Posted by KR, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Feb 28, 2007 at 3:14 pm
Yes, I had comments in several postings removed. None of the comments were insulting or defamatory. They were factual. I did notice that views opposing my own were not deleted. Censorship is alive and well in Palo Alto.
Posted by Silver Bullet, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Feb 28, 2007 at 5:53 pm
This is in no way censorship. This forum is provided by a non-governmental private entity. If they delete your comments, there are a multitude of other forums, venues or methods for getting your point accross.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 28, 2007 at 11:32 pm
Silver Bullet is right to suggest that we avoid overgeneralizing with accusations of censorship. There are no first ammendment issues when you expect or hope a private party will publish your comments. And yeah, I've had comments removed too, and seen comments directed at me before they were removed. Personally, I thought the removals were a bit cautious. Nothing obscene or grossly vituperative, but we were definitely exchanging some sarcastic barbs back and forth. I'd rather have the Weekly staff do that, however, instead of seeing this board turn into the mess that passes for an electronic forum at another publication in town.
Posted by KR, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Mar 1, 2007 at 10:35 am
Censorship is the removal of information from the public, or the prevention of circulation of information, by a controlling group, such as, mass media or public media groups. Newspapers, blogs and pod casts are all considered "controlling groups". The idea behind censorship is that the controlling group prevents others from accessing the information on the media that they control. It does not hinge on whether a group is private or govermental in nature. Simply stating that a posting "may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our (Palo Alto On-line) staff.", does not somehow prevent the concept of censorship from applying to that comment.
I have to respectfully disagree with Silver Bullet and call it what it is....censorship by Palo Alto On-line. There is one caveat--defamatory statements and/or profanity should be removed from comments.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Mar 1, 2007 at 11:02 am
"Newspapers, blogs and pod casts are all considered "controlling groups"." ???
Those items are all forms that content can take. I would find it hard to name a blog or podcast that is a controlling group. With regards to newspapers, especially when they are part of a huge media conglomerate, I might be more inclined to consider your definition.
But on your larger point, the term censorship is a loaded term with heavy connotations. The way it's presented above, practically any editorial decision would count as censorship, greatly decreasing the meaning and value of that word. When a publication exercises some quality control or editorial control over its own product, I'd hesitate to call it censorship. If some pattern emerged, like heavy-handed control consistently limiting certain viewpoints and leniency over the opposing viewpoint, then the term might be more relevant. But if I were on the Weekly staff and I just didn't like someone's tone, I'm under no obligation to publish it for them.