Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/intent

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Heather
scarleteen founder & director
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Location: Vashon Island, WA

Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/intent

Unread postby Heather » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:48 am

Just a reminder to everyone that our site and registration guidelines make very clear that you may NOT post about willing participation, or intent to participate, in any kind of unlawful activity.

Doing so puts both us as an organization and service, and you, as an individual creating a public record -- one attached to an often personally identifying IP address -- in a very precarious legal and ethical position. Because there is no sound way of us managing this where we can guarantee we will not report, or feel obligated to report, or share your information if requested by authorities if and when they ask us for it, we have always asked users to simply not post this kind of content here so that we, or you, do not even have to go there.

That can include things like:
- Breaking age of consent laws as a person OVER the age of consent with someone under it
- Illegal alcohol drinking or recreational drug use
- Sharing sexual content or photographs of minors, or even of yourself as a minor
- Stated intent to commit, or that you have committed, any form of interpersonal abuse or assault

We get that most of our users will not be legal scholars, so sometimes may not know what they are posting about is unlawful, and we get that we have to make room for that. But what you guys can do before posting is that if you are at all unsure if something you want to post about is, has been or might be against the law on your own part (not someone else's, be that something a friend has done or something someone did to you without your consent) is just do a little quick search engine homework to find out. It's just a small effort to keep everyone's respective tushies covered, sometimes in some very big ways.

Again, this is both about doing what we can to protect you as well as doing what we need to to manage an organization with legal responsibilities, obligations and limits. This is not an expression about our own views of any given law, merely us trying to function within the law and all it can mean responsibly on our behalf.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Snorkmaiden
not a newbie
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Re: Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/inten

Unread postby Snorkmaiden » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:59 am

Under the laws of which country is Scarleteen operating? I can guess, but it's better to know.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6178
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Vashon Island, WA

Re: Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/inten

Unread postby Heather » Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:14 pm

Our servers are in the United States, in the state of Washington, so those are the laws we are usually beholden to.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Snorkmaiden
not a newbie
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:35 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I like to help.
My primary language: Dutch
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: straight butch
Location: Netherlands

Re: Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/inten

Unread postby Snorkmaiden » Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:29 pm

Okay. May I suggest mentioning that somewhere on your 'User Guidelines & Privacy Policy' page? "The law" is pretty vague.

You may think of this as an American site, but as you know, you have a lot of users from other countries too. And they don't necessarily see it that way.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6178
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Vashon Island, WA

Re: Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/inten

Unread postby Heather » Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:35 pm

We actually usually have more users outside the states than inside of it and try to always take that into account. I'm not sure what you mean by "don't see it that way." Can you explain?

Ultimately, simply asking users not to post about unlawful activity is really al we can soundly do, because things are murky working online. And since we try and keep those guidelines as slim as possible so people are more likely to read through them at all, I'd personally prefer not to add more about this. Particularly since, to my knowledge, in the time we have run the site and its services, when these things have been issues, they have yet to be because someone has posted about activity that is lawful for them in their area -- which is the main issue at hand, despite what laws govern what WE do -- but not where we are located.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Snorkmaiden
not a newbie
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:35 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I like to help.
My primary language: Dutch
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: straight butch
Location: Netherlands

Re: Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/inten

Unread postby Snorkmaiden » Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:30 pm

Sorry, I'll be happy to explain: I meant that users like me, who do not live in the US, may not see this as an American site. We/they may see it as an international site. For that reason, we may not assume that 'the law' means 'US law' in this case.

I fully appreciate that this simply hasn't been a problem before, and so you don't see much of a reason to 'fix' it. Especially since, like you said, the longer that particular page gets, the less likely people are to read it.
It's just that I don't know your laws, and so I can't really promise to abide by them, can I? Apparently I have promised to do so on this site, but I never realised it... That feels a bit odd. That's all.

Snorkmaiden
not a newbie
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:35 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I like to help.
My primary language: Dutch
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: straight butch
Location: Netherlands

Re: Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/inten

Unread postby Snorkmaiden » Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:35 pm

Actually, now that I read them again, your guidelines do mention one US law:
"Due to United States COPPA law, registration at the boards is not available for users under the age of 13 without mailed, written permission from a parent or guardian."
So that is, at least, an indication that this site operates under US law in general.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6178
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Vashon Island, WA

Re: Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/inten

Unread postby Heather » Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:44 pm

Just to be clear, we are not telling any user to abide by any laws (or not to). Rather, what we ask is for users not to post here describing any activities they have been willing part of or intend to be which are unlawful for them to be an active and willing part of.

And we mean where they are, not where we are. That's not the same as the laws WE, as an organization and its agents, are beholden to or live under. That really isn't so relevant to what we are asking, nor does it need to be.

So, as it says in the guidelines and my reminder here, what we need is just for users not to post here about engaging in, or intent to engage in, anything criminal or unlawful for them.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Snorkmaiden
not a newbie
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:35 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I like to help.
My primary language: Dutch
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: straight butch
Location: Netherlands

Re: Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/inten

Unread postby Snorkmaiden » Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:04 pm

That clears it up nicely. Thank you! And sorry for being a pain.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6178
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Vashon Island, WA

Re: Reminder: guidelines per posting unlawful activity/inten

Unread postby Heather » Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:51 pm

No worries!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead


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