Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Censorship versus Freedom in Urgent Evoke

censorship is the absolute enemy of freedom. censorship is a weapon used by corrupt governments, cowardly corporations and conservative extremists to SILENCE dissent, restrict INFORMATION and enforce their 'morals'. simply take a look at the extreme on-going cases of Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and China. even in places with laws protecting FREE SPEECH, the battle is on-going.

the arguments for censorship consists of sheltering people and children from 'inappropriate' media. those are merely a skewed rationale. what is the TRUTH? censorship takes away the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of citizens to CHOOSE what is suitable for themselves and their children. censorship is about CONTROL.

the worst is something i call 'pre-emptive tyrannical' censorship; where a special select few choose what is 'suitable' for public viewing. in addition, this type of censorship has NO transparency and NO formal process to appeal.

sound familiar? Urgent Evoke moderators have been engaging in opaque, arbitrary censorship from the very beginning. posts and comments disappear without warning. when they occasionally grace someone with a reason, those given are ill-defined, vacillating and personal. hardly the actions of an ETHICAL organization that claims a focus on freedom and social activism.

those of us that have thought on these issues know what the TRUTH is. Urgent Evoke is still trying to CONTROL every aspect of UE. they seek to constrain the public image of Urgent Evoke to their own vision. using their stealth censorship, they are trying to silence voices of dissent and any material that does not fit with their 'safe, happy family' version of UE.

the real world can be an ugly place, sickened with murder, hatred and greed. this is WHY we are social activists. censorship does not make the bad things go away..

here's a short list of organizations that regularly fight against censorship:

http://www.aclu.org/ - American Civil Liberties Union (USA)
http://www.amnesty.org/ - Amnesty International
http://ccrjustice.org/ - Center for Constitutional Rights (USA)
http://en.rsf.org/ - Reporters Without Borders
http://www.eff.org/ - Electronic Frontier Foundation
http://www.ncac.org/ - National Coalition Against Censorship (USA)
http://www.fair.org/index.php - Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/ - Index on Censorship (UK)
http://www.chillingeffects.org/ - Chilling Effects Clearinghouse
http://www.thefirstamendment.org/ - The First Amendment Project (USA)

addendum - @Michele Baron has summed up everything i have been trying to say better than i could.

remember, seek the TRUTH.

Views: 272

Comment by Julio Cesar Corona Ortega on April 24, 2010 at 1:33am
+1 Courage to you, sir.

I too have noticed some of this subtle censorship in order to make EVOKE fit into the moral mold that it's creators wish upon it. As a community, it needs to be given the freedom to develop and follow it's own course. All ideas and thoughts should have place, here. I'd like to think we are all adult enough to judge the discourse by it's own merits.

Also, I am sick and tired of the rampant censorship in all media. My one hope is that others are getting sick too, and I am predicting a radical shift in the opposite direction within the next 3 decades.
Comment by sunnydupree on April 24, 2010 at 2:10am
Hope the shift comes sooner than that Julio! I agree on the problems with censorship and hope that we become enlightened soon.
Comment by Turil Cronburg on April 24, 2010 at 3:11am
I have, over many very difficult discussions with others and with myself, come to the conclusion that there are two different elements to the censorship issue:

1. Everyone needs to be free to express themselves (physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually) to be healthy.

2. Everyone has a right to not be forced to do things they don't believe are healthy.

The former is about getting rid of things that the body/mind needs to get rid of (they are considered toxicities by the body, but aren't necessarily bad, as in childbirth, singing, solving math problems, or sweating). While the latter is about not putting toxicities into the body in the first place.

Now, I hope you'll agree that it makes sense to respect these two as reasonable rights that you'd want to grant everyone you possibly can. Violations of either are generally considered to be torture, or at least kind of evil (as in brainwashing).

So the real dilemma shows up when what one person is expressing is toxic to another person.

As a preschool teacher, my own solution is usually to do my best to redirect the person who needs to express something to another environment that can more effectively deal with that expression. A simple example is that if there's a room full of sleeping kids, and one kid starts crying, I'd be inclined to take the crying kid out of that room, and into a space where the crying wouldn't bother others as much.

As someone who offers websites that allow for (and encourage) discussion, I finally realized that the preschool solution is equally effective in other situations, and so I've started to redirect expressions that are toxic to me or my purpose, but very much need to be expressed, into another venue. So in a way, I am censoring certain perspectives, while I'm also not censoring them. I am removing them from places where they are likely to do harm, and putting them into places where they are likely to be either neutralized, or even beneficial.

Perhaps this is an approach that others, including the Evoke team, might consider...
Comment by nomadHAR on April 24, 2010 at 4:45am
@Turil Cronburg - in general, i understand your approach. however, the problems with UE moderation is before that stage. (1) their idea of 'toxic' is inconsistent, and (2) their process is secretive. there is NO way of knowing whether or not one's post or comment will be considered 'toxic' by the UE mods. ex. one of my posts was commented on by @Ethan Walden; i got an email to that fact. i go to look, and nothing is there; no warning or explanation was given for that.

as far as being exposed to the 'toxicity' of another person, one can always choose not to observe or absorb it. i believe that living truly free comes with many dangers. we can either be mostly free or mostly safe; we cannot have both. neo-Nazis still have public protests; i detest their despicable message, but i will defend their right to express it.

as for another venue for 'non-mainstream' UE, isn't that what Delta Team is?
Comment by nomadHAR on April 24, 2010 at 5:07am
addendum: Google made a map project that reveals government requests to remove content or to reveal user data. Google continues to try to be as ethical as possible.

http://www.google.com/governmentrequests/

i like the fact that China just has a '?'. way too many to count.
Comment by A.V.Koshy on April 24, 2010 at 7:40am
it's a complex issue - for instance i'm at present in a heavily curtailed milieu and compared ot htat evoke is very cool
but for those used to greater levels of freedom like i used to have while working in india
evoke is sometimes a bit constricting
evoke is learning and so what i can say is better late than never...
Comment by Sarah Shaw Tatoun on April 24, 2010 at 9:49am
nomadHar, have you ever had a comment or a post deleted by a moderator? I ask because you give Ethan Walden as an example. On one occasion he made a comment directed at me which I didn't like. Something to the effect that I didn't 'get' that the only people left in this game are moderators and members of his 'Delta force'. I was irritated enough that I responded-- and then his comment disappeared, leaving my response looking rather strange. I thought it very unlikely that the moderators, if they were censoring comments, would have deleted that one in particular, but not, for instance, his accusations that Mita Williams was lying when she said the moderators had not banned A.V.Koshy. Then I saw a comment Ethan had made on another post in which he explained how to delete your own comments (or other people's comments on one of your posts): go to your profile page and scroll down until you see the comment you want to delete and run your mouse over the upper right hand corner. You'll see a small 'x' appear. Just press the 'x' and poof! The comment's gone. I tried this out myself on one of Sarah O'Connor's posts when she indicated that my comments were unwelcome. This only works for recent comments, however, that are still on your profile page.

My conclusion with Ethan-- and probably others-- is that either he frequently has second thoughts about what he writes-- or he likes to tease.

I would also like to question whether moderators are really censoring posts. If you do a search for 'World Bank' on Evoke you'll see 28 pages returned, many of them with highly negative views of World Bank activities. I went through the first 10 pages and came up with a few of them:

IMF / World Bank Beat Down
World Bank creating poverty (BBC Newsnight)
International Monetary Fund / World Bank Protest
The World Bank (WB) & The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
News stories related to the World Bank and IMF
Stop the World Bank's $3.75 billion loan to fund dirty coal
EVOKE AND/OR INVOKE....
Anyone questioning the fact that this is sponsored by the World Ban...
Desalination, Veolia, the World Bank and Water Issues
"Mr Black Swan" has a radical view on money and finance - but it do...
Go Big or Go Home, Redux
Secret of Missing EVOKE Powers and Social Activism
Player-Made Game - INVOKE1 - "Identify The Profiteers"
POWER EVOCATION : COURAGE

Several of these posts also refer to and direct people to the parody site Urgent Invoke which makes use of Evoke's own copyrighted cartoons to suggest that Evoke is just a cynical part of the World Bank's world domination plans.

I can't, of course, prove that Evoke isn't part of an evil conspiracy and that the moderators aren't somehow, in some subtle, unseen way, exercising censorship-- any more than I can prove that God didn't really tell George W. Bush to invade Iraq. But until I see some more obvious signs of it I prefer to reserve the term 'censorship' for all the cases of imprisoned and murdered journalists, for my friends who spent time in jail, were beaten or had their children attacked for speaking out against repressive regimes. To apply it to people not allowed to participate in a game because they said mean things the other players seems a little petty.
Comment by A.V.Koshy on April 24, 2010 at 10:57am
dear sarah - nomadHAR is taking an idealist postion ,arguing for perfect freedom which has to be taken becasue it is such idealism that is the salt of the world, whether you like it or not
we cannot deny that panamericana was banned from uevoke
neither can we deny that comments were taken off the sidebar and off the profile pages - for both of which there is proof with me
regarding ethan supposedly lying - he was not lying he only reported what i told him which he had misunderstood and sarah, mita was not lying but neither was she speaking the full truth
if ethan thought ill of a comment he made and took it off later that is something i though would be commended by you
i myself am of the opinion that urgentevoke started out trying to censor but they saw that evoke is too big and many of us refuse to take it and so they have changed much just as we have. full credit to them but many left because of their earlier highhandedness.
maybe your friends in jail are criminals and deserve to be there? since you seem to like seeing both sides of the question why not consider that too? they are probably in jail because they broke the laws of the land they are in. should we therefore let them languish there?

nobody said there is a conspiracy here or that the moderators are unfair
what is petty to you may not petty to someone else
Comment by Turil Cronburg on April 24, 2010 at 11:01am
Nomad, I understand your frustration, and I share it, as well. And I also share the Evoke team's frustration as well (especially Jane and Mita who have personally written about it). Toxicity isn't a constant thing. Water can bring both life and death. So can words. And I hope you agree that people have a general right to remove toxicities from their own very local environments, especially the spaces (meat-space or virtual) that you might call their home and work. Yes, they can go somewhere else, or try to ignore the toxicity, and most of the time people do choose these options. But sometimes it's better to stand up for yourself and say, "No" Hopefully one can add. "I'm sorry, this just isn't acceptable here, maybe we can find somewhere else that you can offer this where it will be more appreciated and useful..."
Comment by A.V.Koshy on April 24, 2010 at 11:10am
dear turil - to compare taking children out of pre kg environment who are crying to evoke where we are all supposedly above 13 is not the same thing
this is a virtual space in which the rules are not yet clearly laid out
these conversations will help if there is an evoke 2 for things to become clearer
let's continue the dialogue
oh yes and by the way for me coming from india world bank has done us more harm than good by miring us all in debt we have no idea of how to come out of
govts make debt
the people pay
its not fair
we need to express our protest on democartic forums
no point in expressing it in closed spaces where people will agree to us
for instance in urgent invoke to make a critique of uevoke is passe
to speak up for it would make more sense
that is the way real democracy which creates opportuities for dialogue can come about

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