Blogger introduces censorship by the mainstream

This is bad news: Blogger has added a censorship "feature."

Basically, they're allowing you, the reader, through the "flag" button which now appears on the navbar, to determine whether or not my blog has questionable content. To me, this goes against everything that blogs are supposed to be about. If you go after spam blogs, that's fine with me, and illegal content is illegal content, and should be deleted. But blogs are all about saying things that might be unpopular or disturbing. If you want to turn blogs into just another flat, uninspiring format, this is the way to go. But blogs aren't supposed to be like that. They're supposed to be the place you can say the things you can't say in mainstream society. As the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen put it (in An Enemy of the People): "The minority is always right." And this is just another way for the majority to trample on them.

(And anyway, this feature is just going to be abused by trolls. )

It's stupid and I don't like it.

Update: should we start a petition or something? I'll link to anybody posting analysis or commentary on this subject, if you leave a comment.

What I want Blogger to do, immediately and specifically is this: to ensure us that this feature will never be used for anything other than combatting spam blogs.

Evan Brown makes some good points re: the vagueness of the terms of what constitutes abuse. Reminds me of the Patriot act, in a way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to be taking the easy way out for monitoring commercial blogs. I agree, trolls are going to have great fun with this new feature.

Time to seek new blog hosting.

August 18, 2005 4:40 pm  
Blogger mrtn said...

I don't understand why they couldn't just limit the function to reporting spam blogs. As I said, illegal content is illegal content, and should/could be reported to the proper authorities. Legal, but offensive content should be either ridiculed or not read.

August 18, 2005 4:55 pm  
Blogger Gaute said...

Still, the only sanction they're threatening to impose is removal from their blog index. Becoming one of the 'unlisted' shouldn't really make any difference if your readers are regulars.

At any rate, this only seems to apply if you're hosted at blogspot. People who host their own blogs don't have Blogger bars on the top of their pages, and therefore no option for readers to flag them.

August 19, 2005 11:26 am  
Blogger mrtn said...

I agree that the sanctions aren't horrific, or anything. But it's still an evaluation of contents, and it's still a way of ensuring that nobody but the ones who already know about your viewpoint finds it. Blogger is in the publishing platform business, not the editorial business, if you ask me.

The rules should be the same for everyone, even the rude ones, or the unpopular ones. It's a matter of principle. Either there are no random blog listings, or everyone gets them equally.

August 19, 2005 11:33 am  
Blogger ThatIsMeWhat said...

Although I don't write anything that I personally consider to be objectionable, undoubtedly someone will find something. Blogger has inspired me to seek my own hosting service! I refuse to be censored in any way and sadly will have to pay to avoid it.

August 19, 2005 11:59 pm  
Blogger mrtn said...

I'm going to stick around and see what happens, how the service is implemented, but I'm pretty sure this is going to speed my leaving Blogger up.

August 20, 2005 12:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I removed the Navibar from my blog. Wonder how long it will take them to put a stop to people who do that?

August 20, 2005 4:09 am  
Blogger mrtn said...

Thanks for letting me know.

September 07, 2005 11:18 am  

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