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Johnstuff
Oct 3rd, 2008, 03:00 PM
Hi - I thought I'd post this as I've not seen anything else discussing it.

In the forum rules it states that members must not say anything that could be supporting anything that is illegal or post links to sites that do.

Does that mean that if you disagree with a law in any country and you say so, that you are breaking the rules. Or if you have ever broken any law and you admit to it, that you are breaking the rules.

IMO this seems a little strict, especially as from looking at the language thread it appears you can swear as much as you like.

So you can say "F this, F that", but you can't say "I think such an' such a law is out dated" as that may be seen as encoraging people to break such a law?

I understand that you would not want ALF members to plan illegal activities on here (for their own good) or anything like that - but what about thoeretical discussion?


I'm quite new on this forum and don't wish to cause any trouble or anything, it's just that that rule seems a little too strict IMO.

Can You clarify this?


Many thanks,

John.

Korn
Oct 5th, 2008, 11:19 PM
Does that mean that if you disagree with a law in any country and you say so, that you are breaking the rules.

Hi,

the answer is no: it's not illegal to disagree with a law.


Or if you have ever broken any law and you admit to it, that you are breaking the rules.
That depends. Some people 'play games' with the rules as a way to be able to post stuff about being involved in something illegal (it could eg. smoking cannabis).

If you post "I smoke cannabis", you break our rules.

If you say that smoking cannabis shouldn't be illegal, you don't break the rules.


I understand that you would not want ALF members to plan illegal activities on here (for their own good) ...
Just to clarify: we don't have this law 'for their own good', it's because we for various reasons don't allow posts that support (etc) illegal activities...

Johnstuff
Oct 6th, 2008, 04:46 PM
Hi Korn.

Thanks for the reply. So the rules are pretty much as stated.

Is 'playing games' with the rules acceptable then?

I'd be interested in the reason(s) for this rule, if you would care to explain?

It seems a pity to have the rule IMO as it may limit freedom of speach - but obviously the rules are the rules and I'll follow them.

Is the intention to keep this site seperate from AR events/discussions? (I think it says somewhere it's a vegan site, not an AR site).

Thanks again - sorry to be a pain!

Korn
Oct 8th, 2008, 01:13 AM
Is 'playing games' with the rules acceptable then?
Here's a quote from our board rules: "16) Please be honest, make sense, and don't 'play games' with the rules."

It seems a pity to have the rule IMO as it may limit freedom of speach
There is a misunderstanding about free speech going on on internet. 'Free speech' doesn't mean that any one can jump into any forum the like and promote illegal activities (whic in itself is illegal), promote Satanism on a forum for Christian, post Nokia phone spam in any thread/forum they want or promote use of animal products on vegan site. It's not about censorship, it's about defining what the site is about.

If message boards wouldn't have board rules, all forums could potentially end up as more or less similar, chaotic places where people basically disagreeing in everything could insult/attack each other and post stuff that could get both themselves, others and the admins/server owners in trouble. A handful of active internet/forum users could dominate dozens of forums this way, which would be a very non-democratic solution. Also: with too liberal moderating/rules one will soon end up with the members that have been banned from other boards (for breaking their rules).

Is the intention to keep this site seperate from AR events/discussions?
No...

pavotrouge
Oct 11th, 2009, 03:22 AM
it seems to me... and I don't see the difference in between discussing something illegal or actually doing it, as long as you don't do it on the forum itself.

Korn
Oct 11th, 2009, 08:34 AM
it seems to me...

What does it seem to you?


and I don't see the difference in between discussing something illegal or actually doing it, as long as you don't do it on the forum itself.

If you write "It should be legal to steal money from rich people and give them to people/animals who need help" you are discussing something illegal in a legal way.

If you write "I think we all should steal money from rich people and give them to animals/people who need help" you encourage illegal activities, which is illegal.

puca
Oct 11th, 2009, 08:39 AM
Hi Korn,

My question is are you going to ban people who are openly gay from the forum.

As we all know, VF is international and obviously homosexual acts are illegal in many countries.

Or how about when a same sex couple ties the knot? Less than ten countries globally allow same sex marriage. So if you think about it, you are underrepresenting the 170(ish) other states if you allow same sex discussions. I think that would be undemocratic.

Or do only the rules of your country apply, Korn? Or if I wrote "man I had some crackin' hash in a cafe in Amesterdam"would that be allowed?

What about if I wrote "I read the names of soldiers who died in Iraq outside Parliament in London, without requesting police permission" (which breaks the law in the UK, under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act).

Do you have legal researchers moderating our posts? :o

puca
Oct 11th, 2009, 08:45 AM
If you write "I think we all should steal money from rich people and give them to animals/people who need help" you encourage illegal activities, which is illegal.
Under which legislation? :confused:

Korn
Oct 11th, 2009, 10:08 AM
Under which legislation?
That would depend on which country you live in, I guess...

Korn
Oct 11th, 2009, 10:19 AM
Hi Korn,

My question is are you going to ban people who are openly gay from the forum. Of course not, and you know that already, because we have many openly gay users on the forum already. We don't have a policy saying "find the most extreme states in the world and follow their laws".


Or if I wrote "man I had some crackin' hash in a cafe in Amesterdam"would that be allowed? As long as using hash is legal in Amsterdam, that's a trouble-free statement. If you would write that you raped a person in a country where that was legal, it would not be OK; because this is a forum for people who respect other living beings.




Do you have legal researchers moderating our posts? :o
The reason we (and most forums) have these rules, is that we aren't interested in running a forum where one would even have to consider using experts on law evaluating our threads. We want to keep it simple, and that means that you, if you want to use this site, just follow the rules. People who are involved in anything illegal aren't exactly known for posting about these activities on internet anyway, and I don't think these guidelines represent a real problem for a lot of people. If they do, all we say is the same thing as every other forum admin would say; if you have a problem with our board rules, don't click "I agree" in the first place, or if you already claimed that you agree in our board rules, and don't, just try to find another forum. It is really simple. :-)

puca
Oct 11th, 2009, 01:58 PM
We don't have a policy saying "find the most extreme states in the world and follow their laws".
Define 'extreme'.

If a person in China criticised their government, they would be banned?

I don't understand the whole respect for the law of "less extreme" countries being even functional... It just sounds picky to me. Just like you're only allowing people to talk about things you agree with.

If I am wrong I appologise. But I don't see how you can quantify what is "extreme" in legal terms. It just leads to arbitrary moderation because you think one country has a more sound legal system than another.

Drugs for example... People need to be open about their experiences with drugs. Pushing that kind of thing underground is dangerous for first time users. It doesn't even have to condone it. The same with safety and the police.

Now if people were trafficking drugs on the forum, it's different. There's a difference between saying "I smoke cannabis" and "anyone fancy a joint"

Those are my views on your moderation.

I don't believe in respecting laws because it's the law, as they were pretty much made up by people who do not and never will share my experience. I believe in respecting living beings and as a result, there are few laws I actually break.

I am not going to go out of my way to challenge it, just go along posting as usual.

Risker
Oct 11th, 2009, 02:42 PM
Just seems like common sense to me, don't post anything that puts the forum or other users at risk of legal action. I think to a certain extent people on the forum also need protecting from themselves since some don't seem to realise that law enforcement agencies visit the forum.

puca
Oct 11th, 2009, 02:56 PM
Just seems like common sense to me, don't post anything that puts the forum or other users at risk of legal action. I think to a certain extent people on the forum also need protecting from themselves since some don't seem to realise that law enforcement agencies visit the forum.
If you break the law and are caught talking about it, then you suffer the consequences.

Law enforcement agencies also browse Facebook, as do employers. But they wouldn't go through the trouble of knocking on your door because you say "I smoke pot at parties". Fair enough, bragging about killing a person may be a different matter. But anyway, people do things knowing the risks.

I don't see how you can be putting people at risk either. It's not like it's a drug ring. Is there international E-law that says forums aren't allowed to host posters who write that they have done something illegal? Unless of course you're dealing with a charity, where you cannot 'promote' anything illegal.

I still think that some topics (i.e. drugs, experiences of being arrested, hunt sabbing) need to be given light. It is an individual's choice whether they do something the men in power say is allowed... But I don't see an issue for talking about it.

Just my view mind. Freedom and democracy means freedom for everybody. Not just for those who hold similar viewpoints for people who have some kinda power...

Ok, I know it won't be frequent anyway, that people would say incriminating stuff... But look through threads and it has happened. Just not been picked up on.

And I'm not kickin' off, just being challenging.

Korn
Oct 11th, 2009, 03:05 PM
Define 'extreme'.
I really have no interest in dive into all the possible interpretations and misinterpretations of this. I see a nation forbidden homosexuality as extreme, and that's about how much I have to say about that topic. I have no time or interest in studying all possible nations and figure out what their laws are and how they are treating people who criticize their leaders - sorry.


I don't understand the whole respect for the law of "less extreme" countries being even functional... It just sounds picky to me.
I don't understand what you mean... sorry.


Just like you're only allowing people to talk about things you agree with. Yes, but you also wonder if we'll ban gay people. Please read some threads here, and you'll find that they are full of people with opposing viewpoints about almost everything. No admin, mod or anyone else can possibly agree in all these opposing viewpoints.


But I don't see how you can quantify what is "extreme" in legal terms. It just leads to arbitrary moderation because you think one country has a more sound legal system than another. I'm sorry if you think this is arbitrary - it isn't. You seem to make this complicated - it isn't. We won't have board rules that let people post stuff that would put me as the owner of the site in potential in legal trouble. I know of several cases where forum owners have had to deal with lawyers/police because of stuff that has been posted on their sites - and I'm not interested in that.


Drugs for example... People need to be open about their experiences with drugs. If people use illegal drugs, they don't need to post about using these drugs on this forum. This forum isn't country, its a... "room" that you can go in and out of.


There are few laws I actually break.
And here's what our FAQ says about posting such statements:


7) Do not post anything - anywhere - that might be interpreted as encouraging, supporting, being involved in, defending, justifying or glorifying anything illegal - including breaking laws for any reason, violence against people or property, use of illegal drugs etc. Do not promote sites that support/promote illegal activities of any kind - or contain links to (or promotes) sites, books or videos that do.


Unless someone belong to the extremely small group of people who more or less want friction; who want to see how far they can go in breaking board rules without being banned, or belong to the even smaller group that for a couple of reasons I can think of actually *want* to be banned, I can't see why they would post that they are breaking a few laws in a thread discussing our rules which are against people defending/encouraging breaking laws / or sharing that they are involved in breaking laws.

Risker
Oct 11th, 2009, 03:08 PM
I still think that some topics (i.e. drugs, experiences of being arrested, hunt sabbing) need to be given light. It is an individual's choice whether they do something the men in power say is allowed... But I don't see an issue for talking about it.

Thing is with subjects like this is it's difficult to tell what could be construed as encouraging others to do the same. Better safe than sorry imho.

Korn
Mar 27th, 2010, 09:53 AM
What does it seem to you?
Ah - I finally got it. It seems to you that we try "to keep this site seperate from AR events/discussions?".... right?

The answer is no. We've had a subforum called Animal Cruelty & Activism for several years (recently renamed "Animal cruelty/testing/rescue/rights").

In the beginning, these posts didn't have a special subforum, but after several people have suggested a special section for such threads, we decided to make one. One good thing about that is that people who want to log in and chit-chat with others or look for soom food advice, friends or whatever won't have to see constant reminders about animal cruelty when searching for new threads.


What we (and almost all other forums) do is to keep people away from using the site to encourage others to participate in anything illegal - including illegal Animal Rights activities of the illegal kind. Some people know this, and still break the rules (as some sort of totally misunderstood rebellion against authorities), and then complain about being banned from our forum for having disagreed with me etc., which of course is 100% pure, destilled nonsense. :-)

People who have been banned have been banned for breaking the rules, usually several times, sometimes on purpose - the same rules they agreed in when they became members; the rules they know they have to follow in order to remain members. What these people usually don't get, is the difference between 'agreeing with Korn' and agreeing in our board rules. The background for not allowing certain types of posts here have been explained numerous times.

We simply can't please anyone. If people want a forum where they can discuss and plan ways to burn buildings, attack test labs etc - start such a forum. They won't get one step closer to 'freedom' by posting such stuff here, because they will be banned. How free is a person who breaks forum rules, and afterwards is losing her/his membership and have the posts removed anyway?

And how free is an admin who should spends thousand of hours running a site according to someone else's definition of how a forum should be run?

It's good that people rebel against authority, but some members here have definitely been involved in barking up the wrong tree.

Registering at a forum which doesn't allow writings about illegal/criminal activities (which is true for most forums) and then doing it - followed by complaining about cencorship is just silly. These people's definition of internet freedom pretty much goes like this: "Freedom means that one can join any community, including communities with rules, and then ignore these rules and expect nothing to happen." Their definition of freedom also includes dictating how forum owners should run their forums.

People can falsely assume me wanting them to agree with them, they can speculate about how to get banned, and if it makes them feel good, they can also attack our policy elsewhere. But it *is* waste of time, because we've had these rules for years, most forums have similar rules, and we won't change the policy regarding these things.

The interesting part is that the people who moan about lack of freedom rarely use their freedom to start a forum with the kind of rules they think our forum should have had. One reason for this is maybe that they know that several forum and site owners have ended up with legal trouble after having allowed certain types of posts, and lawyers cost money - the kind of money these people obviously think it's OK for me to spend, but which they aren't interested in spending themselves.


Some wrote "Freedom and democracy means freedom for everybody. Not just for those who hold similar viewpoints for people who have some kinda power..." which of course is right and extremely important. What this person doesn't get (it was a comment to this very discussion) is the very main point: This isn't a discussion about agreeing with someone's opinions about certain kinds of activism, for example, but about agreeing in the requirements to become a member of this (and most other) forums. If there would be only one site on internet; this one, and that would be the only way to communicate with people, those comments would have been relevant - but in this context, they are not. Do you guys really expect to join, say, a Christian community and use their forum to spread Islam (or vice versa)? Or (before someone says something about this having nothing to do with Christianity): Do you suggest that people should be able to log into a vegan forum and promote use of eggs and meat? That's not how freedom works, guys! And yes - I have heard the same argument from people who have tried to promote of use of animal products here, the 'So we have to agree with the admin to be allowed to post here? Censorship!"-argument. Some people just don't get it. :)

Korn
Mar 27th, 2010, 12:02 PM
Another question I've been asked is: Can hunt sabbing be discussed?

Since hunt sabbing is not illegal (hunt sabbing is probably defined as "people trying to uphold the law and monitoring those breaking it") you can discuss it. If hunt sabbing would be illegal, you could discuss legalizing hunt sabbing, but not encourage (etc) people to hunt sab. In reality this would mean discussing laws about hunting, becuase as long as hunting is legal, cruel as it is, preventing people from doing something legal would probably be considered an illegal activity.



Here's what our board rules say:

"7) Do not post anything that might be interpreted as encouraging, supporting, being involved in, defending, justifying or glorifying anything illegal - including breaking laws for any reason, violence against people or property, use of illegal drugs etc. Do not promote sites that support/promote illegal activities of any kind - or promotes sites, books or videos that do."

Still, just after I wrote a post in this thread today, some user posted that he supported ALF morally but couldn't be involved in ALF activities as he could risk his job. That's a perfect example of breaking that rule, so his post was removed, and he was put on moderation.

The only way for us to deal with this rule is to make it as simpole as possible, which includes being aware of another rule we have, saying "Don't play games with the rules".

We added this rule at some point, because ALF-supporters made up all kinds of excuses to promote ALF 'in disguise', by saying how great they think ALF is - but somehow adding that they personally wasn't involved in ALF activities for more or less practical reasons.

We are going to keep this more or less rigid policy. If we wouldn't, we would have to evaluate, time after time, various attempts of encouring others to be involved in illegal activism hidden behind some "not that I'm involved in this stuff myself" wrapping.

Here's a quote from another member who have broken our rules several times, and also demanded long discussions about stuff she simply doesn't want to understand: "I wonder what I can do to get banned" - not posted on this site, of course. This was posted around the time she participated in a discussion about our policy about these things on this forum.

Do we really want to discuss our policy with members who simultaneously posts on another site that she is trying to figure out how to get banned from our site? No way! :)

I'm seriusly worried about the future of the animals they want to support when they (I'm talking about an extremely small part of our membership base here) are demonstrating this lack of communication skills. Trying to get banned? Posting support for ALF in a thread discussing that this is one of the few things that we don't accept here? Life is too short to waste time on such activities.

Mr Flibble
Mar 27th, 2010, 12:34 PM
I concur, however would strongly advise against such discussion on a public forum where it's not exactly rocket science to trace the identity of most account holders and links to their work / home life. Anyone who thinks they're immune needs a reality check.

Whilst sabbing (in the UK at least) is legal and the majority of people who partake in it keep within bounds of the law (you certainly get the odd wacko from time to time who comes because they hate posh people or wants to be a matyr and arrested as quickly as possible), those who I've known who have been involved with it who have also led public lives have been subject to harassment, death threats, interference with their careers and generally pretty nasty things (that I'm not going to post).

Korn
Mar 27th, 2010, 12:43 PM
Sure. For anyone with access to this database, they can click on any post and see the person's IP address. When people register, storing of info about IP adresses is starting to take place (the registration IP and IP used for every post that person writes), info about which time zone they are in and more is all there. So even from a pro-ALF point of view, using internet to praise illegal activism would be stupid...

And, while we're at it: I'm now going to have to remove the Social Group for UK activists. It's a small group (10 people), but several of the members there have already broken our board rules (multiple times) and are either om moderation or have been banned, and the (now ex-) moderator of that group is among the members who've clearly and actively have demostrated that they aren't interested in following our board rules at all.