On Content Moderation

(Important note:  I am not a lawyer.  Nothing on this site, including this post, constitutes legal advice.  Everything in this post may be completely inaccurate; in fact, you should assume that it is.  Always consult a qualified attorney for legal guidance.)

There is a long-standing (and incorrect) Internet Urban Legend that has spent well over a decade misleading people who should know better.  The legend in question pertains to sites that contain user-submitted content, such as — for example — PennLive.  The legend goes something like this:

“If you edit, delete, or otherwise modify user-submitted content, you become responsible for said content and any legal ramifications it brings.”

This wildly-inaccurate assumption is regularly dispensed by Armchair Internet Lawyers and dime-a-dozen consultants.  And it needs to die.

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What Just Happened Here?

Browsing through today’s PennLive, counted not one, not two, not three, but seven (and a half) crime stories pertaining to Harrisburg from the past 24 hours:

A woman was mugged in the River Street Garage (the one on Second; no idea why they chose to name it after the small alley that runs behind it rather than the major thoroughfare that runs in front of it, but I digress), a c-store clerk was robbed, a guy was mugged with a brick, a dude was assaulted in a park near Italian Lake, a teen’s laptop was stolen while he was using it, some dude kicked a woman in the face and stole her purse, and a guy was stabbed while walking around.  The “and a half” comes from a Harrisburg guy who was charged with breaking into an apartment in Carlisle.  And again, this was all reported in a 24-hour period.

Naturally, the PennLive West Shore Trolls did not hesitate to blame this on Linda Thompson / Barack Obama / the Democrats / the Liberals / “those people” / people who don’t listen to Glenn Beck.  But the real question remains unanswered — what just happened?

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Tea-Turfing 2010

I normally don’t get into national politics on here, but this was so laughably bad it just had to be pointed out.  So without making this about any one particular youth-, tech-, or idea-challenged political party, I’m going to make this a tale of caution to social media marketers everywhere.  When you want to create the illusion of mass support for your cause, you have to put at least several seconds’ worth of effort into the execution.  Otherwise, your propaganda gets lost in the cacophony of Internet laughter.

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Centralia + Concrete City = 9/25

The Triple-C one-day all-day road trip to Centralia and Concrete City is set for Saturday, September 25, with an alternate weather date of of Saturday, October 2.  You can see all the details on the event page.  If you plan on attending, please RSVP via Facebook so we know how many to expect for the carpool.  Hope to see you there!

Fake Linda Thompson, Mayor of Twitter (Mayor)

Have you seen the Fake Linda Thompson account over on Twitter?  There’s been a bit of an uproar in the media in the past 24 hours, with at least one outlet reporting that Mayor Thompson’s Twitter account has been hacked — inadvertently comically, of course.

It definitely wasn’t hacked.

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