2010 November 07 Sunday
Censorship On The Web: When Justified?

Got a practical question: Which web hosting services and blogging service providers shut down web logs based on politically incorrect content? What forms of politically incorrect content cause bannings? For what other reasons to blogs get taken down?

I've been wondering about this and finally an event came along and triggered my getting it together to write a post about it: Ferdinand Bardamu wrote a post about how Wordpress banned Obsidian. Obsidian used to have this blog.

It is not clear to me whether Obsidian was banned for what he wrote on his own blog or what he wrote in the comments of other blogs. Here is Obsidian's explanation. Possibly he was banned for reposting a woman's picture from her blog to his. Said woman was already critical of him.

You can see back in March 2010 a blogger named Denise expressed a desire to get Obsidian banned. Someone in that thread suggested Obsidian could be banned for using copyrighted content because he was quoting from other blogs. But I would think Fair Use rules apply (not that I'm a copyright lawyer) and he might not have excerpted enough to rise to the level of copyright infringement. The picture copying (if true) seems like a clearer case of copyright infringement (not that I'm a lawyer). Though I suspect if that's the cause then it was a convenient excuse (as compared to issuing a warning not to do that again).

When I've come across Obsidian on Roissy's blog I found him to be long-winded, in dire need of an editor (which describes a few commenters on my own site), and pretty hostile to HBD beliefs. I would not describe myself as a fan of his writing. Some have no sympathy for him over his banning. But sympathy aside, what I do not like is the lack of transparency when sites get banned. Rules are being enforced on internet sites that host blogs and we do not know what sorts of voices are being silenced or why.

So Obsidian's Wordpress banning is just an occasion to address something I've been concerned about: How many bannings are happening and are the vast bulk of them for reasons that are basically secret? How can one know with any certainty what will get one banned from each blogging service provider or web server hosting provider? Bloggers who are not politically correct (and being politically incorrect takes many forms - e.g. HBD, anti-feminism, PUA, other) need to know what will get them into trouble and where. But noone is maintaining a record of blog bannings and other censorship actions. So we do not really know where the boundaries are.

Does some site I now like to read have content that'll get it banned as soon as the management of some company notices what is being said on it? Or am I writing stuff that'll get my site shut down by my hosting service? Which hosting services have higher or lower thresholds or more arbitrary and capricious thresholds for what constitutes bannable content?

Speaking as someone who takes a dim view of humanity I do not expect people to be fair to each other. At least sometimes I expect good people to be silenced or harassed and bad people to abuse others, lie, deceive, gang up, and get away with it. So here's what I want to know:

  • Has anyone been keeping track among bloggers of who has gotten banned?
  • Are the criteria for banning getting stricter or looser? If stricter, over which topics?
  • Are smaller blog hosting services on average more or less strict than bigger services run by bigger corps?
  • What are the biggest causes of banning? Copyrighted material violations, frank talk about sex, Alt Right discussions of race, Alt Right discussions of feminism and sexuality, or other?
  • Are there organized cliques or individuals filing lots of complaints to get people banned?
  • Do the banning campaigns fall most heavily against those on the political right? I expect the American Left to be more illiberal in the classical sense.
  • Can the Left get away with more in forums just as they can in major media?
  • Do Leftists or other factions work to get Google Ad Sense banned from Alt Right blogs? What got Half Sigma banned from AdSense for example? Was the ban automated or done by humans?

Anyone know even partial answers to any of these questions?

Update: If you are a blogger who isn't renting a whole server you should take a hard look at your risk of getting banned by your current blog site provider. You might want to move before you get censored. My sense of things is that some left-wingers (and others of unknown leanings - check out Chuck's experience with a woman who would like to see him banned) on blogs do not hesitate to try to get people banned. The Left isn't really big on freedom of speech. At at university hate speech regulations as an example.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 November 07 02:37 PM  Thought Control Censorship


Comments
Chuck said at November 7, 2010 8:04 PM:

Mr. Parker,

I'm the operator of Gucci Little Piggy which you linked to in this story. I know next to nothing about what it takes to get a blog banned or suspended. It seems to me that the rules are somewhat arbitrary which worries me.

At the moment, stemming from my defense of Obsidian in his banning, one female commenter has basically blackmailed me by sending me a list of conditions which I must meet by tomorrow lest she and *10 other people she's wrangled up* report me to Wordpress en masse (I wrote that this chick has accused Obsidian of being a stalker; she claimed that I libeled her; I claimed that she's merely an anonymous IP address, yadda yadda).
Fwiw, I emailed her back and told her to f*ck off.

Its really a stupid argument for me or anyone else to be having, but the larger point is that the rules for banning and suspending are too arbitrary. Our voices are stifled, and I would like to be aware of the various philosophies held be these different blog platform companies.

James A. Donald said at November 8, 2010 12:45 AM:

If your blog name is myblogname.wordpress.com, then you do not own your blog name, you can be shut down for saying that one group is different from another group, or any of a thousand equally unspeakably shocking heresies, you can be shut down for any reason or no reason, and probably will be.

If, however, your blog name is myblogname.com, then you do own your blog name. You are very difficult to shut down, because you can host the same name on a different service.

My blog is blog.jim.com It lives on a computer in Singapore, which is pretty tolerant of political incorrectness, though it has some nasty libel laws. I can blaspheme the anointed obamessiah all I like. They won't care. And if they did care, I would host the same name in a computer somewhere else, though that would be less convenient.

Chuck said at November 8, 2010 1:12 AM:

I went ahead and bought a domain name through Wordpress just to be on the safe side. As I've said, I don't know much about hosting and all of this stuff so I'm not sure if that would do anything for me if something does happen.

Savant said at November 8, 2010 3:42 AM:

I was taken down by Google for a while and then readmitted with a 'health warning'. I can only assume that my opposition to multicult, PC etc. was the reason. And it doesn't have to involve taking down the blog. Google have removed mine from their search engines - in fact you can't access the blog directly any more via Google. I assume the same thing applies to a huge number of similar blogs.

Johann said at November 8, 2010 12:21 PM:

I've been pondering saving the world via a blog of my own.. If one were to do that, is there is service that is friendly to dissent? Do I only have wordpress and google to use?

James A. Donald said at November 8, 2010 4:46 PM:

"I went ahead and bought a domain name through Wordpress just to be on the safe side. As I've said, I don't know much about hosting and all of this stuff so I'm not sure if that would do anything for me if something does happen."

Since your blog looks like http://glpiggy.wordpress.com it can be shut down, and all you could do with your new domain name is open a new blog under the new domain name.

If your new domain name was http://GucciLittlePiggy.com, and you had wordpress redirect your existing blog to it, so that any time someone attempts to go to http://glpiggy.wordpress.com they find they have gone to http://GucciLittlePiggy.com then you would be immune to shutdown - if you had the necessary skills to set up a wordpress blog on a new host if needed, and if you took a full backup from time to time of your existing blog, so that a complete copy of your blog lives on your home computer, capable of being installed on a fresh host anywhere in the world.

Absent redirects and backups, name will not help much. Which reminds me, I have not backed up my blog in two months. Doing it now.

Randall Parker said at November 8, 2010 5:22 PM:

Chuck, Johann,

There are a few issues here:

1) Do you own your domain? If you own your domain you can always repoint it to a different server if the hosting service of a server shuts you down. But you will need your data in order to move.

2) If you are writing under xxx.wordpress.com or xxx.blogspot.com or something similar you are at much higher risk of getting shut down.

3) The various blog hosting services (blogspot, wordpress, typepad, etc) have different stated policies and different actual policies. What we need to know is how these services differ in practice.

3) If you pay for a dedicated server (as I do) then you are at much lower risk of getting shut down. This costs more. But is lower risk.

4) If you pay for a shared server you are also probably at lower risk of getting shut down. But again, it depends on the policies of the hosting service.

I'd really like to accumulate knowledge on which hosting services and blogging services have shut down who for what.

Chuck said at November 8, 2010 7:08 PM:

Randall:

I bought a URL, glpiggy (dot) net, through Wordpress. I understand that even if Wordpress shuts my blog down I still own the domain, but I am completely ignorant on where I go from there. Welmer at The Spearhead has suggested DreamHost. My only question is can I still get the same Wordpress style functionality as far as posting, editing, etc. The Spearhead uses Dreamhost and it has the same behind the scenes functionality of Wordpress which I like. Also, if I go to DreamHost will I have to figure out how to build my blog with html knowledge or do web hosting services like that have templates to use?

In the meantime, I obviously need to study up on all of this.

Randall Parker said at November 9, 2010 5:00 PM:

Chuck,

If Dreamhost runs the Wordpress software then I would expect you'd have the same blog admin UI on Dreamhost. You could ask them and ask Welmer.


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