The Idea of Censorship

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Posted here late tonight:

This is a very, very slippery slope this blog has begun slide on.  I am a frequent reader of the blog but seldom do I post.  Recently I have begun to pay a great deal of attention to this censorship issue.  I don’t like it one bit.  How does it affect me and the site?  I have read comments from frequent posters saying ‘I’ll go elsewhere to discuss it.’  I vote too with my dollars (or in this case, eyes, or keystrokes); I too will go elsewhere.

So I have been reading the excised thread and I am stunned by the amount of rules.  This isn’t particularly a news site.  The primary reason I read it is to read comments–all comments.  Some are funny, outlandish, crass, whatever.  Personally, I think they are too dire, but there were threads after the Penn State game, and again after Wisconsin, all yanked.  I enjoy reading what EVERYONE has to say.  I saw that someone had the audacity to post something about international soccer; bang, removed.  Yes, over-the-top things should be edited, but I think this direction has gone too far.  I am a marketing, and in particular, customer satisfaction expert; in my professional opinion, this site is properly defining what its role is and who its audience is and is going to suffer from this miscalculation.

This is probably the most glaring example of what I have seen.  ‘This is a serious matter so no douche comments.’  As far as I can tell, Kelly’s actions are out of line.  Again, as a marketer, he has a real perception problem and the examples (e.g., player treatment, the scissor lift, now this) are mounting.  The university too has mishandled, at the very least, the public relations.  It is real and this blog’s attempts to censor it, I believe, are wrong.

Finally, if this blog is so intent on such intrusiveness into the behavior of its participants (customers as well as content providers), why not be at least a little cognizant of copyright violations.  I see the following frequently:  Are you not aware that content from the Chicago Tribune is copyrighted and may not be posted without written permission?  Why isn’t this excised?

I really think you are toying with the loyalty of (at least some of) your users.  Do you really know your audience?

The extreme irony here is that these people who are posting things you don’t approve of are providing content for your site (that is just one reason why this “ndnation” business is so absurd).  They are loyal customers who want to be a part of this blog, yet you turn them away with your capricious, arbitrary, impossible to define rules.  To quote Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men (this ridiculous thread wasn’t deleted), “I’d rather you just say thank you.”

P.S.  I’ll put this on my blog ( as I hope to do a little more with this issue in the future.  Also, I’ll explore it explore it with a few other U-M blogs.  I’m curious if this too will be deleted!

Tags:  Brian Cook;; dumb; ego.

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