Is the BiggerPockets censuring gone too far

14 Replies

I am pretty much sure this discussion is going to be killed by our overlords here in BiggerPockets due to its controversial nature.

I used to like BiggerPockets. I used to log in regularly and comment on posts whenever I can.

I also used to ask a lot of questions and start discussions. Some of them went over 100 comments within hours.

But then, I got slapped on the wrist. One of my most successful discussions was shut down because I dared to mentioned the race of the 4 gangsters that performed an armed kidnapping of one my tenants. The discussion got a lot of likes but that was not good for the moderator. There was not a single person offended by it (except the moderator). Everyone took the post for what it was: a genuine question that needed some help from the community. Somehow the moderator saw it as a racist post and decided to kill the whole discussion. "The first sentence, 'four xxx barged in...' is extremely offensive. I can change it to four people, and reload the thread, but I will not have this sort of comment on MY SITE.". Wow. I though this site is a community build site.

This is going overboard with censoring. I don't even care about racial or other prejudices, I am a minority member myself. Not only that but a 100% of my tenants can claim one or more protected classes but for some reason my post was tagged as racist's.

It took several days to figure out what is going on and try to resurrect the discussion by modifying the post by removing all gender and racial characteristics of the people involved. I didn't care about my own efforts but there were over 100 comments where people honestly try to give advice, all of them wasted because of overzealous moderator.

This completely ruined my desire to be active on BiggerPockets.

It has been a year since that incident and I am trying to get back here but somehow the feeling is not the same. I no longer want to post here anymore because i fear my posts will be deleted because they do not please our overlords. I know that everything posted here is BiggerPockets property and this makes me post even less.

Until this post is removed, feel free to share your experience with censoring gone overboard here.

P.S. please do not comment if your income is heavily dependent on BiggerPockets because your account may be suspended.

Question: if you don't have any desire to post any more, why do so now? Somehow I doubt there was a groundswell of members clamoring for your return.

Bigger Pockets is bigger than any one member. Posting criteria is clear, and any type of racial stereotyping or derogatory comment is not going to be allowed. You are certainly welcome to create your own site and post anything you like, but on this site moderators are going to do their best to maintain a welcome environment for all to *discuss real estate*. Frankly, I think the moderator was more than fair, because many other sites would have simply shut it down. In any case, you really have two choices: play nicely with others, or play elsewhere. Moderators here are fair, reasonable, and quite knowledgeable in real estate. This site is closing in on a million members. Not everything has to be PC but your objection to a slight rewording to avoid being inflammatory says more about you than the site or the moderator.

And with that, it doesn't appear there is anything to gain by encouraging others to join your pitchfork brigade, so we will just leave it at that.

I remember this post, and I was the moderator who took it down. I did offer to repost without the offending language. The story was very interesting, but giving a race to the perpetrators did not add to the story in any way.

"4 people broke into my property" is enough description. The phrasing you used was extremely offensive, and if you "do not care about racial or other predjudices" then you would have taken me up on my offer to edit and repost. 

This is a community site, and our community includes everyone. 

I have reopened this post to comments, it was mistakenly closed by a new moderator. 

Mindy Jensen, Real Estate Agent in CO (#FA100049656)

@Bobby Narinov One other thing to consider.  Fair Housing is a very real thing.  Without commenting further on @Mindy Jensen 's actions (which seem reasonable at first blush), I would not want my name out there in a public forum saying something that an overzealous civil rights attorney could use against me.

In fair housing, it's not always a matter of whether actual discrimination took place, but whether opposing counsel can use something - no matter how innocent - to poison the well.

My E&O provider told me of a case where a real estate agent was helping a renter to get an apartment. She had an accent, so he said "so where are you from?" And then proceeded to get her the apartment she wanted.

Zero actual discrimination.  No harm to her whatsoever - but national origin is a protected class, so she sued.

It cost the agent just under $100K.

PS - it's BP's site, BP's rules.  

Charlie MacPherson, Real Estate Agent in MA (#9532146)
781-412-4151

Maybe you should thank Mindy. 

What if an attorney found your post while building a discrimination case against you for a client after their application was denied.

I didn't read the post so I don't have an opinion on it but I do think we need to be conscious of what we put on an open forum, particularly when our full name is attached to the post as in your case.

@Mindy Jensen seems to have handled this exactly as I would have, both then and in this thread.

Wow. Good points, Charlie M., and Nicholas W. Actions and words have consequences. It is critical to watch what we say & do especially in the internet age.

"Think" before we write, speak and act. 

Wisdom.  :)

Daniel F. Harb

714-470-4152

This is not really a free speech site. Many companies are uber sensitive these days and go the extra mile to erase speech that anyone could find offensive. It is just the times we live in. There are other sites that allow more freedom of speech is ultimately the alternative.

Personally I find it offensive to censor a statement of fact or to think readers are not mature enough to handle it. It was never intended that free speech meant to mean not offensive to others. However this site is not ok with free speech, that's the rules here for good or bad. 

People may read something into a comment that was not intended. What ethnicity the perps were had no bearing on the story. As an example of people possibly being over sensitive and reading something into a scenario that is nowhere near true, I recently turned down someone asking for a HML. They were calling me from somewhere in FL. I asked them if they lived in the property. When they stated yes, I stated I could not make the loan. Their next statement was "is it because I am black"? Wow, that caught me off guard. Maybe this person has been discriminated against or felt so in the past, so when I denied the loan, their first thought was discrimination. The less you say about race the better. I told this person I had no idea what color they are, etc, and that I don't lend on owner occupied properties. However, you NEVER know when someone may read something in that is NOT true, and seek legal action. So, IMO, BP is being fair and trying to keep posts that may be offensive to people based on race, religion, color, etc off the site. I see that as healthy to the community in general. The OP's original post most definitely came off as offensive and should have been changed/deleted.

John Thedford, Real Estate Agent in FL (#BK3098153)
239-200-5600

It's their house, so it's their rules! There is enough offensive information on the internet to view and I for one don't think we need to see it on a site devoted to helping us increase our RE knowledge. I am far from being "politically correct" but there is a place and time...this isn't it!

"Holding onto a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." -Buddha

In my experience the moderators give a fair amount of rope for you to hang yourself. At some point they do shut stuff down when it becomes unprofessional or personal attacks. Freedom of speech doesn't extend to private places. That is something people have trouble understanding. 

I am a little annoyed that BP started censoring words like *** (@ss). I have heard worse on the podcast or even on broadcast TV. FYI there are some F bombs that were not beeped on those podcasts. Hey I don't care, but it does seem strange that lesser words are being auto-censored on the forum. 

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