I was pleasantly surprised Friday
evening when I learned that my Saturday
was not going to be spent keeping up with my nephew
, as he was
going to be otherwise cared for. This left an entire day that was basically free of other commitment
s, so my wife
and I were allowed the
rare joy of puttering around the house
and running a few relatively peaceful errands.
One of our errands took us to the local library. Our local county library has been ranked as the 2001 Library of the Year by whatever little
group of people make such decisions. I have always been rather pleased with their selection and apart from the occasional late fee dispute,
we have had a pretty harmonious relationship - until Saturday.
While sitting at one of their workstations wracking my brains trying to remember some of the titles I was interested in reading, I decided to
use their internet connection to swing past E2 and see what the latest rant was in the catbox, see where my nodes stood, and do those things
that we noders love to do. After typing in the URL, I was puzzled to find out that Everything was blocked by their recently installed
internet filtering software. The software had made the news, as there had been threats to their funding if they did not install said software
to protect the public from its own baser nature. I have no real problem with that, as a public library is really no place for a person to surf porn,
but what in the world would cause them to block E2?
I have spent the last few days pondering this point and have come to the following conclusion: they have blocked Everything because they
don't understand Everything.
Let's look at the basic things that make up E2 and see if they have a reason to block it:
- The Big Three: None of the Big Three (Soy, Lesbians, or Monkeys) would be reason enough to block the site. They have vegatarian cookbooks,
books on women's studies, and the Wizard of OZ, so they can't take the stance that they have a general policy against those things.
- Sexual Explicit Material: Things get a little rough as far as noding topics for a sleepy Southern town and they might object to nodes on
fisting or near-death experiences while masturbating, but they also have Jackie Collins and other torn bodice novels on the shelf, so we have
to reject that as a cause as well.
- Bigoted or Fringe Material: Nodes taken from the Anarchist's Cookbook or quotes from Jesse Helms might be a reason to keep E2 out of
the public realm, but again, most of that information is available in the library already, so they would be applying a double standard should
they stand on those grounds.
So the only reason that I can see for Everything to be blocked would be that they just don't understand what we are all about. I have a letter
in the works and will update this node when I get a reply.
Update: The library in question sent a very nice, albiet not very helpful, letter telling me that they appreciated my input and that they were currently undergoing a review of the filter software. They informed me that a committee would be reviewing such exclusions and that changes would be made as appropriate.
2nd Update: A visit to the local library finds that Everything2 is now accessable from the library's computers. Obviously, the filter has been adjusted to allow access to the site. No word from the library itself, but I will likely write a letter and thank them for the adjustment.