[LINK] Moderator Censorship - volunteers should write a charter

rene rene.ln at libertus.net
Tue Mar 29 10:05:01 AEDT 2011

On Mon, 28 Mar 2011 22:07:14 +1100, Ivan Trundle wrote:

> On 28/03/2011, at 6:46 PM, Robin Whittle wrote:
>> Hi Irene,
>> Thanks for your message, in which you wrote:
> It's rather challenging to digest 2,743 words (16,466 characters, 355
> lines) in an e-mail missive. 

Agreed :-)

Thanks for your response. From the content of your message, I think it is 
now quite clear to both you and I that the two of us are never going to 
reach anything close to agreement about list moderation policy. Hence,  
imo, it would be best if you and I just agree to disagree. Whether or not 
you are also of that view, after responding to a couple of your remarks 
below, I'm not intending to further discuss this matter - unless some new 
proposal or related issue arises that is significantly different from what 
has recently been said/discussed (in which case, I may, or may not, decide 
to comment).

Robin wrote:
> OK - you argued so strongly that what I did was censorship, ... 

Actually, I did not say that what you did was censorship, let alone 
strongly argue that (nor did I start the thread with that word in the 
subject line). 

I have only used the word "censorship" once, and this is what I said (on 
Sun, 27 Mar 2011 16:08:39 +1000 ):

> Personally, I am of the opinion that what you, Robin, are
> saying/doing is vastly more akin to censorship than anything Tony
> Barry ever did, and anything Tom Koltai has said. So-called
> moderators may not be enagaged in actual censorship, but they
> certainly have vastly more ability to significantly chill freedom of
> speech/opinion on a public discussion forum than do any of the
> ordinary subscribers. Accordingly any so-called moderator should be
> extremely careful to ensure that any attempt to chill freedom of
> expression is, and is readily able to be seen to be, *completely*
> impartial. Imo that is not the case currently on this list.

Also, I was concerned that one or more moderators may intend to engage in 
actual censorship of speech comprising opinions, in the process of 
enforcing a moderation policy, which is why I asked you about that. Your 
response confirmed that would be the case, if the list had posting rules 
and moderation enforcement policy of the types you'd prefer.

However, what you did was *not* censorship, and given you and I have been 
around and engaged in discussions about censorship (primarily by govts) 
since at least 1996, I expect I do not need to explain the significant 
difference between actual censorship and rules or activity that chill 
freedom of expression/opinion. I have long been very careful about the 
terms I use because, among other things, it's my experience that anyone 
incorrectly saying or implying (whether intentionally or inadvertently) 
that what someone did is censorship, is typically inflammatory. Some other 
people may not be so careful about what they say, and I can only assume 
that you'd inadvertently forgotten what *I* said.

Robin wrote (at approx. line 39):
> So I wonder what sort of standards you think Link should have, and
> how you think moderators should encourage or enforce them.

I assume you had stopped wondering about that by the time you wrote (at 
approx. line 230):

> You are in agreement with the charter and Tony Barry's minimal
> approach. 

That is correct.


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