Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Replying to: words and their power

Replying to: johndegen.com: words and their power


You can go ahead and name names in my case. I participate in these forums under my real name as I stand by my comments, and will continue to fight for creators rights and free speech rights against ideas (and sometimes persons) that I feel are harming these rights.

I am the (or one) person who is saying that if filtering is happening by someone that is not an authority, government or otherwise, then that filtering is not censorship. Having your SPAM filters too high, or deleting messages you don't like for any reason from a private forum you administrate, is not censorship.

We are both disturbed by each others comments. I find it disturbing to see someone (ab)use the word censorship in this manner as, in my mind, it belittles victims of actual censorship. I have been fighting for free speech likely as long as you have (given we are about the same age), possibly longer online (just because I'm a geek that got online as early as I could).

My line for free speech is further on the unfiltered side than most, given I think that our current hate speech and defamation laws are a bit too strong. I've been critical of the Canadian Human Rights Commission for its desire to censor (see -- authority, with power of the state) speech. I may find the speech they wish to filter disgusting, and I am not personally interested to be subjected to it, but that doesn't mean I believe it should be censored. In fact, I wish there was a government funded body whose mandate it was to "correct the record" on such hateful speech, rather than giving the speech more power by attempting to censor it.

I don't have the agree with the reasons for the filtering by any given proprietor of a forum. In this case, I don't as I could have guessed you would have used the filtering in your ongoing desire to discredit anyone associated with the Fair Copyright for Canada label. You see, FCFC isn't a group with leadership, but a label used by people who have a relatively compatible philosophy on copyright. While Michael Geist is seen as coining the term (I attribute it to Laura Murray), that's the extent of it -- he is not a "leader" in the management sense, only a thought leader.

It's clear you don't share that philosophy, and label nearly every creator associated with that label as "copy left" (Meaning "Other, not like me"). That’s fine for me, and I'm used to the people who call themselves the "copy right" to be trying to label me as something other than a creators' rights advocate. I may feel constantly insulted by this incorrect labelling, but I'm not going to personally filter based on that.

I think Jason lashed out at Michael because Michael didn't back the decision to use filters in the York Region forum. In my case I did back the decision, not because I thought the specific filtering was something I would have done personally, but because I will fight for the right of forum proprietors to make that decision for themselves. As I indicated, I don't need proof that the decision was justified: I just support the right or proprietors of forums to make that decision.

Unlike you and I who have become used to disagreeing with fellow creators, including ones we consider to be quite insulting at times (we feel that of each other), Jason didn't see the point in continuing to be a target. While the two of us learn about our own positions by having ongoing conversations with people we disagree with, and continue despite family and friends telling us to get out, Jason took a different path.

But lets chat for a moment about the mixed message I keep hearing about Michael Geist from those who self-identify as the "copy right". I hear often that Michael is somehow associated with "pirates" and "thieves" because he allows comments on his blog from people with certain ideas. I suspect the whole "users rights" advocate label doesn't come from things that Michael says, but the fact that people with "users rights" views dominate the unfiltered comments on his blog.

I then hear Michael accused of being a co-censor because some group using the Fair Copyright for Canada meme in their title filtered some comments. Your whole slew of messages on twitter and this blog started with a false accusation against Michael.

So, which is it: Does Michael not filter enough or does he filter too much?

Personally, I think he filters far less than I would be willing to. In the forums I host/administrate I don't allow anonymous postings. At the bare minimum a contributor must sign up and have an email address verified. While my preference is real names and real people, the system allows pseudonymous.

On Blogger I let these pseudonymous postings go up right away, but with an email notification. I allow any registered user to comment (including OpenID).

On digital-copyright.ca I wait until I've seen a few useful comments before I allow messages to be posted right away from a contributor rather than going into a moderation queue. Accounts can be OpenID accounts or accounts created specifically on digital-copyright.ca.

I really don't support anonymous comments as it encourages a form of "road rage" on the series of tubes -- err information superhighway. Because of this I tend to ignore the comments on sites like Michael's or most of the mainstream media.

Comments may not always be friendly or agree with a world view I agree with, but I respect comments that are expressed by a real person who is willing to stand behind those comments.

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