Censorship a discussion.

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Fernando Pessoa, May 15, 2011.

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  1. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    Is censorship ever a good thing?
    Is it ever legitimately employed?
    Is the personal opinion of an editor ever above the right to freely question or make statements?
    When those who have the power over what information we do and don't see,what topics we are and are not able to discuss start to make arbitrary reactive decisions,in general you will find that it becomes a slippery slope.
    Commentary gets more and more biased and we start to get just the "party line" being pushed out.
    It's a fine line I guess,that any marketing manager walks as we move into the corporatism phase of permaculture.
    Do you protect the "asset" and the "brand"that you are building,or do you allow fair and robust debate about the models failings in order to make positive change.
    I believe,that it's when you start to believe that you have the right to limit expression and open debate for any reason,you are sliding down that slope.Assets and Brands stand up to the ruff stuff if they are secure,it is the insecure brands that do there best to limit their own exposure.

    It's also very sad to think that a persons personal information was given out to the general forum in order to humiliate and discredit that person.Specific details as to the history of the person,that you had tracked his I>P etc,really made me think wow who is next,who else will have there privacy torn away if they choose to take up a sensitive subject.
    IMHO I think that you have to stand on your merits and take the positive with the negative,otherwise you might as well go and work for Fox.As it stands censorship because of a personal dispute seems petty.
    Best Wishes Fernando
     
  2. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Here's what FP is talking about in case you were wondering ;-)

    https://forums.permaculture.org.au/showthread.php?11255-Censorship


    I don't think it was good that Craig closed the other thread. The question I was left with was: has this person been censored on the PRI blogs? Although I'm unclear if it's any of my business.

    As far as posting personal information, the only thing I can see that Craig has posted that isn't in the public domain already is that fact that the IP of Cybil is from the same area as the former PRI employee. Not that means anything in particular - they could both live in the same big city. Anyone who runs a website or blog has the ability to see and track a commenter's IP address. People do this routinely to make sure they're not getting trolled by sock puppets, or to prevent spammers and banned people from posting. Craig hasn't posted the IP address or where it's based. I'm not sure if connecting it up with the former PRI employee was ethical or wise, but it certainly did shed light on a thread that had most other people completely puzzled.

    I find threads like this and the other one frustrating. They're full of assertion and innuendo and short on fact. FP, why not just be up front about it. Do you know the people in question? Have you talked with all sides? Do you have more information on what's going on? etc

    The innuendo in both these threads is that the PRI are acting all corporate and doing something dirty/shameful/unethical to someone who used to work there. And that the PRI is protecting its brand by becoming evil. The problem is that most or all of us here have no bloody idea what's happened or what is going on. And even if these people are right and the Lawtons have gone over the to dark side, we still can't tell from what's being said. So what's the purpose of bringing it up here?

    There's always at least two sides to every story, and where you have conflict and one side is left feeling grieved about something, it doesn't necessarily follow that the other sides are bad or wrong. Everyone could be in the right. or not. I haven't seen *anything* to suggest that there is wrongdoing on the part of Craig or the PRI other than possibly two innocuous comments being removed from the blog. So either there is nothing going on, or there is a whole bunch of background that's not apparent here.

    As opposed to implying that someone on another part of the site is being unethical without backing that up in any way? I would have a lot more sympathy for both Cybill and the former PRI employee if they'd been honest and up front with us.

    Cybil's thread was just damn annoying because part of the truth eventually came out, but I still don't understand the point other than to create the impression that the PRI are being bad or wrong in some way that we will never be able to judge.

    To answer your broader question: yes there are appropriate times for moderating blogs. Can't be more specific than that because like I said I have no idea what happened.
     
  3. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I also think that the general issues of the corporatisation of permaculture are important. I just think they are going to get completely lost because of the way this has been handled.
     
  4. Cybil

    Cybil Junior Member

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    The fact is that Craig Mackintosh has stated that the former employee has been censored whilst at the same time attempting to humiliate. The point has been made. As for the merits or the ethics of the PRI, one probably needs to examine that issue in some finer detail. That was not my original point. However, it might perhaps be worth examining.

    Thank you Fernando for raising this. They way you have is much more acceptable than the way I did it.
     
  5. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    And you lead us up a garden path at the same time as implying bad things about the PRI without substantiating that. So?
     
  6. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I'm still not sure what your original point was exactly. Here's what you said in your first post:

    "Hey, I have been told that the PRI web site is censoring reasonable comment. Is this true and why is this happening"

    But you already knew much more about the situation than that, and much more about it than we did here. So what were you trying to do with that post?

    I have no idea who is in the right and wrong here, and I'm fairly sure that Craig is human like the rest of us and quite capable of getting things right or making mistakes. But I still don't understand what you are trying to achieve. There's no coherent story of what's happened even from just one side, just multiple instances of innuendo and implication. What would you like us to do with that?
     
  7. frosty

    frosty Junior Member

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    I suggest that before you complain about censorship at this forum you visit a few others ............ any censorship here is very minor by comparisson
     
  8. Cybil

    Cybil Junior Member

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    Is that a justification?

    and as for "And you lead us up a garden path at the same time as implying bad things about the PRI without substantiating that. So?"

    The only thing implied and meaning to be implied was apparent censorship. This has been confirmed. Should you like to discuss it further perhaps I can ask the previous employee to contact you directly Pebble and you can discuss the PRI with them. Does your post mean, as you seem to be implying, that I should be a PRI apologist?
     
  9. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Nah, you're free to hate the PRI as much as you like. What I've said is that the way this has been dealt with *here* is crap.

    But I'm curious as to why you would use the term apologist. You obviously think that the PRI have something to apologise for. That may be true. But Craig removing two innocuous posts from the comments section of the PRI blog is so inconsequential in the big scheme of things that it's boggling my mind that you would still be going on about this. If there is more to it than that, again I ask you, how are we supposed to respond when we don't know, and what do you want us to do with the little bits of information we have?

    btw, you may or may not be aware that people often feel as sense of community on forums like this. For me it's like you've come down to the local Farmer's Market, where many of us know each other, and you've started bad mouthing the people who pay for the Market to be run but otherwise don't have much to do with it. The badmouthing has nothing to do with the market, it's to do with the owners other business interests, but you've chosen to bring that conflict here, and in an unclear and somewhat underhanded way. I still don't understand why or what you are trying to achieve.

    If you want some public acknowledgement that the PRI/Craig have committed some sin, then I'd have to say on the basis of what you described in the other thread, it doesn't look like censorship to me. Censorship implies that there is a problem with content, and the power holder doesn't want those ideas being expressed because they're dangerous or otherwise unacceptable to the powerholder. That's not what you described. What you described looks like moderation to me, the Editor has not allowed two otherwise innocuous comments not because of the comments but because of the person posting i.e. the problem is with the person not the person's ideas. I've seen people banned and moderated on forums before, and sometimes there is complete justification for that. Other times not. But, again, we have no idea *here*, because we don't actually know what happened.
     
  10. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    And I'm not particularly interested in being contacted privately by the former employee. I don't actually care that much about what has gone on there, it's not really any of my business. Had the issues been brought up in a clearer and more upfront manner you would probably have goten more sympathy from me, but I still would be wondering why you were bringing it up here.

    What's bothered me is what you've done *here* on this forum. That's why you're getting so much response from me.
     
  11. permup

    permup Junior Member

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    Pebble, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    Wasn't Cybil a woman with a split personality? Maybe Craig was on to something when he thought "she" and the ex-employee might be the same person?

    I thought it was a shame that Craig closed the post. He simply enforced the "cencorship" message that Cybil was sprouting.

    Cybil, if you have a grievance, stop hiding behind stupid statements about censorship, and come clean about what the problem is/was (unless of course this forum really isn't the right place to discuss it). If the grievance really isn't yours, and it is someone elses, then I would advise you to leave other people to fight their own battles. I'm sure you've got enough of your own life to live.
     
  12. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I've been thinking some more. While I still don't understand what Cybil and FP have been trying to achieve here, it's not good that someone is left feeling humiliated. I think there is a case for the other thread (or both) to be removed by one of the moderators (without Craig or the PRI's involvement). Cybil you could try PMing one of the currently active mods.
     
  13. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I concur Pebble. There seems little point in retaining either discussion and the negative aspects contained should be buried.
     
  14. CraigMackintosh

    CraigMackintosh *****

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    Hi Pebble, Permup and Purplepear

    I thank you for your ethics and common sense.

    I'm sorry if closing the previous thread was not a good thing. Although, I see you're also saying perhaps it should have been deleted instead.... (deleting it goes even further than just closing it). I could have deleted it (as there was really no point to it but to make innuendos that none of you can really knowledgeably respond to, etc.), but I thought people might react badly to that also! I wondered if to leave the thread open, but when I looked at the comments from most of the forum members it seemed most were unhappy the thread started, let alone that it would continue, so I truly thought I was doing what people wanted. I can reopen it again if you wish.

    Anyway, this is a tricky situation, as none of this discussion should really be online. Getting 20,000 people involved in a discussion that should be between two or three people makes no sense.

    I am unable to defend myself, only because in order to do so I would need to explain my reasons for blocking the comments of a particular person. In explaining that, I'd need to share laundry about the person online, which I do not wish to do, as it's not nice or ethical to do so. None of this would have been necessary either if 'Cybil' had contacted me directly.
     
  15. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Thanks for clarifying Craig. I think it's good that the threads didn't disappear suddenly, that would have left us all wondering even more what the hell was going on. I think FP and Cybil should have the chance to say what they would like to have happen. Do you think you could let one of the moderators deal with the threads now?
     
  16. CraigMackintosh

    CraigMackintosh *****

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    Yes indeed - I only get involved with the Forum when the mods need technical help, are seeking some improvements, or need to do something they don't have powers to do. My observations over the last few years leaves me grateful to have them and confident in their moderation skills. I have enough to balance without getting involved here as well!

    Thanks all.
     
  17. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Yes Craig - I agree that deleting then would not have been good but it does seem appropriate now to delete them.IMO Pebble is of course right in suggesting that Fernando and Cybil might best call together for the deletion.
     
  18. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    Hello All.
    I am just making a point about censorship,I don't think any "laundry" needs to be washed in public and I don't believe any of my statements have suggested that it should be.I think that unless someone's statements on the forum/blog are inciting violence,religiously or culturally offensive,etc etc then it should be allowed through.As I see it what we are seeing is somebody(who ever Cybil is talking about) with relevant discourse on a subject,being denied the chance to publish his or her feelings on the main page of PRI.
    Craig has told us that he feels the need to censor this person because they have somehow crossed the line as an employee.

    It should be the content censored and not the person.The content should only be censored in very few cases.Certainly not because the opinions expressed go against the espoused values of the publisher.I think this is a relevant discussion,it's not malicious and perhaps by setting a benchmark of whats fair to censor and whats not.As far as I am concerned the forum is fairly moderated and of course nothing is perfect but it is always prudent to keep improving good systems.Craigs industry speaks for itself and no one would doubt his commitment,so it's not a personal thing from me,however I have witnessed a lot of wizards in ivory towers and it seems that it's the lack of honest feedback that got them there.
    Best wishes
    Fernando
     
  19. Cybil

    Cybil Junior Member

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    Ditto FP!

    If you do not think it is relevant, then what is the great need to make obvioulsy unnecessary comment

    As for Craig being contacted directly, it is my understanding and I believe this has been previously stated, at least two attempts were made to ascertain the reasons for the censorship by the person concerned being censored. That particular argument being put by Craig seems somewhat spurious and along with many of his other comments, self-serving and somewhat malicious.

    On airing dirty laundry, I am not quite sure about where that would get anyone except, from what I know, it might raise some serious questions about the ethics of more than Craig's implied one individual. It might just bring the house down so to speak. I have never suggested that such dirty laundry should be aired and Craig, in yet another apparent attempt to cast aspersions, seems to be the only individual here who has raised this. And the talk has been about innuendo! Again, such comment is less than ethical.

    As Paula has stated, that censorship is indeed place has indeed been confirmed by Craig. As Fernando states, censorship (or as Saleh, al-Assad and Pebble would state, moderation) should be on comment and not of the individual.

    Had ethics had anything to do with it, one would think it somewhat doubtful a "moderator" would engage in the personal attacks such as made in CM's intervention. Based upon the reasons given by Craig that might warrant intervention, what was it that required his intervention at all? It seems to have come from someone's contact with him that this was being discussed which does not seem to warrant such "high level" intervention! Again, self-serving and unethical.

    As for those who see conspiracy theories all around, I would again unequivocally, the only issue that has ever been raised was that of the censorship of another individual on the PRI web site. Perhaps they may be better commenting on the Flat Earth Society web site or somewhere they waffle about not actually having made it to the moon.
     
  20. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    You have lost me again Cybil. Without you the discussion was starting to make some sense. I hope you consider you have made your point.
     
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