On the importance of the law in online political discourse…

And here… I’ve barred a grand total of four people in the last 24 hours… To date, the only legitimate legal complaints I am getting are about commenter’s behaviour. Please note that finding something on the internet and pasting it on a Slugger thread will be dealt with directly and firmly… We’ve had to take some calculated risks to keep debate open on some very difficult subjects over the last few days and weeks… I do not want to be bouncing people unnecessarily out of the forum… So, I ask again, please be very careful what you write, or copy!!!

  • Mark McGregor

    And hopefully we have a piece coming soon that will discuss the potential legal issues more thoroughly.

  • Drumlins Rock

    like for example does posting a link, or even giving “criptic clues” where to search get slugger into dodgey ground?

  • Mark McGregor


    Yes, it potentially does. So don’t be doing it.

  • buile suibhne

    Tangential point, but still worth making. Our political discourse would be better served with a broader understanding of the concept of what is in the common good.
    Have a look at http://www.justiceharvard.org.
    All our politicians should be forced to watch and consider.

  • Paul

    It seems very sensible mick i think its going to be even harder a things pan out over the next number of weeks.

  • gmacor

    You bounced me out wrongly on Sunday last on a comment that read very similar to a piece in the Sunday Times by Liam Clarke. On my part the piece was written on Saturday night as an email to a friend and before the great man’s words were available to me.

  • DR: I would guess that cryptic clues count as innuendo. See about halfway down this page.

    I wonder about the linking to libel question. This guy thinks it is, and seems to make a pretty persuasive argument.

  • Jaggers

    From Ciaran’s second link

    “Many states and countries have criminal laws against defamation, even if the embarrassing facts are completely true, and many jurisdictions have strict invasion of privacy laws.”

    Is that true of the UK/Ireland – I always thought stating a truth was a defence against defamation.

  • Keeping things legal and general:

    One of the issues if memory serves correctly is the speed at which you seek redress against the offending statement etc. Writs at dawn etc. Media tend to have their own lawyers who explore such possibility before print. So you have to be fairly sure that something slipped, and have deep pockets before embarking on a writ.

    Of course, with respect to libel the person claiming harm puts reputation into the hands of the court and for a defence counsel it would be open season on all matters relevant to that reputation. It is not the reputation that you think you deserve that counts, it is what the man in the street might think.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    I’m confused. I thought we were suppose to put a link on or paste the remark we were refering to…and that was to show it wasn’t hearsay but what was written like a quote from a newspaper, tv or political speach. So, we’re not supposed to put a link on or copy what someone said or a part from a published political speech? Help—thanks

  • John O’Connell


    Apparently not.

  • Kevsterino

    A good rule might be if you would not be comfortable posting it yourself, linking the same thing is ill-advised.

  • Re innuendo and cryptic clues, Newton Emerson’s hilarious piece last week in the Irish Times where he listed er…the imaginary runners for the DUP leadership was full of it. Most British sports fans would have got one which contained some, ahhh… pretty close to the bone and at that this point, unproven insinuations.

    Where then is the line drawn in such a case?

  • slug

    Slugger O’Toole is perhaps guilty to a degree of encouraging it.

    Slugger has posted items that may be boiled down to summarised “we hear some HOT scandal about senior politicians is coming out at the weekend, we are not going to say what it is but it’s shocking”

    ..and then what are commenters supposed to talk about in the comments zone?

  • Kevsterino

    “..and then what are commenters supposed to talk about in the comments zone? ”

    A good rule of thumb may be to not get more specific than Slugger.

    It requires restraint and discretion, currently in short supply not only here but all over the media.