Could They Find Out Who You Are, USMB Poster?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by William Joyce, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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  2. lieberalism
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    lieberalism Active Member

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    liberalism at it's worst. libs want president bush to talk about war strategy on cspan under the guise of "openness in government" in reality they want al qweerda to know our plans. that is similar to this. but it will backfire because libs bash america and if they couldnt hide america would see them as the traitors they are.
     
  3. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I do believe that is what moderation is about. Truth is, anyone can defame anyone on a messageboard. A teachers site I frequently visit had someone post a 'don't hire {name} the other day. Within minutes the name was deleted. The poster could be liable, but the board acted quickly. It's the first 'moderation' I've noticed in months.
     
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  4. Eightball
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    Eightball Senior Member

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    Since this is an online forum that has a very large member-base, I thought this article might be appropriate

    http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN1529267420070616?feedType=RSS&rpc=22

    By Jason Szep

    BOSTON (Reuters) - It bills itself as the world's "most prestigious college discussion board," giving a glimpse into law school admissions policies, post-graduate social networking and the hiring practices of major law firms.

    But the AudoAdmit site, widely used by law students for information on schools and firms, is also known as a venue for racist and sexist remarks and career-damaging rumors.

    Now it's at the heart of a defamation lawsuit that legal experts say could test the anonymity of the Internet.

    After facing lewd comments and threats by posters, two women at Yale Law School filed a suit on June 8 in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, that includes subpoenas for 28 anonymous users of the site, which has generated more than 7 million posts since 2004.

    According to court documents, a user on the site named "STANFORDtroll" began a thread in 2005 seeking to warn Yale students about one of the women in the suit, entitled "Stupid Bitch to Enter Yale Law." Another threatened to rape and sodomize her, the documents said.

    The plaintiff, a respected Stanford University graduate identified only as "Doe I" in the lawsuit, learned of the Internet attack in the summer of 2005 before moving to Yale in Connecticut. The posts gradually became more menacing.

    Some posts made false claims about her academic record and urged users to warn law firms, or accused her of bribing Yale officials to gain admission and of forming a lesbian relationship with a Yale administrator, the court papers said.

    The plaintiff said she believes the harassing remarks, which lasted nearly two years, cost her an important summer internship. After interviewing with 16 firms, she received only four call-backs and ultimately had zero offers -- a result considered unusual given her qualifications.

    Another woman, identified as Doe II, endured similar attacks. The two, who say they suffered substantial "psychological and economic injury," also sued a former manager of the site because he refused to remove disparaging messages. The manager had cited free-speech protections.

    LIFTING THE MASK

    "The harassment they were subjected to was quite grotesque," said Brian Leiter, a professor at University of Texas Law School. "Any judge who looks at this is going to be really shocked, and particularly shocked because these appear to be law students."

    The suit is being watched closely to see if the posters are unmasked, a step that could make anonymous chat room users more circumspect. It also underlines the growing difficulty of protecting reputations online as the Web is used increasingly to screen prospective employees and romantic partners.

    "They can't hide behind anonymity while they are saying these scurrilous and menacing things," said Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    He said the site was not liable under federal protections that are more lenient on Web sites than TV and newspapers. Prosecuting the manager could also be difficult because he did not write the posts, Volokh added. But the anonymous posters look liable and their careers could be jeopardized, he said.

    "This ought to be a warning to be people that if you say things that are not just rude but arguably libelous and potentially threatening and perhaps actionable on those grounds then their identity might be unmasked," he said.

    Finding and identifying the posters -- including one called "The Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rollah" -- could be tough but is not impossible. The process involves subpoenas issued to Internet Service Providers for records, and then more subpoenas to companies, institutions or people identified on those records.

    "I've said in my blog the most vile posters on that board are two subpoenas away from being outed," said Leiter. "This led to much amusement by the anonymous posters on the board.

    "But they are about to find out that this is how it works."


    I found this article quite intriguing, as I've been on forums where this kind of discourse definitely ocurrs and is commited by member posters towards others.

    Looks like my little "mantra" below my poster's signature on a some forums, "If You Can't Say It To A Person Face To Face, Then It Isn't Worth Saying While Hiding Behind An Anonymous P.C..", had some ringing similarities here. Maybe anonymity on a forum isn't what some folks thought? Maybe being respectful to fellow posters regardless of differing beliefs/opinions isn't such a bad or wise idea? :)
     
  5. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    Hits pretty close to home given the content of a thread on ths very board.
     
  6. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    I have no objection to this lawsuit. I hope that it becomes a well-established president. It is highly consistent with my belief that it is wrong to lie and that those who commit perjury, no matter what the lie concerns, should be punished. I believe in free speech but I also believe that there is something to be said for honesty, integrity, and accountability.
     
  7. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    Matt, do you also believe in apple pie, truth, justice and the American way?

    Just kidding. The suit MIGHT have merit, but I'm more of a free speech man than a "get rich by lawsuit" man. From what I know about the law, I doubt very much a hiring partner looked at the "AudoAdmit" website, read the comments, and somehow figured out Ms. Yale was THAT woman. Even if so, who believes personal slams on the Web? And so on. I think the story is a hot one because it involves sex, the Internet, the law and the Ivy League --- like an episode of 'Law and Order"....
     
  8. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    Two things.

    1. Any publication (and Reuters did it) that still puts forward the myth of anonymity on the Internet should be punched hard to knock some sense into them. There is no "anonymity" on the Internet.

    2. A bloke in Melbourne (Australia) sued and won for defamation against Forbes Magazine for online comments about him (plaintiff was Joseph Gutnick).

    3. Anyone who defames someone on the internet should also be punched hard to knock some sense into them. A jurisdiction where the item was "published" is anywhere the internet happens to be (ie everywhere). All a would-be plaintiff has to do is a bit of jurisdiction shopping. Gutnick is a resident of Melbourne so he lodged his case in the Victoria (state) courts.
     
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  9. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    So people shouldn't be held accountable for damaging others? Are you sure you're a lawyer? Perhaps your self-hatred is the reason for your loathing of anyone who doesn't look like you.

    Or are you just sympathetic because it said the site contained racist and sexist comments?
     
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  10. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    Being respectful is always a good idea. It saves one the embarrassment of having to log back in and grovel for forgiveness hours (or in my case, days) later. Yes I've been extremely rude on another forum to a fellow poster, rude out of anger and I'm not at all proud of myself for it. He was good about it but I acted like a prick. Anger got the better of me.

    Anyway, back to the point at hand. If A defames B then it's not just A who has to watch out, it's the board owner who is a "publisher" of said defamation.
     

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