WARNING - The content of this post may disturb some readers.
The vagaries of censorship are mentioned throughout Hillary Clinton’s recent speech advocating Internet Freedom. Censorship is an action that often takes place behind the scenes. It is sometimes difficult to detect. You can be sure that someone somewhere will be confused, disturbed, annoyed, or even enraged when its occurrence is noticed.
Lately, printed news has come under threat. There is a belief that blogging might replace newspapers with a more up-to-date, less censored conduit. As well, the Web2.0 channel is purportedly a space for open debate and discussion.
Well, I wonder about all this. I believe that there is a place for censorship. Furthermore, my experience tells me that censorship is alive and well and is existing quite comfortably – in the blogosphere.
By the way, this post is not meant as a rant.
During my first month of blogging I was introduced to some of the technologies that permit a blogger to choose whether or not a comment is published. Comment moderation is such a facility.
Some blog applications can even permit the content of a comment to be edited, before or after it is published. Comment moderation also gives bloggers relief from the increasing nuisance of spammed comments.
Hand in hand with all this is the idea that, through the provision of comment guidelines, commenters can sometimes be given the opportunity to learn what is likely to be accepted by a blogger on his or her blog. (Here’s a link to mine.)
Comment guidelines give the valid reasons for the culling of comments that may be in contravention of the blogger’s guidelines.
But comment guidelines are not the only criteria that may be used by a blogger who culls a comment. Am I not entitled to delete any comment that appears in my list of comments to be moderated, whether or not it meets all criteria in my comment guidelines?
How could I be accused of any discrimination even if I do cull comments containing valid opinions other than those that are aligned with my own? Who’s going to know?
You might say, “But isn’t this still a form of raw censorship?” Well of course it is. It also stymies healthy debate and discussion.
Okay, I’m being a tad hypothetical.
Or am I?
My quality comments
Over the years that I have been actively commenting on blogs, I‘ve witnessed this form of censorship. Of all the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of comments that I’ve entered against posts on other blogs, there have been a significant number, through the bloggers’ discretion in comment moderation, that have never appeared on the Internet.
You could say that this is a reflection on the quality and calibre of my comments. Well, there are enough of them still left out there. Take a look and judge the quality and calibre of my comments for yourself.
But I have always been careful to note, when my comment was removed or excluded, if the blog had any associated comment guidelines that I may have contravened. Most bloggers do not provide comment guidelines. I put it down to raw censorship.
So you may think that the blogosphere is entirely a place for freedom of expression. Just check when you leave comments on posts that have comment moderation. You could be surprised at the proportion of your comments that never appear on the blogs you post against.