Citations of blogs in courts and law journals
A fairly old post (Aug. 6, 2006) on the Law Blog Metrics blog reported 32 citations of "legal" (or "law") blogs from 27 different court opinions (blogs that are not "law" blogs can also be cited -- for example, Panda's Thumb is not primarily a law blog but was cited by Jay Wexler in a law journal article as noted above), and two more such citations were added in another post on the same day. Most of the opinions are federal court opinions. Nineteen of these citations are from just one blog, the "Sentencing Law and Policy" blog. All of the listed court opinions are dated 2004 or later, showing just how new this practice of citing blogs in court opinions really is. Many comments in the comment sections of the blogs were cited, so the issue of arbitrary censorship of blog comments and commenters is an especially important issue.
Another fairly old (Aug. 16, 2006) Law Blog Metrics post lists 489 law review citations of "legal" blogs, and the comment section that follows showed that over 50 citations had been omitted from the list. The two legal blogs with the highest numbers of citations had 78 and 62 citations.
Anyone can call oneself an expert on law or science and set up a "law" or "science" blog and then arbitrarily censor comments that (s)he disagrees with -- there is no quality control of blogs. Fatheaded Ed Brayton (Dispatches from the Culture Wars) fancies himself to be both a "law" blogger and a "science" blogger because many of his posts discuss court cases and scientific issues. He probably has no formal advanced training or practical experience in either law or science. He also practices arbitrary censorship of the grossest form -- he kicked me off his blog permanently because he disagreed with my literal interpretation of a federal court rule. My interpretation happened to disagree with his pre-conceived notion of the purpose of the rule.
The jerks who see nothing wrong with authoritative citations of blogs whose bloggers arbitrarily censor comments must be the same jerks who have made a fetish of "peer review" of journal articles.
The Law Blog Metrics blog lists many subjects concerning legal citations of blogs but I was astonished that none of these subjects concerned arbitrary censorship of comments and commenters on blogs. It is either very naive or very dishonest to pretend that arbitrary censorship on blogs does not exist. This issue of arbitrary censorship on blogs needs to be squarely faced right now rather than when some crucial citation of a blog is discredited as a result of arbitrary censorship on that blog. If this issue of arbitrary censorship on blogs is ignored now, it is likely to come back to haunt us later.
To me, it is a no-brainer that a blog where there is arbitrary censorship of comments should not be quoted, cited or listed for authoritative purposes.
Labels: Internet censorship (1 of 2)