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Law Student Web Forum: Free Speech Gone too Far? 264

Posted by samzenpus
from the sticks-and-stones dept.
The Xoxo Reader writes "Today's Washington Post carries a front-page article on the internet message board AutoAdmit (a.k.a. Xoxohth), which proclaims itself the "most prestigious law school discussion board in the world." The message board has recently come under fire for emphasizing a free speech policy that allows its users to discuss, criticize, and attack other law students and lawyers by name. Is this an example of free speech and anonymity gone too far, or is internet trolling just a necessary side effect of a policy that otherwise promotes insightful discussion of the legal community?"
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Law Student Web Forum: Free Speech Gone too Far?

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  • Yeah (Score:5, Informative)

    by polar red (215081) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @07:58AM (#18274910)
    Sitting behind a computer, typing, you don't hold back as much as when you talk to a persons face ... (I've seen a study about that, but i can't find it anymore) so yes, we'll have to accept trolling, it's inevitable.
  • by rlp (11898) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @07:59AM (#18274922)
    There are laws that deal with free speech going too far - they're called 'libel' and 'slander'. You'd think law students would know about this.
    • There are laws that deal with free speech going too far - they're called 'libel' and 'slander'. You'd think law students would know about this.

      Making statements of fact (i.e. telling the truth) it is not defamation, libel, or slander [expertlaw.com].

      • by rlp (11898) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:10AM (#18275572)
        > Making statements of fact (i.e. telling the truth) it is not defamation, libel, or slander.

        Why does society need to be protected from people making truthful statements? (Aside from issues of trade secrets and national security - which I doubt apply here).
        • by Instine (963303)
          What about personal security? Am I still allowed to care more about me than 'my' country?
      • You are citing US law, in other countries 'But Its The Truth' is not always an absolute defence, because the intentions can be taken into account.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And those are largely stupid laws in light of the right to free speech. Also, those laws are in light that prior dominant forms of media did not give equal weight to all perspectives such that a false claim could not be as easily countered; it's rare that a newspaper or tv news gives truly equal time to, say, an alleged criminal versus the prosecutor (to demonstrate unequal weight in the news, not that this applies directly here).

      Furthermore, do you honestly believe these thoughts aren't already present, w
    • by baptiste (256004) <<su.etsitpab> <ta> <ekim>> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:37AM (#18275268) Homepage Journal
      It's not just libel and slander - it's stalking. These guys go after any woman asking that her picture be taken down from these contests like a pack of rabid dogs. They were following these girls into the gym and at class taking cellphone pictures of them, etc.

      Check out http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2007/03/07/w apo-calls-out-law-school-pervs/ [feministe.us]

      Problem is, guess how much traction any of these women would get going to the police trying to get them to go after these guys.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Problem is, guess how much traction any of these women would get going to the police trying to get them to go after these guys.
        A lot I'd imagine. I mean it's not like law school graduates are above the law.... oh wait.
      • by ubuwalker31 (1009137) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:46AM (#18276014)
        If your a law student, and you are having a serious problem with another student that is documented and you have witnesses, most States have character & fitness committees that you can complain too:

        http://www.pabarexam.org/FAQ/handbook/Character_Fi tness/Page_03.htm [pabarexam.org]

        Taking this action would prevent them from becoming licensed to practice law.

        In case you don't already know, Attorneys don't have full free speech rights. Attorney's have a Code of Professional Conduct which limits the things they can say, since they are Officer's of the Court. Any sort of behavior or speech which would tend to cause the entire legal profession to be seen in a bad light, would probably be grounds for punishment by the disciplinary board.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by phoenixwade (997892)
      Sure, but what about the "grey" area of: it's not libel or slander, but it does violate the personal privacy of the the object. These aren't "public" persona's, after all.

      Personally, I'd lose the anonymity of the writer aspect of it, and leave it alone. Free speech is one thing, but if you are going to write it, you should be held accountable for what you say (ummm... Write).

      But too address the original commentary, free speech in and of itself doesn't go too far, but there are always people who will abuse
      • The people running this forum won't lose the anonymity aspect of it. Quoting from TFA ("Cohen" is one of the forum owners):

        Cohen said he no longer keeps identifying information on users because he does not want to encourage lawsuits and drive traffic away. Asked why posters could not use their real names, he said, "People would not have as much fun, frankly, if they had to worry about employers pulling up information on them."

        He wants posters to "have fun", and they won't have as much fun if they can't tr

      • by Kadin2048 (468275)
        Sure, but what about the "grey" area of: it's not libel or slander, but it does violate the personal privacy of the the object. These aren't "public" persona's, after all.

        That's the nice thing about the Law; it really cuts down on those grey areas. Either it's libel or slander, or it's not. Either it's stalking, or it's not. Either it's a crime, or it's not. If it's not, you can say it.

        Now, sometimes it can be difficult to determine if it's a crime or not, because we have such a byzantine legal system, but
  • by REBloomfield (550182) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @07:59AM (#18274924)
    It wants it's forum software back...

    That really is the most god awful website i've seen in years, and putting aside the fact that the presentation is horrendous, I'm concerned that this is what passes for my fellow law students.....

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Goaway (82658)
      You know, apart from all the ads, and the excessive clicking needed to actually get to the post contents, which it shares with most modern forums, this is actually a very nice and readable layout. At least compared to phpbb and its ilk with a million useless stats printed all over the page, along with avatars and signatures and other usesless visual clutter that ends up leaving room for two or three actual sentences of user content per screen.
    • by gadlaw (562280)
      Immoral, immature, illiterate and outdated. A sad commentary. About what law school was like when I went.
  • The message board...allows its users to discuss, criticize, and attack other law students and lawyers by name.

    What's wrong with that? Are people not allowed to talk about other people in public anymore?

    • Not under English Law at the very least: one should not defame an individual in a manner which causes them loss in their trade or profession, or causes a reasonable person to think worse of them.
      • by plumby (179557)
        Doesn't that involve you saying something that's not true (or more precisely, under UK law, something that you can't prove to be true)?

        As I understand it (IANAL) there's nothing legally stopping you making factual statements, however harmful, about someone in public.
        • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

          by REBloomfield (550182) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:24AM (#18275136)
          But that's not the issue here - there is nothing wrong with criticising others in public, but if you actually read the article (it's a lot to ask, i know), there's a lot more at stake than make factual claims about an individuals shortcomings.
          • by plumby (179557)
            I appreciate that, but was replying to a post that seemed to be claiming English Law didn't allow people to talk about others in a negative way in public. It does.

            If you've been slandered (or libelled in this case) then the relevant laws are applicable whatever the policy of the forum's owner is. The only issue that I can see from the article is that it's letting anonymous users post these comments, and at that point I'd assume that the owner becomes responsible for proving that it wasn't him that made the
        • It happened to at least one student. [thismodernworld.com] This is the problem with them posting the full name (and sometimes contact information) of the women they attack. Note the sentence "Some of the messages included false claims about sexual activity and diseases." in the Washington Post article.

          Aside from that, I'm pretty sure it's considered some kind of threatening to post pictures of someone, post their full name and email address, and go on rapturously about how you'd really like to "hate-fuck" them. But I'll have to
      • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

        by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenisNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:26AM (#18275162) Homepage
        It's actually a bit more complex than that. See for example: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/C-46/bo-ga :l_VIII-gb:s_296//en#anchorbo-ga:l_VIII-gb:s_296 [slashdot.org]"> these sections from the CCC.

        Essentially, it's libel if you caused to be published something you don't reasonably know to be true ...

        that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published.

        So, yes, you can talk smack about people. It just has to be true and in the best interest of the audience. For example, if you commited a petty offence, say shop lifting, 10 years ago. And I go around your book signing tour [say you wrote a book on gardening or something] writing reviews that revealed this fact and caused you harm. That could be considered libelous, since while true, is not in the best interest of the public (e.g. who cares) and it causes you harm (section 298).

        Tom

        • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

          by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:55AM (#18276110) Journal

          For example, if you commited a petty offence, say shop lifting, 10 years ago. And I go around your book signing tour [say you wrote a book on gardening or something] writing reviews that revealed this fact and caused you harm. That could be considered libelous, since while true, is not in the best interest of the public (e.g. who cares) and it causes you harm (section 298).

          Well, section 298 doesn't apply to this matter, since that's Canadian law, not US law. In the US, truth is an absolute defense against claims of libel. US libel laws are far more permissive than those of Commonwealth countries, and notably more permissive than those of the UK.
  • allows its users to discuss, criticize, and attack other law students and lawyers by name.

    There is a fine line between expressing one's opinion and slander. IANAL, but if I would bet some of the free speech will cross into the "communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation." (wikipedia).

    Won't it be ironic if lawyers discussing lawsuits start slandering each other on a lawyer based blog and end up suing each other.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by GreyPoopon (411036)

      Won't it be ironic if lawyers discussing lawsuits start slandering each other on a lawyer based blog and end up suing each other.

      Break out the popcorn and pull up a chair.
    • Actually, it's libel in this context.
    • I would point out that unlike software companies (ie Microsoft - which is regularly panned by name) Lawyers generally do business under their legal name - rather than under a company facade. There are lawyers - such as John Edwards - whose business is largely chasing ambulances. Criticising what they do, and the effects on society is important, and names are a critical part of lawyering.

      AIK
  • flamewar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by polar red (215081) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:05AM (#18274970)
    "The cure to bad speech is more speech,"
    can anyone say 'flamewar' ?
  • by jakoz (696484) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:07AM (#18274992)
    This is about 0% different to any other forum on the web. Law students might kick up a stink about it, but that's what they do. They want to change the world. But I have one in the extended family... the thing about them is that 95% of the way they change the world is for the worse. What can they do? They can break down the laws that hold society together. They can even (*gasp*) help to make new ones. It is their job. If they did it well, they get a pay raise ("hey... I can make PARTNER one day!") and a slap on the back. And society is generally the worse off for their efforts. Their shortsighted personal run for glory helped them, so everything is fine. Good for them if they get upset. The only difference between them and everyone else is that they naively think that they can do something about it. The forum should just make all posting anonymous and move their servers offshore, just to stick it up them. ...and yeah.... there are a few good lawyers. But the vast majority of people on here, as in real life, don't respect what you do...
    • by spuke4000 (587845)
      I read a stat once that said for every 1000 engineers that graduate the GDP increases by some small number (0.001 % or something). For every 1000 lawyers that graduate the GDP decreases some larger amount (-0.05% or something). Not that GDP is the sole measure of 'goodness for society' but I thought it was pretty telling anyway.
      • by Fordiman (689627)
        I'd be really curious to see how such a stat was derived; while the logic of it seems sound, I doubt the direct correlation between college graduates and the GDP.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      This is about 0% different to any other forum on the web.

      Looks like yet another melodramatic internet pissing contest to me--a bunch of jerkass future lawyers, womynists, drama queens, frat boys, and self-obsessed narcissists battling it out over who has the bigger blog. I propose that we ship them all immediately to Iraq for a quick lesson in what REALLY matters.

      -Eric

      • So... the woman who had her career torpedoed [thismodernworld.com] because these guys posted messages with her full name which "included false claims about sexual activity and diseases"... just another whiny womynist? Or a self-obsessed narcissist? Is it narcissism to express worry when the AutoAdmit users start talking about stalking you and "hate-fucking" you, or is that womynism? I take it you'll be posting your mom's full name, photo and contact information on this board, as only a self-obsessed narcissist or whiny womynist
  • Is this an example of free speech and anonymity gone too far, or is internet trolling just a necessary side effect of a policy that otherwise promotes insightful discussion of the legal community?

    I have not read the article so I'm taking a blind shot at this.

    If the "free speech" takes the form of slander or threats it has gone too far. If not I don't think there would be a problem with it.

    Blind trolling of message boards can devalue their legitimacy, that's something any administrator of such a forum ha
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin@nOsPaM.amiran.us> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:10AM (#18275018) Homepage Journal
    If,

    A) You're talking about an forum (electronic or otherwise) designed to promote freedom of expression, and holding that as one of your primary ideals,
    and
    B) You ask whether this is freedom of speech gone too far,

    The answer is always, "no". Do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

    Article = dumb. I RTFAs, but not in this case.
  • by LaughingCoder (914424) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:12AM (#18275036)
    When I write letters to my local newspaper I have to provide a name and address, and they verify I am who I say I am before they publish my letter (and my name is attached). Another example can be found in the television/radio media where commercials have to specify who paid for them. Free speech is one thing, but anonymous free speech is a whole other matter. I believe that if someone is criticized (or praised for that matter) in a public forum, the name of the person doing the criticizing/praising should also be public.
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:53AM (#18275414) Homepage Journal
      Well, there are sound historical reasons for protecting anonymity; sometimes anonymous free speech is the only free speech, because if people know who you are, Bad Things will happen. Much of the writing and discussion that led up to the American Revolution was done under pseudonyms, sometimes obvious, sometimes not; otherwise the result would have been a whole bunch of hangings and no USA. Whether that would have been a desirable outcome or not depends on your perspective, I suppose. ;)

      Obviously this isn't one of those cases. These law students are idiots, and law firms that make hiring decisions based on their flamefests aren't any better.

      [shrug] I'm one of the few people on /. who doesn't use a pseudonym, and my name isn't an especially common one; anyone who wants to find out what I think can do so with a couple of minutes of Googling. I've noticed that since I started using my real name online in most places, my own online writing has become more civilized; the reason I'm not especially concerned about losing a potential future job over something I said online is because I try not to say stupid things online, and anyone who'd refuse to hire me based on polite, reasonable expressions of opinion isn't someone I'd want to work for anyway. But this is a self-imposed condition, and if I were a whistleblower or a revolutionary, of course I'd try to remain anonymous, and be damned glad that there are ways to do so.

      If I didn't make it clear above, I am in no way comparing these idiot law students to Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Just saying that the same conditions which allow anonymous communication of genuine importance will inevitably be exploited by morons; it's a price we should be willing to pay.
    • by Shimmer (3036)
      You might be interested to know that Common Sense [wikipedia.org] by Thomas Paine (just as an example) was written anonymously. You think that should have been illegal?
    • Anonymity (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Khammurabi (962376)

      I believe that if someone is criticized (or praised for that matter) in a public forum, the name of the person doing the criticizing/praising should also be public.

      Khrushchev was giving a speech about Stalin once, and someone in the crowd yelled out why he didn't do anything to stop him. Khrushchev quickly barked out, "Who said that?!" The crowd remained silent as he glared over them. "Now you understand why I didn't speak up," was his reply.

      Anonymity on the internet is a good thing. It protects fr

      • Anonymity on the internet is a good thing. It protects free speech in a consistent manner.
        Ahh, but you are never truly anonymous on the internet. Somebody always has the ability to track you down. It's just that most people don't know how.
  • Ad Hominem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Paulrothrock (685079) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:13AM (#18275046) Homepage Journal

    Discussion of others is fine. Criticism of others is okay, too. But I thought lawyers were taught good argument techniques, and that ad hominem attacks aren't part of making a good argument.

    But maybe that's why I'm not a lawyer.

    • by TFloore (27278)
      But I thought lawyers were taught good argument techniques, and that ad hominem attacks aren't part of making a good argument.

      I would modify that slightly. I suspect lawyers are taught effective argument techniques. Sometimes, ad hominem attacks are effective. This may be one of those times. I wouldn't know, I didn't read the article. :)

      Remember, the joke is that juries are composed of 12 people too stupid to get out of jury duty. There may be a large difference between a good argument technique, and an eff
  • by jdcool88 (954991) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:16AM (#18275070)
    While Internet forums do fall under the region of "free speech", some of the things mentioned in the article are definitely illegal activities.

    In scores of messages, the users disparage individuals by name or other personally identifying information. Some of the messages included false claims about sexual activity and diseases.

    The chats sometimes include photos taken from women's Facebook pages, and in the Yale student's case, one person threatened to sexually violate her. Another participant claimed to be the student, making it appear that she was taking part in the iscussion.
    Let's see, defamation, sexual harassment, threats, identity theft - how much do you need? It's one thing to troll, but a completely different thing to personally attack someone.
  • You can't throw names and "facts" in the wild and hide behind anonymity.

    There's simply no balance in this, and open to abuse. If you wanna call names, put your name behind your words, and if this is free speech, the laws will protect you from further repercussions.

    Of course, laws aren't perfect, but total chaos is a lot less perfect.
    • by Fordiman (689627)
      Um.

      Question: does this site allow properly anonymous posting, or is it some journalist referring to a login that isn't your actual name as 'anonymous'?

      If it's the latter, this is a non story. If it's the former, AutoAdmit needs to disallow anon posting; it's almost always a bad idea (unless you're, say, a popular news site. I do get a kick out of Slashdot's ACs)
  • -1 Troll (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bob54321 (911744) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:18AM (#18275094)

    is internet trolling just a necessary side effect of a policy that otherwise promotes insightful discussion

    No trolling isn't necessary to have insightful discussions.

    PS. Macs suck.
  • ... my fellow students are about all that keeps me sane. I can't imagine attacking them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wait until after you graduate, pass the bar exam and have them in the position of being the opposition in court. Then you'll attack them with all the venomous, flaming invective you can muster- only somewhat politely and spelled a lot better.

      I mean, it's hard to use, "ZOMG! U R TEH GAY H0M0 L00ZZOR! LAMOR!!!! LOL!!! " as a valid argument.
    • ... my fellow students are about all that keeps me sane.
      Them, and your collection of singing potatoes.
    • by dal20402 (895630) *

      Speaking as another law student...

      if your fellow students are all that keeps you sane, you need to connect with some people outside of law school. Law school is a self-reinforcing echo chamber. The ultimate result is stuff like the idiocy on those boards.

  • by vic-traill (1038742) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:25AM (#18275150)

    The inference in the article is that the protagonist got minimal call-backs and no offers as a result of what was said in postings (possibly anonymous) about her on the AutoAdmit law school admissions discussion board.

    Goggling an applicant and finding pictures of them on their myspace site, smoking blunts and self-copulating is one thing.

    If law firms reject otherwise stellar applicants on the basis of anonymous postings on a cheesy discussion forum, then they are stupid beyond words. Can you hear it?: "Oh she's top of her class at UPenn, just *blew* the doors off the interview, goddamn articulate, but I heard an anonymous rumour she cheated on her LSAT".

    She best start looking for other employers, 'cause you don't want to work for people that have their heads so far up their ass that they'll pass up on the next Clarence Darrow because of what some anonymous shill said on the fscking Internet.

    • That was the first thing that occurred to me, too. Maybe what it signifies is that competition is very strong and the companies involved can afford to be very risk-averse, and shy away from even a hint of controversy.
    • by Fordiman (689627)
      Hm.

      Well, I work at UPenn, and lemme tell you: if she's applying for jobs here, she's going to have a very hard time figuring out what's going on.

      Of course, that's true of many lawfirms, too.

      Really, I think it's funny that a journalist gave credence to the kind of paranoia people have about their online rep - you know, the one that truly doesn't matter?
    • by Fordiman (689627)
      You know, this whole thing gave me the idea to google my name.

      There's at least seven other "Bryan Elliott"'s with a more apparent web presence than I. And one of 'em, "J. Bryan Elliott" is a North Carolina lawyer.

      I just think that's funny.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:31AM (#18275198) Homepage
    Why wouldn't they be allowed to make truthful, but pointed comments, about others? In general, the sort of people who can't deal with this sort of thing are not big fans of freedom of speech. Given the fact that there is a law professor at Uni Wisconsin Madison who is being attacked for "racist speech" when no one even has any direct quotes yet of what he even said, let alone any context, I think the legal profession and education system need to be opened up to the real world where hurt feelings are your problem, and you have to respond to others instead of crying to mommy bureaucrat. How about all free speech fans start a new movement, a new underground movement to thicken up people's skin or terrorize them into not attacking free speech? Everytime someone gets teary-eyed over hearing someone make a "bigoted" comment, says something they don't like, or anything else like that and they seriously try to stop that person from working or having an otherwise peaceful life... *POW* right in the kisser. Do it again, *POW* right in the kisser.

    I'm not entirely joking. I'd love the irony of a "brownshirts for the first amendment" >:)
  • That website is not about "free speech" in the slightest. It is about generating ad revenue for its owners: revenue which would decline if users who deliberately set out to act like cocks were not offered safe harbour.

    Really, it just combines a few popular online subjects - law career discussion and outlandish bigotry/racism/general abuse. Go look at any extremist forum, for example. You'll see hundreds of thousands of posts, each one serving up Google adverts.

    And the site owners aren't championing fr
  • allows its users to discuss, criticize, and attack other law students and lawyers by name. Is this an example of free speech and anonymity gone too far, or is internet trolling just a necessary side effect

    First off, discussing/criticizing/attacking others by name isn't necessarily trolling. Sure, even a reasonable discussion criticizing named parties will be viewed by those parties as not just attacking but also trolling. That doesn't make it so. The LACK of names and specifics is what makes many dis

  • Too far (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:44AM (#18275336)
    You can't really think that freedom of speech has gone too far. It can't go too far. It is either FREEDOM of speech or no freedom of speech at all there are no mid points.
    • Re:bullshit (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 2fakeu (443153)
      as with everything freedom can go to far. your freedom ends, where the freedom of someone else begins. remember? there's only so much room for one person and there's billions of others too, that deserve some freedom.

      does you definition of "freedom of speech" include the freedom to break laws/oaths too? like a doctor who's breaking his oath telling everyone of his funny patient stories, because he feels he can go as far as he wants with his freedom of speech? if it would harm another one's freedom you are no
  • by N3wsByt3 (758224) <NewsbyteNO@SPAMfreenethelp.org> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:49AM (#18275376) Homepage Journal
    "or is internet trolling just a necessary side effect of a policy that otherwise promotes insightful discussion of the legal community"

    Possible answers which suit the FA:

    1.Yes! And anyone who thinks differently doesn't understand what the internet is all about!
    2.Insightful discussion? We're on slashdot, for gods' sake!
    3.What' you mean; legal community? Their are online illegal communities too?
    4.Goatse rulez!

  • Having read the article, it seems more like its a case where a bunch of guys who happen to be in law school talking about who they think is hot or not than it is about free speech. I've not been to the site in question, so I don't know what other kinds of conversations go on there, but the article seems to mainly be about sexism and objectification of women than it does about first amendment issues.

  • So this has made it all the way to law schools?

    If the speech does not libel or slander then who should care what is said?

    If people on forums are worried about what is said about them then they need to either get out or shape up.

    Pretty soon it will be a hate crime to say anything bad about anyone, then what right to speech will you have?
  • by Z0mb1eman (629653) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @09:48AM (#18276048) Homepage
    Before you jump on the "obvious" answer, take a look at this thread (found only after 2 minutes of looking... I'm sure there's far worse on the site).

    http://www.xoxohth.com/thread.php?thread_id=510699 [xoxohth.com]

    Names, pictures, personal information, and enough sexist and racist comments to make my head hurt. Now tell me you'd be happy if that thread was the first thing that came up on Google for your name.

    Free speech is one thing. To my untrained eyes, that looks like sexual harassment, and I'm sure there's some slander in there to be found. Even worse, from some of the comments I got the impression this type of thread is a popular "sport" on that forum...
  • Here's what I've found when you respect freedom of speech; either you have people debating other people's (sometimes by name) ideas, or you have people attacking other people. The audience will naturally lean one way or the other, and it is very difficult if not impossible to change things from a forum of personal attacks to a forum of ideas if that's already been lost. A forum cannot choose its audience before it arrives; they are stuck with whatever comes along. So if the law forum is using people's na
  • allows its users to discuss, criticize, and attack other law students and lawyers by name

    Well, if that isn't whitewashed to all hell. First off, it's undeniable that the people running and populating the board are assholes. [feministe.us] But they frequently go beyond that, into the posting of contact information, threats of violence, and encouraging stalking. It's about as legitimate a use of speech as a ransom note is.

    I doubt posting pictures of people and making rude comments about them is illegal. Dick move, yes. Pos

  • The content of some of these posts is reprehensible. While I believe in free speech, AutoAdmit is behaving irresponsibly. It's clear many of these comments are by students. All universities have conduct codes that prohibit this type behavior. The administration at Yale should be reminding students that slandering other students is prohibited and will be dealt with harshly. If they can find any of students responsible, expelling them would probably put an end this end kind of conduct.

    Unfortunately, it w
  • Is it wrong and/or illegal to sit around in a coffee-shop talking about your opinions of other people by name?Is letting people do that letting free speech go too far? It seems to me that this question and the one raised must have one and the same answer.

  • but shouldn't be abused.

    As long as the person clearly dictates what's fact regarding a person and what's the writer's/speaker's opinions there shouldn't be a problem.

    Of course - facts can be wrong - and if so, a correction has to be made.

    And if the writer/speaker does incorrect claims it's more a question of credibility of the writer/speaker than of the targeted person.

    And - of course - there are facts that are more pressing for a person than other facts. There are certainly answers to these cases t

  • The message board has recently come under fire for emphasizing a free speech policy that allows its users to discuss, criticize, and attack other law students and lawyers by name. Is this an example of free speech and anonymity gone too far, or is internet trolling just a necessary side effect of a policy that otherwise promotes insightful discussion of the legal community?

    If someone is worthy of attack, attacking them isn't trolling.

    Sure, it permits trolling. But it also permits legitimate conversations

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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