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Having this as a section on the front page  of the site has always struck me as a combination of unsettling, bizarre, out of place, and maybe unnecessary.

I dunno. Is suicide such a frequent topic among members that the front page needs to mention it? And even if so, should it be mentioned on the front page? Does calling attention to suicides on the front page of a place called "Ponyville" make much sense? Does it do anything positive to have its own section?

I mean, if suicidal ideology was brought up in a thread, it would make sense to direct them to help within the context of that thread, of course. But to mention it on the front page of the site paints a really strange picture about the state of the userbase, and potentially what any outsiders might expect from users who frequent here.

Kinda just rambling, but ultimately I'm sorta just questioning, does this section really need to be on the front page? And why?


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Actually, I believe the reasoning for adding that was because of this site's high population of high risk posters.

We have trans people, we have gay people, we have depressed people, sometimes all three in one person. And that's not even the extent.

It's also a legal thing, it's best to put it right out there on the front that the staff and posters here aren't in a position to provide adequate treatment. It's a fairly common thing, really, to have that sort of disclaimer out front like that.

But like I said before, the population of this site has many people from at-risk populations in the US, and so having it out there like that does make sense.


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While they may be a higher "at-risk" posters, I still question its position on the front page. Is it actually beneficial to such people, such that they are frequently pointed to the front page for issues if they are showing suicidal behaviors? Or that people who both are suicidal AND are frequenters of the site are going to stop there first?

>It's a fairly common thing, really, to have that sort of disclaimer out front like that.
That's actually why it concerned me. I've actually never come across websites where the staff needed to absolve themselves of liability from suicides needed to either be done at all, or at least needed to be done right at the entry point for the website.

I can admit I'm neither an expert on internet law in-depth, nor do I know the policies of every popular imageboard/forum, but in my experience I've never really come across it.

The fact that such a statement being made seeming out-of-the-norm is why it strikes me as weird.


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I don't really know what to tell you. It's there and there's no reason to take it down. Better to have it there and nobody need it than not have it there and somebody does.

It just is.


Also, I said it IS a common thing.


Does anyone even read the front page?


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As I recall, it used to be people were bringing up how they wanted to kill themselves so frequently it warranted having the mods have an easy copy and paste text to lock threads with concerning calling the suicide hotline, and that this was not a place to get over such things.


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The suicide clause was something i introduced to Ponychan, long before Ponyville came about, to protect the community from liability that arose from numerous suicide threads.

The issue then, and now, is thus: the administration and the moderatorship are not trained in suicide prevention or similar such techniques. Suicide threads, even if uncommon, absolutely do come up.

On Ponychan, what happened was, the staff had reason to suspect that a poster of a suicide thread had actually committed suicide, and had posted a thread seeking comfort or help of some kind, though perhaps not in such a direct manner.

The site's community at the time, though well intentioned, came up with all kinds of advice and psychoanalysis and such.

When the person therein had potentially killed themselves, that well intentioned advice, or trolling, or whathave you, became a danger to the site, and showed just how dangerous an instantaneous imageboard environment could be to a psychologically unstable person.

Take, for example, a suicide thread in which an OP says they cannot take life anymore and wants to kill themselves.

Let us say then, an anonymous troll, says "do it." And before a moderator can get to it, the OP sees it and follows through. This sort of situation doesn't just open us up to substantial liability, it is dangerous too for the individual who, in a moment of weakness, sought help from a dangerous place: a place that allows the unaccountable nature of anonymity.

The clause is not meant to discourage users from seeking comfort, but it is meant to protect the site front liability, and the user from perhaps seeking care from an environment of substantial risk.

If a user really does make a suicide thread, the staff policy is not just to shut it down with a slamming doors, but to try to approach it gently and ultimately direct the user to better resources.

As long as suicide threads occur, which they do, the clause is necessary: it is due to the unique nature of imageboards that they become necessary.


Yeah no, I don't think the site would have any legal liability for what users post.  It would be shielded under CDA Section 230 (47 U.S.C. § 230).  But I guess the existing policy is still a good idea just to nip in the bud those unpleasant threads.


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well, i admire you for taking the time to look through the USC to find relevant federal law. But your "yeah no ..." and certainty in the law, especially in the US code of all things, makes me feel like maybe you don't understand the scope of the law.

You will note, the USC is broad brush. What matters is less the exact letter of the law, per se, compared to what we've established as legal precedent.

That is to say, sure, we can interpret that 47 U.S.C. §230 shields our site and staff from suicide liability... but does it?

And the answer is, we're not sure. Suicide liability is a very uncovered area of the law: a wild place. The United States Code is a very thin outer layer of law.

Maybe a court would find that a site administrator that is friends with a suicidee counts as a special relationship, or that not answering a user with a history of suicidal posts with a clear answer that we aren't equipped to handle that sort of thing might be an act of negligence.

Maybe Ponyville isn't an "interactive computer service" as defined by statute. Which, it looks like, it arguably might not be.

Maybe suicidal conduct is not inclusive of the terms "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable ..."

i would argue it isn't: doesn't seem to be the Congressional intent

i could go on and on and on and on. i could probably go on for like, thirty straight pages.

if it wasn't something worth worrying about, i don't think it'd have been something to be worth doing, or worth continuing to do

but i don't want our site to be the Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co. of suicide liability law, and i think this policy is absolutely for the best.

it has nothing to do with the "pleasantness" of the thread. this is the best way we have of protecting the user, the site, and the staff.

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