Wiki Community/2012-03

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As far as I'm concerned, what Tom asks for here is reasonable. As we've told many people, however, it's not "their wiki". Personally, I'm inclined to let Tom handle it as he sees fit. But I'm opening this to discussion purely to keep issues like this in the community sphere. (As an aside: Please don't antagonize anyone by venting; the goal is to stay open, not cause more problems.) -jw

Tom is a long-standing editor and is very popular...he's also grown to be a friend of mine. I am sure the matter will be resolved appropriately and as efficiently as possible. —PeteB

The main reason to memory-hole accusations against TG would be to protect TG. So, if TG does not want those accusations memory-holed, it seems to me that we should leave them. —CovertProfessor


Because I have been informed, vicariously, that I am being threatened with a lawsuit, I would prefer to keep a documentary record of everything that happens here involving Ali Ghorbanzadeh, the user sritern (who, based on a phone call to my employer, appears to be Ali), or anyone else associated with Boardwalk Apartments. Because memory holing removes the record completely from the server, I'd prefer to avoid it unless the full contents of the page and the page info is first saved (e.g. print to PDF).

I've been contacted by a couple of people concerned about this, so I'm going to provide a little bit of information before I step away from this matter. The short version is this: I don't think anyone needs to be worried. I'm obviously the target of what's going on here. Aside from not being a target of the shenanigans, everyone else enjoys at least three additional layers of protection.

First, no one here has made any libelous publications that I'm aware of. No libel, no liability. No worries.

Second, California has a very strong anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) protection. A bogus lawsuit filed against you just to try to prevent you from expressing yourself in a matter of public interest (say, what belongs on a community information resource) will get thrown out very quickly, and the person filing it will probably have to pay your attorney a substantial sum of money to cover attorney's fees. Anti-SLAPP matters are often handled on a contingency basis, so your attorney won't charge you anything for it; (s)he will only get paid if the matter is successfully dismissed, and it'll generally be the person suing you who has to pay.

Third, there are substantial federal protections for online "content providers" under a portion of a 1996 statute known as the Communications Decency Act. Among those are safeguards for people acting in an editorial role for content providers. The short version is that people acting in an editorial role, determining whether content submitted by others to a website, are pretty well shielded from liability for any defamatory statements that may be in that content. In other words, if sbyun or someone else on the Boardwalk page committed libel, you aren't vicariously liable for it just because you prevented someone else from deleting it.

Of course, I should close by stating that none of this should be taken as legal advice; it's for your personal edification only. I don't represent you or anyone else around here, and if you have any legal questions or concerns you should seek a consultation with an attorney. But, in my personal, non-professional, non-legal-advice opinion, no one here has anything to worry about.

Beyond that, I'm going to do my best to stay out of this discussion. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to e-mail or call me. Contact info is on my user page. —TomGarberson

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