Internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China

Internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China is conducted under a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations. . .

The escalation of the government’s effort to neutralize critical online opinion comes after a series of large anti-Japanese, anti-pollution and anti-corruption protests, many of which were organised or publicised using instant messaging services, chatrooms and text messages. . . Critical comments appearing on Internet forums, bulletin boards, blogs, vlogs or any major portals such as Sohu and Sina are usually erased within minutes.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It can happen here.  Dissent can be silenced.  Critical thought can disappear.  Blogs can be deleted.

— Michael Norton

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6 comments

  1. jworthy@gmail.com

    Gasp! You mean a very public organization is concerned enough with its image that it would dare to remove critical comments? I’m speechless.

    I think the political activists in China might take umbrage at you drawing parallels between the Chinese government actively stifling their ability to communicate via third-party media and MLB removing critical comments or blogs for its official blog site.

    Also, you’re just begging to be “redacted” when you go on the main blog here and start whacking hornets nests like you did. I doubt Chinese dissidents would complain if their critical comments were removed from a government blog, so you shouldn’t either.

    Like many people, you seem to have the misperception that a corporation’s website is a venue for free speech. MLB owns this site and can do whatever it wants with blogs within the very expansive terms of use. If you don’t like it, no one’s putting a gun to your head and forcing you to pay 50 bucks a year to them.

    I’m not sure what paying money to complain is doing for you or anyone else. If it’s so bad, just take your big of any of the hundreds of sites offering free blogs and blog to your heart’s content, free of the strictures of Evil MLB.

  2. SomeBallyard

    So, jworthy, the implication of your argument is that MLBlogs is nothing more than a promotional vehicle for MLB, not a legitimate blogging host at all. And in that case, we’re all just shills for MLB. Of course you don’t seem to mind playing that role, but I doubt very many of us signed up for that.

    MLBlogs does not represent itself as a “corporate website”. It represents itself as a for fee blog host. “Official affiliate \ unofficial opinions” is prominently displayed. I don’t know about you, but that implies to me shining the corporate apple is not expected.

    I’m not so concerned about the redaction of my comments on their public blog: that’s just petty. What I am concerned about are threats to remove my blog if I don’t toe the line for MLBlogs. That was actually what prompted this post.

    One other thing: again, by logical extension, I should delete your comment. It is, after all, critical of me. You’ve spent a lot of effort to express your opinion, which I could disrespectfully obliterate with the click of a button.

    But then, I believe the free exchange of ideas is at the very essence of blogging.

  3. jworthy@gmail.com

    If you don’t think this is a promotional vehicle for MLB, then you haven’t spent much time thinking about MLB’s motivation for starting this. It’s surely not about generating revenue with blog subscriptions, judging by the small number of regular bloggers who seem to blog here beyond that first month. With all the stuff on the front page tying in the MLB shop and buying stuff, it’s pretty clear this is just another advertising vehicle for MLB.

    I’m not sure who this Mark Newman person is beyond someone with some sort of management role and the main blog on this site, but asking for the name and contact information of his supervisor is a pretty threatening gesture. If someone repeatedly were posting things like that about me in a public forum, I’d be pretty displeased and might consider it harassment, too.

    Obviously I don’t know the exact nature of your interactions with the people who run this site, but given that you appear to have been criticizing the site for a while and it’s only when you’ve stepped up your attacks on a specific person that you found yourself in hot water, I don’t think this is about “toeing the line.” I’ve seen plenty of other bloggers on here complaining about the way the site is run, and I haven’t heard any other reports of threatened deletion.

    Whatever the case, ad hominem attacks are a rather dubious inclusion in “the free exchange of ideas” you speak of. Maybe you should tone down the rhetoric and the personal stuff if paying these people for a service you can get free elsewhere really is that important to you.

  4. SomeBallyard

    Actually I’ve thought a great deal about the nature of MLBlogs. Since the first year I’ve been here watching Mr. Hominem’s attempt to cultivate a blogging community, and, failing miserably, as you note, due to corruption, mismanagement and a complete lack of understanding of the nature of blogging, demean and degrade this blogging community by turning it into a cheap billboard for women’s apparel. Certainly I’ve always understood MLBlogs was intended to function as a promotional vehicle for MLB. But you won’t sell much advertising in a newspaper unless you establish a credible newspaper first. Due to Mr. Hominem’s ineptitude, MLBlogs is the laughing stock of the larger blogosphere.

    When I’ve attempted to resolve issues in a straightforward manner, I’ve been subjected to treatment quite unbefitting a paying customer of this service. In what other business, when you ask the name of the supervisor of the person you are dealing with, would “I don’t have a supervisor” be acceptable? I wonder if his supervisor knows that. Everyone has a supervisor.

    Whether Mr. Hominem finds that threatening—well, that’s kind of why we have supervisors, isn’t it? If he didn’t have anything to hide, why shouldn’t he reveal the name of his supervisior. Trust me when I tell you he knows full well what I’m talking about. On the other hand you seem to have enough insight into this issue and behind the scenes conversations that I’ve suspected you were a shill, so maybe you do know what I’m talking about.

    I haven’t attacked Mr. Hominem, I’ve treated him with the contempt he has fully earned. There is a difference, you know. My attack was against the foolish policy of turning MLBlogs into an online women’s clothing store. Mr. Hominem has characterized it as a personal attack (and how is it that you make that same mistake?), but then a central tenet of my complaint has been he confuses personal and professional interests. He turned promotion on MLBlogs into personal patronage. He is “doing favors”. I have stated clearly before to him that my only expectation is he act professionally. He is not a private blogger. He is the public face of MLBlogs. He is in the public sphere. If I lampoon George Bush or Hillary Clinton, am I making a personal attack? People in the public sphere must expect and accept criticism without taking it personally. It is the price to be paid. Adolescents need not apply.

    Why do I care? You asked why I would continue to pay fifty bucks to be treated this way. That is a legitimate question. Why don’t I just pack up and leave, taking my blog elsewhere?

    Because I was foolish enough to invest in MLBlogs. I bought into the idea that Mr. Hominem was selling before he decided to become a women’s clothier that we were building a vibrant blogging community. You fail to appreciate the amount of effort that goes into blogging. Like the other hard working bloggers around here I’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of hours slaving over posts, responding to comments like yours, reading and encouraging other bloggers. Since this blog has been blacklisted from promotion by MLBlogs, much of my readership comes from commenting—the lifeblog of any blogging community. For many first time bloggers, I’ve been the first to welcome them. This blog represents a considerable amount of time and energy. As you note, most would be blogs don’t survive a month. This one is in its third year. That requires commitment.

    That sort of precludes just packing up and walking away, doesn’t it? Your failure to appreciate that is a fatal flaw in your logic. Mr. Hominem’s failure to understand that is that death knell of MLBlogs, evidence of my point earlier of his complete lack of understanding of the nature of blogging. If he did understand, he would not threaten to terminate this blog simply because I’ve said some things he doesn’t like. Oh, yeah, he claims it was because I used his name. That, of course, is a canard. Google his name and you’ll find numerous references in MLBlogs. Did he threaten to terminate those blogs?

    So who do I appeal to when such an arbitrary decision is made affecting a considerable investment of my time and energy? Mr. Hominem (remember, I can’t use his name) has no superior. He is accountable to no one.

    So, considering a blog can be terminated simply on a whim, if they don’t like something you say, would you start a blog? Would you keep at it day after day, year after year? Now you know part of the reason MLBlogs is foundering to the point they feel they have to parade an aging starlet to attract readership and keep MLBlogs viable. Many teams don’t have a single blogger covering them. This isn’t a failure of the MLBlogging community, which has worked hard and supported each other. It is the failure of leadership who can’t understand commitment, open discourse, integrity—the essentials of blogging.

    So who do those of us who have invested so much in MLBlogs complain to? What recourse do we have against arbitrary, even personally antagonistic treatment? Who will listen? Certainly not Mr. Hominem. And so I resort to parody, lampoonery, sarcasm and other rhetorical devises employed by suppressed thinkers of all ages. Gulliver’s Travels isn’t about little people; The Wizard of Oz isn’t about a girl and her dog.

    But then we’re not in Kansas anymore, are we, Toto?

  5. Russell

    Michael-for my own safety I wish to dissasociate myself from your blog.I accept MLBlogs view of both the past and present.I love MLBlogs.

  6. SomeBallyard

    Russell,
    Because I appreciate you and all the other hard working bloggers who have commented on this site and encouraged us, I _hope_ you will disasscociate from the blog. No sense in everyong going down.

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