Censorship... do barriers constitute Censorship?

in steemit •  2 years ago

It can come in the form of reducing payouts so it is no longer feasible for an author to put as much effort into a post, article, etc. It can come in the form of making it so information can only be seen by putting in a proper request, or going to a specific location or room. These things are true of everything, not just steemit.

A common argument on steemit that I myself have made is that steemit is censorship free because it is on the block chain.

Lately I have come to realize that this is functionally no different to someone saying "It is not censored, you can put in a FOIA request and get access".

We know that is slow, and likely heavily redacted.

The problem with saying it is on the block chain is that you have suddenly limited access to those technically inclined or willing to learn how to view the block chain in the raw. That is a very limited and small audience.

That could be much like me attacking the redacted parts of documents as censorship with:
"You could run for public office, get elected, and then get access..."
"You could join the FBI and work hard and eventually get access..."

Those things obviously are far more extreme than viewing the block chain. Yet in reality that could be used to attempt to argue that that information is not censored either.

My recent thought is the idea that BARRIERS that a person must overcome in order to view information from a perception (in other words subjectively) be viewed as censorship. Is it technically censorship? NO.

Will that stop very vocal people from posting about censorship based upon their perceptions? NO.

I've also noted that negative news tends to spread like wild fire. Positive news not as much. I said in a comment earlier that you can do ten positive things, and a single negative thing and it is very often that negative thing which people talk about.


The roadmap for steemit that was posted earlier today had some cool ideas about people being able to moderate their posts, communal groups, etc and determine what they want visible. It is noted correctly that the information will still be on the block chain.

I do think this is a great idea.

An idea I had when commenting was the idea of having some very subtle icon like an eyeball or something that appears somewhere near the top of the post IF that post has hidden content. Then the person could choose to click that eyeball to view that content, though the default view would always be as the moderator intended.

I proposed this because the statement that you can go view it on the block chain is likely going to be a barrier to most of the masses. You are expecting them to go and learn how to do that, use an external tool or site, etc. The likely result would instead by negative PR from the people that are uncomfortable or just mentally not capable of doing that. We are wanting to grow huge and attract as many people as possible.

I believe in the interest of this having some very unobtrusive way for people to view the block chain ONSITE of a post would be desirable. There would be no real barriers or hoops to jump through. If the icon appears there is hidden content. If the person truly wants to see what was hidden they click the icon. DONE.

I had one person comment essentially that people should be able to moderate their posts. I don't disagree. Yet, I also believe in the censorship free aspect of steem/steemit. I do not believe we need to act elite and assume that the masses will have our skills, or the ability/desire to learn how to go cruise through the block chain. It is far more likely they will simply get vocal about it. In fact, I can say it WILL happen. No doubt about it.

Now even if we were to add an icon you still would have people complain. That is unavoidable. Some people simply like to complain.

We should however attempt to build an inclusive platform, not a platform where we force our views and opinions upon how people will use it or want to use it upon everyone.

With this said... I really like the idea of moderating comments, and posts. I simply believe we should make it easy for ANYONE to see what was hidden if they choose, rather than expecting them to jump through hoops.

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My personal opinion is that Steemit should make it easy to see what was censored and to show all content people want to see. The only content that steemit should force people to go to the blockchain for is content that the authorities force us to take down at gun point.

Fortunately, that content will still be readily available by a quick link to a dozen other websites displaying the same content but from a different jurisdiction.


I agree. :) This is basically what I was getting at. As usual you cut to the chase and said it more quickly and to the point.


Very well said! So excited!

Personally, i think the idea of someone being able to moderate their posts is a pretty bad idea. Artificial consensus is twice the sin of disagreement.


I don't care if they can moderate it if I have something telling me that stuff is being hidden and makes it easy for my to UNHIDE it. I am not a fan of other people telling me what I can and cannot see, or what I should or should not like. This means overall I don't like moderation either. Yet, if I have a way to quickly see what they chose to conceal from me, I won't care.


Posts that ive seen with hidden comments have them listed at the very bottom, making them pretty easy to miss for most people on long posts.

I guess what i have to wonder is why should we allow someone to control the replies that other people see to their posts.

Like my post about the flags, and the reasons i thought you were wrong -- wouldnt it have been kind of shitty if i could have just completely hidden your rebuttals (not that id do something like that, but as an example). And yeah, people could click on the greyed out thingy to see what you said. But some people. maybe even most people wont. The whole purpose of the greying out/putting it at the bottom, is to make it less visible.

Just as an example, a couple weeks ago, i noticed a top-of-trending post that was completely plagarized. I wrote a comment, a couple whales noticed and the post ended up losing most of its reward.

Would it have if the poster had the power to hide critical comments?

But even beyond downvoting, the ability to hide dissenting comments takes away the incentive to rebut them. It detracts from engagement and debate.


Yeah I am not proposing that. I'd like to see something that doesn't show any of that. Like I said maybe an ICON at the top of the post that ONLY appears if the post has been moderated of things hidden. You could click on that to unhide everything in that post and it'd display just like a normal post. You could even interact and have conversations on completely hidden parts of the post. You could use that and get rid of that SHOW/HIDE and ghosted posts stuff...


You could click on that to unhide everything in that post and it'd display just like a normal post. You could even interact and have conversations on completely hidden parts of the post. You could use that and get rid of that SHOW/HIDE and ghosted posts stuff...

i like this idea


I spoke with someone the other day that thinks trolls should be able to troll on here without penalty to attract more people. I don't find interacting with trolls something I like to engage in, but if that could be hidden and then other people could unhide it they could go to town interacting with each other and trolling back and forth and I'd not care.

This of course would be different from a down vote. I wouldn't be penalizing their comment. Just wouldn't want the trolling spamming my post.

On the otherhand, I am likely not to use this myself. So take this just as an example... I've only muted one person since July. You can also count my down votes probably on one hand... maybe more than that, but definitely two hands would suffice.

Can not agree more !!!

Free speech includes the freedom to decide what one publishes on their own website or not.

You are evaluating this in the context of present day, where there is only one good option for interacting with the Steem Blockchain community, and that is steemit.com. If that doesn't change, we haven't done our job.


This is correct. Which does not stop you from going to make your own website. I am speaking specifically about Steemit.com which is the flagship front end that is being pushed as censorship free. If you put hoops and barriers (no matter how subjectively easy you believe those are) on someone to bypass those barriers then many will view it as censorship. Will it be in reality? No, if they are not "lazy" (again subjective) they can go find it on the blockchain. Yet perception is all that matters when it comes to PR and Marketing.

Another thing about "lazy". I might consider you LAZY because you don't leave people alone and just go write your own version of the website so you don't have to look at what you don't want to see.

I actually don't feel that way... I only provide it as an example. How challenging a "hoop" is to jump through is Subjective. What a person must do in order to not be considered "lazy" is subjective.

Forcing your personal preferences upon OTHERS is wrong, if you are intending to make a free, uncensored, OPEN, community.


Steemit.com which is the flagship front end that is being pushed as censorship free

Anything posted via steemit.com will be published into the Steem Blockchain, which is free of censorship. Those posts and comments will live forever on many websites.

The display of posts on steemit.com has never been censorship free, and never will be. It exists in a legal jurisdiction that mandates censorship xor jail for several different types of content. We mitigate this by writing all posts to the Steem Blockchain.

What we display (or do not display) on steemit.com isn't even remotely approaching censorship of any kind.


I think you need to carefully reread my posts and what I said to you.

I'll try to make it CLEARER and short.

Is it technically censored? NO (I've said this repeatedly... even in the original post)

Is it perceived as censorship subjectively? YES

Does telling someone to stop whining because they can go look at it on the block chain or some other website realistically address this? NO

That is eliteism and assuming because you can do a thing all other users should and will be able to as well.

Thus, with that in mind moderating other peoples posts so they have to jump through hoops or go to other sites to reveal the hidden information WILL WITH ZERO DOUBT result in cries of censorship and negative PR.

Furthermore, it is a huge assumption and generalization that negative PR is good. Sometimes negative PR can be good if what the person is claiming is not perceived as true by the masses. They go look, think the person is full of shit, and it is good PR.

If you think the masses are going to be convinced they should be willing to accept another hiding their posts and tell them they can find it on another site then I believe your opinion on the capabilities and attitudes of the masses is much higher than mine.

My solution... which is as simple as I can get it. Put an icon that shows up only when there are hidden aspects of a post. If people want to see what is hidden they click it, it shows everything without moderation.

Doesn't sound like a bad thing to me. Yet I am not a fan of other people being able to FORCE their interests and will upon others. I also don't view steemit.com as my personal website.

EDIT: You should also go read @dantheman's reply to this post which he made the day I posted it. If there are changes and there are PLANS for steemit he is likely to be the guy that makes it happen.