no more forum moderator post deletions


For greater transparency, I suggest to no longer delete postings. That’s totally intransparent.

What about editing the most and saying.

This post has been deleted by @name-of-moderator.

What about also adding some text like “due to limitations on free speech in Germany, this post cannot be published”?


Yes, redacting offending parts and leaving the rest of the post is a good idea.
Is it possible to prevent further edits from the original poster to prevent that (s)he edits it back?

If you had to edit posts because of german laws you probably should ask a lawyer if it’s allowed to keep the edit history of such posts (in general).


I doubt that. Hard to implement for discourse developers since users can always reword.

Probably not in public and in some cases probably not even in private.


Reminds me that the ideal way forward is finding legal ways to assign legal responsibility to the most free speech country, what’s that?


I got an idea. If the poster provided a public key, they can get a warning, then encrypt what they wrote, so that only they can open it, leave the encrypted text in their post as is and send the user a private message or in the post what was done wrongly or possibly just “this post is censored in Germany”.

If they did not provide a public key delete their post and add the message like you said earlier that “there is censorship in Germany and such” + “if you want to keep your message as is please provide a public key for the next time you post or something like that”. Probably that just adds overhead though, seriously I don’t think you can afford more time to deal with this as time is already such a precious resource

As you said earlier the simplest solution is just “sorry, this post was deleted because of certain laws in Germany concerning free speech, please save a copy of your post on your own data device in the future in case your posts may break more of those laws” or something like that


And if they want to troll us, they can publish the private key as well. Unclear legal situation.



IMHO, you can’t please ‘everyone all of the time’ , there are some unwritten and basic netiquette written knowns.

I would just use your judgement Kept Simple.

Delete obvious incivil postings, as needed, and then just ignore further rantings, and let’s not distract you from the important other things you have to do … like coding


It’s incredibly surreal to read a sentence like that. :no_mouth:

We have our fair share of problems over here in the States, but the first amendment to our Constitution is something we got right. Well that and Chinese food. :yum:


//cc @Ego


Good day,

Well, there are a number of things we might have to delve into here.

First of all, Germany (and most European countries for that matter) has something similar to the First Amendment to the US constitution.

In Germany, freedom of speech is covered by Art. 5 Abs. 1 of the so called Grundgesetz (Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany).

It is stated that:

(1) Jeder hat das Recht, seine Meinung in Wort, Schrift und Bild frei zu äußern und zu verbreiten […] Eine Zensur findet nicht statt.

Translated, that means:

(1) Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing and pictures, and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.

This is thus rather similar to the way freedom of speech has been defined in the US of A. However, both in the USA, as well as in Germany, it has been decided for a variety of reasons, that there ought to be exceptions to the First Amendment/Art. 5 in certain scenarios in an effort to create a basic ground on what may be unacceptable to be expressed in any context.

In the States, this has largely been one of the many jobs the Supreme Court had to deal with, deciding on limitations to the First Amendment, essentially making it what is known as a “limited right”.

A list of the things that are not covered by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and expression may be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exceptions

Adding to that, obviously, the First Amendment only applies to Government censorship. Restriction of speech in a private context, either by a TV station not airing specific ads for certain reasons (e.g. youth protection, …) or any other private entity, are usually of course not protected by the First Amendment. Other provisions like laws attempting to ensure non partisan coverage or anti-discrimination bills may apply here, though are holy separate from the Bill of rights.

Now, I am saying this, to give some context, because similar things do obviously apply in Germany. However, because of the historic, cultural and especially political differences between Germany and the States, certain things that might be excluded from Freedom of Speech protection in the US are “fair game” in Germany and vice versa.

Which bring us to the case that prompted this discussion in the first place. Because similarly to how an US moderator would react if any of the things exempt from the 1st Amendment were posted on his/her forum, we also had and have to react if something like this happens covering one of the things exempt from Art. 5.

Thing is that in Germany this all is a bit more complex. Because while the US have a more or less set list based on Supreme Court cases, the German law states on paragraph 2 of Art. 5:

Diese Rechte finden ihre Schranken in den Vorschriften der allgemeinen Gesetze, den gesetzlichen Bestimmungen zum Schutze der Jugend und in dem Recht der persönlichen Ehre.


These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons, and in the right to personal honour.

Now, German general laws are rather long which creates a bit of ambiguity in certain scenarios. However, as most of these laws have been created based on the shared values by German citizens, this, while a bit more complex than the US equivalent, is just the same.

In the particular case that started this discussion, specifically the law of § 130 Volksverhetzung.

Now, in the US of A similar statement would have likely been prevented by the First Amendment limitations on “offensive speech” though the situation would have been less clear.

In any case, it is thus not very unlikely that a similar reaction would be appropriate even under US laws.

Last but not least, how should we act. Well, simply put we have to remove it. Replacing it by a “cheeky message” would obviously be a good way as to show that “something” was there at one point in time.

Have a nice day,



Admittedly I don’t know enough about the context of this discussion to know what exactly the specific speech-related concerns are as it relates to this forum. That being said – and this doesn’t relate specifically to this forum, but more broadly in general terms – courts in the US give citizens pretty considerable latitude when it comes to free speech. Even hate speech is protected, which has created some bizarre bedfellows at times, with progressive activists defending the first amendment rights of neo-nazi white supremacists under the principle “we will not defend what you are saying, but we will defend your right to say it.” Here is a WA Post piece outlining the ACLU’s history of defending outright bigots and racists:


Is that not pretty significantly different than Germany’s approach to free speech? To me, the Confederate flag represents a racist regime not unlike the Nazis, but in the US it’s perfectly legal to fly that flag while the swastika is banned in Germany. Is that not a substantial difference?

Again, I frankly don’t know what Patrick’s specific concerns are as they relate to this forum, so I will need to go back and glean more context. It wasn’t my intention to imply that Germany didn’t have its own analogue to the first amendment. Obviously free speech existed long before 1776 in places far beyond the borders of the US. It’s by no means a uniquely American institution.


Good day,

Well, as mentioned above, the main difference is in the way that exceptions are created.

In the US, unless something has been a part of a specific Supreme Court case covering that topic, it is fair game. So, hypothetically, if one could make a justifiable case against protecting the confederate flag, it could be excluded as well.

In Germany, simply anything not permitted by any law is to be seen as excempt from Art. 5. Thus, a lot of symbols connected to for example “Volksverhetzung” (and the confederate flag could be covered under this in the right or rather wrong context) are by default restricted without the need for a seperate instance like the SCOTUS.

That is as you mentioned a very substantial legal difference. However, I was mainly covering the specific situation here which would (likely) not be 100% fair game even in the US. Again, as you mentioned, enforcement is not really comparable either, as the legal systems do indeed differ a lot and in America far more then in Germany, an argument may more frequently be made that whatever has been stated does not fall under one of the cases the SCOTUS covered in the past. Adding to that, enforcement of the majority of laws appears to differ from state to state, even going so far as to not follow national laws in some cases, making a comparison again, not fully possible, seing how in Germany, laws are very strictly enforced regardless of “local customs” or even sensibleness.

I of course cannot talk for him, though personally I would say to first and foremost, stay on a legal footing, as far as that is possible within reason.

Have a nice day,



Well thankfully I quit drinking eons ago, so there shouldn’t be too many posts I submit then desperately wish I could delete later on.

Hopefully. :sweat_smile: