Comments in pre-moderation

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So a few days ago I discovered to my surprise that the Guardian had flagged me as a risk to their ‘comment community‘ based on two apparently innocuous comments.

The moderation team have advised that it’s because I’ve included links to relevant posts from my blog.  Fair enough, if it’s fair enough but having read their own guidelines it all seems a bit odd and heavy handed.

So I’ve committed to adding a comment a day until I’m removed from pre-moderation status and document what is and isn’t deemed acceptable…

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Article: Why do fewer women tweet political party hashtags? (Laura Bates)

In fairness, I am beginning to wonder if people like Laura Bates don’t sometimes over egg the online abuse narrative a bit. I’m not trying to detract from genuine and serious examples (quite the opposite in fact) but I do think that anyone who rushes to take offence when it suits them do.

By way on an example, let’s consider the ‘Guardian Community’ as a microcosm of modern Britain (albeit one with a serious over-representation of latté drinkers). This ‘community’ will comprise of an extremely diverse mix of people who all equally ‘believe’ they have a right to their opinion, along with a right not to be unreasonably offended.

Now most people are able to behave like proper adults but there’s always that 1% who threaten to ruin this utopia of free speech for the rest of us. This is why everyone is expected to abide by the ’10 Community Commandments’ and have faith in the invisible Guardians to enforce them. Sadly in ‘isolated situations’, someone is ‘identified as ‘a risk’, based on ‘a pattern of behaviour’ and must be placed in a ‘moderation cell’ until such time as they can either be rehabilitated or ejected into the wasteland (or as I call it, the Huffington Post).

My point is that this is that this is the position I find myself in after (at most) two seemingly innocuous on topic comments underneath a Laura Bates article. The concern that follows is that either someone out there is dangerously disengaged from the concept of reasonable offence or else the Guardians in our community really have become the foot soldiers for people who are prepared to use offence as a weapon to silence opinions that they don’t like. I find that thought extremely offensive indeed. EiB

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Article: Why women need a stronger voice in politics (Yvonne Roberts)

Speaking as a Bloke, I certainly agree that it would be good to see more women engaged and involved in politics but even if they did I seriously doubt it would result in the sort of seismic shift towards the sort of feminist utopia that some Guardian columnist undoubtedly dream about. After all how many of ‘Blair’s Babes voted against bombing foreign children in illegal wars, or even hung around after the good times stopped rolling?

I certainly think some of Yvonne’s points are swayed by the usual propaganda. National minimum wage, carers’ rights and flexible working etc had more to do with EU Directives than Harriet Harman and the simplistic analysis that ‘the sharply serrated edge of the cuts has hit [women], harder than men’ – is further proof of the Guardian’s myopic feminist view.

Another regular columnist recently called for a UK feminist party (http://tinyurl.com/pdgppoq). I think this is probably a bad idea for a number of reasons http://wp.me/p5wnIA-ov, the main one being that disaffection with politics isn’t just a problem for women, it’s a problem for everyone.

A recent Yougov poll suggests that 60% of first time voters can’t be bothered voting. Then again maybe that’s not a bad thing. To paraphrase Russell Brand’s famous exchange with Paxman, perhaps increasing numbers of us are (not) voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations.

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EiB: So I had another go with the last comment, this time removing the link and voila… app

 

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Day 5 and things take a totalitarian tip-toe towards high farce as my thoughts on censorship are, well…

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Article: The fastest way to spread extremism is with the censor’s boot (Naomi Wolf)

I really hate censorship, especially when the gatekeepers change the rules to suit themselves…

Good to see Ch4 news shining some sunlight on Theresa May’s reluctance to include Kincora in this long overdue child abuse enquiry.

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Article: The fastest way to spread extremism is with the censor’s boot (Naomi Wolf)

My last comment never made it past the pre-moderation screening dog house I’ve been in since I criticised Laura Bates… What a time to be alive!

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Article: The fastest way to spread extremism is with the censor’s boot (Naomi Wolf)

Was my previous comment censored because I mentioned kincora?

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Article: The fastest way to spread extremism is with the censor’s boot (Naomi Wolf)

I wonder if it would be considered on topic to say that while comment is free, some comment is freer than others.   I wrote about my recent experinces of censorship in my blog [link] and agree that the fastest way to spread an idea is to censor it.

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Article: The fastest way to spread extremism is with the censor’s boot (Naomi Wolf)

I really really dislike censorship.

EiB: Even so, apparently Mods don’t like Myf jokes…

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Article: mrs-ms-or-miss-why-do-forms-require-women-reveal-their-marital-status (by Myf Warhorse)

When I first read this headline I thought that ‘Myf’ was being proposed as some sort of protest alternative.

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Day 6: And I get a bit carried away attempting to establish some invisible  boundaries…

Article: who-should-i-vote-for-in-2015-general-election-heres-some-internet-tools-to-help

In the spirit of political correctness, some voters may find this VAA to be more informative: http://myvote.dev2.31interactive.com

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Article: Boston declares riot grrrl day

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EiB: Interestingly, my riot grrrl comments took a while to gain approval but easily my ‘edgiest’ comment (about boston bombing) when straight up without being looked at…

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Article: boston-marathon-bombing-tsarnaev-verdict-reactions

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EiB: This development inspired me to conduct a quick experiment based on my theory that contributions to articles in the UK lifestyle section were being particularly scrutinised.  So with apologies to Jack Monroe… I commented on her scrummy sounding risotto recipe and sure enough had to wait over ten minutes to get approval for this succinct entry…  

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Article: jack-monroe-spring-herb-risotto-parsley-mint-dill-recipe

I’m more of a coriander man myself but I respect Jack’s right to voice her personal opinions.

This beavis and butthead inspired observation made the grade ok:

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Article: #free-the-nipple

Is it just me or does anyone else out there think that the name Chelsea Handler invokes certain connotations relevant to this discussion?

EiB: As did this playful contribution: 

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Article: mrs-ms-or-miss-why-do-forms-require-women-reveal-their-marital-status

Since when was Myf in Home and away?

EiB: So I thought I’d give my ‘controversial’ Myf joke from yesterday another try… it took a while but it did eventually get the nod… 

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Article: mrs-ms-or-miss-why-do-forms-require-women-reveal-their-marital-status

When I first read this headline I thought that ‘Myf’ was being proposed as some sort of protest alternative.

EIB: I volleyed a control comment at the sports section (about woman’s football), which flew past the moderators claws without any trouble…

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http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/apr/09/classic-youtube-best-sports-clips

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EiB: But predictably this one never stood a chance…

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Article: end-rape-stigma-anonymity-victims (Jessica Valenti)

Did Jessica Valenti really just imply that she’s familiar with the rules of Journalism 101?

EiB: Hmmm, by my the time my last effort of the day (in the film section) got stomped on, I was pretty sure a pattern had been established… 

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Article: ryan-gosling-directing-lost-river-interview

How come all the right wing radical feminists are all so hot to trot for this guy?

7Day 7: In fairness EYEisBloke and the purpose of EYEisBloke is to comment on gender equality issues.  Given that I’ve committed to a submitting a comment a day to the Guardian until this orwellian ‘pre-moderation’ tag is removed, I thought it best to return my focus to articles with a bit of a gender equality theme…

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EiB: So the Mods are happy enough to air some cynicism about the state of western democracy… but if you home into closely about the state of so called ‘liberal media’…

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Article: the-great-unvetted-public-locked-out-as-party-leaders-tour-sanitised-britain

‘The great unvetted public locked out as party leaders tour sanitised Britain Fearful of a Mrs Duffy moment, party leaders are taking every precaution to avoid an unscripted encounter with members of the public’…..  I guess it’s no worse than pre-moderating readers comments and screening out opinions you don’t agree with…

EiB: Sigh…still on the bright side, at least I wasn’t short of material for this week’s APEorAlien?  

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EiB: I was looking forward to today because Saturday usually serves a fresh slice of wisdom from ‘the whirling dervish of radical feminism’ herself (all kudos to fellow community contributor wigwam for the catchphrase).  To my delight Ms Bates had decided to educate us all on the subject of sexism in the workplace so I pitched an entirely ‘on-topic’ comment drawing attention to possible flaws in the Guardian’s own working environment…

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So my starter for ten… wow…262 comments allowed in such short space of time, I’m assuming my contribution to free speech falling as it does within the scope of protection provided by the Sex Discrimination Act should be more than welcome…

So the ‘on topic’ discussion is about sexism in the workplace which leads to the question where does Laura stand on this… http://wp.me/p5wnIA-4D

EiB: But then just when EYE was expecting to find the censor’s shutter firmly shut for the day, something magical happened…

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 EiB: And then after a tentative tear at the totalitarian curtain a veritable torrent of thoughts trickled through:

appScreen Shot 2015-04-11 at 14.14.40EiB: Remarkably they even allowed my implied criticism of the Guardian’s working environment after I changed the link to my blog post to Jessica Valenti’s own twitter feed…
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EiB: Curiouser and curiouser… Perhaps someone has been instructed to wind their neck in….?

 

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EIB: So slight gear change today… three articles…one comment…mixed results… in order of submission:
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Article: Which side are you on? Seven areas of protest that need your help (Owen Jones)

Same comment as below:

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Article: How social media helped me get Jane Austen on to £10 notes (Caroline Criado-Perez)

Same comment as above…

EiB: Hmm…

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A trilogy of articles on Hillary this morning with a fairly fawning focus.  All contributions passed, even under Jessica Vallenti’s predictable gender card piece… 

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One Comment

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  1. Well my friend, you are banging your head agianst a brick wall. I wrote comments in the Guardian newspaper for over 4 years. I was moderate, considerate, and in no way offensive in my comments in all that time. Then as soon as I started to comment more on feminist matters that I took an interest in, down came the stutters, up went the Guardian castle drawbridge, censored, and I was warned.

    Everyone knows the Guardian is a left leaning newspaper and that fine, I already knew that, but truthfully the Guardian is really annoyed that it fails the control the ‘narrative’ on certain readers subject comments. Reality is that the CiF is not totally free, its controlled to enforce a collective cohesive thought, stick to our point of view, don’t stray from the PC Guardian mindset.

    I found it intolerable after a period of blocking and Guardian censorship, so eventually I cancellled my CiF readers account. If the Guardian wants to gag its male readers from life’s true realities, well its a poorer newspaper for it as it is openly ignoring 50% of its readers. I believe in free speech and liberty, not censorship.

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