Objectionable Content

Blogger has implemented a number of new features recently including the word verification for comments and now a new item in which you can flag objectionable content.

“This feature is called “Flag As Objectionable” and it’s accessible via the Blogger Navbar. The “Flag?” button allows the blogging community to easily note questionable content, which in turn helps us take action when needed. So we’re relying on you, the users, to be our eyes on the web, and to let us know of potential issues that are important to you.

It is our strong belief that blogs help make the Web an important medium of self-expression; Blogger has given a voice to millions of people. Our users gossip, joke, rant, publish, share, and on occasion might post potentially objectionable stuff. We generally do not review the content posted through our service but our responsibility extends beyond Blogger users to casual readers of Blog*Spot.

The “Flag?” button is a means by which readers of Blog*Spot can help inform us about potentially questionable content, so we can prevent others from encountering such material by setting particular blogs as “unlisted.” This means the blog won’t be promoted on Blogger.com but will still be available on the web — we prefer to keep in mind that one person’s vulgarity is another’s poetry. Or something like that.

For more serious cases, such as spam blogs or sites engaging in illegal activity, we will continue to enforce our existing policies (removing content and deleting accounts when necessary).”

Objectionable content is so very subjective. What I find offensive may not be seen as such by another and vice-versa. I am not sure that I like this. I am a very big proponent of free speech, especially within the blogosphere. I haven’t decided if I believe in any limitations, but those would be very limited. Off the top of my head I have to say that it is probably what you would call hate speech. I am not interested in helping racists promote their ideas.

Blogger also referred to The Wisdom of Crowds which I think is interesting but I am not sure that I buy into. I haven’t read the book, but I did read the entry. I don’t know that I accept the premise that crowds of people will come to smarter conclusions than individuals. There are far too many variables for this to make sense to me.

But this does provide good food for thought.

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Comments

  1. Jack's Shack says

    Ezzie,

    Children who surf the net should be monitored by their parents. I am not a big fan of rampant censorship.

    In theory a group of modern day Amelakites could find my blog or yours and together they could flag it. In theory their group effort could knock out someone else.

    This is so subjective, I just think that it is poorly done.

    IT,

    Me too.

  2. Irina Tsukerman says

    Child pornogrophy is definitely illegal and that’s practically the only thing I would mark as objectionable if I came across it.

  3. PsychoToddler says

    This doesn’t have anything to do with what you wrote (what a surprise), but I installed GoStats recently and when it asked me to classify my blog, I chose “objectional content.” Now I rank in the Top 10 for objectional content!

    Woo hoo!

  4. I actually must say I appreciate Blogger’s new ‘Flag’ button. Firstly, they are smartly not taking the pages off of Blogger, just not allowing what many might consider objectionable to show up randomly. Being that I occasionally hit porn or hate speech while clicking ‘Next Blog’, I am very in favor.
    Remember too that children are able to have blogs (and many do). For them to accidently be able to stumble on pornography could be illegal, though I honestly have no clue.
    As for the ‘Wisdom of Crowds’, I agree that it is a very flawed argument; in any situation there are a number of possible reasons why it would not apply.
    As to freedom of speech in general… tricky subject. The hope would be that people use their own common sense and morality, but they don’t. I’d say that items that most people feel is objectionable should have certain restrictive access; much like dirty magazines have a slip cover in a magazine stand.

  5. Jack's Shack says

    Stacey,

    I agree with you, there are too many variables.

    Barbara,

    I’ll check it out.

  6. BarbaraFromCalifornia says

    One of your comments on my blog has inspired my latest post.

    Care to comment or judge it?

  7. “There are far too many variables for this to make sense to me.”

    And far too many sheep.

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