April 13, 2004

Slashdot Interject, and Thomas Jefferson Muzzle Awards nominations?

Many types of events can serve to remind me just how marginalized I am in terms of ability to be heard. I just found I received more than 200 hits from one comment (albeit highly rated) made by someone else in a Slashdot discussion today. That's a sum which is more than my average daily blog item readership. At least it was a helpful comment.

Anyway, the discussion was about a censorship award, the "Thomas Jefferson Muzzles". These are given by The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. In the discussion about this year's awards, one poster joked that "Slashdot Editors" should be nominated. Playing off that joke, Ian Clarke (Freenet creator, net activist), commented (Thanks, Ian!):

Sadly there is truth to this (Score:5, Interesting)
by Sanity (1431) on Tuesday April 13, @11:31AM (#8848574)
(http://locut.us/ | Last Journal: Monday February 02, @02:45PM)

Since you have raised the issue, and thus few can argue that it is offtopic, perhaps this is a good time to remind people that /. editor Michael Sims has been squatting on censorware.org, a domain previously used by successful anti-censorship group Censorware, who were forced to move to censorware.net. You can find the full story here [sethf.com], but basically he was their webmaster but took the site down after a nasty argument with one of the other participants. Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of that argument, it hardly justifies denying the public such a valuable anti-censorship resource.

Of course, what is particularly interesting is that /. editors (possibly including Sims himself) routinely use their unlimited moderation points to moderate any discussion of this as offtopic.

It will be interesting to see whether they will do this on this thread since it is pretty relevant to its parent which was moderated quite highly. Hell, I am even happy to risk getting bitchslapped [idge.net] to find out.

[Small history note - though for many reasons, I've made a public issue of it, Michael Sims' abusiveness was NOT only of me, by far. In fact, before the final censorware.org website take-down, I'd already been told explicitly that Censorware Project had decided I would be sacrificed versus Michael Sims' attack-spree, because that's what was deemed best for the censorware cause (it wasn't presented as an easy decision, or a happy decision - it was a realpolitik, unfortunate, regrettable, so sorry, sad, recognizing it would hurt me deeply, decision - but it was done all the same, and I've never forgotten it when people preach to me about what will happen in a censorware lawsuit against me). But the final censorware.org website take-down was in fact from Michael Sims retaliating against attorney member Jonathan Wallace ("His response was to take the site offline permanently."). I WAS NOT a factor by that point, I'd been "taken down" myself, metaphorically, by then.]

Y'know, a Muzzle Award nomination is actually a good idea. Contrary to accusations, I've never tried to get Michael Sims fired from his job as a Slashdot "editor", for the thoroughly pragmatic reason that Slashdot de facto supports him. It's no secret. The attitude, paraphrased, is that he might be a bastard, but he is their bastard. So he will be given reputation and pay no matter how much he uses that power to be destructive, up to and including the overall protection which enabled domain-hijacking Censorware Project - it's no skin off their nose.

But nominating Michael Sims for a real award recognizing the hijacking, destruction, and sheer censorship-aiding abusiveness ... I like it.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in activism | on April 13, 2004 06:23 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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