Ministry of Truth at the TLF

At the Technology Liberation Front, where I sometimes comment, rude behavior has become the norm for two posters. Adam Thierer descends into silly name calling, which is fine (to a point) but Jerry Brito really takes the cake in that he has decided to (generally) delete my comments. I would draw the distinction between Adam and Jerry and others such as Tim Lee, who has been overwhelmingly well-behaved and thoughtful in his posts and follow-ups to my comments. Jerry, or someone managing his posts, had been deleting my comments to his posts in the past, as I have noted here.

Deletions of my comments are not happening on a global basis at TLF (my comments to Tim Lee or most of the others don’t get deleted) and my comments to Jerry’s posts don’t always go into the moderated queue, they actually show up on the website but get deleted later. Why would this happen unless my comments are being deleted by someone managing Jerry Brito’s posts? I had sent an email to Jerry at his George Mason University email address, to give him an opportunity to respond, and if he does I’ll certainly post it here.

The interesting question for me is: why do my comments aggravate Jerry so much that they he feels he has to delete them? If he disagrees with my comments, wouldn’t it be more in keeping with the TLF’s professed goals of a high quality debate to respond to them? The answer, I believe, is that they show the internal contradictions in “libertarian” philosophy, and thus can’t be responded to, and therefore get sent to the ‘memory hole’ as George Orwell called it.

It is especially ironic that there is a post at TLF complaining about the uses of “Big Brother” metaphor when describing non-governmental spying or censorship, and here they are exercising the ‘memory hole’ that would do the Ministry of Truth proud. Let’s see if my comments to that post stay or if they get deleted.

So here is a screenshot of my comments to Jerry’s post, showing that the comment existed on May 24, 2008, but note that it is gone now:

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3 comments
  1. Enigma, I see your frustration and it does appear that some of your posts may have been deleted for reasons which are not clear to me at this time. Hopefully this matter will soon be resolved to your satisfaction, or at least Jerry will explain his reasoning for removing your comments.

    But I am not sure that it is necessary to repeat the exact same comment on every TLF post. I can see why you want to make the other TLFers aware of what’s happening but perhaps contacting other posters directly would be a better idea. I only say this because the fact that your posts seem to be getting deleted is off-topic. I think we would be justified in removing most of your repetitive comments, though doing so would be quite ironic.

    Again, I do not believe comments on TLF should be removed merely because they offer contrary viewpoints, so I will see if we can’t figure out just what’s going on here. You are a long-time TLF commenter, Enigma, and I apologize that you have been offended.

  2. But I am not sure that it is necessary to repeat the exact same comment on every TLF post.

    I totally I agree, I repeated it on a few (5 I think) so it would get at least one person at TLF who would respond. It worked, and thank you for responding. I’d note that this wouldn’t be necessary at all if TLF had either a webmaster address or some other contact information listed. There was no contact information on your “about” page for example.

    Again, I do not believe comments on TLF should be removed merely because they offer contrary viewpoints, so I will see if we can’t figure out just what’s going on here. You are a long-time TLF commenter, Enigma, and I apologize that you have been offended.

    Thank you very much. Apparently, Jerry Brito is unable to respond to my emails or comments, so he just deletes, deletes. Has anyone else had this happen, I wonder?

  3. Steve R. said:

    Looks like I have joined you in the “deleted posts” club. Two of my posts have “disappeared”. Both were fairly innocuous too!

    For a site dedicated to freedom of expression, censorship is wrong. I don’t have a clue as to what is happening.

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