In short, I don’t know.
In longer answers, I don’t know, I don’t care, as long as I don’t receive annoying legal statements or phone calls.
In the 7 years of blogging, I experienced many conflicts of opinions on this blog. Most of them are around meaningful topics, and I enjoyed the conversations a lot (like this, and this).
However, I was disturbed by a conversation in this entry: Second-Generation Identity Card, related to a person named Chris Devonshire Ellis. If you want to see all the off-topic discussion, scroll down to the comment made by Pesci, and all the discussion after it.
With all due respect to Chris, I don’t know who this person is, and I am not very interested in finding it out – the article the comment belongs to is a blog entry about “Second Generation Identity Card in Hong Kong”. I hoped that there had not been off topic discussion below it.
Then someone posted something about this person – pretty negative, but I just wasn’t able to distingurish it from many other normal, off topic comments.
Then there are request to remove the comment by Roger. Without the following thread, I didn’t realize what happened, and posted my policy of removing comment as below:
I did see your comment. However, it is my policy not to remove any comment on this blog, as long as it is legal, not spam and not meaningless. If there is any evidence about illegal, spaming, or comments that is not appropriate on this blog, please report to me by writing to me at jianshuo at hotmali dot com. No evidence, no removal.
Posted by: Jian Shuo Wang (external link) on October 4, 2006 11:46 PM
Laowai2, I am a strong supporter for freedom of speech, which is really not easy in China. There are just enough censorship going around everywhere, so I took relatively less moderation approach.
To be honest, I have no idea about what Pesci is talking about. I didn’t see anything in my post, or other’s post before him/her that is related to this comment. Please correct me if it is wrong.
If people just came to the site and randomly post something not related to the post itself, I will actively remove it. I call it spam.
If Pesci is talking something related to this entry (Second Generation ID card), and is saying something bad about another person, please give me some evidence so I can make decisions. Currently, I have no clue at all about what this is all about.
On Anti-Foreigner, or Pro-foreigner, I always use the rule set by Martin-Lurther King: people should be judged by their characters instead of anything else. I don’t delete any post because it is posted by foreigners, Chinese, black, yellow. The only guideline is, it is the right or wrong comment. I won’t delete any comments just because he/she is foreigner, or leave a comment there just because he/she is a foreigner.
For negative comments, I have many negative feedback on this blog (including myself). It think as long as he/she is telling the truth, it is OK. In most cases, I cannot tell who is telling the truth, so please debate on the thread instead of asking me to remove previous comment.
I hope it is clear now.
It triggered many comments after that. I then commented the previous comment with my note – that is what you see now. Then I continue to receive emails from this person to ask me to delete more similar comment. I just have no idea about who Chris Devonshire is, and again, I don’t really care. He complained about me in this article: The Downside Of China – Immaturity Online .
So, I am seeking for some legal advice here: If I receive complain about a comment, and there are pretty reasonble evidence or arguement about it, then what I need is to take down the comment temperily and wait for the other side to give evidence that it is true, right?
Please Stop Here
Anyway, I hope everything stops here, after I hide the original content of the comment. Please, leave me alone without further lengthy legal warning and similiar stuff.
If you want to say something bad about Mr. Chris Devonshire Ellis, please go somewhere else, and the best, start your own blog, instead of posting off-topic comment on this blog.
If you want to say something good about Mr. Chris Devonshire Ellis, please also go somewhere. He has a pretty nice blog at http://www.2point6billion.com/, and your comment will be welcomed.
My point is, please go somewhere else for a topic that neither me, nor my readers are interested. It is just as the case of Disturbed Lunch (the point was, no matter which side is right, just don’t disturbe the third party).
Also, if any one want me to delete any comment posted either by himself, or by others, please simply send me an email stating what happened, and most of the time, if reasonable, I will help, just as I stated in the How to Delete Your Comment. We are here to help, and not to fight. Please do not always use threatening word. I am not always the person with good tempter. If you push the line too hard, I will also react.
Update January 23, 2009
Received a phone call around 17:00 from Chris’ lawyer again on this. Hm…
Update January 23, 2009
Received a phone call for the second time today at 17:18 from Chris’ lawyer on this. Hm…, asking me to delete this article because I said something negative about Chris Devonshire Ellis. I asked her to list all the sentence she thing is bad about him, and I will delete it. I have changed my bottom line here: tell me exactly what you don’t feel comfortable, and I will delete, OK? I am just too annoyed by this stupid thing. Yes. I am pretty angry about this. People have the right to be angry and express their feeling if treated in a not-so-comfortable matter, right? I want to help, and I did help to remove some of the comment (with backup so it is possible for the original commenter to counter-argue). I have cooperated, and then, what the next thing you want?
Update February 15, 2009
Interesting enough, after Lost Laowai posted an article about this Chris Devonshire Ellis, he received Chris’ legal threat again, and he was forced to close the comment section with comment as below:
As much as I’d love to be a beacon of free speech, I don’t have the time or wherewithal to deal with Chris’ threats nor can I guess what is true and what isn’t – apparently an ability Chris believes I hold, as he refused on every occasion I asked for him to simply tell me which comments were libelous so I could remove them. He never did.
I don’t know about others, but I just feel Chris is pushing the line too hard. If I were still “neutral” about this person when I started this article, I became negative about him after all these happen. If anyone asks me for a reference, I would honest tell what I feel about him.
Don’t be burdened too much on how you can best react when ‘conflicts’ rises :). Your position to avoid deleting any comments for the sake of protecting freedom of speech is very well motivated. However you are well justified to delete any comments that has nature of tearing down others – even if they are not off topic. This is simply because a person with healthy, loving soul doesn’t need to build up himself/herself by tearing down others.
Just a thought, thank you.
@jian shuo – mate, I wouldn’t be too concerned. Your policy of not deleting comments is admirable, and I have the same policy on my blog (regardless of the sometimes racist connotations from those who detest foreigners living in SG)… as you know, I’ve been the target from time to time also here (and a couple of times felt it to be very personal), but I would never ask you to delete an offender’s comment – it’s everybody’s right to state an opinion… and to be honest most times I’ve disagreed with people vehemently on your blog, over time I have established an extremely close ‘online bonding’ – it encourages this sort of empathy between people who have very different values and beliefs. Keep up the good job!!
DISCLAIMER: I have not read the comments or the links about this Chris Ellis – I too, don’t really care.
Will contact you later next wee about the boys meeting up – we will arrive in Shanghai early this Mondat morning (and will stay for almost a month). Cheers!!
@AussiePB, Yes. I am looking forward to find time to gether together in Shanghai. We are planning to bring Yifan out of town in 3-6th of the Lunar new year. So if you are in Shanghai in the first or second day, let’s figure out something. :-) Safe trip to Shanghai!
He just wrote this, thats who he is: http://www.chinaexpat.com/blog/ernie/2009/01/23/double-kick-your-way-year-ox.html
Seems no reason to get upset. : )
@Jianshuo – He wants to sue you? That’s funny. I thought he should pay you for promoting him and his work. Don’t worry. It will only make him look bad. We are on your side.
Hi Jianshuo – I’ve been reading your blog as a ghost for a while now. I really like your posts and was pretty saddened by how you were attacked for this whole ordeal. I don’t think you did anything wrong, including defending your no-deletion policy on comments. Those people seem like they’re just trying to pick on you for something out of your control. I’m not sure I would have been as nice as you were in dealing with this, but in the end, as you said correctly, who cares about Chris Ellis? The whole thing seems so stupid to me, and I’m sorry you got caught in the middle of it.
Keep up the good work blogging!!
(I am Chinese, but grew up in the US from a young age, so I actually read your Chinese blog too to practice my Chinese :)
It’s a good idea to remove personally libelous material about individuals from blogs out of fairness. I know that in China it is a common practice to use a scorched earth sort of strategy in trying to ruin others reputations – even when the other person is clearly in the right. But I have to say that Chris and Roger have gone overboard in their own threats and in their comments. It makes me not want to do business with either party in this dispute.
A lawyer calling you about so called libelous materials and trying to sue you is a joke. No real lawyer would do this. There is just no way the person who is in fact harassing you with potential lawsuits can do so.
Something is considered libel if it is untrue and having read the comments on your website and checking the facts they are all ok. That would mean that the person trying to sue you will have to lie in court if he claims the comments are false. Hmmmmmmm that would be interesting.
If I were you I would not be bothered by these threats at all. You did not do anything wrong. Tell them to prepare a lawsuit and there will be a number of people who will help you generously but then again, such a suit would not be accepted in court anyway…..
You have a nice blog, just keep going
He can not sue you. That is the best legal advice I can give you. It is just intimidation and he did it with others too. If the intimidation goes too far just file a police report against him as the information that was given is 100% correct. He has no qualifications and will as he will not be able to prove he has he can not go for a libel suit unless he would submit fake credentials to the court. This which would then be a criminal case against him. If he treathens, like he did before with violence, which he never carries out, then the case is simple: police report and have him removed from this country. You are a Chinese citizen so having some fake British lawyer bully you is crazy. The law is on your side, not his.
Do not fall for this intimidation. It is your blog, it is your country, let him go and *&%# himself.
To find out more about Chris Devonshire Ellis, you HAVE to go here: http://foarp.blogspot.com/2008/11/chris-devonshire-ellis-is-not-lawyer.html
Don’t let this guy hassle you into taking down things you don’t want to. Let me put this simply – is what has been said about Chris Devonshire-Ellis untrue? If it is not untrue, why take it down? Phone calls from his lawyer (if he has one) should not be treated any more seriously than a phone call from anyone else – he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
Chris is a most charming chap and so I would suggest he simply come on here and address the various accusations being made against him. We would all like to know the following:
1. Is he a lawyer?
2. Did he ever claim to be a lawyer?
3. Did he attend or graduate from University?
4. Did he ever claim to have attended or graduated from University?
5. Did he make up the stuff about the Mumbai attacks affecting his office there? Does he really even have an office there, or is it just virtual.
6. Does he really have 17 offices or are they all (or just some of them) virtual?
7. Who exactly is he and what exactly is it that he does.
Chris, we are waiting and I for one am rooting for you to come on here and show everyone that all of the accusations being made against you are completely false.
I love it. Keep up the great work and would love to hear more. I went over to Linkedin to see if CDE had something on there and he does and it is something of the likes I have never seen there before. On it, he claims to have a college degree but he does not list the college/university. Now that is obviously not conclusive, but it certainly does make me think he never went anywhere and so is not listing the actual institution so nobody can check him up on it. Many years ago, he claimed to have attended London U. but I have heard that was not true and so he pulled that from his website. I do not know the guy, but all of this sounds very hinky to me. Here’s his linkedin page. Go there and decide for yourself:http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/chris/devonshire-ellis
@StefanEdbergian, I welcome all comments on most of the matters, but just as I suggested, please don’t talk about this person on my blog, since I have been enough to talk with him or his lawyers.
OK. For others, I would disscuss about when it is appropiate to remove a comment and when it is not. Of cause I don’t want to talk about another person (with all my full respect to him, as to anybody). I don’t want to check about the facts side some of my readers post – am I suppose to do it? So if there is arguement around a statement, and a complain I would treat it as “off topic” discussion…
At any rate, you were not the author of these comments, you did not publish them – they were published automatically. If he has any problems, he should take them to the person who made the comment.
I should add that I have received NOTHING from Chris Devonshire Ellis about the posts on my blog – despite posting my email address for him to get in touch with (firstname.lastname@example.org). It would seem that he is afraid of having his threats published (hence the problems you have been having about this post) because I have previously published the threats he has issued against other bloggers, and he must know that I would do the same with any threat he made against me.
Don’t talk with these guys on the phone, let them email or send letters. Firstly, this means you have a permanent and verifiable copy of what has been said, secondly it means that you can be sure of who you are talking to, and thirdly it means that he has to actually think about what threats he makes – he cannot latter claim that he did not mean it or was joking. If they are not willing to put their threats in writing, they cannot mean them.
Finally, but most importantly, this is your blog, I myself hate the idea of deleting a comment just because others do not like it, don’t let people push you around without giving good reason.
I agree with Jian Shuo that the discussion is about legal threats and not the person who makes these threats. FOARP is right in his advice and any threats should be in writing and signed. You can then have them framed and put them on your wall.
There’s others helping you here.
Re: when it to remove a post and when not to:
There are situation where some people wage negative publicity campaigns against their competitors online. It happens more than some people think. If you can get a sense of the commenters ( like several commenters being from the same IP, you should decide if you want to be a part of that.. whether the allegations are true or not. In many cases, you may not want to involve yourself in that battle and deletion might make sense.
Trying to hold my comments about people per your request ( even though the title of this post is specifically talking about people ). Suffice to say, you have to decide if its worth it to maintain your journalistic integrity. To me, if it doesn’t make a positive contribution to the lives of my family, my friends and myself, I would probably not want to have anything to do with it and would delete on the grounds that this is a battle I would not want to fight. If it is important to stand up to a perceived bully, that may be a positive contribution in itself.
In the current situation, the wheels of karma are playing out and people are getting back what they have given out.
Wang Jianshuo and other bloggers,
With all respect to you guys, anyone reading China blogs recently would know that somebody has been going around using the comments sections to post off-topic anti-Chris smears. If you WANT to be part of the campaign to smear Chris’s reputation then by all means leave these malicious comments up. If you DON’T WANT to help in smearing the guy then delete them. Simple really.
You lot come across as a motley crew of dupes being used by others, publicity whores desperately trying to titillate their readers, and vindictive obsessives.
Now Wang Jianshuo, how about you get back to churning out your usual fare? You could, I don’t know, sample every single Starbucks beverage in a single day then tell us all about it?
Wow Kiwi this sounds really tough, the community is shaking with fear thinking of the terrible things that will happen next. :-)
I not threatening anyone Johnny.
How about you brush up on your English?
I know Kiwi’s English is much better :-)