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Portland IndyMedia Editors Will Start Censorship "Experiment" Next Week

Below I have pasted one of the editors comments from today (or earlier yesterday, I guess). Anyways, it looks like this is going down without anybody raising an eyebrow! If my fellow IMC'ers are as smart as I think they are, they won't let this shit go down on our watch!
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we are discussing various ideas at the moment. . .it is likely we will implement some sort of new editorial guidelines regarding spam.

i personally envision such a policy as empowering our editorial people to hide obvious 'spam' comments. . .this does not mean that they will always be hidden. . .if the noise level is fairly low, then they might just stay there, but if as recently the noise level gets to where it is disrupting the flow and proper focus of the site, then some action will be taken. . .this is my intention

this provides a give and take, so that if the posters/readers decide the best policy is to not respond, and that works to keep noise down and the site properly focused, then that is great and although we all would like to leave the newswire alone as much as possible, both aesthetically as a policy, and practically since it is not very much fun to spend time hiding posts.

there is always going to be some noise, and that is fine. . .it is not possible or desireable to have a spiffy clean wire (ewww). . .however, it is also not desireable to have the noise overtake the essential purpose of the site.

any such efforts will be an ongoing experiment and open to the communities comments, concerns, criticisms, etc. . .if and when the new editorial guideline is established to hide spam that will always remain subject to change. . . this site is an activist communication, education and organizing tool, and its effectiveness is the primary concern

comments and ideas can be forwarded to:

 imc-portland-editorial@indymedia.org
i'll try anything once, but... 10.Oct.2002 02:37

sacred chao

I have a question or two.

First, for the person who posted this...

What's the source? Where's it cut-and-pasted from? Some context would help those of us who don't have (choose one: time / energy / patience / attention span ) to follow this story.

And for anyone else...

Will there be a way for us non-editorial types to know how often this (choose one: editing / censorship / noise abatement / literary cleansing ) is taking place and what stories are being removed?

Hard to know how I could have an opinion on how it's working if I can't see what's getting cut.

mu

Answers as I understand them 10.Oct.2002 06:51

Quill

It is not possible to disappear anything completely from the newswire. It is only possible to "hide" things from the front page... These things can always be found by hitting the "publish" button, and clicking on "story administration" and seeing whether stories are marked "hidden" or "showing"... most stories that are hidden are duplicate posts. Editorial has only hidden around 5 posts ever for content reasons ("advocating criminal activity with specific time, manner and place")

So, I hope that answers your concerns about how you would be monitoring this...

And as far as censorship goes, I have no idea where this post was cut and pasted from, nor who wrote it, nor who posted it. I doubt there will be censorship going on, and this is likely an attempt to inflame folks...

good decision 10.Oct.2002 08:10

vinylash

I think a decision regarding the disruptive right-wing posts is overdue. This Indymedia site has long been an important source of information regarding forest campaigns, police repression, and other west coast happenings. There has obviously been an attempt by one or more individuals to mess it up.

Equality and anti-authoritarianism should never become excuses not to defend ourselves against efforts such as these. As users of indymedia, we may differ in our beliefs, but we certainly have an idea of what we're NOT.

great idea 10.Oct.2002 08:18

anon

great idea. I am all for the experiment.

I'm with you vinylash 10.Oct.2002 08:31

peace rebel girl

if someone is being abusive do we lay down and allow it or do we rise up and take action?

about time 10.Oct.2002 08:55

DL

I agree that something has to be done to keep Indymedia from being subverted by these idiots. Of course, it would make more sense to simply ignore them. But, we can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, so I agree that the experiment is worth a shot.

We need to be very careful here. 10.Oct.2002 08:56

StevetheGreen

While I have more distain for the "spammers" who post here than most, I have to admit that I "cringe" when I hear talk of censorship, even for the right reasons.

I realize that these "people" have used the freedom of Indymedia in an attempt to disrupt the quality information sharing (which is the reason we have independent media to begin with), but I think we create a very "prickly" situation when we start to discuss censorship, even of a very limited nature.

I personally don't mind reading opinions that are contrary to the norm here if they are sincere, but obviously the people who have been "contributing" their spam here do not have a genuine desire to create productive dialog or even to offer alternative views.

But unless we want to support the logic of John Ashcroft that says certain "freedoms" must be compromised for the good of all, I think we should all speak out against Indymedia censorship of any kind.

When I encounter one of these losers posts, I close it and move on. They are nothing more than an annoyance and should not be allowed to compromise the integrity of Indymedia.

-Steve "The Green" Geiger
Peace!

So much for freedom of the press 10.Oct.2002 10:04

Bush Admirer

Sounds like Chairman Mao has returned from the afterlife as an Indymedia editor.

There goes the neighorhood.

Hypocrites 10.Oct.2002 10:24

Hippo

Well, if anybody read the article by Peace Rebel Girl about blocking traffic to "advertise" her point of view I think we can draw a direct correlation with this particular subject. Bush Admirer, Trilox etc.. are standing in your cyber street with their signs in front of you, blocking your traffic and you are crying like little babies. What a bunch of hypocrites. Can you feel the anger, the hatred in your blood against these "traffic blockers"? Are you finding yourself wanting to get them out of your "cyber street"? Well, good then. Maybe now you will realize that disrespecting others who may or may not agree with you is WRONG! Standing in traffic is just as wrong as posting hateful and heckling posts. Both sides have an equal amount of misguided individuals that ruin it for all of us.

about damn time 10.Oct.2002 10:49

big toe

I can get wingnut and troll news anywhere on the dial or at nearly any news box but I depend on
indymedia for the local good stuff. When I have to wade through volumes of whiny ranting from BA,
trilicker and the like ("we're entitled and we deserve it all and yr a weirdo if you don't obey!!!") I start
feeling just a teensy bit violent. Thanks editors!

I disagree with your analogy! 10.Oct.2002 10:53

StevetheGreen

Your wrong Hippo!

Your quote said-
"Standing in traffic is just as wrong as posting hateful and heckling posts. Both sides have an equal amount of misguided individuals that ruin it for all of us.</i>

Comparing "civil disobediance" to what these individuals are doing here is rediculous.

They are not offering insightful alternative information in an effort to "add" to the reason indymedia exists, they are not trying to push a particular agenda or even disrupt the information sharing as a form of political protest.

They are lonely bored self centered losers with low self esteem whose only goal is to try an ruin one of the last vestages of indpendence from corporate dominance.

For you to compare them to people who are willing to risk arrest for what they strongly believe is one of the most rediculous things I have ever read here.

hey Hippo 10.Oct.2002 10:56

mom

you are right they are hippocrites, but if you notice the post by peace rebel girl was getting criticism by others on this board who advocate other measures. I don't think I would block traffic only because alot of those drivers are also against war.

one could argue that it is a different situation as the car blockers are trying to stop destruction and violence while the hecklers are just trying to bother people. but, i wont make that argument.


anyway, the hecklers, in my opinion are hypocrites as well -MORE so. They come here disrupting the flow of information saying that we would shut up and die, that no one wants to hear what we are saying, that we are commiting TREASON (HAAA!) and that we should STOP what we are doing. THEN they throw their hands in the air and cry censorship when their posts are considered WITHOUT any use to anyone what-so-ever and should maybe get HIdden (rather than removed).

I dont think anyone, and certainly not me, is saying that posts by those who disagree with concensus should be deleted or removed. I post the facts about UFOs which often goes against the concensus grain and I wouldnt want to be deleted. I think the same should go for those who want to post even semi-thoughtful pro-war posts or other issues.

FOR EXAMPLE: We should NOT eliminate or hide the posts of lamet vali or whatever name he is using since that "episode" he had a while ago. (heehee!) But then again lamet vali doesnt really post flames that often, so whatever.


anyway, yeah Peace rebel girl is kind of a hypocrite but so are the hecklers.

ahaha 10.Oct.2002 11:03

Mom

i forgot to mention how funny it is that some of the hecklers consider their abusive posts "news" hahahah

Hippo 10.Oct.2002 11:07

peace rebel girl

those who are littering the site with anti-peace hate material are the ones we need to concern ourselves with.

with their tactics they are attempting to take down indymedia so that we have no access to what is *really* going on in the world.

perhaps i am attempting to take down the machine that is responsible for the wars of the world, but i am not the enemy here.

i am on the side of peace. how about you?

Dear Logically-Challenged Fascists 10.Oct.2002 11:38

Anti-Fa

No one has a problem with posting dissenting opinions. No one minds if you post an article that disagress with the majority of content on this site. The point is that you are spamming the site - you send crap articles about how everyone is a stinky hippy, and a traitor, and loads of other useless bullshit. Indymedia deletes posts that advocate violence and illegal activities, and posts that resort to personal name-calling between leftists. Why shouldn't they delete your shit posts that don't add anything to either the realm of ideas or debate, but are just personal insults. That goes for all the fake pictures people have posted claiming to be Lamet Vali. It doesn't add anything, it just subtracts.

Further, they aren't deleting them, they are placing a filter whereby your b.s. will be moved to another location, and whoever wants to delve into your puerile, pre-adolescent trash can if they so desire. Come up with a decent article critiquing the left (they exist.... and no, anything by Ann Coulter does not qualify) and you are welcome here. Continue to post your trash and you can fuck off.

To the posters, readers of the site 10.Oct.2002 12:35

deva

I wrote the comment that is reposted above. The person who copy/posted it is a troll. The quoted comment above has had words changed from what I wrote and posted. Click below for the original:

original comment found on this article

Obviously any sincere person would leave the comment to stand as is it was written. Here is the person, 'Erin Liebowitz' decrying censorship, while purposefully censoring anothers words with the intent to manipulate the views of the readers of this site.

This is a clear example of the ends that disruptors will go to, to harm this site, and sow dissension amongst the community.

Some points and replies to comments:

First: no decision is made yet

Second: there is already an existing editorial policy that allows the hiding of posts under certain circumstances. The current discussion is about adding a 5th circumstance to the existing 4. If you want to call it that, the site has always had censorship.

The use of the word censorship can reach to the absurd. If someone posts 4 duplicate posts, already 3 of them are routinely hidden. Someone can say that persons voice was censored by 75%.

re:sacred chao

<<<<< Will there be a way for us non-editorial types to know how often this (choose one: editing / censorship / noise abatement / literary cleansing ) is taking place and what stories are being removed?

Hard to know how I could have an opinion on how it's working if I can't see what's getting cut.>>>>>

no posts are ever deleted. . .they are only hidden. Anyone can view all hidden posts here. It has been on the to-do list for a while, to put this link on the front page, so it is more obvious. It is currently on the about us page (left sidebar) along with the current editorial policy.

re:StevetheGreen
<<>>

Your analogy is based on the idea of indymedia as a mini nation. If John Ashcroft talks about censoring human beings, he is backed up by a state with the power and willingness to shut people up and destroy their lives, to imprison and even kill them. Indymedia is a website, and has no power over, or interest in, harming these individuals, or using force to negatively impact their lives. The meaning of the term censure, is rooted in state power (Roman).

Indymedia has no legal or moral obligation to let anyone walk in and be abusive towards others. Just as you do not have a legal or moral obligation to let someone walk in off the street and start screaming at you or your loved ones in your home and do nothing. Basic common sense dictates that you take some action. If someone comes and uses the site for abuse, contributes nothing, and is unwilling to engage in any dialog, they are feeding off of the hard work, time and resources of the people who maintain and contribute to the site. . .if they become too much of a trouble, then action should be taken. That is simple common sense.

Adherence to some purist dogma, over basic responsibility and accountability is not a balanced approach to life.


OK 10.Oct.2002 14:14

StevetheGreen

I agree that Indymedia has a right to insure that it's site is not disrupted with multiple posts or abusive people.
As I said earlier, I think the people who are attempting to disrupt this media are lowly lonely loser scum.

My concern is not with Indymedia editors removing the type of abusive or repetitive posts that some have made here.
Furthermore, I agree that it is not only Indymedia's right, but it is your obligation to remove that sort of thing.

My concern is that people like "Lamet Vali, Trilox and Bush admirer", (just to name a few) are being censored, not for the reasons you gave, but because of content.
Yes, they have engaged in nonsensical back and forth silliness of insults that is nothing more than a waste of bandwidth, but many times it is in response to the reaction they receive after posting their hate and fear filled rhetoric.

I personally despise the type of lies and half-truths these individuals contribute here, but I support their right to do it nonetheless.

Contrary to your "critique" of my last post, I do not see Indymedia as a "mini-nation", but as an icon for journalistic freedom.

If we allow the majority to dictate content through the personal attacks they engage in when alternative views are published, we are walking a very slippery slope.

I am sure that the people responsible for maintaining the integrity of this site will do the right thing, but I thought it was necessary to offer my support to total journalistic freedom.

Peace!

First they came for the right-wing posters.. 10.Oct.2002 16:36

Me

...Who's next?? Perhaps you?

Hi Steve 10.Oct.2002 16:46

deva

As can be seen in the post by 'Erin Liebowitz' which purposefully changed my wording before reposting it, these trolls are using clever and calculated efforts to undermine this site.

You are entitled to your opinion, and make some good and reasoned discussion and i appreciate it. Particularly your point is good that it is important to be careful that reaction to someones contrary views does not precipitate the hiding of that persons posts.

As we continue this discussion, please do remember that i am expressing my personal views, which while similar to some others, are not the views of everyone contributing to editorial work and decisions.

((( I personally despise the type of lies and half-truths these individuals contribute here, but I support their right to do it nonetheless. )))


They do not have a 'right' to post lies and half-truths. If you do not contribute something positive, you have no right to claim the use of the site from the people who fund, and maintain and contribute to such a website.

Just as you have written an intelligent and responsive reply, any individual who might at some time have a post hidden can do the same to defend their case and it will be openly listened to. These trolls have made no attempt at honest dialog on the issue, and in failing to do so, show their true colors, and forfeit their right to such consideration.

It is a two way street, and people who offer nothing, but expect the same treatment as positive contributors are only being manipulative.


((( Contrary to your "critique" of my last post, I do not see Indymedia as a "mini-nation", but as an icon for journalistic freedom. )))

accepted

((( If we allow the majority to dictate content through the personal attacks they engage in when alternative views are published, we are walking a very slippery slope. )))

Life, by its very nature, is a slippery slope, in spiritual circles sometimes likened to the 'razors edge'. There is no safe place to hide. In the end, we must keep our eyes and minds open, act without fear, and trust ourselves as we move forward.

thanks for your contribution to the issue

Anti-Fa is a hypocrite 10.Oct.2002 16:51

Anti-Anti-Fa

Well, Im so glad Anti-Fa is against posting personal attacks. With such comments like..

"Why shouldn't they delete your shit posts...."

"Further, they aren't deleting them, they are placing a filter whereby your b.s. will be moved to another location, and whoever wants to delve into your puerile, pre-adolescent trash can if they so desire."

"Continue to post your trash and you can fuck off."

These are some very productive ideas and thoughts and you all should be proud that someone as pure and elite as Anti-Fa is representing you.

Is there bias going on? 10.Oct.2002 17:15

Curious

So, who makes the decisions in a case like the following. I copied this post from the IMC NewsWire. I can say for a fact that this is criminal activity, but yet IMC did not delete it. Hmmmm......Are you sure you guys are telling the truth about what you really are trying to get rid of on this site?_______________________________________________________

take the bridges
by u-lock boy 12:07am Thu Oct 10 '02



portland's reliance on its bridges makes it easily paralyzed by a small number of people, say 100 each on the Hawthorne, Morrison and Burnside to start with. sit down in the middle. lock down if necessary. non-violently, peacefully, but very actively shut down the city.

business as usual in america must be stopped because the business as usual of america is war.

reply to curious 11.Oct.2002 00:29

indy activist

to curious:

the current editorial policy, with or without additions re. spam, does not and will not *require* that certain posts be hidden; the policy just empowers people volunteering for editorial to be *able* to hide posts.

the post you cited is supportive of an illegal action, but so was every post telling people to come protest bush on august 22 (there was no permit!). some things are more potentially harmful (making threats against a person's life - such things have been hidden) and some just aren't (encouraging nonviolent civil disobedience - always stays up).

does that help clear things up?

Um 11.Oct.2002 12:47

Er

Taking every bridge in the city doesn't endanger lives?

The main arguement here explaining why the crowd on A22 didn't move back after the announcements were made was because it was *impossible for that crowd to move back*. That was on city streets. You're telling me that if emergency services needed to cross a bridge to get to Emanuel (just one example), that you are suddenly able to move that crowd *on a bridge*???

Of course, the pictures from A22, posted here, clearly show them standing in defiance, and if you were there you heard the immediate "who's streets? our streets!" chanting from the back of the crowd indicating that they knew exactly what was being announced, so I suppose it might be possible to move the crowd on the bridge afterall, if they wanted to move.