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Seth Finkelstein's Journal: Censorware Project "goatse'ing" - Bennett Haselton comments

Journal by Seth Finkelstein
Further material for
What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org)
This can be found at
http://sethf.com/freespeech/censorware/project/bennett.php
Bennett Haselton on Michael Sims' hijacking of censorware.org

[These are comment by Bennett Haselton (Peacefire) regarding the lack of consequences for Michael Sims' hijacking of censorware.org, and how it's not a case of truth-is-in-the-middle. Used with permission.]

[This was written to someone who made a plea to resolve the conflict, but also refers to trivializing and dismissive comments made in a public interview by Michael Sims' supervisor at Slashdot ]

Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 10:03:02 -0700
From: Bennett Haselton <bennett[at-sign]peacefire.org>
Subject: Re: Please resolve the censorware conflict.

Any discussion of the Censorware.org controversy has to start from the fact that Michael and the rest of the former CWP are not "equal sides" in this, are not "both right and both wrong", etc.

Michael did not own the Censorware Project and did not do a majority of the work involved, he just hi-jacked the domain name and stole it from the rest of us. The fact that people look at what he did, and look at the response from the rest of the group, and call it "infighting" or "airing dirty laundry" is frankly an insult to the Censorware Project and its work. If the EFF webmaster put the eff.org domain in his own name and then hi-jacked it from the organization, he'd be branded a traitor and a pariah in the Internet community for the rest of his life, and nobody would ever forget what he did. Same if it was the CPSR.org webmaster, the EPIC.org webmaster, or whoever. But if the Censorware Project webmaster does it, we're expected to "work out our differences" with him?

There is an absolute difference between Michael and the rest of us. None of us, despite some personal animosities (not between me and anybody, but between people that I know), would ever, ever do anything like what Michael did. But Michael did it.

It doesn't matter whether or not Michael promotes anti-censorship work in his position as a Slashdot writer; he's hardly making much a difference by saying things that were going to get said anyway, and nothing he does there will ever come close to canceling out the harm he did by shutting down the one-time Censorware Project website.

The only legitimacy that Michael has is through his position as a Slashdot writer; he has just enough writing skills to make his writings sound seductively intelligent to anybody who doesn't know the real story. The fact that Slashdot hired Michael should be deeply embarrassing to them, and is in fact eroding Slashdot's credibility according to comments made by some people who found out about the Censorware.org site. But Slashdot is apparently too deeply wedded that decision to reconsider, and comments from [Michael Sims' direct supervisor] have been more of the same along the lines of "They should work out their differences" instead of acknowledging Michael Sims's utterly disgraceful behavior as compared to the average person. You think Slashdot really believes Michael is trustworthy, after what he did? Do you think they're going to let him put the Slashdot.org domain in his name? :)

-Bennett

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