Discussion in 'Communications' started by kreleia, Feb 27, 2004.
i'm in as well
I support the mods as well.
I will show my support. No one should have to give up their rights for no reason.
Pants not make one great.
I support the mods!
Howard the Duck has been sacrificed.
Howard the Duck has been sacrificed.
18 years too late, too.
LONG LIVE THE MODS!!
I'm joining too, but I miss my icon already.
I'm in as well...
I've been trying not to go get another icon... I'm addicted to them. lol. I can do it though... *forces herself to ignore the Options button*
Even though I think I have been unfairly banned in the past, I'm in!
I know the real problem is higher up the food chain...
yeah I'll support the mods... I want to hear how his turns out.
I'm here too!
Just out of curiosity, does anybody have any idea how long this'll last? (I kinda miss my icon... )
An e-mail I sent to Lee Tien, Senior Staff Attorney (Privacy, Free Speech & Freedom of Information) at the Elctronic Frontier Foundation. We'll see if he responds, and what he says.
Dear Mr. Tien,
I'm writing you to ask about the legality of a strange demand made by the owner of a large Star Wars fan site, theforce.net (TFN). Given the nature of the site, you'd think that the problem would be related to intellectual property, but it's not.
The owner, Philip Wise, recently demanded that all of TFN's board moderators and Fanforce City Reps (people with leadership responsibilities but no moderating powers) provide him with their real names, addresses, and telephone numbers through a semi-private message board at a particular URL. (The actual address hasn't been made public.) If the mods and city reps didn't comply by a certain date, they would be demoted to regular user status. The implication was that new, compliant users would be promoted in their place. Several of the 50 or so users affected refused to comply, and were demoted. Another handful have resigned in protest.
Incidentally, none of these people are paid or have any kind of contract with TFN. TFN is a free site whose existence has been tolerated by Lucasfilm for several years.
On February 28, Philip Wise made a statement to TFN's members about why he made this demand:
"Contrary to some opinions I've read, I value the work volunteers do very much. This is not my way of thanking them or casting their efforts aside as unimportant.
Unfortunately, as much as I care about their work, I care more about the future of the forum, the tf.n staff, and our relationship with Lucasfilm, than I care about those who are fearful of my having their contact info. It's a fact that some people who participate in forums anonymously, including moderators, can and do feel more free to say and do things they would otherwise not do if they were known. In the end, I am confident the forum mods will be more comfortable with each other than they are now."
The thread URL is:
It has since been locked.
Wise's action doesn't appear to be in response to any actual incidence of moderators abusing their power. If Lucasfilm has threatened the site in any way, neither the mods nor the regular users have been told about it. No reason has ever been given for why mods and city reps have to post their personal information on the stated URL, where it could presumably be viewed by other moderators as well as by Philip Wise.
This situation concerns me for several reasons. One, it seems a blatant violation of the moderators' right to anonymous speech, and I hate to see that right eroded, even by something as trivial as an Internet fan site. It's true that mods could continue to post anonymously after being demoted, but the fact remains that the act of moderating itself is a threatened form of expression on TFN. Ironically, moderators are the users who have the greatest need for privacy, since they must sometimes make controversial decisions that may anger regular users and other mods. City reps, who live within driving distance of the users they serve, are potentially the most threatened by TFN's demand.
I find it especially disturbing that Philip Wise's rationale for demanding moderators' personal information is specifically to prevent them from saying things they might not say if they were known. My understanding is that anonymous speech is Constitutionally protected for the *precise reason* that people might otherwise be afraid to communicate certain ideas. Through eff.org I found a court case called McIntyre vs. Ohio, in which the Supreme Court upheld the right to anonymous speech, although the situation itself is not especially similar:
The final reason TFN's policy disturbs me is the fact that it makes no sense at all to focus the pressure on moderators, who are presumably the users least likely to post objec
Better watch out, someone will require you to report your real name at the bottom of that letter. heh
Anyway, the letter is well thought out and to the point. Hopefully you get some answers.
I HAVE AN ICON HA HA HA HA HA HA.
<------it is done.
Well written letter, ophelia. I don't think anyone could have done it any better. Please let us know if you get a response.
Well done indeed ophelia
The letter is very poorly written in that it uses internet jargon that will make little sense to someone outside the internet message board field.
Secondly, everyone knows lawyers cost a million dollars for anything, so unless you are prepared to pay, you'll get no legal advice from them.