Parental consent for minors to post

Special consideration has been given for a poster due to his age.
IMHO,giving such consideration will encourage trolls to register as minors.
Therefore, minors should provide parental consent to TPTB in order to post and be treated the same as all other posters.


In the pit, a thread regarding an issue with an alleged minor shows where special consideration was given to the minor because of age. Posts of the minor were removed because the posts contained personal data which might reveal the poster’s real identity.

A rule of the SDMB is that a poster should own their words. Moderators will not delete posts written in good faith (spam, socks, etc. need not apply). In the past moderators have declined to delete threads and posts but have chosen rather to close threads and let the threads fall off the main pages of the forums rather than honor posters’ wishes for thread/post deletion.

By showing special treatment to minors, SDMB encourages trolling as minors. I submit that a simple solution would be to require minors to provide parental consent. I personally think the consent should be moderately strong, i.e. a valid credit card.

note- I think the moderators made the correct decision to delete the personal data of the minor given that there is currently no requirement for parental permission to post.

This makes no sense, if the concern is trolls pretending to be children then they will just provide “consent” with their own credit card.

And have there actually been any cases of trolls impersonating kids? Seems like a solution in search of a problem to me.

Of course a troll could troll as a teen using their own credit card. But there would be no special consideration, no deleting posts, no OMG what about the children. Because, presumably any actual child would be posting with full parental permission.

However in the world would we monitor that sort of thing?

In the case referred to an adult sent a PM to a (supposed) minor with potentially adult material and adult references in it.

Just plain ol’ common sense should rule the day here. That was an inappropriate thing to do. The adult has been given a formal Warning about the situation. Acting inappropriately around a minor, here on the board or anywhere else – common sense should tell you that is a foolish and jerky thing to do. We expect you to use your better judgment.

This is a rare incident in all our time here and it should be an isolated incident. If it happens again we’ll take action.

Special treatment has to be shown to minors for their own protection. The recent kerfuffle over a now-banned member is a stand-out example - in the general case, not the particular. Further, some time ago, another member was banned after (IIRC) attempting to groom another. This is not, however, a blanket excuse.

The raison d’etre of the SDMB is to fight ignorance. If that means educating a youngster by deleting his posts, I’m cool with it.

This is not a child-centric sort of place; it should be a given that this is not exactly Disneyland here.

Currently this is how we’re handling the issue of minors:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/faq.php?faq=vb3_board_faq#faq_sdmb_rules

It’s entirely appropriate that parents bear responsibility for what their children are viewing online – these are choices parents should be making.

We are not your Mama and not your Nanny. We are not teaching Sunday School on this site.

Thanks for posting the relevant rule. I like it. However it does seem to have been enstated when the board was pay-to-post. The parental consent was obtained via credit card.

Yeah, we should probably tighten that up some since you don’t have to be a subscriber to read or post here.

Why not just make the age required to post 18. That way if anyone claims to be a minor … off he goes.

edit: this joke probably wasn’t appropriate

Trouble is, age restrictions are unenforceable unless the person in question happens to mention their age, particularly since posting is free for “guests”. I don’t use Paypal, so I’m not familiar with its rules, but if a minor can set up a Paypal account (either following or ignoring their rules) then even age restrictions on members are unenforceable. It’s like the silly rule notice on some “adult” sites (not that I would ever think of checking such sites out :-)) saying that “you must be 18 to enter”.

But my point is this: if you post here you are assumed to be 18 (under my theory) and the first time anyone says, “but I’m only 16” … insta-ban … even if the guy is really 43.

Yeah, but what if he says he’s 43… dog years?

Maybe because there are already good posters here that are under 18? Maybe because saying you have to be 18 will make people think this is a porn site? Maybe because our stated goal–fighting ignorance–applies even more heavily to children?

It just looks like we’re searching for a problem. The AT situation was unique: he specifically did what he did because he believed Curtis was 13. The stuff with a “recently banned poster” had absolutely nothing to do with the age of people on the board.

It does seem like our provision for children relied on the pay-to-post model, so that does need to be updated. But I don’t think anything about a credit card is the answer. Just have a look at other web sites. The one from Youtube looks nice:

Then you say hello to Ralph Von Wau Wau and ask him how Jake and the rest of the gang are doing.

Do you remember an instance of other members’ posts being deleted? I don’t (socks and spams excepted). This, AFAIK, is the only blatant example of a minor being treated differently than adults on this board. I’m merely stating that if it appears that minors are going to be treated differently than adult posters, it will invite a new style of trollery.

How does having a credit card number prove that you’re an adult? Aren’t gift cards (e.g. Visa gift cards) treated the same as credit cards when used to purchase items? And as far as I know there are no age limits to gift cards.

I think I misunderstood who you were talking about, then. And since the posts have been deleted, I have no way of knowing if there was really a reason to delete them. But you mention personal information, which I’m pretty sure has been deleted by request before.

I also know that posts from mentally ill people have been deleted, for their own protection. As have posts that could cause legal trouble, again only by special request from that poster.

And I really don’t see a troll problem. The AT situation being unique, the only other thing we have is a poster being able to get their posts deleted, right? What good would that do a troll? A troll wants to be seen and heard. In fact, if I thought we were having a really big trolling problem, I’d support disappearing troll posts and the responses to them, effectively forcing DNFTT as policy.

Personal information has been deleted in the past, with comments added that they shouldn’t post that information.

I’ve never posited that a credit card number would be verification of age/parental consent. Nevertheless, I do think it’s a moderately strong indicator.

I’ll take your word on it. There are a lot of posts on this board and I certainly haven’t read them all. I believe you when you say that personal information has been deleted in the past. My main beef was with what I perceived to be different treatment. Reasonably objective posters have indicated that the treatment is not unique. I’m satisfied (not that that matters).

As Quartz pointed out earlier, special treatment of minors is common anyway for their protection. That being the case, It still might be beneficial to obtain parental consent for minor participation as was originally intended in the rule referenced by TubaDiva.