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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.

By Randall Parker    2010 November 07 02:37 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (9)
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