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Author Topic: Dalhousie Facebook scandal  (Read 1746 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« on: January 05, 2015, 10:39:16 AM »
Taken from the news thread:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/dalhousie-facebook-posts-completely-unacceptable-says-professor-1.2889231

Apparently, a group of male university students made a Facebook group where they discussed their female colleagues in lewd language and voted who they'd like to knock out with chloroform and rape.

What do you think about it? Acceptable behaviour or not? My first instinct is that saying such things about a colleague is just wrong. On the other hand, I've been told here on the forums that fantasisizing about having sex with say, a woman you meet at work is actually okay... So, where's the line?

Offline Caehlim

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2015, 11:28:22 AM »
Apparently, a group of male university students made a Facebook group where they discussed their female colleagues in lewd language and voted who they'd like to knock out with chloroform and rape.

I read through the report the professors supplied and just in the interests of complete accuracy, they actually voted on which of two students they would like to... hate f****. Which, at least as far as my knowledge of slang goes doesn't necessarily refer to sexual assault or non-consensual activity but rather sex in which the passion is derived not from intimacy, nor mere physical attraction but instead disliking the person. It usually implies rough sex, degradation and a disregard for their well-being, but isn't synonymous with NC activity.

They also responded to photos of attractive women with statements like "does this cloth smell like chloroform to you".

However there was no cross-over, so I don't believe they ever voted on sexually assaulting women with the assistance of drugs.

Quote
My first instinct is that saying such things about a colleague is just wrong. On the other hand, I've been told here on the forums that fantasisizing about having sex with say, a woman you meet at work is actually okay... So, where's the line?

Saying something where other people can hear it is very different from thinking privately about something.

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Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2015, 11:38:52 AM »
At the very least I think it's crass and in poor taste; at worst it's just plain wrong. I don't think there's any evidence of follow-through (thank God), but I think these could be easily construed as threats.

Stupid is as stupid does. :\

Offline Blythe

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2015, 11:48:57 AM »
Saying something where other people can hear it is very different from thinking privately about something.

Caehlim's above statement sums up that line quite well.

Anyways, once these individuals posted what they did to Facebook and made it public where work colleagues, professors, or other students could potentially see, it ceased to remain in the purview of 'private conversation' or 'private fantasy' and became public. And there are consequences for that sort of public behavior.

At the very least I think it's crass and in poor taste; at worst it's just plain wrong. I don't think there's any evidence of follow-through (thank God), but I think these could be easily construed as threats.

Stupid is as stupid does. :\

....this sums up my feelings. If someone is going to post this kind of thing to Facebook, well...they shouldn't be particularly surprised if they are found and punished. :/

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Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2015, 12:11:57 PM »
Anyways, once these individuals posted what they did to Facebook and made it public where work colleagues, professors, or other students could potentially see, it ceased to remain in the purview of 'private conversation' or 'private fantasy' and became public. And there are consequences for that sort of public behavior.

Even if these remarks were in the purview of private conversation (such as email or IM), and were hacked or unknowingly disclosed, the consequences would likely be the same. 

To go back to what Beorning said about fantasizing about a co-worker, I do believe there are certain limits.  For example, imagine if someone was roleplaying an NC story about a co-worker through text, and this roleplay was unknowingly disclosed to their boss, there may very well be disciplinary action.  Even if the roleplay were "off hours," the co-worker herself could very well file a sexual harassment charge suggesting that the nature of the roleplay reinforces the hostile behavior she faced on a daily basis, by said individual.

In my opinion, private fantasies are only safe if you know with certainty that they will remain private - because if they become public, they can be just as bad as public fantasies. 

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2015, 12:42:56 PM »
Hmm. So from what I gather from your responses, what these guys did wrong was posting these kind of conversations in a public place? So, if they merely talked about the same things face-to-face and in private, they wouldn't be doing anything bad?

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Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2015, 12:47:26 PM »
As long as those conversations remained just that - conversations.  If any of them took action based on those conversations, they could all go down on a conspiracy to commit charge.

Offline Blythe

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2015, 01:18:08 PM »
On the other hand, I've been told here on the forums that fantasisizing about having sex with say, a woman you meet at work is actually okay... So, where's the line?

Regarding this.

You have a thread about this in On Topic. Do not conflate your personal issues with PROC issues--there is a world of difference in a group discussing chloroforming women on a public venue and you having a private fantasy about a co-worker. You are being asked to keep unrelated personal issues to the topics you already have for those discussions. Discussing that you fantasize about a co-worker is not particularly appropriate in the PROC. Thank you.

~(Staff)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 01:19:44 PM by Blythe »

Offline consortium11

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2015, 02:42:51 PM »
I don't want to pick a fight with Staff here, but I think it actually is a point worth discussing.

As a start, Facebook itself defines groups as being private spaces, not public. Moreover, the group in question itself (Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen) was set to private, not public. That means that only admins can approve users and only approved users can see the posts.

And what separates that from E?

Now, I agree with Inkidu that these comments were, at best, stupid, crass and in poor taste. And that's giving it the very best of interpretations. I like to think that no-one would post such things on E and if they did the posts would be removed and the person cautioned very quickly. But take the aforementioned thread by Beorning and the discussion within. While the language was far more respectful the core of that entire thread is about how Beorning finds a woman he works with attractive and, while they rarely speak, seemingly have little in common and Beorning's not even the biggest fan of her personality, he would like to sleep with her and is asking for advice about how to make that so.

How would the girl in question feel if she became aware of the thread? If she read it?

I'm not saying that Beorning's thread (or, to make it less personal, any other such thread) are on the same level as this Facebook group... clearly they're not and none that I'm aware of discuss "hatefucking" anyone or have awful chloroform jokes (albeit not directed at any specific women). But aren't they basically in the same category?

How would we react if someone's work/college became aware that they posted on E, specifically in the NC and EX subforums? How would we react if their posts their and the rp request thread were used as the basis for arguing that they were a misogynistic freak who would therefore make the people around them uncomfortable and thus should be suspended/removed/fired? That it made them a threat to others? I suspect we'd consider that line of thought misguided and wrong.

How is that so different to the chloroform jokes?

Offline Mithlomwen

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Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2015, 02:48:17 PM »
The point trying to be made is that we don't want the issue of Beorning having fantasies about a co-worker (and the ensuing discussion and advice given in his On Topic thread) to muddy the waters here. 

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2015, 03:05:38 PM »
Regarding this.

You have a thread about this in On Topic. Do not conflate your personal issues with PROC issues--there is a world of difference in a group discussing chloroforming women on a public venue and you having a private fantasy about a co-worker. You are being asked to keep unrelated personal issues to the topics you already have for those discussions. Discussing that you fantasize about a co-worker is not particularly appropriate in the PROC. Thank you.

~(Staff)

Ah, sorry!  :-[ Wasn't thinking... Although I mentioned the personal thing more as an example. Basically, I meant to ask what exactly did these guys do wrong, if people in general do engage in such conversations / fantasies about their colleagues and it's not considered wrong, creepy etc.

I definitely agree that posting such discussions on Facebook, where the women in question could actually see it, could be considered tasteless at best. On the other hand - isn't it a bit... I don't know, hypocritical... to attack these guys as if they did something utterly immoral? I mean, from what I read, these guys are now accussed of doing something abhorrently sexist, as well as being sexual predators (just read some of the comments under the related articles). It seems that, to many people, it's not only wrong that they published this stuff on Facebook, but that they were engaged in such conversation in general. So... having a - let's say - a private conversation about sex with with a colleague doesn't bother anyone, but having a similar conversation on Facebook is sexist and smacks of rapist tendencies?

I'm not trying to say that a lengthly conversation about chloroforming women and having sex with them is okay, but... for me, this kind of thing either is immoral in itself, regardless where the conversation takes place, or isn't. The exact medium where the conversation takes place is secondary to that...

Edit: Now that consortium mentioned it... yes, the group these guys posted their comments / polls / jokes were set to private. So, the women in question could *not* see it. But if so, then I really do wonder: what exactly is the difference between what these guys did and any other case of men (or women) discussing their colleagues and making comments about having sex with them? I agree that the discussion these guys engaged in looks creepy, but... I'd suspect that other people engage in such discussions, too. So, are these guys being punished for the mere fact that their conversation got caught in writing?
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 03:16:24 PM by Beorning »

Offline Blythe

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2015, 03:09:20 PM »
Ah, sorry!  :-[ Wasn't thinking... Although I mentioned the personal thing more as an example. Basically, I meant to ask what exactly did these guys do wrong, if people in general do engage in such conversations / fantasies about their colleagues and it's not considered wrong, creepy etc.

Thank you. :-)

I'm not trying to say that a lengthly conversation about chloroforming women and having sex with them is okay, but... for me, this kind of thing either is immoral in itself, regardless where the conversation takes place, or isn't. The exact medium where the conversation takes place is secondary to that...

Keeping to the FB topic is a good one (if you'd like to discuss the co-worker issue, simply use your thread in On Topic :-) )--consortium11 did mention that the FB group was set to private, so I think that does have some bearing on this. I didn't get to read through enough to see the group was set to private.

Keeping to topic then, I suppose the Dalhousie scandal brings up a fair point since that group was set to private:

What constitutes private? What constitutes appropriate public conversation vs. private conversation? And is there a line that can be crossed even in private conversations?

Edit: Fix'd some wording.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 03:10:35 PM by Blythe »

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2015, 03:21:55 PM »
Keeping to topic then, I suppose the Dalhousie scandal brings up a fair point since that group was set to private:

What constitutes private? What constitutes appropriate public conversation vs. private conversation? And is there a line that can be crossed even in private conversations?

Exactly.

One thing that definitely surprised me was what Val said: that if someone wrote an e-mail to a third party about having sex with co-worker and that e-mail got somehow hacked, then there would be repercussions for the author of the e-mail. Now, that's definitely strange... and it really does smack of hypocrisy.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 03:23:55 PM by Beorning »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2015, 03:23:07 PM »
I'm not saying that Beorning's thread (or, to make it less personal, any other such thread) are on the same level as this Facebook group... clearly they're not and none that I'm aware of discuss "hatefucking" anyone or have awful chloroform jokes (albeit not directed at any specific women). But aren't they basically in the same category?

I think the difference is that Beorning did not post her picture, or any identifiable information about this co-worker in that thread - whereas in the Dalhousie case, actual names and images were used.

However, this does raise another related question about whether role-playing real life characters against their consent constitutes harassment.  There was another thread started by Beorning about whether certain kinks go "too far."  The vast majority of people shared the opinion that any fantasy, so long as it did not occur in real life, was perfectly fine.  However, how would we feel if someone we worked with or went to college with was writing explicit NC or chloroform-themed roleplays with characters mirroring ourselves?  I would imagine that many women would immediately report this to HR, for fear of their safety.

Does the freedom to fantasize in private act as a sufficient defense against charges of harassment in these cases?

Offline Blythe

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2015, 03:35:57 PM »
Does the freedom to fantasize in private act as a sufficient defense against charges of harassment in these cases?

I'm thinking a lot of this has to do with the type of medium used for private communication and how close a particular person is to the writer.

I'm not sure a personal e-mail conversation, for example, would be particularly condemned. (<--I could be rather wrong here) Possibly would disgust people if it were made public or creep them out, but I'm not sure any action could be taken about it. But on a medium like Facebook, which is advertised specifically as a large social media network and not seen as particularly private (even though they have private groups) or a company e-mail, it's a no-go.

There's already quite a bit of this sort of thing that many do that involves real people--a lot of people write fantasy stories or make charged commentary about famous actors, singers, public figures, etc. The only difference in this case is that it would involve someone closer to the writer in some manner. It does sort of make me wonder how celebrities feel about that sort of thing, though. So....I guess what I'm saying is: the higher the proximity someone is to a writer in real life and the less private of a venue, the more inappropriate something is.

Not sure. Will really need to think that through for a while before settling on that sort of conclusion.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 03:37:06 PM by Blythe »

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2015, 03:39:28 PM »
I think the difference is that Beorning did not post her picture, or any identifiable information about this co-worker in that thread - whereas in the Dalhousie case, actual names and images were used.

If I'm allowed to another example related E, but not personal one: I've noticed that quite a few members here engage in RPs involving celebrities. Heck, one time we even had a "Celebrity sex story" contest in EH&P (which was won by a story involving the Middleton sisters). I'm not saying that it's wrong, but I do wonder: what exactly is the difference between this kind of thing and what these guys from Dalhousie did?

Offline consortium11

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2015, 03:49:31 PM »
I think the difference is that Beorning did not post her picture, or any identifiable information about this co-worker in that thread - whereas in the Dalhousie case, actual names and images were used.

Which poses another question.

In the Adult Games and Socializing subforum you can find a thread called "Would you ever have sex with...". Many of those mentioned are real people. One could argue they're celebrities and thus somewhat different, but isn't the point the same?

Likewise Kill, Bang or Marry where people discuss what they'd do to other people's avatars... frequently pictures of real people. Or Fuck, Spank or Kiss. Or What Would You Do to the Avatar above You. I'm sure if I looked harder I'd be able to find at least one thread posting two or more pictures at a time and asking users which they'd prefer to sleep with.

Other than slightly less offensive terminology what is the core difference between that and the "who would you hatefuck" discussion? Both are frequently discussing real people and discussing have sex with them... complete with pictures.

Offline Blythe

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2015, 04:03:38 PM »
Many of those mentioned are real people. One could argue they're celebrities and thus somewhat different, but isn't the point the same?

See, this is what I'm rather unsure about. Celebrities are not exactly private people. In a lot of ways, celebrity life is about purposely trying to acquire publicity and exposure. There are many where sex appeal is also an important factor for them. I'm not sure it's able to be evaluated in quite the same manner as average individuals.

I'd also hazard that in this case, the Dalhousie individuals were talking about female colleagues. This means that unlike celebrities, the men in this group potentially were around and had access the individuals they discussed in real life. They discussed it on FB, which many do not see as a private medium even if a group is set to private. The majority of FB is a public social network.

Comes back to the idea I had about: "the higher the proximity someone is to a writer in real life and the less private of a venue, the more inappropriate something is."

The majority of Elliquiy, 2/3rds of it, is a very private venue, and it is made clear it is such. And the avatars in those threads are regarding people that would not be in proximity to those making commentary. Simply put, I don't see a way those could be construed as harassment or threats. No proximity + private venue. As such, I'm not really sure that things on Elliquiy are a very good comparison.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2015, 04:09:26 PM »
Though speaking of celebrities, I'm vaguely remembering hearing about a famous British court case involving a man arrested and prosecuted for writing a fantasy fiction about raping and murdering a group of female celebrities - or maybe a band? Someone who lives across the Atlantic might be able to cite the actual names involved, it was apparently a huge deal that led to tightening of restrictions on British pornography sales.

So even for celebrities, there is apparently a point at which it goes 'too far'.

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Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2015, 04:11:32 PM »
...Someone who lives across the Atlantic ...

You called?

EDIT:  Although I should point out that it's actually you who lives across the Atlantic, not me.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2015, 04:14:24 PM »
You called?

EDIT:  Although I should point out that it's actually you who lives across the Atlantic, not me.

Didn't realize he got acquitted. That's good for the context of our discussion here, and for comparisons to stuff on E.

Though you are the one who lives across the Atlantic. MURICA is the center of the universe, after all. Also where E's servers are hosted, if I remember right. :D

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2015, 05:51:50 PM »
In the Adult Games and Socializing subforum you can find a thread called "Would you ever have sex with...". Many of those mentioned are real people. One could argue they're celebrities and thus somewhat different, but isn't the point the same?

I think the issue is the ambiguity of what is and what is not considered a "semi-public figure."  Generally I use celebrities for my avatars and roleplay images, but many of the artistic-looking photos used in roleplays originate from average people's Instagram accounts which are then uploaded on someone else's Tumblr site (without the person's knowledge) - and then reblogged on "muse" sites.  I think there's an assumption among roleplayers, or at least, a hopeful assumption, that these are professional models - which is why this gets a pass.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2015, 06:06:59 PM »
See, this is what I'm rather unsure about. Celebrities are not exactly private people. In a lot of ways, celebrity life is about purposely trying to acquire publicity and exposure. There are many where sex appeal is also an important factor for them. I'm not sure it's able to be evaluated in quite the same manner as average individuals.

I think that it is something celebrities accept as part of becoming a public figure in that fashion.

A video of Daniel Radcliffe reading erotic fanfic about Harry Potter (slightly NSFW).

Offline consortium11

Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2015, 06:25:29 PM »
I think that it is something celebrities accept as part of becoming a public figure in that fashion.

A video of Daniel Radcliffe reading erotic fanfic about Harry Potter (slightly NSFW).

On the other hand you have Alyssa Milano who sued (and won the case) websites that were using her photos and stills from her films in a manner which she didn't agree with.

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Re: Dalhousie Facebook scandal
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2015, 06:50:07 PM »
Yes, a pro-tip for all fanfic writers. Don't say, "I don't own these characters," or "these characters are not mine," or, "this is not my work/world/etc."

That's actually admitting to committing plagiarism/copyright infringement.

Sorry for the derail.