16 thoughts on “Typepad Refuses to Ban Anti-Semitism, Gay & Christian-Bashing Hate Speech in Blogs – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. “Of course, in this case there is only a single person to be banned and no one else would be affected by the ban except him (or her).”

    I’m not sure if this was unclear in our response, but an individual IP is *not* necessarily linked to a single person. An individual IP address can represent hundreds (or even thousands) of individuals on a shared address, and it can also be reassigned, sometimes in just a matter of minutes to another party, who may be completely innocent. For that reason, IP banning is often useful at the level of managing an offensive or unwanted commenter for a single site, but is not practical, or even always desirable, for an entire service that’s in numerous countries and languages around the world.

  2. If you’d like some non-6A confirmation here, Anil is giving it to you straight. IPs should *never* be used for global blocking, since most ISPs have a limited number of IPs and dole them out to different users at different times as demand, er, demands.

    But it’s even bigger than that, since a given IP could be assigned to a publicly available machine in an airport, a coffeehouse, or whatever. If TypePad were to place a global block on such an IP, then no one using that machine would ever be able to access their services.

    TRANSLATION: If you’re willing to risk locking out innocent access to your blog, that’s one thing. But you can’t reasonable ask a larger entity to do the same.

  3. I’m not in a position to affirm or dispute the technical issues raised by Roger or Anil. If I was an abuser & Typepad banned my IP it would work in my case & the case of millions of other IPs which reside with a single computer owned by a single individual.

    But I was told by a TP staff member: “we don’t censor.” That response indicated that TP wouldn’t ban the abuser even if they could. So I’d like TP to tell me whether they would ban him if they could do so technically. A positive response would help relieve some of my intense disappointment in their response to this incident.

    But even if what they say about IPs is true, Roger & Anil are only proving the point that Typepad has no robust technical ways of identifying abusers and preventing their participation at TP blogs. Perhaps it’s not only Typepad that has this problem. But TP is my blogging service so my frustration naturally is addressed to them.

    In addition (& on a slightly different subject), the methods TP provides to users to ban spam which evades their filters is cumbersome & time-consuming beyond belief. I’ve been leaving Help tickets about this for more than a year and this situation has improved only slightly.

  4. “If I was an abuser & Typepad banned my IP it would work in my case & the case of millions of other IPs which reside with a single computer owned by a single individual.”

    Richard: I can’t talk hard stats here, but I think you’re overestimating the static IPs out there. If you’re on DSL or cable modem in the U.S., you’re usually on PPPoE or DHCP, meaning you get a dynamic IP. If you’re on dial-up, there’s probably a 99% chance that you’ve got a dynamic IP. And if you’re behind a corporate firewall, your requests are most likely funneled through a proxy server that has a single IP for dozens or hundreds of users.

    “So I’d like TP to tell me whether they would ban him if they could do so technically.”

    I’m neither a 6A employee nor a user… closer to a itsy-bitsy competitor, actually. But I’d probably respond much as they have, so I’m interested.

    Let’s put aside the tech. Let’s also put aside any wrangling over the TOS and/or legalisms. Sincere question: why *should* they ban him, service-wide?

    Granted, nuking this individual’s sub-literate offerings across the board wouldn’t be much of a loss; I prefer my extremist rants to come in the form of coherent sentences, thanks. But there’s nothing inherent in that guy’s mindset that makes him incompatible with all civil conversation is all contexts.

    He could conceivably be a frequent and positive contributor to a blog about gardening, for example. I understand your desire to put a muzzle on him when he comes sniffing around your virtual home, but does that justify effectively cutting out his larynx? Does mean-spirited stupidity in one instance disqualify him from speech ever-after?

    “Typepad has no robust technical ways of identifying abusers and preventing their participation at TP blogs.”

    They have TypeKey. I don’t know if they do global bans with it, but the technical capability is there. (Anil can correct me if I’m wrong.)

  5. Forgive me if I’m missing a key detail; I’ve read your original post, this post and the snippets of the comments and posts to which you refer. However, I don’t see anything that should be forbidden, erased, or prohibited. What I see is certainly ignorant, stupid and downright rude… but that remains a freedom in this country, one that a great many of our citizens insist upon exploring frequently. *sigh* Disliking groups of people for various arbitrarily chosen reasons also remains a right, and people with small minds and small lives likewise indulge. The problems begin when individuals or organizations make movements to act on those feelings, such as by issuing direct physical threats and other such actions. I don’t see that the situations you are pointing out fall into that.

    You’re going to get a great deal of attention, now, as this issue has been linked from a number of blogs and other resources. Hang on!

  6. Roger: Both you & Amy are missing a key element of this abuse. It wasn’t merely “subliterate” (though it certainly was that) nor was it “merely” “ignorant, stupid or downright rude.” It advocated violence, even genocide against a religious group. Amy, you say you’ve read my posts but you don’t indicate whether you saw the specific abuse I quote there. If you had, I would like to think that you would understand the gravity of the speech & its effect on me. There are different types of abuse, even different types of racist abuse. But advocating the death of an individual & his entire ethnic group is illegal. The Anti Defamation League FAQs on internet hate speech indicate that 2 individuals have been successfully prosecuted for saying they would kill their Chinese & Latino e mail correspondents. Regardless of whether or not “my” abuser rises to that level of culpability (I don’t know since I’m not a criminal attorney) I think you & Amy should be willing to acknowledge that some speech goes beyond the pale. After all, the law says that.

    You may reply that neither you nor Typepad wishes to get into the business of policing their blog space on behalf of their users, but if there is a potential for such speech to rise to the level of a crime then I believe Typepad & other providers have a moral, if not legal, responsiblity to deal with it more robustly than they’ve indicated that they’re willing to do.

    Roger, you’re echoing Anil (have you guys been cribbing fr. ea. other’s notes on this?) in saying that a serial abuser who writes about gardening (the example I used with Anil was someone who abused & wrote about roses) somehow mitigates his offense by otherwise being a good citizen in other ways.

    Look at it this way–if I was a serial criminal offender brought up on charges, surely my lawyer would try to use the fact that I tended the roses at my local park and kissed baby’s on Mother’s Day. But does that mean that I wouldn’t be convicted or that my mitigating factors would somehow be viewed as credible by judge or jury? I don’t think so. I could grant the smallest amt. of credence to your example if this offender wrote one nasty comment. But he wrote four & that puts him in a more serious category of offender at least IMO.

    As for Typekey, the 6A Typekey website indicates it’s designed for Movable Type sites. I don’t know if TP or TP users can use it to monitor Typepad sites or not. It doesn’t say at the site that they can. There is a provision for 3rd party apps, but again this is meant for users. I don’t know what 6A is capable of doing with it themselves in terms of monitoring or banning hate speech globally. I’d like to find out more, though.

  7. I am always amazed by the fact how people are not able to see that this is not as easy as it seems to the individual mind.

    The user in question on such a typepad blog can state he want just users with Typekey identity to be able to comment. Btu then again, if somebody wants to comment, he gets in. I don’t know if Typeped offeres moderated comments, but I think they do.

    But then: Criminal and hate speech under which juristiction? Moral values and ethics under which culture? Who defines what is right and what is wrong? You can only define what is wrong from *your* point of view, but you will never define what is wrong or right in my point of view.

    The same moment, Typepad would ban based on those keywords, they would have lawsuits at their hands about censoring. And it would be right they have. This is _your_ responsibility.

    As you speak of ‘have a moral, if not legal, responsiblity’, if they would go for that, any pro homo marriage blog must be banned from Typepad – as most of the Americans seem not to want that and find it imoral.

    And if the law says that (which law again? Applying where? What do you do when the commenter in question cannot be held under that law?) has probably exactly written down how things are to be done in which order.

    If you have not been aware of the fact, that the way YOU write on the internet exposes you, your believes, values etc and will attract commenters like this, now you are. If you have not been aware of the fact, that a combination like Gay, Israel and American is a 100% chance of getting such comments, you must be very naive.

    Is this right? Probably not. Will this go away, by banning it? No, of course not. If it was so easy to ban hate speech and other stuff, we would not have this.

    Btw, given they would do what you ask for – your blog would be the first to be banned. Because you display hate speech in this very entry and encourage therefor the content of it.

    If you con’t want this kind of comment, turn off comments. Switch to a host server where you are in charge of censoring comments (which you do at that moment), which is called moderated comments aka you see them first before they go online.

  8. Nicole: I beg to differ. You ask: “Criminal and hate speech under which juristiction? Who defines what is right and what is wrong? You can only define what is wrong from *your* point of view, but you will never define what is wrong or right in my point of view.”

    There are federal & state statutes barring hate speech or incitement to violence. As I say, invididuals have been successfully prosecuted for such offenses here in the U.S. Once society passes laws saying these things ARE criminal offenses, then that gives us a more objective means of defining them. If someone says in your blog (if you have one) that they will kill you because you are a Jew or a Latino or Chinese or even German, they have violated the law. YOu may not believe that they have (at least to your satisfaction), but society says differently.

    No one is talking here about banning based on keywords, so you’ll have to be clearer about what you mean because that part of your comment seems wrongheaded to me.

    I don’t know why it’s so difficult to get some folks to understand that my abuser was not advocating banning gay marriage. He was advocating killing Jews. You do understand that there’s a difference don’t you? Besides, there is a strong minority of Americans who support the idea of gay marriage. There are probably only a few thousand Americans who advocate genocide against the Jews (thank God it’s not larger). Gay marriage is not a universally decried moral position. Advocating genocide is.

    “…Your blog would be the first to be banned. Because you display hate speech in this very entry and encourage therefor the content of it.”

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. Are you saying because I’m quoting in this post comments made by a hater that I myself am guilty of hate speech? If so, I’m afraid you’ve taken leave of logic & reason. That would mean that if a commenter leaves hate speech at my blog & I don’t remove it that I should be prosecuted for hate speech myself. That sure makes a lot of sense to me.

  9. Dear Richard,

    I could not find the time to read all the comments that were posted on this blog. I am a reader of Embruns and I have just seen that you had been offensdd by Laurent Gloagen’s post (which had slightly offended my Christian tendencies). [Tikun Olam adds: Here is Embun’s comment on my post: “Et… c’est tant mieux. Je suis pour la liberté d’expression. Surtout pour le Christian-Bashing en fait. ;-)” which my rusty French translates as “Hey, that’s too bad. I’m for freedom of expression…even for Christian-bashing in fact”] I understand your reaction, but please don’t take it personally. Being in favour of total freedom of speech never meant that you agreed with hate speech. And he surely must have had to face many cruel examples of hate speech. I understood his post more as a sort of general/political point of view rather than a specific reaction to what has most unfortunately happened to you. Now let total freedom of speech do its job and show you that the hateful writer will only gain despise and rejection from the majority.

    Take care.

  10. “I think you & Amy should be willing to acknowledge that some speech goes beyond the pale. After all, the law says that.”

    Again, I ask that we dispense with legalism for the moment. I’m certainly not a lawyer, and even if I were, well, laws are just constructs. They’re not always right. (See the Patriot Act, or the laws of the land pre-MLK.)

    I’m not saying that his comments were “merely” anything. They were nasty, stupid, and abusive. Period. But does that disqualify him from speaking in general? Should he be denied the opportunity to speak to Person B because he said something awful to Person A? Even if his comments to B are welcomed? That’s the crux of the issue, IMO.

    “…but if there is a potential for such speech to rise to the level of a crime…”

    All speech bears that potential. At any moment, your writing here could jump over the line into something libelous… even by accident. As could mine, or anyone else’s. No hosting provider can be reasonably asked to respond to potential on such a scale.

    A quick question. Have you considered adding a posting policy to your comment form? Y’know, something that explicitly states “Anti-Semitic comments are prohibited.” If I were your provider, and someone violated an explicitly stated rule more than once or twice, I’d be far more willing to risk erring on your side of the argument. At that point, at least in my eyes, your abusive comment guy becomes akin to a spammer.

    “Roger, you’re echoing Anil (have you guys been cribbing fr. ea. other’s notes on this?)…”

    Heh. I believe I spoke to the fine Mr. Dash once in 2002… we exchanged about five sentences worth of pleasantries when he dropped by my place to look around. And I may have posted a Trackback to his blog once, a year or two ago. That’s about it for our interaction. But it *is* kinda funny that such similar examples were used… I guess the peacefulness of gardening is just a natural opposite to bitter, racist ranting. 😀

    “But he wrote four & that puts him in a more serious category of offender at least IMO.”

    Four within a single discussion?

    Four across four different entries?

    Four in four different blogs?

    Four after he has been warned that his contributions were unwelcome and to leave?

    In the first case, I wouldn’t even consider a global ban. In the second, he’s getting into murkier territory. In the third, he’s coming very close to being an ideological spammer. In the fourth, he’s demonstrating a pattern of willful abuse, and I would strongly consider a lockout.

    Of course, that brings us back to issues of identity.

    “I don’t know if TP or TP users can use it to monitor Typepad sites or not.”

    I’d be surprised if they can’t. Virtually every blogging service that supports comments has some provision for comment authentication… most folks just don’t care for it, since forced authentication cuts way down on participation.

    I *like* required registration, personally. I prefer to talk to known entities who care enough to create a persistent identity.

  11. I’m sorry but I want to stay on the legal issue for a moment. It’s interesting that you used as support for your contention that laws are arbitrary & unjust the segregation laws restricting African-Americans. Well, there are laws & there are laws. Are you saying that laws regulating hate speech are as arbitrary & capricious as Jim Crow was?

    And we should note that hate speech & internet hate speech laws were meant to respond to brutal attacks against minorities. The laws accept the notion that we should regulate such speech because (as in the case of MLK & other hated minorities) legislators accepted the notion that hateful words lead to dreadful action. So I believe that the fact that these laws exist refute your notion that we can’t know what speech will or won’t lead to such action & therefore we can’t or shouldn’t regulate it.

    I think that law can be a very useful construct. In this case, the law basically says that if I use the internet to say “I’m going to kill you, you ______” (insert whatever nasty epithet denoting whatever group or religion you detest), then I could go to jail. I think a company like Typepad or Qwest (the cretin’s ISP) should be very concerned if anyone using their services makes a comment or writes a post that comes anywhere near this line. It so happens that this individual didn’t threaten to kill me specifically; he just expressed a wish that all of my co-religionists die horrible deaths. Perhaps this means he didn’t cross any criminal legal lines. To me this is just splitting hairs. But I do realize that the law has to have firm definitions and standards & perhaps those haven’t been quite met in the terms of my hater.

    And talk about constructs…the one you’ve created is pretty vague for me:

    “But does that disqualify him [my hater] from speaking in general? Should he be denied the opportunity to speak to Person B because he said something awful to Person A?” What are we talking about here? Talking on the street? On the internet? What?”

    I think what this construct leaves out is the fact that if he’s talking to people via Typepad/6A websites, then No–once he assails TP Blogger A (i.e. me) by violating TP TOS, then he should lose the right to talk to Blogger B & all other TP bloggers. The 6A environment is NOT a public marketplace, park or street. It is an environment created by the company. It is an environment TP/6A can restrict if it finds a user has violated its TOS.

    I believe I’ve used this analogy before here in this thread so sorry for repeating myself…if I am accused of committing a criminal act can I argue you shouldn’t deprive me of my liberty (i.e. throw me in jail) because I’m a deacon in my church & all the good I do for my church will be wiped out? Well, sure I can argue that & perhaps someone might listen. But you’re more likely to go to jail.

    I will take under advisement your suggestion about the comment warning. It’s an interesting idea. If I did that I’d probably warn that I will ban the commenter if they violate my rules, rather than saying I would delete the comment, because I think racist comments are instructive & should be seen by my visitors so they know what hate looks like).

    My hater wrote four comments in a single post. I certainly could not have warned him that his contributions were unwelcome because he used fraudulent names and e mail addresses. The only reason he didn’t spew more in my blog was that I banned his IP as soon as I saw the posts (& he probably only has access to a single IP). I’m sure if I hadn’t he would’ve returned for more. My rules are different concerning abuse. If you abuse me one time & don’t come back I just chalk it up to general nuttiness & don’t pay too much mind to it. But more than once & you become a serious problem to me; and four times, well, that’s way beyond the pale–it’s off the charts.

    I believe that Typekey (the 6A authentification feature) is not available for Typepad users. But I’ve thought long & hard about the comment registration issue. I like the spontaneity of allowing anyone to comment. Yes, it means that once in a while I’ll meet up with a nutcase; but until now it was a price I was willing to pay. But I’ll have to seriously re-evaluate that position in light of what just happened.

  12. “Are you saying that laws regulating hate speech are as arbitrary & capricious as Jim Crow was?”

    If we’re going to linger on the law for the moment… I personally think “hate speech” is an unnecessary term and concept. If I stand up in front of a group of people and argue for the extermination of some ethnic group, then charge me with conspiracy to commit murder. Charge me with terroristic threatening. Hanging a label like “hate speech” on it is deceptive… there’s more than hate going on.

    “So I believe that the fact that these laws exist refute your notion that we can’t know what speech will or won’t lead to such action & therefore we can’t or shouldn’t regulate it.”

    If Congress passes a law tomorrow that bans abortion, does that refute the notion that a woman is entitled to control her own body? If Congress passes a law tomorrow that says that abortion is okey-dokey, does that refute the notion that life begins at conception?

    Nope, in both cases. Laws are side-effects of life in civilized society, not guideposts for ethical judgement. Anyone basing their moral compass on the stuff our bought-and-sold Congresscritters come up with is headed for trouble. 🙂

    “I think what this construct leaves out is the fact that if he’s talking to people via Typepad/6A websites, then No–once he assails TP Blogger A (i.e. me) by violating TP TOS, then he should lose the right to talk to Blogger B & all other TP bloggers.”

    What if 6A disagrees? Or what if their TOS didn’t bar that behavior in the first place? Would you silently accept the abuse, or would you be calling for the guy to be banned, just as you are now?

    If it’s the latter, then you’ve got to have a reason beyond the TOS that you feel justifies silencing this person across the board. That’s what I’m trying to get at, and why I asked to side-step issues like the law and user contracts.

    “if I am accused of committing a criminal act can I argue you shouldn’t deprive me of my liberty (i.e. throw me in jail) because I’m a deacon in my church & all the good I do for my church will be wiped out? Well, sure I can argue that & perhaps someone might listen. But you’re more likely to go to jail.”

    Two comments:

    (1) Have you seen our court system lately? 😀 Depending on the charge, anything from a lack of prior offenses, to character witnesses, to prison overcrowding can result in sentence reductions, probation, and so on. The only way you’re “more likely to go to jail” is if you happen to be black.

    (2) We’re past that stage in this case. The guy did it, he’s guilty. The gavel has fallen. Now it’s a question of deciding the consequences. Not all criminal offenses result in jail time. And those that do rarely result in life sentences. And even life sentences seldom result in the convict being isolated from all external contact.

    You’re arguing that this guy should be dropped in the 6A version of solitary for 99 years. That’s a pretty tough sell, at least as far as I’m concerned.

    “I will take under advisement your suggestion about the comment warning. It’s an interesting idea.”

    Well, *I* would find it meaningful in this context, and would take it into account when judging the situation. I dunno about 6A… but it probably wouldn’t hurt, one way or the other.

  13. Roger: I know I tend to write long replies & perhaps people don’t read them in their entirety, but this comment of yours indicates you missed an important part of my previous reply:

    “What if 6A disagrees? Or what if their TOS didn’t bar that behavior in the first place? Would you silently accept the abuse, or would you be calling for the guy to be banned, just as you are now?”

    I’ve indicated at least 2x in various replies I’ve posted here that the TOS does bar this behavior in at least 12 different ways. If Typepad did not have TOS, then I’d complain about that. If they had TOS that were so vague as to be useless in determining whether someone violates them–then I’d complain. But if you read the TOS as they pertain to abuse (I’ve quoted them in another post here) they apply very specifically to the type of abuse he spewed here. After all, that’s why companies have TOS, because they acknowledge that some speech is unacceptable within their purview.

    If you want me to answer a hypothetical question–what if TP had no TOS & how would I react after complaining about the lack of same…well, I guess I’d only have a moral argument that the speech was so repulsive they should be willing to ban it. But why would I want to maintain a blog hosted by a company who refused to have TOS?

    “The guy did it, he’s guilty. The gavel has fallen. Now it’s a question of deciding the consequences. Not all criminal offenses result in jail time. And those that do rarely result in life sentences. And even life sentences seldom result in the convict being isolated from all external contact.”

    If I was convicted for a crime in which the judge thought my behavior should be constrained in some way he could do so. I’m sure that if one of my habits before being convicted was making obscene or racist or genocidal comments on blogs that the judge would be willing to make a condition of my sentence that I never participate in any blog. The judge could even say I was to have no internet access whatsoever. You might find this unneccessarily restrictive, but he’d every right to do it.

  14. You, sir, are the frightening component in this scenario.
    You simply have no business keeping a blog if you can’t handle what comes in the door.

    Hate laws are Orwellian, as are all these ridiculous attempts to have the world embrace each other in some morass of tribal harmony.

    Hatred exists and in many instances, it is damn well justified. It certainly provides occasional relief from delusional high brow elitists opining on their utopian vision for a subdued and castrated human race – one you’d apparently like to see engineered.

    Action that harms another person physically is not acceptable and the existing laws were more than sufficient without factoring in a subjective assessment of the hatred involved.
    You were not harmed nor does someone ardently wishing for the erasure of a group of people harm you. If you imagine that comments left on your blog will galvanize legions into genocide you are quite frankly an idiot and to attempt to anticipate or presume to know what a person might do with the hate he holds is loathsome. How dare you presume to know where words will lead? By virtue of your little diatribe I’d have you put in jail for threatening my liberties with your self-absorbed palaver.
    It stuns me that folks like you are running about actually discussing jail terms for expressing hatred. I think your type needs to be arrested for oozing we-are the-world banalities and then attempting to shove them down everyone’s throat.

    Your need to be coddled and protected is symptomatic of a cringing, insipid, inferior spirit at large in the land.
    When will the world be nuanced and censored sufficiently to please all you revisionists and culture regulators?

    Get a backbone, please. And shut your frigging comments down if you can’t handle life. I feel sorry for the seed of your loins – they’ll be missing important genes men ought to have.
    I loathe, not your ethnicity, but your idiocy and innate cowardice, so go now, go run and hide, little girlie-boy.

    You disgust me.

    And I truly hope you loathe me – anything else would be an insult.

  15. “I truly hope you loathe me”

    No, Zee I don’t loathe you. You’re more like an annoying fly that keeps trying to buzz in someone’s ear. And you’re worth just about the same amount of attention.

    “Hatred exists and in many instances, it is damn well justified…”

    Well, I’m truly glad that you’re staying true to your colors in expressing those same emotions to me. It’s refreshing when people remain true to their principles no matter how inane they might be.

    “You were not harmed nor does someone ardently wishing for the erasure of a group of people harm you.”

    I see. You’re the judge of whether or not I was harmed?? Not so fast buddy. First, I was not harmed physically. But there are many other forms of harm which don’t necessarily leave marks and are no less potent & damaging than physical harm. As for your moronic notion that expressing a wish to exterminate my people does not harm me…you obviously are not a member of a group which has suffered the level of decimation that mine has. Otherwise, you wouldn’t spout such drivel.

    “I’d have you put in jail…”

    Quite the little dictator aren’t we? You claim you’re for freedom of expression but apparently only for yourself and anyone who agrees with you.

    YOur abuse has caused you to be banned from this site. Any further comments that you might wish to make (& God I hope you’ll go back to whatever hateful hole you crawled out from & never return) will go into my slime bucket which I reserve specially for hatemongers like you.

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