Panda's Thumb sucks
Rule 6 of the Panda's Thumb Comment Integrity Policy says:
6. Posting under multiple identities or falsely posting as someone else may lead to removal of affected comments and blocking of the IP address from which those comments were posted, at the discretion of the management.(emphasis added)
Panda's Thumb of course sometimes uses IP address blocking for other violations of PT's commenting rules.
An article titled "Why IP banning is useless" says:
Many proposals for eliminating comment spam are focused on banning or throttling comments from the IP address of the spammer. This is fundamentally flawed because it assumes IP addresses are both unique and hard to come by.
Banning an IP address can have severe consequences. Many ISPs (including AOL) and companies use a proxy server that makes it appear as if all users are coming from a single (or a handful) of IP addresses. By blocking an IP address, you might be preventing a substantial portion of AOL users from commenting.
That's how I was initially banned from PT -- I am an AOL user. The preceding article also says,
The other problem is that IP addresses are very easy to get or fake for spammers who care about such things. There are hundreds of ("or," not "of" ?) thousands of open proxies that will let anyone direct Web traffic through them. When I’m using an open proxy, my IP address is effectively masked.
The "open" proxies -- e.g., hidemyass.com -- are better known as "anonymous" proxies. Seeing the PT staff's obvious frustration as they continued their futile efforts to block my comments sent through these anonymous proxies was great fun. I think the next thing I'll do is subscribe to an email forwarding service to further hide my identity.
Ed Brayton, who runs his own blog -- "Dispatches from the Culture Wars" -- in addition to being a blogger on Panda's Thumb, has posted this blog article that shows his own ignorance about IP addresses.
No reputable blogger or blog service would block IP addresses. The only practical way to control comment content is to either delay the posting of comments until after inspection (this is called comment "moderation") or delete undesired comments after they are posted.
In addition to blocking IP addresses, the PT bloggers also arbitrarily delete comments and cut off discussions in the middle by closing threads. And PT's infamous "Bathroom Wall", where Panda's Thumb's bloggers dump comments on the pretext that the comments are "off-topic" when the real reason is suppression of ideas that the bloggers don't like, is -- in PT's own words -- "a PT tradition." Comments moved to the Bathroom Wall are generally ignored and moving comments there disrupts discussions. I have never seen any other blog or other Internet forum that has anything like the PT's BW. The BW is just a gimmick that enables the hypocritical PT bloggers to practice censorship while pretending that they don't.
I observed that Panda's Thumb got a 2005 web award from Scientific American magazine, so I once hoped that SA magazine could be persuaded to pressure PT into showing some minimal integrity that would show PT to be deserving of the award. I gave up on that idea when I discovered that the editor-in-chief of SA magazine, John Rennie, is himself a fanatical Darwinist crackpot who tried to persuade university presidents to sign a petition supporting Darwinism.
The irony of all this censorship crap that occurs on the Internet is that it undermines one of the Internet's great advantages -- a tremendous potential enhancement of the free exchange of ideas. It used to be that most of us ordinary citizens got almost no opportunity to publicize our views -- maybe once in a blue moon a newspaper or magazine would publish a brief letter from us or we would get a brief opportunity to comment on a radio talk show. But with the Internet, people are able to -- or would be able to, if it were not for all this drat censorship -- publicize comments of any length at any time.
This blog is well over a month old and now has about 30 articles on controversial subjects, and I am still waiting for the lousy sleazebags at Panda's Thumb to take a potshot at it.
Labels: Internet censorship (1 of 2)