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Journal Journal: Censorship on slashdot

Here is my list of postings.

It is static at this point. I will not post under the name corebreech ever again on slashdot.


Once upon a time, I had excellent karma here. Then I made this post.

It was a first post. It got modded up to +5, Insightful. Then it got modded down to -1, Insightful.

Then it was modded up to +5, Insightful again.

And then, it was modded down to -1, Insightful.

It was modded up. It was modded down. I'm fairly narcissitic, and I normally check to see how my posts get moderated. I initially checked twice on this post. The first time I checked -- maybe a minute after I posted -- I saw that it was +5, Insightful. I checked again a minute later, and it was -1, Insightful.

That intrigued me. So I continued to check to see what would happen to the post.

It continued to go up and down, until I made this post.

Almost immediately after making this post -- a post which actually offered evidence that what was said in the previous posting was correct -- the entire thread was displaced. I'm not exactly sure what they do, but my initial post, which was originally the first post, was no longer visible as the first post. Indeed, for a period of time, none of my posts were visible. I confirmed this several times, when viewing the topic in nested mode, iterating through the pages, and performing a search using the browser using my username, corebreech, for each page.

So I wrote to CmdrTaco.

Here is the content of my first email to him:

So what's up with my account 'corebreech'?

My karma was excellent, now it's terrible, and all because I got modded -1 for a couple of posts???

I was thinking that my karma was deliberately kneecapped by one of you editor-types, but another poster suggested that it might be nothing more than my being punished for being moderated down so many times. The net effect is that I only ended up with two -1 posts, but the moderation logs show that one post was very heavily moderated.

FWIW, I think you need to fix the code. I can understand slapping down someone who repeatedly posts -1, but what if it's only a couple posts that get scored -1? Sure, I got moderated down a lot... but I was also moderated up a lot too.

And if you can't fix this--or won't--what about my subscription? I sent email about this but have so far received no response whatsoever. Can I have it transferred to another account? Can I get my money back?

I'd rather you just fix the bug though, and get the account back.

I actually got a reply. Here it is:

Thanks for the heads up on this bug. I just put in a ticket, so we'll try to fix it as soon as possible.

Unfortunately there is no way for me to manually adjust karma, and there is also no way to transfer a subscription from one account to another, so you'll have to post good comments to get back to positive karma. Sorry.

Rob Malda tells three lies here.

First, he never submitted a ticket. I watched the bug log on slashcode. Nothing ever appeared as to this "problem".

Second, and this really derives from the first lie, but no attempt was ever made to fix it "as soon as possible."

And finally, the third lie is that there is no way for him to adjust karma manually. I should probably mention at this point that I'm a paid subscriber. Yes, I actually paid slashdot for my account. So, one would think that someone who has paid for the service would be entitled to regain access to the service should a bug surface that deprives him of that service.

But let's assume that somehow, that isn't possible. Well, we all know that the editors here have unlimited mod points. What would be the problem with modding up some of my more inconsequential posts until I regained my orginal karma level?

So, there it is. slashdot likes to go on and on about how evil censorship is, and yet, they seem to do a pretty good job of practicing it themselves.

And please, spare me the high school social studies class rebuttal that it is only censorship if it's the government that is doing it. That is simply wrong. The government is constitutionally prevented from censoring speech. But slashdot isn't, at least, not on slashdot. That doesn't make it right though. That doesn't mean it isn't censorship.

My posts were censored. My ability to speak in this form has been censored. Lawyers would even go so far as to call it prior restraint. In other words, not only were these posts censored, but any future posts I might make are to be censored as well.

What is particularly frustrating here is that slashdot has a moderation system built in. Why wasn't that sufficient in this case? If what I posted was so out of line, why not simply allow the moderation system to work?

Why was it necessary to take me from karma that was pinned at excellent all the way down to horrible, or terrible, or whatever it is, all because of one or two posts?

What does that say about slashdot?

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"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982