Trend or coincidence? Recently I’ve come across two examples of deceptive censorship in computer forums. If the San Francisco Chronicle deletes your comment, the comment is invisible to other readers, but it remains visible to YOU, presumably so you don’t realize you’ve been censored and start complaining. (Thanks to TTB for the link.)
Prosper, the online lending platform, censors their forum. The lender community responded by setting up an alternate, uncensored forum at Prospers.org. (If you’re thinking about lending at Prosper, you REALLY need to read what the other lenders are saying in the uncensored forum.)
Well, OK, but how do people at Prosper.com find out about Prospers.org? It used to be possible to post at Prosper.com and mention Prospers.org. Now Prosper’s forum software automatically changes “prospers.org” to “prosper.com”. If you mention the competition, it’s turned into a mention of Prosper.
Both the Chronicle and Prosper are private businesses, and I really don’t have a problem with a bit of censorship to remove spam and maintain a civil atmosphere. However, I think they ought to be honest about their policies. Post the rules and provide a referee to enforce the rules, but don’t have secret rules that you enforce when no one is looking.