People who make death threats on the internet should go to jail?

Ickorus

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ArnRand said:
Ickorus said:
I think the persons rights to the internet should be restricted much like how people have their right to freedom restricted when they're sent to jail; I also think a fine should be imposed.

I take issue with the comment that it's only been happening to women in the UK by the way, it's just because it happened to a public figure that this is highlighted whilst hashtags such as #killallmen are ignored.
When did I say it's only happening to women? I was just pointing out an indecent that was in the news recently. This reminds me of social justice guys getting mad because people say male and female but not bi-gender or whatever.
Sorry, I must have misread the original post, I've been paying attention to this particular issue and have been subjected to a lot of social justice warriors recently claiming it only happens to women so it must have altered my perception; think I'll be taking a rest from their particular brand of insanity at this point; my apologies.
 

Queen Michael

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Obviously, death threats should be a crime. And yeah, I have to agree that clearing some space in prisons for the people who make those threats seems like a perfectly decent idea. Let's face it, people -- freedom of speech doesn't exist so that you can say absolutely anything you want to anyone. And a death threat doesn't stop being a death threat just because you made it on the web.
 

MagunBFP

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Twenty Ninjas said:
Continued harrassment warrants legal action no matter the medium used, but a death threat as a response to a controversial action, where the reason can be clearly deduced and it is decided as not significant enough to warrant someone's death (say, patching a stupid videogame) is reasonable grounds for ignoring. In my view at least.
You do realise that there are very few actions that are "significant enough to warrant someone's death" but not everyone who sends a death threat is rational enough to figure that out. You might also find that people who do get murdered don't always deserve it. When determining how most "real life" death threats should be handled its not what the recipient has done to deserve death that's looked at, but how credible the threat is. The Danish guy who made the Muhammad cartoon in 2005 received a metric fuckton of death threats... I wouldn't say that making a cartoon was significant enough, but a lot of Muslims disagreed. He went into hiding

Ihateregistering1 said:
Sorry, but this whole thing is running headfirst into the basics of ideals vs. reality.

For starters, there simply isn't enough Police manpower out there to enforce something like this. Can you imagine how difficult it would be for the Cops to stop by every house where not just someone made a threat, but if someone said anything that could be construed as a threat? Literally almost impossible.

2nd, a death threat is generally only considered illegal when the threat itself is considered legitimate (except under certain circumstances). For example, if say "I'm going to kill the person on Escapist with username ME3Sucks (I just made up that name)", it's not really a legitimate threat, as I don't know the person's name, or even which country they live in.

3rd, what constitutes a death threat? If I say "I hope you get in a car wreck and die", is that a death threat? I didn't say that I was going to kill the person, but I did say that I hoped they would die. Should the Police come to my house?

4th, how do they find out who you are? Let's say (again) that I made a death threat on Escapist. Since looking at my username doesn't tell them anything, in order for the Police to find out who I am and where I live, they would have to subpoena Escapist to get my information. This, to me, sounds like an extreme overreach of power of the Government.
You know how you deal with problems that are too big to be dealt with? You pick one asshat and deal with him, then you deal with the next clown and the next. It's not an issue that's going to solved quickly but if the punishment does what it's intended to then reoffences aren't going to be an issue so the problem will get smaller. If people ignore the punishment then obviously it needs to be increased so people understand that they are responsible for what they say and the threats they make regardless of how they do it.

The second point isn't actually relevant to this discussion, the OP was talking about death threats made to a specific person not just a random screen name.

You're serious about not knowing what makes a death threat? Cause your question really just looks like an attempt to muddy the issue with "OMG unrealistic expectation and unreasonable reaction" but just in case you actually were serious. Death threats are when you threaten someone with death (either theirs or someone elses) "I hope you get in a car wreck and die" is wishful thinking while "I'm going to cut your brake lines so that you get into a car wreck and die" is a threat, implying that someone is making a threat (which requires action) when all they say is "I hope..." is like suggesting that someone is going to try and rig lotto because they said "I hope you win"

As for your 4th point if you made a death threat on the Escapist saying that you'd had enough of Microsoft's bullshit and were going to kill Bill Gates and people felt it was credible enough to report to the police then fuck yeah I'd want the cops to subpoena Escapist to get your details so you could be prosecuted, that wouldn't be by any definition an overreach it would be the cops doing their job. If on the other hand you threatened me on here it would not be credible because all you know is my screen name, that's not to say you couldn't find me if you tried hard enough, but a death threat from one random anonymous person to another is hard to take seriously.
 

sleeky01

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Agayek said:
IMO, the ideal solution is for the community as a whole to act. Don't just sit back and watch when you see someone pulling shit like that. If someone makes a post about how such and such is the devil and should be run over by a combine harvester, call them out on being a twat. Bring ungodly levels of peer pressure to bear to let these idiots know that their behavior isn't acceptable and if they continue to be douche titans, they will be treated as such and subject to all the scorn and derision that entails.
So just what kind of "ungodly pressure" could actually be brought to bear by "the community as a whole"?
 

Agayek

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sleeky01 said:
So just what kind of "ungodly pressure" could actually be brought to bear by "the community as a whole"?
The same kind that any community brings to bear to drive out, silence, or otherwise neuter the 'undesirables'.

Specifically, by making it abundantly clear that they're not welcome. There's a variety of ways to do it, but it generally boils down to deriding them incessantly for their every unacceptable act, heaping scorn on them whenever they stick their heads out, and making sure that everyone and their dog 'knows' that they're scum.

Anyone without severe mental issues will either shape up or leave in relatively short order if the vast majority reacted to their every action with scorn and derision.
 

Thaluikhain

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Agayek said:
sleeky01 said:
So just what kind of "ungodly pressure" could actually be brought to bear by "the community as a whole"?
The same kind that any community brings to bear to drive out, silence, or otherwise neuter the 'undesirables'.

Specifically, by making it abundantly clear that they're not welcome. There's a variety of ways to do it, but it generally boils down to deriding them incessantly for their every unacceptable act, heaping scorn on them whenever they stick their heads out, and making sure that everyone and their dog 'knows' that they're scum.

Anyone without severe mental issues will either shape up or leave in relatively short order if the vast majority reacted to their every action with scorn and derision.
Er...you mean if their trolling was successful and got a response? Yeah, I can see a problem with that.
 

Agayek

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thaluikhain said:
Er...you mean if their trolling was successful and got a response? Yeah, I can see a problem with that.
No, I mean if you see someone posting a death-threat-tweet to Highly Visible Person #2994673, then you reply to the tweet and call them out on being idiotic, abhorrent, and a waste of flesh, and then you be both smart and mature enough to not let them bait you into descending into an argument. State your piece, then leave it be.

Assuming they're actually trolling, the first few times it happens, the individual will see it as a success and keep going, but all you have to do to stop that in its tracks is ignore their attempts to bait you into an argument. The more they get told off for their behavior and then can't get a real response out of it, the less effective their "success" will be, especially if/when they see the majority of the community/responses are decidedly against them.

And if they're not trolling, they'll be forcibly reminded that their behavior is unacceptable and will be strongly encouraged to change.

Is it a perfect solution to the issue? No. But it would be far more effective than threats of legal action, and far less dangerous to individual freedoms.
 

McKinsey

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Lieju said:
So sending threatening letters in the mail is fine? After all, you could just choose not to open your mail.
Actual paper mail? Well, look at it like this. If you find such a letter in your mailbox, it means whoever sent it at least knows your real name and your real address. That gives some substance to his threats. Whereas on the Internet people can threaten you while knowing absolutely nothing about you apart from your name or nickname, and I'm sure that most, if not all, people perform this bullshit without any malicious intent. It's just a poor choice of words that happens in the heat of the moment: remember, it takes no effort at all to contact people on the Internet, as opposed to real-life communication, and you have no time to think it over and maybe stop acting like an arsehole.
 

Addertellstales

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The problem is that it becomes so easy then for the authorities to stop allowing for context and, as is already happening, jokes between friends or satire is taken as the cold truth and innocent people are punished for being human.
 

Lieju

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McKinsey said:
Lieju said:
So sending threatening letters in the mail is fine? After all, you could just choose not to open your mail.
Actual paper mail? Well, look at it like this. If you find such a letter in your mailbox, it means whoever sent it at least knows your real name and your real address. That gives some substance to his threats. Whereas on the Internet people can threaten you while knowing absolutely nothing about you apart from your name or nickname, and I'm sure that most, if not all, people perform this bullshit without any malicious intent. It's just a poor choice of words that happens in the heat of the moment: remember, it takes no effort at all to contact people on the Internet, as opposed to real-life communication, and you have no time to think it over and maybe stop acting like an arsehole.
Which is why not all threats on the Internet are the same.
For example, I use a different e-mail for hobby-forums and such where people don't know who I actually am.

But I also have an e-mail address I give for work-related reasons etc. So if I got a threat on that address, I have reason to believe they know who I am.

Also, on an international forum like this, you don't know my real name and where I work or what I look like.
But on some Finnish forums people know each other and visit each other's houses for hobby-related reasons or meet in conventions.
Internet isn't necessarily completely separate from real life.
 

chadachada123

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Anyone ever hear of the "gorilla warfare" copy-paste 'threat'?

Because some tens of thousands, if not over a hundred thousand, separate individuals have posted that exact paragraph on Youtube videos, 4chan, Facebook etc over the past year.

Since that threat is just as graphic as any other internet threat, and just as obviously a non-issue, I cannot in good conscious condone any punishment for internet slang.

The 'threat' (which I have both had sent to me over numerous mediums and have sent to several friends AND anonymous internet members):

What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little *****? I?ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I?ve been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I?m the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You?re fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and that?s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little ?clever? comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn?t, you didn?t, and now you?re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You?re fucking dead, kiddo.
Internet death threats do not exist. Death threats sent over the internet may exist in some ludicrously small number, but they should only count if they are repeated to the point of harassment with some element of seriousness/urgency/believability.

Harassment, by the way, is something that is REPEATED. Ten people sending a Bioware writer some flack is not harassment. One person sending a Bioware writer ten pieces of flack is harassment. Learn the difference.
 

Mister K

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Well, in my coutry, death threat, if there were real grounds for fearing of implementation of said threat, is already punishable by by imprisonment for up to six months, or liberty restraint for a term up to two years (article 129 of Ukrainian Criminal Code, if anyone is interested).
 

Daveman

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I don't think it should be jailworthy. I think in most cases it should be ignored as there are plenty of ways to block people from messaging you on facebook and twitter.

For serial offenders though I'd suggest some sort of prime time tv show where they are exposed and or gunged.

In fact, can we just force them to take part in a new series of Get Your Own Back?

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

 

Scarim Coral

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I say a similar treatment the way a hacker are punish, a big warning from the authority, pay a big fine and is forbidden to access to the internet (in any way) at all for a set period of time.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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It depends, because the idea can be abused heavily. What could be construed as a threat, may actually be sarcasm, a joke, misused wording, bad grammar. I'm also of the mind that whats said on the internet is usually bluster and no balls, which is why any "threat" I receive (and for some reason I've received a lot of them) is immediately dismissed as GIGO.
If a threat is persistent, if the person sending said threats becomes more and more personal (of the stalking variety) then there's a problem. But if we went off on "threats" on the internet any time some idiot gets his/her short-hair in a twist, then police would be jumping at every stupid "die in a fire" meme-tard with internet-diarrhea of the hands.
Is there something that can be done? Don't give these douchebags any form of validation. Thats the best cure.
 

Aesir23

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I wouldn't say jail but definitely a fine or a visit from the police will be in order. The internet is an echo chamber of hate to begin with and the behaviour of some people becomes absolutely appalling when anonymity comes into the picture.
 

Cabisco

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Eacaraxe said:
Is it legal over the phone, where it can be done with an equal amount of anonymity between public phone use, phreaking, and/or spoofing? How about mail, is it legal there? How about in person, is it legal to threaten to kill someone in person? If "no", then it shouldn't be bloody legal online, now should it.

The internet is not a privileged venue of telecommunications, where keyboard use is not some magical barrier from investigation, prosecution, and even conviction.
Pretty much this.

I wish I had more to add but that just sums up my feelings on the matter.