Update: Reddit Suicide Lawsuit Is a Hoax

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Why is it that whenever someone is held accountable for something they do on the internet, people assume it heralds the end of free speech (and the coming of SOPA)?

Oh what shite, when you post about yourself and your situation you have no right to complain, no matter how offensive the responses you receive are.

There's also the small caveat that the Reddit posts more than likely had little to nothing to do with his ultimate decision to commit suicide.

I think I'll stick with my usual haunts and stay away from Reddit, that place somehow manages to be a bastion of both scumbags and normalfags at the same time.

80Maxwell08:
I'm going to be honest here. I hate anonymity. That is what leads to this kind of crap. If people's real names were used on these things then maybe they would think twice before telling someone to off themselves. If a bill went through that said people couldn't be anonymous on the internet anymore (to limits of course I'm not saying you have to show everything you do) I would be all for it.

I give an 'Amen Brother' to this.

I do dislike Anonymity, I can honestly say that I have never posted something online that I would not say to a persons face. I honestly believe, what you do has consequences, no matter how small or large. It is also a matter of my religious faith, everything I do needs to be for the glory of God. Even just hanging out with friends, I must not bring shame to my God from my actions. With everything I say or do, I must not bring shame to my God from my actions.

henritje:
I thought this crap was exclusive to Youtube and 4chan.

Reddit wishes it was 4chan, so much it wishes this.

Threeseventyfive:

blackriderrom:
snip

^^^ THIS

It is a tragic story, but the Reddit users are not at fault for his death.

Doesn't "freedom of speech" mean anything anymore?

Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences of what you say. You can say whatever you like without censorship but your words still have weight and consequence.

UPDATE:

Well, story's changed. Still a shame for the actual suicide. However, were it real, I guess there is actually some legal precedent with William Melchert-Dinkel, though that was an extremely intense case.

Though, I see a meta-lesson in this: how do "we" (gamers/nerds/internet-dwellers in general) want to view the internet? Is it "no-man's land"? A place where we oppose things like SOPA and taxation of online sales, while supporting things like internet anonymity. Or is it place subject to "real-world" jurisdiction for things like online harassment?

It seems "we" pick-and-choose based on what favors us the most. Maybe we should pick a perspective and stick to it.

If someone is so weak that a few posts on REDDIT of all places is the 'final straw'...
I just have no sympathy.

People who commit suicide are cowards, and deserve no sympathy from me.

Tanis:
If someone is so weak that a few posts on REDDIT of all places is the 'final straw'...
I just have no sympathy.

People who commit suicide are cowards, and deserve no sympathy from me.

Please do explain why you think they are cowards?

godofslack:
There is a lot of hindsight blaming of those involved, but you fail to factor in any perspective. They couldn't of possibly known that it was serious, and frankly, if I had to hazard a guess, most such posts aren't. Was telling someone to jump off a building a nice thing to do? Certainly not, but most people assumed it wasn't serious, and I wouldn't of either. If I read that I wouldn't comment or maybe leave a "Oh no don't do it" and forget about it instantly. I can't see any way in which they can be criminally responsible for his death, excluding the Ex-wife of course who should REALLY know better. If you know someone personally you can judge these things, as real or a poor joke, but for someone anonymous on the internet it's unreasonable.

It's really easy to demand that someone pays for this, it's really easy to strip people of their anonymity because they said some stupid things, but I honestly do think that keeping the internet a free and safe medium (a bit of a strawman, I know) is more important than answering this witch hunt. Everyone has had someone say rude things to them on the internet, and most of us have said rude things to another, when someone can be sent to court for an insult of non-libelous nature, it effectively destroys the internet's anonymity.

Yeah, I am a bit torn on this myself. It's sad that things played out this way... but still. How many drama-whores on youtube, 4chan, deviant art, and... just about any other website you can post on go, at one point or another, "I'm seriously going to go kill myself guys!". It's the oldest trick in the book to try and earn attention and/or sympathy on the internet. The anonymity thing does go both ways. Both the trolls and the person being trolled can say absolutely ridiculous things that they don't really mean.

Don't get me wrong, I do not support trolling at all. But really, I don't see how they could be held liable in this guy's death. He came on, and said that he was dead-set on killing himself. He got smartass replies. He's the one that made the choice to come back on that forum to read the replies and respond, and he's the one who inevitably made the choice to end his own life. If I were his family, I'd be looking towards whatever in real-life made him so miserable, instead of some random idiots on the internet.

Basically, what this boils down to. This wasn't a case of cyber-stalking. This wasn't repeated, targeted, personal harassment. This guy came onto a public forum and made a spectacle of himself and he got a bunch of smartass replies. Were the people who told him to just go ahead and do it insensitive and extremely rude? Yes. But I don't think their comments could have had any impact on his decision. If they did, then this guy was seriously unstable to begin with. If it was cyber-stalking, if it was constant harassment over weeks and months, or like that case where that kid killed himself after his roommate filmed him having gay sex and released it online, then yes, they would be very liable. But some smartass comments on a public forum, in a discussion that the suicidal guy instigated and participated in? I just can't agree with them being liable for his death.

If you're going to file a wrongful death lawsuit against someone, say that they were directly responsible for said death... then they need to be directly responsible. I just can't see a few smartass comments by nine random people on the internet being that. I understand the anti-troll righteous fury, but really, this needs to be looked at rationally, and with precedent in mind.

/r/MensRights isn't the place I would go if I were suicidal. Troll's nest full of delusional halfwits bereft of basic human kindness, and being exposed to that would simply compound the issue for me.

Regardless, always sorry to hear a person took his or her life. And the lack of even trace amounts of sympathy from some is very disconcerting.

Sandytimeman:

Threeseventyfive:

blackriderrom:
snip

^^^ THIS

It is a tragic story, but the Reddit users are not at fault for his death.

Doesn't "freedom of speech" mean anything anymore?

Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences of what you say. You can say whatever you like without censorship but your words still have weight and consequence.

Wat?

"You can say whatever you want without censorship but if you say something we don't like you'll be arrested and charged."

I could understand if you said that "inciting suicide" isn't protected speech but what you said didn't make sense.

Surprise, surprise! The MRA are still a bunch of worthless scum. I don't know how legal it would be for them to pay for this man's death but if they do end up being charged I will be slightly happier. I think few people deserve to suffer more than the MRA.

albino boo:

Greg Tito:

What's troubling about this story is not only that the Reddit commentors are being held accountable for trolling, but also that Reddit itself is subpoenaed to report the real names of the users involved in the suit. The community website will likely comply to avoid bad press or potential backlash, but what precedent will that set, especially as we face future SOPA-like legislation? The Powers of the Internet have long resisted the idea that a website can be held accountable for the actions of its users. Would cooperating with this lawsuit revealing the name and location of the offensive users in this case ruin the anonymity that is such a big part of the web experience?

So if they rang him up and taunted him by phone, the phone company shouldn't reveal the name of the account holder? Just because something online why should it be different from everything else?

Completely different thing.

I have no sympathy over assholes like these people, but it was a conscious choice of the victim to go on that forum and continue posting and reading there. While the actions of the individuals there were reprehensible, it is a far cry from them calling the person at home and attacking him there.

Threeseventyfive:

Sandytimeman:

Threeseventyfive:

^^^ THIS

It is a tragic story, but the Reddit users are not at fault for his death.

Doesn't "freedom of speech" mean anything anymore?

Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences of what you say. You can say whatever you like without censorship but your words still have weight and consequence.

Wat?

You can say whatever you want without censorship but if you say something we don't like you'll be arrested and charged.

I could understand if you said that "inciting suicide" isn't protected speech but what you said didn't make sense.

I think you should look up what "freedom of speech" is before you defile it's very honourable and very well defined nature anymore and before you make any more an ass of yourself.

Tubez:

Tanis:
If someone is so weak that a few posts on REDDIT of all places is the 'final straw'...
I just have no sympathy.

People who commit suicide are cowards, and deserve no sympathy from me.

Please do explain why you think they are cowards?

Some may say they are cowards because they decided to run from their problems instead of trying to solve them.

Anyone find it coincidence that one of the recruiting ((Allegedly by someone on the same panel) places that guy from EVE called people to harrass someone to kill themselves is in trouble because their member harrassed someone to commit suicide?

blackriderrom:
you seriously have white people problems

WTF are "white people problems"?

blackriderrom:
The same applies to high school bullies, gang members and whatever other real life spiteful people you can think of, but you don't see them being sued for acting like they usually do.

But more to the point of this article, if you incite someone to suicide in real life you face consequences, so why shouldn't you for doing the same online?

Also just because crap happens in real life isn't a justification that it should be OK to do online too. (and on a side note you do see them get in to trouble. Bullies getting suspended from school, gang members getting arrested)

Matthew94:

Tubez:

Tanis:
If someone is so weak that a few posts on REDDIT of all places is the 'final straw'...
I just have no sympathy.

People who commit suicide are cowards, and deserve no sympathy from me.

Please do explain why you think they are cowards?

Some may say they are cowards because they decided to run from their problems instead of trying to solve them.

I would argue that suicide is a way of solving your problems. Since as far as I know, you cannot have any problems when you are dead, since you are dead...

ITT:

If someone kills themselves because some people said some mean things on reddit then the world is a better place without you.

Christ knows what would happen if such weak-willed people went down to the *chans.

I wonder how many of you guys blaming the entirety of Reddit for this tragedy are aware of r/suicidewatch? Reddit isn't a single entity. There are far more kind, decent, reasonable people on there than trolls. It has its fair share of assholes the world would be better without, but keep in mind the site is designed to allow users to create whatever kind of community they like.

Every Reddit user I can think of hates r/SRS for being a bunch of self-obsessed, hypocritical, bigoted shits. They are bad people, but their little corner of the site isn't actually illegal, so the rest of us have to put up with their bullshit giving the entire site a bad name. Assuming that the entire community is responsible for the actions of a few trolls is like hating an entire country because there are criminals living in it. Think before you type.

Oh yay, another bit of ammunition to add for reasons to police the internet and control its freedom. People like that shouldn't have been on the internet or at least unwelcoming sites in the first place. I mean, I wouldn't go to places I feel like the residents could do me harm even if it was legal for me to walk down their streets.

Tubez:

Tanis:
If someone is so weak that a few posts on REDDIT of all places is the 'final straw'...
I just have no sympathy. People who commit suicide are cowards, and deserve no sympathy from me.

Please do explain why you think they are cowards?

Because it's harder to live then it is to die.

Any fool with a gun or knife can kill themselves.
But it takes more courage to face down the darker times in your life and live.

Yokai:
I wonder how many of you guys blaming the entirety of Reddit for this tragedy are aware of r/suicidewatch? Reddit isn't a single entity. There are far more kind, decent, reasonable people on there than trolls. It has its fair share of assholes the world would be better without, but keep in mind the site is designed to allow users to create whatever kind of community they like.

Every Reddit user I can think of hates r/SRS for being a bunch of self-obsessed, hypocritical, bigoted shits. They are bad people, but their little corner of the site isn't actually illegal, so the rest of us have to put up with their bullshit giving the entire site a bad name. Assuming that the entire community is responsible for the actions of a few trolls is like hating an entire country because there are criminals living in it. Think before you type.

Exactly. There are a fair share of assholes on this board too. It just so happens that this person got trolled to hell on Reddit.

Firstly, although I'm sure there's far better examples that are more likely to give the suicidal man an extra push, to me,'fuck off and die' is a saying, not a carefully constructed instruction. People getting told to 'go fuck themselves' probably don't hurt themselves trying to do it.

I can see both sides, but free speech does involve speech you don't want to hear. Having said that, if it crosses over into criminal behaviour then it's no longer covered right?

I'm kind of disappointed in the level of heartlessness here however, (yeah look at my name and I'm looking for lovely people, right?) as, sure anyone who wakes up in the morning and gets an email that says 'go kill yourself' then goes and jumps off a bridge is a weak or disturbed person.

Someone however who's had months or years of mental trauma, leading to them feeling they have nothing left to hold onto, then turns (foolishly I fully admit) to an ex wife who forcefully rejects him, then turns to a place that previously gave him many happy hours online, only to be told he's right, he's worthless and may as well give up... well, that's different, you're not putting the noose around his neck, but you're as hell giving the chair a few kicks to see what happens.

Honestly, I don't know if charges should be brought, or if identities should be exposed, but I do know that anyone who'd deliberately try to provoke a suicidal man into that final act is despicable and I fail to understand why or how. How can someone do that and not have his blood on their hands? Hell, I make tasteless jokes at time, my username was chosen as a kind of warning of that, but I never set out to offend, and I'm hugely apologetic if I genuinely offend, as it's not the intent.

Revolutionaryloser:

Threeseventyfive:

Sandytimeman:

Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences of what you say. You can say whatever you like without censorship but your words still have weight and consequence.

Wat?

You can say whatever you want without censorship but if you say something we don't like you'll be arrested and charged.

I could understand if you said that "inciting suicide" isn't protected speech but what you said didn't make sense.

I think you should look up what "freedom of speech" is before you defile it's very honourable and very well defined nature anymore and before you make any more an ass of yourself.

Making an ass of myself? I was only trying to say that the Reddit users do (or at least should) have a right to say what they said.

Are they assholes? Yes.

Should they be held responsible for someone else taking their own life? No.

Tanis:

Tubez:

Tanis:
If someone is so weak that a few posts on REDDIT of all places is the 'final straw'...
I just have no sympathy. People who commit suicide are cowards, and deserve no sympathy from me.

Please do explain why you think they are cowards?

Because it's harder to live then it is to die.

Any fool with a gun or knife can kill themselves.
But it takes more courage to face down the darker times in your life and live.

One could make the argument that its harder to kill yourself then continue living. Humans self presevation can be very strong

Here's a funny thing. I was on the train a few days ago and guess what happened. A guy jumped in front of the train. Now let me tell you a few things.

It is not a pretty sight. It is a horrible experience for the people forced to watch it. It's not an easy mess to clean up. It costs the rail-road company money. In short that guy was pathetic prick.

No you're not going to defend that person. He was an asshole. He traumatized several children that were aboard when they saw it happen and the people standing on the platforms. He caused hundreds if not thousands of people to arrive late on appointments or work. He caused several tens of thousands of dollars in costs for cleaning, maintenance, counselling and post traumatic stress treatment for the onlookers and rail-road personnel.

Do I have sympathy for the dead man? No. Absolutely not. He was a selfish jerk that caused a ton of collateral damage with his egocentric behaviour.

Am I going to sue his family for not stopping him? No, they could not have done anything more than what they did and most likely they have had several arguments. Most probably the worst case scenario dialogue "Why don't you just go and die already" having been uttered.

Now am I going to sue his family for goading him on? No, people say allot of things, I have been told to go fuck myself on the internet 15060 times in the past hour. Did I actually go fuck myself? No. For many anatomical reasons that is impossible and second I have free will. I can choose to do or not to do something.

Now the person in the article is not the jackass that jumped in front of a train. I don't hold a personal grudge against this guy, he probably was mentally broken down and needed help. Help he probably should have sought with a professional or family rather than make an internet post about how he is going to kill himself like about a few million teenage emo's.

The man intended to kill himself. Some people have been talked out of killing themselves by reverse psychology. Some people have been goaded into doing it. Can people be held responsible for the actions of others? Then why can't we sue the people that were sympathetic for not being sympathetic enough. After all they aided in his suicide as much as the others because they didn't care enough.

The man intended to kill himself. He did so. The only one who could have was that man.

In the end though this lawsuit could only exist in America. Where two men can sue their mom for not giving them what they wanted as children or where a man committing suicide by overdose, getting his arm hurt in a hospital whilst they were trying to save his live, can actually win a huge sum of money in a lawsuit against the hospital for hurting his arm.

henritje:
I thought this crap was exclusive to Youtube and 4chan.

even 4chan hates reddit fyi but no it happens in alot of forums.

Threeseventyfive:

Revolutionaryloser:

Threeseventyfive:

Wat?

You can say whatever you want without censorship but if you say something we don't like you'll be arrested and charged.

I could understand if you said that "inciting suicide" isn't protected speech but what you said didn't make sense.

I think you should look up what "freedom of speech" is before you defile it's very honourable and very well defined nature anymore and before you make any more an ass of yourself.

Making an ass of myself? I was only trying to say that the Reddit users do (or at least should) have a right to say what they said.

Are they assholes? Yes.

Should they be held responsible for someone else taking their own life? No.

That's for the judge to decide and "freedom of speech" does not mean freedom to say whatever you want to whomever you want.

Jack and Calumon:
Reddit wishes it was 4chan, so much it wishes this.

OT: I'm not surprised. Reddit comments have a terrible habit of making everything a joke, regardless of the context. That in itself is despicable to a degree, but the main reason that the community does this is worse. The only reason they do this sort of thing is for upvotes. Oh sure, some people will say "Ah, the community will love this ribbing" but most of them think of one thing and that's a pointless number increasing through mindless drones saying they approve this. The upvote system on Reddit brings nothing but disgusting things, from endless reposts that suck dry the humour from any joke, to events such as this. It is not good in the slightest, just a system that encourages a million people participating in the world's biggest Circle-jerk. An upvote is a low and emotionless act that makes people feel better about themselves until it is given out to the degree that the community becomes greedy and demands it for every single thing they do, reacting with bitter contempt for everyone who dares give them a downvote.

This is the reason I despise the vast majority Reddit's community.

Calumon: ...Jack's being scary and mean... : (

I agree completely with this. Honestly, Reddit is a terrible site, filled for the most part with terrible people. There are little small communities that aren't too bad, but the biggest subreddits are just really terrible when it comes to stuff like this, and the upvote system does not help this at all.

out of all the places to go for mental help, he went to the internet... considering he was on Reddit, he should have known that people are terrible there, and to avoid them. plus at least for me, i take 4chan's disclaimer to heart and take almost everything commented or posted by a user as a trolling attempt or an outright lie.

Well I don't think Reddit should be held responsible, and I don't think there should be criminal charges pressed against the users, maybe civil charges in regards to bullying etc, since my only concern is those neanderthals might have actually reproduced and are teaching their larvae it's ok to bully and harrass others for their own amusements.

Possibly the man couldn't afford therapy or councilling, since it can end up being quite expensive, especially for someone with severe depression that takes sometimes years to overcome and manage. That's the thing, it's a chemistry thing, not an option or a choice. No one chooses to go to that very black space where it eventually leads, where you're thinking to yourself, I really can't handle this anymore. A bitch ex-wife, a disabled daughter, possibly getting laid off of work, and then trying to reach out to anywhere in desparation (picking the obviously worst place possible to do so) and when getting harrassed back and pretty much being told what you are trying to ignore in your head all that time, seeing it in black and white right in front of you....it could have been the final straw.
They didn't make him commit suicide, so therefore, they should not be held responsible. The website shouldn't be held responsible and really, the identities should be kept anonymous only in the fact that it would open up other cases and who knows where down the rabbit hole it would lead.

I rambled this much to show that I am not ignorant when it comes to mental illness, and I would never say he deserved it, or is in hell now, or any of that other bull that comes out of ignorant people's mouths. I can see why he did and I can understand the desparation that could have lead to his poor choices in trying to gain help.
However, I don't think those people should pay with criminal charges. Would I like to go and find them and torture them until they themselves find out what that bleak black hole feels like, friggin right I do! But we still have to make sure we keep our basic priveledges such as anonymity when we go online.

This is a sad story, but maybe even a cautionary tale. To others who might one day find themselves where he did. Who just might pick up the phone instead and call a friend, or family member. Anyone really. Just don't go online, it's the worst place in the world to go if you don't have balls of brass and shoulders that could take on mountains.

Honestly, I find it hard to fault those people just coming from this position. Everyone has problems, most people don't like listening to other people's problems and downright find it annoying when someone goes on about them in a public forum (it's seen as attention-whoring). Now they could ignore it, but for the same reason one is able to whine about their problems online others can say "screw you, I don't care about you in the least." Can't fault either person for anything in that situation.

Actually, this quote here is evidence that he was just looking for attention and pity or those people did nothing to cause his death (either he had no intention and got an approrpriate response from annoyed people, or he was going to do it anyway so the other people didn't cause it).
"You know I wasn't planning on posting any more, but this post just pissed me off. No, it's not a sick joke, as soon as I get the right tool for the job I'll happily blow my brains out."
When you do that, you deserve any response you get.

I'm betting he also was bothering the ex-wife with it too, hence the "fuck off and die already." Just saying, I think he got appropriate responses from people annoyed with his behavior and therefore brought it all upon himself.

Today, the average internet troll will stop and think for approx. three seconds before trolling resumes.

I'm surprised anyone is actually believeing that the Reddit users will be sued. If anything, they will simply be put into the spotlight and set as an example that stuff like this is not okay. Overall I'm sure it's also more or less a way to show that if legal action needs to be taken, the internet is NOT Anonymous. Unless you're some super crazy hacker who knows how to hide your location from the government, they simply need to email your Service Provider and they can gain access to EVERY single webpage you've ever visited.

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