Be careful of what you post

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Be careful of what you post

Postby John_Perkowski » Mon May 25, 2015 10:48 am

All,

We've had a discreet heads-up, members of the media may be using us as a source.

Please be careful of what you post, especially if it's about a person. If you post something which slanders or libels another person, this entire domain could be shut down in very short order.

The staff at railroad.net, save Jeff Smith, are all volunteers. We do it for the love of the hobby.

Please, always think before you post.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby Cosmo » Mon May 25, 2015 7:23 pm

Let me be the first to second that. This forum has been around long enough for media to regard it as a source. ALWAYS be aware that this is a PUBLIC forum and ANYONE could read it at any time! Just like anything else on the web! I would not be the first nor likely the last to say "THINK before you post," but they are words best repeated, heeded, and ignored at one's own peril.
And remember, even though threads get locked and posts get deleted, ANYTHING posted on the internet is there to stay! Someone, somewhere can find a way to retrieve it.
Let's be careful out there, and remember this forum is supposed to be FUN.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby MEC407 » Tue May 26, 2015 9:16 am

Thank you for the reminder, Mr. Perkowski.

This actually isn't anything new. Our site was cited in the media during the terrible Lac-Mégantic tragedy. And probably even before that.

Obviously we don't want people to feel afraid to post their thoughts/questions/comments. But I do encourage people to think twice (or thrice) if they're tempted to post something about an individual. A certain railroad president has, in fact, taken people to court when he disagreed with what they wrote about him! Both cases were eventually dismissed IIRC, but still, who wants to go through the time/hassle/expense of defending themselves against a libel lawsuit?
Last edited by MEC407 on Wed May 27, 2015 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby BandA » Tue May 26, 2015 11:53 pm

Call me naive, but aren't reporters required to ask permission before plagiarising someone's writings? And a good reporter is supposed to protect their sources.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby Backshophoss » Wed May 27, 2015 12:26 am

With some "news outlets" will use any info to their advantage,to "spin" it for their liking,then call it fact.
By that,meaning the some of the Broadcast versions of the mags/papers seen at supermarket checkouts,
and the wide spread use of social media sites.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby BandA » Wed May 27, 2015 12:31 am

Yeah, ethics and competence are out the window these days at even major outlets. Although the larger papers still have better grammar and writing structure.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby Greg Moore » Wed May 27, 2015 6:22 am

BandA wrote:Call me naive, but aren't reporters required to ask permission before plagiarising someone's writings? And a good reporter is supposed to protect their sources.

Possibly.

A lot depends on their ethics, their employer and what they're writing.

"Members of the site Railroad.net speculate that train 188 was derailed due to an alien UFO being on the tracks" would probably past muster with most places. It cites the source and doesn't quote anyone.

"Member BandA of the site Railroad.net speculates that train 188 derailed due to the use of Styrofoam wheels and balsa wood rails" would probably not past muster at most places.

"At Railroad.net, member Snidely Whiplash said, 'I was given direct permission by the CEO of Amtrak to tie a helpless maiden to the the tracks. I routinely do this and the conductor Dudley Do-Right would routinely provide me with misbehaving passengers to do this with' " would probably not pass muster and possibly open Snidely up to libel proceedings and could possibly open up Railroad.net to charges under various laws.

(note, I am NOT a lawyer, just one with strong interest in this area. Do not take my comments above as legal advice, they're worth even less than what you paid for them.)
In addition I agree with the original sentiment regardless, think before you post. I know I have at times been privy to inside information that I've not commented on. In part because I didn't want to possibly get the source(s) in trouble and because I didn't want to abuse my trust with them.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby Tadman » Wed May 27, 2015 8:32 am

Given the completely asinine CBS2 report on NJT's "speeding" issues, wherein the reporter used a hobbyist radar gun, an iphone app, and statements from a "safety worker" who was not shown, named, or even titled (safety worker is not a title, it's a vague concept), I would not trust the news much these days.

Given that analogy, it would not surprise me if the news media picks a few out-of-context soundbytes from this site and twists them to back up anything they want to say. If you've ever seen a thread where people area asking and answering questions that were already asked/answered a page back, you know that even the most well-meaning of us miss things sometimes.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed May 27, 2015 3:20 pm

Here is more regarding Mr. Dunville's immediate comment:

WCBS New York
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby Gerry6309 » Wed May 27, 2015 3:34 pm

Back in the Amtrak Accident Thread, I posted my concerns about some of the conjecture on here ending up in the media as "fact". Needless to say, it did! Please engage brain before posting. Nobody wants to see this site shut down because of a libel suit.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby MEC407 » Wed May 27, 2015 4:22 pm

Tadman wrote:...and statements from a "safety worker" who was not shown, named, or even titled (safety worker is not a title, it's a vague concept), I would not trust the news much these days.


A whistleblower who chooses to be anonymous, out of fear of retaliation and/or termination, should not necessarily be a reason to be suspicious of the report. Many legitimate safety problems in many different industries have been brought to light by employees who had valid reasons for wanting to stay anonymous. Oftentimes those anonymous whistleblowers are the only way such issues would ever be made public, and in many cases those industries have become safer because of it.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby NHV 669 » Wed May 27, 2015 4:35 pm

Tadman wrote:Given the completely asinine CBS2 report on NJT's "speeding" issues, wherein the reporter used a hobbyist radar gun, an iphone app, and statements from a "safety worker" who was not shown, named, or even titled (safety worker is not a title, it's a vague concept), I would not trust the news much these days.


My thoughts exactly. The idea that that garbage piece of reporting/writing is what passes for a news story for a major corporate affiliate these days is alarming. No wonder people are afraid of the railroad industry, the media is fear-mongering them to death.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby Tadman » Wed May 27, 2015 8:15 pm

MEC407 wrote:
Tadman wrote:...and statements from a "safety worker" who was not shown, named, or even titled (safety worker is not a title, it's a vague concept), I would not trust the news much these days.


A whistleblower who chooses to be anonymous, out of fear of retaliation and/or termination, should not necessarily be a reason to be suspicious of the report. Many legitimate safety problems in many different industries have been brought to light by employees who had valid reasons for wanting to stay anonymous. Oftentimes those anonymous whistleblowers are the only way such issues would ever be made public, and in many cases those industries have become safer because of it.


I don't have a problem with whistle blowers. I have a problem with someone holding themselves out falsely as a "safety worker" and positing a poorly-informed personal opinion on train speeds through stations as fact. In reality, NJT has an engineering staff that sets speed limits according to best practice.

Were that person really a whistle blower, they would have cited regulations in a governing authority - such as speeds listed in an employee timetable - and then stated that those speeds were being materially exceeded. CBS would've verified their identity and noted that they had indeed checked this person out. Neither happened, which makes a strong case for sensationalized reporting. Barf.
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby David Benton » Wed May 27, 2015 8:24 pm

Does anyone have a link to an instance of a forum been sued for material posted by one of its posters?
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Re: Be careful of what you post

Postby Greg Moore » Wed May 27, 2015 8:46 pm

David Benton wrote:Does anyone have a link to an instance of a forum been sued for material posted by one of its posters?


Quick search doesn't find anything, but websites certainly can be served with a subpoena to turn over materials and logs.

Depending on whether the site decides to resist this (and they may legitimate reasons to do so) and how much is required, the cost of this alone can be substantial.

I'd have to poke around further to see if any websites themselves have been sued. I wouldn't be surprised though if it could happen. Especially if the site had been previously warned that for example certain members may be sharing trade secrets or other IP. It's one reason Youtube is so quick to execute DCMA takedowns. If they failed to, they could have bigger issues. But that's pretty much copyright, not libel.;

I'd start by looking more at DCMA, something I only have a cursory familiarity with at this time.
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