Update: Reddit Suicide Lawsuit Is a Hoax

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Aerosteam 1908:
No, not for sure.

If someone says he's going to kill himself, you really shouldn't tell them to go do it anyway.

So, if I told someone to jump from the 8th floor of a building, either:

1. That guy is lying and won't consider it, nothing happens.
2. That guy is serious and will consider it, I just helped in the death of someone.

Seriously, why would you tell someone to off himself, hmm? Hmm!?

I'd argue that point 2 is false. It should be "That guy is serious and has already decided to do it, making my actions just as futile as if he was lying."

Audacity:
I hope they see jail time. And not the minimum security kind. The anal rape kind. A black guy with a huge penis stretching them out kind.

So in response to people who told a guy they hope he kills himself, you say you hope they get anally raped.

The irony, it's strong with this one.

Reddit itself is subpoenaed to report the real names of the users involved in the suit

AFAIK, reddit doesn't ask for your real name when you sign up (just a username, password and [optional] email address) so they wouldn't be able to provide this information even if they were ordered to.

Regardless of whether this ends up being fake or not, as it apparently may be, its interesting to see the conversation about how to correctly respond to this incident. I admit that my first thought was that these people should absolutely have their information released to the authorities for what they did but after having read some of the posts on here and thinking about it more I confess that I've changed my mind.

It's awful that these people were this callous because, I'm sorry, there is no good reason to egg someone on to kill themselves. If you think that they're being an attention whore and aren't serious then fine, ignore them, you won't do any actual harm by saying nothing but you can absolutely do harm by being cruel if they happen to be serious in their claims. Suicide is not always the result of being "weak", sometimes it's a physiological problem and thus no different than any other sickness. I would add though that even if the reason for suicide was purely psychological in nature I think it's pretty fucking awful for people to be so cavalier about somebody else's pain. Having said all of that though, these users haven't committed a crime they've just been really despicable people.

You can't sue them because they haven't done anything illegal. Even though I know this won't happen, it would be great if this story caused people to stop and think about the consequences of their callousness instead of acting in such a way that would get them fucking curb stomped in real life or at least fired from almost any workplace.

tscook:
http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/04/reddit-scared-straight-for-encouraging-suicide.html

This is a hoax. People are scum.

lol... I hope this is true, so that all the knee-jerks will realize they've been participating in nothing but a witch hunt.

This is why they say "the law is blind", it dosn't act on the emotion of the masses, it works off of facts. For everyone who said the anons must be punished; I only hope that one day, in a future that might reflect your perfect ideology, you don't get wrongly accused with the ignorant masses following the accuser, cause you might get your comeuppance.

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

Reddit's community is a million times worse than 4chan's lol

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 does not absolve one from the consequences of one's words. On can, by one's words, commit crimes. Coercion, threats of violence, blackmail, slander, etc... Freedom of speech is not absolute.

chadachada123:

Aerosteam 1908:
No, not for sure.

If someone says he's going to kill himself, you really shouldn't tell them to go do it anyway.

So, if I told someone to jump from the 8th floor of a building, either:

1. That guy is lying and won't consider it, nothing happens.
2. That guy is serious and will consider it, I just helped in the death of someone.

Seriously, why would you tell someone to off himself, hmm? Hmm!?

I'd argue that point 2 is false. It should be "That guy is serious and has already decided to do it, making my actions just as futile as if he was lying."

Then why are the trolls getting punished? This guy in the news thread was obviously already thinking about committing suicide, but the trolls told him to go with it. So, them being sued shows us that you shouldn't tell someone to end his own life, if he has already decided on it or not.

Pat8u:

BlakBladz:
This is interesting actually.

I believe that a human's life is only worth it's actions.
A man who kills himself isn't worth anything, and neither are people who provoke others. I hate jerks with a passion, online and in 'real life'...but I really can't pick a side here.
I do hope they get their comeuppance, and he's dead so there's nothing to worry about.

a man who commits suicide may not be commiting suicide becasuse he is sad but because he thinks he is sad, people who have everything going good for them can commit suicide because of their brain having something wrong with it.

True true. I won't argue. As emotional as it may be though, if he lived his life in the neutral zone, sorta just going through the motions with his life then it was inconsequential to anything else that happened. If he was a bad guy I'm happy he's dead, and if he was a good guy, then it's a shame. A life is still only as valuable as it's actions.

blackriderrom:
Trolling is a right.

So is me punching you if I don't like it. Arguably I 'have the right to fight what I believe in'. You believe people have the right to be assholes, I believe that's ridiculous.

The only thing I can think of reading some of your comments is...

image

Guess what. Freedom of action is the right to do anything you want. Anything. But it does not give you freedom from consequence. Case in point...

I have the freedom to yell "Fire!" in a crowded public space. No one can stop me. But when others are hurt and killed because of my action I should be made to pay for it, no?

This point is from Schenck v. United States, where Oliver Wendell Holmes used the "Fire!" example to point that in fact some things were not protected under the First Amendment. This is whats called the "Clear and present danger" test. Holmes said that "words...used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils..."

I feel that there was a clear and present danger of this man killing himself and that the Reddit users words did bring about the "evil" of this man killing himself.

But these are just my thoughts on the issue...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_ZiRT8Nwkk

I'm just going to leave this right here. I'm with the Ranting Gryphon on this one. If a few net turds are enough to convince you to end your life, then you are too stupid to live in the first place. He didn't have to start that thread he didn't have to read the posts nor did he have to respond to them. sure these jerks are arse holes but legal action, really? America is a messed up country.

I really don't know what to say about the whole anonymity situation. I can see strong points from both directions. One day you have criminal sociopaths using their anonymity to enable them to persecute whatever unfortunate falls within their cross-hairs; the next, you have journalists and revolutionaries who use anonymity in the age of the Internet to keep fighting and reporting the misdeeds of tyrants.

What I will say is this, though: a brief look at the Escapist's own forums will show that there are plenty of people right here dealing with depression at various levels. Please remember to show some compassion.

Thanks.

No. and It is a "I dont want to live on this planet any more" moment in that it has to be explained. However I cannot even begin to express how wrong this notion is and how ashamed I am that anyone anywhere is so thin skinned and/or short sighted that they cannot see how or why trying to chip away at the internet all because some idiot wanted to use the internet as a public forum for a cry for help. Its beyond wrong.

I simply lack the words to say what needs to be said on this topic. That in and of itself is sad that I would come across an instance so wrong I couldnt even verbalize just how wrong it is.

Gentleman Adventurer:
The only thing I can think of reading some of your comments is...

Guess what. Freedom of action is the right to do anything you want. Anything. But it does not give you freedom from consequence. Case in point...

I have the freedom to yell "Fire!" in a crowded public space. No one can stop me. But when others are hurt and killed because of my action I should be made to pay for it, no?

This point is from Schenck v. United States, where Oliver Wendell Holmes used the "Fire!" example to point that in fact some things were not protected under the First Amendment. This is whats called the "Clear and present danger" test. Holmes said that "words...used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils..."

I feel that there was a clear and present danger of this man killing himself and that the Reddit users words did bring about the "evil" of this man killing himself.

But these are just my thoughts on the issue...

You can't use the same rules for real life with the internet. There was no clear and present danger. There have been many many cases of people trying to troll or get attention like this. Someone in a past post even pointed to a news source that said this may be a hoax, and that the person who actually jumped off the building was not named Jerry, and never had an ex wife, sister or daughter.

tscook:
http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/04/reddit-scared-straight-for-encouraging-suicide.html

This is a hoax. People are scum.

Here's the post for your convenience. Thanks for the link tscook.

This pretty much says that people will play around with other on the internet due to anonymity, so this is not cut and dry. Most people assumed that this was a troll. The really smart people ignored it. The slightly less smart, but still pretty smart people posted encouraging things just to be safe. The stupid people tried to "punish" the troll.

It's the internet, and it's reddit. People don't go on reddit because they want to hear the plight of others. They want to be entertained. They assume that nothing is actually serious on there, because a lot of people rightfully assume that no one in their right mind(suicidal people aren't insane, just depressed) would write a plea for help on a place where people go to relieve their stress for the day.

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 does not mean freedom of consequences as a result of that speech.

There really needs to be more accountability brought to the internet, or rather, more accountability is going to be brought to the internet. Resisting any change will result in the change being massively against our will like with something like SOPA as it will be easy for the lawmakers to paint us as all against them and just wanting to do whatever we want free of consequence because they'll be right.

Don't encourage someone to commit suicide. In any circumstance. Ever. Doesn't matter how badly you think someone might be trolling, you don't do something that can have that kind of influence and consequences on someone else's life. Hopefully the law will get something done against these people.

Wait....so man talks on the internet about how he wants to kill himself and some random internet douchebags are being held accountable?

Bullshit.

Yeah, so it's so sad that he killed himself yada yada so on and so forth but for fuck sake, blaming STRANGERS isn't the way to go about it.

This is just ridiculous. This happens like once a month on 4chan and I haven't heard anyone sue for that. Reddit is just the wrong place to go when you're that far gone. It would be no different from suing Adele because a depressed person decided to listen to "Fire to the Rain" one too many times.

I'm not being insensitive here, a life lost is a terrible thing, worse yet when there is no reason besides a chemical imbalance, but come on. It wasn't like bullying or anything. He went to them.

What about that "silly" law in Arizona saying you couldn't troll online. Everyone was laughing at that, but this is the exact same thing. This is the extreme of the situation politicians say was the reason they wrote it in the first place.

He had already made up his mind, but I'd like to keep my rights.

(sorry if this has all been said, it's after midnight and I just wanted to read a couple articles before I go to sleep)

AnAutisticDog:
Freedom of Speech.

Doesn't apply on the internet. Thanks for playing.

Burst6:
You can't use the same rules for real life with the internet

A very fair point. Just people that egg others on when it comes to suicide is just a issue that makes me angry. But I still feel like there would have been grounds, thin ground to be sure, for a lawsuit if this turns out to be true. But after that hoax story I don't really think this is true.

Burst6:
There was no clear and present danger.

But how do you truly know? But to be fair I don't many people really people thinking about suicide would post it on Reddit. But still...

Burst6:
Here's the post for your convenience. Thanks for the link tscook.

Thank you and thank tscook to. And if it is a hoax than the "hoax-ers" are the vile ones. But that still makes the people tolling the guy, even if it was fake, that he should kill himself bad people.

Burst6:
It's the internet, and it's reddit. People don't go on reddit because they want to hear the plight of others. They want to be entertained.

Yeah, at the end of the day its the internet and all that implies. I just wish people would be better, you know. But I guess I could wish for a briefcase full of gold or a unicorn and have just as much luck.

Burst6:
They assume that nothing is actually serious on there, because a lot of people rightfully assume that no one in their right mind(suicidal people aren't insane, just depressed) would write a plea for help on a place where people go to relieve their stress for the day.

You know what they say about assumptions. But in this case, more so thanks to that hoax story, that assumption seems to be right. Yeah, it seems strange, I don't think that "Reddit" would top "Suicide help line" in anyone's right thinking book.

Aerosteam 1908:

chadachada123:

Aerosteam 1908:
No, not for sure.

If someone says he's going to kill himself, you really shouldn't tell them to go do it anyway.

So, if I told someone to jump from the 8th floor of a building, either:

1. That guy is lying and won't consider it, nothing happens.
2. That guy is serious and will consider it, I just helped in the death of someone.

Seriously, why would you tell someone to off himself, hmm? Hmm!?

I'd argue that point 2 is false. It should be "That guy is serious and has already decided to do it, making my actions just as futile as if he was lying."

Then why are the trolls getting punished? This guy in the news thread was obviously already thinking about committing suicide, but the trolls told him to go with it. So, them being sued shows us that you shouldn't tell someone to end his own life, if he has already decided on it or not.

Aerosteam, you are using circular logic, stop doing that.

We are not the party wanting to suicide. Maybe an end to their existential problems, the suffering, the fear is a good thing?

But we are told life is sacred, and then those who encourage someone to end it, now are punished. Pretty ridiculous. Did they force the party to do it? Where is the actus reus? Did they kill them? No.

Words are wind, and if a suicidal person follows the words on the wind (or in this case the internet) it is their choice.

TheGauntman:

Audacity:
I hope they see jail time. And not the minimum security kind. The anal rape kind. A black guy with a huge penis stretching them out kind.

So in response to people who told a guy they hope he kills himself, you say you hope they get anally raped.

The irony, it's strong with this one.

Nope. Hoping that assholes get their comeuppance isn't ironic. Now if I said "They should jump off a bridge so their evil no longer exists" that would be ironic. Even more so if they did.

Tubez:

Tanis:

Tubez:
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

This guys self preservation wasn't very strong then

edit: People go to Reddit, 4chan or whatever site and post that they are going to kill themselves do it purely for the last minute attention. Fairly certain this guy was going to kill himself with or without Reddit's help. Get a grip you fucking pussies.

As disgusting as it is to cheer someone on to kill themselves... I can't imagine anyone going to jail over this, or being successfully sued. If he didn't like the posts.... he could have just stop going to Reddit. That was always an option. It's not like the Reddit trolls made him kill himself - he came to that decision himself and merely informed them. Yeah, the insults and the egging on didn't help, but they also didn't start his decline into suicide.

His ex-wife probably wasn't responsible for his death either. Sure, she insulted him, but insults alone don't cause people to commit suicide. Depression and isolation cause suicide. If you're going to sue people for causing his death, then conceivably you could sue just about anyone in society as society didn't do "enough" to save him. You could sue the government for not stepping in and saving him. You could sue the neighbourhood for not checking up on him. You could sue his parents for not supporting him. And what of his sister who is bringing this lawsuit? Why didn't she save him? Maybe she should sue herself!

It's understandable that a family member would look for a reason for why someone committed suicide. Surely, they think, someone or something else must be to blame. But sometimes people commit suicide due to depression, and that's no one's fault. Sometimes there is no one to blame for a suicide. The Sister is lashing out, looking for someone to blame for his death, because she can't come to terms with the fact that sometimes people kill themselves for deeply personal reasons or feelings. Accepting that fact would almost be akin to blaming her brother for his own death, and she doesn't want to do that, so she seeks to blame someone else.

Suicide is always tragic (except in Hitler's case), and while sometimes others ARE to blame, sometimes there's no one to blame. You can't blame the suicide on some nasty forum posts. If that could drive anyone to suicide, they were already on the brink anyway, and it's not like we can go around wearing placards saying "I am emotionally fragile, treat me extra special today!" on the internet.

I don't go to Reddit or 4chan precisely because the people who are on those forums are often (but not always) nasty, sub-human scum and I don't want anything to do with them. He had the option of closing his browser window. It's not like highschool facebook trolling where the trolls actively harass you offline and online and follow you around. He had the option of simply.... not going to those sites.

As was said before regulation will come to the internet. How harsh and in what form is unkown but it will come. People claim free speech but as was said before their are limitations on it.

Audacity:

TheGauntman:

Audacity:
I hope they see jail time. And not the minimum security kind. The anal rape kind. A black guy with a huge penis stretching them out kind.

So in response to people who told a guy they hope he kills himself, you say you hope they get anally raped.

The irony, it's strong with this one.

Nope. Hoping that assholes get their comeuppance isn't ironic. Now if I said "They should jump off a bridge so their evil no longer exists" that would be ironic. Even more so if they did.

But if they do end up being anally raped in jail, would that be your fault? The irony I spoke of was that in condemning people for something, you did a similar thing. Not having a go, it just amused me.

FutureJarhead16:

Tubez:

Tanis:

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 preservation can be very strong

This guys self preservation wasn't very strong then

edit: People go to Reddit, 4chan or whatever site and post that they are going to kill themselves do it purely for the last minute attention. Fairly certain this guy was going to kill himself with or without Reddit's help. Get a grip you fucking pussies.

Or perhaps his desire to die was simply stronger then this self preservation?

Tubez:

FutureJarhead16:

Tubez:

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

This guys self preservation wasn't very strong then

edit: People go to Reddit, 4chan or whatever site and post that they are going to kill themselves do it purely for the last minute attention. Fairly certain this guy was going to kill himself with or without Reddit's help. Get a grip you fucking pussies.

Or perhaps his desire to die was simply stronger then this self preservation?

So in other words, his self preservation wasn't very strong?

TheGauntman:

Audacity:

TheGauntman:
So in response to people who told a guy they hope he kills himself, you say you hope they get anally raped.

The irony, it's strong with this one.

Nope. Hoping that assholes get their comeuppance isn't ironic. Now if I said "They should jump off a bridge so their evil no longer exists" that would be ironic. Even more so if they did.

But if they do end up being anally raped in jail, would that be your fault? The irony I spoke of was that in condemning people for something, you did a similar thing. Not having a go, it just amused me.

But they urged someone to kill themselves. I'm not urging someone to pluck their black cherries. I'm just saying it'd probably be funny if it happened. How much you want to bet, if they're found, a majority "Has aspergers"

Korolev:
As disgusting as it is to cheer someone on to kill themselves... I can't imagine anyone going to jail over this, or being successfully sued. If he didn't like the posts.... he could have just stop going to Reddit. That was always an option. It's not like the Reddit trolls made him kill himself - he came to that decision himself and merely informed them. Yeah, the insults and the egging on didn't help, but they also didn't start his decline into suicide.

His ex-wife probably wasn't responsible for his death either. Sure, she insulted him, but insults alone don't cause people to commit suicide. Depression and isolation cause suicide. If you're going to sue people for causing his death, then conceivably you could sue just about anyone in society as society didn't do "enough" to save him. You could sue the government for not stepping in and saving him. You could sue the neighbourhood for not checking up on him. You could sue his parents for not supporting him. And what of his sister who is bringing this lawsuit? Why didn't she save him? Maybe she should sue herself!

It's understandable that a family member would look for a reason for why someone committed suicide. Surely, they think, someone or something else must be to blame. But sometimes people commit suicide due to depression, and that's no one's fault. Sometimes there is no one to blame for a suicide. The Sister is lashing out, looking for someone to blame for his death, because she can't come to terms with the fact that sometimes people kill themselves for deeply personal reasons or feelings. Accepting that fact would almost be akin to blaming her brother for his own death, and she doesn't want to do that, so she seeks to blame someone else.

Suicide is always tragic (except in Hitler's case), and while sometimes others ARE to blame, sometimes there's no one to blame. You can't blame the suicide on some nasty forum posts. If that could drive anyone to suicide, they were already on the brink anyway, and it's not like we can go around wearing placards saying "I am emotionally fragile, treat me extra special today!" on the internet.

I don't go to Reddit or 4chan precisely because the people who are on those forums are often (but not always) nasty, sub-human scum and I don't want anything to do with them. He had the option of closing his browser window. It's not like highschool facebook trolling where the trolls actively harass you offline and online and follow you around. He had the option of simply.... not going to those sites.

Their are some flaws in this arguement. First you cant just say he could have walked away because then you could say people who are bullied via text could do the same thing. Also their is a difference between doing nothing and encourageing the action, the posters could have stayed quite but they instead encouraged it, his family may have done nothing but they did not tell him to kill himself. Next you cant say he had the option not to go to those sights because then your saying those sites are OK for stuff like that to happen.

FutureJarhead16:

Tubez:

FutureJarhead16:

This guys self preservation wasn't very strong then

edit: People go to Reddit, 4chan or whatever site and post that they are going to kill themselves do it purely for the last minute attention. Fairly certain this guy was going to kill himself with or without Reddit's help. Get a grip you fucking pussies.

Or perhaps his desire to die was simply stronger then this self preservation?

So in other words, his self preservation wasn't very strong?

How do you know?

Perhaps his self preservation was very strong but the desire to die was stronger?

Just because you have two strong person fighting each other and one wins doesnt make the other person weak.

Tubez:

FutureJarhead16:

Tubez:

Or perhaps his desire to die was simply stronger then this self preservation?

So in other words, his self preservation wasn't very strong?

How do you know?

Perhaps his self preservation was very strong but the desire to die was stronger?

Just because you have two strong person fighting each other and one wins doesnt make the other person weak.

I know because hes dead, by his own hand. That's all I need to know.

FutureJarhead16:

Tubez:

FutureJarhead16:

So in other words, his self preservation wasn't very strong?

How do you know?

Perhaps his self preservation was very strong but the desire to die was stronger?

Just because you have two strong person fighting each other and one wins doesnt make the other person weak.

I know because hes dead, by his own hand. That's all I need to know.

Well good that you know that then, I would personally say that his desire to die was simply stronger then his self preservation.

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