RFD: Make bionet.general moderated

DANIEL ROBERT HOLDSWORTH drh92 at aber.ac.uk
Mon Sep 30 12:41:48 EST 1996


In article <CMM-RU.1.4.844034306.kristoff at net.bio.net>, kristoff at NET.BIO.NET
(Dave Kristofferson) writes:
:Cornelius Krasel wrote:

:> I am aware that the issue of free speech is a very delicate one in the
:> U.S. of A. As a European, I don't feel that a moderation which solely
:> filters out unsoliticed ads and spam will affect freedom of speech in
:> any way.
:
:I don't think I made my point clear enough then.  Even though the
:BIOSCI system is international, we are located in the U.S. and bound
:by U.S. law.  We need a way that we as an organization can comply with
:U.S. law if someone wants to spout off about something inflamatory and
:we have to warn him without at the same time denying him access.

OK, if someone wants to spout complete and utter rubbish, then he can
go and spout it in the 6000-odd newsgroups that AREN'T moderated. If he's
really smart (i.e. can count up to 20 without removing his shoes) then he
can work out how to fake moderator-approved status in his headers.

I fail to see the objection. A person is perfectly free to talk complete
and utter rubbish, but we can limit where said rubbish is said. 

:Having a free forum like bionet.general allows us that capability.  If
:you were moderating the system, you wouldn't be obligated under U.S.
:law, but we (and or other US-based moderators) have to deal with
:issues like the above behind the scenes.  We can let people know that
:bionet.general is a free speech forum but warn them that they could be
:held solely liable for their posts there.  This is not a philosophical
:debate between the U.S. versus other countries but something that we
:need to do to have a legal outlet here.

So operate out of a machine in another country, telnetting into it from the
USA. If you use Netscape, then the USA law allows some quite effective 
encryption routines to be used, rendering the communication fairly secret.

Deletion of spam messages is not so much infringement of free speech (Nice 
idea, that, pity the inventors didn't think to filter out idiots) but a public
service. Spammers are usually complete morons, so the deletion of their 
posts is hardly any loss. (witness the $$fast cash$$ posts. idiotic, yet
they continue to appear regardless of law or mathematical impossibility).


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