I think that /r/Monero's rule 2 is inappropriate and should be revised. And I think that this meta-topic is Monero-related enough that it justifies this "open letter" post rather than just a message to the moderators. Monero can't go in the right direction if the community can't discuss certain things.
The present rule 2 is "Discussion of using Monero to break the law is disallowed."
I believe, and I think that a fair number of other subscribers also believe, that the main reason that Monero is interesting, or that Monero could be a good thing for the world, is precisely its ability to enable breaking the law. Most other "financial privacy" issues are secondary, easier, and could be handled using cheaper, simpler systems.
I don't think that rampant, widespread lawbreaking is a good thing, but there are many unjust and harmful laws throughout the world, and some of them need to be broken. Because the law is fallible, there need to be systems in place to keep the law from being omnipotent. I think more people agree about that in general than agree about which specific laws ought to be broken.
Even if one doesn't believe that Monero should ever be used to break any law, or that Monero should enable breaking any law, there's no question that it can be used to break laws. It seems entirely appropriate to talk about what to do about that. Forbidding all discussion of the matter makes it impossible to even talk about how to stop Monero from being used to break laws.
In fact, talking meaningfully about how to stop lawbreaking demands detailed discussions of exactly how lawbreakers might go about using Monero… so even a "no detailed instructions for lawbreaking" rule would hurt the anti-lawbreaking side.
The tension between (1) and (2) is itself a reasonable topic for discussion. It affects decisions about how Monero should be changed and used in the future. The rule forecloses that topic as well.
The rule is poorly and perhaps selectively enforced. For example, comments about tax evasion skate by all the time. On the other hand, a posting was recently deleted for promoting activity that probably wasn't actually illegal at all. And that wasn't the first time. By the way, those of us who read using RSS can see all of those deleted postings.
I think that the purposes of the rule are probably to keep "heat" off of the subreddit, and maybe to cut down on the moderator workload by reducing fundamentally off-topic flame-fests. Maybe also to help preserve "unity"… or really the illusion of unity.
I suggest that a better rule would be to ban aiding or promoting particular, identifiable instances of specific kinds of illegal activity. I'm personally uncomfortable with any rule that equates "illegal" with "bad", so I would prefer a rule that specifically named issues actually likely to being down "heat"–
Do not use this subreddit to perform, organize, or assist illegal acts, products, or services in any of the following categories: dealing in drugs, weapons, child pornography, or nonconsenual pornography, dealing in stolen or fraudulently obtained goods, money, money equivalents such as gift cards or securities, cryptocurrencies, personal information, or authentication information; tax evasion; evasion of financial reporting requirements; security penetration for hire; services entailing theft, fraud, violence, or violation of personal confidences; or services primarily supporting or enabling any of these. Activity which is widely illegal will be presumed illegal in your specific case.
… but I could live with–
Do not use this subreddit to perform, organize, or assist illegal acts. Activity which is widely illegal will be presumed illegal in your specific case.
If you do feel attracted to that broad "simple" one, I ask that you at least think for a moment about the fact that it's illegal to help people charged with blasphemy to leave Pakistan. I'll leave out all the other examples I was going to put in this paragraph…
Changing rule 2 might invite discussions that tended to veer off-topic, so it might be good to change rule 4 too.
Only discuss monero-related topics. Do not post referral links. Arguments about whether a particular use of Monero is "right" or "appropriate" are off-topic, but discussions of how or whether a particular use of Monero could be enabled or prevented are on-topic.
By the way, what is a "referral link"? Aren't all links "referrals"? And why is rule 11 separate from rule 4?