Friday, January 23, 2009

Our Opinions Are "Awaiting Moderation"

When an average person thinks of a blog, they most likely think of an amateurish, unfettered stream of conciseness that while entertaining, cannot be trusted as a legitimate news source. People that think this are missing the point. Unfortunately, our own GW Hatchet seems to underestimate the intellectual philosophy governing the blogosphere.

Blogs like DailyKos and TownHall allow users to write their own blog posts and contribute to the front page, albeit for a very short period of time. More traditional sites like allow users to comment freely on posts appearing in the blog section. Interaction between bloggers in this model allows for the creation of a democratic public discourse.

Linking an article appearing on the Internet, and commenting on its content can be considered forwarding the original thoughts of the author, much like what our professors make us do in academic research papers. In this regard, limiting such ability to contribute to this discourse impedes the very essence of blogs - a free public forum for thought, debate, and criticism. If entering a forum of the masses is not your gig, may I propose you step away from the keyboard.

The GW Hatchet is our "independent" student newspaper. That being said, I was disappointed to find that upon commenting on a blog post appearing at, my comment did not immediately become published. It was pending moderation.

According to the Hatchet's "Blog Commenting Policy:"
In an effort to keep blog comments as substantive and mature as possible, The GW Hatchet reserves the right to moderate comments, removing offensive or incendiary language prior to online publication, including but not limited to the following: profanity, racial/ethnic slurs, sexually explicit language, or anything which may be construed as derogatory to a person or group of persons. Therefore, users hereby acknowledge and agree that The GW Hatchet may edit their comments, re-wording or deleting any part or parts of their comments without prior notification of the author.
What is to say that they won't reject a comment that is overly critical of their story? Or in that regard, what is to say that they will not change parts of a comment to distort the original intent of the author? Of course, these are hypothetical questions.

Do I honestly think the Hatchet rejects comments without justification? Not necessarily. However, I do feel that it is bad practice to censor the thoughts and opinions of your readers. Especially when the publication is a "student" newspaper, one that is independent and charged with informing and projecting the opinions of the student body.

If the Hatchet is going to have a "blogs" section on their site, and if they're are going to continue to claim to be "our" newspaper, they should allow users to submit comments free from moderation.


Andrew Perez said...

I just posted this comment on this Hatchet blog. Let's see if it's approved:

I'm a GW student and I proudly (and peacefully) booed Bush. It's the least I could do. The man is lucky he isn't in jail.

You may have been embarrassed by my display, but Bush has embarrassed our nation for the past eight years.

As to your point that booing him is inconsistent with putting an end to bitter, partisan politics - Bush epitomizes bitter, partisan debate. I say 'boo' to his brand of fear-mongering.

Booing him has nothing to do with him being a Republican. It has everything to do with him being a colossal failure.

Being silent is your choice. Freedom of speech is golden.

Andrew Perez said...

It was approved and fast. So that's good news.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on getting your douche bag comment approved!