Active boycotting question

The forum rules have this description of active boycotting:

"Active boycotting

We appreciate emotions can run high should you experience poor service from companies, but we cannot accept active calls to boycott organisations as we are unable to verify the service you received."

There are other cases where boycotts may be advocated both obvious and non-obvious. Would MSE care to comment (your discretion... :) ) on these other examples:

1. Asking for help on ethical investments. This is a moderately common question and the investments normally operate by boycotting a range of companies or countries based on their activities. Boycotting nuclear power, fossil fuels or countries which breach their international human rights obligations are often implicit in such investments and can result in boycotts of major companies (Rolls Royce nuclear, BP, fossil fuel) or well known countries (Israel, China, much of the middle east, formerly South Africa in Apartheid years). Note that this post is giving POSSIBLE examples, not making assertions about any of these examples. Typically as savings and investment discussions these are likely to at least initially be on topic for the forum.

2. More direct advocacy of boycotts of the types in 1. For example, advocating boycotts of fossil fuel firms is almost likely to be implicit in advocacy of renewable energy and this means boycotts of companies like BP as a direct consequence. Or advocacy of human rights issues like occupying military powers not complying with their international law obligations may apply to many countries controlling occupied territories. Often these will be moot as off topic discussions and hence reportable and acted upon for that reason, but perhaps not always.

Lots of potentially marginal calls that could be made but are there any that you'd specifically be interested in having reported or not reported for some reason other than being off topic when that applies?

At the moment my interpretation is solely the narrow one that prohibits:

"Company X described its product as containing extra replacement tubes but didn't supply them and refused to correct the error, don't do business with them"

And allows:

"Company X described its product as containing extra replacement tubes but didn't supply them and refused to correct the error, so I won't be doing don't do business with them again"

And the even less arguable:

"Company X described its product as containing extra replacement tubes but didn't supply them and refused to correct the error"

Your discretion because sometimes leaving deliberate ambiguity is desirable.

If time allows I'd like occasionally to see highlights of how the forum team load looks and which reporting issues seem most problematic and perhaps why. There's often a judgement call in both our reporting and your actions, so the opportunity to tweak what you see seems desirable.


  • MSE_Laura_F
    MSE_Laura_F Posts: 1,570 MSE Staff
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    Hello @jamesd,

    Thanks for asking the question and for your thoughts on the active boycotting rule.

    Some great food for thought in your post. To answer your question, our rule means a blanket ban on any kind of active calls to boycott at all, no matter which kinds or for which reasons, because we don’t pre-moderate and it would be impossible for us to check which ones are and aren’t acceptable.

    We're really grateful when our members report posts to us. We'd encourage Forumites to err on the side of caution when it comes to reporting content they believe is in breach of our rules, even content they’re not sure about, and let the Forum Team be the judge of it. We can then exercise our own discretion and remove it if needed. 

    It's tricky to be much more prescriptive than that because of the vast depth and breadth of possible content that might crop up on the Forum. That's why we need to create blanket bans of this kind, though please be assured we'd always use our discretion and look at everything on a case by case basic within its context.

    Thanks again for your thoughts,

    MSE Laura F

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