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patrickhenry's avatar

Is Fluther really a free speech site?

Asked by patrickhenry (7points) April 1st, 2010

With the exception of things like threats and trolling are the contributors free to express their opinions? I’m looking for a site very different from Askville where questioning the powers that be can get you in trouble.

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19 Answers

Grisaille's avatar


Or no.

See that? Power of free thought and opinion. Wield it responsibly, and go forth.

Dog's avatar

Be sure to check out our guidelines

Dog's avatar

It looks so funny seeing Andrew ask if Fluther has Free Speech :)

rahm_sahriv's avatar

Reading the rules, I would have to say no. Free speech is free speech to me. If you are not compromising another person’s safety with overt threats then it goes in my book. You want to use the ‘n’ word, go ahead (I may think you are an ignorant hick- REGARDLESS of color, but you have the right to say it).

After reading what the mods can delete, there are many other examples that I find they would delete but I think should be protected under freedom of speech. However, it is their site and they make the rules. Since I want to play in that sandbox, I will follow them, but no, it is not a site which promotes freedom of speech.

Grisaille's avatar

@rahm_sahriv With regards to discussion, everything goes. If it is contextually relevant, no word or phrase is off limits. You are incorrect.

Insulting, however, or promoting hate speech does not qualify as valid opinion, ever. Conduct yourself civilly and maintain a flow of discourse that does not resemble the conduct of a pots and pans clanking, and you will not be moderated. It is that simple.

It isn’t about ideology. Free speech is useless if it is drowned out by a million, frothing-at-the-mouth lunatics. That is the purpose of the moderation on this site. To not devolve into a shouting match, so opinions can be heard.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

@mod (sorry, new, don’t know where the joke begins or ends and I don’t want to mess up your user name)

This is moderated free speech and therefore not, at its base, free speech. I understand why there are things that are moderated and I may even agree in some cases, but the question asked me if this was a free speech site and because it is moderated, because those lunatics as you describe them are not allowed their say (however moronic I or you may find them), it is not a free speech site.

Trillian's avatar

@galileogirl? Is that you?

OperativeQ's avatar


Now we wait to see if I get modded…

Grisaille's avatar

@timrahm_sahrivendrew I am not a moderator.

Again: it is not the opinion. Nothing to do with that. Lunatics are allowed to dwell in and promote their idiocy. They are just required to speak in a way that does not disrupt the level of discourse, so that free speech can happen. An open forum is useless otherwise. You can argue “SEMANTICS” all you’d like, though.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

Sorry for mistakenly identifying you as a mod.

This is a list of what is I see could be moderated:
Our trusty moderators may remove anything that is:

Tragically misspelled – Not everyone’s first language is English, and then not everyone paid attention in school. If someone doesn’t want to wade through and decipher, then they will ignore it. I don’t see the call in deleting.

Totally open-ended or poorly thought out – I can see this, if it doesn’t have to do with the question asked, then the purpose of the site is to answer questions, moderate away.

Trolling (or thinly masked propaganda)- Here we start stepping on thin ice and it is a moderator’s call (although some cases are obvious) as to whether something is a troll or a legitimate question or misunderstanding. Moderating propaganda, however is clearly stepping on free speech.

Self-promotional (No peddling, promos, or marketing)- A site rule, understandable, but still, you are stepping on freedom of speech, so my opinion of this not being a free speech site stands.

Egocentric attention-grabbing- A definite judgement call by the mods. Not everyone is going to think alike, so what may be attention grabbing to some, might not be to others. So you might get freedom of speech according to the mods, not a free speech domain.

Hateful, abusive, or bigoted- I answered a question in which I saw the words ‘Filipino infested’. I took offense and I found it abusive and bigoted, but the post remains- AS IT SHOULD. I will put that in the win column for the mods who left it.

Deceitful- I can understand this, this is supposed to be a site where you find answers. It does not help if someone is out and out lying in their response.

Vague, confusing, or generally non-sensical- another judgment call. What may be vague and confusing to some may not be to others and it might actually be a help, but if the mods have the power to remove it, they are interrupting freedom of speech and I don’t buy your argument that ‘cleaning’ up someone’s speech aids freedom of speech. Non-sensical, I can see that, sort of goes with deceitful.

A personal attack- Tough. Toughen up and ignore them. If no threats are being made, I find this a clear violation of freedom of speech. Again, your argument of censoring and or having people speak in a different manner so that free speech CAN occur does not hold water with me.

Off-topic chatter or an inside joke- I can see not allowing off topic answers per the rules of the site but that and inside jokes is a matter of free speech. People can pass over them if they want, so again your argument does not hold water.

Excessive txtspeak (“ZOMG r u 4 real?!?!?!!? LOL”)- Would a person who spoke or wrote in Ebonics? Just asking.

We would argue semantics endlessly as I do not agree with your argument, it only strengthens mine as my argument probably only strengthens your convictions.

ucme's avatar

No this shit costs & right here’s where you start paying,time that is.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I once heard someone describe fluther as a benevolent dictatorship. I think this is an accurate description seeing as there are some rules regulating what can and can’t be said. Some unhappy people will tell you that questioning the fluther powers that be will get you in trouble but this is simply not true. If you question them in a civilized manner rather than calling them all stupid mods and wanting to know why they’re such idiots, then you will not get a good response which is very much the same as in person. However, if you don’t like something or have questions that the general populace of fluther cannot answer, pm’img the mods or the fluther creators is a good thing to do.

andrew's avatar

Whether or not this is a “free speech” site totally misses the point. The overwhelming majority of users in the community want oversight and quality control.

If you want “free speech”, go to /b/.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Don’t be a dick and you’ll be fine.

Arisztid's avatar

@antrillianenim aka @Trillian I am guessing that one too.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Your disguising skills are great~

gemiwing's avatar

Technically isn’t it still free speech even if it gets modded?

You got to say (type) it, doesn’t mean other people have to keep reading it. You can physically type anything you want. Free speech doesn’t give someone the right to have other people listen to it.

Arisztid's avatar

Anyone who wants absolute freedom of speech on a website need to go to a place like /b/.

Any site with stated and enforced TOS does not allow complete freedom of speech.

I have not been on /b/ and have no desire to be… I have just heard of it. I prefer to be on a website where standards are maintained and, yes, freedom of speech is restricted so all members are allowed to participate unbothered. Well, as unbothered as possible.

When/if you come back to look at this thread to see what we have to say, you might want to re-evaluate if you actually want to try to sneak back under the radar to get back on Fluther. Since you object so strongly to lack of “freedom of speech,” you might want to look at /b/ and other sites like it. Or, start your own.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, this site has high standards and that is why many of us participate here so much. There are other sites, including one that was started by a Fluther user who prefers an open, everything goes forum, for people who want that sort of thing. That’s the great thing about the internet – there’s something for every taste.

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