Update: The terms of service portion of this post has been updated below.
I mean, when it’s one person speaking out about being harassed and assaulted and receiving no satisfaction for reporting it, that you can ignore. It will blow over soon, right? But man, what a day–for you.
When another person comes out and reveals serious problems at the top of an organization asked to deal with the assault? Maybe you chatter a bit more about unrelated things. I mean, really, how long can this last? AND WHY WON’T PEOPLE IGNORE THIS LIKE THEY USED TO?
But when this stuff keeps coming out, when people keep telling us they’ve been ignored when they tried to report abuse? Well, then there’s only one thing to do: attack. Yep. Ad hominem for the…win?
@saramayhew: I don’t trust anyone who works for PETA to be not cray cray.
@IDoubtIt: PZ Myers is the Glenn Beck of “free thought”. I have no idea why anyone would listen to him for the past 3 years…
@IDoubtIt: Isn’t libel and defamation against the rules of ISPs? Why are the contentious posts allowed to stand?
A little word on libel and slander, for anyone who wants to claim those instead of just making ableist slurs. I don’t care that most people don’t remember the difference between them (slander is communicated in person; libel is published). I do care that both slander and libel require that what is said not be true. Truth is an absolute defense against charges of either slander or libel in the U.S., as was recently affirmed in a high-profile case here in Minnesota.
So if you’re saying that a statement is libelous/slanderous, you are not saying that the matter is up in the air, or that the truth is unknown. You are saying that it is untrue. You are making a truth claim.
Moreover, you are making a positive claim that someone has broken the law. You are, in fact, making a claim that could turn out to be (say it with me now) libelous. So you might want to think very hard about taking that back, particularly if you’ve made that claim in a way that could damage someone’s livelihood, say, by taking down their website.
For example, here are the applicable parts of FreethoughtBlog’s hosts terms of service [Note, a previous version of this post pointed to the incorrect TOS; try these (pdf)]:
2. Restrictions: You agree that you will NOT use the Codero Services to:
2.1. Violate any applicable state or federal law and regulation, including, but not limited to, any copyright, trademark, patent, anti-piracy, or other intellectual property law or regulation, or encourage or enable others to violate any such law or regulation.
No one seems to be alleging we don’t have permission of the people whose words we posted, so this isn’t what Hale reported us for.
2.2. Transmit, distribute, post, store, link, or otherwise traffic in information, software, or materials that is offensive, abusive, inappropriate, malicious, or detrimental, including, but not limited to, those that:
Emphasis mine. I’m guessing this is where she decided we were in trouble, but this is (intentionally, I’m sure) very broad and vague. Let’s get into details.
2.2.1. Are pornographic, obscene, fraudulent, or discriminatory, including any containing nudity, erotica, profanity, or obscenities.
This is the restriction we’re most likely to be in violation of as a blog network, but not in this case.
2.2.2. Encourage, glorify, or promote illegal activity, violence, cruelty, discrimination, network marketing, or Ponzi-type schemes.
Not really our thing.
2.2.3. Exploit children, facilitate phishing, hacking, or identity theft, or defame, threaten, harass any person or group, or attempt to impersonate the identity of a third party.
Yeah, not so much.
2.2.4. Infringe upon a third party business, contractual, privacy, or fiduciary right.
2.2.5. Contain malicious or applications code of any type.
Nuh-uh. Jason even got our comment preview function fixed up.
2.2.6. Make or facilitate any form of computer, server, or network attack or disruption.
2.2.7. Compromise, disrupt, or degrade the normal and proper operation of any computer, server,or internet system, including Codero’s systems.
Actually, if you take the first letter of every post on the network….
2.3. Send, post, host, or enable any offensive, abusive, inappropriate, malicious, or detrimental e-mails, blog postings, or instant messages, including, but not limited to, any types of mail-bombs or SPAM (“SPAM” is defined as any type of unsolicited e-mail that does not utilize “Double Opt-In/Single Opt-Out” methodologies).
Emphasis mine, again. This is probably what she reported us for. However, as with claiming libel or slander, what has been said on these blogs would have to be untrue in order for any of these to apply. If they are true, it isn’t the reporting that is offensive or inappropriate. It’s the situation that people have been putting up with for years. Nor is it abuse or maliciousness to tell the truth about what’s been happening.
It may be to someone’s detriment to tell the world that they’ve behaved badly, but see the information above about defamation. It to the detriment of the Catholic Church when we tell the world what they’ve done with regard to sexual abuse claims, but no one says we shouldn’t be allowed to talk about it.
2.4. Use or provide open proxies or Internet Relay Chat (“IRC”).
Thanks, but we have enough to do.
2.5. Host Camfrog servers or other server applications that are frequent targets of Denial of Service attacks or other types of attacks.
Nope. All good.
So we’re left with Hale making a claim to our hosting provider that we’re defaming somebody by telling lies and then documenting this on Twitter. That’s quite the risk to take. I wonder whether she’ll find it was it was worth it as an attempt to shut us up on this topic.