I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

No, Ed, it's not your blog -- blogs are not private or personal

How often have we heard the statement, "it's my blog and I'll do what I want here"? That is what I heard from Fatheaded Ed Brayton when he permanently kicked me off his blog because he disagreed with my literal interpretation of a federal court rule (not that it matters, but Ed did not even give me a chance to make a single response to his disagreement with my interpretation). No, Ed, blogs are not private or personal. Increasingly, blogs and bloggers are being governed by laws, regulations, and government policies. Some of the laws in this list apply to bloggers. One such law is 47 USC §230, titled "Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material," from the "Communications Decency Act." Interestingly, there is no law for the protection of private blocking and screening of inoffensive material! LOL. A long list of court cases about Internet law is here, and many of these cases involve blogs or other quasi-personal websites.

Here are some good reasons why blogs should not be regarded as private or personal and why arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments on blogs should be banned or discouraged:
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(1) By no stretch of the imagination is a public blog a private communication. It is open to anyone in the world who has access to the Internet (this statement added 4:45 PM PST, 05-08-07).

(2) The freedom-of-expression right of blog visitors should be given priority over the bloggers' freedom-of-the-press right to control content.

(3) The more popular blogs have become major de facto public forums. Many of these blogs are dominant now because they got off to any early start and many of their bloggers are now playing "King of the Hill" by denying others an opportunity to express their opinions on these blogs.

(4) The "fairness doctrine" should be applied to blogs. The reasons for exempting other kinds of forums from the fairness doctrine do not apply to blogs because comment space on blogs is virtually unlimited and free of charge to the bloggers. Also, a person who is defamed on a blog should be given an opportunity to respond on that blog. Also, people can normally buy space or time in a newspaper, magazine, and radio and TV stations, but I never heard of anyone buying comment space on a blog. Hey, Ed and PZ -- how much do you charge for comment space on your blogs? Do you charge by the word or by the column inch? What credit cards do you accept? Don't laugh, folks -- people are selling advertising space on their blogs, so why not sell comment space? And maybe Ed and PZ could make some extra dough on the side by advertising that they don't accept American Express cards -- just like in the ads on TV.

(5) Blogs are being authoritatively cited by court opinions, scholarly journal articles, etc.. IMO a blog that is cited by a court opinion becomes like an official governmental rulemaking public comment period in which all comments must be accepted. Furthermore, since court opinions have cited thousands of law journal articles and since law journal articles have cited hundreds of blogs, it is very likely that a blog could influence a court decision indirectly through a court's citation of a journal article that cites the blog. It is not inconceivable that a single act of cybercensorship could be the deciding factor in an important court decision. Since it is often not predictable which blogs are going to be authoritatively cited, it is important that all blogs that have a potential to be authoritatively cited avoid arbitrary censorship of comments. An example of a statute governing governmental rulemaking comment periods is 42 USC §7607, "Administrative hearings and judicial review," for US EPA rulemaking on air quality control regulations. 42 USC §7607 (d)(4)(B)(i) says,

(i) Promptly upon receipt by the agency, all written comments and documentary information on the proposed rule received from any person for inclusion in the docket during the comment period shall be placed in the docket. The transcript of public hearings, if any, on the proposed rule shall also be included in the docket promptly upon receipt from the person who transcribed such hearings.

and 42 USC §7607(d)(5) says,

(5) In promulgating a rule to which this subsection applies

(i) the Administrator shall allow any person to submit written comments, data, or documentary information;
(ii) the Administrator shall give interested persons an opportunity for the oral presentation of data, views, or arguments, in addition to an opportunity to make written submissions;
(iii) a transcript shall be kept of any oral presentation; and
(iv) the Administrator shall keep the record of such proceeding open for thirty days after completion of the proceeding to provide an opportunity for submission of rebuttal and supplementary information.

Of course, cybercensorship also causes big problems in fields other than law. I just used the field of law as an example.

The statements here about cybercensorship on blogs also apply to cybercensorship on Wikipedia. Like blogs, Wikipedia is also a major de facto public forum and is also being authoritatively cited by court opinions, articles in scholarly journals, etc..

Laws are nice, but all the Internet laws in the world are not going to protect the average Internet user who has neither the time nor the money to pursue Internet lawsuits. What needs to be done is to change the Internet culture so that cyberbullying and arbitrary censorship of comments are widely frowned upon.
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8 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> What needs to be done is to change the Internet culture so that cyberbullying and arbitrary censorship of comments are widely frowned upon. <

If you could find a case of arbitrary censorship on Ed's blog your words might carry more weight. Ed's censorship was not arbitrary. Yours appears to be. You sometimes allow items that you disagree with but anything that tells the truth about you, except the obvious fact that you are a raving lunatic, is censored.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 9:21:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> What needs to be done is to change the Internet culture so that cyberbullying and arbitrary censorship of comments are widely frowned upon.<

If you could find a case of arbitrary censorship on Ed's blog your words might carry more weight. <<<<<

You profoundly retarded nincompoop, with the comment gone, how can anyone tell whether the censorship was arbitrary or not?

It is enough that I showed the point where Fatheaded Ed kicked me off his blog permanently because he disagreed with my literal interpretation of a court rule. I said that when a defendant offers an out-of-court settlement that would provide relief equal to or greater than the maximum relief that the court could provide, then the plaintiff's complaint "fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted" (FRCP Rule 12(b)(6)), since the court cannot grant more relief than the defendant has already offered. Duh. And even if my interpretation was wrong, that would still not have been an excuse to kick me off his blog permanently.

Anyway, what in hell does my specific case have to do with the general point I was making?

>>>>>> You sometimes allow items that you disagree with but anything that tells the truth about you, except the obvious fact that you are a raving lunatic, is censored. <<<<<<

If you are talking about my deletion of comments that gossip about my private life, I have a right to delete those comments, you stupid fathead.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 12:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> It is enough that I showed the point where Fatheaded Ed kicked me off his blog permanently because he disagreed with my literal interpretation of a court rule. <

But you haven't, you pathetic dimwit. We all know the real reason Ed kicked you off his blog. Repeating otherwise won't change that.

> Anyway, what in hell does my specific case have to do with the general point I was making? <

You can't point out a single valid specific case. Therefore there isn't a general point.

> If you are talking about my deletion of comments that gossip about my private life, I have a right to delete those comments, you stupid fathead. <

You profoundly retarded nincompoop, with the comment gone, how can anyone tell whether the censorship was arbitrary or not?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 9:03:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> We all know the real reason Ed kicked you off his blog. <<<<<<

OK, smartypants -- what do you think the "real reason" was?

>>>>> You can't point out a single valid specific case. Therefore there isn't a general point. <<<<<<

There is no single valid specific case of where it is known that a tree that fell in the woods made a sound when there was no one there to hear it. Therefore there isn't a general point that a tree's fall in the woods makes a sound when there is no one there to hear it.

>>>>>> If you are talking about my deletion of comments that gossip about my private life, I have a right to delete those comments, you stupid fathead. <

You profoundly retarded nincompoop, with the comment gone, how can anyone tell whether the censorship was arbitrary or not? <<<<<

First we have to decide whether the reason for censorship is fair or not. Ed Brayton censors all my comments -- as well as comments that he thinks are mine -- just because he doesn't like me (he even censors comments that he agrees with). I have been censoring comments that invade personal privacy and that impersonate me for the purpose of misrepresenting my views.

In the future, to show that censorship was justified, I will where possible remove sensitive information from privacy-invading comments and re-post them, and I will re-post impersonations along with notes that they are impersonations.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>I said that when a defendant offers an out-of-court settlement that would provide relief equal to or greater than the maximum relief that the court could provide, then the plaintiff's complaint "fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted" (FRCP Rule 12(b)(6)), since the court cannot grant more relief than the defendant has already offered.<<<

Since when does offering several million dollars less than the maximum relief the court can provide equate to offering equal to or greater than the amount the court can provide?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 1:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

>>>>>> We all know the real reason Ed kicked you off his blog. <<<<<<

> OK, smartypants -- what do you think the "real reason" was? <

The same as has been stated endlessly.

>>>>> You can't point out a single valid specific case. Therefore there isn't a general point. <<<<<<

> There is no single valid specific case of where it is known that a tree that fell in the woods ... <

So you know that items have been censored because you don't see them. This is the same proof you give that there are little green men standing behind you who disappear when you look. Bottom line is that you can show no cases of arbitrary censorship on Ed's blog.

> First we have to decide whether the reason for censorship is fair or not. Ed Brayton censors all my comments <

Because you have been irresponsible. He can't waste time checking to see if you have changed your spots.

> just because he doesn't like me <

Now you are claiming a different reason.

> In the future, to show that censorship was justified, I will where possible remove sensitive information from privacy-invading comments and re-post them <

And how are we to know that the censorship was justified?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 3:39:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> OK, smartypants -- what do you think the "real reason" was? <

The same as has been stated endlessly. <<<<<<

When you say something like that, you give yourself zero credibility. Like the boy who cried wolf, you may find yourself being ignored even on the rare occasions when you have something worthwhile to say.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 5:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> When you say something like that, you give yourself zero credibility.<

That is why you have zero credibility.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 9:16:00 PM  

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