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Free Speech in Forums

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Brandon_R, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Brandon_R

    Brandon_R Guest

    [ This thread was split from: http://xenforo.com/community/threads/suggestion-post-checking-system-a-hugely-important-piece-of-functionality.2550/ ]

    Wait, is it the law your trying to obey, or make your forum look clean so you can get advertisers? Personally i would pick freedom of speech over money but that's just me. It would look pretty weird though if all you have on your forum was "good" reviews/talk but again that's just me :)
  2. Forsaken

    Forsaken Well-Known Member

    He's keeping all posts legal, as well as catering to advertisers.

    He also runs a large site that needs to do both. 
    Brandon_R likes this.
  3. Brandon_R

    Brandon_R Guest

    Ahh i see. :)
  4. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    What makes you think I'm not chilled out? If moderators don't like the job they do, they don't moderate. They're not getting paid, so we wouldn't expect them to do something they don't like.
    Actually there is no such thing as free speech if you think that means the ability to post whatever they like, because there are laws which state that some things are illegal. Denying the holocaust in Germany, for example.
    We use the Moderator Checkpoint system to help us comply with the law, maintain a friendly forum, help people feel they are in a spam and insult-free community and reassure advertisers that we do not allow unjust or inappropriate comments about them. All those things and more.
    Your use of the word the word clean is not really appropriate and doesn't exclude free speech. There are certain topics which we do not allow, such as the promotion of piracy because it is illegal.
    I'm sure if people started promoting paedophilia on your forum, you would remove the discussion pretty quickly. So suggesting that it's 'freedom of speech vs money' on our forum misrepresents pretty completely what the situation really is.
    In 'on topic' serious threads, for example where someone is asking for advice or where someone is offering advice, we won't let that thread be taken off topic with arguments about cabbages or whatever. That is simple good management which makes your forum a good, crap-free resource for people reading it.
    Anthony Parsons, gordy and Peggy like this.
  5. ---MAD---

    ---MAD--- Well-Known Member

    Free speech doesn't exist. There are always limits/rules/boundaries that cannot be broken and must be obeyed.
    Peggy likes this.
  6. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    well its not that free speech doesn't exist, it's that free speech is a law/practice like any other so it doesn't over rule any other....

    to reference an earlier post if you let pedo's post pedo content you are breaking the law by allowing them a venue to break the law... that's where the free speech thing ends.. you can say and do as you please as long as it doesn't hurt another personal intentionally , deject an individual or group or break any other codes, practices or laws.

    bottom line someone else's freedoms are just as important as your freedom of speech so neither cancels out the other and any argument's syntax must respect all guidelines or none matter at all.
  7. Sador

    Sador Well-Known Member

    It seemed like you took my comments personally, while it's just something I wouldn't like to be forced in personally. If I took it the wrong way, blame it on the internet and sorry for what I said. :)
    Peggy likes this.
  8. ---MAD---

    ---MAD--- Well-Known Member

    Thats the point though. If there was true freedom of speech you can saying anything at anytime, anywhere to anyone. This is obviously not the case. Anyway this can become an endless debate and certainly isn't what this thread is about and its unfair on stuart :).
    EQnoble likes this.
  9. Booth

    Booth Well-Known Member

    I have a problem with allowing people "free speech" on forums due to something that happened a few years ago on one of my forums. A girl signed up to our forums (a forum I closed eventually for different reasons, sad really as I managed to get it quite busy), was actually very active, then on a thread mentioned a local company (and a new company trying hard to get off the ground) had caused her actual harm, and proceeded to warn everyone from using the services of this company.

    Knowing the person who owned the local company very well, I spoke to them and mentioned it to them. They were very upset, on the verge of tears. They'd spent their savings on this venture and were trying to make it a profitable business, things were slowly on the up and this was the last thing they needed. It turns out the person who posted the message had romanticized quite a bit for the sake of it. I later found out that infact none of it was true at all, this girl was obviously trying to get some free services from this company in her own twisted way. However, the business owner said to me to leave the comments as deleting them would cause a fuss and make it look suspicious. The comments remained and a few users stuck up for the company eventually... Thankfully. I felt terrible for months that these comments were hosted on my webspace knowing they were untrue. No one could prove otherwise though. The last thing I wanted was to damage someone elses hard work, especially someone I knew was a hard working person. It put me off hosting forums, still has really.

    On further investigation, the girl who posted the comments seemed to have a history of this on her Facebook page, calling companies and individuals. No one was safe! She even said many untrue things about our forum, and tried to blackmail me that if I didn't unban her (she got banned eventually for something entirely different) she would carry on spreading rumours until our site was closed. I heard from people just by coincidence that they wouldn't use our forum (they didn't realize I ran it) because someone had said it was ran by a team of censors, and we didn't allow free speech. I knew that those comments were from this girl. A simple statement by a young girl fantasist had a knock on effect, was now causing problems for me personally.

    Until someone posts complete lies about something, and you cannot prove otherwise, only then do you know how important it is to be careful about allowing what your members post. It's unfair on the person or people they are targetting.
  10. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    not to quote myself but that covers it... she had freedom of speech but she let HER freedom of speech overrule a person or companies right against liable/slander i always say answer a question and state why... if she had to show proof of them hurting her she wouldn't have gotten that far...she just used your site as a jump-off point, you have the freedom of removing what you want from your site as its your right as the owner and telling her to prove her claim or it goes would have forced her hand
  11. Booth

    Booth Well-Known Member

    Yes we should have handled it better, but on the other hand she was quite a volatile character and until that point no one had any prior warning of what a monster she would later become. At the time I was worried that perhaps she may try to fake some proof that she'd been harmed (especially after finding out a few other things she had done to play the victim in other situations), so carrying it on would make things worse. A few members did ask her for proof and also asked why if she had been harmed as badly as she was stating, she didn't seek legal advice as any normal person would have done. She was later banned for offending a moderator whose mother was dying in hospital saying things you just would not say to a person who is grieving like that, so as you can probably tell she was a lovely human being.

    There are some very damaged individuals online, it worries me that running an internet forum leaves you open to allowing these people into your life.

    Anyway that's a slight digression from the main topic but I think worthy of mentioning.
  12. jonsidneyb

    jonsidneyb Well-Known Member

    Nope, we don't have free speech on my forum for several reasons.

    We are keeping it G-PG rated...they can find away to communicate inside the topic of the forum without crossing that line.
    No sexism of any kind on the board. Most of the women on the board do not advertise the fact that they are women.
  13. Floris

    Floris Guest

    Nope, if I do not feel someone is welcome on my site, based on what their actions are or what they say. I can block them without provocation and warning. Free speech or not. So, no.
  14. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    Well my whole point was free speech is just another rule or practice along with your site rules free speech is allowed as long as it's within your site rules....

    Ill make a relation though it is text so i don't know how relevant it will sound but here it is.

    You can tell me I can do some math and im free to make up the numbers i'm going to play with. Freedom of choice is part of that system, but no choices can violate other rules so for anything i do to be relevant I would have to observe the rules of deriving answers from mathematical equations.
    Apply that to your site floris, i'm free to say what I want as long as it doesn't break your rules , and your free to do whatever administration you need to if you have an issue with my postings. If I only post stuff you want me to exactly the way you want then effectively your writing my posts using my name to back your cause.

    I think people put too much emphasis on speech when it comes to freedom instead of looking at the term as a whole.
  15. Floris

    Floris Guest

    "Apply that to your site floris, i'm free to say what I want as long as it doesn't break your rules"

    No thanks :) If I for no reason want to block someone, even before they have posted, that will be the case.

  16. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    Well i'm not arguing that, that comes with the obvious rights of owning a site..assuming were talking about free speech i would have to be able to post to even render a problem necessitating this conversation.
  17. Princeton

    Princeton Well-Known Member

    It's important to moderate what people post...
    Having negative comments on a site impedes growth. For those who run their forums as a business, it can hurt them financially.

    Negative messages says a lot about the people in the community. It also says a lot about the site in general.

    Note: Posting disapproval of (something) is not necessarily a "negative". It's the way one goes about it.

    It's really not about taking "free speech" away - it's more about promoting a great atmosphere. You want everyone to come to the site and feel welcomed.

    It's like driving into a neighborhood and everyone greets you with a smile. They are happy to give you directions. Everything is clean and beautiful.


    Driving into a neighborhood and you are fearful. The people around you makes you feel like you don't belong. The neighborhood has a high crime rate and is dark everywhere you look.

    Peggy, Stuart Wright and EQnoble like this.
  18. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    This has so much relevance... i see the difference in neighborhoods as a great comparison... the people in the first neighborhood are freer than the second because they CHOOSE to respect one another whereas the people in the second put themselves and their agenda first and their choices put them in a place where they are not safe to do what their will is making it the same for visitors who already feel out of place.
    Chivalry is not dead i pray, just resting peacfully and not taking calls...someone needs to give it a wakeup call.
    Thank you for this revelation Princeton ... a fist pump to you :)
    Princeton likes this.
  19. chousho

    chousho Well-Known Member

    As far as forums go, too: there is a difference between free speech and being allowed to speak freely. Free speech is meant to allow the discussion of ideas, views and opinions. IE: the important things in life. If speech is lacking literary, artistic, political or scientific value, or is obscene then it may not be covered under free speech. Suppression of somebody speaking because you don't like them, their opinions, or they don't stand for the same things you do is going against free speech. [Deletion] of speech that has no value to add, only to state, "lolz justin beebr SUX lol lol" really wouldn't fall under the literary, artistic or any other important criteria.

    With that said, the forums I help moderate at are meant for people college-aged and up, and we have a pretty loose set of standards for what's bannable. We're all grown ups, we can handle conversations getting out of hand. If we were a business, I'm sure we wouldn't want the same things being seen publicly, though ;D
    EQnoble likes this.
  20. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    You are far better at stating words of cognition to the masses than me obviously and you make a great point. Every forum is unique (i hope) and with that they should have different rules (again i hope) for the reason you expressed in your second paragraph. I guess the best summary of my view on an optimal freespeach policy on a forum would be....

    You are free to express your opinion in any way you see fit as long as you do not circumvent these following rules...
    insert rules here or a link to the rules/Tos area of the site.
    Violate these rules with your freedoms and receive a free infraction or ban notice - 3 infractions = ban
    :) have a nice day ( obviously end this and expand this how you will but this is how I see things as a generalization )
    chousho likes this.

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