Shall we Censor

I know the blogdom is full of people who vouch for freedom of speech and expression and talk passionately against censorship. I got one thing to say to them. *Bull Shit* Get real no body wants freedom… all of us so badly need censorship, you know why… Cause we are so fucking wild..we have no control on our’s and no respect for other’s freedom of speech and expression.

Seeing a sudden furore on the DBM mailing list, triggered by a mail (about a job opening) posted by one member today made me spend the whole day going back to all those mails on this list where I have been a victim of such censorship, of a few members thinking themselves to be so full of wisdom that they think its their moral responsibility to decide what’s fit and what’s not for this whole group. I went back reading and recalling how being vocal about a certain topic bother other members so much that they leave this forum forever, how initially this place was so full of ownership egos and it was so well defined who is an outsider and who insider. How there has been occassion when democracy has been completely repudiated on this list when moderators took policy decisions on behalf of 100s of us. I created a google note back copy pasting each of those mails there word by word making doodh ka doodh and pani ka pani. But I don’t intend to share that note book coz then a lot of dead would be unearthed. Bitter memories would be refreshed not only in my mind but also in those with who I have patched up now.

But I would still make my point here. Umpteen numbers of time I have been told and have seen those wise men telling other rebels like me that there are certain kind of mails which are NOT to be posted on the mailing list (a public forum) and instead should only be restricted to personal blogs. The punchline of censorship. Shall we challenge it?

I would just quote the very latest in this regard. It was a post wrote by paavani on her blog. I expressed my opinion on that on the mailing list. Of all that followed, the most significant was this conclusion, that my biggest mistake was to have written what I wanted to write to the entire mailing list and not restricted myself to Paavani’s blog ONLY. And such virtual attack followed inspite of me having given a proper disclaimer in these words

 

“Hi, This is my reaction to Paavani’s post. First I started writing in her comments section, then I thought of mailing it here. Then I thought it would be safest to post it on my blog since it might have objectionable content. Seems like its bad luck day for me… blogger.com isn’t working again…can’t even publish so am mailing again.”

The first reaction to the mail was outrage from so many of them in so many ways. I ask, to restrict myself to my blog and not use a public forum to express my angst over something, if *that* is the right thing to do then how can we argue against censorship of blogs or media on the whole by government. The logic on mailing list is that irrelavant off topic mails at times containing personal grudge gives rise to flame wars. Government have the same philosophy behind blocking blogs, movies, books, they contain material which outrages the sentiments of certain section of society. Internet is the most public of all forums. If we don’t control what we publish on the net utter chaos might follow just as a simple mail regarding a job posting is followed by exchange of malicious mails. Or some one’s opinion on a certain something may lead to 2-3 members leave the DBM list.

Message No. 2193 is a farewell message of a member where he clearly mentions he no longers wishes to remain a part of this group because he doesn’t like some member expressing too much.

He says
I almost left the group when the whole alternative DBM issue happened bcos I didn’t agree with a lot of vocal members who “protested” for whatever reasons against the new group.

Goes to show how difficult it is to express yourself on the list. Seems like people here are sitting with their sentiment in hands just waiting to be hurt. Just about 200 of us and so much of tention already. What we write in our blogs affects the entire nation. And we think that need not be controlled?

 

Coming to another side of this whole issue. What is Topic to begin with so as to decided what’s off topic. Now this is where lies the philosophy of control. Those so called wise men, those flag bearers, those who think its important to keep certain things in certain order and therefore telling us DO NOT do anything which is Off topic, off tradition, off culture, off religion. They don’t trust that every adult mature person have their own sense of right and wrong. On this list I am aware of instances (Msg no. 1065) when one member has requested the moderator to throw a certain non acceptable member away from the list and a third member taking stand against such a request (msg no. 1088). So who decides what’s right and wrong.

Let’s take the present example. The logic is that since each mail that is shot on the list reaches inboxes of 100s of members who then get annoyed by off topic mails. Ok agreed but then when they agreed to recieve mails in their inbox they should keep some space for some off topic mails also. No one is perfect. So assuming X has shot an off topic mail, the rest have only few options (1) ignore it. (2) Ignore it but at the same time inform this person nicely in private that you didn’t like the off topic mail. But that’s all one can do and if that doesn’t work well just bear with it, he is a fellow member. Of course if things go way beyond tolerance, if such (so called) off topic mails become too frequent then one needs to think of a way to put full stop.

In today’s case am sure this guy is well aware of the purpose of DBM List (personally I am doubtful if we even have any purpose or not but that’s a different issue) and he knows where to draw the line. His mail so didn’t deserve to be backlashed by around 15 more mails (all off topics coz they are about a off topic mail) within few hours of his having shot it. He thought of shooting one mail and stop there but the rest of the group so very wisely have ensured the off topic is continued even as I write this post.

My simplest of expression in this list (Msg No. 1484) of having made some new friends and a note of thanks to them have been objected by the then moderator and few other members (privately thankfully). I was softly told I should avoid posting such mails as then the other members feels left out.

I can go on and on but my eyes hurting now. I virtually spent my whole day doing this. I am not always politically correct. I take sides and have no fear saying Prashant’s mail wasn’t that off topic and Joydeep and Priyanka’s mails were extremely uncalled for.

4 thoughts on “Shall we Censor

  1. I completely sympathise with you. I hated the entire censorship process, i couldnt understand why one couldnt say what one wanted to, there were just sooooooo many rules to follow i was almost afraid to send an email on DBM for fear of the furor that might follow. I know that I am paying the price by losing out on meeting a lot of other interesting people, but what to do? i hate checking my inbox and seeing grown men fighting over silly things…

    you write so much much much better than so many of the others…

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  2. My experience says:

    It doesn’t really matter what the fuck you say, till you put it correctly, both in words and form.

    Personally i would like everyone to respect, certain conventions (like quoting, using proper subject line etc) while writing whatever they wish to write, it is out of plain courtesy. It just makes life so easy.

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  3. Hi

    Have been a DBM member almost from the time the group started.For various reasons have not posted much,am a shy type i guess,but i read all the posts.I remember the wars very well.And i found it all so disgusting,the way it went on.I was thinking of posting yesterday,just a short message requesting everyone to stop the whole thing,but I’m not sure how it’ll be received…So i kept quiet…I’m not on either side of this argument,but I do believe everyone has a right to communicate.Subiet is right,some conventions do need to be followed in any group,but as far as i can see there was a new subject line used by Prashant so there shouldnt have been a problem.The message was irrelevant to me but i deleted it instead of shooting off a dont-do-that kind of email.And now it’s gone on long enough.

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  4. Frankly speaking I was a bit surprised when I heard of the Bloggers meets.

    The blog to me has always been a form of individual expression. A ‘voice in the wilderness’ so to say.

    To take it and transform it into a community of people who meet for coffee (or beer, as was sometime the case) was always a proposition fraught with danger.

    The moment we start to write ‘together’ with each other as critics and judges. As commentators on our individual style and content… the Blog is Dead.

    Anyways, this is what I feel.

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