St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Computerized censorship on the ACC blog

I have contributed my thoughts on the blog of the Arch City Chronicle for a couple years now. It has always been a fine forum for the exchange of ideas and political observations.

But tonight I encountered a new wrinkle: computerized censorship.

Editor Dave Drebes' item about recall signatures being submitted against Alderman Jeffrey Boyd attracted an interesting thread about the causes of the recent recall trend and the absence of party competition. I then attempted to chime in with the following comment:

"Hmmm, this thread may have stumbled on something here. In the two locales where recalls are most rampant (the City of St Louis and St. Chas County) we have essentially a one-party system, but with different parties dominating each. The real action in both locales is in the primary. Yet, the Democratic Party prides itself in substituting back-room brokered deals for an actual contested primary election (see the praise heaped on such a deal in the current ACC issue).

"If there's no meaningful election in either the general or the primary, maybe recall elections are the only place where democracy has a forum!"

When I tried to submit that comment, I immediately got a screen that read, "Your comment could not be submitted due to the following questionable content: deals."

So I substituted "agreements" and "arrangements" for "deals" and the computer bought it and I made my point.

While I am a bit of a First Amendment purist, I can understand the value of some screening. The comment section of this very blog is regretably diminished by computerized spammers who use it to their own ends, unrelated to content, and I wish I could figure out how to delete their messages. It's also probably smart for the ACC to screen for the n-word or the f-word, but "deals"? It's "questionable content" to discuss political deals? My comment referenced the ACC's own front page article in which Drebes himself referred to the potential 5th District Council primary as "[a] deal looking for a broker."

If the ACC censorship screen isn't loosened, the value of the ACC's blog will be seriously diminished, and the valuable exchange of ideas will suffer.


Blogger Michael M. said...

I can imagine that a simple spam filter would exclude "deals." The rejection might have been based on excluding unsolicited commercial posts rather than political posts.

November 24, 2005 at 12:29 AM  

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