretty bright line but the same rule applying to other posters, ad providers, etc. is actually news to me and I consider myself to be generally up to speed on the rules here.

What defines a threat is always subject to interpretation. Does it need to be a credible, practical threat? The mods here are obviously not trained to make such calls but if, after having been reviewed by the suits upstairs the threat is dismissed as utterly baseless, and at the same time TPTB here think it might have actually just been meant as a joke to begin with, then I'd hope the mods could apply their own judgement at that point if keeping an otherwise contributing and longstanding member is of any value to them.
By the time TPTB and their legal eagles make a realistic threat assessment, it's too late for the mods to do anything. The threatening poster is BANNED.

It seems analogous to getting ejected from an airplane for joking about a bomb. Even if the feds believe you that you were "ha ha only kidding", the plane is long gone. You won't be getting back on it.
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:03 AM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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Originally Posted by gnoitall View Post
By the time TPTB and their legal eagles make a realistic threat assessment, it's too late for the mods to do anything. The threatening poster is BANNED.

It seems analogous to getting ejected from an airplane for joking about a bomb. Even if the feds believe you that you were "ha ha only kidding", the plane is long gone. You won't be getting back on it.
Yeah, except it isn't like that. In this case it would just be a matter of clicking a button. Many posters have been reinstated after a temporary ban for various reasons, including every single one of us once when an Admin accidentally banned us all.

I'm not really fighting for reinstatement here though. It just occurs to me the threat was so utterly absurd, and very possibly IMO an attempt at humor.
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:05 AM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
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Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
IANAL but this 'threat' was so laughably baseless I would think he had to have been joking.

I'm not certain if he was joking or not. But just to be clear, what are the rules on jokes like that. If someone says, as a joke, "see you in court" with no real intent to sue, would he be warned? banned? no moderator action taken?
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:06 AM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
I'm not certain if he was joking or not. But just to be clear, what are the rules on jokes like that. If someone says, as a joke, "see you in court" with no real intent to sue, would he be warned? banned? no moderator action taken?
Based on what I learned today that could lead to an instant ban with no chance for appeal.
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:52 AM
bucketybuck bucketybuck is offline
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IANAL but this 'threat' was so laughably baseless I would think he had to have been joking.
I've just read the linked post, and the posts were absurd but I actually think he was being serious.

I don't think he would ever have done it of course, but he wasn't joking around and he did seriously threaten to go to his attorney regarding something a random poster said on a message board.

Such a silly way to go.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:06 PM
TroutMan TroutMan is online now
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Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
...And using phrases like "how DARE you?" etc., I'm pretty sure in this case he was trying to be humorous and not a litigious Internet Tough Guy - although I guess it's possible.
Having seen his reaction to perceived slights several times, I have no doubt he was serious.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:14 PM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
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Yeah, except it isn't like that. In this case it would just be a matter of clicking a button.
You say that as if the technical difficulty or ease mattered one bit.

IMHO (by my observations), It's a hyper-aggressive defensive policy that makes no allowances and takes no chances. Shoot first, ask questions later.

TPTB don't care for the SDMB. They want it to be revenue-positive but under no circumstances do they seem invested in it enough to take any fiscal or legal risks to their business enterprise, so no one who matters has any incentive to reverse the ban on the subjective basis of "ok, he was just foolin'".

In case you hadn't noticed, lawyers on the job aren't noted for their sense of humor overriding their native caution with respect to their clients.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Don't threaten legal action against other SDMB users, the SDMB, its owners, or any company or person related to the SDMB or its owners like the advertisers here. For example, threatening to sue one of our advertisers can get you banned.
Seems like all this rule can accomplish is this: If anyone thinks they have a case to sue any of the above, go right ahead, but just don't dare mention it in a post here.

What happens if a poster posts, in another forum, a threat to sue any of the above? Is a poster going to get instabanned if he posts a thread to sue SDMB over at GB, for example?
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:58 PM
Morgyn Morgyn is offline
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Hmmm. As a member, I don't see the ads and have no idea who's advertising. So if I threatened a lawsuit against an advertiser I can't see, am I still subject to banning?
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Old 01-16-2018, 01:13 PM
Telemark Telemark is online now
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Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
The rule about not threatening the board itself is a pretty bright line but the same rule applying to other posters, ad providers, etc. is actually news to me and I consider myself to be generally up to speed on the rules here.
Threatening legal action against another poster regarding something posted here is IMO a bright line. I think the point is any legal action that would involve the SMDB and its owners would be catastrophic to the website, regardless of how quickly it was dismissed. I guess I never felt the need to have it spelled out; if TPTB need to call the lawyers than we've already lost.

This is certainly the case where there may be collateral damage, but that's the price you pay with the current financial status of the board
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Old 01-16-2018, 01:20 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
Yeah, except it isn't like that. In this case it would just be a matter of clicking a button. Many posters have been reinstated after a temporary ban for various reasons, including every single one of us once when an Admin accidentally banned us all.

I'm not really fighting for reinstatement here though. It just occurs to me the threat was so utterly absurd, and very possibly IMO an attempt at humor.
In my experience the poster in question has shown little evidence of a sense of humor in the past and it does not appear to be the case now.

As for the banning if you read all of his responses in the thread beyond what he ultimately was banned for he was at the very least breaking rule #1 and being a jerk. He has had multiple warnings and a suspension in the past. Even without the rule violation being questioned in this thread he was probably looking at a ban or a long suspension for his latest violations.

We wonít engage in speaking bad about a poster who canít speak for himself but I wanted to clear that part up.
  #23  
Old 01-16-2018, 01:41 PM
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I doubt they do, and if they did, I wouldn't be in favor of reinstatement. He crossed a bright line, even if he may have stumbled blindly across it.
I recall him making that threat in the past - and not being banned. He's also made numerous tough guy threats over the years.

I was surprised that he finally got banned - and while I think its been a long time coming for various rules violations, am still somewhat saddened by it.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by buddha_david View Post
Why is this such a touchy subject, anyway?
Back when this board started, there was a regular poster who was also one of the original moderators. In real life she was a lawyer. There was a dispute involving other moderators, and this poster was relieved of her moderator status.

The poster said that some of the posts that had been made about her called into question her professional credibility as a lawyer. There was an argument involving a lot of people. The poster eventually said that she would take legal action against the people involved and the board as a whole if they were not resolved to her satisfaction.

I don't think she ever filed any actual legal action but the board took the threat seriously enough to ban her from the board. A new rule was instituted which made threats of legal action against the board or its members a banable offense.

I will point out that while I was a member when all this happened, I was not a moderator so I only saw most of this indirectly. And it happened over fifteen years ago. So my summary might be wrong in some of the details.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:56 PM
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I will point out that while I was a member when all this happened, I was not a moderator so I only saw most of this indirectly. And it happened over fifteen years ago. So my summary might be wrong in some of the details.
Mostly matches my memory as well. Melin was the defrocked mod. The de-modding was as a result of her and another mod (Jillgat?) arguing over something. Ed told them both to knock it off. The other mod did, Melin didn't.

It gets dumber/weirder when you realize that the comments about her professional credibility were made on the Usenet (not the SDMB) in the alt.fan.cecil-adams group and Melin still threatened to sue if Tuba/Ed/etc didn't somehow delete the posts on the newsgroup (which couldn't physically be done). Melin then joined Opal's board was a mod for a while, got de-modded for some reason (something about calling Child Services on Opal) and then claimed that her boyfriend who she was just then going to visit was murdered in a St. Valentine's Day Massacre type shootout. So....yeah. That was her.

The other early issue was an alleged lawyer named DPWhite who said something like "If you chose to be a Republican, you better get used to being abused and kicked around on this board" and another poster changed his quote to change "Republican" to "Jew" to mock his statement. DPWhite went apeshit, said it was libel, threatened to sue the board and the other poster and was also instabanned. And from that, we also got the "Quote boxes are sancrosanct" rule. (IIRC, the other poster changed the quote box to say "NOT posted by DPWhite" or something similar.)
  #26  
Old 01-16-2018, 03:38 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
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Can't find anything like that in DPWhite's history, and he certainly hasn't been banned. Although he hasn't posted in many years.

Maybe you're thinking of someone else?
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:21 PM
Fenris Fenris is offline
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Nope. I know that the post (or thread) with changed quote box was cornfielded, and I'm like 99% certain it was DPWhite. Remember, a bunch of people who were banned before some software switchover/upgrade aren't listed as banned any more
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:27 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Didn't Smash the State also threaten to sue over something?


Quite frankly, I'm surprised Dougie lasted as long as he did. I'm guessing the mods cut him a lot of slack due to his mental issues, but the guy was bound to get the axe sooner or later.
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:27 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Just to clarify one point: We the moderators would not be deciding to let this particular poster back. If anyone would be, it would be Ed. Now, will or would Ed make that decision? Don't ask me.
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:45 PM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
In my experience the poster in question has shown little evidence of a sense of humor in the past and it does not appear to be the case now.

As for the banning if you read all of his responses in the thread beyond what he ultimately was banned for he was at the very least breaking rule #1 and being a jerk. He has had multiple warnings and a suspension in the past. Even without the rule violation being questioned in this thread he was probably looking at a ban or a long suspension for his latest violations.

We wonít engage in speaking bad about a poster who canít speak for himself but I wanted to clear that part up.
Well, OK. I'm outnumbered unanimously in my theory it might have been a half-assed attempt at humor. I have seen him attempt humor - sometimes after going all ballistic and then getting sort of conciliatory, and sometimes in moments it seemed like he was getting angry but trying not to let it show. When doing that he has taken the tone and style of speech of this legal threat; saying things like "My good sir, I'll have you know..." and I think even "How DARE you?" literally. So that combined with how utterly ridiculous the threat of litigation was would incline me to hear him out if he was claiming it was a joke and contritely asking to be reinstated, which I don't even know that he was.

But I'm not about to do a search to find those examples. Even if the legal threat angle is a little far fetched if he'd gotten a warning for being a jerk, trolling, threadshitting... take your pick, and that warning would have likely led to a ban anyway it's a moot point.
  #31  
Old 01-16-2018, 09:26 PM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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I've amended the registration agreement to clarify our policy regarding threats. This simply codifies longstanding practice and is not a new rule.
  #32  
Old 01-16-2018, 09:44 PM
hajario hajario is online now
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This all seems reasonable to me. The parent company doesn't want to waste any time on a law suit, even a ridiculous one that has no merit. Even if one were to threaten to sue another member over something said here, the parent company could potentially be compelled to supply data or IP addresses which is again a silly waste of time.

The Modes have enough shit to deal with without having to ascertain if something is said in jest or not. Even if they did, you'd get jerks hiding behind the "I was just joking" excuse. Fuck that.

As soon as I saw that d-m said he was going to sue, I knew that he was done.
  #33  
Old 01-16-2018, 11:07 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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Originally Posted by watchwolf49 View Post
Note that threats of illegal actions against another poster is also banned here ...
Aw, man.
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  #34  
Old 01-16-2018, 11:26 PM
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So in a thread, say about advertising in general (acceptable business practices, for example), someone posts a comment about what they perceive are unscrupulous methods of an advertiser. They are incensed enough that "someone ought to hold them accountable!" or even stronger language. What if that particular advertiser is a SDMB advertiser, unbeknownst to the poster? I mean, they could be a paying member and thus never see any ads anyways.

Are they going to be kicked to the curb?
  #35  
Old 01-17-2018, 12:32 AM
Morgyn Morgyn is offline
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So in a thread, say about advertising in general (acceptable business practices, for example), someone posts a comment about what they perceive are unscrupulous methods of an advertiser. They are incensed enough that "someone ought to hold them accountable!" or even stronger language. What if that particular advertiser is a SDMB advertiser, unbeknownst to the poster? I mean, they could be a paying member and thus never see any ads anyways.

Are they going to be kicked to the curb?
Funny, I asked this same question back in post 20. I swear, I don't think anyone sees my posts most of the time.
  #36  
Old 01-17-2018, 12:33 AM
eschereal eschereal is offline
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Hmmm. As a member, I don't see the ads and have no idea who's advertising. So if I threatened a lawsuit against an advertiser I can't see, am I still subject to banning?
If you are uncertain, you could PM a mod. Tell them what the subject of your post will be to make sure it will be ok, or even provide a nice long draft. Avoiding trouble is much less trouble than getting in trouble.
  #37  
Old 01-17-2018, 01:24 AM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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I've amended the registration agreement to clarify our policy regarding threats. This simply codifies longstanding practice and is not a new rule.
The amended registration agreement now says:

"Threats of any kind against the SDMB, Sun-Times Media or their affiliates, including without limitation SDMB posters, staff, advertisers or other entities, regardless of where and how expressed, are not permitted..."


Threats of any kind against SDMB posters regardless of where and how expressed includes things like "If you want to open a thread in GD to debate this I would be happy to demolish you in there." or "Yay, a new thread game. I'm going to destroy the lot of ya!"

It gets a little silly, but if a rule violation can lead to an instant ban with no hearing or appeal the wording of this rule is a little open ended.
  #38  
Old 01-17-2018, 01:35 AM
Bone Bone is online now
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Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
Threats of any kind against SDMB posters regardless of where and how expressed includes things like "If you want to open a thread in GD to debate this I would be happy to demolish you in there." or "Yay, a new thread game. I'm going to destroy the lot of ya!"

It gets a little silly, but if a rule violation can lead to an instant ban with no hearing or appeal the wording of this rule is a little open ended.
It could get silly, except the staff are not robots. Because remember, there is also this too:

Quote:
Please remember that you are our guest here, and that we reserve the right to exclude you at our whim, for any or no reason whatsoever. Subscribers who are banned forfeit all subscription fees they have paid. If you have been banned from the SDMB and resubscribe, you will be banned again without notice and forfeit your subscription fee. By registering and using the board you acknowledge this right and agree to abide by our rules and to submit to their interpretation and enforcement by our moderators and editors.
That's about as open ended as you can get, but so far so good!
  #39  
Old 01-17-2018, 01:49 AM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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It could get silly, except the staff are not robots. Because remember, there is also this too:


That's about as open ended as you can get, but so far so good!
True enough. Anyone might be banned at any moment for any reason or no reason at all. But given that the boards presumably would like to survive and have contributing members that power isn't likely to be exercised willy nilly. As you say the mods aren't robots and in general the strength of the moderation here IMO is the mod's ability to use context and judgement to enforce the rules.

But on the question of threats and specifically legal threats the mods are essentially robots in the process. We are left with only the exact wording of the rule and the mods can't use their own judgement in those cases. Thus my comment.
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Old 01-17-2018, 01:55 AM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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True enough. Anyone might be banned at any moment for any reason or no reason at all. But given that the boards presumably would like to survive and have contributing members that power isn't likely to be exercised willy nilly. As you say the mods aren't robots and in general the strength of the moderation here IMO is the mod's ability to use context and judgement to enforce the rules.

But on the question of threats and specifically legal threats the mods are essentially robots in the process. We are left with only the exact wording of the rule and the mods can't use their own judgement in those cases. Thus my comment.
Have you ever paid attention to dougie_monty's posts? The guy was never one for making jokes -- he didn't have much of a sense of humor. He was extremely thin-skinned, he had a really bad temper and he was prone to making threats. He had already been suspended once. They weren't likely to cut him any slack -- he was pretty much on his last chance.
It was a "straw that broke the camel's back" kind of thing.
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  #41  
Old 01-17-2018, 02:03 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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But wasn't there some poster just a little while back (ThisIsTheEnd) who got just a temporary suspension for threatening legal action against a mod? That's what's confusing me about this.

That actually made me think you guys were lightening up on this rule.
  #42  
Old 01-17-2018, 02:21 AM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
Have you ever paid attention to dougie_monty's posts? The guy was never one for making jokes -- he didn't have much of a sense of humor. He was extremely thin-skinned, he had a really bad temper and he was prone to making threats. He had already been suspended once. They weren't likely to cut him any slack -- he was pretty much on his last chance.
It was a "straw that broke the camel's back" kind of thing.
Yes I'm well aware of the entire situation. I conceded the point in post 30 and even said basically what you just did:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
Even if the legal threat angle is a little far fetched if he'd gotten a warning for being a jerk, trolling, threadshitting... take your pick, and that warning would have likely led to a ban anyway it's a moot point.
But what we're talking about now is the amended rule going forward. It was modified to say, essentially, any threat of any kind under any circumstances is grounds for banning. Since we know from this case and others that the moderators aren't allowed to read context and intent, etc. when enforcing that one particular rule my comment is that the wording is a little open ended.
  #43  
Old 01-17-2018, 02:26 AM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
But wasn't there some poster just a little while back (ThisIsTheEnd) who got just a temporary suspension for threatening legal action against a mod? That's what's confusing me about this.

That actually made me think you guys were lightening up on this rule.
This IsTheEnd got his suspension for saying Fuck You to a mod directly after a warning.

Maybe you're thinking of someone else, and maybe that person was only suspended because his previous record was clean.

Last edited by Peter Morris; 01-17-2018 at 02:26 AM.
  #44  
Old 01-17-2018, 07:28 AM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is online now
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I love how the rules lawyers all pounce on a statement of a rule and immediately want to debate the ins and outs of it. I have a suggestion to them: try a post and see if you get banned.
  #45  
Old 01-17-2018, 08:09 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
But what we're talking about now is the amended rule going forward. It was modified to say, essentially, any threat of any kind under any circumstances is grounds for banning. Since we know from this case and others that the moderators aren't allowed to read context and intent, etc. when enforcing that one particular rule my comment is that the wording is a little open ended.
Moderators kick any and all legal threats immediately to Ed and what happens is entirely at his sole discretion. "Grounds for banning" means there is room for consideration of context. That's why the rule is open-ended. But it's not mods who consider that context, it's Ed. Arguing this rule with the moderators is not likely to be productive, because we don't get to decide.

Mods aren't going to kick something like "I'll see you in Great Debates!" up to Ed. There is nothing anyone needs to do to change their posting behavior unless their plans involve personal or legal threats.

There is no amended rule. This has always been the rule, it just was expressed rather broadly in the Registration Agreement. Some mods felt the rule should be more clearly articulated, so we discussed with Ed and he added the language to the TOS.

We don't actually like to ban people. We make a good faith effort to consider context in all cases. dougie_monty had racked up 9 warnings, three in the last year. Nobody was happy to see him go.
  #46  
Old 01-17-2018, 08:20 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Fundamentally, we don't ban people (or give Warnings or close threads or whatever other moderating action) because they're breaking the rules. Fundamentally, we take moderator actions because there's a problem that needs to be solved. The rules don't exist to give us an excuse to do so; they exist so you all will know what sorts of things we're likely to consider problems so you don't do them in the first place. Preventing problems is the best way to solve them.

So, if we see someone saying "I'm going to demolish you in that Mafia game", we don't need to take action, because there's no problem. Heck, if we see someone in a Mafia game saying "You're a liar", we still don't take action, even though that's long been literally against the rules, because it's still not a problem. True, we've never actually stated in the rules that calling someone a liar is OK in the context of a game, but that's because we've never needed to: You guys are smart enough to figure that out on your own. And we also trust that you'll be smart enough to figure out this rule on your own, too.

Quote:
Quoth Crazyhorse:

But on the question of threats and specifically legal threats the mods are essentially robots in the process. We are left with only the exact wording of the rule and the mods can't use their own judgement in those cases. Thus my comment.
Even to the extent that that's true, Ed isn't a robot, either. And it's not like this newly-codified rule gives him any more power, or constrains the power he has: He's always had absolute control over this message board, should he choose to exercise it.
  #47  
Old 01-17-2018, 10:14 AM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
IANAL but this 'threat' was so laughably baseless I would think he had to have been joking. I know the poster in this case has a history of blowing a gasket over small perceived slights and going all Internet Tough Guy at the slightest provocation, but really? A lawsuit claiming that someone on the internet doubted his story about an unnamed cousin auditioning for a TV show half a century ago is not going to make it to the discovery phase. And using phrases like "how DARE you?" etc., I'm pretty sure in this case he was trying to be humorous and not a litigious Internet Tough Guy - although I guess it's possible.
Miller cautioned him against such behavior 3Ĺ years ago, the point must have gotten lost.
  #48  
Old 01-17-2018, 12:12 PM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
Didn't Smash the State also threaten to sue over something?
He sure did. Specifically, he went nuts when someone in a Pit thread jokingly accused him of embezzling funds from the Ottawa Panhandlers Union and funneling them to Paul Watson & the Sea Shepherds.
  #49  
Old 01-17-2018, 01:06 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckster View Post
So in a thread, say about advertising in general (acceptable business practices, for example), someone posts a comment about what they perceive are unscrupulous methods of an advertiser. They are incensed enough that "someone ought to hold them accountable!" or even stronger language. What if that particular advertiser is a SDMB advertiser, unbeknownst to the poster? I mean, they could be a paying member and thus never see any ads anyways.

Are they going to be kicked to the curb?
I am not a Mod (nor do I play one on TV) here, but I would guess we have two different issues here:

"Damn these SDMB ads from Colon Blow, I am going to sue their asses over them."

vs

" I got some crap from the Colon Blow company a while ago, and I am considering a lawsuit, any advice?" (not knowing that Colon Blow just happens to be a SDMB advertiser).

I think the first would would have repercussions while the second might not.

Mods?
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  #50  
Old 01-17-2018, 01:43 PM
hajario hajario is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
I am not a Mod (nor do I play one on TV) here, but I would guess we have two different issues here:

"Damn these SDMB ads from Colon Blow, I am going to sue their asses over them."

vs

" I got some crap from the Colon Blow company a while ago, and I am considering a lawsuit, any advice?" (not knowing that Colon Blow just happens to be a SDMB advertiser).

I think the first would would have repercussions while the second might not.

Mods?
Yes. That's plainly obvious despite all of the Chicken Little's worries.
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