How to prevent illegal conversations?

R0binHood

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A good old disclaimer is all you need...

“We are not responsible for anything”


Done.
That's what I shout out the window repeatedly every time the police come knocking at my door. They usually go away after a while.

There was only this one time when it was really serious that they didn't accept my verbal declaration of absolution of responsibility. Then they broke the door down anyway and threw me in a cell until they got all the evidence they needed.
 
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fixer

I'm In My Prime
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That's what I shout out the window repeatedly every time the police come knocking at my door. They usually go away after a while.

There was only this one time when it was really serious that they didn't accept my verbal declaration of absolution of responsibility. Then they broke the door down anyway and threw me in a cell until they got all the evidence they needed.
Did you tell them it’s not real it’s only cartoons? I guess that works.
 

R0binHood

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Oh gee willikers. Please lets get back on track to talking about drugs and other more mainstream illegal stuff. South Park and Big Mouth are the naughtiest cartoons in my Netflix history.
 

fixer

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ive never heard of a forum owner being held to the coals for something a member posted, maybe a cease and desist but not a one and done sort of thing,

claiming “public domain” has got me out of some heat before when an atom feed went awol and started posting some loony things
 

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an oddity
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maybe a cease and desist
Which is already something that you probably won't want to have. In other words: How many C&Ds can a site have before the heat sets in?
 

R0binHood

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How many C&Ds can a site have before the heat sets in?
Depends who the user is. It seems most of the big social media sites now are now using 'newsworthiess' as the latest excuse the let politicians and similar public figures post whatever they want on public forums without any kind of recourse,
 

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an oddity
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Chances are that your site won't have even remotely as many well-paid lawyers as Twitter has.
 

fixer

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Which is already something that you probably won't want to have. In other words: How many C&Ds can a site have before the heat sets in?
if its from the same source about the same content than 1

if its from different sources than unlimited as no one knows the other sources already got you
 

phatcows

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if its from different sources than unlimited as no one knows the other sources already got you
Oddly I am agreeing with you :p If you comply with the C&D notices, life just goes on (well it has for our forum anyway).
 

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
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Monitoring for keywords will do nothing when users just tip each others to discuss elsewhere, like another site or whatsapp. You couldnt tell if it involved organ trading...

The simplest solution is really to limit the amount of private messaging activity. Limit it to more privileged groups, older accounts, paid accounts with an auditable trail, and then only deal with activities reported by a user or law enforcement (assuming your site TOS insist on the possibility for users to take things into their hands by reporting/ignoring specific users or disabling pm reception from non-friends - imo a much nicer default to have on since its a restriction regular members can lift themselves, leaving all others protected by default).
 
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haqzore

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Nev_Dull

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If this is a real worry on a forum you want to start. Simply disable private messaging. You'll find your members are often quick to report any shady dealings on the open forum.
 
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LeadCrow

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If this is a real worry on a forum you want to start. Simply disable private messaging. You'll find your members are often quick to report any shady dealings on the open forum.
Agreed.
The argument most commoly leveraged in opposition of a blanket disable is that staff needs to be able to contact and be contacted by members, but a 'helpdesk' section covers this decently enough.
 
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zappaDPJ

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If this is a real worry on a forum you want to start. Simply disable private messaging. You'll find your members are often quick to report any shady dealings on the open forum.
I agree, it really is your only option. If you have a genuine concern that private conversations will lead to illegal activity then you need to protect yourself and your members. Disable private messaging.

Monitoring private messaging may in itself prove to be illegal depending on your locality so I would hesitate to do that unless you are prepared to detail it in your terms and conditions.
 
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R0binHood

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One way to still allow members to message without having a PC system is to enable the ability for them to send messages to each other through some kind of one way message system.

This allows you to send a message to the person direct to that user's email address through the forum. The recipient can then choose whether or not to reply to the senders email address and they can continue the conversation through email off site.
 

fixer

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unless your server is at your house i would think authorities could request data from your host and it really wouldn't matter that your intentions were
 

Dubbed Navigator

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Making a rod for your own back here IMO.

Let them get on with it. If you see such activities on the public forums, then you should have a team of moderators to deal with it.
You also have censorship to consider, which you can setup to alert you of any used.

Monitoring PMs feels very communist, and I can't see how any of your members would be happy about it.
 

Joel R

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Making a rod for your own back here IMO.

Let them get on with it. If you see such activities on the public forums, then you should have a team of moderators to deal with it.
You also have censorship to consider, which you can setup to alert you of any used.

Monitoring PMs feels very communist, and I can't see how any of your members would be happy about it.
A long time ago, I made a very thoughtful and intentional change to call them Personal Messages and not Private Messages. There's a big difference. One of them is a general user-to-user system. The other implies a degree of privacy.

There is no guarantee of privacy on any community, and I don't think a webmaster should pretend otherwise. As webmaster, at the end of the day, the buck stops with me. If there's any content that needs to be moderated, it is absolutely within my scope and responsibility to act.
 
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R0binHood

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There is no guarantee of privacy on any community, and I don't think a webmaster should pretend otherwise.
Absolutely. Users need to understand that all their communications are simply sitting in a database on a server somewhere that the admin (or even a potential hacker) can access. It's how these sites have worked for decades.

It's should be more obvious than ever, what with the growth of sites like facebook and they encryption discussion in mainstream media of late.

I'd rather they just know it's all readable in the event the authorities knock and let that be enough warning that if they want to do any dodgy dealings to bugger off to some other platform if they want to try and have secret conversations.
 

Dubbed Navigator

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A long time ago, I made a very thoughtful and intentional change to call them Personal Messages and not Private Messages. There's a big difference. One of them is a general user-to-user system. The other implies a degree of privacy.

There is no guarantee of privacy on any community, and I don't think a webmaster should pretend otherwise. As webmaster, at the end of the day, the buck stops with me. If there's any content that needs to be moderated, it is absolutely within my scope and responsibility to act.

I do agree with what you are saying, but also that there is a difference in how that is implemented.
Monitoring by keyword (or similar), for example, in my mind is more acceptable than casually looking through PMs without a very good reason.

I perhaps could have made that a bit clearer. I wouldn't guarantee any of my members that if I had reason to look at something that could impact the reputation / security of my forum or its members that I would not do so. Its just not something I would do as a "normal" housekeeping or preventative exercise.
 
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