This Blog Will Be Censored by NewsGuard; on Moderation; Open Thread
Merry Christmas, dear readers! May your holiday season be filled with joy, love, and mutual acceptance. I am agnostic and not religious, but I have always loved Christmas and enjoyed seeing little children excitedly awaiting the mysterious chimney guest. My best wishes to readers of all creeds, and I appreciate every one of you, your subscriptions, and your comments.
NewsGuard Angling to Censor My Blog
Newsguard is a well-financed, shadowy partisan group pretending to be a neutral arbiter of which websites are “reliable” and which are not. While the good news is that I am important enough for them to react to, the bad news is that NewsGuard is angling to declare my blog an “unreliable news source.” I received this email from them:
NewsGuard is asking me to “disclose my anti-COVID-vaccine perspective.” At the same time, they are not asking Pfizer-sponsored pro-COVID-vaccine media to disclose their “pro-COVID-vaccine” bias. It's a bit unfair, I would say and shows how flawed NewsGuard’s process is.
Here’s the text of my reply:
John, thank you for your question, and I am flattered by the attention.
I question the motivation behind asking about "the site's disclosure of its anti-COVID-vaccine perspective," as many Pfizer-sponsored news organizations do not disclose their pro-Pfizer-vaccine perspective, which is magically okay with NewsGuard. I must conclude that I will not get a fair review anyway, given the slant of questions.
In my opinion, NewsGuard is an illegitimate organization. Therefore, I respectfully decline to provide any information to NewsGuard to not legitimize it.
Please do not take this personally; it is not about you but about your employer.
Thank you, and have a great holiday season!
In any case, do expect my blog to be rated an “unreliable news source” and blocked by major social networks such as Facebook. Oh well.
Moderation in Our Comment Section
My comment section is meant to be a pro-free speech zone. I have seen comments that are insensitive, antisemitic, pro-COVID-vaccine, virus-denying, and more. (I do not consider general comments supporting the human rights of Palestinians to be automatically antisemitic)
A certain poster posts cryptic messages with numerological revelations about the number 666 and various evils of this world. Another poster incessantly spammed his blog links (I blocked that one after watching this go on for a year)
I disagree with the above-mentioned opinions, but I feel they need to be allowed to exist if I claim the free speech moral high ground. The pro-COVID-vaccine posts, specifically, are important to keep us challenged.
However, I also recognize that excess nasty content can poison conversations. So, for all people espousing such views, I ask you: please do not monopolize conversations and do not post excessive numbers of comments. Your opinion has the right to exist, but you do not have the right to stick a reply under every comment. That is spam. Okay?
If you have something to say, I invite you to say whatever is on your mind in the comments.
Also, if you feel like upgrading your subscription to a paid one, this is a good moment to consider doing that.
Our paid subscribers get no benefits: no paid-subscriber-only posts, exclusive comment sections, etc. Paid subscribers are the fortunate people who can afford to express their support - but the benefits of their support extend to all subscribers equally. So, a paid subscription is just a way for you to support this blog materially and promote what it stands for:
a popular science publication trying to stay truthful
a blog that supports good science and exposes bad science and virtue-signaling totalitarianism
a newsletter that supports regular, imperfect people trying to live, laugh, and procreate
Again, Merry Christmas! Be well!