The Instigator
bsergent
Pro (for)
Losing
27 Points
The Contender
beem0r
Con (against)
Winning
39 Points

Censorship is alive and well on debate.org.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/12/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,926 times Debate No: 1725
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (22)

 

bsergent

Pro

While this site may purport to support controversy and discussion of relevant social issues, and total trivia in some cases such as who's cuter than who or which comic book character is tougher, when pressed it is just as capable of bias and cowardice as any other privately owned expression media.

http://www.debate.org...

...was removed because of a heated debate that developed on the nature of the typical American mating paradigm of sexual and economical objectification of females and males respectively.

Subjective excuses about manners or cursing will likely be used to defend this action, or maybe a heavy handed "it's mine I can do as I please" from the owner. But the fact is no one wants to hear about the evolutionary dead end we've gotten ourselves into, and this site, like any other, will suppress truly unpopular ideas rather than allow them to be explored unless that exploration is watered down and meaningless.

Free speech is not possible on any server hosted in the united states.
beem0r

Con

I contend that the 'reason' for that thread's deletion was that it was against the ToS.
More than likely, a _user_ got upset at the topic, and contacted customer support in regards to the breach in ToS. The user is the one who disliked the topic, not the staff. The staff almost had to comply, since the ToS were in fact breached in the debate.
This is my contention. I will now attempt to show you why my theory is much more likely than yours.

In your scenario, the site is actively suppressing a certain topic. However, site views, which predicate ad views and therefore income, are based largely on controversy. By removing said controversy, they remove some of that income.
Also, the 'bad press' generated by this could easily cause a few members to quit.
Also, they have no more vested interest in the issue you brought up as on any other controversial issue.

In my scenario, someone suppressed a certain topic. The reason they gave customer support was the breach in ToS. The site was forced to shut it down because of this. The person may have been losing in the debate and/or comments, could have just been a controlling type, etc.

Basically, if you don't want your topic shut down, don't breach the ToS. you agreed to them when you signed up (though you probably didn't read them), and they even had a separate checkbox to verify that you agreed not to use profanity, use personal attacks, etc.

You also state that it's _impossible_ to have free speech on a US hosted server. I happen to have an unused forum laying around, so in a sec I'll prove you wrong by direct evidence:

http://fm.dureiku.org...

Post whatever you want in the forum I just added. My server is, in fact, in the United States. I'll leave whatever you post there up for at least a week. Proof positive that free speech can and does exist on some US servers.
Debate Round No. 1
bsergent

Pro

"I contend that the 'reason' for that thread's deletion was that it was against the ToS."

How is that not censorship? Ok so then the TOS allows for censorship and its in play on this site. Your statement is in my favor.

"The staff almost had to comply, since the ToS were in fact breached in the debate."

But there is no oversight, they define when and if the TOS is violated, which reduces it to an excuse set. They have all the power.

"The site was forced to shut it down because of this. "

There is no force, this page is totally free, the TOS forces users unilaterally.

"Post whatever you want in the forum I just added. My server is, in fact, in the United States. I'll leave whatever you post there up for at least a week."

And if I post a plan to murder the president or a gig of child porn, and then send a few email to regulatory agencies, you think it'll last a week? Come on, you know better.
beem0r

Con

>>How is that not censorship? Ok so then the TOS allows for censorship and its in play on this site. Your statement is in my favor.<<

I find it rather unfair that you've completely changed your entire premise. In your opening argument, you laid out a case suggesting that Debate.org is deliberately suppressing unpopular beliefs. You gave PROOF that there was 'censorship,' so I didn't figure you truly wished to debate whether or not it was happening. Now you've changed your position to one simply saying "there are rules on this site." _rules YOU agreed to_.

I believe anyone who reads your opening argument will realize that you meant 'unfair censorship.' I doubt you can call upholding a ToS every member here agreed to unfair. Well, you can, but you'd be wrong.

>>But there is no oversight, they define when and if the TOS is violated, which reduces it to an excuse set. They have all the power.<<

They don't decide when and if the ToS is breached. You do, by breaching it. You can go read the terms of service here:
http://www.debate.org...

You were supposed to read this when you signed up. If you breach it, it's your fault. You had all the information beforehand.

>>There is no force, this page is totally free, the TOS forces users unilaterally.<<

I meant the site was forced to close to topic due to a user contacting customer support about the breach of ToS. They were forced to by a user. True, they could have said "nah, we'll keep it around," but if they did, it would seem like censorship when they did close topics for ToS breaches. Censorship ofthe type you're arguing that they use - censorship where the site removes content simply because it disagrees.

>>And if I post a plan to murder the president or a gig of child porn, and then send a few email to regulatory agencies, you think it'll last a week? Come on, you know better.<<
Why would you call regulatory agencies? Of course you don't have free speech if you're actively limiting it yourself. Also, I don't allow image uploads, so any child porn would have to be ASCII renditions thereof.

Also, in case you want to be oh-so-literal about your topic title and change the actual topic of your arguments (like you already kind of did):
Censorship is not alive, therefore you lose.

You were debating in round 1 that debate.org is censoring people on its own whim, though I've presented a much more likely scenario. Please provide further proof for your claim. You tried to change the topic to 'they censor because of the ToS,' but I am not respecting that. You lose based on your debate topic, and you lose based on your opening argument. Pick one to support in your third and final round.
Debate Round No. 2
bsergent

Pro

"You gave PROOF that there was 'censorship,' so I didn't figure you truly wished to debate whether or not it was happening."

So are you saying you agree with me that censorship is alive and well here? Or not… That is the point of the debate I thought. I'm confused. What I'm saying is that no matter what the EULA/TOS says, no matter what I was forced to agree to, or whether or not I did, the contents of the TOS allow for censorship and that allowance is being exploited for censorship.

Like imagine a club house that says "Entry means you owe me a nickel." I'm saying that entry costs a nickel, and you're saying "It was clearly posted therefore you choose to pay a nickel." The nickel is censorship, the TOS is the sign, and the club house is debate.org

So, yea you're right, but that's not a refutation of my point. I don't see your core argument yet. Do you have one? I grant that the TOS allows for censorship, but that's not the topic of the debate, I didn't say that it was absent from or against the TOS. I simply said it was alive and well.

'unfair censorship.'

To me censorship by definition is unfair.

"They don't decide when and if the ToS is breached. You do, by breaching it."

That's circular. Why did the page get taken down? Because I broke the TOS. How do you know? They took the page down.

"If you breach it, it's your fault."

No, as any lawyer will tell you almost any language is subject to interpretation. Every forum or chat room rule list, TOS or EULA includes subjective prohibition on abuse and other highly subjective terms. And their interpretation is the only one that matters, thus allowing them to act unilaterally. The TOS is just a CYA like any other.

"Censorship of the type you're arguing that they use - censorship where the site removes content simply because it disagrees."

Right, which they enact by using selective interpretation. Look, I'm not saying it's not tidy I'm saying its still censorship. A rose by any other name, and all that.

"Why would you call regulatory agencies? Of course you don't have free speech if you're actively limiting it yourself."

?! Uhhh, To illustrate that there is no such thing as free speech on American servers? I wouldn't have to make the report if you removed your time limit, eventually the secret service would show up.

And how is me calling the Gov limiting my freedom of speech. If my speech were unlimited the calling wouldn't matter. By your logic there is no drug law unless the DEA finds out. Which I suppose is true in a extremely strict existential sense. But I was talking about prohibition independent of consequences. Potential consequences are enough.

"Censorship is not alive, therefore you lose."

Don't be pedantic. If you wish to play that game I can easily show that life is a meaningless and arbitrary term.

"You were debating in round 1 that debate.org is censoring people on its own whim, though I've presented a much more likely scenario."

As explained above, your scenario does not contradict my point. So it still stands.

"Please provide further proof for your claim."

The mere fact that they will pull a page for any reason proves my point. I merely made this debate to make people aware of that fact that if they post something the admins don't like (for what ever reason, TOS violation or not) they have the option of censoring it, and have used such an option in the past.

"You tried to change the topic to 'they censor because of the ToS,…"

No, I merely added that the TOS is the excuse they use to justify their censorship because you tried to use the TOS justification as some sort of refutation of my core point, which it is not.
beem0r

Con

I'm just going to tackle the big things my opponent said.

>>To me censorship by definition is unfair.<<

That is where you and the rest of the world disagree. If you post child porn, like you suggested in your other post, do you expect that to be able to remain? It's someone else's server!
Also, using your analogy, is charging someone rent also automatically unfair? There's a house (apartment) and it says (on a contract, not on the door) that you need to pay X per month to live there. It's not unfair or ridiculous by any means. Debate.org wants to cater to a certain audience, and so they don't allow you to do certain things on their site that would steer these audiences away. You expect to just be given the automatic right to post whatever you want, hateful, profane, whatever. The site wants this to be a certain atmosphere, you have agreed in the ToS to comply, and you complain when they don't allow you to post things that are against the ToS?

>>[me] "They don't decide when and if the ToS is breached. You do, by breaching it."

That's circular. Why did the page get taken down? Because I broke the TOS. How do you know? They took the page down.<<

No, you know if it's against the terms of service by reading the terms of service. Each member agreed to the terms of service upon account creation. We also specifically agreed not to resort to personal attacks or profanity. Not complying with this means we breach the ToS.

>>Right, which they enact by using selective interpretation. Look, I'm not saying it's not tidy I'm saying its still censorship. A rose by any other name, and all that.<<

I have put forward a much more likely case. A case where it is not the whim of the webmasters, but that of a user who contacted customer support. The more controversy you stir up on here, _the better_ from the view of the site's owners. Also, you're purely speculating when you say they're interpreting. It could have been something quite uninterpretable, such as using profanity or personal attacks. You haven't given any information on why it was shut down except 'they probably just didn't like the topic.'

>>"Censorship is not alive, therefore you lose."

Don't be pedantic. If you wish to play that game I can easily show that life is a meaningless and arbitrary term.<<

Go ahead, but it doesn't change the fact that censorship is not alive, which you claim it is.

Debate.org does not censor ideas, they simply limit the way you express these ideas on their site. And they fairly tell you the limits beforehand. In the cases where they might suppress your ideas, it is because they are forced to by law (if you had a debate on how best to assassinate the president, for example). While my opponent is trying to argue that debate.org will simply censor at its whim, it has no motive. He's also arguing that censorship is by its nature unfair. This is obviously not the case. If I own a site, I get to decide what goes there. If I make an agreement, such as a ToS, with members of my site, I am expected to uphold it, as are my members. If my members breach the terms they agreed to, it's not unfair in the least for me to remove the users and/or their ToS-breaching content from my site.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by bsergent 9 years ago
bsergent
What part of what I said was unclear?

My argument: Censorship is here.

His response: Censorship here is justified by the TOS.

These are not in conflict, in other words he did not even make an argument.

When are you going to embrace logic? His counterpoint was not articulate or well supported, it was nonsensical, evasive, and tangential.

I can give respect when it is deserved. My standards are just more demanding than yours. You seem to live life as if things you don't see don't exist.

Ironic. Considering you often accuse me of over generalizations when you consistently make them yourself. In this case, since I think beem0r failed you think I think everyone in existence is incapable of success.

I'll ask you a similar loaded question. Are you incapable of granting that perhaps my positions are due to a chain of reasoning instead of some personal flaw?

Can you separate the idea from the man?

Now please, since you srtaight up ignore reason and evidence, please leave me alone, you're ruining my experience on this page, I did not join debateconnor.com.

I'm flattered that my opinion is so important to you, but enough is enough, I'm asking you to move on.

I will not rat you out for harassment obviously as I believe is total deregulation of communication, but I'm asking you as a person to go find someone else to pester.
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
bsergent!

When are you going to accept a loss? Your opponent had a well supported and articulate counter point. Can you give no respect where it's deserved?

nice debate though, I enjoyed reading it.

-connor
Posted by bsergent 9 years ago
bsergent
Again, the validity of censorship was not the point, the presence of it was.

I truly don't know why I bother brain-death is pandemic in the English speaking world.

P.S. Perhaps I should utilize the "send this to friends for voting" option. I'm starting to see a pattern.

Already we have clans before there are even friend lists.
Posted by GBretz 9 years ago
GBretz
If I had to choose between minor "censorship" like the ToS and being forced to wade through all the ridiculous things people feel the need to post on these websites, I would emphatically choose censorship. Its simply a matter of common sense. Do you want to deal with all the crude subject matter people would invariably post given the freedom?
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