Because I'm a feedback hound, I end up reading just about any discussion about the site I can when such discussion pops up online. Recently (8/26/03) we were linked by a very large site called metafilter.com. It's a nice site where people post various interesting internet tidbits. One of their link submitters posted our site. Pretty neat, I always like it when that happens for the obvious reason that the more eyes see our site, the better off our goals are.
Metafilter has a comment board for each link. Today I've been following the comment board and while these aren't "questions" per se, they are criticisms, and some of them I see too frequently for my liking. So I've decided to highlight a few comments and give a rebuttal/answer to the comment being referred to since perhaps another visitor might have one or two of the same qualms, so to speak. This isn't a big "oh, look at these comments, these people are evil" sort of feature since really, you can think whatever you want about the site. Some things are just important enough to be addressed. That's enough of a disclaimer, I think.
Comment: That's a good point. When AOL's chat rooms were all the rage, this kind of stuff seemed to go on all the time. As I go thru all the chat logs, I keep waiting for the breaking point in these people; that point at which they find out the age of who their talking to and say thanks but no thanks. I'd be interested in seeing logs from the people who were able to do that. My hope is that there were a lot of those people as well.
Reply: You'll be happy to know that there are a ton of "thanks but no thanks" people who reply. But unfortunately many of our contributors actually get more interested IM's than they can handle at any one time. But yes, there are plenty of "thanks but no thanks" or "talk to me in five years" comments that we receive. We once had an interest in creating a little section for people like that, but figured that it wouldn't be a bright thing to do since some people may not "get" that the people who say no, actually say no. We prefer to not spotlight their "no thanks" and to let them pass on, untouched, just like they were.
Comment: Paraphilias on parade! Looks like an outlet for those kinky men & women that like pretending to be children.
Reply: It always interests me when people jump to this conclusion, since it seems a little more likely that the person stating that random conclusion would "get off" on doing it. From personal experience of speaking with the contributors for the site, they do not "get off" from doing what they do, in fact the average contributors shelf life for doing what they do is fairly short. People just get too sick of the lowlifes and how depressing it is to be flooded with requests as soon as you go into a room.
Comment: Yeah. So how hard would it be to write your own pederas nabbing chat log and post the phone numbers of an ex, or your boss? Come on. People that are calling these numbers and harassing these people have no way of knowing if the people answering these numbers are the people on some offbeat websites chat log.
Reply: Pretty hard. First off, you have to get an account to post it. Not likely at all since I have a lengthy screening process for all my contributors. We don't take "submissions" here at PeeJ, we only allow posts done by contributors I've put through the paces. Right now we have fifty plus emails of people wanting to contribute sitting in my inbox. Very few of those people will be seriously considered for a spot. I love it when people jump to the conclusion that we'll post anything that comes into my inbox when the site is obviously set up for a contributor basis.
As for people knowing or not, if this person had read the original FAQ, a major element to this site is a bit of trust. If you trust that we're telling the truth (which our right of replies as well as massive non-contributor testimony would suggest to anyone who takes an iota of time to check us out) then you'll trust that the phone numbers are correct. If you don't trust us, you won't make phone calls because you won't find the numbers to be correct. I don't care when someone actually thinks we're full of shit, more power to them, free country... however to suggest that we take contributions haphazardly is just plain garden variety ignorance.
Comment: I see what you're saying rcade, but this is a site where I could go and say that some guy going by the handle 'rcade' tried to hit me up because he thought I was 12. And I could make up an entire conversation to go with the accusation. And I could post your picture. And I could make my accusation seem realistic by correlating it with data you have made available about yourself on the web. And then I could post a link on MetaFilter warning everyone about what a perv you are.
Not that I'd do that to such a nice guy.
Reply: No, you couldn't, and I have to question the integrity and intellectual capacity of someone commenting on a situation they know so little about to assume such a gross distortion of the truth. Our screening process would filter you out, even if you had gotten to that point. Again people assume without checking out... it's just irony that they assume we don't check people out while not checking out... how we check people out. Sure, it's an ugly sentence, but it's still humorous.
Comment: While this is all disturbing on many levels, anyone convicted of a virtual crime in the chatrooms could plead fantasy and get away with it, because we have no idea if anyone believes this is real, so it's down to one person's word against another. If these chatroom freaks do try and meet people in public, then you're into a gray area that is closer to a crime, but like Patrick Naughton, they can still claim they were playing along on what they assumed was a game.
The thing that gets me is that it is not easy to find these "daddy-daughter" and "boytoy" rooms if you were 13 years old. I'm guessing that actual kids don't just wander aimlessly into these places, so I wonder if the participants assume the "kids" that do are other members playing around. The logs read as if every "kid" was there and didn't know how or why they got there, and for some reason they don't leave when they find out they are the only child there (how many kids like to hang out with a dozen people in their 40s instead of other kids?). For a real world equivalent, these specialized chat rooms would be like going into the red light district into your city, then finding a specific crackhouse, then going up to the fifth floor, and the second door on the right. How many kids accidentally wander into situations like that?
These pedophiles caught online always plead the fantasy defense, and it's not going to be easy to win cases against that. There's also the danger that although we are dealing with one of the worst possible crimes, if we go too far we will be busting people for thoughtcrimes, since they sounded like they wanted to actually commit crimes.
Reply: Intelligent criticism, albeit it a little off-base. The Naughton example is the only example I've seen where the fantasy defense had any success, and it's success was beyond limited. First off, the jury couldn't reach a verdict. Sure, that's somewhat a win for Naughton in the first trial, he still copped to it and pled guilty rather than face a second trial. Interestingly enough, the fantasy defense has taken a pounding since then. In October of 2000, the Fantasy Defense lost big for John Weisser of New York who was convicted in less than two hours after pleading the fantasy defense in another case. Since then, the fantasy defense has been employed quite a few times. To the best of our knowledge, it has failed in every single instance since Naughton.
Secondly, I love this quote... I'm guessing that actual kids don't just wander aimlessly into these places, so I wonder if the participants assume the "kids" that do are other members playing around. because I agree with it so much! Kids don't wander into adult rooms! It's not realistic! THAT is why we started this site to begin with. Pedowatch? Let them handle the adult rooms. Let the police waste their time in those rooms. We don't do adult rooms. We don't do sex-based chatrooms. We do REGIONAL CHATROOMS where it is realistic that an underage child would go into. I myself am a regional chatroom chatter. I see underage females and males in those rooms all the time.
If we did adult rooms, I'd be right along with this guy saying "hey, screw this site, it's not realistic." However we don't do adult rooms as stated in our vanilla FAQ. We never will do adult rooms. We leave those to the unrealistic and lazy.
Comment: How do they make sure that the people they're busting aren't minors posing as adults? That's the only thorny part I see in the enterprise.
Reply: Yep, I don't like that idea either. While we don't find the idea of a minor posing as an adult to talk to a minor to be very realistic or widespread, it could happen. In that case, the phone number would lead to the parents house and the parents would find out what their kid is doing online. Hey, nothing wrong with that. Not the greatest thing, but still, decent enough result.
Comment: As stated above, I think these guys are having a little too much fun pretending to be little girls.
The larger problem of course is that it is almost always a bad idea to let home grown vigilantes run rampant entraping and otherwise yelling "witch!" without any oversight.
Reply: Our female contributors (Over half of our contributors are female) really get tired of being assumed to be males. Poor them. Of course, you won't know which of our contributors are male or female since I typically keep our female contributors perfectly anonymous. But I guess it's easier to assume wildly. Why not, it's better than thinking and research!
Entrapping. Witch. We don't IM anyone first, and we're not throwing people into lakes to see if they'll breathe or not. How having individuals go in as underage females, sit, wait, and see if they get IM's from people is akin to being idiotic puritans with no scientific knowledge is lost on me. Again, a major element of the site is trust and credibility. This person, despite doing no research nor thinking of his/her own doesn't trust us. Don't care. However to assume that we have a vested interest in having "no oversight" or "yelling witch" is logically counter-intuitive. Obviously since we know we work on trust and credibility, our oversight process is quite stringent considering that a few fuck-ups would then torpedo the good that we're trying to do.
Then again, ignorance is easier than logic. C'est La Vie, baby.
Comment: I got fired for reading this thread today.
Reply: :( I thought this was interesting and sad. The person who got fired made a thread Here talking about being fired while reading the metafilter thread about our site here at Perverted-Justice. I'd love to know the number to her boss to ascertain if that's the truth, because if that is, that's some of the lamest garbage I've read in a long time.
That doesn't have much to do with our site, I just found that level of workplace intolerance interesting and quite sad.
That's a sampling of a few of the comments as of 4:21 pacific time. I might update this thread with more response to criticism and hopefully you, the Perverted-Justice.com reader, has found this somewhat helpful. If you have any questions regarding this addition to the FAQ, feel free to hit us up on our forums and I'll be glad to go into further explanation on any of these topics. As always, we're not trying to make up your mind, just presenting our logs and case to you for you to be the judge. The greatest oversight for our site is the opinions and ideals of the readers of our site. For some, that's an acceptable answer, for others, it's not. Either way, I find the average person to be the best oversight for what we do.
I'll be doing more of these in the future, so check that right hand sidebar often for the latest news.
Number of predators convicted due to
Perverted-Justice.com since June 2004:
Chatlog Convictions: 622
Research Convictions: 1
Perverted-Justice.com since June 2004:
Chatlog Convictions: 622
Research Convictions: 1
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