miss_s_b: (Who: Dalek Pest Control)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Waaaaaaaay back in the mists of time I was very active in Harry Potter fandom. Bear with me, because there is a point to this. The official Harry Potter website forums had a very active mod team and a very restrictive policy on what was suitable for posting on a forum aimed at children*. After some degree of protest about this, a quite large group of us went and set up our own forums. I did most of the building and running of those forums. Some time after that, and after much growth of the site I was running, a group of people decided they didn't like how I was running that website. You know what they did? They went off and set up their own.

Not one of us at any point in any of those processes had their free speech infringed: the WB were perfectly within their rights to decide that babies are not a fit topic for children to possibly stumble on a conversation about**. I was perfectly within my rights to decide the policies for my site, and the people who moved on from it were perfectly within their rights to decide the policies on their site.

You see, the thing is, if a person, or a set of people, have made the effort to build something - be that a house, a blog, a website, or anything else - those people have the right to decide what they will and will not put up with within that place. If you want to build a website or set up a blog where people can come and shout obscenities at you, you can do so, just as if you wanted to let people into your house to shout at you you could do so. In a lot of cases it won't even cost you any money.

The thing is, whatever you decide to do in terms of comments on a website, there is going to be someone who doesn't like it. So you have to decide which people you want to make unhappy. In my view, the vast majority of websites - including lib dem voice - are far too nice to the sort of arseholes who make everybody who just wants a civil discussion unhappy. And that makes the people who just want a civil discussion unhappy, and when they're unhappy they go away. And then the only people you have commenting on your website are the arseholes. There is lots and lots of research out there on this, but even without the research it's perfectly blindingly obvious that websites with incredibly "free" comment policies quickly become cesspits of bile.

To be specific about Tony Greaves: a peer of the realm does not have his free speech infringed by being banned from a private website when he has been repeatedly told that his behaviour towards other people on the website is unacceptable and he needs to tone it down. He is perfectly free to be published elsewhere, or even set up his own website, as are any of the rest of us who don't like the way lib dem voice run their comments and/or forum. As, indeed, I don't, and therefore I have.

In my view it would do Lib Dem Voice good to have some competition. I am a Liberal, and I don't like monocultures and overcentralisation. Lib Dem Voice was set up by and is run by volunteers. There is nothing to stop other people doing what they did, and making a success of it. All it would take would be time and effort. Admittedly, quite a lot of time and effort, but the people who run lib dem voice have already put that time and effort in, and therefore it is their site and they can decide what they will accept people doing on it. I personally think that the Liberator Collective are best placed to set up a site in competition to lib dem voice at the moment, and I'd actually quite like to read such a website. Tony Greaves is a member of the Liberator collective regular contributor to Liberator and I'm sure would be welcome to contribute to any website they might build***.

So, liberator people: instead of being whiny entitled idiots and complaining about censorship when someone won't let you abuse them on their own website, how about putting some effort in yourselves and building your own?



* I got banned from it for tlking about being pregnant with my now 12 year old daughter, which I personally think is a little censorious.
** stupid and wrong, but within their rights.
*** corrected after being contacted by someone who IS a member of the Liberator Collective.

Date: Monday, August 10th, 2015 09:55 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oneexwidow (not anonymous, but OpenID normally falls over when I try to use it!)

Very good points.

I "run" (or "facilitate", although that word is a little too "management bollox speak" for me) the Facegroup page for my local party.

Every so often, we end up with squabbly posts where some people play the man, not the ball, or resurrect old conflicts.

What these people seem not to realise is that it's equivalent of standing in the middle of a public square, or a bar, or some other crowded place and having a stand up argument. What they don't see or hear are people (many of whom are new) telling me that they find it off-putting, discouraging and makes them wonder what type of organisation they've joined.

...and even when this is pointed out to them, they still don't really get it.

Date: Monday, August 10th, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC)
markpack: Photo of me (Default)
From: [personal profile] markpack
I've done quite a lot of moderation over the years and find people who are moderated fall into three categories:

1. A small number who say 'thank you' (!) - e.g. 'thanks - I realise I was rather angry when writing that'. A few rare gems to treasure but definitely rare.

2. A decent number who may grumble but move on quickly - e.g. send one email of complaint, read a reply and are then happy to leave it there even if they still think the moderation was wrong

3. A small number who take up nearly all your time, who (to take one real example) call someone "vile", get moderated and then spend lots of time protesting and demanding explanations, saying they didn't insult anyone, how can you possibly object to their comments etc.

Even after all these years, I still don't really understand that third category. Some might, I guess, have genuinely forgotten what they posted. But most seem completely blind to how anyone else might reasonably view their comments as insulting, even when it's terminology such as "vile".

Date: Monday, August 10th, 2015 08:34 pm (UTC)
markpack: Photo of me (Default)
From: [personal profile] markpack
I'd not heard of "freeze peach" before. Lovely phrase!

Date: Monday, August 10th, 2015 10:15 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
My friend Sunny runs an anonymous meme. She's set rules learned by trial and error over years. Some folks split off to talk about something banned on Sunny's community. She has watched them go from "Oh we don't need rules" to "Shit, moderation is harder than we expected!"

She's happy their new community is meeting their needs better, and no little smug because moderation is both hard and necessary.

Date: Monday, August 10th, 2015 10:33 am (UTC)
po8crg: A cartoon of me, wearing a panama hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] po8crg
I've never understood why people think that LDV is some sort of official party site. It's not - it's just a bunch of volunteers who had a good idea.

Even the private, members-only stuff? That's a public API provided by the part that lets you check who is a member and who isn't. It's not some sort of official thing that no-one else could access.

PS Liberator wouldn't do it because it might eat into their subscriber base.

Date: Monday, August 10th, 2015 10:49 am (UTC)
nickbarlow: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nickbarlow
And most of the Liberator collective seem quite analogue - the Liberator blog was good, but it was about 95% Simon Titley writing it and IIRC, a lot of the comments there ended up arguing about the comment policy.

Date: Monday, August 10th, 2015 12:01 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Re the PS: I think the subscriber base has already suffered through the existence of Lib Dem Voice as much as it would.

Jen

Date: Monday, August 10th, 2015 12:15 pm (UTC)
po8crg: A cartoon of me, wearing a panama hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] po8crg
I do wonder what content they would have that wouldn't go into Liberator as an article, though - and if they start running the articles as blogposts, then that would cannibalise from the magazine.

Date: Monday, August 10th, 2015 12:44 pm (UTC)
nickbarlow: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nickbarlow
In terms of the stuff that gets an audience in blogs, most of Liberator's longer articles wouldn't really work (though having a forum to discuss them post-publication would be good). The stuff that usually ends up in Commentary and Radical Bulletin likely would work as blog posts, and I think it would be possible to work out a way for a blog and the magazine to coexist, if someone wanted to spend the time to do it. It might even boost Liberator's subscriptions (anyone know what the subscription numbers are?) and raise the magazine's profile.

Date: Monday, August 10th, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC)
markpack: Photo of me (Default)
From: [personal profile] markpack
Anecdotally, I think I'm far from alone in finding RB the most interesting part of Liberator and the main reason for paying my subs so I think if they did start providing some of that for free it would seriously risk their paying subscriber base.

Date: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 09:32 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I can't work out Jennie's comment system, so Gareth Epps here:
First, to reiterate, Tony Greaves isn't a member of the Collective and never has been; he is one of a number of fairly regular contributors.

As an analogue member of the Collective (digital members are welcome too) I couldn't see how its website (which now has an expanded section of Simon Titley's writing) or blog could be turned into LDV, even if any of us has the time or inclination. The blog was Simon's idea and he generated a phenomenal amount of copy before his illness. To take up Nick's (I think) point, I would be happy to post guest blogs opening up debate on any of the articles. Including, perhaps, this one!.

Liberator blog

Date: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thanks to people for their kind comments about the possibility of Liberator running a rival service to LDV
The Liberator Blog still has a vestigial existence but it was created by Simon Titley during a period when he was not working and before, as it turned out, he became terminally ill.
It took a huge amount of work in finding or generating enough interesting to say and in moderating comments and when Simon was no longer able to continue none of the rest of us had the time to do so.
I'd be happy to see a competitor to LDV, though I'd rather such a venue blacklisted people on grounds of being boring and pointless rather than rude, but on the evidence of the old Liberator blog there would be a huge effort involved and it would need people prepared to make a long term commitment to make it work.
Mark Smulian

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