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Saturday, February 25, 2012

*First and foremost, sorry for my absence. I've been in the hospital since the 21st trying to recover from pneumonia but I'm getting better! I may even get to go home tomorrow or early next week!

So the site that hosts my personal weight loss blog on Tumblr is considering banning blogs that promote/glorify eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, and things like that) and blogs that promote/glorify self-harm or self mutilation (such as cutting, overdosing, suicide). I would think this is a good thing, but many people are more concerned about freedom of speech instead of trying to help people. What do you all think? Would it be a good idea to stop things like this so that people can instead go get help instead of going to a blog site looking for "how-to's" or instructions on how to damage their bodies? What's your take on this?
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    Hmmmmmm this is a tough question to answer.. on a few levels. I definitely would not want my child or anyone else for that matter to be able to learn step-by-step how to harm themselves, but.. so is the way of the world today. You can learn how to do anything between books and online if you study enough. I wouldnt want, in any way, to glorify a disorder but stopping their freedom is not right. You should be able to say whatever you want to say. If they aren't saying it, someone else is.. I think things like that should be monitored for comments to protect the readers, but there really is nothing you can do. I could blog right now about how to make a bomb and before its taken down at least 10 people would see it.. you know? Nothing you can do..
    2213 days ago
    I hope you feel better soon Vicki,
    my view is mixed; you should be able to express your view but it leaves the site open to vunerable people getting information that could be hazardous to them.
    2218 days ago
    I hope you feel better.

    As to your question, I'm not an attorney but this is my understanding of the laws regarding the first amendment and private enterprise. While I understand the desire for some people to want to to ban [or continue ]certain types of blogs, there's also the issue that Tumblr is a private organization that offers a service and they get to make the rules for themselves as long as they aren't breaking any laws. The issues of free speech are more for public forums so it doesn't even apply here,

    IMO. It's like a restaurant saying 'no necktie, no service' even though some people might not like it - it is not against the law to walk around town without a necktie in most places - but the restaurant gets to make the rules for their establishment and if that means you must wear a necktie or cannot wear one or whatever other crazy rule they might want to make, The exception would be making a rule that violated a protected category such as religion. In the USA, we can't say things like 'we won't serve anybody wearing a cross' or 'no head scarves' [for instance] because those may be associated with religious custom but they can ban people from wearing something like political t-shirts or certain types of clothing [like bare midriffs or short skirts] even though it might be seen as a violation of 'rights' in a public forum as long as it doesn't cover a protected topic.

    2218 days ago
    Oh yes, and of course, GET WELL SOON! emoticon
    2218 days ago
    I agree that those types of blogs should be banned. I do believe in free speech, however, I also believe that the owners of Tumblr have a moral responsibility and should be allowed to put rules in place. If something offensive is posted to Facebook, you are allowed to report that person. It's great that some of these sites are becoming more aware of their responsibility!
    2218 days ago
    That is such a great question. Anything you use that has a Terms of Service agreement can add/take-away from those TOS at any time and you can either accept or decline them. SP has the same... you aren't allowed to post porn or inappropriate photos, and you can be reported and booted for violating their TOS.Plus, imagine if someone actually does commit suicide b/c of a Tumblr blog, it would be HORRIBLE press for Tumblr and they would probably get slapped with fine and/or lawsuits. So, for several reasons, they have every right to determine the types of blogs on their site. It not only protects the people engaging in these acts, but protects themselves as well.
    2218 days ago
    I hope you are feeling better every day!

    You pose an interesting question. I think there is a really fine line between protecting free speech and perhaps helping someone kill themselves. You aren't allowed to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater. You aren't allowed to verbally threaten people. Our speech isn't entirely "free". I definitely think blogs that promote self-harm should not be allowed. The hosts of the website should publish the rules upfront. If you don't like it, go somewhere else.

    2218 days ago
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