Comment is not so free

A roundtable at The Guardian on moderating policies for comments, A panel debate on web moderation.

A variety of points of views are presented (a former banned user, The Guardian’s legal team, the moderators themselves, etc.). What I haven’t seen in the piece (or anywhere else where moderation is discussed for that matter) is a more sincere approach: if we do not like it, we delete it. Why is such approach taboo? Why try to give the impression of fairness and balance when in reality, a lot of dissenting opinions will never see the light of html? Web spaces (blogs, newspapers, forums) are run via subjectivity. It is the subjective opinion of those who moderate that actually allows the comments to be visible. Such subjectivity (and the implied ideological stances) seem to be the elephant in the forum that nobody dares mention. Instead, blog admins and the like attempt to convince us that they are fair and they want a variety of opinions. That is not true simply because we all draw a line somewhere. There is always an opinion that will repulse us, that we find so incredibly offensive that we will silence it. Instead of claiming that “Comment is free”, as The Guardian would like us believe, perhaps it would be more sincere if they just admitted to “Comment is permeated by the ideology we deem acceptable”.

Then we would all know where we stand.

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