Not long ago, I said some arguments are too stupid to treat with respect. I gave an example where people simply ignored the definition of “censorship,” replacing it with an absurd definition that could never work just so they could avoid admitting they engage in censorship. I avoided discussing anything else about the source, providing only a single link, because I didn’t want to “go after” anyone.
Unfortunately, that may have been a mistake. It appears the unchecked stupidity of their argument has bred even more ridiculous arguments. The most notable is, paraphrased, “Censorship is bravery“:
Personally, I think it takes courage to delete comments because you have to be prepared to deal with the backlash which is exactly what’s happening now. This is why it’s often easier just to ban users who becomes a nuisance as it saves the hassle of dealing with this.
I am not always consistent in my moderation but I feel that I have logical reasons for this, most of the time anyway. Sometimes I’m just having a bad day.
Suppose someone writes a comment that annoys you. You get upset. You start having a bad day. You delete future comments they write. According to Rachel, you displayed great courage.
But it gets better. Rachel deletes insults depending upon who they insult:
My reasons are as follows: Calling someone you are having a discussion with an idiot is not going to foster a good debate and my role is to foster the debate. Calling someone you are not having a discussion with an idiot, but who might read what you have said, is also counterproductive. But a person completely unrelated to climate change discussions probably won’t read the comment and so I am more likely to let it stand in these cases.
She is less likely to delete a comment that insults people who can’t defend themselves than one which insults people who can defend themselves. And this “takes courage.”
Ah, you say, but she has a reason! Deleting comments is brave because “you have to be prepared to deal with the backlash”! That backlash is scary, because it’s not like you can just delete it on a whim or anything… Oh, right. You can.
And really, what is she even talking about? The only reason there is backlash is because comments are deleted in unfair ways. We know the moderation is unfair because Rachel herself says her moderation is arbitrary. She’s creating a problem by behaving unfairly then painting herself a victim of the situation. That’s like saying it was brave to steal my wallet because you had to be prepared for me to tackle you.
As though that’s not silly enough, Rachel’s comment lists a cowardly alternative:
This is why it’s often easier just to ban users who becomes a nuisance as it saves the hassle of dealing with this.
This, of course, is the cowardly alternative taken on the blog she helps moderate. After Anders had a discussion with me on this blog, he went and banned me without any warning. He didn’t tell me I was banned. He didn’t say why I was banned. The only reason I even knew I was banned was I happened to read a passive-aggressive post which mentioned him having banned a person.
To sum up, if you write comments they dislike at Anders’s blog, they may arbitrarily or even capriciously delete those comments. They’ll describe this behavior of theirs as brave. They’ll also say it isn’t censorship because you can “comment elsewhere.” But be careful. If you do comment elsewhere, and they don’t like what you say, they may stop being brave. Then they’ll just ban you on a whim.
With that in mind, read this comment by Anders:
I don’t think I’ve ever stated – or even pretended – to be hosting an open discussion. If anything, I think I’ve regularly stated that my attempts at that have failed dismally.