From an article in The Daily Beast:
This all just happened to my colleagues and me at Reason.com, the libertarian website I edit. On May 31, I blogged about the life sentence given to Ross Ulbricht, the creator of the “dark web” site Silk Road, by Judge Katherine Forrest. In the comments section, a half-dozen commenters unloaded on Forrest, suggesting that, among other things, she should burn in hell, “be taken out back and shot,” and, in a well-worn Internet homage to the Coen Brothers movie Fargo, be fed “feet first” into a woodchipper.
The comments betrayed a naive belief in an afterlife and karma, were grammatically and spelling-challenged, hyperbolic, and… completely within the realm of acceptable Internet discourse, especially for an unmoderated comments section. (Like other websites, Reason is not legally responsible for what goes on in our comments section; we read the comments sometimes but don’t actively curate them.)
But the U.S. attorney for U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York thought differently and on June 2 issued a grand jury subpoena to Reason for all identifying information we had on the offending commenters—things such as IP addresses, names, emails, and other information. At first, the feds requested that we “voluntarily” refrain from disclosing the subpoena to anybody. Out of sense of fairness and principle, we notified the targeted commenters, who could have moved to quash the subpoena. Then came the gag order on June 4, barring us from talking about the whole business with anyone outside our organization besides our lawyers.
The writer suggests that threats and vulgarity posted amounted to nothing. There’s room to quibble on that point.
Which leads me to make two points:
1. ‘The Rules’ here at The Peoria Pundit require commenters be civil, but also advises folks to develop thick skins, as this is a Free Comment Zone.
2. I advise folks that will comply with all Federal warrants, so watch your ass.
Other than that, this blog is a common carrier. I just pass along the comments, I bear no moral or financial responsibility. Post your racist hate-crime crap in my comments section and I’ll gleefully mail your IP address to the Feds. I do the same thing with threatening comments.