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Is this really an appropriate AskMe?
June 1, 2010 2:07 PM   Subscribe

I thought AskMe questions about illegal activities were against the guidelines? Is vandalism not an illegal activity?
posted by entropicamericana to Etiquette/Policy at 2:07 PM (76 comments total)

You realize that you're promoting the question, which will cause more people to read it and give advice, right?
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:11 PM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's debateable. We don't know where the person lives or what the laws are like, and I don't know if you've ever seen Bansky's work, but some of it is pretty thought provoking and artistic.

Attaching a poster to a bridge pillar isn't nearly as bad as the much, much harder to reverse damage done by either spray paint or chemicals used in tagging things.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:14 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. So you didn't see the dead body post?
2. I don't know how to answer this because "not an illegal.." sounds like a double negative or something (or maybe something you just walk around screaming in Arizona to keep the cops away) and the whole sentence confuses the hell out of me.
posted by HuronBob at 2:15 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're assuming the bridge pillar hasn't been declared as a public arts project by the city. There are plenty of sandbox/commons spaces in urban areas where street artists are allowed to express themselves.
posted by griphus at 2:16 PM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The question is vague enough that there's plenty of space for assuming that the asker has, for example, been contracted by his local council to "install some street art" vs assuming that the asker is illegally vandalising public property.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:22 PM on June 1, 2010


This is a post about someone expending time, effort and money to do something creative in a public space. It ranks pretty low on my list of illegal things that should be kept off the internets, and it's not a short list.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:25 PM on June 1, 2010


Of course the AskMe is appropriate. It's a question which can be answered.

If you don't like it, FIAMO and let the mods worry about it from there.

Vandalism is a loaded word, anyway.
posted by hippybear at 2:25 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not great, but we'd have to do some mindreading to put it solidly in the deleteworthy category. That said the "Um, I'm writing a book, how do you get out of paying sales tax on a car you've bought...?" question was deleted.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:25 PM on June 1, 2010


But I thought the "writing a book" canard was unimpeachable!
posted by Mister_A at 2:27 PM on June 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm writing a book about my canard, IYKWIM(AITYD).
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:34 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So did the person asking the question. They were wrong.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:34 PM on June 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


How do you know I didn't sell them that bridge?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:35 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dear AskMe ... I left this tuna sandwich sitting on the counter overnight. Can I tag it?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:49 PM on June 1, 2010


When it comes me 'liberating' billboards, the method of application goes a long way in the crimes involved. In the context of the question, 'best' can equal 'most legal', as a non-permanent adhesive can change a vandalism to littering.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:54 PM on June 1, 2010


So basically there's no hard rules regarding this...its just whatever the mods feel like doing depending on their personal preferences backed by some general assumptions.

No offense mods, but thats what you're doing. You've been responding to a few of these "ask the mods" questions with "yeah, its not ok...but its ok this time because we say so".

I really mean no offense. My purpose in writing this comment is the hope that my comment will improve the community.

If you guys are ok with what you're doing, then cool. I trust you guys in making this a good community because of your work so far. But that doesn't mean I won't point out stuff when I disagree.

Cool?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:56 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, we should definitely get rid of these questions about making the world a more beautiful place so as to make sure we have plenty of room for all those "I'm pretty sure deep down I know I need to dump this person but I need 50 people to suggest therapy and dumpage to goad me into action" relationship questions.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:00 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: "So did the person asking the question. They were wrong"

YEAHHhhh

Re the meta question:
1) What if the poster owns the property?
2) What if the poster has gotten permission from the owner?

It is a bridge and unlikely that it is owned privately, but it's not out of the question.
posted by boo_radley at 3:03 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rules! Laws! Steel-toe bright green alligator cowboy boots drawing a line in the sand, forever!
posted by carsonb at 3:06 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


We need a Metafilter Supreme Court for definitive rulings on the LIFE-OR-DEATH matters.
posted by GuyZero at 3:13 PM on June 1, 2010


That which is not explicitly permitted must be denied! With flames and gnashing and terrifying loud noises!
posted by five fresh fish at 3:19 PM on June 1, 2010


Doesn't the Metafilter Death Panel convene every Tuesday at IHOP?

If not, I wonder who are those guys I've been meeting with...
posted by qvantamon at 3:20 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm actually writing a story about a town council who asks this guy to put up a poster on a little brick bridge that he owns on his property to help the Council to beautify the town. There's not a whole lot of dramatic tension and it ends happily for all.
posted by yeti at 3:22 PM on June 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


So basically there's no hard rules regarding this...its just whatever the mods feel like doing depending on their personal preferences backed by some general assumptions.

None taken. The general policy is "please do not ask questions about how to do things that are illegal because they may be deleted" And there has been an ongoing discussion about what that really means in MeTa over the years where we've simplified that by "illegal" we usually mean "something that would cause the heat to come down on the site if AskMe were determined to be a place where people got answers like that"

So further interpretations have basically summed up like this

Don't much care [we mostly won't delete these]
- drugs [but not "how to buy weed in XYZ location"]
- infidelity [but maybe not "how to cheat on my spouse so it's undetectable" because that's just a question that won't go well
- copyright nonsense [but please not "how to steal shit"]

Care more [we may likely delete these]
- larger scale crimes [how to break into a house/computer/whatever]
- internet crime stuff [how to get meds without a prescription, other ways of using internet stuff to get around local laws]
- touchy crime stuff [kiddie porn, gun crimes, not sure what else would fit here]
- high profile crime [vs celebrities or people who will sue us]

Care a lot [i.e. never okay]
- suicide [not a crime many places but falls into the 'don't do this here' avenue]
- revenge questions
- things that need to be totally 100% no one can ever tell anonymous [whether about crme or not]

The reason we have human moderators and not robots or flag threshhold deletions is because we think it's good for us to judge the edge cases on these sorts of things. Most of the time it's less of a value judgement thing and more a "what is going to cause a huge shitstorm, with lawyers and shit?" And at the end of the day we don't think that having a question deleted is going to really be a huge watershed moment in someone's life. You ask again next week or you shrug and move on. It's no secret that we've got guidelines and not hard and fast rules for most stuff. However, it's also not personal preferences, it's a set of evolving use cases over time. If AskMe was just what I personally did or did not approve of it would look very different.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:33 PM on June 1, 2010 [25 favorites]


There's actually nothing in the guidelines regarding illegal activities. The unofficial guideline in the past was more about curtailing questions that could get metafilter into legal trouble. It has since seemed to be further refined due to the popularity of the site; they don't want it to become a forum for explicitly getting information on breaking the law. I don't think it's a matter of whther the mods agree with the law or not, just that it if there's a reasonable legal interpretation, it's not a problem for the site.
posted by team lowkey at 3:34 PM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Or what jessamyn said.
posted by team lowkey at 3:34 PM on June 1, 2010


There needs to be a blog or a page on the wiki for collecting these moderator policy dumps. Someone who's not deathly lazy wanna help a mefite out?
posted by carsonb at 4:01 PM on June 1, 2010


OP: I think this MeTa makes more of a statement about you and what you find objectionable.
Please don't move to my neighborhood, OK?
posted by dunkadunc at 4:11 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone who's not deathly lazy wanna help a mefite out?

I started this. Maybe someone else can find some other examples so it doesn't look so weird and empty. I'll look through my favorited stuff on MeTa and see if there's other stuff I could add.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:22 PM on June 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Dr Dracator writes "This is a post about someone expending time, effort and money to do something creative in a public space. It ranks pretty low on my list of illegal things that should be kept off the internets, and it's not a short list."

I love the assumption that the "art" in question is creative and beautifing (and therefor not vandalous graffiti) even if it's intentionally implied with equivalence to "He's an artist not a vandal" Bansky. The vinyl the poster wants to permanently affix could be "Yes to Prop 8", "No to prop 8", or "Mayor Quiby is a crook".

hal_c_on writes "So basically there's no hard rules regarding this...its just whatever the mods feel like doing depending on their personal preferences backed by some general assumptions"

Yes, exactly. Though I'd temper personal preference with Group Mod preference.
posted by Mitheral at 4:33 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't like the framing of "I thought illegal activities were against the guidelines". It's implying that we should defer to another set of community standards, namely those of whichever government's set of laws you had in mind, instead of setting our own. We're a small enough community that we can police incidents on a case by case basis without relying on a codified set of policies, so there's no need to import them. But more importantly, there are likely to be cases where the community's emergent definitions of acceptable behavior and the codified government definitions do not match (e.g. copyright, marijuana, airport security, etc). Public dissent from unjust laws is important; laws change over time to serve the people, not the other way around. The fact that activities may be illegal in the US is not a good enough reason in and of itself not to discuss them.
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:49 PM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


namely those of whichever government's set of laws you had in mind

Other than Somalia or some other anarchist's paradise, I'm curious which governments allow vandalism. Not saying the post in question should go, but I do wonder about this odd line of reasoning when it gets pedaled out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:01 PM on June 1, 2010


Well, since the illegality of the act is an argument against allowing the post, I was questioning whether it matters if it's illegal or not. I was arguing generally that "illegal" is an inappropriate word for a community like Metafilter because it implies jurisdiction that isn't there. You could argue that Metafilter-the-website has to obey US laws, but it doesn't follow that Metafilter-the-collection-of-discussions needs to discuss things that obey US laws. It's easy enough to construct examples of behaviors that might be illegal in one place but legal elsewhere, even behaviors that involve pasting things in public spaces; that's a good reason not to use legality as a basis for acceptable topics on Metafilter, since you often don't know enough specifics to determine legality.
posted by PercussivePaul at 5:15 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


(But even if you could determine that an act was illegal, that's still not a good reason not to discuss it, for the other reasons I mentioned)
posted by PercussivePaul at 5:21 PM on June 1, 2010


I'm curious which governments allow vandalism

These guys
posted by qvantamon at 5:25 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


How do I smash windows more efficiently?
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:33 PM on June 1, 2010


These guys

Ha!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:36 PM on June 1, 2010


Jessamyn,

Thanks. That list is kinda complete; wow! You should consider amending the FAQ with that.

Also, on a side note...wondering which users on MeFi asked about kiddie porn.
Weird, gross...and I wonder who asked...hmmmm???
posted by hal_c_on at 5:37 PM on June 1, 2010


Those kleptocratic bastards are why the pump don't work.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:38 PM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


turgid dahlia: "How do I smash windows more efficiently"

Live in a glass house?
posted by boo_radley at 5:41 PM on June 1, 2010


You could argue that Metafilter-the-website has to obey US laws

I have no opinion about that. I'm just questioning the spurious notion being put forward that the legality of vandalism is really a locale-specific matter. I'm sure the details about what happens to you if you get caught, etc. are different (a fine here, a stoning there) but it seems questionable to argue that messing up public or private property is okay anywhere where Ask Metafilter users live on Planet Earth.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:42 PM on June 1, 2010


I'm curious which governments allow vandalism

You can read all about it here...

and about the United States doing it...in their own country!!!
posted by hal_c_on at 5:43 PM on June 1, 2010


I don't even think anyone has ever asked about kiddie porn, but I could see a few possible angles where a question might be seen as answerable to the OP and at the same time would just totally flip out the userbase so much that it's just not really answerable in this context.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:44 PM on June 1, 2010


Poor jess/cortex/matt/pb/vacapinta. Some day I'm going to post this AskMe,

"I'm writing a book about frustrated mods on a hypothetical community blog that deal with thread-shitting and bean-plating on a daily basis.

In my book, they patiently explain the site policies, defending both deletions and non-deletions on a case-by-case basis, day after day, ad infinitum (even before their morning coffee).

I'm writing the book from the first-person perspective. What specific thoughts might the mods--my hypothetical characters--REALLY have as they go through these processes? Please be specific. Profanity is acceptable."
posted by misha at 6:03 PM on June 1, 2010 [16 favorites]


Calling it "vandalism" presupposes it is illegal. Plenty of cities have public spaces that allow uses which might be considered vandalism in other contexts. Also, the political climate in some places is more favorable towards public art, such that acts which may be technically illegal are not policed and are thus de facto permissible, within certain bounds. "Art" graffiti, for example, provided it has enough public support, may gain a following with local populations. A simple example is the "rainbow tunnel" in Toronto - a little culvert regularly repainted in rainbow colours, visible from a major highway, quite beloved by the citizens there, and tolerated by officials (who painted over it once but got an earful and relented).
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:05 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Poor jess/cortex/matt/pb/vacapinta.

Yeah, I don't really feel bad about the their job; you know they love it and would never quit.

If any of them DID quit and needed to be replaced, Matt would get more applications than that Australian island that was paying $100K to someone who can live on the island and clean the pools for 12 hours a month for a year.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:16 PM on June 1, 2010


I'm curious which governments allow vandalism.

I think the issue here is what counts as vandalism. I doubt if smashing other people windows is legal in many jurisdictions, but what about a member of the public putting up a poster on publicly accessible publicly owned structure? Should this be considered vandalism and be illegal, or should it considered use of public space for the exercise of free speech? It is debatable, and it does vary with jurisdiction.

The town I live in now does allow certain types of "tagging" in certain areas (they're mostly non-permanent political messages and announcements, but sometimes just tags), that would be illegal elsewhere.
posted by nangar at 6:19 PM on June 1, 2010


"rainbow tunnel" in Toronto - a little culvert regularly repainted in rainbow colours, visible from a major highway, quite beloved by the citizens there, and tolerated by officials (who painted over it once but got an earful and relented).

I love stuff like that, thanks.
posted by shinybaum at 6:25 PM on June 1, 2010


You know who's unimpeachable?
jessamyn, that's who!
Yay jessamyn!
posted by Mister_A at 6:35 PM on June 1, 2010


Other than Somalia or some other anarchist's paradise, I'm curious which governments allow vandalism

The AskMe was talking about pillars and such, right? In my hometown, they allowed people to put art on utility boxes--you could call that government sanctioned vandalism, if you like.
posted by librarylis at 6:41 PM on June 1, 2010


The AskMe was talking about pillars and such, right? In my hometown, they allowed people to put art on utility boxes--you could call that government sanctioned vandalism, if you like.

Again and again, I realize come to the conclusion that California is awesome for the people that live in it...and almost everyone else is jealous and/or hateful of it.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:48 PM on June 1, 2010


Plenty of cities have public spaces that allow uses which might be considered vandalism in other contexts.

These are almost always special, exceptional cases that I'd say were stretching the point you're trying to make, since they are on the edge of being tolerated within the framework of the law and the common, shared, non-legal understanding of the word "vandalism".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:58 PM on June 1, 2010


> Again and again, I realize come to the conclusion that California is awesome for the people that live in it...and almost everyone else is jealous and/or hateful of it.

Eh, no doubt plenty of people have a rough time living in Cali, and no doubt plenty of people like myself enjoy visiting there but enjoy getting back home also.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:01 PM on June 1, 2010


Gainesville, Fl has a bunch of public walls and spaces with murals and art. This being the most well known.
posted by oddman at 7:17 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm curious which governments allow vandalism.

I have no idea if it's sanctioned by city government at all, but there's an alley near where I live in Cambridge, MA that is basically a rotating street art exhibit. It's awesome.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:40 PM on June 1, 2010


To be clear, my argument was not "the legality of vandalism is really a locale-specific matter" (that's your phrasing); that would be a tough argument to make since vandalism is a crime pretty much by definition. I would be willing to argue though that the legality of pasting paper materials in public spaces depends on a lot of things, including locale, and it might be vandalism or it might not, and that on Metafilter we should not condemn someone for asking about how to do it.
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:41 PM on June 1, 2010


Since when is it illegal to talk about this or that?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:44 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


there's an alley near where I live in Cambridge, MA that is basically a rotating street art exhibit. It's awesome.

I like Banksy. I have no problem with the question staying up. I just agree with hal_c_on that we should be honest about why it is really staying up, and deciding whether it is illegal in the United States or not is pretty much irrelevant to the issue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:04 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah I'm not sure if I can make this any more clear but "This involves a law we don't care that much about, but generally you should try to not ask questions that are overtly about doing something that is reviled and/or against the law"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:06 PM on June 1, 2010


there's a reason i comment here and only read reddit/digg/fark/etc and that reason is mostly, if not completely, the mods.

having a living, breathing mod team is a feature, not a bug.
posted by nadawi at 8:40 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lots of every bridges (and sidings and construction sites and so forth) around here get covered with posters advertising bands. I've wondered whether this is legal and, if not, why the bands or their agents don't get sued. I suspect it's one of those things that might be against a law (like littering) or might be trespass to property, but which generally gets overlooked. And there are lots of things like this - brushing past someone in the street may technically constitute an assault, many (most?) cars in the street are parked illegally, newspaper vendors rarely if ever provide a receipt detailing the amount of GST (sales tax) that has been charged. I don't think a question about posters on bridges is out of order. Even if they're technically illegal (do you know that they are?) they're generally tolerated, and there's no reason why the moderators ought to be more punctilious than the police or property owners.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:50 PM on June 1, 2010


Oh shit you mean I shredded and peeled a jin-yew-wine peesa aht off my work after yet another shitassed Banksy wannabe wheatpasted a series of truly mediocre drawings to various walls, doors, posts and suchlike along the lane last summer? I probably could have retired off of that thing, or at least basked in its wonderous wonderfulness, if I wasn't such a beastly philistine.

Since when is it illegal to talk about this or that?

I'll explain it to you at the bank heist planning session.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:03 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Certainly in Australia it is common for local governments to set aside areas for "public art" murals where spray paint art is encouraged. Near me there is a skate park with walls where it is allowed. In the city I know a few pedestrian tunnels where it is the same.
Similarly there are posts when the pasting of bills is explicitly allowed, with the hope less will appear in places people are annoyed by them.
And some council workers in Melbourne got excoriated for painting over a banksy lately.
posted by bystander at 11:39 PM on June 1, 2010


This public art is a tourist attraction in Belfast.

Not that it necessarily compares to a vinyl poster on a bridge pillar though.

Your complaint has come up against the wall of community standards, most people here aren't bothered by a little copyright infringement or a bit of graffiti/street art, and considering that the Asker isn't looking for advice on good spraypaint to use for tagging, you aren't going to have much luck.
posted by knapah at 3:48 AM on June 2, 2010


I've wondered whether this is legal and, if not, why the bands or their agents don't get sued.

Big-label artists have promotions people, who employ 'street teams' ('employ' might not be the right word, as these folks are often compensated with stickers, merch, access, etc.), who are often minors and are often given instructions not much more specific than 'get our name out there.' Street team members are often minors, which limits their personal liability, and they're usually both fans of the artist and interested in careers in the industry, which presumably inclines them to keep their mouths shut.

I'm no expert in any of this stuff, but I think it's a fascinating system. Like payola, but with cheaper payoffs and more layers of insulation.
posted by box at 5:50 AM on June 2, 2010


Oops, didn't mean to say 'often minors' twice.
posted by box at 5:51 AM on June 2, 2010


On a related note, Banksy was recently in Toronto and when some of the pieces got covered up, local street artists employed countermeasures.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:37 AM on June 2, 2010


I'm curious which governments allow vandalism.

This isn't necessarily vandalism as others have pointed out. Besides there being allowable places in some cities, using paste to stick posters on public property is constitutionally protected in Canada. It's a form of free expression.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:51 AM on June 2, 2010


These are not "illegal activities." They are undocumented activities.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:44 AM on June 2, 2010


I love the assumption that the "art" in question is creative and beautifing (and therefor not vandalous graffiti)

Someone putting this much effort into the project is doing something beyond just scrawling on a wall. Even if it's not exactly your cup of tea, it's done with creativity and intent, which already makes it worthwhile. Unless the art is being put up on pristine and well-kept buildings, I can't even understand how someone would object.
posted by mdn at 7:46 AM on June 2, 2010


mdn writes "Someone putting this much effort into the project is doing something beyond just scrawling on a wall. Even if it's not exactly your cup of tea, it's done with creativity and intent, which already makes it worthwhile."

Or maybe the have a (pro-choice/pro-life) (pro gay marriage/pro one man one woman) (pro/anti immigrant) axe to grind. If the art is of an aborted foetus than ya, I might object even if the building isn't pristine and well-kept.
posted by Mitheral at 7:59 AM on June 2, 2010


another location where art/graffiti is specifically allowed
posted by epersonae at 9:16 AM on June 2, 2010


well, I'm just thinking of how the police in the east village used to remove/ paint over the mosaics that Jim Powers put up all over what used to be a fairly delapidated area. Political or religious propaganda is obviously more complicated. But simple artistic expression is often technically illegal if not endorsed or authorized by the city, and it just seems silly that beautiful work is destroyed based on equating creativity with vandalism.
posted by mdn at 9:42 AM on June 2, 2010


Unless the art is being put up on pristine and well-kept buildings, I can't even understand how someone would object.

Well, you might if it was your building. If someone has vandallzed something of yours, you tend to be touchier about this. If you are a former tagger, you can't see anyone sweating it. And most of us fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

For the record, I can't get myself too incensed about all this, but arguing that it's cool to do this kind of thing because you like the banksy posters really doesn't enter into the whole, "Is it technically legal?" argument.

The official policy on these kinds of things on Mefi tends to revolve more around community consensus than legality.

Legality comes up only when matt or the site could be considered liable in some way, or if the OP is egregious with the "nudge, nudge, wink wink help me break the law" aspect, like the recent thread on not paying to taxes on car registration.
posted by misha at 10:58 AM on June 2, 2010


This link is great. thanks jessamyn, i am reading it now. In Honour of this link I am going to do a post entitled "Look at these stunning assholes."
posted by marienbad at 1:18 PM on June 2, 2010


Marienbad, I learned something the first of your links. It cautions us against friendslinking. You know ... slinking. You shouldn't do it with your friends. Because ... it's sneaky I guess. Anyway, avoid friendslinking. Slink with strangers instead.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:28 PM on June 2, 2010


Every time I have a new employee at work, I have to give them a variation of this talk: I do not care if you are high while at work so long as no negative consequences come from you being high. If people can tell that you are high or you do a poor job because you are high or if you get caught getting high, I will have to fire you, no matter how much I like you or whether we have gotten high together outside of work. I can't tell you that you can break the law as long as you don't get caught, but if you don't get caught there is no way for me to know that you are breaking the law.

My job is not to catch or fire stoners, my job is to make sure that my canvassers do their jobs well. There are some folks for whom getting high is not an impediment (even though it is for me). It's not the job of Metafilter members to make sure that other Metafilter members are not breaking the law. It's not the job of Metafilter members to make sure that AskMetafilter questions couldn't lead to lawbreaking. If you don't have an answer, go ahead and skip the question. If you think that real harm may befall Metafilter by leaving the question up, go ahead and flag it. But take that moment to contemplate and realistically assess the danger—no cop is going to peddle through someone's AskMe history to prove they did paste ups. Generally, cops don't even care about graffiti unless they're forced to or it's tied to another crime. I know that some members get their thongs wedged over the idea of graffiti or even someone else breaking the law, but they need to trust that Metafilter members are smart, decent people who know the difference between carving gang signs into bus windows with a nail and making public art even without authorization. Laws handle nuance poorly, but we should parse it ably.
posted by klangklangston at 7:36 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


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