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(Gawker)   That whole anonymity thing on the Internet? Yeah, about that   (gawker.com) divider line 165
    More: Followup, Courthouse News Service  
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12993 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Jan 2014 at 9:48 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



165 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-01-10 09:51:14 AM  
Oh no! this could just RUIN trolling!They must be stopped!
 
2014-01-10 09:52:00 AM  
bfolder.ru
 
2014-01-10 09:52:23 AM  
So Amy's baking company will follow suit now?
 
2014-01-10 09:53:57 AM  
OH NO!

NOW SOMEONE WILL FIGURE OUT MY NAME AND WHAT CITY I LIVE IN!

*runs away*
 
2014-01-10 09:54:03 AM  
So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?
 
2014-01-10 09:55:23 AM  
Relevant (and also my desktop as I write this): http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20100707
 
2014-01-10 09:55:45 AM  
You can have my real-life identity when you pry it from cold dead fingers.
 
2014-01-10 09:55:52 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: FTA: "false statements of fact"

hmmmm... I think maybe the judge should have stopped while he was ahead...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_statements_of_fact 

Or maybe you should have.
 
2014-01-10 09:55:53 AM  
There's never been anonymity on the internet.  Ever.
 
2014-01-10 09:58:48 AM  
I wonder how that restaurant in Maryville is doing...?
 
2014-01-10 09:59:24 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: I could get behind Boxy if ya know what I mean and I think ya do... well... if she shut up anyway.


Yeah, like that'll ever happen.
 
2014-01-10 10:00:15 AM  

Jim from Saint Paul: OH NO!

NOW SOMEONE WILL FIGURE OUT MY NAME AND WHAT CITY I LIVE IN!  WHAT VPN SERVICE I'M USING

*runs away*


FTFY
 
2014-01-10 10:01:41 AM  
Also no absolute right to anonymity?  Be careful what you ask for because that means the government can force the identities of donors to super PACs to be identified.
 
2014-01-10 10:02:10 AM  

lilplatinum: HindiDiscoMonster: FTA: "false statements of fact"

hmmmm... I think maybe the judge should have stopped while he was ahead...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_statements_of_fact 

Or maybe you should have.


Shouldn't it be false statements presented as facts? Even if this is a legal definition, it's contradictory.
 
2014-01-10 10:02:52 AM  

Satan's Bunny Slippers: There's never been anonymity on the internet.  Ever.


Sadly, true. People could always find out you're a dog. At least when they met you for that eHarmony date.

/lesson learned
 
2014-01-10 10:04:06 AM  

Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?


In this case I agree with his ruling. Cyber defamation and bullying are out of control right now and people should be held accountable for the damage they cause.
 
2014-01-10 10:04:23 AM  

Jim from Saint Paul: OH NO!

NOW SOMEONE WILL FIGURE OUT MY NAME AND WHAT CITY I LIVE IN!

*runs away*


You're in trouble now, Bob from El Paso.
 
2014-01-10 10:04:24 AM  
Yelp can suck a fart from my ass.

Posed a review of a local Mexican joint (nothing over the top, pretty straight forward review) and they pulled it.
 
2014-01-10 10:04:43 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: AgentPothead: [bfolder.ru image 455x567]

I could get behind Boxy if ya know what I mean and I think ya do... well... if she shut up anyway.


I was gonna post the Chris Hansen picture, but I guess she's actually 22 now. Which makes me feel old.
 
2014-01-10 10:08:39 AM  
jahannandsons.com

/anonymous reviewer?
 
2014-01-10 10:08:52 AM  
i'm on an unsecured internet connection, my name nowhere to be found...

Wouldn't it be hard to find who I am?

/yelps
 
2014-01-10 10:09:45 AM  
So what does he expect?

e-mail addresses?
Then what?

I'm not really sure how much info Yelp is going to collect on any of its users.

Does he expect IP addresses so he can order the ISP to produce logs of customers using that IP during that time?
 
2014-01-10 10:10:11 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: no, I don't care what wiki says... it's not the be all end all of wisdom, nor do I care what some esoteric fuddy duddy says is correct


How about a legal dictionary?   http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/statement+of+facts

Sorry, just because you disagree with how something sounds in your gut does not mean that someone using a commonly accepted, for centuries, legal term in the proper way doesn't imply that they should "quit while they are ahead"
 
2014-01-10 10:10:37 AM  
Yelp is a racket, plain and simple.

I get a call from them every six months or so wanting me to advertise with them.  "Put my flagged reviews back up, and we'll talk."  "Yadda yadda algorithm, born fully formed from on high yadda yadda" "Tell me how you are different from a protection racket. 'Nice reviews; shame if something happened to them.'" "I'm gonna go ahead and end this call."

EVERY time.

Yelp can lick my asshole.
 
2014-01-10 10:10:48 AM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: You can have my real-life identity when you pry it from cold dead fingers.


No one in their right mind would want mine
 
2014-01-10 10:11:22 AM  

Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?


He would know if he had screwed customers around like that, and it would be his folly to bring all that to light, if he is a crooked business owner.  Now if he's just a bully who knows what he'd do.  But to go to such lengths - It would not protect his reputation to identify customers he really did screw over.

And if customers are yelping that, and not even lodging complaints with the business then they're pretty dumb.  He deserves to be given a chance to make it right if people are that upset.
 
2014-01-10 10:11:43 AM  
I never assume that anything is anonymous on the internet.  However, I do feel a little more secure around Fark if only for 2 things.  There are so many users here, I rarely get noticed.  I don't think I know a single user here in real life.
 
2014-01-10 10:13:31 AM  
They seem to making the argument that you have to be an actual customer to leave a bad review of a company.

I don't think that's the case. I could leave a bad review of a company who gave a friend or relative shoddy service. I could leave a shoddy review of a company if they were hard to contact, get a quote from or overall gave me a reason not to be their customer. I could leave a shoddy review of a company if one of their vans cut me off in traffic.

Reviews do not have to be spot on truth. They're about perception and opinion. If you don't like my opinion about your crappy company, tough shiat. Man up and change your service perspective or stfu.

/pms & estrogen surge hitting hard today
 
2014-01-10 10:13:55 AM  

JoieD'Zen: Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?

In this case I agree with his ruling. Cyber defamation and bullying are out of control right now and people should be held accountable for the damage they cause.


Sure, but again, if they are legitimate customers do they now have the ability to counter sue? Seeing as they review is legitimate?
 
2014-01-10 10:14:10 AM  

lilplatinum: Sorry, just because you disagree with how something sounds in your gut does not mean that someone using a commonly accepted, for centuries, legal term in the proper way doesn't imply that they should "quit while they are ahead"


For centuries we had slavery. Just because something is old doesn't make it not stupid.
 
2014-01-10 10:14:11 AM  

QueenMamaBee: Jim from Saint Paul: OH NO!

NOW SOMEONE WILL FIGURE OUT MY NAME AND WHAT CITY I LIVE IN!

*runs away*

You're in trouble now, Bob from El Paso.


Crap. My cover's blown!
 
2014-01-10 10:14:30 AM  

mikaloyd: Oh no! this could just RUIN trolling!They must be stopped!


Notice how so many sites have integrated Facebook commenting, but that doesn't seem to mitigate people's ignorance/dickish behavior? Penny Arcade's Greater Internet Farkwad Theory has been proven not entirely correct. You don't need anonymity, just an audience.
 
2014-01-10 10:15:04 AM  
Statement: A thing you say. 
Statement of Fact: A thing you say with the intent that it be assumed to be factual.
False Statement: A thing you say that isn't true.
False statement of Fact: A thing you say that you intended to be assumed as fact but is not true. 

Does that help hammer it out for you? This is pretty basic, I feel. 

In the meantime, this is a discovery case. Yelp releases the data of the comments(IP addresses, etc), which, let's face it, most idiots on the web aren't smart enough to use a proxy, or are dumb enough to use one of the listed proxies on and among any of the various troll sites around the web that just happen to be FBI sting spots(Yeah, how many idiots have you seen in the so-called "Anonymous" groups that do something huge and get arrested AFTER saying they were behind seven shiatty internet memes). Which means that the business owner can get a hold of their personal data via their ISP and go after the person. Which makes this pretty easy.

From there, the case is a simple open/shut. Did the customer in question actually have business with the owner? A simple credit card statement can prove that. No? Then yes, this lawsuit is valid. Yes? Then the case gets thrown out. And if it's one user that Was a customer, but is falsely inflating the business's reputation in a bad light by posting several reviews? Well, there's a case for that too.
 
2014-01-10 10:16:39 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: I consider legalese something akin to Klingon or Vulcan... made up languages...


It's almost as if different professions have their own vernacular.
 
2014-01-10 10:16:43 AM  
buy a laptop for cash- NO WARRANTIES!!!!
Remove the imbedded webcam physically
only use it at public wi-fi spots with no CC cameras
use Knopix (on CD OS)
never enter any true personal info
never even turn it on at your place

internet anonymity. It ain't easy or particularly cheap but it can be done.

no, no particular reason I've thought this through this thoroughly
 
2014-01-10 10:18:44 AM  
The assumption is that the statement was intended as factual unless it is obviously satirical. And someone generally makes a judgment about whether that's the case... You know... Someone judges that. They JUDGE that. Get the hint yet?
 
2014-01-10 10:18:49 AM  
Protip: It's usually the owner of another (competing) business that posts these kind of accusations, and not bored online bullies.
 
2014-01-10 10:20:18 AM  
It's basically inevitable that we leave trails behind us that, with enough detective work, can be traced back to us. Anonymity on the Internet is, and always has been, more of a gentleman's agreement than anything else: don't abuse it, and we won't pry. It isn't hard to argue that the definitions of "abuse" still need refinement, though, and that leads us to today.

Still, it seems to me that for cases like this, a kind of third-party "verification broker" would be wise. In this case, the broker would receive the reviewer identities from Yelp and the customer records from Hadeed, and (at first) answer a simple yes or no to whether or not the reviewer actually appears on Hadeed's customer rolls. The actual identity of the reviewer would be revealed only if the review itself turned out to be fraudulent -i.e. in the case of hard evidence of actual wrongdoing- so that the identities of legitimate-but-negative reviewers are still protected.
 
2014-01-10 10:21:03 AM  

Unoriginal_Username: JoieD'Zen: Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?

In this case I agree with his ruling. Cyber defamation and bullying are out of control right now and people should be held accountable for the damage they cause.

Sure, but again, if they are legitimate customers do they now have the ability to counter sue? Seeing as they review is legitimate?


This outcome will be interesting.
 
2014-01-10 10:24:20 AM  
America sucks!
Screw Israel!
Socialism forever!
Mohammed blows camels while being sodomized by Jesus!


There, come and get me.
 
2014-01-10 10:24:54 AM  

JoieD'Zen: Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?

In this case I agree with his ruling. Cyber defamation and bullying are out of control right now and people should be held accountable for the damage they cause.


Horse crap.
There is no such thing as "cyber bullying".
Want to not be "bullied" anymore?  Click a button, problem solved.
I wish "bullying" was that easy to deal with when I was a kid, rolling around in the mud.

/I hope you don't feel bullied by my response
 
2014-01-10 10:26:26 AM  

Jim from Saint Paul: OH NO!

NOW SOMEONE WILL FIGURE OUT MY NAME AND WHAT CITY I LIVE IN!

*runs away*


You'd better watch yourself, I'm known as a Cyber Detective, so I was able to sniff it out rather quickly - but more malicious types have access to similar tools and might come looking to stir up some trouble!

/runs you over with a Cyber Patrol Vehicle
 
2014-01-10 10:28:33 AM  
It's simply really:

img.fark.net
 
2014-01-10 10:29:03 AM  
"Yelp threw Hadeed shade"

Gawker threw editors away.
 
2014-01-10 10:31:50 AM  
Craigslist laptop for cash
Tails
Unsecured public WiFi
Paid for VPN
Tor
Never use/give real info

Anonymity.
 
2014-01-10 10:32:20 AM  
Over the years I've worked in restaurants, we've used negative reviews as fire to become totally unimpeachable and excellent. If there was an aspect of the review we could change, we did it for everybody. Some people are a little intimidated by the notion of a live conversation, so they post online because it makes them more comfortable. Reviews are a good source of information because of that. If it was just complaining, people who came into the place would know the reviewer was a nut job because of how good it actually was.

My current boss posts her personal email address on all the local ones.

This carpet cleaning business should use this opportunity to get better at cleaning carpets.
 
2014-01-10 10:33:11 AM  

edmo: It's simply really:

[img.fark.net image 350x339]


But Will is a dick. Like a really big dick. We have hours of video evidence.
 
2014-01-10 10:35:38 AM  

Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?


No.
 
2014-01-10 10:36:21 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: Warlordtrooper: Also no absolute right to anonymity?  Be careful what you ask for because that means the government can force the identities of donors to super PACs to be identified.

remember, it's one law for me, one law for thee... so the rich are not bound under the same terms.


There are only two, small groups of free people in our society - the very rich who can do whatever they want because they can, and the very, very poor - who can do whatever they want bnecause they have nothing to lose.
 
2014-01-10 10:37:28 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: FTA: "false statements of fact"

hmmmm... I think maybe the judge should have stopped while he was ahead...


I could imagine what is meant. There are statements which are obviously opinions. The only truth or falsity is whether they are in fact the speakers opinions. If I say, "It's raining." That supposed to be a fact statement. If the sun is shining, the fact statement is false.

Or the judge could be incoherent.
 
2014-01-10 10:38:18 AM  
They can protect their reputation the same way every other shiatty business on Yelp does it: by paying Yelp a fee to delete the less ideal comments.

But it sounds like it would leave this particular business's Yelp page blank. Sucks to be them.
 
2014-01-10 10:40:07 AM  
lh5.googleusercontent.com

Before you take action, you ought to think your cunning plan the whole way through.
 
2014-01-10 10:41:27 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: lilplatinum: HindiDiscoMonster: no, I don't care what wiki says... it's not the be all end all of wisdom, nor do I care what some esoteric fuddy duddy says is correct

How about a legal dictionary?   http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/statement+of+facts

Sorry, just because you disagree with how something sounds in your gut does not mean that someone using a commonly accepted, for centuries, legal term in the proper way doesn't imply that they should "quit while they are ahead"

I consider legalese something akin to Klingon or Vulcan... made up languages...

what he said is akin to saying "its a false truth" or "it's a black white" or "it's an on off"
it's one or the other... make up your damn mind.


Take a law class at your local community college.
 
2014-01-10 10:43:20 AM  
I agree with this 100%. Sincerely, Rex Kramer Danger Seeker
 
2014-01-10 10:44:06 AM  

vharshyde: Statement: A thing you say. 
Statement of Fact: A thing you say with the intent that it be assumed to be factual.
False Statement: A thing you say that isn't true.
False statement of Fact: A thing you say that you intended to be assumed as fact but is not true. 

Does that help hammer it out for you? This is pretty basic, I feel. 

In the meantime, this is a discovery case. Yelp releases the data of the comments(IP addresses, etc), which, let's face it, most idiots on the web aren't smart enough to use a proxy, or are dumb enough to use one of the listed proxies on and among any of the various troll sites around the web that just happen to be FBI sting spots(Yeah, how many idiots have you seen in the so-called "Anonymous" groups that do something huge and get arrested AFTER saying they were behind seven shiatty internet memes). Which means that the business owner can get a hold of their personal data via their ISP and go after the person. Which makes this pretty easy.

From there, the case is a simple open/shut. Did the customer in question actually have business with the owner? A simple credit card statement can prove that. No? Then yes, this lawsuit is valid. Yes? Then the case gets thrown out. And if it's one user that Was a customer, but is falsely inflating the business's reputation in a bad light by posting several reviews? Well, there's a case for that too.


How much will this cost? Thousands? Who will start up a company or companies specifically targeting this situation? How much more money will this country send into the shiatter?

This country is a joke.
 
2014-01-10 10:45:23 AM  

StainedGlassRuby: Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?

He would know if he had screwed customers around like that, and it would be his folly to bring all that to light, if he is a crooked business owner.  Now if he's just a bully who knows what he'd do.  But to go to such lengths - It would not protect his reputation to identify customers he really did screw over.

And if customers are yelping that, and not even lodging complaints with the business then they're pretty dumb.  He deserves to be given a chance to make it right if people are that upset.


Stalkers will simply love this.
 
2014-01-10 10:46:35 AM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Prank Call of Cthulhu: You can have my real-life identity when you pry it from cold dead fingers.

No one in their right mind would want mine


Well, you sure type in a sexy manner. I'd like to know who you are so that you can know how I truly feel. Trust me.
 
2014-01-10 10:48:28 AM  
If you speak nothing but what you perceive as truth, then you should have no problem defending it, for in your mind, it is truth, and what is easier to defend than that? Unless you are proven wrong. Sucks when you're certain you're right and later discover that you were wrong, but it happens.

Translation: I will continue to say whatever the fark I please :D
 
2014-01-10 10:49:01 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: Millennium: It's basically inevitable that we leave trails behind us that, with enough detective work, can be traced back to us. Anonymity on the Internet is, and always has been, more of a gentleman's agreement than anything else: don't abuse it, and we won't pry. It isn't hard to argue that the definitions of "abuse" still need refinement, though, and that leads us to today.

Still, it seems to me that for cases like this, a kind of third-party "verification broker" would be wise. In this case, the broker would receive the reviewer identities from Yelp and the customer records from Hadeed, and (at first) answer a simple yes or no to whether or not the reviewer actually appears on Hadeed's customer rolls. The actual identity of the reviewer would be revealed only if the review itself turned out to be fraudulent -i.e. in the case of hard evidence of actual wrongdoing- so that the identities of legitimate-but-negative reviewers are still protected.

I'll tell everyone who I am on the net:

Herman Munster
1313 Mockingbird Lane
Mockingbird Heights, OH 43616 (I always pick a random state and zipcode)
xxx-555-1212 (I also pick the appropriate area code for the zipcode I use)

Sometimes I use John Smith, or something that should be equally frustrating tracking down considering there should be a metric farkton of John Smiths in the US... etc.

I always go for the most frustrating to track down names due to commonality.


Hey, that's my name and address, too!

My email is noema­il­[nospam-﹫-backwards]f­tw*com.

What's yours?
 
2014-01-10 10:49:03 AM  

Begoggle: JoieD'Zen: Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?

In this case I agree with his ruling. Cyber defamation and bullying are out of control right now and people should be held accountable for the damage they cause.

Horse crap.
There is no such thing as "cyber bullying".
Want to not be "bullied" anymore?  Click a button, problem solved.
I wish "bullying" was that easy to deal with when I was a kid, rolling around in the mud.

/I hope you don't feel bullied by my response


I feel bullied and I am a millionaire. Do you have enough money for competent legal representation?

/yeah another witch hunt
//internet is dying
 
2014-01-10 10:50:09 AM  

edmo: It's simply really:

[img.fark.net image 350x339]


How the fark does that make money?
 
2014-01-10 10:50:47 AM  

CtrlAltDestroy: Craigslist laptop for cash
Tails
Unsecured public WiFi
Paid for VPN
Tor
Never use/give real info

Anonymity.


Why even bother having laws, eh?
 
2014-01-10 10:51:15 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: FTA: "false statements of fact"

hmmmm... I think maybe the judge should have stopped while he was ahead...


i think you might want to stop while you're... eh, you've already farked it up.
 
2014-01-10 10:52:50 AM  

rikkitikkitavi: HindiDiscoMonster: FTA: "false statements of fact"

hmmmm... I think maybe the judge should have stopped while he was ahead...

i think you might want to stop while you're... eh, you've already farked it up.


Yeah, I think beside all American being required to pay for medical care they should be forced to take any law class and public speaking class at a college of their choice, of course.

Would solve many problems I suggest.
 
2014-01-10 10:52:56 AM  
I'm in school for information security, and things like this seem to keep coming up in different courses.  I think the compromise that needs to be done is the whole "verified anonymous" route.  Take the case in TFA for instance, a third party should be allowed to compare the identities of yelp reviewers with the company's customer database, flag those that weren't customers, then proceed from there.
Using Fark as an example, if we all had to submit our actual identities to the site, but to each other we remain anonymous unless some breach warrants disclosure.
Basically, even though you can be sitting at home, being online shouldn't be much different than being out in public.  When it comes to free speech, I understand the precedents of SCOTUS cases that protect groups like the NAACP from having to publicize all of their members, but that's not the same as protecting the identities of petition signers for things like ballot referendums.

I do believe the saying is "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to my death your right to say it" not "Let everyone else defend it while you run and hide"  nor "Allow whatever derp to spew forth from your mouth that you wish with no accountability."
What would have become of the Protestant Reformation had Martin Luther coward behind a pseudonym, rather than standing up for his own words?
 
2014-01-10 11:00:34 AM  

Semantic Warrior: I'm in school for information security, and things like this seem to keep coming up in different courses.  I think the compromise that needs to be done is the whole "verified anonymous" route.  Take the case in TFA for instance, a third party should be allowed to compare the identities of yelp reviewers with the company's customer database, flag those that weren't customers, then proceed from there.
Using Fark as an example, if we all had to submit our actual identities to the site, but to each other we remain anonymous unless some breach warrants disclosure.
Basically, even though you can be sitting at home, being online shouldn't be much different than being out in public.  When it comes to free speech, I understand the precedents of SCOTUS cases that protect groups like the NAACP from having to publicize all of their members, but that's not the same as protecting the identities of petition signers for things like ballot referendums.

I do believe the saying is "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to my death your right to say it" not "Let everyone else defend it while you run and hide"  nor "Allow whatever derp to spew forth from your mouth that you wish with no accountability."
What would have become of the Protestant Reformation had Martin Luther coward behind a pseudonym, rather than standing up for his own words?



The Federalist Papers were anonymous.
 
2014-01-10 11:09:06 AM  

DeathByGeekSquad: Jim from Saint Paul: OH NO!

NOW SOMEONE WILL FIGURE OUT MY NAME AND WHAT CITY I LIVE IN!

*runs away*

You'd better watch yourself, I'm known as a Cyber Detective, so I was able to sniff it out rather quickly - but more malicious types have access to similar tools and might come looking to stir up some trouble!

/runs you over with a Cyber Patrol Vehicle


 *gets in, flies away*

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2014-01-10 11:09:21 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: Random Anonymous Blackmail: Yelp can suck a fart from my ass.

Posed a review of a local Mexican joint (nothing over the top, pretty straight forward review) and they pulled it.

wait just a damned minute... you mean I haven't been getting all the services they offer?


Coffee, Keyboard...you know the drill

:)
 
2014-01-10 11:10:51 AM  
An IP address is not a person and there is no way to prove if someone else uses said address.

And some people online have good reasons not to give their real  name and photos, namely stalkers.  Judges don't know what goes on in everyone's life and they're just as short-sighted, or prescient as anyone.

In fact, do you know what you call a lawyer who couldn't pass the bar?

Your Honor.
 
2014-01-10 11:11:34 AM  

Semantic Warrior: I'm in school for information security, and things like this seem to keep coming up in different courses.  I think the compromise that needs to be done is the whole "verified anonymous" route.  Take the case in TFA for instance, a third party should be allowed to compare the identities of yelp reviewers with the company's customer database, flag those that weren't customers, then proceed from there.
Using Fark as an example, if we all had to submit our actual identities to the site, but to each other we remain anonymous unless some breach warrants disclosure.
Basically, even though you can be sitting at home, being online shouldn't be much different than being out in public.  When it comes to free speech, I understand the precedents of SCOTUS cases that protect groups like the NAACP from having to publicize all of their members, but that's not the same as protecting the identities of petition signers for things like ballot referendums.

I do believe the saying is "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to my death your right to say it" not "Let everyone else defend it while you run and hide"  nor "Allow whatever derp to spew forth from your mouth that you wish with no accountability."
What would have become of the Protestant Reformation had Martin Luther coward behind a pseudonym, rather than standing up for his own words?


Ah yes, another law change for outdated business model. I will resurrect my buggy whip business by law.
 
2014-01-10 11:19:18 AM  

walktoanarcade: An IP address is not a person and there is no way to prove if someone else uses said address.


They could admit it. You're just being unimaginative.
 
2014-01-10 11:22:30 AM  

Theaetetus: walktoanarcade: An IP address is not a person and there is no way to prove if someone else uses said address.

They could admit it. You're just being unimaginative.


That's a laugh for a couple reasons. This thread is now supremely ironic.
 
2014-01-10 11:24:05 AM  
I don't have a problem with this.  the speech was in no way censored, there is no constitutional right to make defamatory statements, and anonymity is not a first amendment protection.

/ however, to keep the knee jerk crazy people happy, I would suggest to keep the information in camera (secret) until the judge makes a ruling on whether an initial showing can be made that a defamatory remark occurred
 
2014-01-10 11:25:45 AM  

walktoanarcade: Theaetetus: walktoanarcade: An IP address is not a person and there is no way to prove if someone else uses said address.

They could admit it. You're just being unimaginative.

That's a laugh for a couple reasons. This thread is now supremely ironic.


pitchforkdiaries.com
What a supreme may look like.
 
2014-01-10 11:31:04 AM  
You mean the Internet  ISN'T an anarchist playground? I am SHOCKED!
 
2014-01-10 11:31:15 AM  
I had a customer who became upset with one of my senior employees (they were both dating the same woman - had nothing to do with my business, really weird story).  The customer's brother then went on a spree, trying to defame my business on the internet to avenge his brother's, I dunno, shame/jealousy?

We finally managed to figure out who was doing it, and a threat of a lawsuit was enough to get him to take the posts down, but some damage at least had been done - we most certainly lost some business over it.

It can't remain legal to anonymously defame someone, a person, a business, doesn't matter.  Untruthful speech intended to cause harm to another is not constitutionally protected, and the person being defamed in a public forum must have the right to face their accuser and let the truth win out.

If you aren't prepared to defend the things you say about someone else on the Internet, don't say them.  We're not born with the inalienable right to dishonestly fark over other people anonymously just because we dislike them.
 
2014-01-10 11:35:44 AM  

Semantic Warrior: I'm in school for information security, and things like this seem to keep coming up in different courses.  I think the compromise that needs to be done is the whole "verified anonymous" route.  Take the case in TFA for instance, a third party should be allowed to compare the identities of yelp reviewers with the company's customer database, flag those that weren't customers, then proceed from there.


For that to be reliable, you would need to ensure that everyone whose opinion is valid is in the customer database, and trust that the company would never remove anyone they're having a disagreement with.

But companies are always trustworthy and honest, right?
 
2014-01-10 11:36:02 AM  

Occam's Nailfile: I had a customer who became upset with one of my senior employees (they were both dating the same woman - had nothing to do with my business, really weird story).  The customer's brother then went on a spree, trying to defame my business on the internet to avenge his brother's, I dunno, shame/jealousy?

We finally managed to figure out who was doing it, and a threat of a lawsuit was enough to get him to take the posts down, but some damage at least had been done - we most certainly lost some business over it.

It can't remain legal to anonymously defame someone, a person, a business, doesn't matter.  Untruthful speech intended to cause harm to another is not constitutionally protected, and the person being defamed in a public forum must have the right to face their accuser and let the truth win out.

If you aren't prepared to defend the things you say about someone else on the Internet, don't say them.  We're not born with the inalienable right to dishonestly fark over other people anonymously just because we dislike them.


In addition to this I'd like to say that if you can't be an adult and own your sh*t you shouldn't be posting it.
 
2014-01-10 11:39:01 AM  

JoieD'Zen: Occam's Nailfile: I had a customer who became upset with one of my senior employees (they were both dating the same woman - had nothing to do with my business, really weird story).  The customer's brother then went on a spree, trying to defame my business on the internet to avenge his brother's, I dunno, shame/jealousy?

We finally managed to figure out who was doing it, and a threat of a lawsuit was enough to get him to take the posts down, but some damage at least had been done - we most certainly lost some business over it.

It can't remain legal to anonymously defame someone, a person, a business, doesn't matter.  Untruthful speech intended to cause harm to another is not constitutionally protected, and the person being defamed in a public forum must have the right to face their accuser and let the truth win out.

If you aren't prepared to defend the things you say about someone else on the Internet, don't say them.  We're not born with the inalienable right to dishonestly fark over other people anonymously just because we dislike them.

In addition to this I'd like to say that if you can't be an adult and own your sh*t you shouldn't be posting it.


Except that in many areas of the world owning your shiat is tantamount to "finding out new and creative uses for a car battery in a dirty basement".
 
2014-01-10 11:42:32 AM  
What about fake reviews that are positive and lies?
 
2014-01-10 11:45:43 AM  

walktoanarcade: An IP address is not a person and there is no way to prove if someone else uses said address.

And some people online have good reasons not to give their real  name and photos, namely stalkers.  Judges don't know what goes on in everyone's life and they're just as short-sighted, or prescient as anyone.

In fact, do you know what you call a lawyer who couldn't pass the bar?

Your Honor.


Why would Yelp bother keeping IP addresses anyway?  Perhaps for a few days to use against people who repeatedly abuse their site, but it seems kind of pointless to keep IP addresses for any length of time.
 
2014-01-10 11:45:51 AM  
Someone tell Lena Dunham that, please.

That sh*t ain't attractive at all ...
 
2014-01-10 11:47:41 AM  
There are many reasons why anonymity has been protected as free speech.

Without the protection of anonymity, whistle blowers will be less inclined to report on the topics that matter, leaving the rest of us in the dark.

Beside, if we allow judges to destroy the anonymity online, former angry ex-husbands, or psycho ex-girlfriends will have a much easier way to keep tabs on their victims. Or the boss whose life isn't complete until he lords over every aspect of your life.

Then I'm sure none of you will mind if your posts and opinions on [fill in offensive opinion here] enables a random unbalanced person with the means to "talk things over in person"  with you and make a special home visit at 3:58 AM. Right?
 
2014-01-10 11:48:36 AM  
I should feel safe behind my 7 proxies, but I don't, so I live off the grid - no phone, no address, no one and nothing can find me. I've erased all connections to the past, but as hard as I try I can't erase my dreams, my nightmares, my Yelp reviews.
 
2014-01-10 11:49:07 AM  

gfid: walktoanarcade: An IP address is not a person and there is no way to prove if someone else uses said address.

And some people online have good reasons not to give their real  name and photos, namely stalkers.  Judges don't know what goes on in everyone's life and they're just as short-sighted, or prescient as anyone.

In fact, do you know what you call a lawyer who couldn't pass the bar?

Your Honor.

Why would Yelp bother keeping IP addresses anyway?  Perhaps for a few days to use against people who repeatedly abuse their site, but it seems kind of pointless to keep IP addresses for any length of time.


It seems the point is for prosecutions. Isn't that obvious?
 
2014-01-10 11:49:41 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: vharshyde: Statement: A thing you say.
Statement of Fact: A thing you say with the intent that it be assumed to be factual.
False Statement: A thing you say that isn't true.
False statement of Fact: A thing you say that you intended to be assumed as fact but is not true.
Does that help hammer it out for you? This is pretty basic, I feel.


So, the judge is saying he is psychic... ok, that clears things up.


You should have quit while you were only a little behind.
 
2014-01-10 11:52:12 AM  
What could an IP address prove?  Was it actually assigned to me at time xxx on date xxx?  What if someone was spoofing my IP address?  What if someone had hacked into my WiFi using an NSA back door?  Why should we believe in the IP address records from an ISP? Do they have a certified, absolute guarantee that whatever times & dates in their records are correct?  What if the variables they used when logging a time & date stamp were corrupted by some rogue task in their server?  How does Yelp even prove that they're posting reviews from people?  Shouldn't we subpoena all records of everything ever done by Yelp in order to determine if they've created fake reviews for the businesses that refused to pay their protection fees?
 
2014-01-10 11:53:37 AM  

Theaetetus: walktoanarcade: Theaetetus: walktoanarcade: An IP address is not a person and there is no way to prove if someone else uses said address.

They could admit it. You're just being unimaginative.

That's a laugh for a couple reasons. This thread is now supremely ironic.

[pitchforkdiaries.com image 600x400]
What a supreme may look like.


*blindfolded* I'm thinkin' of somethin' orange. Something ORANGE....


You give up? It's an ORANGE!
.....DUNda DUNda DUNda DUNda DUN DA NA NAAA!!!!
 
2014-01-10 11:54:58 AM  

Starshines: HindiDiscoMonster: vharshyde: Statement: A thing you say.
Statement of Fact: A thing you say with the intent that it be assumed to be factual.
False Statement: A thing you say that isn't true.
False statement of Fact: A thing you say that you intended to be assumed as fact but is not true.
Does that help hammer it out for you? This is pretty basic, I feel.


So, the judge is saying he is psychic... ok, that clears things up.

You should have quit while you were only a little behind.


The reason you say a false statement is because you intended it to be assumed as fact yet it's not true.

The distinction makes no sense in a common sense way. I am sure legally there is some kind of distinction. Just not seeing it.
 
2014-01-10 11:56:44 AM  

durbnpoisn: I never assume that anything is anonymous on the internet.  However, I do feel a little more secure around Fark if only for 2 things.  There are so many users here, I rarely get noticed.  I don't think I know a single user here in real life.


Sine you have no friends in real life, that makes the intarwub pretty anonymous for you,no?
 
2014-01-10 12:00:27 PM  
I have no problem with this, if they really are customers then they have nothing to worry about. Online reviews are getting to the point of being worthless anyway, taking away a persons anonymity would be a big step toward straightening them out. If you're not willing to stand behind what you say then in my opinion you have no business saying it.
 
2014-01-10 12:00:41 PM  
It's almost like people get upset about false comments on the intertubes that could harm their business.


It's funny how most people don't seem to think their bullshiat anonymous statements are a problem, but if anybody suggests anything even slightly inaccurate about them online, they get all high school outraged about it, with lengthy, poorly spelled diatribes about how the other person got it so very wrong.
 
2014-01-10 12:01:57 PM  
There's a Farker called HoopyFrood who knows who I am IRL because we used to work in the same office. But aside from him, I'm pretty sure that no one here knows or cares about my actual identity. And that's perfectly fine with me. Why wouldn't it be?

(Spoiler alert: I'm not really all that fabulous.)
 
2014-01-10 12:05:55 PM  
Normal people should not lose the many protections anonymous postings offer because abnormal people abuse technology to be the same stalking creeps they always were and forever shall remain.

Of course I believe no one should leave a false review, but I don' think it's right for people to jaywalk when there's a perfectly good crosswalk, so my solution is to shackle everyone.

You can still move, albeit slowly,  but it's safer for you and in case a cop needs to chat, you won't go far.
 
2014-01-10 12:06:26 PM  
It's not anonymity, it's lack of immediate repercussions.  The internet would be a lot different if you could punch someone through a monitor.
 
2014-01-10 12:15:22 PM  

Jim from Saint Paul: Starshines: HindiDiscoMonster: vharshyde: Statement: A thing you say.
Statement of Fact: A thing you say with the intent that it be assumed to be factual.
False Statement: A thing you say that isn't true.
False statement of Fact: A thing you say that you intended to be assumed as fact but is not true.
Does that help hammer it out for you? This is pretty basic, I feel.


So, the judge is saying he is psychic... ok, that clears things up.

You should have quit while you were only a little behind.

The reason you say a false statement is because you intended it to be assumed as fact yet it's not true.

The distinction makes no sense in a common sense way. I am sure legally there is some kind of distinction. Just not seeing it.


Blame the English. Or French if in Louisiana.
 
zeg
2014-01-10 12:16:30 PM  

Jim from Saint Paul: Starshines: HindiDiscoMonster: vharshyde: Statement: A thing you say.
Statement of Fact: A thing you say with the intent that it be assumed to be factual.
False Statement: A thing you say that isn't true.
False statement of Fact: A thing you say that you intended to be assumed as fact but is not true.
Does that help hammer it out for you? This is pretty basic, I feel.


So, the judge is saying he is psychic... ok, that clears things up.

You should have quit while you were only a little behind.

The reason you say a false statement is because you intended it to be assumed as fact yet it's not true.

The distinction makes no sense in a common sense way. I am sure legally there is some kind of distinction. Just not seeing it.


The distinction is that a statement of opinion is different from a statement of fact. This is true not just legally but also generally.

Just because the word "fact" (which, as a lone noun, does imply truth) appears in "statement of fact" does not mean that the latter is the same as the former. It's just a modifier that briefly and succinctly describes the form of the statement. It's not always necessary to distinguish what type of statement one is talking about, but does actually have trouble understanding what "statement of fact" implies?

It so happens that a "statement of fact" is a technical legal term as well. The reason for this is obvious: legal proceedings hinge on disputed truths, and much of the process is to determine which claims are true and false. So you naturally get things like "findings of fact" and "statements of fact." Since it's impossible to know the "actual fact," "legal facts" wind up being rather different things that hopefully are mostly the same as the actual ones.

It's really not a very complicated idea, and unless I'm missing something, is vastly preferable to constructing a separate vocabulary. Hell, even in the real world people understand that "facts" are fairly often false, whether due to deception, misunderstanding, or ignorance.
 
2014-01-10 12:20:20 PM  

Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?


Have you ever tried commenting on Yelp?  They require a user ID, even if it's Heywood Jablome.  You cannot post entirely anonymously.
 
2014-01-10 12:21:18 PM  

Warlordtrooper: Also no absolute right to anonymity?  Be careful what you ask for because that means the government can force the identities of donors to super PACs to be identified.


You say that like it's a bad thing.
 
2014-01-10 12:22:11 PM  

StoPPeRmobile: StainedGlassRuby: Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?

He would know if he had screwed customers around like that, and it would be his folly to bring all that to light, if he is a crooked business owner.  Now if he's just a bully who knows what he'd do.  But to go to such lengths - It would not protect his reputation to identify customers he really did screw over.

And if customers are yelping that, and not even lodging complaints with the business then they're pretty dumb.  He deserves to be given a chance to make it right if people are that upset.

Stalkers will simply love this.



I just meant unsatisfied customers should file complaint with business owner before just yelping about it.    If they're going straight to yelp to complain, then how are they going to get any resolution?      I didn't mean to imply that they deserved to have their personal info revealed.
 
2014-01-10 12:22:48 PM  
I'm ok with this.  This guys business is not a very good example but people shouldn't be able to libel a business for their own amusement or whatever other reason and have their anonymity protected.  Yelp is something people actually use to make purchasing decisions so writing false things there can be directly damaging a business in no uncertain terms.
 
2014-01-10 12:23:17 PM  

zeg: It so happens that a "statement of fact" is a technical legal term as well. The reason for this is obvious: legal proceedings hinge on disputed truths, and much of the process is to determine which claims are true and false. So you naturally get things like "findings of fact" and "statements of fact." Since it's impossible to know the "actual fact," "legal facts" wind up being rather different things that hopefully are mostly the same as the actual ones.


That's the part I wasn;t getting.

It's if I say "The ball is orange" and I think the ball is orange yet it's actually blue, that makes it a false statement.

If I say "The ball is orange" when I damn well know it's blue, that makes it a false staement of fact.

/right?
 
2014-01-10 12:24:48 PM  

Hermione_Granger: They seem to making the argument that you have to be an actual customer to leave a bad review of a company.

I don't think that's the case. I could leave a bad review of a company who gave a friend or relative shoddy service. I could leave a shoddy review of a company if they were hard to contact, get a quote from or overall gave me a reason not to be their customer. I could leave a shoddy review of a company if one of their vans cut me off in traffic.

Reviews do not have to be spot on truth. They're about perception and opinion. If you don't like my opinion about your crappy company, tough shiat. Man up and change your service perspective or stfu.

/pms & estrogen surge hitting hard today


Your biology must be clouding your thinking.  Either that, or you're a Teahadi.  What you're saying is that character assassination is A-OK.
 
2014-01-10 12:25:05 PM  

ReapTheChaos: I have no problem with this, if they really are customers then they have nothing to worry about.


I'm thinking they would be worried about getting hit with a defamation suit, rightly or wrongly. I'm thinking they would be worried about spending thousands of dollars, missing work, and the general stress of being sued by a vindictive petty asshole that you already wish you had never done business with.

Random Anonymous Blackmail: Yelp can suck a fart from my ass.
Posed a review of a local Mexican joint (nothing over the top, pretty straight forward review) and they pulled it.


It seems like this could have been remedied in a number fo ways without even coming withing 100 miles of privacy and free speech issues.

Like a simple "Unverifiable, Anonymous Reviews of a highly negative or positive nature can be challenged and absent any validation, removed." policy.
 
2014-01-10 12:34:47 PM  

StainedGlassRuby: I just meant unsatisfied customers should file complaint with business owner before just yelping about it. If they're going straight to yelp to complain, then how are they going to get any resolution? I didn't mean to imply that they deserved to have their personal info revealed.


It isn't about resolution. It is about protecting other people from wasting their money in your shiatty business.
 
2014-01-10 12:34:56 PM  

BojanglesPaladin: ReapTheChaos: I have no problem with this, if they really are customers then they have nothing to worry about.

I'm thinking they would be worried about getting hit with a defamation suit, rightly or wrongly. I'm thinking they would be worried about spending thousands of dollars, missing work, and the general stress of being sued by a vindictive petty asshole that you already wish you had never done business with.


You're assuming it will even go to court. The guy has several bad reviews, he's not suing any of them, he just wants to know who these anonymous reviewers are because he suspects they were never customers. If that's the case then they deserve to be sued.
 
2014-01-10 12:41:37 PM  
I will give Mr. Hadeed 4 stars for his excellent rug repair & cleaning. I would give him 5, but he is a little expensive and I can only understand about 25% of what he says.
2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-01-10 12:44:11 PM  

HindiDiscoMonster: o, I don't care what wiki says... it's not the be all end all of wisdom, nor do I care what some esoteric fuddy duddy says is correct, it sounds clumsy and wrong, and the idea can be represented much more gracefully.

false = opposite of true
facts are true


"Apples are the best fruit," is an opinion.
"The average weight of an apple is 10 pounds," is a fact.
 
2014-01-10 12:46:25 PM  

doglover: edmo: It's simply really:

[img.fark.net image 350x339]

But Will is a dick. Like a really big dick. We have hours of video evidence.


Either that or the writers wanted the character to be a really big dick and Wil did a decent job of acting.  I like Wil, he seems like a decent guy.  Wesley, well, they could have left that character out with no harm to the show.
 
2014-01-10 12:47:58 PM  
There is one solid fact on the Internet: (to paraphrase 'Rule 34') If it can be f**ked up, it will be f**ked up.

Several consumer complaints sites started out well -- then just got slammed with BS, frequently infested with those idiots inserting ad laden comments and others lying their arses off. Not to mention the squabbles between posters who disagreed with each others evaluation of the same product or service.

Then, of course, are the comments written by average folks, who in reality are paid employees of a listed company, whose job is to fake being a user of a disputed product and deliver a glowing report.

Take everything you read with a grain of salt. Some things you might need a pound or so.
 
2014-01-10 12:52:51 PM  

Rik01: Then, of course, are the comments written by average folks, who in reality are paid employees of a listed company, whose job is to fake being a user of a disputed product and deliver a glowing report.


Don't forget people paid by competing products to give scathing reviews.
 
2014-01-10 12:58:09 PM  

ReapTheChaos: You're assuming it will even go to court. The guy has several bad reviews, he's not suing any of them, he just wants to know who these anonymous reviewers are because he suspects they were never customers. If that's the case then they deserve to be sued.


You may want to review the information on this case a little more carefully. He has ALREADY filed.
"Hadeed sued them for making defamatory statements, according to Tuesday's court opinion." All seven of these people are ALREADY defendants.""[T]he Doe defendants have a constitutional right to speak anonymously over the Internet," Judge William Petty said for the majority . "However, that right must be balanced against Hadeed's right to protect its reputation." He has ALREADY filed suit against them. The decision with Yelp is simply a procedural decision about determing their identity.

This is not entirely uncommon, where you file a suit against parties to be determined - "The owner of this piece of land" is sued, and then they figure out who exactly that is. Or a suit against members of Anonymous, for instance. Or the infamous RIAA suits against john doe pirates, followed by IP based subpoenas. They are Doe defendants until identified, but they are already being sued. (They just don't know it yet)

Now, it is possible that some or all of these seven defendants will be able to verify that they did business with him, but that does not immediately release them from the case. They will still need to defend against the defamation claims, and can still be found guilty. Whether they are actual clients or not does not mean what they wrote was true or that it cannot be judged defamatory. (also even if they are NOT clients, they mat still not be found guilty of defamation). Either way, these seven people will be facing legal expenses, lost time and a great deal of stress.

So I'm afraid you are incorrect here. There is no assumption about whether it will go to court - it's already in court, and these people are already defendants.
 
2014-01-10 01:01:02 PM  

HindiDiscoMonster: I'll tell everyone who I am on the net:Herman Munster1313 Mockingbird LaneMockingbird Heights, OH 43616 (I always pick a random state and zipcode)xxx-555-1212 (I also pick the appropriate area code for the zipcode I use)


You are freeaking me out man. I use that EXACT same trick.
 
2014-01-10 01:01:47 PM  
This guy must have a crapload of money burning in his pocket. Hadeed Carpet Cleaning is the official rug cleaning service of the Washington Capitals and, runs 127+ commercials during one game.
 
2014-01-10 01:01:54 PM  

HindiDiscoMonster: I don't know where you are getting your apples, but please tell me where to buy 10lb apples.


I was illustrating the difference between facts and opinions. Not the difference between correct facts and incorrect facts.

Facts have the attribute of being verifiable. In this case, "the average weight of an apple is 10 pounds," would be an incorrect fact.
 
2014-01-10 01:02:41 PM  

StoPPeRmobile: What about fake reviews that are positive and lies?


Again, this is where a third party verifier could come in handy. At the same time that it provides the identities of fraudulent-and-negative reviewers for Hadeed to pursue, it could provide a list of fraudulent-but-positive reviews for Yelp to purge. Everyone wins, except the fraudsters.
 
2014-01-10 01:03:09 PM  

Rik01: Take everything you read with a grain of salt. Some things you might need a pound or so.


It would be very funny indeed if after all is said and done these defendants get slapped with a $1 fine for defamation. For the court to decide that measurable damages for a bad Yelp! review are effectively negligible, because no one attaches any significance to them anyway.
 
2014-01-10 01:04:43 PM  

JoieD'Zen: Unoriginal_Username: So, the owner is going on the assumption that because he reply's to comments by his customers, and that these specific ones were posted by anonymous users that they were not written by actual customers. So now he want's to sue for defamation.
What happens when he finds out that yes, they were customers who were pissed off and just didn't feel like creating an account on yelp? Do they get to counter sue?

In this case I agree with his ruling. Cyber defamation and bullying are out of control right now and people should be held accountable for the damage they cause.


Are you comparing the situation of cyberbullying a teenage girl to the point of suicide to "bullying"  a business.  Seriously?  Stop and think for a second just how absurd that comparison is.  Businesses need less protections and the individual people need more protections from businesses not the otherway around.    This is some multimillion dollar business trying to use the legal system to extort cash out of people for voicing their opinions.  It's still extortion when the RIAA does it, and its still extortion when any business does it.
 
2014-01-10 01:07:53 PM  

acohn: They require a user ID, even if it's Heywood Jablome. You cannot post entirely anonymously.


I use Gene Masseth.
 
2014-01-10 01:10:31 PM  

impaler: Rik01: Then, of course, are the comments written by average folks, who in reality are paid employees of a listed company, whose job is to fake being a user of a disputed product and deliver a glowing report.
Don't forget people paid by competing products to give scathing reviews.


Yes, there was a local story that reported a local restaurant had many bad reviews that were traced to a competitor down the street. These weren't chains, but Mom and Pops. Very nasty.

But you should be able to tell who they are in the future. They will add a line that talks about having a "friend" who had this happen to them. So they have an excuse why they are listed as a customer.
 
2014-01-10 01:17:51 PM  

HindiDiscoMonster: FTA: "false statements of fact"

hmmmm... I think maybe the judge should have stopped while he was ahead...


You should just learn what it means. Ignorance is never clever, cute or funny.
 
2014-01-10 01:32:50 PM  

HindiDiscoMonster: gshepnyc: HindiDiscoMonster: FTA: "false statements of fact"

hmmmm... I think maybe the judge should have stopped while he was ahead...

You should just learn what it means. Ignorance is never clever, cute or funny.

I think maybe you should read further in the thread before derping so hard... it will feel less like putting both boots down your throat via the rectum.


That was a stupid, unfunny line. You should feel bad for having typed it.
 
2014-01-10 01:39:36 PM  

Jim from Saint Paul: zeg: It so happens that a "statement of fact" is a technical legal term as well. The reason for this is obvious: legal proceedings hinge on disputed truths, and much of the process is to determine which claims are true and false. So you naturally get things like "findings of fact" and "statements of fact." Since it's impossible to know the "actual fact," "legal facts" wind up being rather different things that hopefully are mostly the same as the actual ones.

That's the part I wasn;t getting.

It's if I say "The ball is orange" and I think the ball is orange yet it's actually blue, that makes it a false statement.

If I say "The ball is orange" when I damn well know it's blue, that makes it a false staement of fact.

/right?


No.  That's just the difference between it being false because of deception and it being false because of misconception.

False but not statement of fact:  I like Walmart's potatoes.
False statement of fact:  I bought potatoes from Walmart yesterday.

Opinions, clear jokes, hyperbole, and writing intended to be taken as fiction are not statements of fact.  Though, that doesn't mean people won't mistakenly believe them (such as the Onion in reposts by random Facebook people).
 
2014-01-10 01:40:54 PM  

HindiDiscoMonster: /can't call something a fact if it is not in fact a fact.


"Statement of fact" is not "fact." "Statement of fact" means "statement that is not an opinion."

A true statement of fact is a fact. A false statement of fact is an untrue non-opinion. It may be a lie, or it may be an incorrect but honest belief.
 
2014-01-10 01:42:23 PM  
Yes, people leaving comments are not being nice, but Yelp is not an encyclopedia of truth; it's an advertising company with a weird creative team (anonymous-or-not voluntary posters), edited for profit by Yelp itself.

As long as it charges businesses a fee to remove "inaccurate" reviews, it is not unbiased, and all businesses and all consumers should treat Yelp info as seriously as the output of a poorly-designed pseudo-random number generator.

Yelp shakedown: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/eastbay/yelp-and-the-business-of-extort i on-20/Content?oid=1176635
Shakedown: http://blogs.findlaw.com/strategist/2013/08/yelp-shakedown-complaints - lawsuits-over-review-sites-practices.html
Shakedown: http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bella/2012/05/yelp-extortionists-res t aurants-shakedown.php

Inverse Shakedown http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/blogs/editor/2012/05/the-yel p -extortion-scam.html

Basically, no information on the Internet can be believed unless you're on a secure session with a site whose certificate has not been rendered meaningless by a man-in-the-middle attack / spoofed DNS server / bogus certification / Nicholas Cage in a Bad Mood AND you've got strong reason to trust that site such as a signed legal agreement vetted by your lawyer.  Do not take my word on this, as I am actually a picture of a golden retriever on cheezburger, and as such I have a steak in this.
 
2014-01-10 01:49:27 PM  
"But Hadeed can't possibly prove that until he knows their identities, which requires a court to rule that First Amendment protections don't apply. "


I'm guessing the Gawker writer is not a lawyer...
 
2014-01-10 01:58:08 PM  

ErinPac: Jim from Saint Paul: zeg: It so happens that a "statement of fact" is a technical legal term as well. The reason for this is obvious: legal proceedings hinge on disputed truths, and much of the process is to determine which claims are true and false. So you naturally get things like "findings of fact" and "statements of fact." Since it's impossible to know the "actual fact," "legal facts" wind up being rather different things that hopefully are mostly the same as the actual ones.

That's the part I wasn;t getting.

It's if I say "The ball is orange" and I think the ball is orange yet it's actually blue, that makes it a false statement.

If I say "The ball is orange" when I damn well know it's blue, that makes it a false staement of fact.

/right?

No.  That's just the difference between it being false because of deception and it being false because of misconception.

False but not statement of fact:  I like Walmart's potatoes.
False statement of fact:  I bought potatoes from Walmart yesterday.

Opinions, clear jokes, hyperbole, and writing intended to be taken as fiction are not statements of fact.  Though, that doesn't mean people won't mistakenly believe them (such as the Onion in reposts by random Facebook people).


So the difference is whether you are suggesting action along with your false statement? Or is having an action just an easier way for you to explain it to me?

"F,BNSOF: I like Honey Boo Boo.
FSOF: I watched Honey Boo Boo yesterday."  ?
 
2014-01-10 02:01:28 PM  
Jim from Saint Paul:
That's the part I wasn;t getting.

It's if I say "The ball is orange" and I think the ball is orange yet it's actually blue, that makes it a false statement.

If I say "The ball is orange" when I damn well know it's blue, that makes it a false staement of fact.

/right?


that's exactly right, and even though ianal (*snerk* must have spent too much time in the farrah thread), i believe the reason for legal terms for "false statements" and false "statements of fact" involve perjury.  there's a difference between testimony being wrong because someone was unaware of the truth, and testimony being wrong because someone deliberately lied.
 
Ral
2014-01-10 02:05:39 PM  
People are surprised by this? Anyone who really believes in true anonymity on the internet is a sucker.
 
2014-01-10 02:08:45 PM  

ErinPac: Jim from Saint Paul: zeg: It so happens that a "statement of fact" is a technical legal term as well. The reason for this is obvious: legal proceedings hinge on disputed truths, and much of the process is to determine which claims are true and false. So you naturally get things like "findings of fact" and "statements of fact." Since it's impossible to know the "actual fact," "legal facts" wind up being rather different things that hopefully are mostly the same as the actual ones.

That's the part I wasn;t getting.

It's if I say "The ball is orange" and I think the ball is orange yet it's actually blue, that makes it a false statement.

If I say "The ball is orange" when I damn well know it's blue, that makes it a false staement of fact.

/right?

No.  That's just the difference between it being false because of deception and it being false because of misconception.

False but not statement of fact:  I like Walmart's potatoes.
False statement of fact:  I bought potatoes from Walmart yesterday.

Opinions, clear jokes, hyperbole, and writing intended to be taken as fiction are not statements of fact.  Though, that doesn't mean people won't mistakenly believe them (such as the Onion in reposts by random Facebook people).


"i like walmart's potatoes"  is an "i" statement... of a personal fact...
the clear jokes, hyperbole and fictional statements i'll give you, but opinions are divided between statements of fact and, say, an editorial on how a certain law could help/hurt the economy...
 
2014-01-10 02:28:45 PM  

Doc Batarang: Over the years I've worked in restaurants, we've used negative reviews as fire to become totally unimpeachable and excellent. If there was an aspect of the review we could change, we did it for everybody. Some people are a little intimidated by the notion of a live conversation, so they post online because it makes them more comfortable. Reviews are a good source of information because of that. If it was just complaining, people who came into the place would know the reviewer was a nut job because of how good it actually was.
My current boss posts her personal email address on all the local ones.
This carpet cleaning business should use this opportunity to get better at cleaning carpets.


It looks like this person may have been the victim of a "negative SEO" operation, a sort of online protection racket. A group claiming to be a legitimate Search Engine Optimizer requests/demands a recurring payment of money in order to "protect your online reputation". If you refuse, they publish negative reviews about your company in various third-party websites in an effort to hurt your business or to encourage your participation. Generally these efforts are clumsy, arrive in clusters, and are easy to spot (like complaining about the quality of fried fish served by Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, for example: they only serve shrimp), and the rug fellow will probably discover that all of the bad reviews came from the same IP Address.
 
2014-01-10 02:34:03 PM  
So, if I get on Hadeed's web site, and post the comment, "Don't post negative comments, or this guy will sue you" can I be sued?
 
2014-01-10 02:49:00 PM  

cynicalminion: "i like walmart's potatoes" is an "i" statement... of a personal fact...
the clear jokes, hyperbole and fictional statements i'll give you, but opinions are divided between statements of fact and, say, an editorial on how a certain law could help/hurt the economy...


https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/liability/defamation

This is the context the discussion was in...  and "I like..." is very similar to their example of "I hate..." as an opinion.

An opinion cannot be a legal statement of fact by definition.  It may be a fact in the collquial sense that it is true (or not), but assuming you meant that use of the word 'fact' would also be assuming you didn't read the thread....

A statment of fact must be both verifiable and be intended to be accepted as truth.  Things such as satire are protected because they are not intended to be believed.  Opinions are protected because they are not verifiable, and instead are subjective views.

Perhaps this would help:  http://www.studyzone.org/testprep/ela4/a/factopinionl.cfm
 
2014-01-10 02:54:06 PM  
Dude shoulda just paid for the Yelp advertising... the reviews would have magically vanished.

/Yelp is a scam
//Stop using it
 
2014-01-10 03:01:37 PM  

ErinPac: cynicalminion: "i like walmart's potatoes" is an "i" statement... of a personal fact...
the clear jokes, hyperbole and fictional statements i'll give you, but opinions are divided between statements of fact and, say, an editorial on how a certain law could help/hurt the economy...

https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/liability/defamation

This is the context the discussion was in...  and "I like..." is very similar to their example of "I hate..." as an opinion.

An opinion cannot be a legal statement of fact by definition.  It may be a fact in the collquial sense that it is true (or not), but assuming you meant that use of the word 'fact' would also be assuming you didn't read the thread....

A statment of fact must be both verifiable and be intended to be accepted as truth.  Things such as satire are protected because they are not intended to be believed.  Opinions are protected because they are not verifiable, and instead are subjective views.

Perhaps this would help:  http://www.studyzone.org/testprep/ela4/a/factopinionl.cfm


ok.  makes more sense, although outside a legal perspective, i would still say that "i like...", "i hate..." etc. is still a statement intended to be accepted as fact unless one of the other conditions (i.e. satire, blatant trolling, etc.) exists, simply because there's no way to prove it to be false unless the person stating it then admits they were lying... whereas the broader opinions i mentioned can be openly debated...
 
2014-01-10 03:12:26 PM  
so, in this case, would that mean what the judge is saying is that the reviews in question are not opinions, but statements of fact, and therefore, if the reviewer did not actually have any interaction with the business, they are false statements of fact, and therefore defamatory?

'cuz that sounds pretty logical to me...
 
2014-01-10 03:23:45 PM  

cynicalminion: Jim from Saint Paul:
That's the part I wasn;t getting.

It's if I say "The ball is orange" and I think the ball is orange yet it's actually blue, that makes it a false statement.

If I say "The ball is orange" when I damn well know it's blue, that makes it a false staement of fact.

/right?

that's exactly right, and even though ianal (*snerk* must have spent too much time in the farrah thread), i believe the reason for legal terms for "false statements" and false "statements of fact" involve perjury.  there's a difference between testimony being wrong because someone was unaware of the truth, and testimony being wrong because someone deliberately lied.


perjury is a different issue.  perjury occurs when you make a statement that you know or should have known is false, when said, while under oath (so, in a courtroom or during a deposition, or other time while under oath, includes some statements made to government agencies).

defamation is a tort.  the legal terminology makes more sense if you divide the phrase "false" and "statement of fact". it has two elements.

1) It's false because it's untrue
2) It's a statement of fact because it relates to an issue of fact, not an issue of opinion.

it's a "false statement of fact" because it is (1) an untrue statement (2) regarding an issue of fact.

compare: Pute uses margarine when he makes new orleans style barbecue shrimp.  versus, it tastes like Pute uses margarine when he makes new orleans style barbecue shrimp.

both statements are false.  Pute uses butter, and would pity the fool who suggests otherwise.  But, one statement represents an issue of fact.  the other statement represents an opinion (which is ok, since no one knows my top secret recipe for new orleans style barbecue shrimp.  not even Pute.  it's different every time.  but, it is a fact that Pute uses butter, not margarine).

statements of opinion are not actionable, while statements of fact that are false are generally actionable.
 
2014-01-10 03:35:40 PM  

ErinPac: Perhaps this would help:  http://www.studyzone.org/testprep/ela4/a/factopinionl.cfm


FTFA: "These are Opinions: I believe ice cream is everyone's favorite food."

While everyone's "favorite" food is a matter of opinion, the number people with an opinion can be counted and verified.

Granted, the example says "I believe," so it's the person's opinion about the truth of a fact, but this makes it a rather bad example.
 
2014-01-10 03:36:26 PM  

cynicalminion: ErinPac: cynicalminion: "i like walmart's potatoes" is an "i" statement... of a personal fact...
the clear jokes, hyperbole and fictional statements i'll give you, but opinions are divided between statements of fact and, say, an editorial on how a certain law could help/hurt the economy...

https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/liability/defamation

This is the context the discussion was in...  and "I like..." is very similar to their example of "I hate..." as an opinion.

An opinion cannot be a legal statement of fact by definition.  It may be a fact in the collquial sense that it is true (or not), but assuming you meant that use of the word 'fact' would also be assuming you didn't read the thread....

A statment of fact must be both verifiable and be intended to be accepted as truth.  Things such as satire are protected because they are not intended to be believed.  Opinions are protected because they are not verifiable, and instead are subjective views.

Perhaps this would help:  http://www.studyzone.org/testprep/ela4/a/factopinionl.cfm

ok.  makes more sense, although outside a legal perspective, i would still say that "i like...", "i hate..." etc. is still a statement intended to be accepted as fact unless one of the other conditions (i.e. satire, blatant trolling, etc.) exists, simply because there's no way to prove it to be false unless the person stating it then admits they were lying... whereas the broader opinions i mentioned can be openly debated...


Outside a legal perspective, the first things I found googling fact and opinion were elementry school worksheets showing the difference.  An opinion is not a fact.  The only way it is a "fact" is if you've skewed the definition of fact so far from its actual meaning that you are just using it to mean 'true'.  Even then something isn't true JUST because you cannot prove it is false.

I might state opinion <x>.  Whether you agree that I actually hold opinion <x> does not make it a fact or not, and has no bearing on whether it is true or false.  It merely means you have the opinion that I have opinion <x> (or not x).  Would it help if "I like" were rephrased as "I think favorably about" ?  It isn't the same as "I have brown hair".  Even if every person in the world shared an opinion on something, and accepted it unquestionably, it would still be an opinion.

Even the distinction you make about opinion articles seems to be an odd distinction.  I don't see how being a more interesting debate would really change what sort of statement something was.  Also, being subjective and not provable as false is exactly counter to something being a fact, so that's a poor reason.  Actually, the longer opinion articles are more likely to contain facts which they base their opinions on, or present their opinions as conclusions based on facts, which is what makes them debatable... and also more open to libel suits, which was pointed out in that first link.  You debate facts and conclusions based on those facts - you don't generally debate about jokes, or the Onion, or subjective opinions (well, unless you consider things like hot dog topping threads to be debate).  Finding those articles to be more 'debatable' would actually lead me to conclude they make MORE claims of facts than normal opinions.  Even if it were controversial....  you can have controversial facts and controversial opinions, and it doesn't make one into the other.
 
2014-01-10 03:45:07 PM  

cynicalminion: Jim from Saint Paul:
That's the part I wasn;t getting.

It's if I say "The ball is orange" and I think the ball is orange yet it's actually blue, that makes it a false statement.

If I say "The ball is orange" when I damn well know it's blue, that makes it a false staement of fact.

/right?

that's exactly right, and even though ianal (*snerk* must have spent too much time in the farrah thread), i believe the reason for legal terms for "false statements" and false "statements of fact" involve perjury.  there's a difference between testimony being wrong because someone was unaware of the truth, and testimony being wrong because someone deliberately lied.


I think you're looking for 'libel', 'slander', or 'defamation' and not 'perjury'.  Perjury has to do with lying under oath.  His first example isn't even lying - it's just incorrect.

There is sometimes another word combined with "false statment of fact" in regards to those sort of suits...  KNOWINGLY false statement of fact.  In addition to being a false statement of fact, there are usually requirements that the person knows it is false, causes damages, and if the target is a public figure it must also be done with malice.
 
2014-01-10 03:49:44 PM  

ErinPac: *clipped for sizing*


i guess what i meant by two categories of opinion is that i have no way of arguing over what you like or don't like.  however, if you say "obamacare is ruining small businesses", that's an opinion you can state, and you have your reasoning for saying so, and anyone who disagrees with that can present their own reasonings against it, and nobody is in any danger of defamation without stooping to personal attacks...

as i said, this thread has gone back and forth between legal terms and colloquial terms, and they're definitely two separate definitions.  but this judge is talking about false "statements of fact" which is exactly how he should be describing them...
 
2014-01-10 03:54:36 PM  

ErinPac: cynicalminion: Jim from Saint Paul:
That's the part I wasn;t getting.

It's if I say "The ball is orange" and I think the ball is orange yet it's actually blue, that makes it a false statement.

If I say "The ball is orange" when I damn well know it's blue, that makes it a false staement of fact.

/right?

that's exactly right, and even though ianal (*snerk* must have spent too much time in the farrah thread), i believe the reason for legal terms for "false statements" and false "statements of fact" involve perjury.  there's a difference between testimony being wrong because someone was unaware of the truth, and testimony being wrong because someone deliberately lied.

I think you're looking for 'libel', 'slander', or 'defamation' and not 'perjury'.  Perjury has to do with lying under oath.  His first example isn't even lying - it's just incorrect.

There is sometimes another word combined with "false statment of fact" in regards to those sort of suits...  KNOWINGLY false statement of fact.  In addition to being a false statement of fact, there are usually requirements that the person knows it is false, causes damages, and if the target is a public figure it must also be done with malice.


i guess i was coming from the standpoint of having these statements made in the courtroom, and being the difference between just being wrong while under oath, or deliberately lying under oath... and i guess in the context of this story, what he's going for here is that they're fake reviews, knowingly posted, with the intent of damaging his (public) business.  and if, as others have suggested, these reviews were posted by someone associated with a competitor, that's exactly what happened.
 
2014-01-10 03:57:07 PM  

cynicalminion: ErinPac: *clipped for sizing*

i guess what i meant by two categories of opinion is that i have no way of arguing over what you like or don't like.  however, if you say "obamacare is ruining small businesses", that's an opinion you can state, and you have your reasoning for saying so, and anyone who disagrees with that can present their own reasonings against it, and nobody is in any danger of defamation without stooping to personal attacks...

as i said, this thread has gone back and forth between legal terms and colloquial terms, and they're definitely two separate definitions.  but this judge is talking about false "statements of fact" which is exactly how he should be describing them...


also, that's whole other bag of bananas, because obamacare is a public issue.  the first amendment comes into play regarding public issues and public figures.  now I would have to show actual malice (that you knew the statement was false, or you made the statement with reckless disregard for the truth AND I have to prove actual damages, nothing is presumed).

so, even if the statement was false.  what damages can i prove?  none.
 
2014-01-10 04:01:09 PM  

impaler: ErinPac: Perhaps this would help:  http://www.studyzone.org/testprep/ela4/a/factopinionl.cfm

FTFA: "These are Opinions: I believe ice cream is everyone's favorite food."

While everyone's "favorite" food is a matter of opinion, the number people with an opinion can be counted and verified.

Granted, the example says "I believe," so it's the person's opinion about the truth of a fact, but this makes it a rather bad example.


Seriously?  Can you see the colored text on that page?  They turned all the nice subjective words blue for you, including the word believe.  Then they wrote "An OPINION is what someone believes or thinks."  It's a second grade worksheet.  Didn't you run into this sort of thing in school, maybe before your first science fair or something?

Also, no, the number of people with an opinion can not be "verified", even if that were the statement.  You can take a poll, but that's simply a list of people's statements about their opinions, with no indication of whether they are true or false.  People indicate false opinions all the time; I'm sure you've seen polls that do not correlate with people's actions (such as some political polls, or religious polls vs actual church attendance, etc).  It doesn't become fact because you added numbers.  Your opinion about other people's opinions, is still an opinion.  It does not work like a double negative.  Such a strong absolute isn't very believable, but that doesn't change whether it is an opinion.  Everyone/Noone statements are usually unlikely.... but it not materially different from saying "30% of people's favorite food is ice cream."  and then what do you do?  You poll people, and just assume that every fat person who says their favorite food is salad or grapefruit is telling the truth, and that the number is 20% as a "fact"?  No, you didn't actually find out that only 20% have ice cream as their favorite food.  You found out that 20% are willing to claim ice cream is their favorite food.  Now you might say 20% of people polled SAY their favorite food is ice cream.  That would be entirely different.


Not sure if trolling at this point....
 
2014-01-10 04:06:04 PM  

ErinPac: Not sure if trolling at this point....


don't believe there's trolling going on, just an expanding gray area where the lines are between fact/statement of fact/statement of opinion/opinion are, and whether they're even in the same place once you hit the courtroom...
 
2014-01-10 04:26:49 PM  

cynicalminion: ErinPac: Not sure if trolling at this point....

don't believe there's trolling going on, just an expanding gray area where the lines are between fact/statement of fact/statement of opinion/opinion are, and whether they're even in the same place once you hit the courtroom...


The second grade worksheet wasn't court room level.


No, I know it's not trolling... it is just that people have stretched the word so far into the realm of meaningless...  it simply doesn't mean whether you agree with something or not.  It does take on the additional implication that a statement be intended to be taken as true in court but that's not even where half the posts seem to be stalled at.  It's people using "fact" to mean "something I agree with".  Facts and opinions are usually covered as a basic part of the scientific method covered in elementry school.  Then its covered again and again for reading comprehension and analysis.  Then again for writing research papers and determining what needs citations.  Even considering colloquial speech, this is some sort of bastardization of an English word that I hadn't really run into except in some sort of valley-girl-esque speech and did not realize people really used without the accompanying hair flick.  I've only heard it taken that way in seriously corny, outdated TV shows and even then it just seems to be for emphasis (and that's a fact!) and not for any literal meaning.

It's just a little depressing, in the same way that really bad statistical interpretations are, when the media uses them to make all their puppets dance.
 
2014-01-10 04:49:01 PM  

ErinPac: cynicalminion: ErinPac: Not sure if trolling at this point....

don't believe there's trolling going on, just an expanding gray area where the lines are between fact/statement of fact/statement of opinion/opinion are, and whether they're even in the same place once you hit the courtroom...

The second grade worksheet wasn't court room level.


No, I know it's not trolling... it is just that people have stretched the word so far into the realm of meaningless...  it simply doesn't mean whether you agree with something or not.  It does take on the additional implication that a statement be intended to be taken as true in court but that's not even where half the posts seem to be stalled at.  It's people using "fact" to mean "something I agree with".  Facts and opinions are usually covered as a basic part of the scientific method covered in elementry school.  Then its covered again and again for reading comprehension and analysis.  Then again for writing research papers and determining what needs citations.  Even considering colloquial speech, this is some sort of bastardization of an English word that I hadn't really run into except in some sort of valley-girl-esque speech and did not realize people really used without the accompanying hair flick.  I've only heard it taken that way in seriously corny, outdated TV shows and even then it just seems to be for emphasis (and that's a fact!) and not for any literal meaning.

It's just a little depressing, in the same way that really bad statistical interpretations are, when the media uses them to make all their puppets dance.


i think that's the biggest part of the problem... determining at what point you enter the realm of "deliberate misinformation" by stating opinions in such a manner that they will be accepted as fact...  as it is, in this particular case, the judge obviously thinks the statements are worth looking into before either hearing or tossing this lawsuit.  and, since it HAS hit the courtroom, the judge's opinion becomes statement of law... (which can of course, be appealed, but that's kinda irrelevant)
 
2014-01-10 05:39:15 PM  
I agree with the judge, on this very specific case.  If the guy can prove based on what they posted that they were never customers of his, and that he has been defamed by it, they shouldn't be allowed to continue on without punishment.

For instance, if I get on Yelp, or any of the other similar sites, and troll a dry cleaning company by posting "I took four Armani suits to this place yesterday and they destroyed all of them and refused to compensate me for them," and the company can prove that they did not take in any Armani suits that day, and that no suits were damaged at all, then why should the person posting be allowed protection by the first amendment?

Now, if after revealing the identies of the person, it turns out their posts were true, then they should be dropped immediately from the suit.

Online review sites make it all too easy for competing businesses to make up user names and post negative reviews about companies offering similar services, thus making theirs more appealling.
 
2014-01-10 05:48:56 PM  

StainedGlassRuby: unsatisfied customers should file complaint with business owner before just yelping about it.


Do you think businesses actually care if you complain in person? They will still continue their crap food/service whether you complain or not. I always complain in person if I'm not satisfied, and it doesn't do a thing. Now, public shaming on the other hand, seems to get their attention.

umad: It isn't about resolution. It is about protecting other people from wasting their money in your shiatty business.


Agreed.
 
2014-01-10 07:03:25 PM  

Fancourt: Doc Batarang: Over the years I've worked in restaurants, we've used negative reviews as fire to become totally unimpeachable and excellent. If there was an aspect of the review we could change, we did it for everybody. Some people are a little intimidated by the notion of a live conversation, so they post online because it makes them more comfortable. Reviews are a good source of information because of that. If it was just complaining, people who came into the place would know the reviewer was a nut job because of how good it actually was.
My current boss posts her personal email address on all the local ones.
This carpet cleaning business should use this opportunity to get better at cleaning carpets.

It looks like this person may have been the victim of a "negative SEO" operation, a sort of online protection racket. A group claiming to be a legitimate Search Engine Optimizer requests/demands a recurring payment of money in order to "protect your online reputation". If you refuse, they publish negative reviews about your company in various third-party websites in an effort to hurt your business or to encourage your participation. Generally these efforts are clumsy, arrive in clusters, and are easy to spot (like complaining about the quality of fried fish served by Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, for example: they only serve shrimp), and the rug fellow will probably discover that all of the bad reviews came from the same IP Address.


That's very possible. Plus if that's the case there's more than just a defamation suit. Those SEOs would have committed an act of extortion and could face criminal proaecution. They could also get prosecuted under RICO regulations. But law enforcement doesn't seem that interested in going after these types of cases.
 
2014-01-10 07:12:47 PM  

Chimpasaurus: StainedGlassRuby: unsatisfied customers should file complaint with business owner before just yelping about it.

Do you think businesses actually care if you complain in person? They will still continue their crap food/service whether you complain or not. I always complain in person if I'm not satisfied, and it doesn't do a thing. Now, public shaming on the other hand, seems to get their attention.

umad: It isn't about resolution. It is about protecting other people from wasting their money in your shiatty business.

Agreed.


this is very true.  so what someone else mentioned above is a perfectly viable option in this case.  the guy suing doesn't get to see any of the information, gives the judge his customer records with the known complaints highlighted (sounded like he'd already identified many of the reviews as his customers), judge says "ok, we'll call you when we find out more", goes to yelp, compares their info to customer records, any of the named reviews not in the records get contacted by the judge, and either provide some record of a business transaction, leading to the suit getting thrown out, or they get to show up in court to explain the fake review... still protecting anonymity of legit customer complaints, and if the guy's just being vindictive, the judge can come back and smack him for filing a false claim... after filtering through the various posts here, is that pretty much what could be expected from this?
 
2014-01-10 07:13:04 PM  

HideAndGoFarkYourself: Now, if after revealing the identies of the person, it turns out their posts were true, then they should be dropped immediately from the suit.


Doesn't work that way. The adjudication of the LAWSUIT determines whether the statements were true. That is a finding of fact and the court has to determine it. Discovery, hearings, pleadings, etc. Meanwhile, these people get to pay attorneys to handle things all the way to it being found that the they did or did not commit defamation.
 
2014-01-10 07:17:15 PM  

Summer Glau's Love Slave: So, if I get on Hadeed's web site, and post the comment, "Don't post negative comments, or this guy will sue you" can I be sued?


You can be sued for anything. But you probably win the case.
 
2014-01-10 07:22:51 PM  

Chimpasaurus: StainedGlassRuby: unsatisfied customers should file complaint with business owner before just yelping about it.

Do you think businesses actually care if you complain in person? They will still continue their crap food/service whether you complain or not. I always complain in person if I'm not satisfied, and it doesn't do a thing. Now, public shaming on the other hand, seems to get their attention.



Wow.

That's ridiculous.
 
2014-01-10 07:26:08 PM  

StainedGlassRuby: Chimpasaurus: StainedGlassRuby: unsatisfied customers should file complaint with business owner before just yelping about it.

Do you think businesses actually care if you complain in person? They will still continue their crap food/service whether you complain or not. I always complain in person if I'm not satisfied, and it doesn't do a thing. Now, public shaming on the other hand, seems to get their attention.


Wow.

That's ridiculous.


Yeah. Lots of businesses do care. Well run businesses will try to resolve an issue as long as the customer is being reasonable.
 
2014-01-10 09:30:30 PM  

mschwenk: Well run businesses will try to resolve an issue as long as the customer is being reasonable.


I really doubt a restaurant will change their menu if someone doesn't like it or thinks it's overpriced. Not everyone is going to like your food and you should be able to handle the negative reviews. If everyone hates their food, then that's a different matter all together.
 
2014-01-10 09:51:10 PM  
christinesstainedglass.com
I like pancakes...
 
2014-01-10 10:05:54 PM  
facohn: Hermione_Granger: They seem to making the argument that you have to be an actual customer to leave a bad review of a company.

I don't think that's the case. I could leave a bad review of a company who gave a friend or relative shoddy service. I could leave a shoddy review of a company if they were hard to contact, get a quote from or overall gave me a reason not to be their customer. I could leave a shoddy review of a company if one of their vans cut me off in traffic.

Reviews do not have to be spot on truth. They're about perception and opinion. If you don't like my opinion about your crappy company, tough shiat. Man up and change your service perspective or stfu.

/pms & estrogen surge hitting hard today

Your biology must be clouding your thinking.  Either that, or you're a Teahadi.  What you're saying is that character assassination is A-OK.


That's not what I'm saying at all. What I am saying is that I don't have to actually exchange money as a paid customer with a business to garner a poor impression of them. It's not ok to go online and disparage someone for no reason. But who's to say these people didn't have a reason.

It's kind of important because their argument is, these people were never paying customers on my list so how could they say something bad about my company? I contend that there are many other ways a company can give poor service or make a bad impression before a dime is ever spent.
 
2014-01-10 10:18:11 PM  
Every negative (especially ranty, not rational) Yelp review I see I just assume the douche didn't get his gold doily under his tea cup he thought he was entitled to.
 
2014-01-10 10:28:37 PM  

Hermione_Granger: facohn: Hermione_Granger: They seem to making the argument that you have to be an actual customer to leave a bad review of a company.

I don't think that's the case. I could leave a bad review of a company who gave a friend or relative shoddy service. I could leave a shoddy review of a company if they were hard to contact, get a quote from or overall gave me a reason not to be their customer. I could leave a shoddy review of a company if one of their vans cut me off in traffic.

Reviews do not have to be spot on truth. They're about perception and opinion. If you don't like my opinion about your crappy company, tough shiat. Man up and change your service perspective or stfu.

/pms & estrogen surge hitting hard today

Your biology must be clouding your thinking.  Either that, or you're a Teahadi.  What you're saying is that character assassination is A-OK.

That's not what I'm saying at all. What I am saying is that I don't have to actually exchange money as a paid customer with a business to garner a poor impression of them. It's not ok to go online and disparage someone for no reason. But who's to say these people didn't have a reason.

It's kind of important because their argument is, these people were never paying customers on my list so how could they say something bad about my company? I contend that there are many other ways a company can give poor service or make a bad impression before a dime is ever spent.


this is true, but i would also contend that were the comments related to poor treatment without actually involving a transaction, the lawsuit would not be happening... if the guy says "these reviews about my business came from people i never did a job for" and the judge reads a review saying "i was treated poorly and given a way overpriced cost for a simple job, left and will never go back, there are many cheaper places you can get your rugs cleaned", the judge laughs and dismisses the lawsuit.
 
2014-01-10 11:45:33 PM  

BojanglesPaladin: HideAndGoFarkYourself: Now, if after revealing the identies of the person, it turns out their posts were true, then they should be dropped immediately from the suit.

Doesn't work that way. The adjudication of the LAWSUIT determines whether the statements were true. That is a finding of fact and the court has to determine it. Discovery, hearings, pleadings, etc. Meanwhile, these people get to pay attorneys to handle things all the way to it being found that the they did or did not commit defamation.


Yes, it does work that way.  If JohnDoe1 is found to be Frank Smith of Bumfark, NE, and his claim is that the dry cleaner ruined his wife's cocktail dress and that is true, then his attorney can seek to have him removed from the suit, not at the trial phase, but through pre-trial motions.  Truth is a defense to defamation.

The company isn't saying that these are the only complaints and that they're going after people with legitimate gripes, they're saying that these people are making demonstrably false claims.  If an attorney can demonstrate the the claim is true, there's no case.
 
2014-01-11 12:29:27 AM  
Seems the Streisand effect is already settling in...


http://www.yelp.com/biz/hadeed-carpet-alexandria
 
2014-01-11 07:18:30 AM  

Micor: Seems the Streisand effect is already settling in...


http://www.yelp.com/biz/hadeed-carpet-alexandria


You know, looking at this thread and looking at the reviews, I get this strange feeling that people believe the first amendment protects libel and slander.

(Not that suing your possible customers is a great business model in the first place, but my eyes are going to roll to the back of my head if I read one more thing where people confuse the right not to be thrown in jail for saying something with the non existent right to say whatever you want with no consequences.)
 
2014-01-11 09:11:01 AM  

HideAndGoFarkYourself: BojanglesPaladin: HideAndGoFarkYourself: Now, if after revealing the identies of the person, it turns out their posts were true, then they should be dropped immediately from the suit.

Doesn't work that way. The adjudication of the LAWSUIT determines whether the statements were true. That is a finding of fact and the court has to determine it. Discovery, hearings, pleadings, etc. Meanwhile, these people get to pay attorneys to handle things all the way to it being found that the they did or did not commit defamation.

Yes, it does work that way.  If JohnDoe1 is found to be Frank Smith of Bumfark, NE, and his claim is that the dry cleaner ruined his wife's cocktail dress and that is true, then his attorney can seek to have him removed from the suit, not at the trial phase, but through pre-trial motions.  Truth is a defense to defamation.

The company isn't saying that these are the only complaints and that they're going after people with legitimate gripes, they're saying that these people are making demonstrably false claims.  If an attorney can demonstrate the the claim is true, there's no case.

I

didn't say it would go to trial. I said it would have to be adjudicated and they would be paying an attorney.
 
2014-01-11 10:39:20 AM  

Chimpasaurus: mschwenk: Well run businesses will try to resolve an issue as long as the customer is being reasonable.

I really doubt a restaurant will change their menu if someone doesn't like it or thinks it's overpriced. Not everyone is going to like your food and you should be able to handle the negative reviews. If everyone hates their food, then that's a different matter all together.


At one of our favorite restaurants, I ordered the chicken pot pie. It wound up being mostly peas and carrots with tiny bits of shredded chicken -- more succotash pot pie. I asked for a burger instead and insisted on paying for the burger since I saw the issue as my taste vs the chef's. They, in turn, insisted on giving me a comp. Well, I think arguments over a check demean everyone so I let them win.

That's a nice restaurant. (CIA trained cooks. Sports bar ambience.)
 
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