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Thread: Edits and forum management

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TracyScheidemantel View Post
    If you focus on the issue and not the person, the delivery should be irrelevant (as long as it is civil).

    Here is a perfect example of mistating someone else...you quote me as lacing posts with "pathetic". Maybe that is what you perceived Jeff, but I have never used that word in any post on this forum. So please don't give misinformation about me without confirming your quotes. "Sad", on the other hand, is very consistent with how I see some people acting and I believe it is an appropriate description.
    You most certainly have used it, that is why I mentioned it. I'm in a rush now, but I'll find it later unless you have since deleted it. Just because you believe "sad" is appropriate doesn't mean it is "civil" in the eyes of others.

    By the way, delivery is everything. That is the major point of what we are discussing. I assume if I had said "a couple of people..." and then went on with my e-mail, it would have been alright with you? I don't think so...


    I disagree, stepping back is exactly what I think you should've done. It takes alot more stamina and character to hold comments until you are able to express them without utter disrespect for other people. No, it's not a tea party, but it sure shouldn't be so nasty and rude on such a personal level. If you reached a "breaking point" then I'm surprised you didn't try to fix what you broke. Instead you were quite clear that you stand by your words. We all have to live together in this community, Jeff, and nobody deserves the disrespectful words you have written. Your intense anger is no excuse for the posts mentioned above. We are all dealing with inconveniences (yes, that is what I call the busing, lunch, dropoff/pickup problems)- it's how we choose to address them that defines our character. I don't find blame, anger and bullying helpful to an already difficult situation.
    I see you are incapable of understanding your role in the situation you're discussing. Not surprising. There was nothing for me to fix. Just because we live in the same town doesn't mean I should have to shelter my feelings about someone's actions/behavior. I know others on this board disagree, but that right to speak freely is what I continue to advocate for. As always, I know people don't have to agree nor do I expect them to. I've gotten many offline e-mails from people who do, though. The world of people that post here is tiny as compared to the number of people that read and express opinions elsewhere.

    I have to wonder what your journalism professor would think of your recent posts to me, like this one
    You didn't know this guy. He was a hardcore Washington undercover columnist. He would have supported my right to print it even if he didn't agree.

    I find this back and forth very unproductive as it relates to the topic at hand. It will be he said/she said forever and ever. I would suggest if you'd like to continue this topic with me, maybe another thread or (probably more appropriate) reach me offline.

  2. #32
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    I can't help but notice that for the last 48 hours, the Reconfig thread has been inactive, while this thread that consists of people writing about writing is hopping.

    Far be it from me to tell people to "shut up" ([grin], lol, cute little smiley faces, and all that), but are we spinning our wheels here? Can't we get back to talking about something other than just how to talk appropriately and who insulted whom? Haven't we about covered it?

    And anyway, this thread has more than once wandered into that "yes, but" territory - he said, she said, she said, he said, getting dangerously close to continuing that long-standing tradition of offending one another.

    There is a natural tendency for us to want to defend ourselves. It's hard not to, when people say something inaccurate about us, misrepresent us, misquote us, or distort what we say so that they get to prove what a jerk we are (sic).

    But one thing we all should have learned by now is that sometimes it's best just to stop because you know that whatever your response, the other side is going to come back again and again and again, always feeling the need to get the last word in. We have some stubborn SOBs on this forum. (I suppose THAT will come back to haunt me)

    My point is, we've beat this to death, there is no winning ever going to take place here, and meanwhile some real heated issues about which each of us have some very strong opinions are going unaddressed.

    Actually, Kim's fear that people won't want to post on here because of the things people are saying may have come to pass. Ironically, though rather than fear of getting insulted by others, it may be fear to speak out, lest they insult someone else, based on this thread.

    I don't want to be the one to spoil the party, though. If you feel the need to stay here and talk about this more, I'm certainly not going to try to stop you.

    I'm going back over to the reconfig thread to find someone to insult.....



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    John Flaherty

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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post

    Actually, Kim's fear that people won't want to post on here because of the things people are saying may have come to pass. Ironically, though rather than fear of getting insulted by others, it may be fear to speak out, lest they insult someone else, based on this thread.
    John,

    :-) For the most part, I completely agree with you. I do think there is some merit to debating the amount (and type) of active management that we do of postings. And I am happy to do it squirreled away in this one place which people can choose to ignore.

    That said, I am far more fearful of people not posting because they don't want to be attacked than of people not posting because they don't want to offend. In general, I think it's a good rule that if you're angry, draft your message and wait an hour (or a day) before posting. If you're worried you might offend people, then it's appropriate to take a moment and re-think what you've said. It's OK to be angry, to be forceful in your language, etc. But before you write something offensive, there's nothing wrong with asking yourself the question of whether you had to word it that way.

    Now, go get that stubborn SOB, whichever half-dozen or so of us you might have had in mind! :-) [grin]
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 09-20-2008 at 10:52 AM. Reason: to remove extraneous comma

  4. #34
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    I stand corrected. Post #20 in the ES thread shows that Tracy used the phrase "I find it pitiful..." instead of "pathetic" as I had thought it to be. No difference, in my opinion, but lest I be accused of not getting it right...

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    I welcome feedback on we manage the Discussion Forum.

    So here's the new thread. Comment away...
    Any form of censorship, no matter how well-intentioned, produces endless debates about what can and can't be said -- to the detriment of open discourse in general and the issues at hand in particular. As long as posts are accompanied by the author's authenticated identity, freedom of speech should prevail. Yes, things will be posted that make you cringe; there's a delete key in the upper-right corner of your keyboard.

    Kim, I am not challenging your right to impose censorship, but rather your wisdom in doing so.

    Dave

  6. #36
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    As the old saw goes, freedom of speech doesn't give one the right to yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater. Nor does it absolve publishers from taking care in what they publish, libel laws being what they are.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    As the old saw goes, freedom of speech doesn't give one the right to yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater. Nor does it absolve publishers from taking care in what they publish, libel laws being what they are.
    That's absolutely correct, Jeff. The laws you reference eliminate the need for censorship.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    That's absolutely correct, Jeff. The laws you reference eliminate the need for censorship.
    This seems to be a pretty murky area of the law. My (non-lawyer) read of things makes it seem that forum operators may well have some responsibility to prevent libel.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    This seems to be a pretty murky area of the law. My (non-lawyer) read of things makes it seem that forum operators may well have some responsibility to prevent libel.
    I am not a lawyer either, but by claiming that you are protecting readers by censoring offensive language, you may in fact be making yourself liable:

    http://www.law.buffalo.edu/Academics...rs/holland.htm

    "The liability of the owners and operators of on-line systems for the posting of defamatory statements depends on whether they are considered by the courts as a distributor of information or a publisher of information. These two categories, publisher and distributor are treated differently in traditional libel law. The distributor of information, such as libraries, newsstands, bookstores, telephone and telegraph operators are not normally held liable. Publishers, such as newspapers and publishing houses are held responsible for the materials that they print. (Internet and the Law, p. 164). Thus, in the Internet world, if the accused is considered to be a distributor, then no liability will be found unless the individual had personal knowledge of the contents of the material. However, if the operator or owner is considered to be a publisher, then liability will be found."

    "Two recent cases reveal the importance of the distinction between distributor and publisher in the United States. In one case, CUBBY, INC. V. COMPUSERVE, INC., the court granted CompuServe Inc. summary judgment based upon the court's finding that CompuServe served the same purpose as a library. The court stated that CompuServe would have been held liable only if the company knew or had reason to know of the defamatory statement. (Internet and the Law, p. 166). The court found that an agency relationship had not been established since CompuServe did not directly regulate the materials placed upon the electronic bulletin boards. (Internet and the Law, p. 168).

    In another case, STRATTON OAKMONT, INC. V. PRODIGY SERVICES CO., the court found that unlike CompuServe, Inc., Prodigy Services Co. did hold itself out to the general public as a publisher because it used software to prescreen messages that were offensive, and therefore was liable for materials that appeared on the Prodigy computer bulletin board. (Internet and the Law, p. 168). Thus, in the United States, the definition of the owner/operator as either a publisher or common carrier will be definitive as to the liability of the owner/operator. (*Internet Publishing Raises Legal Questions; Copyright violations are possible*, Business Insurance, February 26, 1996, p. 21).


    See also

    http://www.ojr.org/ojr/law/1087423868.php

    "One protective statute that was written specifically with the Internet in mind is the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996, particularly Section 230, which aims to shield Web publishers from liability for libelous comments posted by third parties. The section states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." By now, dozens of judges have taken a shot at interpreting that provision, and they have reached widely varying conclusions about what it means."

    Dave

  10. #40
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    I have added bold and italics to your quote to highlight a few key points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post

    "Two recent cases reveal the importance of the distinction between distributor and publisher in the United States. In one case, CUBBY, INC. V. COMPUSERVE, INC., the court granted CompuServe Inc. summary judgment based upon the court's finding that CompuServe served the same purpose as a library. The court stated that CompuServe would have been held liable only if the company knew or had reason to know of the defamatory statement. (Internet and the Law, p. 166). The court found that an agency relationship had not been established since CompuServe did not directly regulate the materials placed upon the electronic bulletin boards. (Internet and the Law, p. 168).
    Let's be realistic here. Not that I relish taking on any potential liability, but since we screen new users to the forum, and actively participate in it, we're going to have a hard time claiming that we didn't "know or have reason to know of [any] defamatory statements". Merely by having this discussion, I am acknowledging that we know this issue exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    In another case, STRATTON OAKMONT, INC. V. PRODIGY SERVICES CO., the court found that unlike CompuServe, Inc., Prodigy Services Co. did hold itself out to the general public as a publisher because it used software to prescreen messages that were offensive, and therefore was liable for materials that appeared on the Prodigy computer bulletin board. (Internet and the Law, p. 168).
    We don't do any sort of automatic check of messages. But I do make an effort to read postings (though if many are made between times I check, I could miss one).

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    See also

    http://www.ojr.org/ojr/law/1087423868.php

    "One protective statute that was written specifically with the Internet in mind is the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996, particularly Section 230, which aims to shield Web publishers from liability for libelous comments posted by third parties. The section states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." By now, dozens of judges have taken a shot at interpreting that provision, and they have reached widely varying conclusions about what it means."

    Dave
    Widely varying conclusions. As in, the law isn't particularly clear.

    I will add the following text from your second link which comes just after the part you quoted (my bolding):

    Upton agrees that Section 230 provides Web publishers with "some protection" from libel claims for comments posted by third parties. "They are not strictly required to edit comments that are made," he says. "But certainly when the host has reason to know that criminal violations are taking place on their Web site and they're put on notice of that, the statute does not provide blanket protection from liability under those circumstances."

    Upton acknowledges that the boundary between third-party comments that are protected by Section 230 and comments that can land the Web host in court "is not an easy line to draw because there is conflicting authority in the courts on this issue. This is something that ultimately is going to be clarified by the courts, but right now it is hazy."
    I think the key thing is that we are willing to respond if someone highlights a potential problem in a post. If there is a compelling reason, if people feel threatened or defamed, then I think we would be negligent not to respond.

    I share your general concern, Dave, and agree that no editing at all is far preferable. This is a very difficult issue, and I truly appreciate the open and honest debate on it.

  11. #41
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    Repeating again the caveat that I am not an attorney, my advice is to avoid being considered a publisher: don't pre-emptively censor postings. If you notice a posting that you consider offensive or libelious, post a message on that thread suggesting an apology and/or retraction. That should put you on the right side of any issue that arises, both morally and legally, though with no guarantee that you would prevail.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    Repeating again the caveat that I am not an attorney, my advice is to avoid being considered a publisher: don't pre-emptively censor postings. If you notice a posting that you consider offensive or libelious, post a message on that thread suggesting an apology and/or retraction. That should put you on the right side of any issue that arises, both morally and legally, though with no guarantee that you would prevail.

    Dave

    Note that we have not made any preemptive edits. The very small number of edits we have made have been at the specific request of individuals involved. While even those edits involved a very difficult decision, it should be noted that I do not believe anyone believes that any meaning in these posts was lost.

    Your point about going back to the original posters and discussing the issue with them (and enabling them to make their own edits perhaps) might be a better approach.

    I should note that our forum has posted rules, and therefore we have some obligation to enforce them.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    I should note that our forum has posted rules, and therefore we have some obligation to enforce them.
    This too can be accomplished without censorship. If someone violates a posted rule, then based on the severity of the infraction either ban them immediately, or publicly post a warning stating that they will be banned if the infraction is repeated.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    This too can be accomplished without censorship. If someone violates a posted rule, then based on the severity of the infraction either ban them immediately, or publicly post a warning stating that they will be banned if the infraction is repeated.
    Dave, I'd just like to make sure I understand what you're suggesting. So, if a registered user would to make a post that included a number of expletives (which would be in violation of rule #2 in our posted rules), then are you saying I should leave the posting on the forum as is and post a response indicating that they they will be banned if they do it again?

    And isn't banning a user a form of censorship? That seems to me like a much more extreme form of censorship.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 09-22-2008 at 06:41 PM. Reason: to add the final paragraph about banning users being censorship

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Dave, I'd just like to make sure I understand what you're suggesting. So, if a registered user would to make a post that included a number of expletives (which would be in violation of rule #2 in our posted rules), then are you saying I should leave the posting on the forum as is and post a response indicating that they they will be banned if they do it again?
    Your rule #2 is "Do not use any foul language", a rather broad and subjective proscription. I can think of some words that should trigger immediate removal, others that would merit a warning, and some others that ought be ignored.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    And isn't banning a user a form of censorship? That seems to me like a much more extreme form of censorship.
    There is a large difference between "I'm censoring/modifying what you posted" and "having violated our rules, you may no longer post here".

    Dave

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