from the actions-have-consequences dept.
DECISION – 'aristarchus':
Actions have consequences. This is not a matter of free speech or censorship.
Doxing "Doxing or doxxing is the act of publicly revealing previously private personal information about an individual or organization, usually via the internet." This is the definition upon which we are basing this decision. Legally, the term does not appear to be well-defined in the US but doxing is also covered by laws relating to harassment, threats, and abuse. Elsewhere in the world, the definitions are sometimes more clearly defined but might cover a broader interpretation than the US definitions. Which interpretation is applicable could depend on the location of the perpetrator.
We first noticed that something was amiss in late 2020. Submissions from 'aristarchus' would contain certain words, phrases and names which were apparently unconnected with the rest of the content. We were unable to understand their significance at that time, but they would be meaningful to the intended victim. (Story submissions by 'aristarchus' often contain additional material that he has inserted himself.) In almost all cases we removed them prior to posting the submission as a story because they had no bearing on the rest of the submission.
In late 2021 the doxing became more blatant both in comments that were made to stories and as well as on IRC. We also contacted the victim (by now it was obvious to us who it was) who responded and explained what had been published, where and when. We also discovered additional material that had not been seen by the victim. He had been suffering this abuse for a considerable time.
This investigation is not something that has been carried out purely on a whim by the admins on this site. During it we have consulted with and taken advice from a representative of the board of directors. (As an aside, SoylentNews PBC has never been 'run' by 'TheMightyBuzzard' or any of the current admin staff whose names you know well.) This is a serious matter and the investigation was conducted with utmost discretion by a very small team.
To ensure that 'aristarchus' is aware of this Decision he will receive an Admin-to-User message and an email to the address associated with his username drawing his attention to it.
Publishing Personal Information:
It is now apparent that 'aristarchus' has doxed at least one person in our community, and possibly others who may have left the site rather than suffer the harassment. This is not a single act, but has taken place repeatedly over a significant period of time.
'aristarchus' has published the victim's full name, where the victim lives, and the victim's employer. Presumably he believes this information to be accurate. We have seen additional comments that contain threats and state very personal information, such that posting them here would likely do further damage. We are trying to be discreet. If it were you, would you want us to air all the information that has been revealed? This action might also have placed other members of the victim's family at risk from abuse or embarrassment.
It is obvious that 'aristarchus' has conducted research away from this site. SoylentNews PBC does not hold such information nor has it been ever been declared in any comments.
We can only guess at the true reason behind these disclosures: at the very least it appears to be a smear campaign.
What We Have Done So Far:
- The victim has a full copy of all the evidence that we have been able to trace to date. The evidence was all publicly accessible. We are not aware of a compromise of any other community members' information. We are not going to indicate where this information might be found.
- We have made a separate backup of the database to ensure that evidence should not be lost.
- We have removed personal information from database comments and IRC logs where possible.
- It is entirely for the victim to decide whether to seek legal redress in this matter.
There are 2 options open to us.
(1) Permanent Ban
- 'aristarchus' will face a full and permanent ban from this community.
- His account(s) will be completely disabled.
- Any further posting he may make to the site will be treated as Spam.
(2) Temporary Ban
- 'aristarchus' will face a temporary ban of 3 months where his account(s) will be disabled. He will be able to restore his 'aristarchus' account when his ban ends. His conduct during this time will be taken into consideration before his account is reactivated.
- During the ban 'aristarchus' may still post on the site as an 'Anonymous Coward', with all the limitations that are associated with that i.e. no journal, no ability to moderate, etc. Whether he wishes to make his identity known in his AC posts is entirely up to him.
- During and subsequent to the ban he is to act as we would expect any other member of this community to act. He is not to disrupt other discussions nor is he to continue to complain about his treatment. The ban is entirely a consequence of his own actions. We will not discuss this matter publicly. If he has complaints he may contact us via email as usual.
- He is to refrain immediately and completely from harassing other members of this community.
- Any serious future abuses by 'aristarchus' can result in a permanent ban being imposed without further warning.
We acknowledge that 'aristarchus' regularly makes insightful and interesting observations and we recognize that he has many supporters on this site. That is why we have offered the option of a conditional Temporary ban.
'aristarchus' must now decide which ban he wishes to accept. This is not negotiable – there are no other options open to him. If he does not respond either by commenting here or by email within 48 hours of the release of this Decision then we will assume that he has chosen the Temporary Ban and he is bound by the conditions stated within it. He may elect to change to a Permanent ban at any time.
For legal reasons we do not intend to comment further. The community can now see why several of the site admins have been putting in long working days, sometimes in excess of 12 hours since just before Christmas. We are exhausted and need to have a period of normal activity so that we can recover. We urge the community to be circumspect and restrained in the discussions to this Decision – there is little to be gained from inflaming the current situation any further. We ask you not to speculate about the identity of the victim.