Are cryonicists really so litigious, or just fond of veiled and not-so-veiled threats? It seems like this topic of lawsuits comes up a lot here on our little forum. Some like to hint at potential legal danger, or just threaten to outright sue one another. Others prefer the implication of looming lawsuits or legislation.
I've been threatened quite a few times, by various parties. Some of them are subtle about it, others come right out and tell me. A number of ultimatums have come my way. All of it, though, is bullshit. If you're going to sue someone, just do it. Don't talk about it, don't come on our board and try to use the threat of litigation as leverage. Contact the relevant parties through proper channels, not here, not in my e-mail.
If people on this board aren't threatening their own lawsuits, then they're threatening on behalf of someone else. Or offering free amateur legal advice. And this includes the non-cryonicists as well. I don't know what it is about this topic that makes everyone want to frighten everyone else with some sort of legal entanglement, but I think we're all tired of hearing about it.
Threats, veiled or otherwise, are not welcome here. I hope that's clear enough.
I'd be happy to discuss it with you. No need to post these oblique critiques.
Just to be clear, I'm not talking about "friendly advice." When I see people posting who are obviously in opposition to one another and they start to mention the fact that the other person may be in legal danger, it is not friendly advice. It is a threat. When I receive e-mail telling me to delete certain posts or face a lawsuit, that is also a threat. When I am told that I will be reported to the government for fraud (that I never committed), it is obviously a threat. These sorts of exchanges happen all the time on this board and in my e-mail. It needs to stop, that's all I'm saying. It is obviously a weak attempt to suppress the opposition, whoever they imagine that opposition to be.
Make no mistake, I may have started my last post by mentioning cryonicists, but as I said, this is also directed at many of the non-cryonicists or cryonics critics as well. This topic seems to bring the worst out of many people on both sides, or all sides, of the debate. Some of the worst threats I have received have come from people defending the criticisms and personal attacks made against cryonicists.
I'm not defending an "anything goes" mentality here- quite the opposite, actually. This is an attempt at toning down some of the hostility. Threats of legal danger, litigation, legislation, etc., do nothing but stoke the fires and put posters on the defensive.
If you disagree with what I'm saying, feel free to say so. All I ask is that you include some sort of reasoning and explain your position.
This message has been edited by CF_Moderator on Aug 27, 2010 9:16 PM
The problem here is that this is a moderated forum. It says so. And the moderator intervenes to require the edit of some posts.
Okay, then, the moderator must take responsibility for what gets through his filter. How can it be any other way? And threats of legalities are a consequence of the moderator allowing people to say things that other people find personal, untrue, and perhaps defamatory.
The answer should be extremely obvious: Either stop being a moderator, or exercise better control. If lecturing people about etiquette was going to work, it would have worked months ago.
Sorry, Jonathan, but it's your forum, and I think you should accept the responsibility that this entails--or turn it loose and let nature take its course.
I'm not currently filtering anyone except "George" and "Jonano" Despres. I can still edit and delete posts after they are posted, though. Are you saying you would like to see either more moderation or less? I tried the "let nature take its course" strategy for quite some time. I'm not sure I would call it a success. I'm currently rethinking this whole situation, though, so I appreciate any feedback.
I'm just saying Jonathan that if you function more actively as a moderator, you might not have anything to complain about, regarding people making legal threats, because the possibly defamatory material would be filtered out.
Personally I think if you have the role of a moderator, you should be using it actively. I don't think half-measures are satisfactory.
Platt: "...because the possibly defamatory material would be filtered out..."
Note Platt's use of the word "possibly." It's also possible, (if not probable), that factual material, and other materials protected by the First Amendment, would be filtered out.
The moderator seems to have been subjected to a lot of pressure and threats, immediately after my post regarding Alcor's membership dues. I think everyone who has been complaining should be smart enough to realize there is little chance of anyone successfully prosecuting me, for what I wrote in that post, which consisted of factual material and my own opinions. If I'm mistaken, and there is something actionable in that post, then Alcor should have one of their attorneys contact me.
I think Mr. Platt, and others, are attempting to interfere with my right to free speech, and their efforts appear to include resorting to attempts to intimidate the moderator of this forum.
... would seem to be that it is largely a matter of opinion* as to what constitutes defamatory material. Heck, even totally factual material can be thought of as defamatory by some (e.g., certain personal history Ms. Maxim objects to being mentioned). So, if a moderator injects his/her personal take on that, into the mix, then said moderator starts assuming responsibility for what is said on the forum. If the moderator, on the other hand, allows all posts, and declares that all posts are the responsibility of the posters, as I understand it this greatly reduces any responsibility of the moderator for material other than his/her own posts on the forum.
People on both sides have a tendency to use the threat of legal action of one sort or another. My post was not intended to spur a debate over who was most guilty of this tactic. My point is that it gets tiresome on both sides. Charles did raise a good point about my own weaknesses as a moderator, and how that may have contributed to the problem. I can accept that critique.
The fact that you are not one is to your credit, not a weakness.
I think you've done an excellent job of running this forum over the years, and it's been unfortunate the times you have for whatever reason felt it necessary to haul out the moderation tools.
I have supported your position in the past the couple of times you've had to deal with persons posting only meaningless trash, and the one fellow who was trying to float his vaporware cryonics org. I also believe it has been appropriate most times you have mainly just requested a "toning down of the rhetoric". The above are all a different level of moderation than, say, interfering with the content of posts. That latter is wherein a moderator begins to assume responsibility for everything that is said on a forum, which in my unprofessional opinion is a risky thing to do. And no, this is not any kind of "veiled threat" - I hope we can objectively discuss realities here.
I would like more input. It would be nice to hear from the people who don't contribute often, to get a better idea of what would make them more comfortable here.
Obviously, I'm not interested in becoming "a dictator," that should go without saying. I simply don't have the energy for it. Although, I have considered making up a list of House rules and strictly enforcing them. I'm not sure that would really constitute a dictatorship, unless I started tossing or editing posts simply because I disagreed with them. When I've used the filter in the past, it has only been to cut down on personal attacks. Not unlike a host asking houseguests not to shout in his living room.
I'm not aware of any legal issues, or legal decisions, related to moderators who have more stringent control over the content of a forum. But I haven't really looked into that specifically. Most of the reading I've done seems to suggest that posters are responsible for what they post, while moderators have little to no liability. It is possible that the decisions I read about involved moderators who had relatively lenient posting guidelines and a more hands-off approach. Please feel free to share any examples you may know of, with links if possible.
I don't login and respond very often for several reasons.
1. Any discussions with the people involved in cryonics can go on forever, down to discussions of who gets the last breath before the last word. When I was single or with not very many children, that seemed a lot more fun that it does now.
2. Even people who are friends of mine can get emotionally worked up and insulting when they are typing for others to see. This happened on CryoNet years ago and has happened here. I have done a lot of writing here at various times and then backed away completely at least 3 times. On two of those occasions I was arguing with people I considered friends. Even though I finally backed away, neither of those friendships has recovered fully. That's a loss.
I have tried very hard not to be insulting and strident, not always successfully; but the less I type, the better I am.
And whether you are right or wrong -- no one ever agrees with you after you punch them in the nose. Physically or verbally.
3. While I don't expect life to be all pleasant, I find I can be a happier person if I don't respond or even read everyone else's emotional dumps. I don't have that kind of energy anymore. Writing on Cold Filter generally requires too much emotional energy. I don't mean the spewing of emotions -- that only requires fingers, anger, and a lack of self control. No, my emotional energy is used in controlling my emotions in order to make sensible, informative posts instead of simply arguing. It's very tiring.
4. I read a bit of the British person's website (Jill?) and had trouble getting to sleep while forming all of the arguments I would use to convince this person that she or he was wrong. And then I realized that my wife and my children were more important, and the work I am doing quietly behind the scenes with Alcor. I don't need to occupy my life trying to prove people wrong in public on internet sites. Better to expend my energy on actually doing something.
The loss, Steve, is of the information that you used to contribute here, during a rather brief period in which acrimony and allegations were at a relatively low level.
Generally speaking, taking into account Alcor's news bulletins, Cryonics magazine, this site, and CryoNet, I am guessing there is less than one-quarter, and probably as little as 10 percent, of the information that used to be available to rank-and-file Alcor members when I signed up in the early 1990s.
Well said, Steve. You've always been incredibly respectful and I really appreciate your input. I'm guessing you would be in favor of more moderation, rather than less. However, it sounds like you're not really interested in too much online dialogue/debate, because you have other priorities. I can empathize with that. Thank you for making the time to share your perspective.
Those of course are not source material (the law itself). As the years have gone by, publishing issues have gotten ever more complex. Insurance (pricey, I'm told) for this area has also come along to meet the demand of limiting liability:
I think it is all unproductive nonsense and diminishing of everyone's First Amendment rights, but it's there, what can we do. Personally I wish no one harm in any manner, nor to be the victim of lawsuits as to publishing issues.
Except maybe "George" in that other thread here, who threatens bodily harm. His doing so is criminal, and if I were you, I'd be talking to the FBI. Maybe they could trace him, maybe not.
I don't even remember a Maxim post about membership dues. My comments about moderation were a response to Jonathan, where he complained about people talking about legal threats. I suggested to Jonathan that if he doen't want people to make "implicit threats," as a moderator he has the option to do something about it. That of course would affect everyone, including me.
I said much the same to Jonathan in private email. I think he can confirm that I have never at any time threatened him or this forum. Indeed I suggested that another option would be for him to do no moderating at all. I think I may be more favorable to this idea than he is.
Six days ago, I start a thread about Alcor's membership dues, in which FD issued what I considered to be a pretty transparent veiled threat. (It's kind of hard for me to believe Platt missed it, when it is just below this thread.) That thread was locked, (rather prematurely), with the moderator starting a new thread about "Legal Advice," which was really a continuance of the conversation that had started in the thread regarding Alcor's membership dues. The moderator indicated someone had been threatening him if he did not "remove certain posts," and then Platt showed up, acknowledging he had been communicating with the moderator. Maybe it was all a weird coincidence, but are we really supposed to believe Platt didn't have a clue as to how this conversation got started? Maybe I'm skeptical, when it comes to Platt, but I'm having a really hard time believing that, at the moment.
Charles has made complaints, but he has never threatened me. Quite the opposite, he acknowledged that a moderator is not usually legally held responsible for everything being posted. When I mentioned threats earlier in this thread, it was only for context. I was pointing out that this is an ongoing theme, and also the fact that I am on the receiving end as much as anyone else here.