Censorship: A Failed Policy

Apparently there is a sense, justified or not, that posts to what seems like the most popular local blog are being deleted for purely ideological reasons. Rose’s WatchPaul blog has a thread where people can post comments they claim were censored by “Heraldo”. I am of 2 minds about this issue: 1) Any blogger should have the right to delete any post. A blog is designed to present a personal point of view. It’s not designed to be a public forum that protects the right of anyone to post anything. I delete spam and irrelevant posts and reserve the right to delete excessively profane or obscene posts; 2) Deleting posts of dissenting views is self-defeating. What you want in a blog is traffic and discussion. Controversy is good. It gives you a wider audience. You still retain control of the subject of each post and you can comment on the comments.

So, while I believe bloggers have the right to delete whatever they want, I also believe that deleting opposing comments is stupid. I don’t know yet whether the charges made at Rose’s blog are accurate in this specific case. But in general I believe a blogger risks credibility and opportunity by deleting dissenting posts.

As the Times-Standard pointed out today, there are people stealing political signs of all kinds, left and right. Apparently, this is not uncommon, but the incidents seem to be increasing quite a bit. This is the most stupid type of censorship born out of ignorance and fear. It also accomplishes nothing. The act changes no minds, in fact probably reinforces the positions of the victims and their friends.

As a personal example we had an Obama for President sign stolen from our front yard. My wife put up another sign in our window and I dare someone to enter our house and try to remove it. This stupid little act of censorship made me angry enough to join her in a phone campaign to call undecided voters in swing states to encourage them to vote for Obama. By the way, the results of our little campaign has so far indicated that many of the voters targetted as undecided by the Obama campaign have already become decided. They are voting for Obama.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

6 comments for “Censorship: A Failed Policy

  1. 10/20/2008 at 9:50 am

    Nicely said. I, too, occasionally (other than spam only two) delete unfounded attack posts but know that the whole point of conversation is to have another point of view presented.

    I’m curious though what would make Heraldo suddenly start censoring posts when he has allowed so many opposing (nay, downright nasty) points of view not only previously but even now.

  2. Bob
    10/20/2008 at 10:07 am

    Thanks.

    I wonder the same thing. It’s hard to figure out why those particular comments that Rose presents would have been singled out given the vitriol and dissent I often see on Heraldo’s blog. So who knows?

  3. 10/20/2008 at 10:23 pm

    Part of your confusion stems from Rose’s erroneous list. Some of those comments are indeed posted on the Humboldt Herald. Some of them I’ve never seen before.

    It’s true that people leave nasty comments on the Herald. I have always allowed dissenting points of view and will continue to do so. However, some commenters spend copious amounts of time on pointless personal attacks on other commenters. Heated debates are welcome, but continuous, personal attacks that have zero to do with the issue at hand may result in such commenters having a harder time participating in the discussion.

    It’s not a question of ideology. It’s more about being a baby sitter.

  4. 10/21/2008 at 6:16 am

    “…but continuous, personal attacks that have zero to do with the issue at hand may result in such commenters having a harder time participating in the discussion.”.

    Agreed. Such comments should be deleted, although sometimes there are gray areas.

  5. 11/30/2008 at 11:39 pm

    :). Well. I just keep hearing from people who say they are blocked, and say their comments are being censored on “heraldo.”

    So, I said, post ‘em here. And they have. Of course, sometimes comments get lost in cyberspace, happens to all of us, and no one is to blame. And sometimes they go into moderation on some blogs and some people don’t understand that, but the comments show up later…

    I fiigured this way we could see which is which.

    I have to say, the comments that people say are being censored are pretty innocuous. No bad words, for the most part, not really attacks, though some very pointed questions. And some deal with some very specific groups or people.

    If they are indeed being censored, there must be a reason that goes beyond bad words and attacks. And since many of “heraldo’s” posts are attacks as well, you would think ‘he’ wouldn’t have a problem with attacks.

    It’s more than that, though, it’s a bigger question of why it is the ‘liberal’ blogs that, more often than their ‘conservative’ counterparts – are the ones who are most likely to censor. Block. Moderate. But more likely, censor outright.

    So, it’s interesting. That’s all.

    Have you noticed a pattern in the comments that are ‘censored?”

  6. 12/1/2008 at 8:53 am

    How can you distinguish a pattern when your list is wrong?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *