Yes, my friends: I, Marocharim, am asking for your permission, dear reader, to write in The Marocharim Experiment.
It sounds ridiculous because it is: I pay for the dues of this blog, I maintain it, and I write for it. Still, because free speech is stifled so much in the Internet these days, I am asking for your permission – which you have implicitly given me – to write. In my view, if this blog applies comment moderation, I might as well ask for your permission to publish this entry, and since I’m in control of this blog anyway, I might as well publish this as soon as I’m done instead of waiting for the webmaster (in this case, me) to approve this blog entry anyway.
My entry, as usual, will be full of immature and (mostly) scatological references for me to drive my point, but again, I am asking for your permission to write and to read. In the interest of the fair and responsible practice of free speech, please click that “Read More” link if you want to hear me out.
(Chances are you probably won’t, because I’m not even that important anyway.)
Some of us are quick to dismiss and despise online housekeeping tasks like comment moderation as “online censorship,” when it’s really no different as, say, using a toilet. Pissing and crapping in my backyard is a liberty accorded to you by the comment forms I every-so-often attach to my blog entries: yes, you are free to blog on my blog, threaten me, call me names, and mock my taste in shirt colors if needed. That, though, has to pass inspection before I include it in my crapshoot.
In six, seven years of blogging, I only had to delete two comments. One was an affront to people I love, and the other was an affront to someone else’s mother. I allowed every other hurtful comment that was posted in the annals of this blog not because of magnanimity, but because the very people who commented made asses out of themselves in the process. The rest of the people who hate me so much do the one thing expected and predicted: to close the window, and remind themselves never to visit my blog again.
Some people have gone as far as to steal my passwords, compromise my site structure, and do everything in their power to shut me up (I gather it’s from annoying lyrics translations). Not only is it inconvenient, it’s also insulting. There’s not one shred of political metatheory or malice in the prudent, patient act of moderating comments, ladies and gentlemen: it’s about being prudent, fair, and just. It’s about being grown-up, adult, and mature enough to know that:
- Nobody should piss on your own backyard, and;
- If you allow them to do so, you should give them a proper toilet where they can do their business.
Best practices is not censorship. The developers and programmers of a blogging engine gave me the avenue to do whatever I want with my blog and how to run it. How I run it becomes a matter of the reader respecting the author’s space, and the author respecting the reader’s views. That comes with reasonable limits, though. Unless you start doing maintenance tasks for me, paying for my blog’s renewal fees, and writing content for me, you can’t take over my space.
Yes, folks, I moderate your comments, but that doesn’t make me a fascist. I approve your comments for all they are worth and try my best to respond in time. Does that make me a censor? I don’t think so: brooms and dust pans and toilet cleansers in virtual form are hardly manifestations of censorship or fascism. I’m just trying my best to keep my backyard clean, so that we can all play in it. I ask for nothing more but the feeling that you gained something – or perhaps even lost something – in a writing laboratory that has been around for it’s own sake.
Thank you, all, for your (implied) permission to let me write on my own blog tonight.
Endnote: There’s an interesting war of words exchanged between Filipino Voices and Unmoderated Filipino Voices this week regarding the former moderating the comments of those who have been welcomed to the other. As a Filipino Voices writer, and as a reader of Unmoderated Filipino Voices, I have taken the liberty to give my take on the issue on my own blog.