This website may not be the place for this (Free Speech and Censorship)

#1

I support a warning about misinformation. What kind of warning? Well let’s discuss it. I abhor censorship. Censorship should be a legal crime against free speech in every part of our American culture. Maybe there can be a reputable science fact based entity that reviews flagged posts for accuracy and is the only entity allowed to post a warning about a post’s accuracy. Outright censoring is wrong because people don’t get to see the post and decide for themselves. By allowing the post WITH a warning, we are allowing the public to see the post and allow them to decide if the entity is correct in applying a warning.

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#2

I support this view in all my life’s areas of operation and try to defend as good as I can. Definitely agree with you very much.

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#3

I would largely agree with you, but perhaps with some sort of proviso when it comes to posts which promote actions which are are illegal or hateful. The right to free speech does need to be balanced against the rights that other people have, and where what one person is saying seriously impacts upon the rights of another perhaps the opportunity to express such views must be limited.

The key word there is ‘seriously’ - I don’t condone denying someone a platform simply because what they say is offensive.

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#4

@TrekJunky’s comments sound great in theory, but in the practice of anonymous posting, I do not think it is tenable. If every person harboring an abhorrent viewpoint were compelled to talk face-to-face with people harmed by such speech, it would have a moderating effect. This moderating effect, that comes from being mature adults, is removed in online communities quite often.
A few years ago, the famous legal scholar Cass Sunstein wrote an opinion piece saying that online communities seem to polarize themselves into the most extreme of positions and frighten away those in the middle who could engage seriously. Within four days of posting it, he was being savaged as a fascist pig in multiple forums.
When @abhishek describes this place as “civilized”, I take that to heart and welcome restrictions that guarantee this civility. The civility is more important than allowing destructive but free speech that drives others away.

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#5

I don’t agree with silencing a user (that’s how I interpret your moderating effect), generally. Even if seemingly extreme positions are defended, I don’t see why these should be removed or hidden. Actually, I prefer the opposite. If moderate opinions are assumed to be the most common, than why would they need extra encouragement or protection? It’s the most common opinion anyway. The right to free speech is universal, but especially absolutely necessary for minority opinions, also maybe called “extreme opnions”.
As a side fact: the right to vote was an absolute extremist opinion 1000 years ago. The right to vote for women was an extremist position 100 years ago. The right to say anything you want is apparently an extremist position, still today, unfortunately.

I think this is what seems like to many people, but it’s not according to what actually is happening. “Extremists” tend to have the biggest mouth. Therefore, you tend to see their opinion very often, as they repeat themselves and spread their opinion as much as they can. That doesn’t mean that most or even everyone is like that. To me, it is an extreme position that Sunstein takes, as he generalizes billions of people engaging in online conversations, as basically tending to polarize to extreme opinions. If he explains this even more with a generalization and with an even bigger prejudice in his comment, then I can understand that he was called out for it. It is not okay that he was called names, but it is okay if someone is being called out for talking bullshit. Freedom of speech works both ways. Sunstein can write as many online pieces as he wants, but the same amount of freedom should go to anyone in need of a reply.

This smells like a non-sequitur to me, as an extreme point of view is not unserious by default. Even flat earthers and creationists are serious and don’t talk their shit just for trolls. They are actually serious, which means they deserve a serious conversation, until they still deny evidence and facts. But you can’t cut off any opinion, in the first place.

Now the utter philosophical core problem of the debate since freedom of speech exists:

Who is to decide what is accepted and what not?

There will never be a sufficiently acceptable answer to this question. Therefore, only true freedom of speech, excepting promotion of violence, is the objectively best solution we can have.

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#6

If I understood what @cliffsloane wrote, yes - free speech but first of all in a civilized way. For that we need respect, not censure.

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#7

I completely agree with you. I tend to think what is acceptable face to face is the way of balance here. We should all seek to have the moderate ground and be sensitive to others and other cultures as well. What is acceptable in one may not be in another. I have taken to heart what @abhishek has said and it is my opinion that if we do not then this community will not grow or remain around for long.
I have looked at other forums lately and have seen the language used on there and quite frankly none of them are places where I would like to be.
Balance is always necessary which we don’t always get right. Free Speech has many definitions for what is one person’s free speech is another’s being abused an prejudiced. With Free Speech comes great responsibility and we all have a share in that. We all know that words that were acceptable even a few years ago are not acceptable now, nor should they be.
I completely agree with your closing sentence.

I personally do not think there are times when we need to say for the health of the community there times when for want of a better word “censorship” is required as it is even in the USA and there are many, many times when that is being done and have been done. Further if we look at what is happening with social media then they are reforming and re-evaluating what is acceptable and what is not and if they do not then government’s world wide will force them into doing.

It is my firm conviction that this community should be and must remain a place of friendship and welcome, but also a place where we all act with civility at all times. Most of the times here this happens, but when it does not then I believe it is correct for Moderators to step in and kindly guide and if no notice is taken then take further action as required.

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#8

Free speech, is one mans terrorist, becoming another mans freedom fighter. Expressed many ways.

The oppressed becoming the oppressors. Repeated throughout history. Society levitates to the moment, gaining traction, one way or another. With the Thought Police, Grammar Police and Hall Monitors directing you to this new vision, not being yours.

Its pervasive and happens daily, a reason I left Facebook, the inflammatory and blatant lies being pedalled and reposted, by certain individuals who seemed to be well balanced, and considered them as my then online buddies, but their increased use of extreme rhetoric, applying a tried and tested formula, repeated by other online users. A rationale discussion was a futile endeavour. Essentially their accounts had become, BOTS.?

The media, newspapers, websites, TV etc has an agenda to influence you. As did religion previously, until the new world order, post WWII, polarised politics, becoming toxic again.

Its a Human condition, we are all born equal, but some must be more equal. Have gained a large paddle to stir things up, for their twisted Utopia.

Recently the Mods have removed one individual from this forum, for abusive and offensive remarks, quite rightly so, another gentleman making certain assertions was censored, as they were not going to change their position, then made his account anonymous.

To date, we have evolved until this question, was asked. There many diverse views and opinions, currently related to the cyber world with our little pet hates one way or other.

Be careful what you ask for. :sunglasses:

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#9

One of the main goals of free speech online is for people to engage in a meaningful dialogue without the inhibitions that exist in the real world. By meaningful, I mean: Being held in good faith, with an attempt by all the parties involved to reach a better version of the truth, which reflects the reality in a better way.
Example: You won’t tell a moderately religious person that the moderates are doing a poor job of condemning the crazies of that religion. That to the outside world it appears that they are either afraid or approve of them.
How would that ^ talk go in person. Not well. But online, there is a possibility of a discussion. Platforms will have to go by some principle, if they want to walk this tightrope.

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#10

I do hold this position all the time, because it is true. One of the million reasons for that is that I get offended when religious people try to fend off their responsibility of being part of the same religion, endorsing it, by saying “Oh, they did it in the name of my religion and it is actually endorsed in our holy book, explicitly? Doesn’t matter, because it has nothing to do with my religion!”. Which is an absolutely grotesque statement.

I think it goes better in person, as 90% of human communication revolves around visual facial and bodily expressions. Basically, only texting online is disabling a lot of communication features that humans developed over hundreds of thousand years.

Don’t allow:

  • call to violence
  • ad hominos
  • senseless personal attacks not based on evidence, in general

These should be the rules, but that should be already it. Anything beyond that is very disputable.

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#11

That is indeed one of the prime concerns I have, nowadays. Debate culture is basically dead, at least in the official publicity (mostly mainstream media) and any supervised public discourse. That is one of the reasons we need to fight back for our right to discuss, question and attack ideas and not people as many (especially religious people) try to mix those two up on purpose, which is absolutely intellectually dishonest.

Noam Chomsky wrote a couple of very excellent books on this topic.
One of the many sources of genius from Noam Chomsky:

This describes our current situation in the western world, to the point in a single sentence.

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#12

It’s real nice to hear from people who know what free speech means. Thanks Akito.

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#13

Thanks. I would say this about your response. Deciding what is scientifically false is so much easier than deciding what speech incites evil action. I just don’t know HOW we could police hate speech, so II say lat it be. Censorship must be left for speech that is vocal and irrevocable BEFORE it incites evil action like yelling Fire! in a crowded theater. Hate speech can and must be drowned out by love speech. Education on the preciousness and workings of free speech must be applied as soon as the children can understand. We as a society have now taken free speech for granted and that’s when we might lose free speech.

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#14

Thanks for your perspective. I too enjoy a civil conversation. I would like to point out that the reason you think my plan won’t work only affects your solution.

Blockquote
but in the practice of anonymous posting, I do not think it is tenable. If every person harboring an abhorrent viewpoint were compelled to talk face-to-face with people harmed by such speech, it would have a moderating effect.

The effect would be a compelling one, but to make that happen IF the offender is posting anonymously would take an enormous effort even if it is at all possible.

Blockquote
A few years ago, the famous legal scholar Cass Sunstein wrote an opinion piece saying that online communities seem to polarize themselves into the most extreme of positions and frighten away those in the middle who could engage seriously. Within four days of posting it, he was being savaged as a fascist pig in multiple forums.

That is so true, but a phenomenon in social media where people are given god rights to block anyone anytime and in such a way to prevent everyone else from seeing the “offender’s” post deciding if the person blocking the “offender” was wrong. I wrote about this extensively elsewhere in social media. It’s been a long time and NOBODY agreed. So I gave up.

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#15

Noam Chomsky is my free speech HERO! He’s now at U of Berkeley California. I have only seen a few videos of his ideas on free speech and he got me HOOKED!!!

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#16

My personal hero for many aspects of life is Christopher Hitchens, peace be upon him.

Christopher Hitchens on Freedom of Speech

The video I tend to share often when talking about Hitch

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#17

Thought I’d weigh in here. Very interesting topic and I’ve enjoyed reading all the responses thus far. :slight_smile:

In my view, there is a difference between what a person says and how they say it. I have no problem if someone wants to share their views and opinions, though I would only ask/expect they share in a respectful manner - as one would expect to be treated, face-to-face, as @cliffsloane mentioned.

The problem in the online world is, that face-to-face element is taken out and one is free to be more anonymous, so to speak. They are free to be more hateful and toxic in how they interact with people online because there’s no real repercussions for doing so. It’s sad that some people feel they must be like that or don’t care, but I have no time nor patience for people like that. If they are clearly not interested in being civil, then I am not interested in listening to what they have to say.

I’ve been a moderator over on Linus Tech Tips forums for a couple years now and have been a mod/admin on other forums in the past as well. There are some people out there who will bring down the quality and overall mood of a particular community if allowed to continue their antics, and their agenda is not to promote anything meaningful. So in that regard, censorship in a certain context is necessary, IMO.

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#18

Blockquote
There are some people out there who will bring down the quality and overall mood of a particular community if allowed to continue their antics, and their agenda is not to promote anything meaningful. So in that regard, censorship in a certain context is necessary, IMO.

I have written extensively on trolls and how to stop them WITHOUT creating what is called Tribalism within social media - the phenomenon of polarization of online groups. I will summarize it here to see if NOBODY agrees because they can’t fathom having their god right to block people being taken away from them.

If we take away everyone’s right to block anyone anytime and replace it with a ruling body made up of people who understand the intricacies of free speech and the causes of tribalism making the decision by first determining if the offender’s goal is to harm rather than help and they have proved it with their posts up to the review, whether the troll should be banished. By having the readers police for trolls and flagging them to the ruling body rather than banishing the troll themselves we prevent a block just because someone disagrees with the blocker thereby promoting diversity rather than tribalism.

My take on the polarization of online groups can be done with small changes to my proposed implementation, and it will still be VERY effective. We may have to declare social media as public places to do this, for social media to be protected by the First Amendment. As long as the entities of social media can call themselves PRIVATE, they can censor any speech any way they like which is dangerously totalitarian.

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#19

I too embrace the late Mr. Hitchens. One of the great men of all time.

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#20

I would say it depends on the site and subject matter. I think all @abhishek is trying to prevent here is arrogant but educated Linux users chasing off new Linux users. I guess this has been a complaint within the Linux community. This is more of an educational site. Other social sites: I do not take anything seriously. Trolls live for those who think the internet is a serious place!

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