Saturday, May 23, 2009

Harry's Place bans dissenting comments

The well known blog, Harry's Place, a pro-Zionist site, has a 'moderation policy' that doesn't really work but effectively suppresses the dissenting comments of one commenter going by the moniker The Hasbara Buster (HB for short also runs a blog, here).

I know HB to be a committed anti-Zionist but also a strict anti-racist, a sharp reasoner and always respectful, even in the face of the worst kind of bile pro-Zionist commenters at Harry's Place throw at him (and me). Endless distortions, straw man arguments, tu quoques, anonymous commenting and the most horrific forms of ad hominem (I comment there too and 'Gert's landlady' once suggested I 'clean out my basement of SS porn') are what any dissenter faces over at HP, in particular when the subject matter turns to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Now, instead of cleaning out the stables and telling the worst offending trolls where to stick it, one of HP's mandarins has decided to ban a commenter that offered insightful opinions, well reasoned and respectfully presented.

I inquired politely about this sorry state of affairs by means of four comments: two simply weren't published (presumably because the words 'Hasbara Buster' trigger a non-publication mechanism) and two others that were completely ignored by HP's Big Smurf, David Toube (aka David T.) and everybody else there.

The site's motto is:
Liberty, if it means anything, is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear.

Indeed...

I believe David Toube is also a signatory to The Euston Manifesto, which claims:
The signatories say they "reject fear of modernity, fear of freedom, irrationalism, the subordination of women," and "reaffirm the ideas that inspired the great rallying calls of the democratic revolutions of the eighteenth century: liberty, equality and solidarity; human rights; the pursuit of happiness ... But we are not zealots. For we embrace also the values of free enquiry, open dialogue and creative doubt, of care in judgement and a sense of the intractabilities of the world. We stand against all claims to a total — unquestionable or unquestioning — truth."


You don't say...

Other examples of Eustonites censoring comments (for no good reason at all) can be found here (SimplyJews) and here (Terry Glavin).

9 Comments:

At 1:59 PM, Blogger The Sentinel said...

Comment moderation is a typical device fo the left, and the more extreme left they are the more extreme censorship and underhanded tricks they use.

It can only be about censorship and control, becasue what you could possibly have to fear from a blog comment? If it is genuinely beyond the pale, just delete it.

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Comment moderation is neither a thing of the right nor the left: most really popular blogs need to protect themselves from spam, excessive namecalling etc, due to the sheer volume of traffic.

Deleting comments isn't particularly left or right either: MadZionist in the past banned me at least three times, as have some of his Far Right buddies.

In this case (HP) moderators deleted HB's comments because of his opinion. The same happened to me at Terry Glavin and SJ. The 'traditional Left' doesn't consider these Eustonites to be Left anymore: famous signatories like Nick Cohen, Terry Glavin, David Toube, Christopher Hitches et al were all pro Iraq war e.g. At best they're a Blairite kind of centre Right.

 
At 4:11 PM, Blogger The Sentinel said...

It is found much, much more frequently on the left. Catchall labels like troll to describe dissenters are the order of the day.

As are petty underhanded games.

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Sent:

I used to think the same about the Right: it's complete and utter perception. Comment deletions, bans and such like are used in equal amounts on both sides.

If your blog got more hits and far more comments you too would occasionally have to moderate/delete too. Lionheart deleted one of my comments. Friendly but critical, of course.

 
At 7:30 PM, Blogger The Sentinel said...

I haven't deleted any adverse comments politically or personally.

I recently had to delete quite a few comments that came in from people that were voraciously opposed to one online (lefty) muppet I had come across, but that was only because they contained details about him, his partner and attendant threats that I wanted no party too.

Other then that, I couldn't care less what people have to say adversely; if you really believe in what you say it is an easy to matter to refute them.

But I know from experience that the left are far more fascistic in their approach to free speech and use the most bizarre tactics to close it down. I can well imagine that extremist on the right use CM too, but what I am saying is that generally, those on the left who do not consider themselves extremists use the most draconian techniques as a matter of first recourse.

 
At 9:07 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Perception, Sent, nothing more. Confirmation Bias I believe is the posh term.

 
At 3:39 AM, Blogger Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Thank you for this post.

I recall David T once stating (more or less) that people take advantage of their motto to attack them when they have to do some censorship (pruning was the term he used). It reminded me of Israelis claiming to have the most moral army in the world, but crying double standards if someone points out that they don't live up to their professed morality.

Ideologically pure blogs have an effective way to quash dissent. Whenever a contrarian commenter shows up, both real and fake users begin to attack him using foul language and off-topic ad-hominems. Then other users begin to complain that the dissenter is disrupting the blog, when clearly the only disruption comes from his attackers.

What is puzzling in the case of David T is that he's not himself a fanatic. But the company he keeps in the end makes his blog a mouthpiece for the most radicalized pro-Zionist and anti-Muslim positions.

 
At 3:19 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Well, I don't really think David T. is a fanatic either but he did once show himself from his worst side when a leftist anti-Zionist accidentally linked to an anti-Semitic page. When that was pointed out to her, she immediately removed the link and apologised profusely.

David couldn't let it go though and ended up having his blog suspended for a few days because said blogger (Jenna Delich) claimed (rightly I believe) Toube was being libellous. He had to back pedal after that. He was clearly intent on destroying the woman's career when in all likelihood her mistake was honest, short-lived and apologised for.

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger The Sentinel said...

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf,

Certainly that is one tactic you have identified there and described quite succinctly; comment spoofing is another.

And a particular favourite of many seems to be selective CM - using the device you describe, and spoofed comments in an attempt to completely discredit dissenters.

 

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