Monday, July 21, 2008

Trial of Comment Moderation and Posting Guidelines

I'm going to moderate the comments on a trial basis through the rest of the summer. I've always been opposed to moderating comments because I believe it's possible to set a tone and keep it more or less on track by responding to those going too far in real time. Currently I don't have the time to do so, unfortunately.

I've really only ever had one "rule" about comments around here and that has been that I won't tolerate comments that are so harsh or ad hominem that they discourage others from adding their thoughts. It's OK to be passionate, but when you've stopped talking about the issue or opinions and started making comments about the person, you're not contributing anything valuable to the conversation anyway, and so I've always thought such comments did more harm than good. Compared to some other blogs, I feel that's a fairly liberal threshold.

I'll admit to not having caught all the harsh or ad hominem comments over the years here. I know a few regulars here have been insulted and wondered why I let it stand. To them I'll apologize and note I hadn't always read each comment thoroughly.

I will for this trial run though. Like many other blogs, your comments will be emailed to me and I'll approve (or not) them for display. I suspect this will slow things down around here a bit (and for that reason, I suspect I'll regret this decision), but there is far too much disrespect in many of the comments lately. Commitment to an open dialog doesn't obligate one to suffer fools or their petty projections. So many extraordinary conversations happen in this place and I can't stand that a few selfish people are willing to hijack those threads for what seem to me bitter and sophmoric agendas. Even passionate opinions can be expressed with respect for others, and to be posted around here for the time being they will have to be.

I will note that anyone who is willing to use their name or a consistent psuedonym stands a much better chance of having a more passionate (i.e., harsher) comment approved than totally anonymous folks will. I understand why some folks wish to remain anonymous, but I don't feel they should be free to derail a thread or take cheap potshots at folks willing to sign their names to their opinions.

With moderation in place, I'm re-opening last Thursday's post as well.

We'll see how this works.

Labels:

42 Comments:

Blogger kalm james said...

Dear all,
As someone who has been covering the art blogosphere in hard-copy as long as anyone, I think Ed’s recent blog challenge is very typical of the whole enterprise, and may represent the main reason the blogosphere hasn’t reached the kind of acceptability within the broader arts mainstream that it could.

Short of creating dictatorial-mini-fiefdoms, it might be a worthwhile exercise to consider just how to maintain this vital means of communication without the destructive name calling, mindless bitching and very personal attacks that so many of the threads seem to degenerate into. (Not that I don’t enjoy a bit of snarkyness if it’s good naturedly funny.)

Ideas?

7/21/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

A little bit of snarkiness is a good thing. Sometimes a lot of snarkiness is a great thing.

Having about 6 years of blog experience now, I can say that the only thing I object to in comments are tactics designed to shut down the conversation or one person within it when that person is only offering their opinion. It's one thing to shut down someone who is being belligerent, but usually the aggressor merely doesn't like what the person they're attacking is saying.

Staying on topic almost always prevents such digressions.

7/21/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Ed,

I'm sorry it has come to this. But I understand why. The level of vitriol in some of the comments is shocking. I understand bitterness--it's not easy to work hard and face rejection and then see other artists getting what they themselves want--but the meanspiritedness goes way beyond what people would ever say to one another in an in-person conversation.

Maybe that's a topic for discussion?

And as much as you want to keep things open to Anonymous posters, there's nothing like having to identify yourself to keep things honest and perhaps a little less nasty.

Anyway, I know you have thought about this, but I wanted to put my (moderated) two cents in.

7/21/2008 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Donna Dodson said...

I appreciate the dialogue on your blog, Ed and I thank you for opening up comments and I thank everyone who contributes to this dialogue- it is a valuable resource. I used to post on Artforum's Talkback but it unfortunately always degenerated into name callling and silliness- to the point that I quit visiting/posting/reading it. I'd hate to see this blogsite with open comments and all the tremendous possibilities go by the wayside as well- due to the individuals who need to dominate, and denigrate others and their opinions on this post.

7/21/2008 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've observed the incredible degree of viciousness on the political blogs. It's been eye opening for me to see fellow liberals attacking one another with undiluted nastiness and vindictiveness. But you could say that politics is dirty business in general. To see that nastiness migrate to art blogs is indeed sad.
ml

7/21/2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger pam farrell said...

Ed:
I'm with Joanne on this. I'm sorry you have to spend your valuable time moderating comments.
I like the idea of requiring a username or pseudonym. A little accountability might go a long way.
This might have folks thinking a little more about comments before posting.
Thanks for considering my two cents also.

7/21/2008 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...

hey ed,
It seems that discussion lists and blog comment threads alike follow an arc of development -- they evolve and/or devolve, and there's an ecology to it. Whether they survive may depend on a number of things: the caliber/character of collaborators/commentators involved, the wisdom/fury of the editor or manager, the number of participants, the tenor of any given historical moment, etc. Back before blogging, in the hey-day of Usenet groups, subscriber-based email lists, etc., the decision to moderate would usually take place after a particularly harrowing blitz of ad hominem exchanges, flame wars or (in extreme cases) hijacking of the list by technological, net.art wizardry (consider swarms; see also =cw4t7abs...) It does seem that even on such lists and groups, where netiquette has some purchase (as opposed to blogs, where people generally have less savvy about boundaries and the delicious fun of periodically subverting them) eventually the unfiltered sandbox would have to give way to moderated discussion.

My sense is that we all have been guilty of over-indulgence, and that self-editing (as distinct from self-censoring) is an art. Editing is an acquired skill necessary to writing of any kind, even the more casual writing to be found on blogs and list-serves. The impetus to self-edit may ebb and flow, and is often based on the "wrong things" (#1 is vanity: will I appear to be brilliant out of context in future Google searches?, etc.). As a last resort, moderation forces us to self-edit, the overarching desire being not to be blocked, banned, filtered, silenced - to have one's voice heard at all costs. At first, some spontaneity may be lost, but eventually that can - and will - be overcome.

good luck, and onward -
Joy

7/21/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Bambino said...

It's about time. I am so tired of anonymous comments with insults, bitching, and personal attacks on other people's comments. Life is too short. Why should I or anyone else in this blog should pay attention to your 2 cents? If you think (I mean for bitchy anonymous commenters) your comment is valuable or worth to pay attention and discuss, stand up for your words and have the decency to be open to discussion with respect of other people's opinion and what they have to say. Be able to accept criticism same way as you criticize others.

And most of all be respectful to Ed, since he has been very generous for the past so many years sharing his experience, free advice, and just with the responses to direct questions individually. Do you understand how much time it takes to write and respond thoughtfully to any questions and comments? Do you understand that Ed is open in his blog with his own business and personal experience to share with everyone?

Have a little respect and stop bitching about everyone and everything. Instead of blaming and and finding someone responsible for your actions, look deep inside of yourself first. It's so easy to bitch about someone's success, money, life, happiness.

7/21/2008 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Donna Dodson said...

In addition to not posting anonymous comments- it might also be good to limit the comment form to 150-200 words or less to keep the dialogue edited as joy suggests and keep everyone on message, as they say.

7/21/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...

edited -- just to be clear, I didn't mean edited for length! far from it. I meant "edited" for all the other things...

cheers,
J

7/21/2008 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

The tradeoff is between conversational flow and conversational productivity. If you want to assure productivity, you have to sacrifice flow, and if you want to assure flow, you're going to get anonymous and pseudonymous knuckleheads derailing your blog threads. Moderation is an eminently reasonable compromise.

7/21/2008 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I was going to send this to you over e-mail, Ed, but I guess if I post it here it'll go to e-mail first anyway.

After having my comment deleted in the last thread, and realizing I was getting angry at you -- not because of the deletion, which I was okay with, but because of other stuff -- to the extent I was thinking of just cutting your blog off and never reading it again, and then thinking about times I've talked with you in person; it all kind of came together and I thought, why am I getting worked up over this? Why do I pick on Ed? And the answer is, because Ed puts himself out there.

I thought about that a bit more. You put yourself out there, Ed. I don't get angry with Mary Boone because I have no contact with her at all. I don't think I could pick her out of a line-up. Stefan Stux I could pick out of a line-up, but I don't talk to him because he always has this Teutonic scowl on his face like he's ready to rip the head off of the next peon who accosts him.

So what it comes down to, I realized, is that I get angry with you, Ed, and I pick on you, and I make fun, and all of that, because you're there, and I can. And most of all because I do respect you and like you. I don't get angry, by and large, with people I don't know. Because how can they make me angry? I don't know them!

This seems unfair. It's not right that you get beat up just because you're willing to offer yourself as a target. On the other hand, that you do put yourself out there -- that's why I like and respect you.

So ultimately I want to make it clear that, whatever I may say on the blog here, it's out of respect. It may not seem like it, but it is.

You may be coming to understand why it is that Mary Boone and Stefan Stux and all the others don't put themselves out there. But don't become like them. Please.

And I'm sorry if anything I've written was over the line. I've probably had to apologize in the past, and I'll almost certainly have to apologize in the future, but there you go.

7/21/2008 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

I am so generous and likeable. I even like Franklin when he is so wrong. How can he misread me so completely? Maybe I need more emoticons.

How was that? Too smarmy?

7/21/2008 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

How was that? Too smarmy?

If you have to ask....

7/21/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

oops...forgot the emoticon

;-$

7/21/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Boyle said...

Edward, it will be really interesting to see what happens with this. Over at Bad at Sports in the last month, I've been called everything but my name in response to some articles I've contributed. It does completely shut down the conversation.

I was just at a party with some people last night who all admitted (all of them) that they sometimes read, but never post at that discussion board and others, because they have no interest in getting caught in the crosshairs of the crazies. So it's a such a bummer that we don't get to hear more opinions and questions because of a few people.

I have a feeling that it will work for your forum, though it sucks all things that are for sucking that you'll have to spend so much time filtering out the crashers.

Good luck. I'll be listening. And posting.

7/21/2008 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I have to say, you're showing a lot more restraint on B@S than I could, Lisa. One does have to wonder about why artists with such a low opinion of the gallery system would taint themselves by participating in it at all.

7/21/2008 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

Ed,
I'm saddened that you feel the need to have to moderate comments, you seem to have always understood that the best way to hold a forum is to allow it to be fully open, which is one reason I follow this blog and that means that sometimes it gets messy and beyond control, I agree that sometimes things get nasty, but I also believe that the type of comments you are referring to usually eventually reveal a degree of ignorance about the author especially when made anonymously. When coming to an anonymous post it is usually an indication to proceed with caution, personally I don't read anonymous comments, I scroll through them and quickly scan for any indication that it may be worth while to read, some of your regulars post anonymous and then sign the comment, if I see a signature I will go back and read it.

Something interesting came into my inbox recently that seems timely to this discussion that Joanne's comment reminded me of

The level of vitriol in some of the comments is shocking

her use of vitriol to describe the more vicious comments is correct, this quote may give an understanding of how those types of comments reveal more about the author than anything else.

There is a famous Latin phrase,

"Visita Interiora Terrae, Rectificando Invenies Occultam Lapidem," abbreviated by its initials
V.I.T.R.I.O.L.,

roughly translated:

"Visit the center of the earth and by rectifying you shall find the hidden stone."


It is a metaphoric statement, the Earth representing the self, the hidden stone represents that which is desired and sought, I won't go too in depth but it is a phrase that refers to self reflection, the use of rectify would indicate something inside is out of sync.

so in a way they are doing as Bambino asks:

Instead of blaming and and finding someone responsible for your actions, look deep inside of yourself first. It's so easy to bitch about someone's success, money, life, happiness.

Which would lead to the observation that the offense of the comment has nothing to do with the commenter but everything to do with the reader, and what's going on in the reader is the usual cause of the sensitivity, you may be able to control what gets posted but you can't control what people write, in essence if some one writes a nasty comment, you are still reading it if you moderate comments, the only difference is we won't, and we won't have the chance to make counter arguments or disprove the rhetoric. We should not fear ignorance, or hatred, but we had sure as hell better fear censorship in any form, I do believe free speech and free expression to be a very black or white issue with a distinct line, as soon as any rationale to censor, or edit in any form, the line is crossed. The Supreme court consistently rules that freedom of speech is meaningless unless it covers all forms of speech.

I know its Ed's blog and Ed has been bestowed by Blogspot and the Lord Google with the power of moderation, but that doesn't mean he should use it, especially when he wants to, because it seems Ed stands for an open forum format, he has made comments about it in the past, and now is the test of his conviction to his ideals it's easy to say "I am for an open forum" the hard part is sticking with them when things get dicey, not abandon them when it becomes convenient, it is performance under stress that best defines character.


The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. - Epictetus

7/21/2008 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

It's a catch 22, Joseph.

On one hand, you're right in that moderated comments will impact how truly "free" the speech here is in the traditional sense of that idea, but on the other hand, what's the point of sponsoring a forum in which the "free" speech that it fosters has become so unpleasant and (worse) off topic that it works to squash the desire of others to offer their free opinions.

The Supreme Court's ultimate goal is democracy's survival. My ultimate goal here different. I'm not charged with ensuring democracy survives. My goal is a sharing of information, in fostering an ongoing dialog. That necessitates setting boundaries.

Anyone can submit a comment. If it's not so harsh or ad hominem that I feel it will stop the conversation, regardless of whether I agree with it or not, regardless of whether it criticizes me or not, regardless of whether it totally demolishes my argument...if it furthers the dialog rather than derailing it or changing the subject...it will be posted.

I hope to lift the moderation come September.

7/21/2008 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

>Ed,
I'm saddened that you feel the need to have to moderate comments, you seem to have always understood that the best way to hold a forum is to allow it to be fully open, which is one reason I follow this blog and that means that sometimes it gets messy and beyond control, I agree that sometimes things get nasty, but I also believe that the type of comments you are referring to usually eventually reveal a degree of ignorance about the author especially when made anonymously.




But, Joseph, who wants to wade through all that shit? I'm sure it's not without a lot of regret that Ed wants to try this out. People have a limited time each day to read art blogs, and they have choices. When it's just a slogfest and showcase of ego litigation, who takes the time?

Imagine if you set up a real life discussion panel each day. And there were always a few people who came streaking through naked, flinging bile all over the people having a conversation, the panel, the audience members, etc. You're proposing people just work around it, no matter how distracting it gets? No matter how many people walk out of the room or won't ever come into it because, turns out, the place has bile flying everywhere?

At some point, Ed is thinking, you might have to concede: better to check people at the door if they're just coming in with a bagload of it. I think you'd stand a chance of getting something talked about.

It might be only then that you actual free the speech, since certainly more people will join in the discussion if they aren't busy worrying about being insulted.

7/21/2008 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Ed,

I don't think you should have to waste your valuable time acting as a moderator. I do think it might be helpful to eliminate "anonymous" commentors but accept pseudonyms.

People act like jerks online because, when posting anonymously, they don't have to be responsible for what they say.

On another note, maybe it's something in the air, the planets in bad alignments, foul air, too much heat and humidity, or just the feeling that as we move into a new century, the world is just passing one by.

Whatever it is, it seems to be going around, tensions abound, people are cranky, scared and mean.

7/21/2008 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Dear Ed:

I've enjoyed reading your blog for the past year or so and thank you for the obvious time and effort you put into it. It's generally a witty, thoughtful and knowledgeable crowd which you lead with style and perspicacity. I don't blame you for taking action after the last thread and I hope temporary moderation will raise the standard here just a little. It seems a little adult supervision now and then is necessary.

David Richardson
New Bedford, Ma.
http://www.furnituresociety.org/blog/

7/21/2008 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...

I'm all for fighting for free speech where it counts -- but it makes me laugh when folks assume that blogs are necessarily "democratic" forums simply because they are publicly accessible and interactive. When free speech becomes an excuse -- or a vehicle -- for extremely stupid, boring agrressive (etc) behaviour, say, on my blog or in my living room, that's when I get to put you outdoors to do whatever you like under your own steam -- it's a free country, supposedly: so it cuts both ways.

IMHO The best blogs are benign dictatorships; think Tito at Art Camp, filtering with a velvet glove in between gin fizzes. NEWSgrist is a totalitarian state next to this place, so be happy.

7/21/2008 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

Moderation is often needed based on my experience. I had to do it because of a few relentless anonymous trolls and due to viagra links. Nice mix. I also had a problem with people commenting with their exhibit info on interviews-- I did not find that acceptable.

People will claim that you have censored them and others will be upset because the communication flow is blocked, but in the end it is worth it. Trolls often leave once the gates are closed. Moderation is a good way to weed out who is flaming and who is not.

7/22/2008 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

George sez:
People act like jerks online because, when posting anonymously, they don't have to be responsible for what they say.

So what's my excuse?

7/22/2008 02:44:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Edward is amazing!! Can I say that?

7/22/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Richard Schemmerer said...

Hi Edward
that sucks

their is a reason why people write nasty comments because they are frustrated with the systems that inhibit us
so you are selling out in the name of netiquette
good for you Miss Goody two shoe
or is that already to personal
even nasty comments are creative
and do reflect a social climat
its in nobodies interrest to push it under the carpet of censorship
it still will harbor there and the resentment will grow and manifest in other ways
I think to vent on a blog is harmless to blow up a school might be a consquence if surpressed
so Edward are you man enough to handle it or are you just another dictator covering as a liberal

almostall the comments on this issue have be especially boring
so if thats what you want
a BORING BLOG
THATS WHAT YOU GET

TILL NEXT TIME
with love
Richard

7/22/2008 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Iris said...

Unmoderated talkbacks are like a vacuum, those who can't vent here anymore will find it boring and go on to look for another unmoderated space. Thanks for doing this Ed, I know it requires more of your time, and I personally believe it will be more interesting here when more of the discussion is on topic and a bit more mature.

7/22/2008 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Richard,

If you are intent on having such an open dialog, why don't you have one on your own blog?

Just come up with consistently interesting issues, find a wildly diverse readership, and then let them fire away. Zippy, crank up your bazooka.

7/22/2008 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

t's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

It's a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So let's make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we're together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?

Won't you please,
Won't you please,
Please won't you be my neighbor?

7/22/2008 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I think Richard has a point -- I do think moderation will make it less interesting around here. I've found this blog to be a good balance between too much to take in and too little to be interesting. Occasionally I can't keep up, and occasionally I don't care about the topic, but usually it's right in the middle.

I don't think we have any right to a "free" blog here. It's Ed's place and he can do what he wants. I haven't used the word censorship deliberately, because I don't feel it fits. The government censors speech. Ed is just running his space however he wants.

Of course, saying "have one on your own blog" is disingenuous -- Richard the cranky guy isn't going to get the kind of audience Ed has here.

7/22/2008 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Richard the cranky guy doesn't deserve the audience that Ed has here. Ed has a lot of knowledge, strong opinions, principles and treasure at stake, and the ability to spell and form working hyperlinks. This is what makes the blog worthwhile, not the option for people who don't have these things to make noise in the signal.

BTW, Ed - with moderation enabled, you should get rid of CAPTCHAs. Even I have failed to verify my humanity against some of these things.

7/22/2008 04:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am most upset! What about anon like me who brings so much wit, intense carefreeness, impassioned interesting language, irreverence and sudden use of capitals as farewell markings?

In the last thread (that perhaps caused this your drastic decision), the only ones with lacking ability to read without taking offense and/or petty attackings were really the chap (with the glasses and baseball cap) and an anon or two respectively or together etc.


Alright.

VAMOOSE you say.

farewell.

PRONTO!

SALUT!

7/22/2008 04:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys, please quit generalizing about those of us who want to remain anonymous. Not all of us are jerks. Not all of us post nasty, personal attacks. Not all comments made by "anonymous" are bitching, insulting, or ignorant rants.

Some of us are just shy. Some of us don't want or need to have some kind of internet presence. Believe it or not, some of us think that leaving our name on various blogs is like dogs peeing to mark territory. I see a lot of signed comments that don't actually contribute to the dicussion at hand, that seem to serve only as a means for the author to appear as part of the "scene" or as a mode for expressing the author's infinite superiority to all the other commentators.

For my own part, Edward can do whatever he wants with his blog and it's up to me to react in a particular way (like get a pseudonym) or not. But, as the anonymous who wrote in the question about craft a couple of weeks ago, and as the anonymous who has tried to post thoughtful, helpful, or encouraging comments, I'm sad to be lumped in with the bitchy, ignorant, and pathetic. Being able to post anonymously made it possible for me to ask a really important (for me) question and have it answered by someone I consider intelligent and trustworthy. That's worth a lot to me, and I bet a lot of other people feel the same way.

7/22/2008 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Franklin, you're almost certainly right about Cranky Richard not deserving the audience. But that doesn't mean he has nothing worthwhile to add in front of the audience. He may not be able to build the audience, or keep it, but still.

I don't mean Richard personally, of course. Anyone, really. He's just the current example.

I guess, Anon, I'm the chap with the glasses and baseball cap. Which, um, is correct as a description, but is still kind of weird to see written out like that. I called you a name based on your first message, and I'm sorry, because your later messages made it clear I'd misunderstood you. You're not a moron, you're just not a native English speaker, and not a very clear writer, either. Maybe you're really nice and smart in Italian or Slovenian or whatever.

But I feel I can read most of the time. I just tend to...type without thinking. It's a flaw. I'm working on it.

7/22/2008 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

I did not know that having a blog open or moderated was a question of manhood. Though I could get into the psychology of someone who creates manly tests such as that... :)

7/23/2008 01:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is hilarious because Richard has at least ten blogs.

7/23/2008 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Like I said, I don't mean Richard specifically. He could have ten blogs with Drudge Report-level readerships for all I know. Richard was just a stand-in for any random poster here, myself included.

I have my own blog. I don't have Ed's audience. Why not? I'm sure there are a lot of reasons, but among them are these: I don't post as often as Ed; I don't post as thoughtfully as Ed; my posts are not open to conversation; when people do strike up conversations in the comments I don't encourage them. Building an audience -- a community -- like Ed's takes time, effort, and talent. Most of us lack at least one of those.

7/23/2008 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

I started this Monday night but have been too busy to finish it and have added to it since so it got a bit long.


It really surprises me the willingness to accept such things as Dictatorships, or Totalitarianism of any sort, and why in this case, a few or perhaps only one obnoxious anonymous commenter, prime examples of discarding ideals because they are temporarily inconvenient,


On one hand, you're right in that moderated comments will impact how truly "free" the speech here is in the traditional sense of that idea



Please read that very carefully, then say it out loud, look Bambino square in the eye and say it to him.

and what's with the quotes around free, as in "free" nudge - nudge wink - wink, ha - ha, Heh - Heh, for us not you..!!

or as in "free" nixon fingers gesture, allegedly, what a clique.

but on the other hand, what's the point of sponsoring a forum in which the "free" speech that it fosters has become so unpleasant and (worse) off topic that it works to squash the desire of others to offer their free opinions.

Does anybody have proof of this? I don't remember reading a comment here on Ed's blog by someone saying "I would have written a profound comment on such and such but it was just too unpleasant" Did Zogby do a poll I missed? It seems to me to be another one of those off handed conjectures, that becomes an arbitrary rationale.

On the flip side how many might not want to post honestly because they are afraid their comment won't make the cut? or have to second guess what they're writing(Even as I'm writing this I have to consider whether this next line is too snarky) I mean there is enough A$$ Kissing round here as it is, which doesn't contribute anything to the discourse, though it may do wonders for Ed's ego, and in the end it stops being a discourse and becomes the cyber equivalent of a glossy Art rag.

I'm all for fighting for free speech where it counts -- but it makes me laugh when folks assume that blogs are necessarily "democratic" forums simply because they are publicly accessible and interactive.

Well I'm glad you are for free speech when you deem it to "count" or serves your purposes?

I thought I expressed that I acknowledge Ed has a right to do whatever he wants with his blog, but silly me to think that as an American I might want to speak freely and exercise my 1st amendment rights without having to second guess myself, I mean the irony of this following closely after a post on edward_ winkleman titled "Political correctness" where Ed wrote:

one should be able to expect that the art world is open-minded and tolerant as a rule, not just in certain leftist contexts. That means tolerating the right of people to have other political opinions and not denying them access to the inner sanctum because of their feelings.

and then makes a post titled "Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties"

before I go on I would just like to say that somewhere around the time Ed posted "Shifting Gears: Trust the Spiral..." (by the way I still have my slide rule out, am throwing bones, rolling icosahedral dice, reading tea leaves, consulting the i-ching, cross referencing the cabala, and asking the magic eight ball what the hell he meant..;))

I guess it was around the time he cut back to two posts a week, its seemed a bit like the magical mystery tour around here.

So in his post "Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties" he would expect americans to rally to a call to petition congress to restore our civil liberties one day after his decision to moderate comments, this is a good time to call up the Ghandi quote that has surfaced around the Obama campaign

"Be the change you want to see in the world"

How can you expect to hold congress accountable to the constitution when you aren't practicing the principles of the constitution? Like I said in my previous comment

it seems Ed stands for an open forum format, he has made comments about it in the past, and now is the test of his conviction to his ideals it's easy to say "I am for an open forum" the hard part is sticking with them when things get dicey, not abandon them when it becomes convenient, it is performance under stress that best defines character.

Now I hear similar ratinales I hear from neo cons, who think the Patriot act is OK,things like:

"Trust Ed to do what's right"

"If you are a good little commenter following the rules you don't have to worry about censorship"

"You have to give up your freedom to catch punish the evil Trolls"

I'm just paraphrasing here Hope it's not too snarky.

It seems would similar to being like someone deciding in the fifties that the Cedar Bar should attract a higher class clientele so they enact a dress code and banned fighting.

The Supreme Court's ultimate goal is democracy's survival. My ultimate goal here different. I'm not charged with ensuring democracy survives.

It is the responsibility of all who love and benefit from democracy to do their part to ensure it survives. What value does our freedom hold if we do not extend to other the freedoms we cherish.

My goal is a sharing of information, in fostering an ongoing dialog. That necessitates setting boundaries.

by definition dialog is a two way communication, if you choose what to post and what not to post it becomes just your expression, the same way an artist uses appropriation to make their statement.

I personally have always sought out art because it lacks boundaries, it show that the only boundaries are ones we construct, and those are the obstruction between how we live and how we want to live.

Imagine if you set up a real life discussion panel each day. And there were always a few people who came streaking through naked, flinging bile all over the people having a conversation

Sounds like a typical Senate Hearing on the War..;)

Andy crawled to freedom through 500 yards of shit smelling foulness I can't even imagine, or maybe I just don't want to...

...Andy Dufresne who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side"

7/24/2008 02:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be a little careful - there is some law that suggests that if you moderate comments, you are liable for any defamatory remarks etc as you have authorised, approved and/or published them. If you do not moderate, then some US courts have suggested you would not be liable.

7/24/2008 02:47:00 AM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

Anonymous, allowing a comment to be posted does not mean that you agree with what is being said. If what you say is true... by the same note someone could cause a stink if their comment is not approved. Ed made a good call. Most of us have had to do the same thing.

7/24/2008 06:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry balhatian you completely misunderstand my point (I suspect you are not a lawyer). Your defence does not hold legally - courts have held that where comments are moderated, the moderator can be responsible for the comments if they are defamatory (regardless of the moderator's subjective intention). The only way to be sure would be to get legal advice in respect of each comment, which of course would be impractical.

No-one can make a legal stink about being excluded, so that part of your comment is simply wrong.

BTW am only anonymous becasue I can't remember my google sign in

Toby

7/28/2008 10:33:00 PM  

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