Let me be up front, I am a BIG, BIG, BIG, believer in the right to free speech.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.I know DailyKos is a private website, and the people here can deny the right of free speech to anyone they please. But this site is also supposed to be about promoting the principles and interests of the progressive wing of the Democratic party. Principles and interests which we supposedly share. I've never seen anything in a Democratic platform that says we will deny the right of free speech to those offensive bastards that we strongly disagree with. And yet, here at DailyKos, there are plenty of people who will do just that.
Most of you realize that this is in response to the so called "offensive" diary of BadaBing from last night, entitled Why Are We So Afraid to Debate a Primary Challenge to President Obama?
DailyKos has a system for stopping right-wing trolls from infiltrating and ruining the discussions. The HR (Hide-Rating) is to be used on trolls to prevent disrupting the conversation.
To Troll Rate something has exactly one meaning. When you Troll Rate something, as a trusted user, you are stating that the comment should be made invisible to all site users. You're saying that the comment is so bad -- so disruptive or damaging to the community -- that it isn't worth even a debate, but should be deleted from the discussion as being simply inflammatory, simply off-topic, or simply a lie. Remember that, because that is the only use of the troll rating. It is an editorial vote to delete a comment from the conversation. Conversely, there is one particular reason troll ratings should never be used: to express disagreement with a poster's opinion.To consider Badabing a right-wing troll, is an outright lie, or insane. She is far to the left of many of us here. Go look at her recent diaries and judge for yourself.
I know she posted an offensive video (I didn't see it), but apparently it's OK to post it in other diaries, but many people asked her to remove it and it was removed. Many, if not most of the HR's were given after the video was removed. In my opinion, the diary was over the top, but that is MY opinion, and Badabing had EVERY right to express her contrarian opinion!
I have never given an HR to anyone. Make no mistake, giving an HR is trying to deny anyone else from reading what I have just read. It is denial of free speech, pure and simple. Instead of letting ME read a diary and judge for myself whether it is good or bad, the people who HR would DENY ME the right to decide for myself.
The DailyKos HR system is a good system, as long as it is not abused. Anyone can add a comment and give their reasons why the diary is stupid, wrong, Bull Shit, or whatever. I can then read their comment and decide whether I agree or not. But no! Some people here will deny me the right to make my own decisions.
I fear the people who would so freely censor the speech of those who they disagree with. If they are so willing to deny the free speech of those who share many of the same values, if they come to power will they deny the free speech of Republicans, Tea Partiers, others they disagree with, will they deny MY free speech?
Many of my diaries and postings are considered controversial by many here. But if DailyKos allows the minority to suffer the tyranny of the majority, and diaries are limited to the noncontroversial, what will we become? There is a good deal of ignorance here at DailyKos, especially about economics and hard core politics, and many of the postings that are considered controversial, are actually very informative and make us better fighters in our efforts to build a better America. Reading the controversial diaries has helped me understand a different perspective and hopefully lessened my own ignorance.
In state after state, we've seen the right-wing nuts go after the right to vote with their voter suppression laws, is DailyKos going to show the world that we will not tolerate controversial opposing views from our own people? DailyKos should be a model of how Democrats view democracy. If this is how progressives view free speech, we should all be afraid.