c3ns0rsh1p r0undup

Some recent censorship stories intrigue mostly for what they say about the type of environment someone or some group hopes to create (see added boldface below). Particularly if that environment is going to be touted as some inevitable, be-all-and-end-all arena where future art will be forced to operate. Publishing in a realm of random, inexplicable censorship will create strange wrinkles or ripples in discourse.

1. Low-wage Facebook contractor leaks secret censorship list:

The list’s disclosure by gossip blog Gawker marks the first time that the public has been given a glimpse at the inner-workings of the planet’s largest social network...
The list also shines a light on Facebook’s darker underbelly: how it uses third-world laborers to police first-world content.

2. From the original Gawker story:

Facebook has fashioned itself the clean, well-lit alternative to the scary open Internet for both users and advertisers, thanks to the work of a small army of human content moderators...

3. So we're not always picking on Facebook, Reddit has censored blog posts from the reputable, outspoken Big Picture blog (whose author now writes for the Washington Post):

There are certainly also more open-minded moderators [than davidreiss666 and Maxion] at Reddit. But a couple of censors can squash discussion on entire topics.

Smaller operators (say, Word Press blogs on Dreamhost) don't have to worry too much about low-wage moderators on a post-by-post basis but everything you put out there is going to be filtered and monitored by somebody. So it becomes tempting to self-censor and speak in code to the few people you know are reading and will get it. This code, whether internally or externally imposed, becomes "part of the art."