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back to article Offensive, iconoclastic internet trolls will NOT be prosecuted, says DPP

Cases involving trolling on social media sites should now be easier to deal with after the Director of Public Prosecutions published definitive guidelines on the tabloid-fodder phenomenon this morning. Keir Starmer, who will leave his post as DPP in the autumn, said that the interim guidelines the Crown Prosecution Service …

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Pint

More than offensive comments start here:

No. Don't.

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Facepalm

I think the CPS

Ought to make the guidelines more clear or I'll blow the place sky high (innocent face)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'll blow the place sky high

Did you ever want to get on a plane again? You just blew it.

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Trollface

Keir Starmer is in fact Spartacus!

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Unhappy

But, but...

Someone countered an argument of mine in a forum with a point I don't agree with, and it really hurt my feelings!

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Trollface

Re: But, but...

Boo freakin' who, go suck an egg and then go cry to your mother whom I slept with last night. And she liked it

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Boo who?"

Boo Radley, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Some examples of what is and is not prosecutable might help

So would the famous Nottingham Airport tweet* case now never reach the trial stage?

* - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter_Joke_Trial

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some examples of what is and is not prosecutable might help

Probably not, as the police didn't get their act together the CPS would of blown it out of court.

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"Would have"

I find you're pour grammer* deeply offensive.

*Mruphry rules!

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Headmaster

Re: Some examples of what is and is not prosecutable might help

Nottingham Airport - where's that please ?

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Re: Some examples of what is and is not prosecutable might help

Robin Hood Airport is nominally Doncaster (the ex-RAF Finningley, a Vulcan base), not Nottingham. I do seem to recall that at some point in its inception it was referred to as "Doncaster Nottingham Airport", but that thankfully got lost. According to the airport's website, it is now "Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield", presumably to cover up the fact that Sheffield no longer has an airport (though some would argue that that the one it did have was little more than a tarmac landing strip).*

*However, I understand that Boeing are a bit pissed off that the airport closed just before they finished their tech centre at the side of it - I wonder why (innocent face).

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WTF?

Re: "...about serious trivial matters"

Huh?

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Re: "...about serious trivial matters"

Serious trivial matters are clearly more important than trivial serious matters.

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Anonymous Coward

where's the line?

So a message can be more than simply offensive but not actually grossly offensive.

So we need a scale to measure the level of offensiveness and a test to see where 'grossly' starts?

May i suggest we measure it in Politicians?

Although I am trying to work out whether an Osborne would be better or worse than a Miliband or whether the scale bifurcates ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: where's the line?

I find your face grossly offensive, can we start with that?

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Happy

Re: where's the line?

"I find your face grossly offensive, can we start with that?"

Ha ha - you have the same face as he does!

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Re: where's the line?

my face as the origin, presumably your mum is higher up the scale then.

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Coat

Re: where's the line?

About 30kg higher.

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Re: where's the line?

<i.May i suggest we measure it [offensiveness] in Politicians?</i>

Shurely we should use a scale in which 1 is a meaningful amount, rather than the highest possible end of the scale? Most posts would have to be rated at fractions of a femto-Politician.

Let's not go down the whole gram/kilogram road again.

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Re: where's the line?

@ AC

"I find your face grossly offensive, can we start with that?"

Comments like that have been levelled at Jeremy Clarkson many times and we can all thank his indifference to such plebeian outbursts for the iconoclastic clause in the guidelines.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: where's the line?

Good point but the requirement is a fine distinction at the point where offensive becomes grossly offensive.

Unless of course we have two axes - one of grossness and one of offensiveness? We then need only examine the upper right quadrant for the point were legal becomes illegal ...which always seemed a line densely populated by politicians .

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Coat

Re: where's the line?

Your mum looks like she's been hit with two axes.

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Joke

So, does this mean Eadon has got start being nice to Microsoft?

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No, but you have to start being nice to Eadon.

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Alert

As these are just guidelines

It still means the law is fundamentally flawed.

We only have free speech so long as someone in power doesn't decide to lean on the CPS / swap some favours and get a court case through anyway, in which case it gets prosecuted according to the law as it currently is, regardless of what some guidelines say.

So people who might not be liked for other reasons (protesters against the governments pet policies etc.) can be unfairly targeted by this law as its all down to "guidelines" and "interpretation" whether to actually prosecute, and the law itself has little protection built in.

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Big Brother

Re: As these are just guidelines

I do not see how we can have a proper police state complete with gulags full of English people unless we have draconian and fully enforced thoughcrime laws. This has to be a retrograde step, surely?

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Re: As these are just guidelines

We only have free speech so long as someone in power doesn't decide to lean on the CPS / swap some favours and get a court case through anyway, in which case it gets prosecuted according to the law as it currently is, regardless of what some guidelines say.

So people who might not be liked for other reasons (protesters against the governments pet policies etc.) can be unfairly targeted by this law as its all down to "guidelines" and "interpretation" whether to actually prosecute, and the law itself has little protection built in.

No mate, you see the protection of the law is that a jury of your peers has to choose to find you guilty. The vast majority of the population think politicians are thieving, lying, cowardly scum and so the chances of getting convicted for saying something along those lines or criticising said thieving, lying, cowardly scum for wasting more of our money is about as close to zero as said chances can get.

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FAIL

Re: As these are just guidelines

Unfortunate that Magistrates courts don't have Jury's then ....

Not much protection there.

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Anonymous Coward

Justice says: "UUUUUHHHHH"

Apparently, "justice" can't work out how to spell 'juries'.

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Anonymous Coward

I find footballers paychecks offensive; why are we not carting them off to jail?

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Optional

I'm not sure that would achieve much. The pay cheques are inanimate, so wouldn't suffer as a result of being in jail.

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Anonymous Coward

I was going to send a tweet containing only the word 'prick' to Piers Morgan, is that still allowed?

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Trollface

This is not only allowed but this is positively encouraged.

In fact they are debating in parliament on whether this should be rule 1 of the twitter EULA

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Devil

What should be said about Piers Morgan?

I would prefer to call him a simpering, snotnosed, douchebag. Is that acceptable?

If not can a call him a twat?

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Does this mean ...

Does this mean I can report the Daily Mail Website for their offensive comments on travellers, gays, teachers, Muslims, the French, brown people, the poor, people from the North, people on disability benefits, the Irish, people who play video games, Americans, women, people with more than 3 children, the jobless, people who go to music festivals, eastern Europeans, “chav’s” and “foreigners”?

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Joke

Re: Does this mean ...

only if you like queueing ....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does this mean ...

I wish you could....

But unfortunately a TINY percentage of each of those groups of people destroy it for the rest, and I am sure the Daily Fail is careful to only attack specific people not the whole group...

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Re: Does this mean ...

I find the fact you refered to one of those groups as "brown people" highly offensive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does this mean ...

I find the fact that you found the fact (s)he referred to one of those groups as "brown people" highly offensive highly offensive.

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Anonymous Coward

The People vs. Eadon (2013)...?

Not being funny.... I've seen some nasty stuff on here from and to the above mentioned... So who will have a case to answer....?

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Anonymous Coward

I find the way the law is implemented interesting, the student who said something along the lines of "people who do collections on the street for Help the Heroes deserve to have their heads cut off" was charged and made to do community service.

Meanwhile the people threatening to rape and murder her suffered no such punishment.

What I find particularly interesting is one was an opinion, the other was a distinct threat against a single individual.

Curious.

Personally I hate chuggers (charity muggers for the unaccustomed) and always hope for the day I see someone just rage out and punch one in the face. Murders a bit extreme though.

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I've never encountered 'Chuggers' with the help for heros guys, they usually stand with their collection box, and I pretty much always put £10-£20 in the bucket anyway, supporting our troops is something I really believe in... And where I go, these are either ex forces or active forces guys!

I agree with your point though, an opinion vs threat is the key difference..

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Anonymous Coward

In my opinion Blacks Gays Jews Muslims Asians Indians Americans people who do collections on the street for Help the Heroes anonymous cowards deserve to have their heads cut off.

Nothing whatsoever offensive with that. Or is there?

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Anonymous Coward

Unfortunately it isn't always what you say, but the context people put it in.

Text is a very poor medium for conveying tone, context etc.

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Anonymous Coward

"Nothing whatsoever offensive with that. Or is there?"

But that's just your opinion, you're welcome to that, even if it's moronic. That's the supposed bonus of being in a free democratic nation.

If in response to your comment I went "I'm going to come round your house, rape you then burn it down with you still inside" That's a direct threat . I would expect me to do time, and you to not have to fear for your life. Where as the law at the moment means that the person stating an opinion does time and the person that threatens to rape and murder them doesn't.

Alternatively if I went "You're a dick head, I hope you get run over by a bus" that again is just a hope and as such no punishment is warranted.

As someone once said (George Carlin maybe?) "You have every right to feel offended, and I have every right not to give a fuck."

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Boffin

No need for publically funded sledge-hammers

If a communication is an incitement to commit an offence, an incitement to racial hatred, or likely to lead to a breach of the peace, then arguably the interests of the wider community are at stake, and prosecution at public expense may be warranted.

If the offensive message is defamatory or offensive to the person concerned, why does the public interest require the state to intervene? The courts have ample powers to settle disputes between parties - and the party affected can bring a lawsuit, and if successful, recover their costs.

There is simply no need to waster taxpayers money enforcing manners through criminal sanctions.

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