PiratePony

Underage Dating/Pedophilia on MLP Forums

Jeric

Staff's position on this is that we will not tolerate sexual predation on our forum. If you are caught doing so, we will act swiftly and appropriately. If you are a victim, or are aware of one, please inform an Administrator immediately. 

Message added by Jeric

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I have found it disturbing that from time to time, certain members in their late 20s or more have publicly stated being in a relationship with minors on this site.

One instance was while I was a staff member, so I will not disclose the details of what was discussed. However, this involved a person in their late 20s who publicly stated having a relationship with a girl who was 15. 

In another instance, I was not on staff and this involved someone in their late 20s having a public relationship with a 16 year old boy. My report actually facilitated a response that these members lived in a country where that was the age of consent. I made a secondary report that this online relationship started when the child was 15, clearly under the legal age of even that country.

The administration shouldn't turn a blind eye to illegal activity. Just because this is okay in some countries, does not mean that a certain standard should not apply. Not to mention, in these countries where a young age of consent exists, Canada included, there is language in the law that states that a drastic age difference toward a minor shows sexual manipulation, which MLP Forums should not allow. 

I suggest that any adults having a relationship on MLP Forums with a minor under the age of 18 be subject to administrative action.

MLP Forums and Poniverse should take a hard stance in protecting minors on this site from potential predators. Thanks.

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In my experience on staff, we absolutely acted on this when there was evidence to support it, so I am unsure if there has been any policy change. 

Now, there are times that I personally overturned bans of members who either had a relationship with a minor, or engaged in ERP. I have been a firm proponent of second chances as long as the dialogue between the other person led me and the other Admins to believe that there would be no further issues. In some cases, these second chances have led to the member becoming a rock solid part of the community. 

Either way, yeah any allegations should be looked into and absolutely discouraged. They should be acted on if evidence is there, but never in haste. 

 

 

It's also important to note that details pertaining to each case usually warrant different action. An 18 year old dating a 16 year old isn't the same thing as a 40 dating a 13 year old. One of those is really not an issue in my book, one certainly is. 

It's probably a good idea if we have this conversation to add some specificity to it instead of a framework of generalizations that could whip people into a frenzy.

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Thing is, this could be tricky to enforce, barring solid and blatant evidence. Not everyone states their actual age, or even at all (myself included). So how do we know if someone is over age and someone is a minor. How can we act unless someone says "I am 'x' age dating/ looking to date someone who is 'y' age" ? If they're even being honest?

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The only exception for something like this would be if someone who is 16 is dating someone who is 18. The reason being is that it's mostly legal in the United States as long there is nothing sexual.

There is this age rule some people go by. Take half your age and add 7. That is the youngest you should date according to some people. Is right? Well, if we're talking about that area when you turn 18, yes. If you AND your partner are well over 18, then it's fine, but if say person A is 20 and person B is like 50, it's completely legal, but socially... It's weird.

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33 minutes ago, Denim&Venom said:

Thing is, this could be tricky to enforce, barring solid and blatant evidence. Not everyone states their actual age, or even at all (myself included). So how do we know if someone is over age and someone is a minor. How can we act unless someone says "I am 'x' age dating/ looking to date someone who is 'y' age" ? If they're even being honest?

Very good point. In some cases, we didn't know. We didn't act if we didn't know the ages involved. In at least one case a parent got involved so that's how we knew for sure there. Though, even in that situation, in the end we were able to resolve the problem without permanently impacting the member's account. 

It's also a tricky situation when you factor in staff's real role here. Most of the people on staff our young and only ensuring that the site maintains non toxic environment. They aren't parents, and it certainly isn't in their job description to be parents to the community. That's a really tricky situation, and MLPF isn't a babysitting service. 

And yeah, I don't think anyone in their right mind thinks that staff should ignore the obvious situation where there is a predator engaging in inappropriate contact. I'm just advocating cautious deliberation and not the application of a "one size fits all" approach. 

 

EDIT: meant to say agrees and not disagrees. I'm pretty sure no one likes sexual predators and the staff shouldn't and won't ignore them if they have salient facts. 

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To me, one issue is also what impact punishments will have.

 

Assuming there is some kind of relationship in reality all ready, could anything done here impact it at all? Just because we won't see it anymore doesn't mean it is gone.

 

The other part is when the relationship is either forming here or if it is practiced mostly in VL. My guess is that in some cases things like a ban would have an effect, mostly if no other contact methods were shared, but not if they were or if the user re-reigsters.

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1 hour ago, Bas said:

To me, one issue is also what impact punishments will have.

 

Assuming there is some kind of relationship in reality all ready, could anything done here impact it at all? Just because we won't see it anymore doesn't mean it is gone.

 

The other part is when the relationship is either forming here or if it is practiced mostly in VL. My guess is that in some cases things like a ban would have an effect, mostly if no other contact methods were shared, but not if they were or if the user re-reigsters.

Might not have an impact IRL, but at least it sets a precedent here on the forums and works as a deterrent to such behavior.

Not sure if it's possible here, but another action would be to ban the offenders IP address. 

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@Jeric @PiratePony

If you guys are so concerned about this underage dating thing, then what about the Forums Games. Like "Would you date the User above you?" It may be a hypothetical question, but some people could take it seriously. Especially when you can't simply look at the person's profile and know how old they really are because they didn't disclose their birth year. 

And what about those, who have absolutely no intentions of dating in real life. Yet will do a RP where their RP characters are dating? Shouldn't there be a line between what's acting out a date for fun and no harm AND what's potentially illegal for any and all those involved?

Edited by WiiGuy2014
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6 minutes ago, WiiGuy2014 said:

@Jeric @PiratePony

If you stallions are so concerned about this underage dating thing, then what about the Forums Games. Like "Would you date the Avatar above you?" It may be a hypothetical question, but some ponies could take it seriously. Especially when you can't simply look at the pony's profile and know how old they really are because they didn't disclose their birth year. 

And what about those, who have absolutely no intentions of dating in real life. Yet will do a RP where their RP characters are dating? Shouldn't there be a line between what's acting out a date for fun and no harm AND what's potentially illegal for any and all those involved?

And on top of that...what about those "You just got kissed by the avatar above you" and the "Naked avatar" game? They may be fun and silly to some, but...sooner or later...the line will be crossed...

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18 minutes ago, WiiGuy2014 said:

If you guys are so concerned about this underage dating thing, then what about the Forums Games.

I'm not super concerned about it. It didn't happen often enough to be a major issue when I was on staff, and I suspect that it is even less of an issue now. I trust the Admins to take a reasonable approach in the rare case something jumps out at them. But in general, I'm not going to get up in arms over something that isn't occurring much ... at all. I try not to manage to exceptions in my approach to most things. 

18 minutes ago, WiiGuy2014 said:

then what about the Forums Games. Like "Would you date the User above you?" It may be a hypothetical question, but some people could take it seriously. Especially when you can't simply look at the person's profile and know how old they really are because they didn't disclose their birth year. 

 

9 minutes ago, C. Thunder Dash said:

And on top of that...what about those "You just got kissed by the avatar above you" and the "Naked avatar" game? They may be fun and silly to some, but...sooner or later...the line will be crossed..

I think a reasonable person can tell the difference between a goofy thread like those and a the situation that would warrant the Mods and Admins to get involved. 

This site actually doesn't allow direct solicitation of romantic relationships in threads, so as long as things are related to silliness and not a stand alone topic titled, "Who wants to be my girlfriend yo?" ... I don't see much harm in those threads. I also don't recall many lines being crossed in them. There was a couples thread that Artemis shut down after relationship drama kept getting tossed in our laps. That's different though. My opinion is that the silly games are generally fine. 

I personally won't participate in them because it's creepy AF having a 40 year old man pretending to wake up in bed with someone. :P

 

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4 minutes ago, Jeric said:

I'm not super concerned about it. It didn't happen often enough to be a major issue when I was on staff, and I suspect that it is even less of an issue now. I trust the Admins to take a reasonable approach in the rare case something jumps out at them. But in general, I'm not going to get up in arms over something that isn't occurring much ... at all. I try not to manage to exceptions in my approach to most things. 

 

I think a reasonable person can tell the difference between a goofy thread like those and a the situation that would warrant the Mods and Admins to get involved. 

This site actually doesn't allow direct solicitation of romantic relationships in threads, so as long as things are related to silliness and not a stand alone topic titled, "Who wants to be my girlfriend yo?" ... I don't see much harm in those threads. I also don't recall many lines being crossed in them. There was a couples thread that Artemis shut down after relationship drama kept getting tossed in our laps. That's different though. My opinion is that the silly games are generally fine. 

I personally won't participate in them because it's creepy AF having a 40 year old man pretending to wake up in bed with someone. :P

 

I understand and I think what you said is fair enough.

After all, Baby Dashie and Princess Aurora Wolf are IRL husband and wife, just a few years younger than me. Here on the forums, Baby Dashie plays being a baby to single mom, Princess Aurora, and they even allow me to play the adopted father "Baby" needs. I DO know that they have a wonderful life together away from the Forums, as do I. But there's nothing wrong with me playing adopted father to the "Baby" right?

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1 minute ago, WiiGuy2014 said:

I understand and I think what you said is fair enough.

After all, Baby Dashie and Princess Aurora Wolf are IRL husband and wife, just a few years younger than me. Here on the forums, Baby Dashie plays being a baby to single mom, Princess Aurora, and they even allow me to play the adopted father "Baby" needs. I DO know that they have a wonderful life together away from the Forums, as do I. But there's nothing wrong with me playing adopted father to the "Baby" right?

I really don't have an opinion on that to be honest. I have the luxury of not having to wade into the murky grey waters of this sort of thing since I hung up my Alicorn wings long ago. Abandoning such opinions and only focusing on what's really important is serving me well. 

 

Really, my main point here was to offer a counter point to Pirate's assertion that there should be a single rule to cover all instances, and to refute any implication (intentional or otherwise) that the staff doesn't know what they are doing and that predation is a normal occurrence.  

I push reason and objective rationale over emotional knee jerk responses when things like this are brought to the staff's attention. That's all I'm saying.

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Reading all this kinda makes me happy that we have helpful mods, ready to snuff the flame of any issue that may arise on the forum, but it also disgusts me that there are people like that, even on the forum. It's really disgusting that there are predators like that everywhere. I'm gonna make sure that I can do all that I can to report or prevent pedophilic actions on the forums, and everywhere else for that matter. Just make sure you guys are careful about what you post online guys!

 

 

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I am 100% for this proposal to crackdown on underage dating on here. My main concern is this. How could we crackdown in a situation when one or both parties may lie about their age (someone saying their 16 when they're 30 and vice versa)? I've seen people in the past put a fake age on their profile. Some even as ridiculous as like 103 or whatnot. After all, this is the internet where there are people who lie in this part of town.

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Effectiveness has to also be something that should be considered. In both of @PiratePony's examples, they appear to be consensual. The effect of a ban of one or both members would likely have the limited effect of saying, "not on my server" instead or a moral standpoint that their dating is inappropriate and ending the relationship. It will likely continue off this forum, and realistically the action would have actually strengthened the relationship. Boomarang effect is a powerful thing with young adults. 

 

Here is another one for you. Not a hypothetical.

@Salty Sweetness, my daughter, is 16 and a Junior. She is dating an 18 year old Senior in highschool. You want to play parents to someone elses kid, you really need to think twice, because things can get grey and fuzzy really quick. 

 

6 hours ago, PiratePony said:

I suggest that any adults having a relationship on MLP Forums with a minor under the age of 18 be subject to administrative action

Should I send a permission slip to the Admins to clear this relationship with them and get their approval? I mentioned this before, because they've openly discussed popping on here for the World Cup stuff. 

 

 

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Totally against dating underage folk, and I agree with those who say it needs to be taken care of. Sick, sick, sick.

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On 15/01/2018 at 6:40 PM, Jeric said:

I personally won't participate in them because it's creepy AF having a 40 year old man pretending to wake up in bed with someone. :P

Agreed, I see things in "Wake up" and want to respond but refrain because of the above, I won't even respond to friends posting in there.

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I fully agree with this, and I'm glad we have mods that are willing to take care of issues like that over here! I find it disgusting how prevalent predators seem to be all over the internet, and, outside of here, I've definitely experienced my share of creeps (I'm looking at you, Facebook, Viber and YouTube!)

One thing that bothers me a little though, is that it seems like it might be a little hard to enforce these rules, as many people don't share information like their birthdays, and even then, that stuff can be easily faked...

Edited by Nightfallicious Gloamiscus
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Do the people involved have brains? are they sentient? have they passed the age of puberty? Is it consensual? (irregardless of if you have a piece of paper that says 'x can not consent'. I think x's opinion matters more than the piece of paper, or law). 

If all of those things are true, then the relationship is fine. IMO after puberty whatever they want is fine, especially online where there is no physical action involved. You are basically instigating witchhunts on people for a victimless crime to go after people for this. Let people exercise their own free will and do what they want.

 

I once saw a couple being harrassed online for the very thing pirate describes, and I was very outspoken in attacking the harrassers. The relationship started when one was 14 and one was 18. So what? puberty happens at 13, and at that point humans look at porn and are sexually interested. I will stand with the accused parties on this issue. 

Edited by trademark2
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On 17/01/2018 at 5:04 AM, trademark2 said:

Do the people involved have brains? are they sentient? have they passed the age of puberty? Is it consensual? (irregardless of if you have a piece of paper that says 'x can not consent'. I think x's opinion matters more than the piece of paper, or law). 

If all of those things are true, then the relationship is fine. IMO after puberty whatever they want is fine, especially online where there is no physical action involved. You are basically instigating witchhunts on people for a victimless crime to go after people for this. Let people exercise their own free will and do what they want.

 

I once saw a couple being harrassed online for the very thing pirate describes, and I was very outspoken in attacking the harrassers. The relationship started when one was 14 and one was 18. So what? puberty happens at 13, and at that point humans look at porn and are sexually interested. I will stand with the accused parties on this issue. 

Puberty isn't the open door to consent. Some people start puberty as early as 9.

9 times out of 10, someone in a relationship online will eventually meet up in real life and they're likely to have some sort of "physical intimacy". If someone starts puberty at 9 and meet up with their boyfriend/girlfriend, and some sort of physical intimacy happens, that's a felony in many countries that the overage person just did.

Regardless by law of national countries, it's illegal by international laws to share or stream adult content to someone who is under the age of 18. Whether it's the overage person or an adult site. It's even illegal to own inappropriate content of their underage partner too - even if their age of consent is under 18.

Another problem; if, let's say Jane, is from England. The AoC in England is 16. Michael is 18, and he's from the US and their AoC is 18. By standards, if Jane went to Michael and had physical intimacy, it's illegal. If Michael went over to Jane and did the same thing, it's not illegal for Jane, but Michael will still probably get prosecuted for going out to do it by his own country.

If they're from the same country, then it's all down to their laws, but the majority of online relationships are international. If any of this happens, and it smacks back to the forums, Poniverse will probably get a lawsuit on them. This is why a lot of websites go by the 18+ rule. It's easier.

 

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On 1/17/2018 at 12:04 AM, trademark2 said:

Do the people involved have brains? are they sentient? have they passed the age of puberty? Is it consensual? (irregardless of if you have a piece of paper that says 'x can not consent'. I think x's opinion matters more than the piece of paper, or law). 

If all of those things are true, then the relationship is fine. IMO after puberty whatever they want is fine, especially online where there is no physical action involved. You are basically instigating witchhunts on people for a victimless crime to go after people for this. Let people exercise their own free will and do what they want.

 

I once saw a couple being harrassed online for the very thing pirate describes, and I was very outspoken in attacking the harrassers. The relationship started when one was 14 and one was 18. So what? puberty happens at 13, and at that point humans look at porn and are sexually interested. I will stand with the accused parties on this issue. 

It's still illegal in both the US, and Canada (where the Poniverse servers are located, from what I remember). If something awful were to happen, the management on the site would be legally liable, and could be sued by the family of said victim, or possibly have criminal charges pursued against them.

It's a shame that things like this happen, but there are some sick people in the fandom, I will admit, and that needs to be kept off this site.

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15 minutes ago, Malloy said:

Puberty isn't the open door to consent. Some people start puberty as early as 9.

9 times out of 10, someone in a relationship online will eventually meet up in real life and they're likely to have some sort of "physical intimacy". If someone starts puberty at 9 and meet up with their boyfriend/girlfriend, and some sort of physical intimacy happens, that's a felony in many countries that the overage person just did.

Regardless by law of national countries, it's illegal by international laws to share or stream adult content to someone who is under the age of 18. Whether it's the overage person or an adult site. It's even illegal to own inappropriate content of their underage partner too - even if their age of consent is under 18.

Another problem; if, let's say Jane, is from England. The AoC in England is 16. Michael is 18, and he's from the US and their AoC is 18. By standards, if Jane went to Michael and had physical intimacy, it's illegal. If Michael went over to Jane and did the same thing, it's not illegal for Jane, but Michael will still probably get prosecuted for going out to do it by his own country.

If they're from the same country, then it's all down to their laws, but the majority of online relationships are international. If any of this happens, and it smacks back to the forums, Poniverse will probably get a lawsuit on them. This is why a lot of websites go by the 18+ rule. It's easier.

 

On the note of puberty, I 1000% agree. While age may be somewhat of a tricky line in some instances, I can toss of any manner of medical and psychological reasons that a 13 year old and an adult shouldn't be in a relationship together. 

For me, the area becomes somewhat grey when we start talking about 16+ and still within a reasonable age range like 18. The example of my own kid is a perfect illustration of that. But that's my moral judgement and views coming into play here so take that with a grain of salt. 

I do want to point out something that's important. This isn't about distribution of porn. It can't be. I mean, if I PM'd some porn at any adult member on here, I'm breaking the NSFW rule even if we are both consenting adults. That's a rule that exists and I'd have a fun little warning or worse if that got out to the staff. Really, the quandary is about the dating component. Should the staff outright ban underage dating? Where is the line drawn? I'm mostly concerned with knee jerk reactions that end in banning members in the grey areas when we may be able to find a better solution. 

Explicit material is a different topic and can be addressed under current rules. 

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I had one person who said such dirty disgusting behavior language of an art piece I finished for someone on the forum, the contend was engross and disturbing, I reported on how this persons pervert behavior was making me uncomfortable. What is most upsetting it that this is a place for young and old to be safe from such creepy and disturbing... I also felt worried, what if that creepy person was around kids or had kids of their own. Such deranged people  should never be aloud to be on such community boards. Their behavior is very inappropriate... I hope the perp got banned, of all my years on ponies forms this is the first encounter I had, I did report the creep.. Thankfully I no longer have that issue or encounter anymore ..

There are many legitimate reasons to ban a person.  and this is just one of the many legit reasons why.

Edited by RaphLuna
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When Pirate Pony made this topic, I called for calm and moderation to response from those that would engage in this discussion (no pun intended). On the whole, the discussion has been civil and allowing for introspection and rational commentary. 

In light of the news about ToonKritic, and the unanimous public denouncement of his actions -- a denouncement that spans multiple countries irrespective of age of consent issues -- I think that it is critical that an official policy regarding Poniverse and MLPF's own underage conduct rules be made public. This serves a practical purpose -- for members to look after each other better, if they know where you stand as an organization. They would know that there is a line, and when it is crossed the actions they and staff should take. 

A reasonable amount of time was given to let this topic sit. 

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Here's my take: if it's ever confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt as in there is hardcore evidence that would be impossible to doctor up or the person admits to pedophilia. It should be dealt with swiftly and publically. Why publically? Because the users need to see the staff are taking the matter seriously and to send out the message that this person is a predator so that if anyone was a victim of their actions they can come forward and the staff can point them to help.

The other reason is so that their name is out there and travels so they can't just run away to another site or part of the fandom and continue their predatory nature. This is one of the few disciplinary actions that needs public attention instead of handling behind closed doors. However again: this is ONLY if it is confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt or the perpetrator admits to it. If it is proven that someone is a convicted sex offender as well they should be barred from the site entirely and a warning put up to users not to interact with them. A list of users who violate this should be made public, but the list again should be reserved only for people who are confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt such as admitting guilt so as to prevent false accusation. The point is not to shame these people but to spread the word around so that they can not harm anyone even on other sites. We have sex offender registries for a reason. This list should also include users who never joined the site such as Toon. So that it is publically known if anyone catches him trying to sneak onto the site to report him and get him off the site.

Some may find it harsh, but it's better that way because it tells people that the staff on this site take these matter seriously and are not going to act too rashly but also not act too forgiving when someone is a confirmed predator.

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