Recently the moderators were confronted by two requests to delete a user post. The potential litigious reasons cited for the request were the Dignitary Harm, Public Defamation, and/or Abuse caused by that specific user’s post. The issue was that the post directly targeted the specifically named individual persons. We took this request very seriously. The request was specific and limited and focused only on a single post. This was our response:
" This is a public forum where anyone can post if they do not violate the rules of the forum. The forum is not a ‘publisher’ of information but rather an interactive software based communication tool used collectively by all members of an anonymous/pseudoanonymous online community. The forum, and the volunteer moderators, make absolutely NO claims about the veracity of any statements or opinions posted by anonymous users. The forum, and it’s volunteer moderators or other associated parties or persons, take no responsibility for comments made by individual anonymous users. Each individual anonymous user is responsible for their own comments and actions regarding uploads and content they post. If you have a problem with a specific user’s (theoneund) public comments or opinions, please solve your problem through public or private messaging on the forum with that user, or with the specific user outside the forum in the accepted legal ways. That is the normal course of action taken by users of this forum. Moderators do not take control of user accounts or delete posts that have not grossly violated the rules of the forum.
Based on your complaint, the moderators have reviewed our forum guidelines. We have determined that the post you have brought to our attention may have indirectly violated our forum rules. For this reason, all names of individual persons mentioned in that specific post have been redacted."
For complete transparency we wanted to bring this matter to your attention. This was not an easy decision. We value efforts to protect the innocent and to not cause harm or suffering in the world. The forum also places high value on anti-censorship and free speech.
We as moderators are volunteer science and technology enthusiasts. We are not legal experts. However we do enforce the forum rules/guidelines in order to ensure a level of decorum and make this a more productive, positive, and educational experience for all individuals who take part in the forum. The current form of the forum rules left the moderators ill-equipped to deal with this situation. We ask that this topic be used for forum members to offer recommendations on how to improve the rules so that we have better tools and/or policies through which we can address complaints such as these in the future. Examples could include policies such as:
Moderators are not allowed to modify/edit user’s posts on the user’s behalf to maximize retention of questionable information. Questionable posts will be deleted outright and users will need to resubmit a revised version on their own.
Any content that results in an external complaint based on legal grounds will be deleted without notice.
If reasonable objection to harassment, defamation, or similar then moderators will seriously consider redactions that will satisfy the request with the least effect to any posts.
Posts may be hidden/deleted if there is any appearance of harassment, defamation or other material that can be subject to legal recourse AND a request is made to have the material removed OR the post violates any other guidelines. The moderators will contact the person whose post is the subject of such a request and ask that the offending material is removed or the post will be deleted anytime after 48 hours of notice.
As Safe draws nearer to official launch, we expect a variety of external challenges for the project that require careful attention and community awareness. Please feel free to offer comments, concerns, and/or recommendations.