“… this is precisely the purpose of censorship — not only to block unwanted views, but to keep people who are unhappy from knowing how many millions of others share their unhappiness; to keep the dormant opposition from awakening to its own developing strength.”
I’m a huge fan of an open exchange of ideas. It’s the only way ideas can get better. And frankly, the only way to find out what is really going on. If people cannot openly agree or disagree, how can things change for the better?
However, many websites severely limit comments. They moderate comments they don’t like or disable comments completely. While I think that there must be a way to deal with spam and instigation to violence, and not every comment is gold, comments should not be deleted just because the moderator has a different opinion.
And this kind of censorship happens a lot to me recently. Private blogs are one thing, but when news sites moderate comments to produce a certain opinion … I mean, it’s one thing that a comment I spend some time thinking about (yeah, I’m one of those people) is not made public. Even worse is that I do not see how many other comments are censored as well. The writer is not only silenced, but deafened too.
Perhaps the only way to ensure this is to use another tool than the comment function of the website in question. Looking into some more controversial topics, I stumbled upon the recommendation to use OpenComment. It’s a plugin that allows you to comment on websites independent of the site itself.
I find the idea very charming, however, the plugin does not seem to be maintained anymore (still seems to work, though), nor does it seem to be widely used. If anyone knows of a similar plug-in/site that allows commenting of websites independent of that sites moderators, I’d be interested to know about it.
Ideally, such a plugin should not be necessary. Realistically, only if such a plugin exist you can be sure to actually get to know if others agree or disagree with you.