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Moderating Comments vs. Freedom of Speech



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Moderating Comments vs. Freedom of Speech

When you exercise a moderator job (which isn't an easy job... considering all the different types of people in the world), how do you deal with comments that are viewed as controversial (at least by most people)? I mean, how do you judge what is inappropriate of what is freedom of speech?

I know that everything will depend on the subject being discussed (after all, the degree of their importance can be very different), but common sense has to be used in any kind of situation. Moderating Comments vs. Freedom of Speech

So, is this difficult or easy for you?

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Cristian

Free speech. Always choose free speech. Capitalism and democracy are both founded on one simple idea: free speech.
So I consider it is deadly important for free speech to be present on the internet, sure people can say awful things under anonymity but when it comes to a certain subject and comments being moderated, as far as the comments are on the subject, I don't see any reason why I should delete some opinions just because I don't agree with them.

I personally think even the ones that may seem sexists or racist for me should be kept, as far as the comments themselves are orientated on the subject in hand for that specific page.
Free speech must prevail and I personally don't like Facebook and Google's agenda lately, starting to censor the internet from opinions and facts that don't agree with their narrative. We've learned nothing from the horrors of communism, in terms of politics and this is why the Internet must remain free and not affected by any kind of political censorship.



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DenisP

I think that I agree on the matter that even sexist or racist comments should be kept up, but I think it also depends on the way that they're presented. It is one thing to state your opinion in a civilized manner, even if it is considered backwards by other people. However, it is another thing entirely to state it in a way that is threatening or aggressive, because let's face it a lot of people with sexist or racist views often tend to be very vocal, aggressive, and even violent. I don't think that kind of behavior should be tolerated and definitely needs moderation.



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vinaya

I am against moderating comments unless it is spam, not relevant and out of topic, and is one or two-word comment (nice, good work etc.). I believe in freedom of speech. Since I don't like when people delete or edit my comments, I am also not in habit of editing and deleting comments. In fact I never edit comments, however, I do delete comments when it is a spam comment, the comment does not add anything to the discussion and is out of topic.
Comments on my posts reflect the opinion of the commentators, it has nothing to do with me. Therefore, I don't moderate the controversial comment. However, I will always delete comments that are hate speech or promotes something that I do not approve (nazism, terrorism etc.)



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iamawriter

This used to be rampant with Bubblews( if you were a member there). Spamming was a way there and we had the option to either report or delete comments on our posts. It is activities such as these that finally forced the closure of that great site where i earned good money. The site owners gave a blind eye to these wrong doings.



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keen2write

Yes, comments are comments some people can be nasty and that is the world we live in. Not everyone as the same views and may react differently to the topic that they are commenting on. Take Reddit, for example, I have seen a lot of hate comments on there. I once made just like a question on there just to see someones or everyone's opinion and I got some pretty nasty comments lol. Which was not related to what I asked. It is good for free speech we all deserve to be herd no matter what some of the times it may turn ugly but thats the internet.



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augusta

I believe given a freedom of speech is the best,let people be free to air their views. Even those termed controversial if it not hurting anyone then there shouldn't be a problem with it.

I don't moderate comments on my site unless one is a spammer.



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Corzhens

I am against editing a comment, much more in deleting a comment because a comment is an opinion that should be respected. However, we know that there are damaging comments sometimes when the commenter is on a rampage of sorts. In those cases, the moderator has the right to censor that comment. Of course, spams and trolling posts have no place in the forum or blogsite.



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overcast

I think there is definitely a line which we can decide where people are going away from the criticism. And more or less going towards the personal attack. When people do the personal attack they are going to be more mirroring how they choose to see you. And that's how the things are going to be for the freedom of speech. Another thing is that moderating comments take time and this is where we have to understand how the freedom of speech needs to be considered.



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Barida

I would go with freedom of speech, I mean there is no need thinking of moderating comments if you, as the admin, is not the type of person that has got lots of time on your hand already. The moderation of comments has so much to do with being consistent and ensuring that the members of your forum understand how everything works on the site to avoid thinking that you segregate their comments intentionally.



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DenisP

This is actually a really good question, because it makes me question my own moral standing. Obviously I believe in freedom of speech, and that everyone has the right to voice their opinion. If someone talks about their perspective in a calm, dignified, and respectful manner, then even if it is a controversial opinion I don't think I would be able to remove it. On the other hand, if someone is being disrespectful and they are posting simply in order to incite hate or stir up controversy, I feel that those are grounds for removal. The right to free speech is not the right to hate speech.



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DarthHazard

I think there is a limit to freedom of speech. I agree that we should not try to moderate comments because everyone should be able to say what they want but of course there are some limits. For example, I would definitely not allow any types of racism or bullying in my comments section. Other than that, I will allow discussion especially debates as long as they don't get too heated and arguments start occuring



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jpyy

It depends on the standard of the forum. I mean, a forum run by Christians might have restrictions on bad words, but a so-called bad boy forum (You may have seen them.), might actually welcome rude comments. However, though, for an average forum, a really vulgar and rude person might not be liked because it's bad for business - regardless of the religion of the forum owner.



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Beverly

That's a good point. Though most professional/business forums will have some kind of 'bad word' censor in place and that has less to do with censorship and more to do with maintaining a professional environment.

Just my personal preference maybe, but I don't see a real need for swearing on a business forum though I understand if occasionally a member uses a colorful word here or there out of habit.

Though I believe the original post refers more to censorship of opinion (not censoring bad language).



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DarthHazard

What you said is 100% correct. I actually owned a general discussion forum a while ago and I didn't have too many rules. We allowed swearing and free discussion related to certain mature things to ensure that we got a diverse community. But there were still limits - racism and bullying were definitely not accepted so anyone like that would get a ban straight away.



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Authord

You are right, it depends on the sanity toleration or rod of guide of the website, because in most sites they are people of some fraction of reasoning that are prohibited. And the community rules, most people like breaking web or forum rules, so it's very important to moderate every comments, to keep and maintain the sanity of most forums.



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Soulwatcher

As a small forum owner it is my job to moderate all comments on my forum. Having said that I do believe in freedom of speech but my forum is a family orientated forum and I am not going to let anyone come to my forum and poison my forum with with any offensive or abusive speech.



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kgord

I think anything is hateful, attacking or offense to readers should probably be removed. People are on a forum to benefit from it not to be personally attacked. I don't see any benefit in that. It is not a good thing nor do I think it should be tolerated.



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Authord

Well, it depends on the level and extent of your moderation. The importance of moderation can not be overemphasized, because most of the people who get on the night are there to create havoc or spill bile. So it's important to moderate comments and It also helps to prevent spams bots,. from spamming the hell out of your site.



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PinkTurtle

I agree free speech is the best thing a page could give to their followers but there's a line they shouldn't pass. If they chose to use "bad words" then definitely that comment is out and gone for me. Everything should be say appropriately with nice words. They might not like something but they have to know how to adress the comment so it become constructive instead of destructive!



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iamawriter

If a comment is a violation of rules that needs to be deleted. Just because someone does not agree is no reason to axe or moderate it. A comment like that generates more debates and should in fact be encouraged. I do not participate in forums that moderate comments.



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JonathanS98

Well, in my opinion, there's a difference between "free speech" and being "hateful" or "offensive" to others. To begin, no matter what you say or do, there will always be someone in this world that will find it offensive. Simply put, express what you feel because you'll find yourself quite unhappy if your voice an edited opinion only to please other people. However, the way you express your free speech can be done in different ways. Let's say I'm in a group discussion and someone expresses a political or religious comment I'm not fond of. Even if I'm offended, I'm not going to reply back in an offensive manner. Because we are all entitled to have our own thoughts/opinions, as well as voice them respectably. The fact of the matter is, moderating comments pretty much voids the principles behind freedom of speech. However, freedom of speech is being taken advantage of more than ever nowadays. So it's not the easiest line to walk. Nevertheless, I have and always will be a supporter of freedom of speech.



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iamawriter

Every forum has standards. If you have an account with myLot you will know what I mean. There certain expressions such as spic and span are a no no. Then There is Tom Dick and Harry (lol). That is a fun site and hardly anything serious is discussed there.



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JonathanS98

True! Well, I guess it comes down to what sort of discussion board you're in. As well as the type of people that make up that discussion board, to begin with. I think what I'm coming to realize is that there's no right/wrong answer to this.



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iamawriter

If the site owners make rules then I suppose whoever goes against those rules would be doing something wrong. Again when a comment is reported it is left to Admin there to ignore or take action.



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TimothyAlex

Freedom of speech does not apply to a privately owned website or platform. Essentially, it is like being a visitor in some else's house. So, their house, their rules. As a moderator of an online forum, you have a responsibility to uphold community standards, as defined by the owner. Robust debate is great for website traffic. However, if a website owner does not want certain political or religious beliefs debated, then your job is to tactfully and effectively shut the conversation down.

I am a strong believer in Free Speech rights. However, Free Speech is about the government not interfering. If you walk into a private home or business, you don't have the right to say whatever you want and the owner can ask you to hold your tongue or leave. The same goes when commenting on a blog or posting in a forum.

If you are on a street corner handing out literature and talking to people about climate change, 2nd Amendment rights, social justice, or whatever, that is your right. If you walk into a business and do that, they're rights bump up against yours, and since it is their business, they win.



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Everett

From my understanding, most people online will act with respect towards one another. However, in certain instances you get those bad apples, and thus the need to recruit moderators to help combat the problem. Now free speech is basically a catch 22, meaning 'a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.' With conflicts, you need to exercise what is free speech and what disrupts a community, and find a solution that pleases both parties.

For an example, this community doesn't get that many bad apples, so moderating the community discussions isn't that hard. What we do get is those that like to spam links, spam their services, and the rare spammer that will spam the topics.



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ballyhara

Always will support freedom of speech. But that doesn't mean being disrespectful. Everybody should be able to speak out, and express different opinions, that's what make us unique. Another thing is to take advantage on that benefit, and defend our opinions by hurting or insulting others. When we called ourselves civilized people, then we should remember to stay like that, and treat the others the same way we want to be treated.



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Judas2018

I normally take down any comments deemed as hateful (i.e. blatantly racist or sexist), threatening or violent or vile in nature. Examples are threatening to harm another poster, telling another poster to go harm themselves, or making vile comments about a forum members race, religion, creed or gender. I can also tell the difference between good-natured ribbing or sharp quips. Versus outright disrespect. So I don't remove comments or ban anyone unless I have to. As a forum runner, I've yet to have one of these scenarios happen, but I am explain my process of operation should they arise in the future.



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jeiss

Freedom of speech doesn't guarantee that whatever is being typed on my website would be posted. Some people tend to abuse this concept and take the liberty of typing whatever they please without considering who might be reading.

I personally frown at the use of vulgar words or sentence that don't relate to what is being discussed in the context. Also, I moderate comments of people who are habitual poster of external links.



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jaymish2

Interesting observations. However does the internet have a constitution? All nations around the world have a constitution that can protect this right. Some countries have no freedom of speech. For arguments sake you have no freedom of speech, if you're writing for a website in North Korea where there is no freedom of speech. In my opinion you have no freedom when writing comments on someone else's website especially if they have warned you in advance about what the will and won't tolerate.



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Corzhens

I don’t think there is a governing law in the internet that would generally apply to all the users. But if you have committed something that is in violation of the law of your land then your government can act on it. We have here the anti-cyber libel law that can put you in hot water when you say something bad against a person. Just recently an actress was arrested for cyber libel because she shared a video of her in maligning an owner of a bar. She is presently appealing her case.



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