fredag 29 augusti 2014

Comment is not so free

My comments in the Guardian's Comment is Free section, under the name Nazarene1563, are being pre-moderated ie censored. Here is why.

Q: When I post a comment, it says that my comments are being pre-moderated – what does that mean? Does that apply to everyone in the conversation? 

A: There is a further exception to the overall reactive-moderation approach adopted by the Guardian website: in isolated situations, a particular user may be identified as a risk, based on a pattern of behaviour (e.g. spam, trolling, repeated/frequent borderline abuse), so a temporary filter can be applied to anything they post, which means that their comments will need to be pre-moderated before appearing on the site.

This is a temporary measure applied by moderators to a very small handful of people based entirely on patterns of actual behaviour, and should result relatively quickly in either their posting ability being suspended completely if no improvement is shown, or the filter being removed. The decision to do either of these things would, again, be based on that user's behaviour and activity during the pre-moderation period.

I have been forthright, in particular in relation to Islam, though always polite and never offensive. Very few comments have actually been deleted, so someone has obviously taken a dislike to what I have been saying, and it does not take too much imagination to guess who that might be.

It doesn't bother me particularly but if there is much of this kind of thing it destroys effectiveness of the forum. It is significant that during the Gaza hostilities commentators were left free to say pretty much whatever they wanted about the evils of the Zionists. I suspect there has been a decision to have a crack-down on anyone critical of Islam. Fair enough but in the end the main damage is to the newspaper's credibility as it is no longer a place where comment is free.

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