Censorship

One of the things Dr Tanya asks this week was surrounding censorship. She’s echoed a question originally suggested by Melanie B Cee. I’m paraphrasing, but it went along the lines:

In order not to offend our readers, are there some subjects that are off limits?

Blogs are, I think, a personal platform. If they’re not a personal, then I don’t reallythink they’re a blog. In most cases, it’s not only reasonable, but commendable, that somebody holds a view on something, rather than no view at all. So I don’t think it is unreasonable for them to express that view on their blog. One person’s view might conflict with another’s, but I don’t think they should hold fire for fear of causing offense. An opposing view is not necessarily offensive.

That said, how the view is expressed can make a difference. So, it is often not what we express, but how we express it, that makes makes something offensive.

Regardless, the reader has the ultimate right to switch off, if they are offended.

In applying this, the three concrete scenarios I had in mind were:

  1. Writing a post on our own blog (Melanie’s case).
  2. Commenting on somebody else’s blog.
  3. When somebody comments on one of our blog.

For (1), we compose our own posts so it is our responsibility to promote our view tactfully.

For (2), if I disagree with the post, I will mostly just move on, but will sometimes say something. If I do, it is my responsibility to disagree tactfully. And convincingly. Like any other web pages, blog posts are readily accessible through the internet, so it is possible that an open-minded, third-party could stumble across the post. If I write a comment, who am I trying to sway? The poster? Who already wrote something I don’t agree with? Or, this new reader? That’s why I don’t bother arguing in a thread – I state my case and the passer-by can decide for themself.

(3) gets interesting, because the commenter has a responsibility to comment tactfully. That could bar anything from “offensive” to simply “inappropriate” material. In that case, I’m happy to censor – it’s my name on the site, after all.

To give some perspective here, I’ve had 6,400 comments on my blog, since Day #1, and I have censored about 6 so far. All except one were spam (as suggested by Akismet), the last was a genuine comment from a genuine reader, which was simply inappropriate. It might have been embarrasing for somebody (and, by impication, for me). I thought long and hard before removing it because I don’t want to be closing down discussion, but on my site, I decide.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Formerly Stroke Survivor UK. Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

17 thoughts on “Censorship”

  1. Someone few months ago shamed me in one of my blogs because I posted shrimps and lobster for dinner, while showcasing one of the Philippine beaches – I even wrote how cheap they were in the Philippines vs. how pricey they are everywhere. I was shamed for religious reasons. He and I are both Christians, apparently, of different sects. I was tempted to reply but I kept silent because at that time, I don’t know how I was feeling exactly, whether I was furious, sad, or embarrassed… I just ignored the comment (I was moderating it back then). For me, it’s okay to share one’s opposing opinion on threads but that one was a direct attack on how I was eating those kinds of seafood, like I am such a disappointment… a day after, I approved the comment but I still didn’t reply.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That seems a good examplr of where I might censor. I mean, it someone disagrees with me and wants to put forth a different view, I can’t complain, but if somebody tried to do so by shaming me… It doesn’t say much for their argument, for a start, if they can’t argue something based on the issue.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. There’s a POV issue. If you are simply writing with no complicating factors, then I totally agree. However, life is full of complications, especially if you write under your own name. If you also have a business, as I do, there are certain topics I avoid. If you have family you value, as I do, there are other topics you avoid or tread carefully around. Unnecessary detonations are just that, unnecessary. That’s why I’m working on a novella, to address what I don’t want to say on the blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If I had a business, I would say that it’s a business site, not a blog. I’m quite clear about that because every word I uttered would be representing that business. Funnily enough I wrote about anonymity. I used similar reasons to you, just as reasons to write anonymously.

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  3. I love your response and I would probably answer in the same way. On my blog, I’ve never yet had a comment that had to be censored. Obviously, I love getting other people’s point of view and if people want to argue their case in a respectful way, that’s fine by me.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. When you have an opinion and state it, someone or other comes along and wants to know why you didn’t write about x or y incident/matter. I am firm. My blog, my topics. In spite, I don’t write about religion, a very sensitive topic, especially in today’s scenario here.
    I have had people being mean in their comments because they disagreed with what I wrote. And in one particular case, I was harassed for absolutely no reason at all. Since then I have enabled moderation for comments. I refuse to engage with mean people or give them a platform. 🙂

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    1. I reckon that’s fair enough. As you say, your rules. Incidentally I’ve happily wtitten about religion a few times. Not with any great fanfare, just a matter-of-fact explanation of what I think. No posts attracted any negative feedback.
      I jump the opposite way with my comments, I’m quite happy to moderate after publication, but I have met people who had similar problems to you, and who took similar steps.

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