Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Why JREF forums rules are still living in the dark ages

It is becoming ever clearer with time that my supposed suspension from the JREF community is not in fact a suspension at all but a permanent ban. I'd still love my account back. I'll still continue to post bad press on this blog about what happened and some cultural biases I've remembered off the forum now I can not discuss it more productively on forum. Which is unfortunate for a community I used to respect and enjoy so much.

It seems in retrospect I was treading a very fine line between posting respectable scientific literature on psychedelics in the science section weighed against the political anti-science rules implicit in the rules of the forum. Being informed of this would have been much appreciated, but it simply never happened.

I summarized the point why the banning was a mistake in my previous blog here. I can only presume that there are certain unwritten rules about drugs I was not aware of.

I did however find this one "
if the post contained instructions ... or information about ways to get high with (usually, illegal uses of) legal substances, or information about little-known drugs or how to obtain them -- then the posts breach rule 1. More importantly, the posts threaten the continued existence of these forums."

I will address why my post that resulting in the banning did not violate any of these rules, and why such posts do not in fact "threaten the continued existence of these forums".

To re-iterate why it was unfair as it relates to the rules of the forum here's a concise list:

a) I have never received a suspension for my posting of such material, so was completely unaware that I had a history of violations of rule one. Checking my history of infractions may reveal something I have missed, but since I can no longer access the forum I am unable to do this.

b) The way in which the ban was conducted too non reciprocal, my account simply stopped working one day. I got no email from the admins explaining why the ban happened, and no opportunity to reply, which makes the fact that a mistake was clearly made even the more aggravating for me, as I have no means to contact anyone on the forum to explain why this was the case other than this blog.

c) "
if the post contained instructions ... or information about ways to get high with (usually, illegal uses of) legal substances" As I explained in my previous post, the statement I 'was asking where I can get psychedelic drugs in my area' is false. I asked for the location of a local UDV center. I found one. I broke no laws in asking, I broke now laws in participating. Such UDV clinics are legal in the USA and due to this precedent pretty much worldwide (apart from France and a few others, but there will always be local cultural exceptions as a side effect of an anti-science based application of drug laws). This is not "(usually, illegal uses of) legal substances", even the use of this is allowed in this context. The purpose of them is primarily social and, if you choose to, medicinal as well. I found one, it took me two days, and surprisingly was only 50 km from home. It was a humbling experience.

d) "More importantly, the posts threaten the continued existence of these forums." I feel a change in the rules here is warranted. This a change to the rules that I'm sure would not even raise an eyebrow online as it's already largely in place, ( a purely medicine/drug forum that had always erred on the side of caution with site rules being in accordance with '
international law' ) is now adopting a change to the site rules that allows admitting use of and planned use of drugs, much to the amusement of the spectrum of drugs forums that have been using first person prose since the beginning. It turns out that after speaking to people running drug related forums for nearly a decade not one of them has any evidence that posts made on a forum even attract the attention of drug law enforcement agencies, let alone compromise the security of them (the days of operation web tryp and the hive are long gone). The main forum rule to enforce seems to be not letting users reveal any more precise geographical information than city level in drug related posts and banning discussion of the price of drugs (it can can look like advertising); however since JREF is not a forum that is predicated on drug use I do not even feel this rule would be a necessary addition. This is a recommendation for the rules, not a complaint against them out of bitterness. I am trying to help. The very existence of these drug predisposed forums shows that the authorities do not care about forum posts, these entire drug communities with even more members than JREF have never once received any hassle from authorities, and they exist purely to talk about illicit drugs use, to reduce harm to people unfortunate enough to have to use them. There is not even evidence that forum posts about drugs have ever been used in court, due to identity theft and it being nearly impossible to prove someone actually posted what can be seen online in a court of law.

e) There is also an element of cultural responsibility here to honest education, it's now proven beyond doubt that drug laws do not correlate to the harm of the substance and that many many illegal drugs in fact have legitimate scientific application and medicinal use (recent studies into MDMA and PTSD, psilocybin and wellbeing, etc) so an educational forum that prides itself on evidence should not act as sycophants to a purely political ideology lacking any scientific evidence in its favor. The natural ahahuasca brew that I inquired about in the thread that resulted in the banning is also a drug with no deaths worldwide, proven clinical benefits (I posted these in the science section in reply to roborama) and clinically significant effects on habits and addictions. It would immediately put a poster who had a degree in psycho-pharmacology in an extremely surreal situation: either help educate people about his chosen discipline by sharing his knowledge (which no doubt sometimes is going to look like advocating certain well studied non addictive and efficacious psychedelics) or get banned. The fact that I wrote in the thread I got banned for in large capital letters 'I AM NOT ADVOCATING ITS USE' seems to have been missed.

f) Again on the point an admin stated for the reason of my ban “
He was asking where he could get psychoactive drugs in his area” is spurious at best, as most people a) are already breaking the law due to it's natural presence in the mammalian bloodstream b) can get this particular one instantly from their natural environment (17+ dominant strains of canary reed grass) I would never be asking to source a chemical fully available to me for free from my garden or local field within a few hours of cursory chemical competence on an online forum, the post was literally about the UDV context of the trip to get the set and setting correct. I have spoken about this relentlessly in the science section (without ever informing people how to do it, of course). Similarly if I was asking on JREF for the location of a rave the chance of substances will be consumed is very high, I will likely either drink ethanol or use MDMA (the legality does not even effect the choice for most people, the science and cultural reference points about the dangers of the substance speak for itself), however asking for where the rave is located, or stating that you enjoyed yourself last time you went, as far as I can tell, is not against the rules. Thus asking for the location of a UDV centre in the UK and stating that I enjoyed the last one I went to is in exactly the same territory, the ayahuasca or ethanol use is a secondary or tertiary event to locating the group organizing the event.

g) Our bodies containing this endogenous psychoactive, is highly illegal according to the state definition. Lock yourself up, you would almost certainly fail a blood test for DMT. Every JREF moderator should hand themselves in to the authorities, at night time when they are dreaming the base levels of DMT are raised to far above threshold dosages. Anyone with phalaris in their garden is technically producing this scheduled drug. Science on the other hand, the foundation I thought JREF was based on, is a lot more accommodating, and it's been deemed a fruitful area of scientific inquiry, even though work has only begun properly a year or so ago into it’s possible role and effects. Cultures like the UDV that have used it for centuries know exactly what it’s about, thus its legality in the USA. I merely queried if anyone knew of UDV groups in the UK that use the brew that elevate the levels of this natural neurochemical. So there, right there, you see schizophrenia involved in thinking about drugs and implicit in the forum rules. Apparently there are ‘
good’ drugs sanctioned by science and medicine (ostensibly allowed on JREF for open discussion) and ‘bad’ drugs used by brown people in strange rites for thousands of year and growing in unusual plants in distant parts of the world (politically banned on JREF for open discourse to ensue). This kind of thinking – because it’s na├»ve – leads of course to social problems and bad politics and bad social and forum policy, in spite of the science.

Since this blog is proving rather popular (20,000+ views), I really hope that the mods or users can post this on forum, either in the moderator discussion or in some other forum to discuss this issue in an open and skeptical way. I will delete this blog if that happens, and post the material on forum for a productive discussion. I do not intend to post psychedelic material on JREF in the future, it is not the right forum for it, but I feel that I was harshly mis-treated by a total misrepresentation of my post. A suspension, to me, would have been a far more reasonable action to take, as is the normal for most members who have never been suspended before. But this is just my subjective opinion, and I have no means to have a dialogue with the moderators to discuss this. Weird situation.

PS: And to the poster in the thread about my banning who said they were concerned I would now turn into some 'kind of guru', I've more twitter followers the JREF twitter account, I've a 350k strong facebook page(s) and 4.5 million combined views on youtube. JREF massively shot itself in the foot by banning me, in terms of it's quest of spreading logic and reason, as without having the constructive feedback from the knowledgeable members there about various things my primary woo filter (as a young person still learning) was disrupted. So hey ho, I expect at least 100 annoying threads on JREF have been spawned due to my online content. Since I can't discuss it on forum productively anymore, I have to just 'put it out there' and get feedback from the general internet.