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    LEGAL BRIEF By Max Stul Oppenheimer, Esq. I read it in the New York Times. Two cases currently making their way through the federal court system may d
    [See the full post at: Space flight is impossible]

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    • #2482274

      So long as what’s clearly stated is based on opinion and not against the law, the first amendment is quite clear.  The right to free speech should never be impinged.   You may or may not like what someone else spiels, but you have the very same right to just not read that person’s spiel.    Someone may argue that these platforms are privately owned.  May be true, but once they become the town hall, there’s already laws on the books dictating what can or cannot be censored.    I’m for free speech period so long as no law is broken.    If so, then first you have to show me the law that’s broken.     🙂

      • #2482335

        Someone may argue that these platforms are privately owned.  May be true, but once they become the town hall, there’s already laws on the books dictating what can or cannot be censored.

        Which laws do that?

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        • #2482435

          b: “Which laws do that?” Great question.

          I wouldn’t know, offhand, but let me guess:

          I’d guess that if someone at a public place, in person or online, who has a substantial popular following, started shouting to his followers to rebel and take up arms and fight to depose the government, there will be a law or two against that.

          And whoever facilitated this by helping in any form this person to be heard and incite a rebellion, call this whoever a platform owner or not, could be up for an indictment followed by a conviction, charged as an accessory after the fact to a very serious crime. (I suspect it might be seen by a judge as hard to believe that this platform, or not, owner, a well-known gentleman to boot who has proved many times not to be anyone’s fool, who is a successful businessman and presumably also a man of the world, was not aware at all nor had he any way to know what was going to happen when letting this rebellious person use his very public platform,) And so he may be left facing some serious jail time, even if this rebellion enabler’s last name was one starting in Z.

          But if there is any other way to get caught that is less glaringly obvious than this one, I can’t think of any.

          At least “while there is a judge in Berlin.”

          Maybe someone else here can?

          Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

          • #2482447

            b: “Which laws do that?” Great question.

            I wouldn’t know, offhand, but let me guess:

            I wish you wouldn’t guess, since none of your reply is remotely relevant to my question.

            Which was, “Which laws dictate what can or cannot be censored by an online platform?”

            And by replying with a quote to a particular post, it was specifically addressed to the person who claimed that some such laws already exist.

            3 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2482472

              You were commenting on iylejk’s opinion, and that opinion, as you quoted it, clearly was this one: “May be true, but once they become the town hall, there’s already laws on the books dictating what can or cannot be censored“.

              So, whatever you, in your own mind, were referring to, my comment was spot on its logical subject, that was on iylejk’s opinion. So I was commenting, on his opinion that you, apparently, were asking about. But not because you asked about it, but because I was intrigued too.

              And since I  thought I knew a possible answer to your question, I gave it to you because I am such a good guy.

              And guessing is free speech, sorry.

              Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

              MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
              Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
              macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

            • #2482477

              So I was commenting, on his opinion that you, apparently, were asking about. But not because you asked about it, but because I was intrigued too.

              Then quote him and reply to him, not me.

            • #2482487

              You asked the question.

              Take a deep breath. Or two, or several more.

              Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

              MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
              Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
              macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

            • #2482489

              Oscar, please refrain from this tone on this site.

              Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2482479

              In fact, social media platforms can impose rules or guidelines which do allow or prohibit otherwise protected free speech. Which is where those who keep threatening to sue privately owned social media platforms fall off the rails badly.

              These are NOT public platforms! They are not considered to be in the same category as a public park, for example. They are not owned by the government, and some are not even publicly traded companies.

              Therefore, the protections of the First Amendment do not apply on social media platforms. Any platform is free to set its own rules and enforce them any way it pleases.

              Which explains how I got banned from Nextdoor.com. The moderators decided I had gotten reported too many times. It was strictly a matter of enough other “users” (mostly bot accounts, in my estimation) deciding to arbitrarily flag my posts. I had posted nothing which violated anyone else’s rights, so my speech on that platform would have been protected, were Nextdoor a real-world public park or a government owned website or platform.

              Nextdoor had every right to ban me, but they had no right to claim it was my actual neighbors who had reported me. It wasn’t — it was bot accounts, which Nextdoor refuses to even attempt to monitor and remove from their platform.

              See Brian Livingston’s previous article in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter for one expert’s opinion of what the percentage of bot accounts is on social media platforms — it is truly STAGGERING!

              -- rc primak

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          • #2482485

            I wouldn’t know, offhand, but let me guess:

            The question was for/directed at @lylejk

            • #2482500

              This is not Personal Messaging. This is a thread in a forum, so is not supposed to be one for exclusive personal communications. A question asked here is one that any one interested, as I am, is free to answer. b not may like it, but others might be interested in what I have to say. b does not know that.

              But, wait! This now gets interesting!

              Unless, and most appropriate to ponder here, given the original topic we are already considering in this thread, the management of AskWoody decides, in this particular case, to make this thread work as a PM medium for b’s exclusive use, just for this opportunity. Which certainly Management can do, because this is exactly the same situation here, as in a private platform. Given that, as a matter of fact, a private platform, maybe not as fancy as those that first come to mind, but all the same, seriously, is exactly what AskWoody really is and always has been.

              So now we can discuss this and stay on topic. Unless Management … etc.

              Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

              MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
              Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
              macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2482502

              Oscar, let’s take this offline.

              Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

              5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2482317

      The situation is less about the first amendment and more about whether or not social media are platforms or publishers. We’ve gone back and forth on this, with the courts changing sides. As platforms, social media has no responsibility for the content of what is published. As publishers, they do. It seems that we want them to be both.

      If ultimately we choose platform, then social media get to do whatever they please without any oversight or responsibility.

      If ultimately we choose publisher/media, then social media companies have to choose what gets published and be ready to defend their choices.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2482476

        Anything that does not provoke death, injury, armed uprisings … The list may be longer, but still lets the “platformers” get away with plenty, doesn’t it.?

        Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

      • #2482488

        Amy,

        I have never heard of even a publisher being successfully sued for bias. There are right-leaning and left-leaning publications, and so publishers do not need to be fair or balanced in what they post. Their only constraint is not to post anything they know to be defamatory or which might harm public health or safety. Very few other constraints. Most social platforms also ban such knowingly harmful or defamatory content.

        So the idea that social media content can be censored in any way for the public’s “protection” is a very limited legal option, presently. And the First Amendment guarantees that it will remain a very remote possibility. This regardless of whether the social media companies are platforms or publishers.

        -- rc primak

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        b
    • #2482427

      It’s about time to reign in the social media companies overzealous use of censorship to protect the public promote specific ideologies.  The best example is probably that of John Stossel, who’s now suing Facebook for defamation https://youtu.be/cCOvFLlsjI4

      Recently, I suffered the wrath of Facebook for sharing a meme that poked fun at California’s new electric vehicle mandate, which made the news.  Several days later, California had another potential energy grid crisis. https://fortune.com/2022/09/01/california-electric-cars-charge-newsom/

      If you’ve been around Facebook for any amount of time, you’re probably aware of their post “privacy” classification system.  You can choose the “privacy” for your posts to show to “public” (the little world icon), “friends” (the two-person silhouette icon), “friends except…”, “specific friends”, or “only me”.

      Did this meme meet the condition “…the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable…“?  I think using the reasonable person rule, they’d have a difficult time justifying it.  Nonetheless…

      To make the potential for liability worse for Facebook, If I had posted this meme with a “public” privacy option, then Facebook may have some legitimacy to their flimsy defense they were protecting the public from this “otherwise objectionable” material.  But they weren’t.

      My meme’s “privacy” setting was “friends”.  Which means it wasn’t meant for public consumption.  It was a private conversation, between “friends”.

      So, now Facebook is reaching into private conversations for it’s continued censorship promotion of specific ideologies.  Almost like the short-time delay TV broadcasters use for live events, especially sports, so they can bleep out any of FCC’s seven forbidden words.

      While writing this rant, I went back to my post on Facebook, just to confirm that I had flagged it as “friends” and not “public”.  You wouldn’t believe what I discovered (or maybe you would).  The “false or misleading” banner that was covering the meme, has since been removed.  No mention anywhere in my feed, no apology, explanation, or retraction provided to their previous censorship of the post.  Nope, it’s as if nothing ever happened.  Perhaps Facebook’s now using a Triple-D (DDD) method: Defame, Delete, Deny…

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      • #2482486

        No lawsuit against any social media platform has ever resulted in the payment of even one cent to the plaintiffs. Not only that, but their demands for changes in moderation policies rarely have resulted in any policy changes at all.

        The courts wisely have refused to intervene between users of social media platforms and the owners of those platforms. These are not public forums, and are not government owned or sponsored. They are PRIVATE COMPANIES and therefore can make any rules they want, and enforce them any way they want.

        Bias in moderation means nothing if the forum is not owned or regulated by the government. Private companies are not subject to such regulation, either as publishers or as platforms.

        There is no reason to regulate or censor social media content. What does need to happen, is for social media platform owners to take MUCH more seriously the infiltration of their platforms by bot accounts. This does have an impact on what most users see and can post on social media. It’s not just that bots can post whatever they please — it’s that bot accounts can also report real users and get them banned. That is truly malicious, and it happens all the time.

        It’s actually left-leaning users who most frequently get hounded off a platform by bot accounts, not right-leaning users. That is the real bias which is happening.

        -- rc primak

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      • #2482681

        I’m going to be devil’s advocate: never blame on intent what could be buggy software. The first pass in Facebook’s censoring is typically a computer, not a human.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2482515

      “Of course, the New York Times could accomplish all of that — it could choose which articles to run, which ads to accept, what editorial position to take, and whether to publish misinformation.”

      “However, if the NYT did so, it would risk liability if the content were actionably false or in tort if its actions caused harm. ”

      Is Mr. Oppenheimer saying that the New York Times has already done this? Or does he believe they haven’t? As a Law Professor, Mr. Oppenheimer should be well aware of Project Veritas v. New York Times. He should be, but he doesn’t seem to be. I don’t believe that Ask Woody should be a place where politics invades. But neither should it be a place for misinformation. Something of which Mr. Oppenheimer is clearly quite skilled.

      • #2482683

        Mr. Oppenheimer and the site for that matter, strives to not be in the business of misinformation. Per my understanding of the situation of Project Veritas v. New York Times was about libel, not “misinformation”. The two (as I read it) are different. This isn’t about politics. Rather because we too are a social site, we always have to be aware of, and try to stay ahead of any regulation.

        Mr. Oppenheimer does rightfully point out that all of this is not new. We tend to reinvest history all the time.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

    • #2482719

      Actually, that’s “partially false” (I’m trying to add some light-hearted humor here).  There are several cases where content providers have been deemed publishers.

      https://jolt.richmond.edu/2020/08/27/the-origins-and-original-intent-of-section-230-of-the-communications-decency-act/

      It’s a long read, but it gives great background on how the CDA morphed into what it is.  Paragraph 49 gives the legal “how-to” pierce the veil of “content provider”.

      If the original author of the legislation is to be believed, Stossel has a good chance of winning.  It hinges on the fact that Facebook itself “created” the “false”, “misleading”, and other fact-check “labels” as part of their platform.  By “creating” and applying these labels themself, based on third-party content providers, Facebook crossed the magic threshold separating content providers from creators/publishers, and became a “creator/publisher”.

      As far as the argument “they’re private companies and can do whatever they want”, that’s simply not true.  A private company isn’t shielded from defamation libel, just as they’re not shielded from liability for refusing to bake cakes for same-sex couples.  Stossel’s case is based on false statements, aka fact-check “labels”.

      If Stossel’s legal team has threaded the proverbial needle correctly, they can demonstrate Facebook is simply a publisher in content provider’s clothing.  Blaming errors with their “fact-checking” labels as simply bad programming (computer algorithms) isn’t a get out of jail free card:

      In the landmark en banc decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com,[66] which has since been widely cited and applied in circuits across the United States, it was held that not only do websites lose their immunity when they merely “develop” content created by others, but participation in others’ content creation includes wholly automated features of a website that are coded into its architecture.[67]

      At least that’s my two-cents opinion.

       

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    • #2483012

      Back in 2020 as the Covid panic was starting to accelerate, there were numerous voices calling for diverse approaches to battling the infection.  Many public health agencies were at odds with those who disagreed with the protocols and approaches they were recommending.  This led to claims of misinformation being propagated, misinformation being defined as that which did not agree with what the health agencies (CDC, FDA, various state agencies in the USA) were recommending.

      In New Zealand, a frustrated Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated on the subject:

      “We will continue to be your single source of truth… Unless you hear it from us it is not the truth.”

      sadly echoing Orwell’s book ‘1984’.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2483019

      The CA legislature has passed a bill making it illegal for MD’s to disagree with health recommendations from the state public health agency.  The driving force was dissension against the Covid vaccines but many believe the bill could be applied to any information that disagreed with the prevailing opinion of the state health agency.

      The bill awaits the possible signature or veto of CA Governor Newsom.

      There are many who say the bill will be struck down on constitutional issues.

      Doctors Who Spread False Information
      Weighing into the fierce national debate over Covid-19 prevention and treatments, the state would be the first to try a legal remedy for vaccine disinformation.
      Aug. 29, 2022
      https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/29/technology/california-doctors-covid-misinformation.html

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    • #2483030

      The idea that you can protect an entity’s speech, but not that entity’s choice of censorship makes no sense. If I have a choice in what I can say, I also inherently have a choice in what I can’t say. The state telling me “you must say these things” is clearly abridgement of my freedom of speech. You wouldn’t like it if I told you that “Askwoody gave me cancer” and then you had to display that on your website forever, right? Wouldn’t it suck if you couldn’t moderate comments at all?

      And this framing of whether misinformation (or disinformation) as a matter of opinion is exactly the problem with this country right now. It’s just another way of saying that “alternative facts” exist. Whether information is true or false is a factual matter. It does not matter if you disagree that information is false. It either is or isn’t.

      And if the entity making the speech and the government both are not entitled to discover if something is factual or not, that leaves no one.


      The only way it makes sense to be able to be able to control the speech of companies like Facebook and the like are if you declare them public utilities–controlled by government–and not as private entities. But that’s essentially nationalizing them. So then, as profit-making entities who know people will use them less if they are full of misinformation, they have every interest in relocating to where they can’t be nationalized.


      Does that mean there’s nothing that can be done? Not at all. But it involves using the sort of monopoly busting powers, not abridging freedom of speech. Countries do have a responsibility to protect people from unfair business practices. That is the solution to any de facto “public spaces.” They don’t get to be the only one on the block for their type. That seems a far more tenable solution that preserves the individual liberties of the corporate entities themselves–who do have freedom of speech rights as corporations.

      If this is decided differently, then that would be an argument that the whole “corporations are persons under the law” concept is bad, and would undermine so much precedent (and not just the court case you are likely thinking of.)

    • #2495316

      This is not Personal Messaging. This is a thread in a forum, so is not supposed to be one for exclusive personal communications. A question asked here is one that any one interested, as I am, is free to answer. b not may like it, but others might be interested in what I have to say. b does not know that.

      But, wait! This now gets interesting!

      Unless, and most appropriate to ponder here, given the original topic we are already considering in this thread, the management of AskWoody decides, in this particular case, to make this thread work as a PM medium for b’s exclusive use, just for this opportunity. Which certainly Management can do, because this is exactly the same situation here, as in a private platform. Given that, as a matter of fact, a private platform, maybe not as fancy as those that first come to mind, but all the same, seriously, is exactly what AskWoody really is and always has been.

      So now we can discuss this and stay on topic. Unless Management … etc.

      So, now OscarCP has vanished, vaporized or thrown in a medieval-forget-pit?

      All possibilities to contact or correspondence are taken away.

      Is that the price for contributions and free-speech?

      I am #JustSoVeryDisappointed in mentality & quality, even Elon Musk does a better job

       

      * _ being 20 in the 70's was fun _ *
      • #2495579

        Oscar is busy at the office and is focusing on getting those projects done.

        “Freedom of speech—the right to express opinions without government restraint”

        This isn’t the government.  The servers are not owned by the government.  The Internet is not owned by the government.

        I still pay the bills.  You can say whatever you like in your own house.  Here on this platform the buck stops with me.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2495580

        P.S. Elon overpaid for what he bought.  He is not doing better.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2495399

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” — Constitution of the United States, Amendment 1.

      AskWoody is not Congress.  AskWoody has rules concerning content in posts to this site.  Said rules can be construed as abridging the freedom of speech, but AskWoody is not Congress; AskWoody has broken no law nor infringed on anyone’s Constitutional Rights.

      Anyone is free to read the content posted here at AskWoody.  AskWoody is free to curate that content to conform to the rules for posting at AskWoody.  It is a misreading of the First Amendment to try to hold AskWoody to the same constraints imposed on Congress.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2495420

      A bit of clarification about “common” Free Speech misconceptions…

      The First Amendment protects speech from government censorship (i.e. federal, state, and local governments can’t restrict it.) It does not apply to private citizens, businesses, or organizations.

      From a legal perspective, all social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Tik-Tok, etc. — including AskWoody) are  considered  either a “private business” (it charges a fee to users/advertisers to support its operation) or a “private organization” (free access and its operation is supported by donations) so Free Speech rules do not apply!

      Private businesses/organizations can set whatever “rules of conduct” they want as to what is and is not acceptable content/behavior by those who use their site and can restrict any user’s access at any time if the owners/operators deem the user has violated those rules.

      The First Amendment, Censorship, and Private Companies: What Does “Free Speech” Really Mean?

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2495462

      A bit of clarification about “common” Free Speech misconceptions… The First Amendment protects speech from government censorship (i.e. federal, state, and local governments can’t restrict it.) It does not apply to private citizens, businesses, or organizations.

      I am amazed by the number of Americans who apparently do not understand this distinction, and continue to demand their “First Amendment” right to free speech in the context of private organizations.

      Windows 10 Pro 22H2

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2495463

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” — Constitution of the United States, Amendment 1.

      I believe that all Americans should re-read that Amendment, until they understand that it only pertains to repression by the government!

      Windows 10 Pro 22H2

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2495496

        I believe that all Americans should re-read that Amendment, until they understand that it only pertains to repression by the government!

        Constitution of the United States

        Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
        We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

    • #2495487

      I am amazed by the number of Americans who apparently do not understand this distinction, and continue to demand their “First Amendment” right to free speech in the context of private organizations.

      And then put up with living in a community of homes ruled by its Homeowner’s Association which puts restrictions on what color you can paint your house to what kind of fence you can put up to whether or not you can fly flags.

      Just my 2000¢  (allowance made for current inflation).

      Being 20 something in the 70's was more fun than being 70 something in the 20's
      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2495495

        And then put up with living in a community of homes ruled by its Homeowner’s Association which puts restrictions on what color you can paint your house to what kind of fence you can put up to whether or not you can fly flags.

        No one forced me to buy a house within the confines of an existing HOA, and I foresee no one ever will.  When one agrees to such regulations/constraints voluntarily, the blame is not on the HOA.  I bought my house in a community of homes without an HOA.  If there had been an HOA, I would not have bought this house.  I would have looked elsewhere, outside the constraints of any HOA.

        Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
        We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2495507

          You’re right bbearren, and I agree with you.  I bought my land and had my house built on it.  Since then, however, all that I’ve seen being built around where I live are new developments of McMansions.  They all have HOA’s nowadays.

          Being 20 something in the 70's was more fun than being 70 something in the 20's
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