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All things in moderation

October 2, 2011

Red Alert has an informative notice as to why a comment might not be appearing on the blog. This is reproduced below:-

There are generally three reasons that you comment doesn’t appear:

  1. It’s the first time you’ve commented – first time comments are held in a queue until they’re approved by a moderator, it usually doesn’t take long and after that your comments should appear automatically.
  2. Your comment has accidently found its way into our spam queue – this might happen if you use language that triggers the spam filter, multiple website links within your comment, or are posting from an IP address that has previously been a source of problems. We check the spam queue regularly and it’s likely that your comment will be approved as above after a short delay.
  3. Your comment has been deleted – this generally happens if you’re abusive or off-topic. It’s form of moderation that is used rarely, and generally only after a warning.

Let us examine this statement in the light of recent events:-

1. We will ignore the misuse of ‘you’ when ‘your‘ should be used. After all we all make grammatical errors, and this is only a Labour Party blog run by MPs to present themselves and their capabilities and views to the world. Adam is just a blogger, our Labour MPs are educated people, many have been school teachers, some have been university lecturers. So what if they do not write English properly.

2 Then let us look at the statements in turn:-

First

It’s the first time you’ve commented – first time comments are held in a queue until they’re approved by a moderator, it usually doesn’t take long and after that your comments should appear automatically.

Not unreasonable, many blogs do this. Yet some visitors to Red Alert seem to suspect that this is not the case and that if they are perceived as being ‘suspect’, i.e. not of the one true faith so to speak, that they always get moderated. It would be interesting to hear from anybody who does comment at Red Alert as to whether Trevor Mallard and Clare Curran, who seem to do much of the censorship, automatically allow their comments.

Second

Your comment has accidently found its way into our spam queue – this might happen if you use language that triggers the spam filter, multiple website links within your comment, or are posting from an IP address that has previously been a source of problems. We check the spam queue regularly and it’s likely that your comment will be approved as above after a short delay.

Prima facie again not an unreasonable stance, but note:-

or are posting from an IP address that has previously been a source of problems

Now that might be innocuous, simply meaning we weed out IP addresses that spam us, or alternatively we have a blacklist of known negative commenters and block anything from their IP address. Some people, not Adam of course, suspect that the latter situation may obtain.

Finally we have this statement and this is a real doozy:-

Your comment has been deleted – this generally happens if you’re abusive or off-topic. It’s form of moderation that is used rarely, and generally only after a warning.

Again we will ignore the fact that the second sentence is missing an ‘a’, in Adam’s view it should read ‘ It is a form of’ “rather than ‘It’s form of’, but then again Adam is only a blogger and not an MP, former teacher orPR person.

The statement is not of itself unacceptable. Yet the way in which moderation is being applied on this blog is, in this blogger’s very humble opinion, heavy handed and smacks of censorship in a number of instances. Yet Adam understood that the blog is meant to promote debate. Labour, especially Ms Curran claim they are for openess and transparency. More and more it seems that in a number of instances comment is tolerated only if it mirrors the views of Labour. From time to time, it seems some are allowed to post a dissenting view, but others are just moderated or banned outright. – just ask poor old Inventory 2, who in addition was accused of lying by censor Clare Curran.

This approach of course is on a par with the Fenton/Wall school of political discourse where those holding different views are to be excoriated at length.

In passing Adam would note that his definition of rarely and Ms Curran’s and her co-censors differ somewhat. One might to coin a phrase suggest that ‘One blog’s moderation is another’s definition of censorship’

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