Censorship on this Site?

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Hi, I am a regular observer of the dialogue on this site which is one source of my large format knowledge. I enjoy it even more so for the zanny, off topic dialogues that spring up out of passion for the craft, whose arbitrary removal, unfortunately seem to be the increasing rule. My question is: Is the LF forum, like our whole society now, too becoming "PC" or politically correct?

-- Amy Barstad (ciaobars2@hotmail.com), March 09, 2002


Would love to hear our moderator’s official policy on this just so we can know. Thanks.

-- Scott Jones (scottsdesk@attbi.com), March 09, 2002.

You're correct. I think you hit the nail right on the head. There are at least a couple of people that post here who have the moderator's ear, or even higher, if they feel they have been insulted. Sometimes I think if I were to find fault with CANHAM camera's I will be censored (wink) just for that. Life is too short to be so serious and confined and unwilling to accept and deal with change. I love large format photography with a passion and enjoy the information posted here… but I don't need some narrow-minded individual to whine and determine what I can and cannot peruse. I'm way too old for that.

Thank you

-- Jim Jones (jimzpace@yahoo.com), March 09, 2002.

I'm an anti-censorship kinda guy, and I must say that I find it downright offensive that the "moderator" would allow some of the flaming to continue in some threads while deciding to delete seemingly innocuous threads (or portions thereof). Mine was one of several deleted from the "digital vs. traditional" discussion. Haven't we all debated that one enough? What's wrong with a little fun in a discussion now and then?

-- Chad Jarvis (cjarvis@nas.edu), March 09, 2002.

That kind of censorship is simply unfathomable. Mine were the only comments that could be even remotely construed as a personal attack, which is not allowed, but even that would be quite a stretch AS I WAS JOKING!!!!. Most of the other comments that were deleted were utterly inoffensive and certainly dont violate any of this sites rules. I guess we are at the mercy of the moderators and should be on our very best behaviors and always watch over our shoulder. What a great site this was. It would be nice to have some comment from our omnipotent and benevolent admins, to guide us in our disgust and confusion

-- Wayne (wsteffen@skypoint.com), March 10, 2002.

Amy (and I don't mean to single you out, just responding to your comments),

"but all I wanted to hint at is that the more censorship occurs, the more the site reflects the personal vantage point of a single personality."

So why "hint" at something? Why not come right out and say what you really mean? To do less smacks of the same political correctness you claim to disdain. Think of it this way... As others have accurately pointed out, this is a privately hosted and privately maintained forum and although you continue to refer to the deletion of off-topic posts as censorship, it really is a case of editing by those who provide the time, talent and hardware to host and maintain this forum. Since they are the ones doing all the work and bearing the expense, I am perfectly comfortable with their editorial decision making. If I wasn't, I'd either go elsewhere or create my own forum. Those who created and maintain this forum are not "powers of the state". There is no Orwellian Big Brother at work here (if there was, this thread would never have been permitted to exist). It is simply those who maintain this forum and provide the resources to host it deciding how to make best use of those privately owned and supported resources. Disk space may be cheap these days, but it is not free. And as I already mentioned, off topic, useless posts do nothing in the long run but clutter an otherwise useful archive with so much verbal litter.

If I write a Pulitzer Prize worthy essay on the destruction of tropical rain forests and submit it to "Sports Illustrated". Are they guilty of censhorship if they refuse to publish it? No way. It's editing. As good as I may feel that piece is(or others I have actually written about large format photography), I wouldn't even waste my time submitting it to "Sports Illustrated", much less go on a public forum and whine about them censoring me for not publishing it. I'm not trying to be facetious. Like this forum, "Sports Illustrated" is a privately owned and supported entity dedicated to a specific range of topics. This forum is specifically dedicated to large format photography. Anything else (this entire thread included) is off topic and SHOULD be trimmed from the archive. Those who absolutely want to see EVERYTHING that gets posted, again I suggest you receive the forum via email. Then you can do your own editing as you see fit and create your own personal archive that contains exactly what you want it to without cluttering the online large format archives with useless politcal posturing and ill fated attempts at humor.

When I typed my initial post, I fully anticipated (and hoped) that it would eventually be purged. In the long run, the only useful purpose this thread serves is to allow people on both sides to vent a little in public. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with large format photography and as such, does NOT belong in the large format archives. I suspect (and hope) that once we have all had our say that it too will be deservedly religated to the trash heap of off topic subjects unrelated to the purpose of this forum.

"On the other hand, If a forum member chooses to make a fool of herself/himself in this community by posting something stupid which she or he will later regret, then perhaps we should be grateful to the moderator for deleting it." Well... yes, perhaps we could all do a little better job of self-editing from time to time (myself included, most definitely).

"By the way, I have seen some photography forums where the moderator censors so much topical content, you start to suspect that perhaps he is on the take from photo manufacturers."

Then stop participating if you find it offensive. Creating, supporting and hosting any worthwhile forum requires a LOT of time, as well as some talent and yes, some cold hard cash. We are VERY fortunate that those who support and host this forum do so COMPLETELY out of their own generosity. If you don't like what's going on in other forums you can either accept it, ignore it or create your own competing forum. I seriously doubt any of those complaing in this thread will actually do the latter. After all, that would take some REAL work (it's a lot easier to sit back and toss darts than it is to build a quality dart board). Still, feel free to prove me wrong. Go out and create your own forum, support it and maintain its archives for five years and then come back and let us all know how it went. Again, I'm not trying to be facetiuos (OK, maybe a little), but seriously, this is a free market. If you build a better forum, peole will flock to it. Then YOU can decide exactly what is and isn't appropriate.

Very little in life is free. Of that, very little is worthwhile. This forum is both (the latter in abundance). To complain about something that is both free and worthwhile is the epitomy of selfish ungratefulness. We have been given a generous gift. We should accept it and be grateful and do our best to give something of ourselves in return to make it even better.


-- Kerry Thalmann (largeformat@thalmann.com), March 10, 2002.

>Go out and create your own forum, support it and maintain its archives for five years and then come back and let us all know how it went<

This is an unnecesarily snide and harsh comment against someone for merely expressing their opinion. I dont see how this is any better than some of the things that were censored. Jeez man, isnt anyone allowed an opinion here now? Its a pretty ugly little can of worms that was opened, huh?

Nobody is disputing that Tuan and Phil have provided an excellent opportunity here for us all,a nd I have ALWAYS been VERY grateful for it. Trying to make me and others who dont appreciate being censored out as selfish ingrates is a presumptious and innaccurate at best, and constitutes a personal attack that I dont appreciate one bit. Not to mention the other personal attacks above. Supposedly personal attacks arent allowed here! Are these going to be allowed to stand?

I have participated in this forum for years, and have contributed to it many times as well as learned from it. I have always answered people's questions when I could, as well as asked questions of my own. Everyone who posts here is a contributor, and when you start censoring things as harmless as those things that were censored, you no longer have the atmosphere for exhange of ideas that makes/made this the kind of place that it is/was. Now I guess I have to watch my every word and make sure it meets some ill-defined guidelines that apparently only apply to SOME people.

I'm guessing that most of you didnt even see the comments that were deleted, because I cant believe that most of you would defend it. Personally I probably would have regretted the exact wording of my statements later if it turned the person isnt a troll, but if the others were inappropriate then we're in trouble

-- Wayne (wsteffen@skypoint.com), March 10, 2002.

I'd like to thank those who posted to defend me although I've deleted most of your postings here :-)

Scott Jones, in general, the postings which get deleted are those which (a) I read (more on that later) (b) do not comply with the guidelines (clearly spelled out in "About") or (c) do not provide any information (this shall be spelled out clearly in the guidelines, in case it's not obvious enough etiquette for some). This has nothing to do with political correctness. Note that I don't temper with "philosophical" threads. If the main topic of the thread is humor, this is OK.

In "digital vs. traditional" the original poster asked a legitimate question, and there were some informative answers, which got drowned in postings making fun of that question, which as far as I could tell contained no information or ideas. Those posting had no long term value. This was just too much. If I had software tools to let me mark those with a short expiration date so that some could have some fun while not cluttering the database in the long run, I'd just do it, but since this is not the case, I chose to edit for the long term.

Jim Jones, I am not exactly sure what you mean. I try to keep the forum free of personal attacks again *anyone* and my moderation has *nothing* to do with my personal preferences as a photographer.

Chad Jarvis, it is true that some of the stuff that I didn't delete should have been deleted according to my own standards. There is a simple reason for that: as a photographer I spend at least ten weeks in the field per year. Even when I am home, I don't always have time to read all the threads. If someone wants to help with moderation, please contact me !

Wayne, except for a small number of interventions by Alan Gibson, I have been moderating this forum from the start, and I am wondering myself how I managed to change enough to transform a great site into the disguting and confusing thing it has become. I suggest that on the internet it is sometimes all too easy to take things personally. Please don't. If you think my deleting of your posting was a mistake, do not take personal offense. I'm just trying my best towards a goal that I (and apparently some others) find worthwile. I'm not always successful.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (qtl@ai.sri.com), March 11, 2002.

Q, I think you do a fine job for the most part and things get said in the heat of disgust that arent really meant. My snide comments wentfarther than I intended, and I apologize. Its just frustrating that "the rules" do not seem to apply equally. In my opinion, a lot worse things have been said on other threads in the last couple days, but I think thats the nature of censoring (editing). There simply is no way to do it fairly. Oh well, I'm over it. In reply to the others (possibly deleted by now), I never wanted anyones comments edited, including the personal attacks in this thread-ie, I never wanted to have my cake and eat it too. back to photography

-- Wayne (wsteffen@skypoint.com), March 11, 2002.

Apparently, censorship is like making love. The more you do it, the more you want to do it.

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), March 12, 2002.

Something that needs to be remembered by all who participate in this (and most other) internet forum(s) is that the forum is international in scope. Not everybody who writes here is necessarily fluent enough, or appropriately evocative, in written speech [in english] to convey the nuances and inflections that characterize spoken language. Rarely, if ever, is anything written to insult, but churlishness does appear - take no offense. It takes a tremendous amount of skill to write in a vernacular such that you accurately convey to all readers the mood and tone of your message. (paraphrased, 'lighten up':)

-- Paul Coppin (coppin@execulink.com), March 14, 2002.

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