In the "real" world, you can go outside and squeal "I hate Jews and black people. And don't even get me started on black Jews." or something and go unpunished. On this forum we will hunt you down and ban you.
That was probably a bad example, but what I'm getting at is that you cannot plead free speech as defence if you say something offensive on the internet, since real-world rules do not apply per se.
I'm not sure there's any real difference, actually. If you did this in the middle of an analagous social gathering, say, a football match, you'd be turfed out and possibly turned over to the police for incitement to violence or whatever. In fairness, if this sort of opinion was stated as part of a reasoned, non-confrontational conversation (not 'squealed', or the internet equivalent thereof), I'm not sure we could directly ban the person concerned. No matter how crass, offensive and ignorant the opinion is, it's essentially fair game unless it falls under some of the qualifications intrinsic to free speech. Of course, the chances that such a comment wouldn't lead to a flamewar is zero so flamebaiting would soon emerge as a legitimate grounds for banning -- but not, of itself, being racist.
And as you imply, free speech has always been a qualified right, and that goes whether on the 'net or in the middle of Trafalgar Square or Old Trafford. There's a whole list of legitimate curbs on freedom of expression. Pulling some from the Human Rights Act, for instance: "the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of health or morals, the protection of the rights and reputations of others" would all be legitimate reasons to curb free speech.
Now I'm not saying moderating a forum is analagous to the activities of the European Court of Human Rights. But if someone was to make an argument on the basis of human rights, I suspect the degree to which we infringe the right to free speech is proportionate to the degree to which the law qualifies free speech. We keep things orderly, family-friendly and free from threats, recriminations and so on.
If someone's spamming, flaming or generally causing bother, click that link on the post in question and a PM addressed to me will come up. Then you just send it. I'll have to set it at some stage so it round robins all the mods but I was just testing it at the time, and I was afraid people might spam it. As it happened, only Tom did for some reason that escapes me.
Post by Stuntman Fifteen on Nov 13, 2004 11:09:53 GMT
Here's a query for you. Sometimes I post in a thread and then go out to let the server put in the replies. Now sometimes (and this happened five minutes ago) I post a thread, see it in the thread and then go out of the thread to see if anyone else has a response and it disappears! I go back in the thread to check and it isn't there!
Are the mods conspiring against me to delete my posts before anyone else reads it?
BTW: And I have not been clicking the back button. That would be foolish.
Post by Stuntman Fifteen on Nov 13, 2004 11:53:27 GMT
My threads and replies are constantly disappearing everytime I leave a thread! This always happens when I press one of the buttons on the top like 'Message Zone Introduction' button. What the heck? is going on?
Edit: Hey, now the reply I did here before reappears and this one decides to show up too, just after I pressed the 'mark as read' button! Really, what the hell is happening?
Maybe it's something to do with your history giving you the old page to view. I mean, I can see all four replies now. Next time you think you've been logged off, or you can't see your reply, try refreshing the browser once or twice and seeing if that makes a difference.
Separate question. I know Oz has but has anyone else suffered problems with the forum not fully loading up and leaving the background black and without many avatars. I presume this is either because work is being done at that present moment or that my computer isn't as fast as it used to be. Any suggestions?