Speaking Your Mind

I saw a post fly past last night by Fandango, the subject was a post he had read on freedom of speech / hate speech. He’d commented on a post and been asked some more questions in return.

I’m not sure how best to describe what I thought, but it all felt a bit skewed, as though questions were not even on the same playing field. That description, in itself, probably sounds daft, so it is probably best that I jump in and provide my own answers to those same questions. Maybe in that way I can at least illustrate what I mean.

What do you consider “hate speech?” When can something be described as inciting violence?

What do I consider…? Hang on. Straight away I’m being asked for my opinion. In the UK, at least, it isn’t an opinion. Our parliament has helpfully described several types of hate crime – discriminating against a person on the basis of their race etc. So, all of our police forces work to that common definition, and happily publish it. Those are the consistent standards.

It is also a sufficiently-accepted definition that it appears in dictionaries, even, for example the Encyclopaedia Britannica or the Cambridge English Dictionary.

Even the USA has a standard definition, which will be used in a court, provided courtesy of the FBI. So, another reasonable answer to the question of what do you consider to be hate speech? would be the same as the FBI.

There’s very little wriggle-room, here – these are pretty standard definitions – Feel free to disagree with it if you like, but it’ll land you in court.

So, the reason I thought that question was skewed is because it is soliciting an opinion, on something which is already defined. It is like saying “what is your opinion of the sky?” It doesn’t make sense.

Do you see the Terms and Conditions as black and white rules, or with a lot of gray area?

They are a contract. Like any other contract, the amount of grey area depends how well-written it is.

That there will be a large variation, because contracts are written to different standards… well, isn’t that par for the course?

Do you yourself block others? Why/why not?

Of course. Because I have Terms of Service, too, although I don’t tend to label them as such. But why would my site be any different to another site which invites user-participation?

Why is it that you limit your social media use to only WP?

I’ll miss this one because I don’t really understand the relevance. Maybe Fandango provoked it by something he said in his comment. But either way, the platform we use is not relevant to our general freedom of speech.

Do you see now why I thought it was skewed? It’s really that “hate speech is an opinion” thing. It isn’t. As a result, possibly a lot of things which appear obvious to me are not so obvious to others?


  1. Agreed on all points, except I think the questions do make sense in the context of the asker trying to defend the position that our former POTUS shouldn’t have been kicked off of Twitter. They come at this defense by saying definitions and rules are fuzzy so therefore it wasn’t fair for him to get banned when others haven’t been yada yada why arrest one bank robber when other thieves have slipped through the net?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The question about why I limit myself to just WordPress was because in the blogger’s original post she asked: What actions do you take to be able to continue sharing your opinions?

    My answer was: I’m not on Twitter, Facebook, or any other of the typical social media sites. I am on WordPress and I have never felt constrained when it comes to sharing my opinions and perspectives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • seems reasonable.
      For me, it would just be the length of each post. Twitter enforces it but certainly others encourage short posts, WP allows the freedom to explore an issue. Okay, some users abuse this by writing longer posts but presumably their interaction suffers as a result.

      Liked by 1 person

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