Saturday, September 10, 2005

Flag?

I just returned to my blog today after a couple days off and discovered a new link on the blogger bar at the top of my blog.

What the heck is the Flag? button?

According to Blogger:

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


Then they go on to say:

The Flag button is not censorship and it cannot be manipulated by angry mobs.


Oh really? So what happens if every person who voted for John Kerry in the last election looks at my blog and reads here that I think "John Kerry is an ignorant moron who perfromed his greatest service for the United States by losing that election". If those millions of readers all click on the "Flag?" button on my site will Blogger defend my right to publish my own opinions and thoughts. Or will the sensor my site by removing or blocking what 49 million readers think is questionable content.

I have to disagree with blogger. Any time you remove or block access to someone's writing you are sensoring that person. So saying that the flag button is not censorship is a lie. It is exactly sensorship.

However since Blogger is providing this blog service for free I can see why the would want the ability to sensor what people post using their service. With today's litigous society I could see them being sued if one of their bloggers was posting descriptions of murders, rapes, child molestations, etc. But I think that they are naive to think that this Flag? button will not be used by people to lash out at others who don't think or believe as they do.

Annika's Journal has a slightly different approach:

This is a bad idea, and totally goes against what i thought was Blogger's most important asset, the total freedom it gave to its users. It's also an unnecessary idea. Blog readers have always had a remedy for objectionable content they might happen upon. It's called the back button. Blogger's "Flag Button" is the blogging equivalent of yelling "Mom!" everytime your brother calls you a ninny.


I guess that since Blogger is providing for me, free of charge, a method of blogging I shouldn't condemn them out of hand. So I will wait and see what happens. If I get as many flag clicks as I get comments or trackbacks it won't be a problem. If it does become a problem I can always get some server space and register my own domain and start using Wordpress. I recently set up a Wordpress news site on my kid's school's website so I think I could handle setting up a blog for myself. But for the moment I'm a cheap bastard who doesn't want to pay for a sevice that I can use for free.

2 comments:

RangerDomoKun said...

Just a guess, but I think it has to do with all the porn advertising ones that are popping up.. Flag those primarily

And while I agree with freespeech, I do also acknoledge I didn't expect the "She-Males-Gallery" when I clicked on next blog..

It wasn't actually any thought, it wasn't about transgender issues, it was basically spam add for porn website for a particular fetish (so far the ones I've seen list all as location Green Zone Iraq...

Anonymous said...

(I clicked comments in my feed reader from your RSS feed, and that asked me to post a comment through Haloscan, but that didn't seem to connect to these comments! So here goes again.)

If a blog is flagged enough, Blogger ONLY makes sure it doesn't get linked on their front pages (top blogs, recently updated, etc), and stops it from getting happened upon from the NEXT BLOG link also on that top bar. They DO NOT remove the blog, or close it, or censor it. It is still just as likely to end up in search engine results, and just as easy to promote yourself.

If all the liberals in the world somehow found your blog and decided to attack it, that button wouldn't help them at all.