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Why? Why? Why?

Posted by BruceMoon on 11/9/2009 at 12:03

Why is there censorship on Travelfish?

There are a couple of 'issues' that Stuart/somtam has indicated are 'off limits'. The ramifications on one have been widely canvassed in the SE Asian media.

On the other, when contributors get abusive, somtam deletes part or all of the post.

Usually, a 'trace' has been left by somtam indicating the improper or abusive post/section has been deleted/removed.

But, recently censorship of a different kind has me baffled.

On another post...

I made a contribution on three occasions, only to find that after 10 minutes or more, it was deleted.

In explanation...

Many threads have 'posts' that evolve into conversations. I like many of the 'conversations'. From time to time, Stuart 'flicks' these 'conversations' into a new thread - often to Culture & Politics.

In my case, the contribution was a repost to tezza. It was in the form of a conversation, and commented about an aspect of Travelfish. I don't believe it was offensive, or crossed boundaries previously signalled as no go.

I accept that if a post crosses previously signalled as no go boundaries, or is offensive/abusive, decorum suggests removal.

However, censorship is another matter.

To me, censorship is when conversations in the public domain are removed by 'powers' because the removal aids the presence/image/perception of the 'powers'.

This form of censorship is widely exercised in SE Asia.

After three attempts to converse with tezza, and each removed without trace or reference, to my mind censorship is being exercised.

What do others think of the concept of censorship? And, the application in this exemplar?


#1 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

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Posted by fondo on 11/9/2009 at 12:36

a) censorship is not necessarily evil
b) probably a good idea

#2 fondo has been a member since 23/6/2006. Posts: 185
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Posted by somtam2000 on 11/9/2009 at 13:12 admin

You posted something.
I deleted it.

You posted it again.
I deleted it again.

You posted a third followup suggesting censorship.
I deleted it.

Even Vietnamese travel agents tend to get the message after two deletions.

I delete posts all the time -- for any number of reasons -- it is part of running a messageboard. Nobody else complains -- only you.

I'd delete this post as well, except you'd probably just repost an even longer post that I'd just have to spend more of my time replying to.

I don't call it censorship, I call it moderation and if you find our style unacceptable then I think you would be better served turning your time and energy into another travel forum, like Lonely Planet's Thorntree.

I have nothing more to add in this matter.

#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,044
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Posted by BruceMoon on 11/9/2009 at 15:10

"Even Vietnamese travel agents tend to get the message after two deletions"

Yes, but they are posting against your prescribed requirement that they not so do.

"I delete posts all the time -- for any number of reasons -- it is part of running a messageboard"

The point I made above was that where someone steps out of line, you insert a comment eg. message deleted, and sometimes even a reason.

But, the crucial point is that you delete when someone steps out of line. To take the point further, you delete because you've set up parameters about reasonable post content.

Censorship is when the 'power' doesn't like something and removes it. No parameters, no guidelines, just power getting above itself.

A moderator is not a censor, a moderator is one who arbitrates. And, to arbitrate, one must refer to guidelines, or some set of rules/etc.


#4 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by MADMAC on 11/9/2009 at 16:14

I'm afraid I have to side with Bruce on this one. Deleting posts should not be done in a cavalier manner. And when it happens, the reason for it should be cited.

I had this problem with Somalinet and I was one of their best and most prolific posters. When I left, others did too.

I would say it wouldn't matter as long as you post why. If the forum had a capability to post messages to other individuals it might not be so bad. But if this is the only way to communicate with others on the forum, and you delete it for arbitrary reasons, that is very frustrating.

Having said all that, I have not had this experience. The only thread you closed (and didn't delete) was the one on hookers in Laos... a subject that seems to worry you for reasons not completely clear to me. So that wasn't a big deal.

#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by chrispyrolls on 11/9/2009 at 18:48

any chance of alluding to what the offending post said?... i'm intrigued

#6 chrispyrolls has been a member since 2/11/2006. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 197
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