Why I'm Leaving This Board

Followed up by

Which–even with the best of intentions–leads directly to people correctly assuming that their complaints are being routinely ignored.

I just wanted to have this repeated, and bask in that superior feeling of “I stumbled into the coolest little joint in town, while thousands of people are out in the cold, sniping with family members on ‘social’ media.”

I am glad to be here, thanks to the mods and all you non-flouncers.

Then they need to supply details. Without them, my experiences as a moderator lead me to be suspicious of claims of abuse.

This is one of my favorite Dylan songs.

I’m only returning briefly to post this.

I struggled with whether I should respond, and if so, how. I had hoped that the other Moderators would have taken some action, even if only in private, or at the very least acknowledged that there was a problem. I was curious to see what response, if any, there had been, so eventually I came back to look at this thread. And found that the other Moderators who were in that Message thread are defending Chronos and accusing me of being “unfair” to him, because he was “just asking questions.”

I don’t think I fully realized it at the time, but the material I flagged was triggering for me. And the Mods’ “best practices” have conveniently removed my access to the Message thread in question. I invite the Mods to post that Message thread in its entirety. But I’m not going to try to reconstruct my interaction with Chronos or rehash it here in detail.

I will say this, though.

I flagged a post that linked to a video, with a screencap preview visible here on the SDMB. The video was uploaded to a social media app and was being circulated on social media without source or attribution. It purported to be a close-up of a Prisoner of War in a humiliating situation. If authentic, and to all appearances it was, it was clearly taken by his captors. And no, I’m not going to go into any more detail on the video than that.

Videos like that violate the Geneva Convention. That’s the “legal issue” that apparently confounded the Mods. I actually didn’t expect the Mods to be familiar with that area of international law, so in my initial flag comment I included a link to the relevant text along with expert commentary from the International Committee of the Red Cross directly and specifically addressing circulating images and recordings of PoWs on social media. Not that it apparently made any difference to Chronos.

Treatment of PoWs is a very sensitive and personal subject to me. And no, I’m not going to go into any more detail on that, either. I did react strongly to Chronos’ “questions”. But I hardly think I was being “unfair”.

I thought Chronos’ “questions” were snide, dismissive, and functionally indistinguishable from sealioning. But even if I over-reacted to his questions, the simple fact is that he went far beyond merely asking questions. He made a positive defense of the video, and glorified those responsible as “heroes”. His initial, repeated, and exclusive response was that the video was presumptively the work of unspecified “reporters” and not objectionable. He point-blank refused to even consider that the video had been circulated by the PoW’s captors because I hadn’t given him unspecified “evidence” on the identity and intentions of those responsible. He pointedly ignored any concerns about the ethics of circulating that video, either on the part of his imaginary “reporters” or this board, as well as any concerns about the harm to the video’s subject.

I want to emphasize this. Chronos is a moderator on an internet message board. In that capacity he was presented with a complaint about the posting of a link to an anonymously produced video circulating on social media that exploited the humiliation of a frightened and defenseless human being under duress who had no meaningful capacity for consent. And his official response as a moderator was that since the person making the complaint didn’t provide “evidence” on who uploaded it and why, it was presumptively the work of reporters, and not only would no action be taken, his official position was that those responsible were heroes, and any harm to the video’s subject was literally not even worth discussing.

The fact that the video was in and of itself a war crime is practically incidental.

(Also practically incidental were his strawmanning and sealioning responses to me; those were just the personal icing on the shitcake for me.)

Obviously not the venue for it but just based on what you’ve posted I disagree strongly with you on most of the core points you are raising about the video and ethical issues related to it. I say this with no specific knowledge of what video we are talking about, but getting into it beyond that isn’t really appropriate for ATMB.

From a board perspective, someone linked to a video you dislike being linked to, and you wanted it removed. The moderators disagreed apparently, and you decided to leave the board. That is your privilege of course. It is not a crime or unethical to retransmit a video someone else took even if the video itself is a crime. For example when various countries America has been at war with have posted such videos of our POWs (Vietnam, Iraq), those videos did air on national news. That is because the country has a right to know this is being done, and the right to then decide for themselves how they feel about that and what actions they should take in response (which could include lobbying a congressman or etc.) The SDMB isn’t a national news network, but it is a place for discussing matters of public importance, and I think the same logic applies. This wasn’t child pornography or similar such content that is intrinsically criminal just to possess or distribute.

Your beef with Chronos more specific to the issue itself don’t rise beyond the sort of things we argue about on this board all the time, and of course without more specifics can’t be adjudicated (nor should ATMB devolve into an argument about said video.)

Whatever your personal reason to being sensitive to something is not justification for content being removed, and is entirely irrelevant.

I also want to add as someone who has taken breaks from the board in the past, I don’t think that you should leave the board over being upset about the moderation on one topic/post. While I understand it’s something that you have said you are very sensitive to, but it’s a big forum with lots of people with varying sensitivities.

This is just plain wrong. Absolutely nothing in that post said that he wanted it removed because he disliked it. He made a legal and moral case for why the video should be removed.

And then his reason for leaving was that he perceived one mod as playing games and even supporting torture if it was done by the “heroes.”

I don’t get the point of this argument tactic. Is it that you don’t recognize a difference between morals, sensitivities, and dislikes? Or is it just an attempt to minimize them?

Either way, it’s never convincing. Downplaying what someone says only results in implying that what they said is so bad that you have to change it order to refute it. It ultimately is a strawman tactic.

People can disagree on morals, but you at least need to address it at the level provided. Moral claims can’t be so easily dismissed.

The legal case is so facially without merit that it is not worth considerable discussion, and also not super germane to this thread. You feel like he didn’t want it removed because he disliked the video, my take is that is exactly why he wanted it removed. I won’t quibble with you along those lines much further. No one said his flawed legal knowledge or his personal morality weren’t reasons for his dislike, there isn’t even a conflict there.

[The Geneva Conventions literally does not apply to anyone not party to the conflict, the idea there is any legal liability for the SDMB or any other website, news outlet or media of any kind in retransmitting a video of a POW is not even controversial–it is simply well understood. If someone committed a war crime–and just taking a photograph or video isn’t necessarily a war crime, it is more nuanced than that, it would be the party who captured the POWs, media outlets dealing with their produced content later on are just simply not party to the GC at all. If anyone thinks they are, they are so far afield from the law that it’s not a serious claim. Note that because filming POWs for propaganda purposes is generally a war crime, many media outlets will blur or redact their retransmissions of such content for journalistic ethical reasons, but not legal–and they do that on a case-by-case basis, there is no universal journalistic rule.]

@gdave, I’m going to relate what I posted after I removed you from the message thread (which is our policy).

My next post:

FWIW I can absolutely see removing videos, especially if they load an inline preview, of POWs since they are generally fairly unpleasant and can be referenced for discussion without doing a direct link.

Since we aren’t party to the specific claims gdave made–I will note that generally there is no legal liability (in terms of “war crimes” under the GC) for anyone in sharing those videos unless they are a party to the conflict, quoted in this link is a Duke university law professor (and retired 3 Star General from the U.S. Air Force) who is an expert in this exact field:

The Ukraine crisis and the international law of armed conflict (LOAC): some Q & A – Lawfire (duke.edu)

Replying to this from my perspective, not intending to speak for gdave.

On the other hand, this board is not anonymous and impersonal because it really isn’t all that big. So if a poster perceives that the authorities here dismiss and minimize something that is enormously important to him, it can seriously taint the entire board experience, taking all the enjoyment out of it. I’ve been close to that point myself a couple of times, but while I took breaks on those occasions I didn’t think anyone would be interested in why I (possibly) left. Now gdave has been gone for more than 2 months and he still feels so strongly about this, I think I can understand to some extent how he feels even though his issues are not my issues.

You’re doing it again. I did not say anything about my feelings. I pointed out that he factually did not claim at any point to merely dislike the video. At no point did he say “this video should be removed because I don’t like it.” Both of those choices of words are being used to downplay the actual arguments being made.

Sure, you can say his legal argument isn’t correct. But it is factually incorrect to make the claim that he said the video should be removed because he disliked it.

Morals aren’t likes and dislikes. Those are mild emotions. Morals are based on principles. They guide our actions. They motivate both what we ourselves will not do and what we fight against others for doing. It is how we try to make the world a better place.

Can’t you see how, if someone said “He wants to ban murder because he dislikes it,” that would minimize the issue. The laws against murder don’t exist because of dislike. They exist because the action is gravely immoral, and damaging to wellbeing of everyone.

Again, you can disagree with a moral argument. But you seem to be trying to sidestep it.

But it wasn’t dismissed. I still don’t understand this. The video was removed almost immediately upon the flag. I know as I did so and everyone supported that. A large number of mods were involved in trying to understand what the legal part of the issue was. Chronos asked questions which I thought were good as I don’t know this stuff. No one except for Aspenglow is in anyway a legal expert. And this was probably far from anything she has dealt with.

I’m a retired programmer as an example.

I hasten to add that my “expertise” in legal matters is confined to legal procedure. I am not a lawyer and had nothing to contribute to the subject discussion. I just worked in courtrooms for many years.

I will say that as a spectator to the flagged thread, I was baffled over why the OP was so outraged by Chronos’s questions. I saw nothing wrong with them.

I didn’t say it was dismissed, I said he perceived that it was dismissed and minimized; that’s how I read what he wrote (again, he can speak for himself). My post was intended specifically to speak to what Martin_Hyde wrote, not to attempt to adjudicate the dispute itself.

You’re exerting a lot of energy looking for quibbles. Like I said I’m not going to debate what the word “dislike” means. My intent was clear. You misunderstood. Further communication on it serves no further interest to me (or you.)

I would agree this seems like a reaction undeserved by the described moderation. Since it had been 2 months since I read gdave’s OP, I didn’t even remember until you mentioned it that the post he complained about was removed fairly quickly. It appears he literally is saying he won’t post here because he doesn’t want to be on a board where someone who would question his legal claim for why a post should be removed is a moderator. That just seems…manifestly unreasonable to me. A legal claim is by its nature complex, and expecting message board moderators to simply accept them as asserted, when said moderators themselves typically are not going to be legal experts, and also have no real knowledge of what sort of expertise the complainant has, is just not reasonable. I would not want moderators to blindly agree with any poster flagging something as being of “legal concern”, without first asking further questions.

I’m honestly trying to understand why @gdave thought Chronos’s questions were so out of line. This was a confusing issue that left me feeling very out of my depth.