Censorship should not be in the eye of the beholder


I just stumbled on this provocative statement at a website:

We invoke the spirit of free and radical inquiry with the least amount of censorship, whilst preserving high standards in quality control.

Somehow it struck me as oxymoronic.     Not that “high standards of quality control” would *necessarily* mean that they’d edit according to some sort of ideological or thought standards, but it just seemed like they were leaving open that possibility.    Most online censorship takes the form of anti spam measures – which we almost universally approve of.     Other much more questionable forms are “you are off topic”.   I try to avoid making that type of decision.    However when blogging the Kim tragedy I practiced some harsh censorship by completely banning comments from a guy who initially was thoughtful but became abusive with his comments.     I don’t regret that decision, but clearly I was practicing censorship of his point of view.   I don’t like notion that censorship has a clear line of distinction from other editorial forms.   Rather I think it’s clear that everybody practices censorship of various forms, and what we need editors to do is explain which forms they apply rather than try to explain why their brand of censorship is not censorship but is some form of quality control.

Related was a legitimate but annoying form of censorship/spam control hit me yesterday and I was clueless until the webmaster explained what happened.

I tried to write something in response to a silly comment over at RealClimate.org which included the word “Socialistic”.   The spam filter was NOT being political however – can you find the drug in the word?

so cialis tic