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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Censorship on Joel on Software

I'm *REALLY* mad at Joel on Software now. They have a particularly insidious form of censorship. If I log in as myself, my comment shows in the thread mentioned in "Incentive Stock Options and Startups". If I'm not logged in (verified with IE instead of FireFox), then it doesn't show my comment.

In other words, the person being censored doesn't even notice that their comment was censored!

Someone *SPECIFICALLY WROTE THAT FEATURE* into the forum engine! That is *EVIL*.

I already knew that StackOverflow was lousy. Now, I have another forum to add to my list of "Don't bother reading. Don't bother commenting." There are more interesting forums and blogs than I have time to follow all of them. The correct viewpoint is "A forum needs FSK as a contributor and reader, more than FSK needs that forum."

That's the nice thing about the Internet compared with the State. On the Internet, if the owners of a community are abusive, I can leave or start my own community. With government, when the "owners" are abusive, I am SOL. If a moderator on a stupid Internet forum abuses their power, imagine how a State thug behaves. I wonder if Joel Spolsky even realizes how his moderators are ruining his community? That's an example of the Agent-Principal problem at work.

Just reading the forum, I would have not known about this particularly evil form of censorship. Now that I know, I don't have to bother posting there anymore. The moderators wonder "Where did all the users go?" The site owner doesn't see the connection "Abusive behavior by moderators leads to users leaving."

They also made a huge mistake by banning Anonymous commenting. If I have my own site/forum, I'll allow Anonymous comments, but users would have an option to filter out Anonymous comments.

It's sad. I once thought "Joel on Software" was a cool site. It's obvious that it's "jumped the shark".

I noticed I have this problem on almost every forum. My viewpoints tend to be extreme (i.e. true and accurate). This inevitably leads to a confrontation with a moderator.

That's one of the reasons I moved to my own blog, to avoid confrontations with stupid moderators. I am somewhat reluctant about using Google, because they could pull the plug on my blog at any time. If I have my own domain and my own Linode, that's less risky.

An Internet community should *NEVER* ban anyone. You should have a good moderation/filtering system, but not one that leads to absolute censorship. One person's trolling is another person's content. On my blog, I ridicule pro-State trolls but I don't censor them. I do have a comment spam problem, but I'm pretty good at filtering it out without removing real comments. I do it manually. On WordPress, there's some plugins that assist, but I'd still want the final say. On other blogs, I noticed that anti-spam filters sometimes have a false-positive identifying my comments as spam (or the site owner is a jerk and blaming the spam filter).

I have considered PHPBB as a forum engine. However, I really should "roll my own" forum engine, to implement a non-abusive moderation/filtering system. Some of my regular readers would be the seed users, if I try writing my own Digg/Reddit/Forum/Wiki engine. I might put up PHPBB until then. I only made $7.50 from AdBrite in January, leaving me 1/3 short of my "$20/month" total required for a Linode.

I'm going to move to self-hosting the earlier of:

  1. I reach my $20/month income goal.
  2. I get my own apartment. (My parents think "$20/month on hosting" is an unreasonable waste of money. Most of my time goes to working right now, so I'll take the path of least resistance and stick with Blogger.)
The more I look into it, the more I realize the superiority of self-hosted WordPress to Blogger. I want to go with a full Linode rather than shared hosting, because I want to write some of my own code in addition to just putting up a WordPress blog.


George Donnelly said...

I can see at least one of your comments in that thread.

FSK said...

One of my comments was deleted, basically the part after where I respond to the pro-State troll although I did edit it a little.

There won't be any new comments by me on Joel on Software.

Anonymous said...

Check out FruitShow. It's a free open source sorta-clone of Joel's forums, written by a crowd of ex-pat Joel forum participants that were driven out.

You could also roll your own forum in an afternoon or so, but FruitShow is pretty good and is BSD licensed so you can do whatever you want with it.

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