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Censored on CiF: Is this what they mean by “abusive”?

Last night a reader sent us a comment he left on Viner’s article about how censorship is good for free speech. If that is the case then hollowaytoad got “free speech censored” yesterday, and the Guardian moderators got an object lesson in irony. One they are doubtless going to ignore. This comment was posted, as you can see, at 16.38:


Within the hour it was gone:


Oh, and the author was on pre-moderation:


That’s free speech for ya.


  1. rtj1211 says

    Comment is Free is free so long as you are a global-warming, feminist, middle class luvvie in London thinking that the EU is God’s Gift to Humankind whilst failing to realise that the EU and socialism are mutually exclusive power vehicles…….

  2. flybow says

    i got silenced too. You really can’t give the an alternative view in the guardian. Very quickly i was pre moderated, and later silenced. Never buy it now.

  3. Julian Turnbull says

    “Community Standards” my backside! Whoever you are, “moderator”, you’re a silly little twerp. Thank goodness you weren’t in one of my classes. Goodbye this comment too (and goodbye me).

    I thought I’d share this, my final comment to The Guardian (predictably made to disappear without trace). I’d previously commented upon a weird article about an American Sheriff and bestiality (yes, it’s true), and wondering at the lack of articles about Tory electoral expenses.

    • GM says

      This is gold.

      And pretty much as expected.

    • We aren’t ignoring it friend, we never heard of it until you posted this link. Your combative tone is quite strange. Why not just send us the link in a spirit of co-operation.

      A couple of questions also. What actually is this site? How is this “live feed” set up to run without access to the Graun’s own website data?

        • Hi there MistyMountainHop/Fiddlestix (I’m assuming you are both the same person as you have the same IP).

          This is all I could find in that article about the methodology employed:

          An anonymous reader saw The Guardian’s attempt to publicly challenge the comment culture, and set about working out exactly what comments really are deleted from the site…They set up a site, which went live early Tuesday, which aims to scrape the deleted comments from The Guardian and reposts them on another page. The creator of this site said some comments were missed if the moderators deleted it particularly quickly.

          Which actually says precisely nothing about how it’s done, but does warn that it may not be wholly inclusive. We need clarifications and amplifications from the “anonymous reader” behind this venture. If his site really is what he claims it to be then it’s a very valuable resource. If not it could be more misleading than helpful.

          Maybe Anon could get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from him.

          • GM says

            It gives clues — it’s not through direct access to the database.

            It’s probably crawling through the Guardian website, noting the open threads, and taking snapshots of them at set time intervals, then taking note of the comments that have been deleted.

            Which is why it says that if they delete them very quickly, they might be missed.

            That would also mean that it misses the comments blocked in pre-mod because those never appear to begin with.

            • Yes, I’m assuming it’s something like that. The problem is atm we are left with only assumption, and have no way of knowing what filtering may or may not be being applied, or how generally efficient the system is. That’s why I hope Anon will communicate with us at some point.

              Good point about the comments filtered in pre-mod. Didn’t even think about that.

              • GM says

                My suspicion is that the pre-mod omission actually introduces bias in the sample.

                The obvious trolls probably get banned immediately, i.e. they post a few juvenile, generally short comments, which get deleted and do appear in the tracking feed, and then they’re gone. The people who are on pre-mod probably post longer more thoughtful comments (at least that’s what I used to do), and accordingly you don’t see those on the feed.

  4. 0use4msm says

    The smear campaign against Livingstone by the Blairite corporate/faux left goes full scale with various articles in the Graun, but readers are no longer allowed to comment after they came out in overwhelming support for Ken.

  5. eightiesmullet says

    Please be aware that you are being played by people like GM pissing in the pool with their Gamergate cartoons.

  6. shaksvshav says

    The modern equivalent of the phenomenon described by George Orwell. “Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban”.

  7. Eric_B says

    This comment on Viner’s article nails it I think.

    zepov 4d ago 35 36
    Apparently openness and honesty in opinions is frowned upon by the Guardian’s moderators. I posted a comment that personal insults are far less a danger to the health of our societies than how those with a mass-media platform are able to influence a narrative in distorted, even propagandist, ways. That comment was deleted. Which proves my point.

    • Ended with 80 comments, 34 displayed deletions and the thread closed in within 5 hours…

      • No other news paper I’ve read is prepared to. Demonstrate its contempt for the political views of its readership than the post 2010 Guardian – it’s started with the dodgy deal they made with Clegg and Cameron and it’s been down hill since then.

        Viner, for her part, doesn’t actually seem to be able to speak English, her articles are confused and her editorials bizzare – a lame attempt at Rusbridger “Mr Cameron, Ms May” thing but without the verbal chops.

        The paper has been reduced to to a sneering student newspaper with over the top identity politics and which hunts. It’s pathetic, but the crowning glory of all this is the sheer arrogance that they should be allowed to trade off the Greenwald/Snowden story, even though they’ve completely ostracised both of them.

        Btw I still wonder about Snowden – the whole thing was so fantastical that I wonder if that’s actually what it was – a fantasy created by the secret services to scare us all into believing we’re being watched.

        Hmm maybe they’re like TV licence detector vans, – they can actually do what they say they can?

        • I actually hadn’t realized who they replaced the previous editor with.

          Of course, the rot started under him, and I knew they replaced him with someone, but I have just been reading articles without thinking about who exactly is in charge now.

          I did some background reading on Viner today, and now the campaign to ramp up the censorship that started in January really makes a lot more sense — she started writing for The Cosmopolitan of all places back in the 1990s and presided precisely over the SJW section of the website for a few years.

          So basically The Guardian was being taken over by the SJWs gradually and then their victory was made official with her appointment.

          And this is where the censorship comes from on those issues.

          The Russophobia seems to have different roots. But I had in fact not given that issue much thought because I know some Eastern European languages and get my info on these issues from sources other than the Western media meaning that I have not been reading any of those comment threads and was not aware they were censored just as heavily as the SJW ones.

        • Seamus Padraig says

          “I still wonder about Snowden – the whole thing was so fantastical that I wonder if that’s actually what it was – a fantasy created by the secret services to scare us all into believing we’re being watched.”

          Fair enough. But the question is this: If Snowden is, in fact, a deep-state psyop intended to intimidate us all, then why is Russian–their enemy–cooperating? What interest would Moscow have in helping them?

          • Well also, Asange helped him I presume that he’s not a cia operative. Like I said, I dunno, wouldn’t have a clue. All I know is that Snowden has actually legitimised spying on the public – everyone seems to have accepted it.

  8. Seamus Padraig says

    Hey–all you culture-jammers out there! Here’s how you can slip in a link to the Off-Guardian over at The Guardian’s BTL comments section without getting caught: Simply embed the Off-Guardian link into some text that DOES NOT mention Off-Guardian by name. You can do this by using the ‘Link’ feature on the lower right-hand corner of the ‘Post reply’ console. When the link dialog pops up, just paste your link into the dialog’s ‘Your URL’ box and hit ‘OK’. Then, back in the main ‘Post reply’ textbox, insert some text in between the and tags that does not explicity mention the Off-Guardian. You can type whatever you want: “Here’s another opinion” or “There are those who beg to differ” or whatever.

    I’ve done this several times now without getting busted by CiF monitors. To be sure, I don’t know how many people have found the Off-Guardian by reading my sneaky links, but at least I’ve never been caught, so I can keep trying.

    Anyway, if enough of you do this, it’s sure to bring more traffic to our site.

    • But Seamus, the iOS Safari dynamic website drops those buttons and you only have a rely.

      Hollowaytoad was clearly doing a test and was proved pretty right by the looks of it!

      • Seamus Padraig says

        You may be right about iOS Safari. I only use Windows now, so I don’t know about every platform out there.

        As far as Hollowaytoad is concerned, in the above graphic he did in fact type the name ‘Off-Guardian’ into the text itself, which is a big no-no at The Guardian. They will catch you if you do that. All I’m saying is that, at least as of now, they still obviously don’t have any automated way of searching the hypertext-tag links you import. I’m sure that won’t last forever, but for now it seems to work, as the new commenter ‘GM’ down below has confirmed.

      • O Lucky Man! says

        Well if you want to get around the Gandrian’s double secret probation Then try giving old bit.ly a go, for example this article becomes –

        I saw an interesting discussion about censorship and abuse here http://bit.ly/1XPuDEJ

        Hide it in html tags like Seamus suggests for extra subversive capacity…(!)
        Haven’t tried it myself as I don’t really do Gandrian any more, but probably worth a shot…

        • Seamus Padraig says

          Good suggestion, Lucky. Another idea that just occurred to me is to use the IP address ( instead of the domain name ‘off-guardian.org’ in your links posted to CiF. I’m not sure if that works or not–haven’t tried it myself–but it’s worth a shot.

    • I found out about it from such a link in a comment. I don’t know if the comment was later deleted, but it stayed alive long enough for me to see it.

      • Seamus Padraig says

        Excellent, GM. We’re glad you found us! Welcome to the Off-Guardian, where facts really ARE sacred …

    • Seamus Padraig says

      “Then, back in the main ‘Post reply’ textbox, insert some text in between the AND tags that does not explicity mention the Off-Guardian.”

      Ooops! Off-Guardian’s comment software interpreted my attempt at typing in an HTML hypertext tag as a dead link around the word ‘and’. Sorry for any confusion.

  9. bevin says

    Something very peculiar and rather sinister is happening at The Guardian.
    “Comment Is Free” used to be a very important feature of the internet edition. And, potentially, a very valuable property. It attracted readers from around the world and acted as a forum for opinion that gave the Guardian enormous credibility. Unjustified credibility in many ways, because the ‘freedom’ apparent in CiF conveyed to the world the misleading idea that the paper itself maintained standards of fairness and open discussion, which it really did not.
    For example, anyone reading The Guardian in 2003 was liable to get the impression that the great weight of public opinion-opposed to the attack on Iraq- had been taken into account by the editorial staff. And that the overwhelming support that The Guardian’s columnists and reporters gave to Blair and Bush, reflected some kind of judgement of the evidence adduced for war.
    In fact The Guardian had issued marching orders that no employee interested in promotion or favour could ignore: where are those handful of writers who were proved to be right, clear headed and prophetic about Iraq? Were they promoted? Were those who got it ludicrously wrong penalised?
    Not at all. The more idiotic the advocacy of Blairism the more rapid the promotion. The paper is run by people who represented a small minority of public opinion, as measured by CiF, in 2003. Small wonder that they hate it.
    Still, CiF represented great value. At a time when the business was rapidly getting worse; when any sign of success ought to have been seized eagerly, a decision was obviously made to run the thing down and give up the benefits, in terms of potential profits and, more importantly perhaps, enhanced credibility at a time when a push for international readership was being made.
    There are only two possible explanations for this. The first is that The Guardian is being tun by totally incompetent people who have no understanding of the potential that they are wasting. The second is that the paper is so integrated, financially and ideologically, into the state/deep state system that it now relies upon it for its financial survival.
    My guess is that the latter is the case and that articles such as Viner’s and the faux controversy over abusive trolling are both intended to pave the way to shutting down CiF completely and replacing it with a ‘forum’ designed to guide opinion on paths plotted with the assistance of the vast amount of data that the Panopticon now affords social scientists employed to shore up a system spiralling towards catastrophe.

    • It’s also worth remembering that the Guardian also has offices in the US and Australia. After Al Jazeera got prime time and a HO in the US they went all pro US and anti Syrian (their main HQ is in Doha (Qatar)) as a consequence there was a mass walkout of staff. The Guardian has to behave itself in the US and obviously here in Britain if it’s going to fill the coffers. Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir, whatever the US demands.

      • Seamus Padraig says

        The other thing to remember about Al Jazeera is that it’s the personal property of the Emir of Qatar–a close ally of Washington & Tel Aviv, and someone with a major interest in overthrowing the Syrian government. Al Jazeera’s staff are not at liberty to contradict Qatari policy in the middle east, which is why after the Syrian War began, AJ quickly turned into ‘Sunni Central’.

      • Jen says

        @ Bevin, Mohandeer

        A major issue for The Guardian is money. Since its founding back in the early to mid-19th century in Manchester, The Guardian has never turned in a profit (or so the legend goes). For a long time it depended on cross-subsidisation by other Manchester newspapers that were part of the organisation that printed The Guardian. Over the years the structure of the organisation changed, The Guardian’s offices moved to London and it cut itself off from its Manchester roots. At one time also it was dependent on government job adverts which I believe dried up many years ago.

        The opening of branches in the US and Australia was part of The Guardian’s drive for more readers (and more income) as the UK market must have been saturated. Prior to The Guardian’s expansion to Australia, there was a voluntary redundancy drive at its London offices. So the quest for more readers and more revenue went hand in hand with mass retrenchment of staff which would have had the effect of destroying a significant part of its knowledge base and work culture, and the values associated with it. The Guardian has tried to fill the vacuum created with syndicated articles from dubious partnerships like the New East Network and propaganda media outlets like the Kyiv Post.

        Intelligent and capable people surely wouldn’t last in such an environment; they either would have jumped ship or been forced to walk the plank. The paper not only is part of the system but the people running it and most of the people writing for it are incompetent because the system can only tolerate having mediocrities in charge.

    • Eric_B says

      Yes, it’s quite obvious that The Guardian’s job is to present and whitewash the agenda of the US/UK military/media/political complex for its supposed liberal/left wing audience.

      Their problem is that a lot of their readers are educated and skeptical thinkers who can easily spot their bullshit.

      So what to do? Ditch the comments. Let the bullshit stand apparently unchallenged.

  10. Conversation? What is meant by this comment is no debate unless it is all in agreement with the Guardian’s own thinking. There is no debate, no alternative opinion and no tolerance of different ideology. What the Guardian censor says, goes, otherwise the post is “moderated” off the site. Oh that’s very “free speech thinking” especially as it has absolutely no foundation in truth with regards abuse, bad language, bigotry or false/misrepresentation, that is entirely the preserve of The Guardian.
    Posted on the Guardians “share” buttons, Facebook and Google+

  11. A comment I wrote on an article about footballl was deleted recently, all I did was point out that the whole premise of the article was founded on a premise which was actually incorrect, a point which I backed up with actual facts that proved the premise of the article wrong. I couldn’t see any good reason why my comment was deleted, so it must have been deleted because I was a smartarse. I did suggest that the author hadn’t researched the subject matter very well. I know this is pretty trivial but the moderation was also fairly petty.

  12. Did anyone pick this one up? Excellent bit of spotting by:

    Balmaclellan 22h ago

    You could perhaps review your definition of what constitutes ‘abuse’.

    On an article about the lack of women in films, this post apparently constitutes ‘abuse’:

    “It appears that 80% of librarians are women. Perhaps a group of women could get together and make a film about librarians. That would help even things up.”

    On an article about women who support Donald Trump, hundreds of posts like this apparently don’t consitute ‘abuse’:

    “…pathetic, clueless, dumbass, thick, stupid, inbred, brainlesss, fuckwitted, bigoted, right-wingnut, backwards-thinking, mentally-ill, shit for brains, stupidest mammals on the planet…”

    Actually, forget it. That would create more abuse, not less.

    • I think you are right about creating more, not less, or at least perpetuating abuse.

      The movie about librarians, given the enormous dearth of celebrity women actors, would have to have as its protagonist a man (Johnny Depp, maybe?) enduring the trials and tribulations of being male in a profession where women dominate and tell everyone to “shhh.” I think it could work as a tragicomedy, to take the edge off of the abuse . . .

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