Speech in Blog: Can we speak out?

I have to say that I feel so frustrated because of my poor knowledge on politics, especially political issues related to US Congress, White House and senators that I don’t know their names at all. I hope I’m in the right track.

Although Maynor tells a long story about blogosphere, he really does an excellent job in considering blogging as an outlet for democracy thoroughly and critically.

The first article I picked up talks about Obama’s Afghanistan Strategy. The author criticizes that President Obama ignores the recommendation on the war in Afghanistan from military but insists on conducting the exit plan. To be honest it is kind of difficult for me to fully understand the second half of this article, which locates Obama’s current strategy in the Vietnam War context as well as the origin of “Politburo” in West Wings and its meaning.

Reading the comments is an even more difficult and time-consuming task as I am not so familiar with those terminologies and politicians’ names. But one thing is certain that people in general support the idea that Obama should devote more to the war in Afghanistan as what he did in his campaign. I think the CoC is not designed for reader-centered use but for the sake of blog management. Here is a paradox standing out in my mind: all the comments we see are matching CoC perfectly since if subscribers don’t follow the terms of use, their words won’t appear on the website. This indicates the power of control holding by bloggers which somewhat undermines the “pure” freedom of speech. Moreover, to identify the application of three Vs, based on my background, I really cannot judge whether the information is reliable or not in that I am really lacking knowledge on politics in US environment, but the information overload issue does exist: some responses are over 400 words and readers comments each other to facilitate the discussion. The back-and-forth conversation among visitors shows high engagement which I think should be the premise for autonomy.

The second article, named Initial jobless claims still bouncing around a 2010 average also comes from Hot Air. It reveals the dissatisfaction on “the number of people receiving jobless benefits increased” while the U.S. claims it as an “unexpected” rise. The author indicates that fluctuation of unemployment within a narrow range is not accidental but just normal change. The comments are in consistent with author’s opinion which kind of blames Obama for he doesn’t stick to his commitment. Some comments question the word “unexpectedly” in an ironically tone. It seems that the followers of Hot Air are so in line with the ideas presenting by bloggers thus I don’t see any chaos in the response section.

According to Maynor’s concern on autonomy, keeping an eye inside this republican community, readers’ perspective on what they like and what they don’t like are fixed. As a result, such a consistency is definitely favored by opinion leaders since it’s easy to control the information flow. For online community members, on the one hand, this blog does offer an ideal platform to criticize Obama’s policy; on the other, people who leave comments attempt to be engaged in and manage their online political “account” to manifest their “capacity for autonomous action” (p. 461).

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~ by luckymaggie on September 26, 2010.

5 Responses to “Speech in Blog: Can we speak out?”

  1. Besides CoC, Maynor also brought up the idea of CommResp which I think is also doable, even though I believe some of those crazy people will still try to find ways to circumvent the censorship whatsoever. My point is that there is no way to legalize restrictions on hate speech. So I sort of agree with Maynor’s idea of viewing blogging as the “supplemental deliberative community” to “other more established forums of deliberative democracy,” under which blogging can be regarded as “free, fair and open.”

  2. Your point that “if subscribers don’t follow the terms of use, their words won’t appear on the website. This indicates the power of control holding by bloggers which somewhat undermines the “pure” freedom of speech” is a good one. We’ve touched on this before in our discussion of YouTube and the comments allowed there, particularly by the anti-drug office. Though this may appear to somewhat infringe upon one’s freedom of speech, I think it is necessary to maintain a CofC and thereby produce an effective forum for deliberative democracy. Maynor pointed out that it was the quality of comments over the quantity that mattered, so I think that this blog discussing Obama’s role in the Afghan war is right to monitor and somewhat censor the comments made by its users to lead to the overall goal of creating a forum for deliberative democracy.

  3. Comments for Blog 5
    http://shinelyui.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/freedom-of-speech/#comment-29

    http://sunnyuf.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/blog-as-a-place-for-free-political-speech/#comment-31

    http://tinamoore2222.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/does-blog-contribute-to-freedom-of-speech/#comment-35

  4. It’s interesting to see that many weblogs have strict regulations over comments just as CoC recommenced. My problem with that is it kind of restrains the power of free speech. i agree with you that CoC is designed from the blog management standpoint, it neglects the dynamic of deliberative discussion. I understand it might be chaotic to bring all kinds of speech on the table including hate speech and other extreme viewpoints, but the most reasonable argument will eventually be filtered out according to the autonomy theory. However, trolls should be carefully tended since they aim at creating chaos. I think “thinkprogress” does a really good job in controlling trolls yet not interfere with people’s rights to express themselves: it allows users to “vote down” the comments that are considered to be trolls. I agree with Maynor that it works better when blogosphere is considered as the supplement to other more constructed deliberative platforms.

  5. You added an important note about volume — “some responses are over 400 words.” So not only do we see a large number of comments, but some of these are very wordy! Who really reads this many comments? I wonder if this is truly a discussion.

    Hot Air is kind of a strange blog because they require all commenters to be registered, and they have closed registration:

    http://hotair.com/termsofuse/

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