The Flag Of Censorship
So I was just looking at another blog out on blogspot.com and I noticed something a little disturbing. There is now a “Flag” button available to flag a blog with “questionable” material. Here are some quotes from Google:
“The "Flag?" button is a means by which readers of Blog*Spot can help inform us about potentially questionable content, so we can prevent others from encountering such material by setting particular blogs as "unlisted." This means the blog won't be promoted on Blogger.com but will still be available on the web — we prefer to keep in mind that one person's vulgarity is another's poetry. Or something like that.”
“When a person visiting a blog clicks the "Flag?" button in the Blogger Navbar, it means they believe the content of the blog may be potentially offensive or illegal. We track the number of times a blog has been flagged as objectionable and use this information to determine what action is needed. This feature allows the blogging community as a whole to identify content they deem objectionable.”
I guess it’s really not a huge deal. It’s not that they are taking the content of the blog down. I guess what concerned me is that they are giving the power to………..who ever…………to determine who is offensive or not. You know, if you find something objectionable :: Don’t go there. Don’t read it. This is a website. Nothing is being forced down any ones throat. It can be read or discarded as easily as a click of a mouse button.
I think I understand what Google is trying to do here. It makes sense on a certain level. They aren’t taking anyone down. They are just not putting you in the pool of blogs promoted by Blogspot. Like I said, it’s not the action that bothers me as much as the method. I hope that this is not a situation in which the good people that run and oversee blogspot take the reader’s word for it. Just because a person’s flag button has been pushed doesn’t make it a site unworthy of a read. And again it can all be taken off your screen by the click of a button or not entering that web address in your browser.
It’s interesting how we all try to censor each other. I do agree that there are some things that cross the line. Anything that indicates a threat or harm to someone – of course that’s across the line. But what else? Me talking about God? Some one talking about their love of Islam? Me sharing views on politics, or the violence that takes place in Africa, or anything that rubs someone the wrong way. Should I (or anyone else) be censored cause it makes someone uncomfortable? Absolutely not! I may not agree with everything I read and a lot of people may not agree with what I have to say. That’s OK though. That’s a cool thing about us! We all have different thoughts on things and we all have the need to get that out in the open and in this country we even have the right to get that out in the open. I pray earnestly that we don’t loose that right! If we are going to come on the internet and start reading people’s blogs then we need to keep an open mind about what we’re reading. This in a lot of cases means that we are getting a glimpse into that person’s mind and what makes them tick. What makes them angry. What makes them excited. What drives them to be who they are. I can’t say that I agree with everything I’ve read out there and I can’t say that some of it hasn’t even offended me. But in no mean does that indicate a reason for them to be censored. So I say be careful how you define objectionable. Be careful that you don’t try and put people in boxes. Listen, in this case read, with caution and with the mind set that there are all sorts of people out there with all sorts of ideas. They have just as much right to share them as we do ours.
For Next Time:
I know I have been advertising for a long time a discussion on should a pastor be paid. I think I have, this time really come to a conclusion and so be looking for that!
So with that I am out!