It seems that despite many patient and helpful explanations over the years, some fanchildren in our community (and others) are still quite confused. They keep mistaking our social media spaces for courtrooms and discussions for trials. Since reading comprehension would appear to be absent from their Skeptical Toolkit, perhaps some illustrations may be of assistance.
This is a courthouse:
In this building, you will find things like judges, juries, and lawyers. This is where people go when they are suing or prosecuting someone.
These are social media spaces:
These are places where people go to informally discuss things. You may find judges, jurors, and lawyers talking within them, but they are not there in their official capacity. People are having conversations, not giving sworn testimony.
This is a judge:
A judge has to remain impartial because they are presiding over a legal proceeding.
This is an ordinary person:
Ordinary people can be judgmental, but they are not actual judges. They don’t have to remain impartial because they are not presiding over a legal proceeding, and cannot sentence someone to prison if they think that person is guilty.
This is a trial:
There are legal rules to follow because it is a legal proceeding. In a trial, there are things like rules of evidence and admissibility and stuff, because it is the power of the state against a person.
This is a conversation or discussion:
Conversations and discussions are informal and do not have the force of testimony. Legal rules such as rules of evidence do not have to be followed because the people talking are not representing the state, and are not making determinations that will have the force of law.
Perhaps the above illustrations will help the terminally obtuse figure out where and when legal rules should be followed, and where and when less formal standards are expected.
Additionally, for those who still haven’t figured out the difference between a convention and a courtroom, allow me to add the following:
This is a hotel:
This is where people go to attend conventions. Most people who go to conventions don’t want to be creeped on, and thus have a tendency to avoid creeps. This is called “freedom of association.” It is a right that everyone has. Calling someone a creep and telling other people who want to avoid creeps whom they may wish to avoid is not the same as going to a courthouse and prosecuting someone.
These are police officers:
These are the people who will arrest you if you are suspected of doing something illegal and are going to be put in jail. They will do things like read you your rights, because they are law enforcement officials.
This is a security guard:
This is who will throw your ass out of the hotel if you are violating the convention policies and upsetting other guests. They won’t read you your rights, because they are not law enforcement officers who are taking you to jail.