15 June 2014

Got yer free speech right here

Occasionally I get people here who want to engage in interminable back-and-forth arguments in the comment threads.  This leads to me having to explain the difference between a blog and a discussion forum, which often leads to more arguing, which leads to me deleting their comments, which leads to e-mails ignorantly bleating about censorship and free speech, at which point I tune them out, since I have other things to do than deal with people who didn't even bother to read the last paragraph of the comments policy.  However, obviously some people would value a real discussion forum where they could say whatever they wanted with no censorship at all.

Well, have I got a treat for you!  F169 BBS is a new website -- just started a month ago -- which provides exactly that (there's a handy intro page for new users).  The only limitations are (1) no child pornography (most websites have that rule, since allowing such material can lead to legal problems) and (2) no gay pornography.  Aside from that, anything goes, and I do mean anything.  To maximize disinhibition, it's anonymous; you can register a "moniker" to use consistently, or type in any name you choose, or post totally anonymously "as a dot".  People who are used to the blogosphere will need only a minute or two on F169 to notice something they think is so outrageous that it ought to be banned.  That's the beauty of real free speech, though.  If you can say anything you want, so can everybody else.

There's a certain amount of complete rubbish and childish material as well as outright shocking stuff, but some serious discussions too.  You want free speech, there it is.  And you'll find out what a certain number of people out there really think.


Anonymous AWJ said...

How is this any different from 4chan?

15 June, 2014 13:59  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I'm not familiar with 4chan. There are several BBSs that make similar claims, though in reality actual censorship practices vary. I like F169 because it seems genuinely committed to maximizing free speech, because it's so new and there's still a chance to influence its direction (other board with similar aims have ended up as mere extreme-right cesspits), and because the guy who runs it ("Hans") is very engaged and responsive.

15 June, 2014 14:48  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

The F169 smacks a bit of "Reddit" which I browse occasionally on my tablet. Commentary there ranges between salient useful information and commentary to mindless drivel; all anonymous.

What I really object to is the MSM employment of anonymous comments. From KATU "tell us what you think?" on their broadcasts to the local newspaper's online version. Of what use or value to me are the uninformed armchair opinions of the mindless minions?

Several years ago the local paper refused to accept anonymous Letters to the Editor; their position was that if you had an opinion you wanted published, you had to attribute your (true) identity on that comment. Accountability was the goal. But in our technical age, all that now seems to be lost.

I wonder how many trolls or nut cases would spew their craziness out there if their opinions could be laid to the feet of an identifiable person? (Well, probably still a few, perhaps.)

I had a similar discussion with a guy who wanted to verbally spar on my blog. With respect to how his cowardess was bouied by his anonymity, I suggested that their shame is why the KKK hid their identities behind their hoods. If one really believes in their stance, then they would have no shame in everyone knowing who they are.

And occasionally I have done that in commenting about things I have felt strongly about. So far, no one has yet burned a cross on my lawn. - Robert (the Skeptic) Neary

15 June, 2014 22:16  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The option of anonymity is essential. Some people like to say that everyone should attach their real name to their opinions so they can be "accountable" for what they say, by which they really mean the person should be exposed to intimidation by threats. Millions of people would feel unable to post publicly about atheism, homosexuality, or various other things if they had to worry about, say, their employer seeing those comments attached to their real name.

I think women, incidentally, are more aware of this. Most women bloggers don't use their real names, and for various reasons, women who post controversial opinions on the net are much more likely to get harassed, stalked, threatened, etc. than men are.

Without anonymity, not only the trolls and nutcases, but many other people would be silenced. And is it even a good idea to silence the trolls and nutcases, anyway? They won't stop believing what they do, so aren't we better off knowing that they believe it?

Yes, a lot of what's posted on anonymous BBSs is rubbish written by morons, but remember, 90% of everything is crap.

16 June, 2014 07:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that they will ban child and gay pornography. Does that mean regular old misogynistic pornography is OK? Why can children and gays have protection from hate crimes but regular women have to put up with that crap I wonder?

18 June, 2014 16:08  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Pornography isn't a hate crime, idiot.

18 June, 2014 18:38  

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