From: Marc Riddell [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 08:11 AM
To: 'Wiki-EN-L (new topics)'
Subject: [WikiEN-l] Freedom of Speech in WP
Recently the Mayor of a small town in Texas tried to pass an ordinance
making it against the law to use the ³N² word within the city limits. Fine:
$500 for each offense.
He went into this believing the ordinance¹s passage would be a slam dunk
it wasn¹t. The vast majority of the multiracial citizens of the town
protested to such a degree that he finally gave up and abandoned the idea.
The citizens' basic argument: what word is next?
I bring this up because, when I first came to WP, the one policy I found
most disturbing was the one concerning ³incivility². Most especially the
practice of banning (punishing) members of the WP community for using words
and phrases considered by whoever made up the policy to be ³offensive².
This, to me, made WP free in every thing but speech.
I know this issue has been touched upon several times in this Mailing List
just since I started participating in it, but I wanted to speak directly to
the policy and its practice at this time.
If a particular word or phrase offends you hit delete and move on.
What are your thoughts and feelings about this?
Absent the policy, things would be much nastier than they are. This is the general pattern
which occurs in other venues which do not have the minimal controls we have. The result is
a wild west atmosphere where tough talk rules, in a sense. We have enough of that now.
From a New York Times article, "THE YEAR AHEAD:
TECHNOLOGY; Try to Play Nice, Wicked Wide Web"
'As a Web 2.0 site or a blog becomes more popular, a growing percentage of its reader
contributions devolve into vitriol, backstabbing and name-calling (not to mention
Neanderthal spelling and grammar). Participants address each other as
''idiot'' and ''moron'' (and worse) the way correspondents
of old might have used ''sir'' or ''madam."'