This week’s Forge entry is a supplement to a TektonTV vid loaded today on the subject of “censorship”. I put that in quotes because as the vid demonstrates, many people online – especially those with an inflated assessment of the relevance, importance, and accuracy of their own commentary – throw out the word “censorship” any time they encounter a forum, blog, or YouTube channel (like my own) that moderates comments and enforces certain rules for posting, and they run afoul of it. It’s even a favorite tactic of several YT fundy atheists, who clearly care more about the emotional impact that screaming “censorship” will get them with similarly put upon (and intellectually untalented) parties, than about actually understanding what censorship is.
The sum of the vid is, of course: No, moderation is not censorship. I demonstrate this clearly with definitions used by professional and activist organizations concerned with censorship (who seem not to have noticed the widespread use of it in forums, blog, and YouTube channels!), as well as by appeal to my background in library and information science (where entire class sessions are devoted to the subject of censorship and how to not do it). The fact is that for a private entity, "censorship" is practically impossible to do -- and nearly all private entities lack the power to do it, and indeed, have the right to do the non-offensive (except to crybabies) equivalent, which is moderation.
Inevitably, the censorship crybabies, as I call them, are far more offended that you dare to refuse to allow their precious words to appear in your domain, unedited and uncontrolled, than actual censorship. I proved this point by challenging them in an earlier vid to take their complaints to a Skeptical website with harsher moderation than I used. None took me up on that. This vid also has a challenge for them to write leading anti-censorship organizations and report me for censorship. I don’t anticipate that I’ll be getting any phone calls from those orgs.
That in turn speaks to the manifest lack of principle and courage possessed by the censorship crybabies. If they truly cared about “censorship” – not just themselves – they’d jump at the chance to be activists. But they don’t.
In this particular case, I have targeted a crybaby who in this vid is portrayed as a parody version of the classic Dangermouse cartoon. This crybaby (who shall remain unnamed here, befitting his nobody status; but you can get a hint by looking at a license plate on the car in the vid) lives in the United Kingdom and serves well as an example of what happens when children are raised without discipline and are encouraged to become obnoxious, self-centered monsters. This cretin could not engage a real argument to save his life; when confronted with challenges to his beliefs, he merely resorts to vacuous sloganeering (e.g., calling detailed arguments “sophistry”, or making snooty, self-serving comments about “closed-mindedness” or “fanaticism” – I should note that these latter statements are made as the crybaby also states that he refuses to watch any of my vids directly answering his objections!), playing the victim, flag-waving, hiding behind excuses, making slanderous accusations, asking what’s in it for him if he answers your argument or meets your challenge, or pretending some sort of personal offense. While this sort of thing fares well among those who are equally unintelligent and put upon – his suggested target audience – it doesn’t play at all with intelligent readers and viewers, who know a crybaby when they see one.
The vid gives my full case, but here’s a manifesto of sorts that sums it up.
I don’t “censor” anything. I moderate.
I don’t moderate comments just because people disagree with me, or because I am “afraid” of contrary ideas, or because they offer genuine, intelligent, or useful criticism. I moderate when, and because, that doesn’t come from fundy atheists or crybabies on YT.
I do moderate comments in order to enable the main purpose of my channel as a demonstration project --- which means I’m not going to just “let discussion happen” to suit someone else’s egotistical desire to urinate on the carpet.
Moderation doesn’t make speech “less free” or impede “free speech”. That’s a confusion between being “free” to have speech and being free to use it wherever you want, whenever you want.
There’s nothing morally depraved at all about forum moderation – unless you’re an arrogant brat who thinks you’re more important than everyone else.
Don’t give me any whines about how apologetics is “hotly debated” so I can’t say the issues I deal with aren’t sufficiently settled. An ignorant fundy atheist “hotly debating” an issue in ignorance isn’t providing an intelligent response to anything I have to say – and in 15+ years of doing this, I have yet to have one do so.
Don’t tell me that I should be flattered if fundy atheists show up to give me their time. I don’t care about their time, and they’re not important or intelligent enough for their efforts to be meaningful to me.
Don’t tell me how to use my time as though it were your time, or how to run my channel, for no other reason than that’s the way you want it. Your arrogance in thinking I should do so isn’t an argument. It’s just you being arrogant.
Don’t tell me I don’t have to answer/moderate every comment, because I can let others handle it. You have no more right to dictate what others ought to do with their time than you have to dictate what I ought to do with my time. Furthermore, my ministry policy from day one has been to deal with people on a personal level, to devote time to those that need and deserve it. This personal touch has set me apart from many large ministries, and I have been told repeatedly by a respondent that they are grateful because no one else answered their emails. So don’t presume to tell me to spend my time (and theirs) indulging your selfish desire for attention and exposure.
Finally, as a supplement to the vid, I want to include again the two definitions for “censorship” held by activist and professional organizations.
The National Coalition Against Censorship, an umbrella organization comprised of a number of other like-minded organizations, defines censorship as, "the suppression of an idea or image because it offends or disturbs someone, or because they disagree with it." They also say it "involves persons in some position of power telling you what you can or cannot say, write, display, or think about." They add that it "can also be thought of as the official restriction of any expression believed to threaten the political, social, or moral order."
The American Library Association -- my old professional organization -- has a sub-office called the Office of Intellectual Freedom which defines censorship as "the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it!"
It further states, "Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone."
Censorship crybabies are clearly little more than spoiled children yet to grow up – who can’t handle the fact that their having an “opinion” doesn’t make it worth exposing to everyone.