I am censored

I was looking through my YouTube account postings a few weeks ago and noticed that a comment that I posted on a video by Birdieupon had “received too many negative votes”…

MSPYouTubeCensored

…and was therefore hidden until you clicked the option to show the comment.

MSPYouTubeFullI had a number of clashes with Peter Byrom aka “Birdieupon” on the (alas, now defunct) Premier Christian Community online debating forum and Unbelievable? Facebook page a few years ago.

Byrom/Birdie memorably asked Ann Widdecombe why it was fine for a woman to become an MP but not to become a priest at the Intelligence Squared debate on the Catholic Church in October 2009 and was rather curtly ridiculed by the corpulent cleric for his “vast ignorance” of Catholic theology.

Birdie also asked Richard Dawkins why he refused to debate William Lane Craig at Intelligence Squared’s debate on atheist fundamentalism a few weeks later.  Dawkins’ reply was not much more respectful: he made clear that he thought Craig was a “professional debater” and viewed him in a similar light as creationists; a group that he has consistently refused to share a platform and supply with the oxygen of publicity.

Although Birdie initially posted a warm and encouraging comment on this blog following the Intelligence Squared debates, since then he has made a hobby of making silly pastiches on YouTube, generally mocking Richard Dawkins over “Elevatorgate” and his refusal to confront Craig in debate when the latter’s (ironically monikered) “Reasonable Faith” tour reached these shores in October 2011, and posting vicious attacks on atheists (myself included) on debating forums to the extent that he morphed into a bile-spewing troll.

I am not surprised that my comment received a large number of negative votes from Birdie’s viewers.  What does amaze me is that YouTube have a policy of hiding comments that receive a certain number of negative votes.  At least I cannot complain that they take them off altogether, but why this dismal and pointless half-measure at censorship?

I have viewed YouTube’s comment policy and there is no mention of hiding comments that receive a certain number of negative votes, much less the method behind this madness.  Threads on Yahoo Answers, WikiAnswers etc. indicate that a mere four negative votes will get a comment hidden, but there are only “best guesses” as to why this limp-wristed measure is in place at all.

Any suggestions, people?

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2 Responses to “I am censored”

  1. Joe Says:

    Reddit does the same thing. It’s just how it goes. I don’t think it is too bad on YouTube because I usually find myself reading the posts anyways.

    Dunno if it is censorship though! It’s more just an example of what a popularity contest the interbuttz are. It works out really well in the opposite direction, I love reading the top comments of videos.

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      That sounds like a reasonable explanation, Joe.

      I too love reading the top comments on YouTube; very often they are hilarious. I seldom read ALL of the comments thought, as quite often their are thousands of them.

      I emailed my post to Peter “Birdieupon” Byrom and received a delightfully warm reply. All trollish bile-spewing from both of us back in the day, now water well and truly under the bridge.

      MSP

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