2017-07-13 / Letters

Blocking Ideas

TO THE EDITOR: THE NORTHFIELD NEWS

DO YOU FOLLOW Front Porch Forum and
notice the debate about clearing trees and
brush in Northfield; Have you noticed how
the debate is turning, who is commenting and who
is not? It really is interesting, but more importantly
it is very one-sided. Why?
Well I have found the answer to that question.
Front Porch Forum censors their commenters and
their comments based on political ideology and I
know this because I was blocked from posting anything
in June when posting in favor of clearing
trees. When I contacted them, their answer was
that I violated their terms of use; when I asked
them to explain they refused to answer. When I
contacted them again, their answer was even more
cryptic saying that it was their “system” the
blocked me and that I would be limited to only 2
posts per month in July. When I asked them to tell
me for how long I would be limited and what exactly
in my posts in June caused me to be blocked
Front Porch Forum refused to answer.
So, I began to search online and much to my surprise
I found an incredible amount of complaints
against Front Porch Forum (a service started in
2000) for censorship of very similar circumstances
with even more drastic punishments including
banishment from the forum. This lead me to make
several posts on facebook in several conservative
groups which lead to an unbelievable amount of
people responding sharing similar stories of censorship,
blocking, infringement and banishment.
Here is legal part of this. They can. Yup, that’s
the short and simple answer. They can lie and say
their forum is open to all and all opinions are welcome.
They can control every comment. They can
do whatever they want to the debate and no one
can hold them accountable because the forum is
private and therefore no rules, save their own,
apply to them.
Front Porch Forum operates by community, that
is to say each of their pages is for a particular town
or area. I am a constitutional libertarian and I
believe in and support freedom of speech for all
even those who would deny freedom of speech to
me, so I am not proposing banishment or blocking
of them. However, that does not mean We as a
community have to support Front Porch Forum or
even read their one-sided, censored and controlled
posts.
So here is the reason I write this letter to the editor.
No matter what your affiliation, political ideology,
personal view or religion, no matter what law
protects you, anyone willing to deny anyone the
right to speak under any circumstance is in fact
violating one of our fundamental inalienable rights
that makes our country the best country in the
world. The very principle of freedom of speech is
one of our most coveted idealisms that crosses religions,
ideologies and races and cover “ALL”. So,
the lesson I hope you the reader can learn here is
this; if anyone is willing to do it to one, they are
willing to do it to all.
THADDEUS O’TIERNEY-SEVERY
Northfield

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