Steve Levy: blogger rights or thin-skinned censor?
Original post made by a reader, another community, on Jan 5, 2014
I really appreciate and am grateful for the fact that this organization goes the extra mile to facilitate discussion by allowing unregistered users to post their opinions conveniently, anonymously and easily. The reason that I value this is that in my humble opinion this allows posters and ongoing discussion to focus on the issues at hand and not a preconceived notion of where I might imagine the poster is going to be coming from. I'd go so far as to say I'd prefer not to know the "name" of the poster at least until after I have read the article and formulated my opinion about the issue for myself. It bothers me not in the least when different "names" are used to mask a user's identity across multiple discussions provided that within the context of a single discussion the user consistently uses the same identity rather than having a discussion with oneself under the guise of multiple names. I thoroughly enjoy reading and understanding a wide range of opinions on the issues of the day.
I return to this soap box to both consistently read and from time to time post a comment with my perspective specifically because of the openness of this forum.
All that said, I turn now to discussing Mr. Levy's approach to editting the responses to his blog. I find his approach to expunging any reply comment with which he takes issue to be unnecessarily and unreasonably heavy handed. His goal does not appear to be to limit directly offensive comments but rather to stifle open debate on topical subject matter with which he disagrees. Take for example, his current methodology of asking a question in his blog which is a question which anticipates an answer. Really his question is not a question at all but rather a statement. If, however, the reader attempts to reply with salient points which attempt to go towards providing a contrasting view point but do not fall into the rhetorial trap of literally answering his stated "questions" in the narrowest sense, he will squelch them from the discussion.
If you challenge his sterilizing of the comments, he argues that it is his blog and therefore his prerogative as to when comments may be blotted out.
So I pose the question and challenge to the editors to clarify their policies and intentions in sponsoring these blogs. Mr. Levy's approach reminds me rather of talk radio or a Rush Limbaugh type show where pretend questions are set up but when a valid, reasonable response which counters the original contentions is presented, the volume speaker's volume is turned down. This approach stands in rather stark contrast to my experience with the thoughtful editing from those at PA/Almanac online with which I have come to respect. Is it true that the blog is Mr. Levy's with which he may do as he wishes or rather is his blog a privelege from the forum ownders which carries a cost of entitling opposing (perhaps vigorously) points of view?
Is it a lecture or is it a discussion?