Debate Now Is "Structured Debate" another Euphemism for Censorship?

Derideo_Te

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Having participated in a number of these beta threads it is becoming apparent that there was an ulterior motive behind giving the OP the right to dictate arbitrary and unreasonable "rules".

I am specifically referring to post #6 in the Guidelines thread. The author of that post wants to have the right to censor valid criticism under the transparent guise of dictating arbitrary definitions and have the mods act as enforcers.

That fits the definition of censorship IMO.

USMB states that it encourages free speech but what we have here is an attempt to impose censorship by the OP on anything they cannot support. (Since I cannot provide the links in the OP I will add examples clearly demonstrating this to be the case in subsequent posts if needs be.)

Having posted here for almost 2 years I greatly appreciate how USMB supports free speech to the point of allowing even some of the most odious and offensive things to be posted. However what I am seeing here is a slippery slope that is teetering on the brink of censorship.

If the OP can stipulate a rule that nullifies any and all criticism of a vital component of the "structured discussion" topic then that is no longer a debate, it is just a platform to preach a dogma without allowing any valid counter arguments to be made without incurring the wrath of a potential infraction from the moderators.

Here are the "OP Rules".

THE QUESTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THIS DISCUSSION:
  1. Does an OP have the right to arbitrarily dictate what can be excluded from the chosen topic?
  2. How can there even be a "structured debate" if there are arbitrary rules dictating what must be excluded?
  3. Should the OP be allowed to invent their own unsupported and specious "definitions" of terms?
  4. Can the OP change the rules to suit themselves as they see fit?
  5. Will there be infraction penalties imposed for violating the OP's arbitrary "definitions"?
  6. Does USMB really want to allow an OP to censor what can be discussed?

RULES FOR THIS DISCUSSION:
  1. No ad hominems.
  2. Dictionary definitions will prevail.
  3. Claiming that you are speaking on behalf of others is forbidden.
  4. What you post is de facto your opinion unless substantiated with credible links.
  5. When you are asked to provide a credible link to substantiate your position you must do so or you automatically forfeit your position.
  6. Links can be contested and if they can be shown to be biased they will be discounted.
  7. If you are going to invoke partisan terminology then be prepared to have it called out for what it is.
  8. No one is exempt from legitimate criticism including the OP.
 

Sonny Clark

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Having participated in a number of these beta threads it is becoming apparent that there was an ulterior motive behind giving the OP the right to dictate arbitrary and unreasonable "rules".

I am specifically referring to post #6 in the Guidelines thread. The author of that post wants to have the right to censor valid criticism under the transparent guise of dictating arbitrary definitions and have the mods act as enforcers.

That fits the definition of censorship IMO.

USMB states that it encourages free speech but what we have here is an attempt to impose censorship by the OP on anything they cannot support. (Since I cannot provide the links in the OP I will add examples clearly demonstrating this to be the case in subsequent posts if needs be.)

Having posted here for almost 2 years I greatly appreciate how USMB supports free speech to the point of allowing even some of the most odious and offensive things to be posted. However what I am seeing here is a slippery slope that is teetering on the brink of censorship.

If the OP can stipulate a rule that nullifies any and all criticism of a vital component of the "structured discussion" topic then that is no longer a debate, it is just a platform to preach a dogma without allowing any valid counter arguments to be made without incurring the wrath of a potential infraction from the moderators.

Here are the "OP Rules".

THE QUESTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THIS DISCUSSION:
  1. Does an OP have the right to arbitrarily dictate what can be excluded from the chosen topic?
  2. How can there even be a "structured debate" if there are arbitrary rules dictating what must be excluded?
  3. Should the OP be allowed to invent their own unsupported and specious "definitions" of terms?
  4. Can the OP change the rules to suit themselves as they see fit?
  5. Will there be infraction penalties imposed for violating the OP's arbitrary "definitions"?
  6. Does USMB really want to allow an OP to censor what can be discussed?

RULES FOR THIS DISCUSSION:
  1. No ad hominems.
  2. Dictionary definitions will prevail.
  3. Claiming that you are speaking on behalf of others is forbidden.
  4. What you post is de facto your opinion unless substantiated with credible links.
  5. When you are asked to provide a credible link to substantiate your position you must do so or you automatically forfeit your position.
  6. Links can be contested and if they can be shown to be biased they will be discounted.
  7. If you are going to invoke partisan terminology then be prepared to have it called out for what it is.
  8. No one is exempt from legitimate criticism including the OP.
I agree to a point. In my opinion, discussions and debates should be open to anything except name calling and personal attacks. As long as one sticks to topic and subject matter, it should be no holds barred, anything goes. One should be able to attack and to challenge the material unrestricted, with the exception of name calling and personal attacks. Always address the material posted, and not the poster.
 

Statistikhengst

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The OP: kind of like "listen to what I am saying, don't dare disagree, and if you do, you are trolling, nanananana". That is NOT structured debate.

It is indeed censorship, imo.

I like the rules you created, btw. Sounds like a fair and even playing field. I especially like no. 3 and 8.
 

Moonglow

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Hence the word structured debates,,,if they were unstructured it'd be just like the rest of the forum,,except for the report heroes that hate you in their threads...
 

JakeStarkey

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"I am specifically referring to post #6 in the Guidelines thread. The author of that post wants to have the right to censor valid criticism under the transparent guise of dictating arbitrary definitions and have the mods act as enforcers."

The above would be catastrophic and would end up being a board only for the Partures, Political Chics, Protectionists, Where-r-my-Keys.
 

Delta4Embassy

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Would say the more "structured" a "debate" is, the less "debatey" it becomes. If you're gonna put restrictions all over it, why bother having it? Regulated debate is fine for a real life debate, but online is kinda antithetical to the exchange of information and ideas.
 

JakeStarkey

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Call it the Propaganda Forum and be done with it.
 
OP
Derideo_Te

Derideo_Te

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Censorship is practiced by those that cannot defend their positions with rational arguments.

Communists, dictatorships and theocracies all engage in censorship.

What we have in this "structured discussion" forum is an attempt by Libertarians to impose their own form of censorship because their positions are just as indefensible as those of communists and theocrats.

Libertarians find themselves facing legitimate criticism for their unworkable and ludicrous ideals that they want to impose on all Americans. Needless to say if they were to gain power one of the first things that they would do would be to take away freedom of speech and impose censorship of any criticism of their Libertarian regime.

So do we want to allow this thin edge of the Libertarian wedge be used to deny free speech here in USMB?

Yes or no?
 

BlackSand

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The Structured Debate aspect is in beta testing and does allow for changes in the initial rules.

Otherwise ... Participation is "voluntary" as in "not required" ... Members do not have to participate in the Structured Debate section.
If members believe that it goes too far towards censorship ... Then they should feel free to carry on their desired discussions elsewhere at USMB.

.
 

HenryBHough

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Perhaps to minimize the appearance of "censorship" the section might be structured a little differently.

Perhaps in the initial site header an option to see or not see the debate zone. Those who feel inclined to challenge the rules would then be able to choose to never see current posts in that forum. In that way they would feel no temptation. I would envision a decision, once made, would permanently adhere to the username so they would never have to deal with the choice again.

I do believe that would be only "self-censorship" or, perhaps "choice".

But, of course, that's open to debate.
 

JakeStarkey

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The control of the discussion by the OP is totalitarian.

The participation comment is deflection only.

When the far right dominated USMB until two years ago, such a forum would never have been permitted. They would never have given responsible right of center to left of center posters; the right to structure a debate.

The far right now wants a safe haven is all.
 

BlackSand

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The Structured Debate section is not the USMB forum exclusively.

I have tried interacting with a debate in this setting and understand how it restricts certain opinions.
I also understand that it in no way limits my ability to express whatever opinions I may have at USMB.

To me ... It is no more catering to one opinion than it is to any other.
The difficulties expressed in this thread are centered more around the inability for others to actually dictate their standards to everyone.

.
 

JakeStarkey

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Actually the difficulty is exactly the opposite of this: "The difficulties expressed in this thread are centered more around the inability for others to actually dictate their standards to everyone." A structured debate allows the OP to have his/her say without any reasonable rebuttal.

That is fine for those who want a propaganda forum.

It is not reasonable for the Board generally.
 

BlackSand

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Actually the difficulty is exactly the opposite of this: "The difficulties expressed in this thread are centered more around the inability for others to actually dictate their standards to everyone." A structured debate allows the OP to have his/her say without any reasonable rebuttal.

That is fine for those who want a propaganda forum.

It is not reasonable for the Board generally.
It isn't the "general board" ... It is the Structured Debate section.
If a member cannot fall within the parameters set by the OP ... They are in no way required to participate.

There are no restrictions as to who can open a thread ... Nor their political affiliation.
The difficulty surrounds the inability for members to use the usual tactics to derail or flood a thread with nonsense ... And I can certainly see how that would upset some people.

.
 

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