Is posting dangerous information against the rules?

The Ivermectin comments show why censorship is not the way to go. What I got from this thread is that no one should take ivermectin, and that no doctor would prescribe it so everyone taking it must be doing so without a doctor’s supervision.

None of that is correct. Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic that is approved for human use. It’s true that using it for Covid is off-label, but doctors can and do prescribe off-label medicines all the time.

As for no doctor prescribing it - Joe Rogan’s doctor did. And from what I have heard, quite a few people have been prescribed Ivermectin by their doctors for Covid relief. In fact, the AMA is talking about sanctioning doctors who prescribe it.

I wouldn’t take Ivermectin. I’m also fully vaxxed, and encourage everyone who asks to go get the vaccine. But it pisses me off when I see people who fight 'disinformation" spreading it. For example, most of the negative articles and headlines refer to it as a ‘horse dewormer’. Bullshit. Ivermectin has been used for 25 years on humans, and has FDA approval for the treatment of all sorts of conditions. Here’s a list of the things its used for in humans, both on-label and off:

We shouldn’t have to lie or spin or propagandize to fight misinformation. In fact, it’s counterproductive. If you lie about it being only a Horse De-wormer and an anti-vaxxer discovers it’s approved in humans, he also won’t believe you when you say it doesn’t do much for Covid relief, which as far as I can tell is true.

The only thing I would absolutely censor is something that would cause immediate harm. Say, if someone came in and asked how to get gum out of hair and someone replied that they should pour bleach on their head.

On edit: Not sure why my link shows the SDMB home page. It’s a link to a straight news story about Ivermectin being prescribed by doctors despite warnings from the FDA. The link works, though.

BigT posted misinformation. He was wrong when he said people aren’t getting ivermectin from doctors. Lots of ethically bankrupt doctors have prescribed it to credulous patients.

DrDeth posted potentially dangerous misinformation. He said that you were unlikely to be harmed by taking feed-store ivermectin.

Surely you see the difference.

Yes, the language is imprecise. I think (hope?) what was meant was that no doctor acting in the best interests of their patient would prescribe it to treat Covid. But it is prescribed for people all the time, for other things. And yeah, there are unscrupulous doctors that will prescribe anything to anyone for the right money; people are people and greed is part of human nature.

And yeah I agree I don’t like “horse dewormer” slurs which are themselves intentionally misleading. You might as well call water “horse hydration liquid” to shame people who drink it.

Yeah - because we allow people to say things, then people lkke you are allowed to come along and point out the differences. Then maybe even the person who posted the original misinformation learns something. That’s why censorship is bad.

I have no problem with a mod note that says, "Warning: the above advice contradicts known evidence. See here: (Credible cite). I don’t like shutting down speech for almost any reason. Even if the intentions are good, it usually has unintended consequences. And such censorship almost always gets perverted for political use.

For example, a niece of mine posted a picture on facebook of a lone flower sticking up out of a sea of concrete, with the caption saying, “Stand up for what you believe in, even if no one else will.” A perfectly fine sentiment. We should all do that. Facebook censored it as ‘harmful content’. So one person’s definition of ‘harmful’ is clearly very different than another’s. The problem with censorship is that it short-circuits the very debate we need to have to sort out the truth.

I disagree completely. “Freedom of speech” shouldn’t be a suicide pact. (I know those aren’t your words but that’s the concept.) We already disallow the discussion of illegal activities, we disallow people advocating harm on people, and we should disallow those things. I see this falling along the same lines. We don’t just allow anyone to say anything they want. Any rules we have about what people say are censorship. Saying “censorship is bad” is simplistic nonsense.

This sounds like a corollary to the slippery slope argument: you can’t tell if every statement is true, so you better not try to judge any of them. I call bullshit on this. If Straight Dope moderators don’t know who’s right in a “vaccines cause COVID” vs “no they don’t” argument, then they shouldn’t be moderators here.

I don’t think every bit of possible misinformation should be modded. I’m talking about the ones that are widely known and dangerous. I have faith that all our mods can make that call; I don’t have faith that a less-educated, conspiracy-prone person who stumbles on a thread can.

I said almost. The standard limitations on yelling fire in a crowded theater apply, as do censorship of illegal or scammy posts.

If someone posted, “Quick! There’s news coming out about this penny stock that’s going to break at 5pm. If you hurry, you can get in before the public learns about it!”, I would delete the post as a probable attempt to pump a stock.

But let me remind you that we have already censored things that were supposedly disinformation but turned out to be true or at least possible.

For example, for months you could not post anything about a lab leak in Wuhan on social media without your post being censored.

The Hunter Biden laptop story was also heavily censored, and now appears to be at least partially true.

For a while you could not say ‘Wuhan virus’, or ‘CCP Virus’ without being censored. And mentions of Remdesvir, which apparently does have beneficial use against Covid, have also been censored by some social media sites.

In the meantime, misinformation on the ‘other side’, such as the constant referral to Ivermectin as a ‘horse dewormer’ skates through. Because censors also have their own biases and failings. I prefer open debate rather than censorship from a star chamber or a flawed AI.

This used to be a pretty uncontroversial opinion.

Who’s this “we”?

And are you seriously arguing that ivermectin isn’t a horse dewormer? I mean, that’s not all it is, but it certainly is a horse dewormer. And a lot of the stuff that credulous humans are buying and using was, in fact, formulated, intended, and packaged specifically for the purpose of deworming horses. So, yes, it’s a true statement that people are taking horse dewormer.

Was SDMB censoring those things? I missed that. (I’m not being flippant, I may have missed those in QZ or GD maybe, I don’t frequent those areas.)

Okay, if you’re turning this into a political soapbox then I’m going to question the legitimacy of your arguments. This has nothing to do with politics, nor should it. I don’t care what a person’s politics are. If you are advocating something that can and does cause harm to people it shouldn’t be allowed. If you are arguing this along political lines, this is the wrong place for that.

This is a really important point. If a doctor on the internet says “you should get enough meat in your diet”, and you decide to satisfy that by eating Alpo out of the can… that’s dog food. You’re not following medical advice. You’re not following scientific guidance from the WHO. You’re a dummy who’s eating cans of dog food because you’re not very smart, and no amount of anecdotal off-label guidance can change that fact.

Do any of those things present a danger to another person? No?

Because it’s actually dangerous.

I did not. I said you should not be buying it at a feed store, and " unless taken in excess".

If taken under a doctor’s supervision it should not be dangerous.

It is a common prescription drug, and telling people it is dangerous is wrong.

Listen to your doctor, not someone on a message board.

I mean ‘we’ as in the online social sphere - Not the Straight Dooe particularly. I should have been more precise.

Articles about Joe Rogan constantly referred to him taking ‘horse dewormer’, despite the fact that he was taking the human form as prescribed by his doctor. Dr. Sanjay Gupta admitted that CNN used that term about his case repeatedly.

I also think there is harm in leaving the impression that Ivermectin is a horse dewormer and nothing else, in that it might cause people who want it to seek it out in that form instead of going to their doctor for a prescription, who could then use his or her authority to dissuade them.

I have no problem with an article saying somethjng like, “Ivermectin, a drug approved in both humans and for veterinary use, is not recommended for Covid. Because it isn’t prescribed by most doctors for this use, some people have taken to using the veterinary formulation without a doctor’s supervision. This is dangerous. Don’t do that. Never take a prescription drug of any sort without a doctor’s prescriptikn.”

But when a headline says, “Celebrity X admits taking a horse dewormer for Covid”, that is at best propaganda, and at worst possibly harmful disinformation.

You said, “However, how dangerous is [buying this at the feed store]? It is not likely to harm, unless taken in excess.”

“Unless taken in excess” is a meaningless qualifier that also applies to water, oxygen, and jumping jacks. Taking ivermectin from the feed store is dangerous. Full stop. End of story. No “however” is necessary. No “sorting out the truth” needed.

You are taking my post out of context, and due to people doing that and the fact I worded it poorly, I deleted it.

You should never be buying it at a feed store and taking it.

If a doc prescribed it, it should not be dangerous unless taken to excess, as people too often do with prescription drugs.

It’s worth noting that the mods consider posting dangerous information against the rules - a recent thread about the guy who threatened to detonate a bomb in DC that evolved into a discussion about how a bigger and more effective bomb could have been built comes to mind. That the discussion was largely academic (i.e. no one was advocating actually building such a device) was irrelevant; the information being posted was demonstrably dangerous.

It’s sometimes harder to judge the danger of misinformation - for example, discouraging people from getting vaccinated poses a danger but not one of immediate harm or illegal action. But I would hope that could such a material harm be argued to be a reasonable potential outcome of the misinformation, the mods would likewise nip it in the bud.

This response is overused. Simply because there are no absolutes for anything does not mean that any restraint is thereby justified by making that statement.

Free speech, religion, gun ownership, protection against unreasonable searches, etc. are all valuable rights that have exceptions. But they remain important values and an exception should only be made as a last resort and making sure that the exception is not being made because we don’t like the rule itself.

And I’m with Sam on this one. The recipe for bad speech is more good speech, not a ban on all speech. If someone says that drinking bleach cures Covid and 25 other posters say how horribly incorrect that is, then you have a thread that debunks the bleach myth instead of letting it spread underground.

Also, whenever you establish some sort of Ministry of Truth you go down the 1984 road where that principle is used to quash dissent.

Poster: “Biden has improved our relationships with our allies.”

Mod: FALSE. Stop spreading disinformation. He has weakened our relationships.

Poster: But I am only engaging in political speech.

Mod: Free speech is not a suicide pact. As you cannot falsely shout fire in a crowded theater nor own nuclear weapons, you may not spread false political speech.

This response is overused.

Promoting things that are known to be dangerous does not and should not have any protections. There’s nothing Orwellian about it.

Known by whom? The Ministry of Truth?

Implicit in the idea of free speech is that you will have more false and incorrect speech. But we make that tradeoff for the very reason that we don’t want an appointed group telling people what truth is. In all the other exceptions for free speech you can convey the idea you want in another manner or at another time. This argument says that we shouldn’t say it at all.

And, as pointed out, we’ve seen it just this year! The Wuhan lab leak theory is a case in point. Forbidden to say on social media. But possibly true. In the United States of America we are debating if this is good or not. Amazing.

By the experts like the CDC.

The Straight Dope is not a free speech platform. Some things shouldn’t be said here at all.

Again, is that promoting an idea that’s dangerous to perform?