Re: parmalee's warning for inciting violence

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by James R, Jan 7, 2021.

  1. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    James is actually the one who reposted the passage (sans context--I subsequently provided the context). Previously, it had been stricken from the thread (the other thread. If it is actually criminal to utter such, or believed to be, then why would he repost it?
     
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  3. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    Incidentally, at the time of the original "incident," I checked Twitter, out of curiosity, to see what kind of seeming or actual threats and incitements were (seemingly) permitted. I will not reprint the texts nor the hashtags that I came across, but frankly, I was rather surprised. There were a number of quite direct threats and incitements to murder, including some "trending" hashtags. One might think, OK, they simply haven't flagged these yet, but some of them had been up for months. And there were no qualifying terms or suchlike--they were pretty damn direct! It was quite bizarre.
     
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Because you made an issue of it, and in the interests of transparency it is only fair to let other posters see what was moderated, and to explain why. It was also necessary to protect myself from false accusations of bias or heavy-handedness in moderation.

    The decision as to whether to criminally prosecute you is not mine to make, obviously. Nor have I taken any steps to inform law enforcement authorities about your activity. I do not, personally, believe that you deserve to be legally sanctioned for this, but like I said, it's not up to me.
     
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Twitters moderation is the decision of Twitter's administrators. sciforums moderation comes down to the decisions of sciforum's moderators and administrators.

    If Twitter has had failures, that does not imply that sciforums is at fault for not similarly failing its readership.
     
  8. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    That's reasonable. But--and you can probably guess what I am going to ask--if you really believed it to be incitement to violence, wouldn't you feel an obligation to report it? What I am a getting at here is the distinction between "this is incitement" and "this sounds like it could be incitement." The former we are obliged to take seriously (and report, etc.), but the latter? For me, that is problematic--it doesn't seem right to hold someone accountable for something that they might have intended. It's not unlike trying to predict criminal behavior: it might seem reasonable, but how does one reasonably go about stopping a person from something they may or may not do?
     
  9. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    ???

    I wasn't implying any such thing. I was simply saying that I found an awful lot of very direct threats and incitations on Twitter--some were "trending" even--and it rather surprised me.
     
  10. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    The disclaimer is actually irrelevant to the problem. (I am not recommending anything)

    Simply stating that there is some right to use extreme violence even if stated with some humor ( my take is that it was bar room banter ) doesn't prevent some unhinged looney with a sniper rifle from accepting that you have reinforced his belief that he would be acting with in his rights to perform an assassination and that you would support his actions if he actually did assassinate the President.

    To assume that your audience is rational using such language is extremely dangerous and potentially inciting. ( even if unintended )

    I was faced with a similar issue with JamesR some time ago after I warned a certain poster that his flaming may lead to a "swatting type*" attempt being funded by his victim ( costs about $100 USD) and that he should take care about going in too hard to flame someone for his amusement.

    *Swatting is anonymously calling law enforcement to a falsely claimed hostage situation or other criminal event at your home address etc )

    I did it to grant him a favor because of the nature of the internet is as it is... I received an infraction and warning for potentially threatening the flamer.

    Initially I disagreed, but after some consideration I had to conclude that JamesR was quite correct to act as he did and that if we do not maintain a certain responsibility for possible misinterpretation we may inadvertently cause great harm.

    The problem you faced and still face is that if Trump is attacked and assassination attempt is made, you will likely face literally hours in a holding cell being interrogated about your bar room banter, especially if there is even the slightest connection between the assassin and this web site and you could be charged even if ultimately failing in a court with incitement. But the inconvenience of having to prove your innocence of intent would be rather challenging.
    When posting on an internet forum where identity is presumed to be anonymous (it isn't) it does pay to exercise a bit of restraint when it comes to bar room banter.
    Words matter!

    As you know from the recent Capital Building event, conflating words like insurrection, coup, treason will most likely lead to a lot of inconvenience for the perpetrators who's only intent was to sh*t stir as there was no plan to hold the capital and/or force changes in Government or democratic systems
    For the media etc to conflate the issue to domestic terrorism will aid Trump more than harm him.
    Words matter!

    The issue is much bigger than this here at sciforums. Social media is full of it. Many people could face law enforcement for some future event due to a perceived act of incitement.
    It is not an easy problem to rectify...

    Without responsibility there is no freedom of speech as regulation will inevitably be employed to prevent the lying, flaming and incitement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
  11. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    Violence is a vicous cycle, a paradox.
     
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    parmalee,

    I think this discussion passed the point of being ridiculous some time ago. Just how many excuses do you want to make?
    That would depend on many factors.

    In practice, I don't think I'd feel obligated to report the ravings of somebody on an internet forum to law enforcement unless I perceived a credible threat of actual real-world violence from the perpetrator and/or his/her followers.

    It might help to get some perspective. sciforums is a science discussion forum, or something similar. I'm confident that terrorists and criminals aren't, for the most part, seeking out this forum to foment revolution or to plan assassinations. There are plenty of places I'd choose to look for such people other than here, if I was a law enforcement official concerned about national security, or similar. Having said that, I'm sure the relevant authorities do take the occasional glance at our forum, in the same way that they monitor other internet traffic for criminal activity.

    There are organised political groups in America that regularly and openly advocate violence acts against Presidents and so on, though the smarter ones are careful, I'm sure, to make their advocacy plausibly deniable most of the time.

    This is not a court of law.

    As a moderator, my job here is not to prosecute people, or to put them on trial for crimes. My job is to decide what kind of content we want to have on sciforums and what kind of content we don't want to host. Our membership has previously agreed that sciforums will not tolerate threats, especially threats made by members that target other forum members, but also, more generally, threats made by members towards non-members, including public figures.

    Our posting guidelines also clearly say that, in moderating sciforums, the moderators are not bound by the letter of our rules, as written. We are not obliged to get into nitty gritty arguments of hair-splitting interpretation of the text of our guidelines. We should look to the intent of the rules, as well as to their black-letter wording.

    The intent behind having a rule against threatening other people -whoever they may be - is that violence begets violence. Moreover, an atmosphere that tolerates threats to the physical wellbeing or security of any person is not an atmosphere that promotes the free exchange of ideas and honest discussion without fear.

    The question I ask myself as a moderator is not, therefore, "Is this a credible threat? Is this person serious in threatening the life or security of another person, or just doing it for show?" None of that is relevant to the decision to moderate the poster of such material. The only thing that is relevant is the question of whether we, as moderators of this forum, think that it is acceptable to host posts that threaten the personal security of other people, whoever they may be, whether it be for real or just "for fun" or as an attempt at some kind of purported "parody".

    It should be clear to all that my position on this is unequivocal. Threats will not be tolerated by me, on my watch.

    You can split hairs all you want. You can point to how other forums choose to conduct themselves, or to how some police forces operate. None of that affects our ability, here and now, as a community, to decide what kinds of behaviour we want to condone, or which kinds of behaviour we want to censure.
     
  13. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

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    given you well realized predilection for treating rightwing posters softer than left do you honestly believe you have a pot to piss in here?
    again lets not forget you are ok with death threats james don't pretend you are not. you've shown since you don't like me its ok to threaten to kill me. what ever flaws tiassa has at least he has principles it a shame you only care about defending the worst posters here and attacking anyone who dares criticize you.
     
  14. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

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    than why was the person who threatened my not banned? because you favor rightwing posters and think its ok for them to threaten people. perhaps you should try being honest.
     
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Well, that's a bad example in this case. I mean, the president was granted a lot more leeway for a long time - at least until his mob killed a cop.

    But in any case, I agree that standards are often different for politicians in public office. However, here on Sciforums, there are specific rules that aren't tied to what elected position you hold. And even if Trump were posting here, he'd be subject to the same rules.
     
  16. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    There's a clip somewhere on YouTube of David Letterman interviewing Al Franken at a point sometime prior to Franken becoming an elected official. Franken discusses this advisor who goes about telling him the sorts of things he can longer do or say (whilst entering the political realm), including the kinds of jokes he oughtn't tell. He mentions this "penis joke" of Buddy Hackett's (which he actually winds up repeating in the end) as such an example. Curiously, it really wasn't even an especially "vulgar" "penis joke," as such things go--of course, these matters are entirely subjective.

    But with respect to this matter, I am referring to a somewhat different standard--namely that politicians and certain public figures ought to refrain from saying certain things, even when they don't really mean a certain thing, but rather, such can be construed as meaning said thing, simply because their words can carry more weight and impact than the average, random citizen.
     
  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I think that claim requires evidence in support. Can you provide it?

    Or are you just barking mad?
     
  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    This is all bullshit. It is clear what you said, which is that in your view it would be justifiable to kill certain named political figures.

    You can't seriously expect to say that on a public discussion forum without getting moderated.

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  19. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    Setting aside, for the moment, the matter of what is or is not perceived as "incitement," I'm honestly not so sure about this. As pj observes above, there does seem to be a curious level of tolerance shown for baseless rightwing "alternative facts," at times. Review that thread regarding displaying the Confederate flag, for instance (if you don't know which one I'm referring to, just ask and I'll find a link). My perception is that certain members are regularly allowed to post utter bs--whether by some misguided notion of "fairness," or simply because they adhere to the rules in most other respects, I don't know.
     
  20. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    I said that one could interpret relevant documents as allowing for such--and I believe that. I did not say that I necessarily subscribe to such readings.
     
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    You said your opinion was that the Constitution permitted or even demanded it.

    But whatever the details, it was obviously asking for trouble to say that on a discussion forum. I don't see why you are making such a fuss. I get moderated from time to time, usually when when I get a bit worked up about something and stray over the line. We all do that (except wegs of course - she's far too well-adjusted

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    ). But I don't nurse a grudge for months, I just think about whether I agree with the judgement or not and if so whether I owe anyone an apology, and then I move on. Arguing with moderators is always self-defeating.
     
  22. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    No, I said that "I am fairly certain that the Constitution advises for such circumstances," and then I said that "I think" said readings are reasonable, but then I also said that I'm "not sure on that part." See post#7 for the full citation.

    But, yes, I was, in a sense, "asking for trouble" or stirring up shit, and I have copped to that. Likewise, my disclaimers/qualifier were pretty crap, and I was anything but subtle. (Specifically, I was trying to provoke Vociferous because he had posted some unbelievably objectionable shit in another thread.) So, yeah, I was indeed making trouble--but I absolutely was not inciting violence (nor intending to.)

    However, a big part of the problem now is this: As you can see, above, both Dave and billvon clearly disagree with me; but neither seem insistent upon twisting and distorting my words, nor forcing an interpretation upon me. Despite the disagreements with them, I feel like we can still honestly engage one another.

    James, on the other hand... I've got a serious problem with how he is addressing me, and I have witnessed this sort of behavior from him with a number of other posters in the past (for the record, I'm not talking about paddoboy here, nor whatstheirnames--the posters who frequently resurface and post wackadoo physics shit. Some of these posters, to whom I am referring, are , sadly, long gone and before your time, I believe.). I don't get it, really. I "called him out," I suppose, for what I perceived as sloppy moderation (my contention is that I was "flaming," or provoking--not inciting. Big difference.). He asked for the context, and I provided. I feel like we should have been able to have had a reasonable discussion, whether or not we wound up in agreement with each other at the end being inconsequential--simply having the discussion and trying to understand/appreciate the other's perspective is what matters. But that, clearly, is not what happened here, and frankly, I'm just sick and tired of it.
     
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well OK, it's your fight at the end of the day.
     

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