Why the censorship?

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Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
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Jun 7 2014 23:46
Why the censorship?

I've noticed a clear deterioration with the level of moderation on libcom, especially if critiques are made of the projects moderators are involved in. I think some of you are trying to be fair, but in threads like "33 country fast food strike - TEFL lesson" you went from deleting personal attacks to locking the thread and it simply amounts to censorship. I bring this up because just when Ed promised to respond to some of my posts in that thread at a later time, that possibility is now foreclosed with the thread being censored.

When the whole Aufhebengate was going on, I stayed away since I really don't know any of the players and the acrimony -- on all sides -- was off-putting. But I think the level of moderation often devolved into censorship. I found myself defending libcom, saying you were doing your best and praising the hard work you all put in to keep the site going. I'm sure I'll check out news here in the future, but I won't put any more efforts into contributing to discussions, when the risk is having my contributions either deleted or censored. When that's done, and it's transparently to cover for your friends, it's totally unprincipled.

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Steven.
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Jun 8 2014 00:07

That thread degenerated quickly into personal attacks and sniping.

There were some decent political points in there, but mixed with acrimony, which was counter-productive, and which caused at least one new contributor to libcom (and, basically anarchist movement) to be reluctant to do so again. This is something we want to avoid.

We tried to keep the discussion civil by unpublishing posts containing personal attacks or vitriol - which was tricky because some posts, like one by Caiman, contained decent points alongside vitriol.

We don't like having to unpublish things, however we have been subjected to constant complaints about a negative and excessively combative atmosphere on here, which is particularly offputting to female posters, so we have basically been requested by our users to try to deal with this proactively.

Which is tricky, particularly when we all have day jobs and very limited time to stay on top of everything here.

In terms of censorship, I don't really think this counts as "censorship" as we are not denying anyone a platform for free speech. People are free to start separate discussions about the substantive points which came up in the debate, for example around the "Fight for 15" campaign, or libertarian pedagogical methods.

I'm loath to get into this whole area again, but I'm not really sure how you think the moderation of the Aufheben gate issue "devolved into censorship", unless you think redacting people's real names is "censorship"?

Also, I've just doublechecked that discussion, and I can't see that any of your posts were unpublished. So I don't really know why you think your contributions were deleted or censored?

The only bit of yours which seems to have been changed is a post that you have edited yourself, where you breached our posting guidelines and posted a private message someone sent you publicly.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Jun 8 2014 00:13

In case your worry was the you may invest time and effort into a post which we may remove, like I said we rarely remove things unless they breach the posting guidelines, but even when we do, we don't delete them we just unpublish them so they can be viewed by admins and the contents can be retrieved and given back to you if you want.

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
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Jun 8 2014 04:15

O.K. the last part of the thread has been moved here: http://libcom.org/forums/general/radical-pedagogy-classroom-07062014

As a favor, could one of the moderators please move Caiman's post from that thread, the one where he talks about TESL resources written by radicals? He didn't say anything of a personal nature at all -- unless some of you have beards and wear baseball caps (which sounds like some inside joke that has nothing to do with the core content of his post). Thanks.

And could you, Ed, please post the response you said you might do later. Thanks as well.

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Devrim
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Jun 8 2014 09:08
Steven. wrote:
We tried to keep the discussion civil by unpublishing posts containing personal attacks or vitriol...

I am not sure that this works. My feeling is that going to the other extreme, and not allowing any editing of posts even, might prove more successful. When people are aware that they can just edit something out or have it unpublished, I would think that they would be more likely to abuse someone than if they knew that once they had said it, it couldn't be changed, and their behaviour would be viewable by all.

Devrim

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Steven.
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Jun 8 2014 10:05
Hieronymous wrote:
O.K. the last part of the thread has been moved here: http://libcom.org/forums/general/radical-pedagogy-classroom-07062014

As a favor, could one of the moderators please move Caiman's post from that thread, the one where he talks about TESL resources written by radicals? He didn't say anything of a personal nature at all -- unless some of you have beards and wear baseball caps (which sounds like some inside joke that has nothing to do with the core content of his post). Thanks.

Caiman's post has now been re-published, with the bit related to the spat at the beginning of the post removed.

There is no problem with the comment about beards and baseball caps, it was the bit at the start of the post which was problematic.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Jun 8 2014 15:15
Devrim wrote:
I am not sure that this works. My feeling is that going to the other extreme, and not allowing any editing of posts even, might prove more successful. When people are aware that they can just edit something out or have it unpublished, I would think that they would be more likely to abuse someone than if they knew that once they had said it, it couldn't be changed, and their behaviour would be viewable by all.

I think that past experience has shown this is not the case. When we didn't edit out abuse it was much more commonplace. And the problem with leaving it in is that if we do so (even after warning the poster) the person/people it is aimed at are tempted to respond, often justifiably so. Causing the argument to continue. So I think this is our only option.

Hieronymous, just actually noticed how your OP started. I assumed this thread was just about that discussion, but I notice you made a more general point:

Quote:
I've noticed a clear deterioration with the level of moderation on libcom, especially if critiques are made of the projects moderators are involved in

if you could elaborate more on what you mean here, or better provide some examples that would be helpful. Also, I did ask, above, about your complaint about censorship around the Aufheben stuff so it would be helpful if you explained what you were referring to. Cheers

Caiman del Barrio
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Jun 8 2014 17:31

Thanks to H for pushing for my post to be re-published and to Libcom admin for doing the obvious thing.

EDIT I deleted the second paragraph here, where I explained why Ed was out of order on that thread, cos I assume the other Libcom admins are bright enough to have noticed it too.