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Old 06-24-2014, 05:28 AM
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In the matter of Ed's thread take down

Your board, your call.

Me? I am very disappointed - I think we saw his true colors originally. When it might serve his purposes, his tack changed.

As I say, your board, your call.

(I ask that anyone who chooses to respond to this post not name the individual in question or link in any way that might identify him - I respect Ed's right to call the shots, albeit not his call in this case).
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:13 AM
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I'm honestly torn...in that, by all accounts, this is a "minor, isolated" issue that I can't really get worked up about, true; but at the same time politely agreeing with KarlGauss that it's one that shouldn't have even gotten the call it did, and I'm uneasy about a precedent this might be setting. And you know me, I'm hardly the slippery slope-fearing, "...and next thing you know, there'll be Nazis riding dinosaurs!" type.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:41 AM
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It was a legal issue. The precedent is that if you are persistent in attempting to sue for slander, you can get threads removed. I don't think we're going to see that too often... Plus, the thread was 7 years old.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:50 AM
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It was a legal issue. The precedent is that if you are persistent in attempting to sue for slander, you can get threads removed. I don't think we're going to see that too often... Plus, the thread was 7 years old.
Ah, so that's what we're talking about.

And that precedent is a bad one. Maybe it won't affect much, but it's still a bad one.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:50 AM
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...but thats the fundamental problem with message boards, isn't it?

There are threads like this one, where the OP wondered out loud if obstetric workers should be held responsible for bad parental choices in names: and used a murdered young girl as an example. For a while that thread was on the front page of google when her name was searched. If they had complained I would have supported scrubbing that thread.

To a degree these boards will always cross over into real life. Its one thing to curse out a poster called "Foxrabbit12345", its another to call him out by his real name, and its another to hurl abuse at a guy who doesn't even know a thread exists. This is only a messageboard. When it starts to affect real people in the real world I don't see a problem with taking some sort of action. If you want freedom to say what you like, then you can start your own blog.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:51 AM
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Apparently, there was a personal apology made shortly after the incident. Should someone who says something stupid and unthinking while taking random questions be shadowed by it for a decade or longer?

I'm not thrilled with the decision, but it's not exactly a grand coverup either.

Last edited by Cheesesteak; 06-24-2014 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:24 AM
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Are you kidding me with this?

What kind of callous person do you have to be to expect this person to be subjected to continued embarrassment after seven years?

I applaud ED's decision.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:27 AM
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Should someone who says something stupid and unthinking while taking random questions be shadowed by it for a decade or longer?
If what is said is stupid and unthinking enough that it persists in the publics' memory? Hell yeah.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:50 AM
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If what is said is stupid and unthinking enough that it persists in the publics' memory? Hell yeah.
Why?
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:53 AM
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Ed basically gave a "Gore v Bush" type of argument that you can't use his reasoning or decision in this case to extrapolate to the future. It doesn't set a precedent for that reason. This was a one off thing.

That being said, it was poor decision.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:59 AM
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I'd just like to link to the Wikipedia article on the Streisand effect.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:03 AM
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ISTM that we take this message board a little too seriously sometimes. It's just an internet forum, not the Supreme Court.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:05 AM
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If what is said is stupid and unthinking enough that it persists in the publics' memory?
Does it persist in the public's memory, or just the memory of computer systems that logged it 7 years ago?
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:14 AM
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For me, the most important fact is that the thread was in no way slanderous or libelous. It was a bunch of people offering opinions about a widely reported incident involving a public figure. This public figure then threatened to sue to remove this information from the web.

To knuckle under to such an absurd legal threat not only shows poor judgment; it betrays a fundamental weenieness. Not to mention a lack of comprehension of relevant defamation laws.

What's next? Dan Quayle suing because people laughed at his spelling of "potatoe"? A South Carolina beauty pageant contestant suing us because people here posted mean things about her answer to a question? It's an absurd precedent.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:28 AM
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To knuckle under to such an absurd legal threat not only shows poor judgment; it betrays a fundamental weenieness. Not to mention a lack of comprehension of relevant defamation laws.
I agree completely agree. The thing it actually makes me think of is how highly intelligent people, people with advanced degrees, high SAT scores, good test takers often complain about their lack of power, the stupidity of leaders, the stupidity of those they work under, and how the world would be be a better place if they were in charge blah blah blah. Well, no, it won't be a better place if you don't have the character to stand up for basic principles; if you don't have that ability, all your intelligence has little value.

Last edited by Mr. Nylock; 06-24-2014 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:29 AM
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Why?
Why not?
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:32 AM
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I agree completely agree. The thing it actually makes me think of is how highly intelligent people, people with advanced degrees, high SAT scores, good test takers often complain about their lack of power, the stupidity of leaders, the stupidity of those they work under, and how the world would be be a better place if they were in charge blah blah blah. Well, no, it won't be a better place if you don't have the character to stand up for basic principles; if you don't have that ability, all your intelligence has little value.
It probably has more to do with corporate lawyers and executive types who are the spineless weenies.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:02 AM
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Why not?
That's the kind of response I would expect out of a 10yo when they don't have a good argument to make.


How about you show conviction for your statement and explain why showing this man a modicum of empathy offends your sensibilities?
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:12 AM
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That's the kind of response I would expect out of a 10yo when they don't have a good argument to make.


How about you show conviction for your statement and explain why showing this man a modicum of empathy offends your sensibilities?
The things he said were beyond the pale. Sorry, but to me it's a straight up "fuck him" kinda thing. My "Why not?" Was not meant to be a cogent argument, but really . . .why not?
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:30 AM
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ISTM that we take this message board a little too seriously sometimes. It's just an internet forum, not the Supreme Court.
WHAT??!! My second will call upon you shortly! Pistols at dawn!!
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:36 AM
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Whoever was ultimately responsible for the decision, Ed or higher-ups, it was both timorous and wrong-headed. There would not have been a ghost of a chance of successful legal action over this and in fact any legal action at all would have been unlikely in the extreme.

Run scared of lawyers in this fashion and you'll end up with no debate on controversial individuals or their actions at all.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:36 AM
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Apparently, there was a personal apology made shortly after the incident. Should someone who says something stupid and unthinking while taking random questions be shadowed by it for a decade or longer?
I think it's a tad dramatic to say he's been shadowed by it.

If anything, the behavior from 2012 and as reported by Ed make me think even less of said person than his original remarks, which, I might add, I would never have known about had the thread not returned to the top of the forum.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:42 AM
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Whoever was ultimately responsible for the decision, Ed or higher-ups, it was both timorous and wrong-headed. There would not have been a ghost of a chance of successful legal action over this and in fact any legal action at all would have been unlikely in the extreme.

Run scared of lawyers in this fashion and you'll end up with no debate on controversial individuals or their actions at all.
Meh, it's the bare minimum we could do. It's not like it's been removed from the internet anyways. In fact, I just went out and read the thread I hadn't in the first place. Frankly, this could turn into the Streisand Effect. The best thing [name redacted] could have done was to hire a publicity firm to bury it deep in the search engines.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:29 AM
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WHAT??!! My second will call upon you shortly! Pistols at dawn!!

Can we do later this later in the morning? Rising at dawn really messes up my regularity.

Last edited by leftfield6; 06-24-2014 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:46 AM
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Quick question about the background. Without getting into specifics, Ed said that when Googling [the asshole's] name the thread in question came up in the top results. Did this account for Google's habit of tracking users' browsing habits (whether or not they're logged in, I believe) and using frequently visited sites to generate more relevant/personal results? Does anyone have access to a public computer to see if it's that high in general (because what, lots of people shared the opinion and linked back to the Dope?) or just an illusion?
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:48 AM
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Does this mean that [name redacted] has been added to the restricted list along side the word "cunt"? Because if so, that feels kind of appropriate. And if not, who's gonna be the first to pit the guy again?
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:53 AM
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Does this mean that [name redacted] has been added to the restricted list along side the word "cunt"? Because if so, that feels kind of appropriate. And if not, who's gonna be the first to pit the guy again?
NM quoted wrong post.

Last edited by running coach; 06-24-2014 at 10:54 AM.
  #28  
Old 06-24-2014, 10:58 AM
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I'd just like to link to the Wikipedia article on the Streisand effect.
I don't think that really applies here. With the thread gone, there's nothing to look at and it's not like the lawsuit is going to be on TMZ and even if it was, again, there's nothing to look at.


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...but thats the fundamental problem with message boards, isn't it?

There are threads like this one, where the OP wondered out loud if obstetric workers should be held responsible for bad parental choices in names: and used a murdered young girl as an example. For a while that thread was on the front page of google when her name was searched. If they had complained I would have supported scrubbing that thread.
Question: Was it on the front page of google for everyone or just for you?

Whenever I see someone say "I googled it and the top result is from this thread" or "I checked and the 3 of the first ten hits are from the SDMB" I always wonder if that would happen to someone that's never visited this site as well. Does Google skew your results bases on it knowing how often you visit this site and assumes you would appreciate results from here first.

For example, I've never gone to reddit and reddit never shows up in my Google searches. If you go to reddit 50 times a day does Google give skew it's results to give move results from reddit closer to the top on the basis that you might prefer to go there first?

I suppose I could check this out myself, I have two other computers in my office that have never visited the dope.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:59 AM
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I'm not quite understanding the logic behind the decision. Anyone looking up Mr Redacted will most likely find themselves on Wikipedia. And taking up several paragraphs including the original quotes is a write up of the controversy. Nothing was said in the original thread that isn't out there already and still. There was nothing false or libelous. Are his lawyers threatening to sue wikipedia for correctly stating the facts?
  #30  
Old 06-24-2014, 11:09 AM
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The asshole in question, MM, was threatening legal action within the past year or so (according to Ed.) Then it seems that he got some advice (possibly from a law firm) telling him that maybe contrition would work better than being a big swinging dick.

I don't like it. A guy who is a consistent asshole for years and years gets his way by playing nice for 10 minutes. Maybe, as Ed claims, it's a completely isolated case that sets no precedent and isn't a case of being legally intimidated. If that's the case it's a rotten call. I'd almost prefer it to be a pragmatic case of a cash poor website choosing its battles wisely.
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:15 AM
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I guess all we need to do to get an old embarrassing thread removed is to win an Oscar, and then ask nicely.
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:22 AM
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I guess all we need to do to get an old embarrassing thread removed is to win an Oscar, and then ask nicely.
Three Oscars. Marisa Tomei can go pound sand.
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:27 AM
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Three Oscars. Marisa Tomei can go pound sand.
Marisa Tomei once murdered my grandmother. Just once.
  #34  
Old 06-24-2014, 11:30 AM
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I ask that anyone who chooses to respond to this post not name the individual in question or link in any way that might identify him - I respect Ed's right to call the shots, albeit not his call in this case).
I don't see why, since the thread announcing this mentions the individual's name explicitly.

As for deleting the thread, obviously it is too bad that the Chicago Reader lets itself be intimidated like this, but I doubt that the decision was up to Ed Zotti. The part about how they weren't intimidated by the threats but only did it because he asked nicely is not, IMO, likely to be true. Especially seven years after the fact.

Meh. Their boards, their rules, however inconsistent.

Regards,
Shodan

Last edited by Shodan; 06-24-2014 at 11:30 AM.
  #35  
Old 06-24-2014, 11:38 AM
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I don't like it. A guy who is a consistent asshole for years and years gets his way by playing nice for 10 minutes.
Yeah, it's pretty clear that it was taken down not because of his asking nicely but because a law firm contacted the Dope. I think it's funny that someone so concerned about his or her public image would send the kind of bullying messages he sent Equipoise. He likely only worded his most recent message politely because of a lawyer's suggestion.

I can certainly sympathize with a fear of lawsuits, but damn, might as well just close the pit down and say we can't insult anybody anywhere on the board from now on.
  #36  
Old 06-24-2014, 11:47 AM
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First off, it was a minor incident from seven years ago.

Second off, anyone who wants to get all huffy about hiding information or knuckling under or other types of weenieness can damn well come out from behind their usernames and post under their real names.
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:21 PM
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First off, it was a minor incident from seven years ago.
If it was so minor, why was the exception made?
Quote:
Second off, anyone who wants to get all huffy about hiding information or knuckling under or other types of weenieness can damn well come out from behind their usernames and post under their real names.
I don't see the connection.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:25 PM
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This appears to be closely related to the case that caused the European Court of Justice to uphold what is being called the right to be forgotten.

I think that ruling was a bad decision and Ed's move here was a bad decision. I don't want to debate the larger subject here - I'm sure there are sufficient threads on it. Michael Minker said his words publicly and was criticized appropriately. The SDMB should not responsible for either. Public matters get public airing.

Ed, this is a horrible precedent. How can any comments on public figures stand? Threat of lawsuit is one thing - they may always be bogus wordplay from lawyers, but the cost is high regardless. Doing it for politeness? The Pit's the antithesis of polite. Your words are now public; they will be spread and that means there will be a next time. You dug yourself a pit with unshored walls.
  #39  
Old 06-24-2014, 12:28 PM
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I'm not quite understanding the logic behind the decision. Anyone looking up Mr Redacted will most likely find themselves on Wikipedia. And taking up several paragraphs including the original quotes is a write up of the controversy. Nothing was said in the original thread that isn't out there already and still. There was nothing false or libelous. Are his lawyers threatening to sue wikipedia for correctly stating the facts?
Also the incident that started the thread is still up on youtube and it was the first hit, for me, searching his name on youtube.

I wonder why he would care so much, and threaten legal action, about a message board of this size but yet not youtube.
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:35 PM
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I think that ruling was a bad decision and Ed's move here was a bad decision. I don't want to debate the larger subject here - I'm sure there are sufficient threads on it. Michael Minker said his words publicly and was criticized appropriately. The SDMB should not responsible for either. Public matters get public airing.

Ed, this is a horrible precedent. How can any comments on public figures stand? Threat of lawsuit is one thing - they may always be bogus wordplay from lawyers, but the cost is high regardless. Doing it for politeness? The Pit's the antithesis of polite. Your words are now public; they will be spread and that means there will be a next time. You dug yourself a pit with unshored walls.
Agree with every word here. This decision is an embarrassment to the board, and should be a source of shame for those who made it.
  #41  
Old 06-24-2014, 12:36 PM
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Also the incident that started the thread is still up on youtube and it was the first hit, for me, searching his name on youtube.

I wonder why he would care so much, and threaten legal action, about a message board of this size but yet not youtube.
Because Youtube/Google will squash him like a bug.
  #42  
Old 06-24-2014, 12:37 PM
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Anyone know the statute of limitations for being a dick?
  #43  
Old 06-24-2014, 12:40 PM
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Because Youtube/Google will squash him like a bug.
Yeah, most bullies only use standover tactics on people they know will cave.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:03 PM
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Countdown until this thread is also vanished by the Zotti the Brave.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:13 PM
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This decision is an embarrassment to the board, and should be a source of shame for those who made it.
This really sums it up nicely.
  #46  
Old 06-24-2014, 01:20 PM
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First off, it was a minor incident from seven years ago.

Second off, anyone who wants to get all huffy about hiding information or knuckling under or other types of weenieness can damn well come out from behind their usernames and post under their real names.
Done and done.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:29 PM
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Done and done.
I'm not sure if MikeG from Chicago is going to do anybody a whole lot of good anymore than Joey P from Milwaukee. Though, if you spend enough time combing through my posting history, I'm pretty sure you could track me down.

Last edited by Joey P; 06-24-2014 at 01:30 PM.
  #48  
Old 06-24-2014, 01:38 PM
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I think the old adage applies: if you eavesdrop on others you'll hear nothing good about yourself. The guy should have quit self-googling.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:49 PM
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Though, if you spend enough time combing through my posting history, I'm pretty sure you could track me down.
Can you move a little bit to the left? You're blocking my view of the tv.

Last edited by RaftPeople; 06-24-2014 at 01:49 PM.
  #50  
Old 06-24-2014, 01:54 PM
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It probably has more to do with corporate lawyers and executive types who are the spineless weenies.
I'm not understanding your statement. If Zotti is the one we are speaking to then Zotti is the only one we know who is making the decision. If there is something or someone else behind the decision, then there is a deficiency of honesty in his post on the matter.

I think this is one of the most important issues ever encountered on the Dope. I believe that the shape of the world is as much determined by major wars or landmark legal decisions as it is by the outcome of little battles fought by little people to protect small rights.

Some people would like a world dominated by fairness, reason and equality. Others want a world where might makes right - usually powerful people who have the means to to forcefully enforce their desires. I think this is a sad day.
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