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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Yet another reason that censorship is stupid

So, apparently, Microsoft has finally decided that blogging is here to stay and has therefore built its own blogging tool called MSN Spaces. Unfortunately, however, it's been discovered that MSN Spaces actually censors words in blog titles and in the blogs themselves.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong here, but the very nature of blogging, to my mind, is in the enormous freedom a person has to write and publish his or her thoughts. They may not be thoughts that anyone else reads or, indeed cares about, but they are the blogger's thoughts. To me, the act of censoring these thoughts pretty well defeats the entire purpose of blogging.

Don't get me wrong. This is not me saying that internet pornography is a good thing or that curse words have a place on every blog, but honestly, if you're going to make a web tool specifically so that people can self-publish their thoughts, what exactly is the point of censoring them? Why not take it to the next step and give them an editor who also gives them tips on their grammar and spelling, because honestly, some of the poor writing out there offends me a lot more than the occasional curse word.

This article on Boing Boing called MSN Spaces: seven dirty blogs points out the inherent stupidity in computer based censorship anyway (watch out, there's some pretty dirty language in this article, but it's all in the interests of science...). To simplify the argument, it's back to the time when libraries were installing internet filters on their computers that blocked things like the word "breast" so that children couldn't look at pornography, but also so that patients couldn't look up information about breast cancer, and chefs couldn't look up recipes for chicken.


Does anyone remember that commercial for the very first apple computers in 1984? It had a woman running into a huge room and smashing a TV with the image of "Big Brother" on it.

Nah. I'm not feeling superior because I just bought a Mac (I still have a hotmail account after all), I'm just shaking my head at the stupidity of a system at the hands of a corporation -- like Microsoft -- that still believes we all want to live in ignorance.

Thanks, but I think I can figure out what smut is for myself, if it's all the same to you.

1 comment:

Cali Girl said...

Amen. To all of it.