Another Editorial lost in the deletions.
I interviewed the two of the three site operators of www.shoutwire.com and asked several questions regarding their views of censorship on ShoutWire. Their views had a definite inclination towards liberal relatively unregulated content. Both interviewees differentiated between submitted items (pictures, articles, essays) and comments. The consensus was that submitted items needed some censorship while comments should be uncensored. They also believed that excessive censorship would have a negative impact on the site, while they had mixed views on whether user’s moderated themselves via social norms as suggested in the previous paragraph. Interestingly one of the editors pointed out that not enough censorship led from pressure from advertisers and the current owner Tuberoo (Appendices I & II). Although the moderators in this instance have great powers ranging from deleting content to banning users as per the site guidelines (Shoutwire 2008) the moderators were loath to use these powers except for extreme circumstances (Appendices I & II). The conclusion I draw from this is that the users of the website www.shoutwire.com expect largely uncensored content and excess censorship would have some form of negative financial result, while excess freedom gives advertisers and the publicly listed holding company concerns.
Internet users need to be aware of the rules that apply to the public communication they undertake. These rules are social norms and also moderator enforced rules. Breaking these rules can lead to the user being shunned or ostracized by other users or even banned by a moderator. I agree with the topic statement.
M -- Michael (Interviewer)M: Hello Bulshoy! I am working on an assignment for my university about censorship and I’d like to ask your views on censorship and ShoutWire.
B -- Bulshoy (Interviewee)
B: Yeah! Why not?M: Thank you very much. How would you describe your views on censorship liberal - regulated or in between?
B: Realize that these are personal views that do not necessarily reflect SW or site policy
M: Of course, but as one of the three main enforcers your views will be carried out on the site
B: In between; but leaning heavily toward the liberal side
B: There are some things that I'd prefer be left off of the site
B: So that people from all walks of life will feel welcome
B: and advertisers and partners will not offend their userbase
M: I see... please all parties M: what do you think would be the result of excess censorship on shoutwire? B: Excess censorship on SW would ruin the SW experience
B: Users should be welcome to leave any comment that they like
M: So people would leave?
B: Not necessarily
B: but the site would lose some of its appeal
M: That makes senseB: Lack of censorship is a founding principle of ShoutWire
B: and I’d be betraying that principle if I began censoring
B: still, some things are censored
B: extreme hate speech being one of them M: Ok do you think shoutwire censors itself to any extent without your assistance?
B: Some of the more sane/serious members do members
B: Zero's editorial yesterday is a great case study
B: The internet being the internet though...
B: Some users approve of taboo articles, just because they can
B: It's like a form of rebellion I guess M: So essentially you would say that the users would NOT regulate content and without your intervention there might be all sorts of stuff on ShoutWire?
B: That's a pretty blanket statement
B: They wouldn't regulate comment content although they may regulate submitted content (ie pictures etc)B: We have policies in place to prevent racist comments, etc
B: But they are rarely exercised
B: I get maybe one racist comment per month
B: So I guess the site does regulate itself to an extent B: You know that people can pretty much say whatever they want
B: and we've gotten in trouble because of it M: Who from Tuberoo?
B: Yeah from Tuberoo
B: and we've lost our feed on other sites
B: and a user storms out in disgust every now and then
M: arrh so the advertisers spit the dummy
B: Remember that Tuberoo is publically traded
B: and some shareholders check out ShoutWireM: Thanks for your time
Interview with Zero, a Senior Site Operator of ShoutWire
M -- Michael (Interviewer)
Z -- Zero (Interviewee) M: Hello Zero! I am doing an assignment for my university about censorship and I just interviewed ‘bulshoy’. Could I ask you some questions?
M: Thank you very much. M: How would you describe your views on censorship -- liberal; regulated or in between leaning to one side?Z: Free and open speech is what I believe in
Z: We should be able to say whatever we want if we can handle the consequences M: How about content?
Z: Content needs to be moderated whereas comments should not M: but you would still lean towards liberal concerning content censorship? Z: Depends on what it is trying to censor
Z: Spam and weak three sentence links should go
M: What do you think would be the result of excess censorship on ShoutWire?
Z: I would start to fire people
M: lol, I mean what would be the result on the users
Z: ShoutWire would die
Z: No one would want to go there M: Do you think that SW socially regulates itself. ie if objectionable content was posted would the other users be able to regulate the content with peer pressure exerted on the poster?
Z: I have seen it happen
Z: Plus, that’s what the voting system is about
Z: That’s the whole point behind shouting; to weed out all the rubbish and only good stuff on the front page.The only thing we should take down is spam M: But some operator censorship is first required to make the whole system work? ie to remove spam etcZ: ShoutWire just needs cleanup, not censorship
M: I see so: comments uncensored, Content (rubbish weeded out) and other than that essentially no form of operator moderation or censorship is basically your view?
Z: Pretty much, like the wild wild west
Z: ShoutWire is supposed to be lawlessM: Cool, thanks for your time.
Now tell me. Were you telling me the truth when I did that interview for my communications subject at university in 2008? Does stealing someones voice for a difficult question fit into your beliefs outlined above?