Censorship - The Issue
Over the last few weeks, particularly in the thread Total Buggy OS - Xperia 10 Plus, there has been a good deal of censorhip taking place with many users’ posts (including my own) being hidden under the guise of community moderation.
Jolla, in its Terms of Service and Forum Guidelines, state that "We do not believe in walled gardens, we prefer the open sea. We want our products and services to free you to express yourself as you see fit, not lock you down to a view of the world imposed on you by us” and asks community users to “be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.”
In other words Jolla aims to encourage freedom of speech on this forum where robust, but respectful, conversations can take place without any users having to be penalised because they do not share the same views as others (who may or may not be community moderators).
The censorship that has taken place has been anonymous and without any explained reasoning to the users affected by the person(s) responsible for the censorship.
That some community users are able to wield such power indiscriminately over others without (a) needing to justify their actions or allowing any challenge to their justification, and (b) being able to do this from a position of total obscurity is, in my view, neither right nor in the spirit of Jolla’s stated intentions.
On occasions the language that has been used in the thread would not be what I would have chosen myself. However, I am from the UK and I recognise that the culture in other parts of the world is very different - what might be acceptable language in one country might not be in another; what might cause offence in one culture might not in another. This needs to be recognised and approached in a flexible and tolerant way by all.
Often posts have been censored for seemly no reason, other than perhaps the community moderator(s) didn’t like or agree with the post.
For example, @peterleinchen was censored for a one sentence post asking for censorship of other users’ posts to stop, whilst I was censored for simply copying and pasting Jolla’s own forum guidelines and terms of service (as repeated above) and asking for users to take note of them. When other users’s (such as @deloptes @olf , etc) openly challenged the censorship of these posts in the thread, they too were then censored.
Users also need to recognise that threads that start on one subject often develop over time to embrace related side issues or even morph into another area of concern that was triggered by the original subject under discussion. This is simply a recognition of how legally protected free speech works.
In these situations usually all that is required is a gentle and polite nudge to get the thread back on track after giving contributors an opportunity to air their views. Such situations are not crimes to be punished anonymously by an ‘off topic’ ban or censorship action.
In summary, although forum censorship is not a common occurrence, it does appear to be on the increase and this should be of concern to us all, including Jolla.