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Considering screaming about free speech in your appeal? Maybe read this first.
Hi! I'm Pope Crunch, you may remember me from films such as 'the time you got banned for being a giant jerkwad and screamed about free speech in your ban appeal' or 'the time you got yelled at for using bigoted language, and your insufferable free speech defense turned what could have been a talking to into a ban'.  I'm here today to talk to you about what precisely free speech means, and why it is of absolutely no relevance here or, in fact, on the vast overwhelming majority of the internet.

Different countries have different laws regarding the freedom of speech, I'll focus mainly on United States law as that's where the majority of our players and admin staff hail from, but I'll also mention Canada (where the physical servers are located) and the European Union (where another large amount of our players and admin staff are located).  Most nations that have laws codifying free speech do so in a way that's not too terribly different from the United States.  In the US, freedom of speech is laid out in the First Amendment of the Constitution - I'll save you a trip to Wikipedia and paste it here.

Quote:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I'm sure you were expecting a paragraph or two defining the various caveats and explorations of the free speech clause of the first amendment in law, precedent from SCOTUS and lower courts, and whatnot - but none of that matters!  Read it again, carefully this time.  Can you find the magic word?

You found it! The magic word is 'law'!  The First Amendment only stops CONGRESS from passing a law to tell you to shut up.  The same is true of literally every time free speech concerns have been brought before the Supreme Court - the only time the First Amendment is relevant is if a governing agency is attempting to stifle speech, and even then, only if that stifling cannot be viewed as necessary for safety or security (Congress can't pass a law forbidding you from saying the word 'fire', but you can still be arrested for screaming it in a crowded theater and causing a panic that hurts or kills someone).

We're not the government.  We are not a service, division, agency, project, or program of any government; we are not affiliated with any government in any way beyond the fact that we're all citizens of one government or another.  We are a group of individuals, who manage computer assets owned and hosted by an individual, who allow the general public to access those assets in the intended manner, so long as they follow our rules.  We could (and have!) forbid access to entire time zones based on no other reasoning than that we thought it was pretty funny at the time, and there is absolutely no remedy to that in law, no matter where you live or whether or not there's gold fringe on the flag.

You're a private person, using another private person's private property.  (What's with the repeated invocation of the word private? I'll get to that, but it's legal nerdery you probably don't care about.) We get to put limits on how we'll let you use it, because it's our stuff.

Now: What if, and I'm just spitballing here... what if you wanted to do stuff with our stuff that we DIDN'T want? What then?  Too fucking bad, that's what!  Get your own stuff.


Quote:2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
© freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.


False.  It's our stuff, we get to say how you can use it.  Since you're using our assets, anything you do with those assets is effectively making OUR stuff do stuff, and by extension making us say stuff.  Your freedom of expression does not allow you to compel speech on the part of others.  It also specifically calls out hate speech and other defamatory language as not protected - RSC 1985, c. C-46, 298 (1) to be precise.

  • 298 (1) A defamatory libel is matter published, without lawful justification or excuse, that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published.
  • Marginal note:  Mode of expression
    (2) A defamatory libel may be expressed directly or by insinuation or irony
    • (a) in words legibly marked on any substance; or
    • (b) by any object signifying a defamatory libel otherwise than by words.

Translation: If you're a big jerk and holler things that is intended to or likely to be insulting or exposing them to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, that's a no-no.  Don't like it? Don't be Canadian.

Quote:Freedom of expression and information
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
2. The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.

Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union, title 2, article 11.  You absolutely have the right to freedom of expression!  So do we!  We choose to exercise our right to freedom of expression by saying 'You can't use our stuff in certain ways.'  As we are neither a government, nor a public authority, this is just fine! And even if it wasn't, who cares as we're not European.

The point of all of this is that you have absolutely no rights to free speech here.  We can refuse you access at any time, for any reason.  This is not a threat to your freedom of speech, it's refusal to let you use our megaphone.  You are more than welcome to get your own megaphone.

I'm glad we had this fun little talk! I don't expect to hear any more whimpering about how your right to use racial slurs is being hampered illegally by those villainous goonstation admins - because it's simply false, and makes you appear ignorant at best and a fool at worst.  Thank you for continuing to be excellent to each other, I love you all.

(BONUS EXPLANATION NO AVERAGE PERSON IS EXPECTED TO GIVE A DAMN ABOUT: I invoked the word 'private' several times because it's a legal term of art that defines the difference between public expectations of access to property - let's invent an example of a house with a large front yard, and let's say this is my house so it makes it easier to write about.  If I have a fence around my front yard, or a NO TRESSPASSING sign, or any indication that the average schmuck could understand to mean 'this is not someplace i can assume I have permission to be', then that is PRIVATE PROPERTY. I might or might not let you be there, and if I do let you be there, I get to put restrictions on what you can do there.

What if I don't have a fence or any signs?  The fact that it's a blank space in front of a house, which the average schmuck understands as a 'front yard', implies to the average observer that the area is part of the same parcel of land that contains the house, and therefore the same restrictions apply.  Wait, if that's the case, why do NO TRESPASSING signs exist?  Mainly to eliminate the idiot defense - 'uh i live in a collapsed sewage tank by the train station, i've literally never encountered a front yard before, therefore it's unreasonable to assume i'd know i wasn't allowed there' but with a dash of shifting liability (WAHH i was playing in your front yard and hurt myself, so I'm suing you!  welp too bad, kid, you walked past a big NO TRESPASSING sign to get there, so you're screwed) or making it more difficult to obtain title to the property via adverse posession (simply beyond the scope of this essay to explain, but an interesting topic nonetheless).

What if there IS a sign, but it says 'yo check out my front yard, you can be here, it's all good'?  WELL NOW.  Now we're blurring the lines between private and public property!  I still own the front yard, so it's not public property in the sense that a park owned by the city is, but I'm expressly granting license to everyone to use the property, so I give up a lot of my ability to exclude a given person or class of people from that property!  If there are NO signs, I can tell fuckin' Greg to pound sand because I don't like him, but if there's an 'all are welcome' sign, then I have to be able to point to some reason fuckin' Greg can't be there, like a rule he broke or something, in case fuckin' Greg goes yappin' to the captain and I wind up in front of a judge.

Fun fact! This means that we're actually BEING NICER ABOUT ACCESS THAN WE HAVE TO BE - we would be perfectly within our rights to ban any given player from accessing our servers for any reason or no reason - but we don't do that, because that would be a jerk move.  We make it very clear when you connect to the game that this environment has rules, we include a link to where you can find the rules in that message, and we clearly state that not following the rules might get you banned.)

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