Why We Do Not Censor

Discussion in 'News' started by The Reefuge, Mar 5, 2015.

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  1. The Reefuge

    The Reefuge Administrator

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    Hello everyone,

    Due to a certain thread on here, a few of you have raised concerns on why things should be deleted. I would like to shed some light on this and explain my position on this issue. This is going to be a long read, but you can all feel free to debate it if you choose to do so.

    The Reefuge was not set up to be a "traditional" message forum for users to discuss reef related topics. Rather, it was set up as an uncensored medium where users/businesses with common interest could freely discuss reef related topics and anything else to do with the hobby. This has proven to work well over the years. The community seems to have developed not only tight bonds with each other, but also a more relaxed environment where information could be discussed, and more importantly, the truth.

    Where one website would delete and over moderate posts/threads, we did not. Where another website would censor their users because it was making their advertising source look bad, we did not. Where yet another website would censor their information because some business threatened to sue, we did not.

    This all comes at a cost, and the cost is it works both ways. As an example, if a user posts about how much The Reefuge sucks, it will not be deleted. Normally "forums" would delete posts like that because it makes them look bad. Here however, we believe users have the right to say what is on their mind. As long as the website rules are not being broken then there is no issue.

    Now, let's say someone made a post about "shop X", and "shop X" was actually doing the wrong thing to their customers. The user posts about it, and then "shop X" demands for it to be removed. There is no proof the user is telling the truth, but a similar story is stated by many, many users. Should this thread be removed? Should users not have a place to go to in order to find out information? As soon as one thread is deleted, it opens up a can of worms. It also gives way for someone doing the wrong thing to get a free pass and continue doing the wrong thing to their customers.

    In the Reef Secrets thread, the owner himself said it is fine for the thread to stay online. His only request was that the thread title be changed, which was accepted. However, prior to any of his requests, there was a big heading added to OP's post stating that OP was incorrect. This means even if a lazy user was to see the thread and not read it in its entirety, they will still be very aware that the OP was wrong.

    This also brings up a much larger issue. What about review websites? yelp, product review, whirlpool, etc. Their entire business model is user generated feedback for products and services. Should these sites also delete their content?

    The issue is much larger than a reef website. If you want an internet that is open, free and full of information, you need to take the bad with the good.

    I would like to stress, please do not assume for a second I am siding with the OP of the RS thread. That is not the case. I am simply explaining why sometimes we need to do things in order to keep things we value from being destroyed.

    Thanks.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
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  2. chimaera

    chimaera enjoy the little things

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    I can't believe you revived the '@mtg is a fuckwit' thread to make your point (though it's funny as hell to relive and I know @MTG has thick skin ;)
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  3. ezza

    ezza Guest

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    One of the reasons I love this forum is because of its normality in the context of our ability to say whatever the fuck we want to. I can't stand forums so tightly controlled that you need permission to say things or post pictures where you want to. The rebel in me needs freedom to speak, even if that speech is crap. :p

    Roflmao at the MTG thread. Who could hate MTG?! He's so preeeeetty :D
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  4. ReeferRob

    ReeferRob Solidarité

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    This is one of the reasons I love it here, no censorship! If you're a hothead, the internet isn't the place for you. I wonder how many moderators I've caused to stroke out over the years with my antics?

    Bottom line is, if you don't like what someone says, use the ignore function.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
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  5. gtrxu1

    gtrxu1 Member

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    I dumped a whole email trail of an argument with a store I had once. There's another forum where that post would of been moderated pretty quickly and would have probably caused a bigger argument. Not here though the post was well received and other people were able to discuss the issues they had with them as well.

    Funny you mention Whirlpool, sad what that place has become.
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  6. Agent M

    Agent M Member

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    It was simply wanting the Reef Secrets thread to be deleted. There is no other issue here, no wider or broader issue here, just that one.

    The thread title change is in my opinion not clear enough. But that is a side point.

    You talk about freedom of speech and lack of censorship yet you locked the thread to further comment.


    I'm embarrassed that this shop has had to tolerate this. I'm disappointed more people are not speaking up and helping to put this right. That post is a stain on their name. And its not right to leave it there.

    Reef Secrets have been around for a long time, they have an excellent reputation and the owners are fellow passionate hobbyists. And we just sit back and say its ok to sling mud at them as long as we make it clear it was in error...?

    I came back on the forum after months away and am disappointed to find this kind of behaviour being allowed for. Lack of censorship and freedom of speech can go too far - and good people can get hurt. Some kindness wouldn't go astray instead of doggedly sticking to a principle no matter what.

    10bbb151721dff535d094d21be7dcef4.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
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  7. The Reefuge

    The Reefuge Administrator

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    There is absolutely a wider issue. When you perform an action for one, you must also perform it for another. This is a quick way of getting the internet censored. The internet should be a place to discuss anything, right or wrong. If a product review website worked by this logic, all products would have a 100% positive review as no negative comments would be allowed. The only difference in the case here is that proof was provided to counter the original claim, which turned out to be false.


    Here is my direct reply to the thread before deleting it.

    The thread was derailed and no longer about the topic it was started for. So it was locked to avoid further discussion of why/why not the thread should be deleted (that is what this thread is for). As you can see, both OP and the business in question are free to PM me their submission to the topic and it will be added to the thread. This keeps the thread on topic, and does not censor either party.


    This is what peer review is. Someone states something as being extremely likely or fact and the rest discuss, with evidence, either for or against it. As it turns out the discussion found that the claim was unfounded and were quick to not only back up the store, but they did so with evidence.

    The post can't be a stain to their name. It clearly states the OP was incorrect in the title, in the first message of the thread, and in pretty much every reply made by every member who participated. This actually is better for the store as it has had a peer discussion on the subject and found of no wrong doing.


    Welcome back. Agreed, lack of censorship and freedom can go too far, but it is either all or nothing. As an example, let's say a user posts something which is unfounded in regards to a bit of hardware. Should that post then be deleted because the users experience was negative? Does that not leave the manufacturer in the same boat?

    It is either all okay to talk about, or none of it is okay. There is no middle ground.

    Thanks.
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  8. The Reefuge

    The Reefuge Administrator

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    @OSCAR85

    I am going to move your post as to not derail this thread. This thread is here to serve as a debating ground for censorship, so I will merge it in with the existing thread regarding the issue.

    Thanks.
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  9. MTG

    MTG Moderator

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    hahaha oh so many lols i forgot about that guy


    Exactly what i was thinking ezza :p
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  10. holly

    holly Member

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    I prefer to keep things open. I think people should have the right to speak their experience just as they are away from the keyboard and internet, identifiable or not, with good intentions or not. The only exception that keeps me away at night is where those rights are tainted by people spreading ignorance by projecting harmful and misleading information that directly puts peoples' lives and health at risk (e.g. anti-vaccination groups telling people their kids will get autism, governments spending fear over AIDS medication or condoms, researchers who fabricate data).

    If the people who had trialled our salt product last year had told me it was shit I would have published that publicly along with all the other feedback. Another example: people criticise the use of biopellets all the time and so when I sell them I let people know the conditions I've found that lead to success and failure and that they need to be careful as there are terrible outcomes using them willy-nilly. If I act like an asshole then I want people to be able to hold me accountable. If my business fails and I end up bankrupt because I have shitty products then only I should suffer. If someone is waging a sustained and vexatious attack on my business without cause then I will enforce my right to go through the correct legal channels and prosecute them.

    If people have a terrible experience and post it somewhere that gives any business the opportunity to respond to correct the error or misunderstanding etc. I think this was achieved in the original thread we are talking about and I feel that the business handled themselves with integrity which was admirable. I think the edits to the title were appropriate. I see the rationale in locking the thread as it was getting off topic and perhaps there was enough posts disagreeing with the OP. However, I am with @Agent M in feeling uncomfortable that it was locked as it is censoring the public from contributing further. I can see the compromise in allowing the OP and business the right to respond.

    No matter what is said, on an open forum people can argue back and forth and either give evidence or not. The truth shines through if that is kept open and allows people to feel heard and I think this is what keeps these forums in particular a pleasant place to hang out. The ethics of behaviour is a dirty, difficult area without clear 'rules' so I think keeping them out of the equation is the best way to operate (see here if you're interested in further info regarding ethical dilemmas).
  11. The Reefuge

    The Reefuge Administrator

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    The thread was locked because it turned into a discussion about if the thread should be locked on not, which is why I created this thread. That way the information in the other thread is still on topic and users don't need to read a bunch of off-topic discussions not related to the issue.

    At the moment, the best course of action is to lock it, as nobody else was contributing to the topic. However, the shop and the OP can still reply to it, keeping things on topic.

    I agree with everything else you said. We need to always have a place to discuss things freely. Regardless of right/wrong.

    As for your vaccination point. It would be better for someone to be able to say "Vaccination caused Autism" and be under public peer-review where it is proven to be false, rather than not be able to state it in the first place and let ignorance spread by word of mouth. So I agree with you.
  12. holly

    holly Member

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    Yes, you made a fair compromise I think.

    There's a lot of psych research showing that even when people are presented with conflicting information that is contrary to their views, they will become more determined to hold their original views and just work harder at filtering out conflicting information. This is of course influenced by a lot of personal factors and fear etc. The benefit of these forums is that if things are not censored then that information is there and cannot be 'unsaid'. Harder to ignore.

    I think it's really difficult to figure out if we should expect people to know and/or present an accurate, balanced account of the facts. This is especially true on the internet with anonymity in the mix. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone else's views on the matter :)
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  13. chimaera

    chimaera enjoy the little things

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    upload_2015-3-6_14-35-16.png

    I happened to come across this recently while doing some research for a client. It's been there for 2 months and yet Google has not removed it, despite its inflammatory stance and critique of a major global organisation. Of course I do not know whether Mattel has requested the comment be removed, but I expect not. Businesses need to acknowledge consumer feedback, viewpoints and general criticism, whether that is positive, negative, founded, ridiculous or damaging. In this case, Mattel could reply to the comment directly, just as in the situation that led to this discussion.
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  14. Agent M

    Agent M Member

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    Since when has not staying 'on topic' been a problem on this forum? ;)

    By diverting the discussion regarding Reef Secrets here, you have prevented the discussion from being seen in its entirety by the people that will read the other thread. And you have also made it about a wider issue of freedom of speech on the internet and all of that blah, which I know you feel passionate about but lets not deviate onto that old chestnut and continue to let a good business be treated like crap. I won't be a part of that. It is hard enough to get businesses to participate on forums as it is and no wonder, because we just love to crucify them from our keyboards it seems.

    I'm not interested in debating on this subject, I consider that a waste of my time. My comments are solely about the Reef Secrets thread knowing I probably won't get anywhere, but I will stick up for them anyway. With that in mind this will be the last of my comments.

    I completely disagree with this way of thinking. As children we see things in black and white. As adolescents we discover grey areas and thats all we see for a while until we achieve a balance. Seeing the black, white and the grey is what we as adults should be doing.

    Sometimes it is appropriate to find a middle ground and compromise, especially when the issue has a minor impact on us, and a greater one on the other person, as is the case with this business.
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  15. The Reefuge

    The Reefuge Administrator

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    It is in its entirety. The rest of the posts were debating if the thread should be pulled or not, which is what this thread is for. Two different things that has absolutely no relation to each other.


    This is the purpose of the entire thread here. For the sole purpose of debating this subject. It has nothing to do with the other thread.


    This website is a medium for people to talk on, uncensored. The Reefuge is neither for or against any topic, it is simply here to allow users to talk to each other.

    Thanks.
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  16. OSCAR85

    OSCAR85 Member

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    purple monkey dishwasher
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  17. The Reefuge

    The Reefuge Administrator

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  18. curly747

    curly747 Member

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    I think its great that the reefuge have a consistent, well thought out policy on censorship. Some may agree and others may not. But the reefuge is willing to explain the policy clearly and defend it intelligently. The treatment of the post that started the discussion was appropriate in my opinion. It would have been a mistake to remove it completely. I am relatively new to reefing and had not heard of the vendor but will definitely give them a try having read several good references in that post amongst a couple of complaints.

    I want a site that is "open, free and full of information" to quote the OP.
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  19. Jimsim

    Jimsim Member

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  20. CodyS

    CodyS Member

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    I think @The Reefuge and this community handles these things very well.

    For example the Reef secrets thread I would only be more likely to buy from them, it was handled appropriately both by the business and The Reefuge.

    I think a small issue is being blown way out of proportion. As I see it, a post was made, people responded with suspicion. It was investigated by TR and action was taken to illustrate the wrong doing clearly.

    It is important for these things to stay open. The thread is also in my view a mark against the OP's name. What happens if it is deleted and he makes other posts in future about other stores? There is no reference people can link to showing his negligence in making allegations in the past.
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