The Delete Policy

The geeky culture of 2ch is also existent in how the website is administrated. Because the owner of the website is a single thirty year old man, it is far beyond his reach to make sure that the entire website is running properly. Instead, in 2ch, some people voluntarily play special roles within the community. There are people who solve technical problems, people who are responsible for the servers, and people who are responsible for deleting unlawful posts (“janitors”), just to name a few. There is even an administrative board which is built by members who have extreme responsibility for the website.

In the deletion policy, these “janitors” play an important role. These people receive the requests from users who feel their rights have been infringed, and decide whether a certain post should be deleted or not. The website had made it clear that janitors, who are just volunteers, are not responsible for their actions, and that the owner of 2ch is liable for all of their actions. In exchange, newer janitors usually do not enjoy all of the administrative powers that more experienced janitors can utilize, and 2ch reserves the right to dismiss any janitor at any time.

Because of these rules which are often not clear to people outside the 2ch community, beginners or people who are foreign to this culture often have trouble finding out the correct way to delete specific posts. If one wants a certain post to be deleted, he or she must follow the rules as specified on the delete board. When these rules are not followed, the delete requests are more than often disregarded by the 2ch community. It goes without saying that this gap between the 2ch community and the general public has been the reason for many problems (as we will see in later posts).

There is a difficult line to how the deletion policy should work. A 2ch user would assert that these rules are necessary in order to correctly identify the posts that infringe the right of others, and if the posts really do infringe any rights. He may go on to say that this sort of delete policy is required to protect the right of speech. Under the current Japanese law, because it already gives out some general idea of how a service provider should function (including specific details, such as “seven days”), each individual website looses its freedom to make a delete policy which meets its needs. The law was able to promote the awareness of delete policies (which is ideal because it would make website owners take more responsibility for the services it provides); however, because it specified some details, in effect it constraints the web owners as to how they should administer their website as well.

The 2ch delete policy has the potential to conflict with the law as well. Some one who feels his right has been infringed could notify 2ch using a wrong method. In this case, 2ch would not recognize those posts because the correct method to report unlawful posts has not been followed; but the person who requested the removal of a post would feel he did enough to notify the web administer. In essence, it would be a conflict between the inherent geeky culture of 2ch, and the law.

Because it is hard to imagine law makers and the owner of 2ch having a discussion over how to make new laws, the only way webmasters of websites like 2ch can keep infringing posts off from their websites is by making a delete policy that is clear and consistent with the law, and educating users about the policy. 

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