tsk tsk - askme and illegal activity February 11, 2005 8:55 PM   Subscribe

In this post about music downloading the subject of ask.metafilter questions being used for illegal means [+MI]
posted by filmgeek to Etiquette/Policy at 8:55 PM (27 comments total)

So, basically, it boils down to this: Can illegal questions be asked?

How to kill my wife? How to steal from my employer?

I point this out, not because I want to kill/steal.
Talking about either is not illegal. Additionally, many mefi users are outside of the US.

What about people who are interested in research, or just find the subjects interesting?

I feel by broaching this now, it will prevent the headaches later. Or did I miss this discussion already (and foolishly should have done more metatalk searching?)
posted by filmgeek at 8:58 PM on February 11, 2005


Yeah, this came up some time ago when someone asked how to dispose of a body.
posted by kindall at 9:29 PM on February 11, 2005


Going faster than the posted speed limit on the interstate is illegal.

Claiming more donations than you really donated is illegal.

Blow jobs, in Texas, are illegal.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 9:54 PM on February 11, 2005


i *heart* thoughtcrimes.
posted by keswick at 10:08 PM on February 11, 2005


Mr. Bucket:

Would a singular blow-job be okay?
posted by ODiV at 10:24 PM on February 11, 2005


ODiV, I know what you meant there, but that really sounded like solicitation for a moment.

Sorry, I'm tired. I'll go now.
posted by Stunt at 10:41 PM on February 11, 2005


He's from Mexico. Laws are different there.
posted by calwatch at 10:41 PM on February 11, 2005


Wow, first question I ask and I get a MeTa callout. It can only go uphill from here.

As far as Mexican laws, I don't even think there are any regarding file sharing. Still, here's my last comment from the original thread:

I phrased the question poorly. I apologize for that.

I have been thinking about iTunes, but as I mentioned, I plan to download a LOT of songs at first to build my library, since I have no songs now so iTunes would be too expensive. Basically, something like Napster would be ideal for me if I could burn them to CDs.

I didn't want to ask too specific a question because I have no idea what kind of services are out there (I never download music) and needed to keep responses more open.

Thank you all for answering.


I still don't think it's wrong to ask a question like that, but I don't get to decide what is right or wrong for this site, so I'll leave it up to you.
posted by Penks at 11:16 PM on February 11, 2005


Downloading music isn't illegal.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:47 AM on February 12, 2005


Can illegal questions be asked?

What exactly makes any question illegal? It certainly isn't the First Amendment. As far as I'm concerned, any question can be asked. If you feel that it's out of line, than don't give advice. Seems reasonable enough.

And on this particular post, I think it's unfair to assume he's looking for ways to illegally download music. Afterall...

Free is good, but I’d rather pay than have my PC full of spyware.
posted by panoptican at 1:04 AM on February 12, 2005


"Ask MetaFilter is a discussion area for sharing knowledge among members of MetaFilter."

Doesn't say "knowledge but only as it concerns acts legal within the US" or anything. MetaFilter has a global userbase, and as long as the hosting of the answers don't cause the webhost to be in violation of some law (like a question about how to kill the president, or what-not), I don't think legality should come into play.
posted by Jairus at 1:36 AM on February 12, 2005


You're wrong, any way, filmgeek; as is the guy that made this comment in the thread:

"allofmp3.com is good, since the word "legal" was noticeably absent from your post.

No. The word illegal was notably absent from the post. There's some really backwards thinking going on here, and I don't like it.
posted by nthdegx at 2:13 AM on February 12, 2005


Penks is not in the US, Mexican laws are different, and so are Swedish laws. So me and Penks can have a conversation, right? Or should we follow the law of where this server resides (USA)? Hmmmm.....
Only one man can answer that, seriously.
posted by dabitch at 2:46 AM on February 12, 2005


Mean Mr. Bucket: I'm proud to say that heterosexual blow jobs, are in fact legal in the great State of Texas. And the Supreme Court ruled that homosexual blow jobs are legal too.

Yay! Blow jobs for everybody!
posted by grouse at 3:05 AM on February 12, 2005


Sorry I'm late for this thread. I would've called out the illegality of the topic myself, but some friends were over at my house for a party last night, when somehow my brother found a gun in a shoebox behind the sofa. There was a lot of drinking involved, and it wasn't long before my brother and I ended up driving across state lines to bury some dead racehorse, which I know absolutely nothing about. What I'm wondering is, if the cops find out about this, should I pretty much forget about becoming a concert pianist and consider being a merchant marine instead? I'm sort of running out of options here...
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:16 AM on February 12, 2005


I totally am not criticizing the thread, or the illegal topics in metafilter.

At no point did I say we shouldn't do such a thing. Jesus jumping christ. I'm totally for discussions of such things.

I just want it on the record recorded in metatalk....

Penks, I totall think you should be able to ask any damn question you like.

nthdegx, let's reread, shall we?
"I point this out, not because I want to kill/steal.
Talking about either is not illegal. Additionally, many mefi users are outside of the US.

What about people who are interested in research, or just find the subjects interesting?"


I find the subjects interesting, and There are questions I intend to ask.
posted by filmgeek at 4:35 AM on February 12, 2005


It's weird to link to a thread that is discussing legal activities in order to spur discussion about whether questions about illegal activities should be allowed.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:31 AM on February 12, 2005


I think the question is fine. There have definitely been "How do I break the law?" questions that don't make it on there as well as "How do I kick the skank out of my house once I'm done shtupping her?" types of questions which also don't fly. While I agree that it's a good idea to be clear about what you're asking -- knowing Penks was in Mexico might have been helpful initially but people figured it out quickly enough -- talking about crime or immorality is not at all the same as the acts themselves except in rare cases. filmgeek, I know what you were after by asking this question, but it might be a more helpful question when paired with a more obvious example. There are a few more past threads that touch on this issue here and here.
posted by jessamyn at 6:44 AM on February 12, 2005


When did shtupping-related questions get their wings clipped?
posted by drpynchon at 6:52 AM on February 12, 2005


When did shtupping-related questions get their wings clipped?

They're fine actually, I paraphrased too politely. The actual shtupping question started Let's say you've just finished crackin' off on some lonely, drunk two-bit P.o.A. you picked up at a bar earlier that evening.... I dropped the guy a line and said if he wanted to lose the nasty tone he was welcome to post the question again.
posted by jessamyn at 7:17 AM on February 12, 2005


Blow jobs, in Texas, are illegal.

What about plo chops?
posted by jonmc at 7:37 AM on February 12, 2005


jessamyn, ah... that's fair.
posted by drpynchon at 7:39 AM on February 12, 2005


wow, jessamyn, that was loathsome. You get a lot of that kind of stuff?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:11 AM on February 12, 2005


You get a lot of that kind of stuff?

no, almost none actually, but when decisions get made that people disagree strongly with, stuff like that pops up more often.
posted by jessamyn at 10:41 AM on February 12, 2005


MetaTalk and AskMe are poor places to moralize, it's true, but I don't get the sense that filmgeek is doing that; he seems, in fact, to be trying to prevent numerous moralizing conversations from spilling out twill nilly by offering this thread as a place to hash out the larger issue.

What I hear from jessamyn is that when a post crosses their line, she or Matt will zap it. Other than that, if you don't like getting blowjobs while downloading mp3s, don't visit those threads.
posted by squirrel at 11:09 AM on February 12, 2005


Hypotheticaly, couldn't there be an illegal answer, one that promotes violence? For example, if you ask "How can I get rid of a dead body?" and you give an answer that's actualy used you could be guilty of something, maybe.
posted by delmoi at 11:33 AM on February 12, 2005


Other than that, if you don't like getting blowjobs while downloading mp3s, don't visit those threads.

I think squirrel has finally hit on a way to get people to pay for music downloads!
posted by kindall at 2:11 PM on February 12, 2005


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