I've never written a day log before, but it's been an interesting couple of days for me on E2 and I really can't think of a better place to voice my thoughts on it than right here.
I’ve been around E2, mostly listening and reading, for almost two years now, and I’ve gotten into a few quite polarized political debates with a few people, but have generally been impressed with the high degree of open-mindedness that the vast majority of noders I’ve met seem to possess. I was online putting the finishing touches on a new node yesterday while a few people were having a discussion about censorship, and after having spent some time reading the comments and etc. that have piled up around this debate, I thought I might add my own voice.
My first thought is that I have honestly never felt like I was being criticized by anyone here for the political beliefs I hold (despite the “arguments” presented in a few recent nodes about Liberals on E2) even though I’m about as left as they come. The WU I was working on yesterday was about panhandling and looking after others, and I received very supportive feedback on it. This leads me to the conclusion that E2 is actually a very happy home for most Liberals, and even more importantly, a good place for open, intelligent, and respectful political debate.
The other thing I couldn’t help but think was, why is it so hard for people to tell the difference between having an opinion and being offensive? If there is censorship on E2, my impression is that it is mass censorship, the most democratic kind, where the members of this community outright reject content that they collectively find offensive. Case in point: a recent WU about massage parlors. Having studied North American immigration quite extensively, I’m well versed in the reasons such businesses proliferate: the majority of them are sites of indentured labour, where people searching for opportunities that are increasingly unavailable in their countries of origin are forced to work in exchange for the privilege of being smuggled across the Pacific Ocean as human cargo. The fewer WUs we have supporting the continuation of such exploitation, the better. I won’t even get into the debate about exploitation and the sex trade, but this seems pretty cut-and-dried to me. These women are usually told they will be given domestic labour jobs to pay for their families’ passage, and then end up with no support, choices, or resources.
I am much prouder to be a part of a community that would discourage or disallow content that supported the exploitation of women rather than allow such misogyny to continue in the name of free speech. Freedom is important, but that includes the freedom to say that bigotry is not acceptable and to act on it. In a world where the vast majority of domestic violence is committed by men and against women, and where gendered violence is still far too salient a reality, I was very reassured to see the stance that was adopted by my fellow noders against sexism and racism during this debate, and to those Liberals who feel unwanted here: trust me, it’s not your political beliefs that are being targeted.
Thanks to all those who sent me comments about this. I never meant that E2 had any FORMAL censorship against racist, sexist, and etc. content, but rather was commenting on the way I saw E2ers en masse, with their downvotes and reactions. I agree wholeheartedly that bad writing is the only thing that warrants formal censorship, and as many have said, that's not really censorship, it's just editing.