What could get a moderator and administrator fired on your forum?

Discussion in 'Members & Staff' started by marcus903, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Ummagumma

    Ummagumma Adherent

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    I have read the article and do not find this in any of it;
    Sorry but this is what they (the tribunal board) from the article, said;
    Section 39, P1, line 1.
    They then also go on to say;
    What they got dragged into court for, was targeted harassment. Nowhere in this citing, is anything mentioned about your adamant claims of;
    Disagreed. Find me that law? I cannot find it anywhere and specifically not in the article mentioned.

    Whilst I fully agree the term is racist and you certainly did the right thing by dropping the member of staff, you are yet to find a clearly written piece which categorically states that the term said is illegal and breaking the law by use of it.
    Find that, and I will believe you completely. Otherwise, it is what you believe and what you believe only. Not our actual law.
     
  2. Ummagumma

    Ummagumma Adherent

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    PS there's a reason why I am asking and it's not to be argumentative. I want to be able to know, with proof and conviction that the term is illegal in the UK because if I come across it myself (I have done in off topic chats and discussions about yesteryear) then I know without reasonable doubt that it's illegal and the person saying it can be dealt with accordingly.

    I want to be able to make a clear, informed, fact based decision.
    Not a loosely based assumption because some random person on some random site (no offence meant whatsoever) said that it was and therefore it is.
    Take the US for example. We all know (mostly, and it's been in the press enough moreso recently) what their second amendment is. It's in stone. We know this for a fact. We can cite it and post it as a fact.

    This for me is important because I see no facts here and if, by chance, I deal with the same situation - I want to be informed, not ill-informed. Facts in cases like this are crucially important.
    Apologies in the delay posting this bit, I got called away.
     
  3. Paul M

    Paul M Dr Pepper Addict

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    I'm afraid you are just making this up as you go along, of course it can be used on a UK forum.
    If you want to believe otherwise, thats up to you, but no matter how many times you say it, its not an "illegal" word in the UK.

    Using it as a racist insult yes, that would break a law or two.
    A discussion such as this would be perfectly fine and legal in the UK, context is everything.
    The only person who seems unaware of the law is you - for the record, Judges dont make law, parliamant does.
     
  4. Horizon

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    Without getting into a spat here PaulM, but it is you here who is uniformed about our legal system.

    UK law is made up of two parts:

    Statute law - what the politicians do
    Common Law - what the judges say in interpretation of statue law, or when statue law does not exist for a particular subject or is unclear, what the judges rule is law via the judgments they make.

    If judges don't make law, why did Gina Miller take the government to the supreme court? If politicians make all law, then why did she bother? You may recall, she won her case...

    And as for the word, do as you wish on your site. As you will see if that complaint about the pub owners goes through, as a judge has already ruled on the matter, another judge would simply use that. That's called a precedent, by the way. It's how the bulk of common law is formed. That is the law. Only a Supreme Court Justice aka the Law Lords, as they were all once called, can overturn another judge's ruling after the appeal court.
     
  5. Horizon

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    @Ummagumma

    The case I posted is the appeal, I'll see if I can dig up the original case and come back to you.

    Just as info, as I said UK law is not equal. Some takes precedence over others, and guess what is the highest - human rights law, and harassment and discriminatory laws come under this banner.

    Unless a UK forum owner is taken to court, you will never see it explicitly written down that some words cannot be used on forums, but as Facebook, Twitter are all finding out now, even though they claim to be publishers of someone's else's content, they are now being held responsible for the content posted on their platforms.

    After this case and in my opinion, it would only take one complaint to the police and the forum owner could be in hot water legally.
     
  6. Horizon

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    Just to come back to these two points which I overlooked earlier, but to clarify, racism is illegal as defined by UK law. You can think whatever you want, but if you act in any racist way, or say racist things, that is illegal.
     
  7. Pete

    Pete Flavours of Forums Forever

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    Uh... not so fast. The case you cited doesn't declare the racism illegal. If it were illegal, the whole thing would be in a criminal court. The issue at hand was harassment, based on racist conduct. Even though criminal law was cited (because that's a large part of how UK law gets enforced, much of it is written and then interpreted on a case by case basis and used as precedent for future incidents), it's still not fundamentally a criminal matter.

    Yes, there are laws about inciting racial hatred here. Yes, there are laws about harassment by racist conduct. The two are not equivalent and it has to meet a few boundaries before it becomes officially classified as 'hate speech' which is the point at which it becomes legally enforceable. The described conduct - as inappropriate as it was (and make no mistake, it was) - is not hate speech.

    It is neither racially or religiously aggravated offences under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, nor is it any other chargeable offence for which the sentence can be increased under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 if classed as a hate crime.

    Does that mean that you were wrong to act as you did? Of course not. Said person's behaviour is utterly inappropriate, even if they weren't aware of the word being offensive in the UK (and certainly failed to alter their behaviour after it being mentioned) and you were utterly in the right on that score. But please don't misrepresent it as outright illegal, because it isn't - and the law really isn't that clear, on anything, in this country.

    If it were illegal, this entire conversation would be illegal too. Guess what... it isn't.
     
  8. Horizon

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    You will note, I have not used the word here, once.

    Firstly, racism is illegal. That is clear cut. To treat someone differently based on their race, religion etc is illegal under the Equality Act 2010 which superseded the Race Relations Acts of the 1960s and 1970s. You already mentioned other acts that can be used, if a hate crime is alleged.

    This case was a civil one because the claimant obviously wanted compensation as the "offenses" took place in a workplace. She could have just as easily have taken the case to a criminal court and made a case of hate crime under some of the laws you have stated. Whether she would have been successful is another matter entirely.

    I've not been able to find the original case, but the judge said in this case S60, "I have already accepted that the term "gol**og" if used directly towards the appellant would be obviously racist and offensive." But I accept that the judge did not prescribe the word or order any limitation on the use of the word in other situations, and obviously he didn't mention forums.

    The judge has said that the word is racist and offensive, in my opinion, that is clear cut. The test will be whether another case, such as the one mention ed in the Sun is taken to court.

    So, to summarise, if someone were to use that word against another person on a forum, I think that is clearly "racist and offensive" as the judge said, and would clearly fall under a a hate crime. What I think is arguable, is if the word is used in another context. If someone were to read a post that contained the word, but the post was not directed at them and they made a complaint against the forum owner, I'm not what would happen then.

    The Guardian had a great article about this subject a few years ago and it said that UK law was rapidly moving towards unacceptable and offensive words and language becoming illegal, regardless of context. Quite frighteningly.

    Leaving aside the action I took against the mod, I think it is crystal clear that the word is unacceptable and depending on the circumstance, illegal. Either way, the word will not be allowed on my forum in any context. I don't wish to be the test case for this!
     
  9. Ummagumma

    Ummagumma Adherent

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    It's not about being a test case, it's about - at least in my opinion, being someone who is happy to misinform others. You stated very clearly that using that word is illegal. I can quote you on more than 5 occasions saying so, but will not.
    Hate crime (clue in the title) is illegal. Saying that word towards someone of a different ethnicity is racist. Using it to harass someone based on ethnicity, is racist.
    It is not illegal in the UK. Please, please make sure you are aware of your facts, quotes and laws, before helping to spread misinformation - especially on a site that is used for forum and site management.
    I applaud you for dropping the said staff member as it's clearly racially evoked, but I would seriously err on the side of caution when telling other site admins & webmasters of what you think is illegal and law, to what actually is law.

    Finally if anyone is ever in doubt and not sure of what the law is with such cases, avoid picking information up from the 'net and speak to a solicitor. A modern one at that.
     
  10. Pete

    Pete Flavours of Forums Forever

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    I'm not so sure. The Equalities Act 2010 is only one of many acts that is heavily open to interpretation. I would not be so bold as to make such claims, if I were to ask 5 different lawyers what constitutes a hate crime, I know I'd receive 5 different answers.

    I guess that's the frustration, things being described in absolutes that really, and utterly, are not.
     
  11. Horizon

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    Firstly, I really resent you saying that I'm out to misinform others and being "happy" about that. I lost a mod over this, I'm not happy at all, I'm merely posting in this thread to share my experiences. I'm not a lawyer and never claimed to be and I'm not telling you my background, but I am very familiar with the UK justice system and how it works, including how a barrister can build a case against someone. Which comes on to the next bit, the so called misinformation, you have alleged that I have said here.

    I have quoted a case and provided a link, where as part of that case, the use of the word was discussed between three High Court judges. One of the judges clearly said in section 60 of that case that the use of that word when used directly towards a black person is "racist and offensive." That is illegal. What is arguable is on forums and which context would the use of the word be illegal or not. I have stated my opinion on this, that as a black person can read any post, at any time on a forum and if they see the word and make a complaint against the forum owner, in my opinion, that will land the forum owner in hot water.

    A High court judge has said the word is "racist and offensive" and as part of that case cited race discrimination law and harassment law. That is clear cut to me. Perhaps there maybe a future case where the judge explicitly says that the word is illegal, but one senior judge has already said that the word is "racist and offensive." Anyone who does something which is racist and offensive is breaking the law. Racism is illegal. No UK person is allowed to carry out a racist act.

    If you are in any doubt, as you are, I invite you to use the word as liberally as you wish on your forum and see what happens. Perhaps nothing will happen, but I wouldn't be so confident myself that there would be no repercussions on me if I were doing it. And if you're really confident in your argument, walk onto a average city street and start using that word. If its not illegal, you've got nothing to worry about.

    Saying something racist, whether as a "joke", threat or anything else, is illegal. I invite you to walk up to a black person in the street or a policemen and make a "joke" with that word and see where that gets you.
     
  12. Horizon

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    Pete, as I think I said earlier, there is different hierarchy in UK law, some takes precedence over others. What is considered far more seriously than any other laws, are race related ones. Which is why in the first few paragraphs of any organisation's web pages, there will always be a notice stating that they are a equal opportunities employer, or something like that. They have to say that.

    Of course laws are open to interpretation, that's what solicitors argue over every day and judges deliberate on, what is not arguable is that racism is legal. It's not. It's illegal.

    On the use of this word specifically, lets see if the CPS decide to prosecute the pub owners. The complainant has probably never been in the pub, they probably just heard about it from someone else, but no doubt they will claim that they were racially harassed by seeing these dolls. And as a High Court judge has already said that the word is "racist and offensive" I have no doubt at all what the outcome of the case would be. None.
     
  13. Horizon

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    There's been a change in the last five or so years and the Guardian article I mentioned earlier in this thread illustrated this perfectly. I will try to find the article in the next few days.

    I've "picked" an out of date and obscure word, but that was the issue I had with my mod, but what has happened over recent years is that what was once considered offensive posts, or posts made in bad taste on Twitter and Facebook, have become illegal. UK judges are very, very liberal and what is interesting is that the Guardian, all of places, argued that the judges have gone too far and in effect, their acts, their judgements are in themselves illegal.

    Here's some articles on this:

    https://www.rt.com/uk/406467-hate-crime-twitter-troll/
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4292907/twitter-hate-crime-arrest-cps-social-media/
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...posts-soar-police-target-internet-trolls.html
    https://www.dailywire.com/news/17807/british-police-just-imprisoned-man-posting-mean-joshua-yasmeh

    And as stated in those first three articles, arrests are not being made under the laws already quoted in this thread, but under the Communications Act.

    This is a minefield for forum owners, but everyone must be aware of this stuff.
     
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  14. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    I'll certainly take a look at what you've linked although I'm still of the opinion there are no illegal words, I believe there has to be intent. However I do agree it's a fluid situation, what's deemed to be acceptable often changes with time.
     
  15. Pete

    Pete Flavours of Forums Forever

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    Have people seen the 1974 film Blazing Saddles? By the logic espoused in this thread, that film should be utterly banned, because characters are being racist to each other on quite extreme levels.

    Why is it not banned even though it contains many words absolutely on par with the word discussed here?
     
  16. Ummagumma

    Ummagumma Adherent

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    That ^^ is something I'd expect from a child.
    "Well if you don't believe me, you try it. Ner ner :p " :rolleyes:

    Okay let's get this cleared up. I am not in any way wanting to use the word on my site nor to anyone - please don't insinuate that I'd be inclined to do so.
    My main issue with your posts are this; you stated explicitly that it is illegal - against our law, to use this term. I strongly beg to differ.
    I vehemently disagree.

    You are saying that something is illegal when it is not, yet are adamant and readily refusing to accept that myself and others - all from the UK are all in disagreeance with your point of view - that you are incorrect in saying that a word is illegal.

    You not only stated it, yes: you are misinforming people on a site which is for webmasters and forum admins, but also reinforced it over and over again. It is your belief that this is illegal - not a fact that it is.
    I do not wish to know your background as am sure many others do not either, but you are not putting up a valid point.

    So let's look at this like a case that you have mentioned.
    Cases are built by fact. Not heresy. Fact. They try to muddy the waters in court, certainly, but the core points are based on fact.

    The fact is, that using the term towards a black person with malicious intent (racism) is indeed racist and illegal. Agreed.
    But you insist on telling everyone here, that the term is illegal. Incorrect. It is not illegal.

    The word itself is not illegal. I can say Golliwog in context in any way I may wish to; as in "This chap in a local pub has Golliwogs behind his bar, can you Adam and Eve it?"
    Is that then racist? Illegal? Illegal use?
    Nope.

    Now, if I said to a black person that he/she IS the aforementioned, then yes that is racist, which is a hate crime and thus illegal.
    Sorry to say but it seems you are very confused between the act of doing something with malicious intent and therefore illegal, to an actual word being illegal itself.
    Sadly, you are in so much belief of your own thoughts about this and whether the term is actually illegal or not, you will certainly not accept other people's opinions on this either.
    The term is not illegal to say or to use.
    The term is illegal to say and use towards someone of a different ethnicity with intent to cause harm.
    The two instances are hugely different!
    You're not able to differentiate between the two unfortunately.

    Again, to anyone reading this and getting uncertainties, if you do come across a similar situation, actually speak to a solicitor who will help definitely help clear this up for you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
  17. Paul M

    Paul M Dr Pepper Addict

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    Correct, if someone went out and started calling a black people a gollywog, that would be illegal USE of the word.

    That does not make the word illegal.

    If I used a knife to stab someone, that would be illegal.
    That does not make a knife illegal, not does it make using a knife illegal, it only makes using it to stab someone illegal.

    You keep insisting the word is illegal - no its not, there isnt such a thing as an "illegal" word.
     
  18. Horizon

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    This is the problem and judges have increasingly put people in prison over what was once offensive language which they now deem to be threatening in nature.

    Until I read some of those links last night, I can't say I was that familiar with the Communications Act, but as quoted in some of those articles, I find this sentence very worrying from one of the articles:

    "The law allows people to be prosecuted for sending 'offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing' messages on 'public communication networks' such as Facebook or Twitter."

    As technically anything could be deemed offensive, the scope is massive.

    There comes a point where there is no situation where you can use certain words, so even if the words are not specifically prohibited by law, their actual use is.

    I've picked a very obscure out of date word to make my argument here, but what if that were changed to something more recent. How about the P word for people of Pakistani origin. Can you think of any situation on a forum (leave aside actual use on the streets) that you consider would be legal?
     
  19. Pete

    Pete Flavours of Forums Forever

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    I'm not even entirely sure what word you're actually referring to here, I've heard a few, so I'll leave it censored not because the sentence isn't legal but because there's some ambiguity.

    Conversation that runs like this would be completely legal:

    "I heard people outside shouting p**** as they walked down the street... what does it mean? Why does it upset people?"
    "The word p*** is a term of insult about where they come from."

    The key point: the term is not being directed at someone. It's being used purely in the spirit of enquiry and understanding in this context - someone has witnessed a racist event but doesn't understand it and thus asks about it. Neither sentence is illegal. Using the word to be an insult to a person specifically, or to a group of people, or to cause other people to behave in a certain way - this can be illegal. But the word itself is absolutely not.

    In fact, there is a more relevant and practical reason why you would use it: writing a novel. Imagine writing a novel about racism but without being able to actually use any of the words that are racist. Yes, it's possible to write a story that tackles racism but doesn't use any racist language, but it'd be nuts. Using racist language in a novel that is essentially a critique and deconstruction of racism would be completely viable.

    Hence my previous example of Blazing Saddles - a subversive comedy that spends a lot of its time having not-so-subtle digs at racism. In fact if you watch it, there's not only black v white epithets going on, where the n-word is a persistent offender given that the protagonist is black in a very conservative white town, but there's racist comments made about the Chinese, the Native Americans, there's anti-semetism going on, there's some side jokes about homosexuality, there's even jokes invoking the KKK and the Nazis. (Ironically, the one joke most people remember is about the group of cowboys sitting around the campfire with their flatulence.)

    The whole thing, by this logic, should be banned and made forbidden watching because "THAT'S RACIST!" Except the point it makes firstly is that the language isn't being used on a real person; fictional characters can't be the subject of harassment cases, and it makes the point that actually, by not being racist, things work out so much better.

    I also think that demonising words is more dangerous than not. Ever read Harry Potter? The whole thing, aside from being a decent study in lorebuilding, is a story about autocracy, racial purity and fascism. One of the key tenets is that everyone is afraid of Voldemort to the point where few will dare say his name. It's always 'You Know Who' and 'He Who Must Not Be Named'. This makes it scarier and harder to tackle.
     
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  20. Zero Numbers

    Zero Numbers Adherent

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    The term troll is broad. Someone who isn't really a troll can get labelized as a troll, and someone who really is can not be. Further, some people are quick to trigger. They can enforce the definition of the term according to their liking. They can call someone a troll just because they didn't like how that person appears to them.
     
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