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Comments on Thursday 14 November 2002:
On the subject of so-called censorship, I'd like to draw an analogy with 'free speech' in a vocal/audio forum. Imagine two speakers trying to get a point across to an audience. The two speakers have conflicting views. I will dub them Kang and Kodos.

Kodos starts speaking to the audience; Kang takes this opportunity to say "LAAA LAAA LAAA LAAA LAAA LOOK AT ME EVERYBODY!"

Kodos politely waits until Kang has finished, and starts speaking again. Kang pipes in immediately with "DOO DEE DOO DEE DOO! I HAVE A HAT!"

Would it be censorship for someone to throw Kang out? Yes.
Would it be restricting Kang's freedom? Yes.
Would it be censorship to *not* throw Kang out? Yes, Kang would be effectively censoring Kodos. Letting Kang yell would restrict Kodos' "freedom of speech".
What of the audience? By letting Kang yell, you are preventing them from listening to what Kodos has to say. By throwing Kang out, are you preventing them from listening to what Kang has to say? No, they can follow him if that's what they'd rather listen to.

This, I think, is a fair analogy to how moderated lists are generally 'censored'. I realise that, as a mailing list, yelling does not actually make it impossible for other speakers to be heard, but it certainly does reduce their impact. When traffic for a list gets very high, as it does without 'censorship', the attention I pay to each message decreases proportionately, even to the point that some get deleted without a glance if their subject lines don't appeal.

I also realise that people on mailing lists generally aren't saying "DOO DEE DOO DEE DOO". Repetition of previously stated material without imparting new information or clarifying anything really isn't much better, though, is it?

A later alteration to this rant, making the analogy more similar to the problem with mailing lists; Kang and Kodos are talking about fish, with an audience. Kang says "blue fish are the best". Kodos starts speaking, but one of Kang's friends walks in, and declares "blue fish are the best!". Kodos says "not really, because...", but before he can continue, Kang and Kang's friend both say "blue fish are the best!". Another of Kang's friends arrives, imparting the helpful new information "blue fish are the best". The audience leaves. Kodos leaves.

Kodos has always had my vote, so I prefer mailing lists to be sensibly moderated. [03:07]

Tom
You seem to be equating 'restricting freedom of speech' with 'censorship'. I'm not sure this is entirely valid. Certainly shouting over somebody in a public forum restricts their freedom of speech, but I don't think this is really censorship. The same holds true for ejecting a speaker from a public forum.

Censorship I think involves examining an already produced work (film, book, speech, email whatever), and removing bits of it, or perhaps deleting the work as a whole. Key point is that it's an already produced work that you are examining and altering, not a work that is in the process of being produced. Censorship is one method of restricting freedom of speech, but restricting freedom of speech is not necessarily censorship.

For example, if instead of yelling over Kodos, Kang simply hit her and knocked her out, this would restrict her freedom of speech but I wouldn't call this censorship. Similarly, I wouldn't call it censorship if somebody DDoSed their opponents computer to prevent them responding. Which is something that's really going to have a lot greater effect in IRC than on a mailing list anyway. IRC is a lot closer to public speech than a mailing list is.

I'm not sure that it's valid to correlate mailing lists to a public speech in the way you're doing. Mailing lists are asynchronous, the public speech is synchronous. This means that restricting freedom of speech is a different matter in each case. You can't really shout down an individual email in the same way - you can't get into the body of the email, unless you're moderating the list. A mailing list does allow for easy censorship as a method of restricting free speech because of this. Easy to set it up so all posts are moderated/censored. But is it really censorship if a bunch of people flood the list with piscine evaluations?

Richard
Generally speaking, one of the problems of 'rights' is that they conflict - the typical solution is that someone's right to wave their fist about stops at someone's nose.

C. Copperpot
Thank you, Benjamin Franklin!

RavenBlack
Wasn't me equating restricting freedom of speech with censorship, really - the post was a response to someone else's annoying equation thereof, and I was arguing on their own terms because to do otherwise just causes a repetitious loop.

Bruce
I did search, on a whim, for "blue fish are the best". It did lead me here. Good call.

Quolatar
this site is so cool. kang and kodos. ha!

Quolatar
THROW KANG OUT!
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