Letter to the Editor, Pajamasmedia

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Letter to the Editor of Pajamasmedia about what I perceive to be censorship by an author of my comments to his article.
Sirs:

I am deeply disturbed by what appears to be a “selective” posting of comments to your discussion forum. Particularly, those of Ron Rosenbaum.

On his latest piece http://pajamasmedia.com/ronrosenbaum/2009/05/22/thank-you-thank-you I have posted four comments which have not appeared and seem to be trapped “awaiting moderation” while many comments posted after my original have already cleared moderation. In fact, one of my comments, the second, actually, asks if anyone can explain the moderation policies. This would have been #17 @ 7:17 AM.

My first comment, which thanks to the way your system displays the comment thread should have appeared as #14 was posted at 6:09 AM, and was a reasoned and nice defense of anonymous posters wherein I explain why I, personally, and others probably post under assumed handles. Nothing inflammatory, no name calling, nothing. Yet this comment has not appears, some 3 hours later. And while others’ comments, posted later, have appeared.

My third comment was to say “that’s funny” to a joke posted by another commenter. #20 @ 7:41 AM.

My fourth comment was to impugn Rosenbaum’s claim to honesty that is the essence of his position. And hopefully to get a rise out of him, enough so that he would post this particular comment, thereby verifying the content of the comment itself, namely, “Rosenbaum cherrypicks the comments to support is case. Typical.” This would be #24 @ 8:23 AM.

I would suggest that, somewhere, you post what are the moderation policies of the comments section. I don’t think I’ve overstepped the boundaries of civil discourse in these comments but, yet, it appears that they have been deemed “beyond the pale.”

I suggest, further, that the integrity of your entire operation comes into question when this type of behaviour is allowed to continue. It’s one thing to allow any manner of bilious nonsense to be posted under commenters names, even, should you choose, not to post such drivel. It is another thing altogether to censure thoughts that point out the flaws in the positions of the authors.

To close, I’d like to remind you that you are not the only ones with a website and access to search engines. Personally, I have taken to posting on my personal blog the comments I write in response to articles on websites with links to the articles themselves, for attribution. These things have a life of their own. I have been proud to be part of the discussion by commenting on your website. I value what PTMedia does and hope it continues to find success, but I fear you will lose credibility if this continues and becomes known.

Respectfully,
Chris Nicholson
Toronto Ontario Canada
http://web.me.com/chris_nicholson

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