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IMC Attacks On Free Speech - SUBSTANTIATED
by Ewan Kenkesmearse Sunday, May. 25, 2003 at 8:46 AM

IMC has been referring to my claims of censorship and IMC's intrusive tracking of IMC users as nothing more than lies without substantiation. Yet, IMC has continued to actively preclude me from responding to those claims. Below is further information on my claims.

It has been over a week since I first posted regarding the issue of censorship. However, I have read the responses and interest and support that my postings have received. I noticed that someone even tried to post my original post a couple more times, but it was removed by IMC. I assure you this was not me trying to re-post my statement. How can I give this assurance? Because IMC’s tactics of dealing with dissenters has kept me from contributing to this discussion.

Yes, even though IMC’s “editors” have expended great efforts to discredit me, to call me a liar, to try to make each of you believe that I am an isolated case even though many other people have posted relating similar concerns, I have not been allowed (by the dictate of the “collective”) to post anything at this site. Even though the IMC “editors” have posted large red policy statements above my posts and those of others challenging the veracity of our claims, the same “editors” have actively prohibited me from refuting their slanderous assertion. IMC says that my claims are “untrue” and “unsubstantiated” but they will not allow me the right to provide the substantiation that they know exists. So let me offer some more detail on how your rights are being attacked by IMC, how IMC violates its own policies, how the “editorial collective” arbitrarily applies its “standards” and how the “collective” is exposing IMC and each of the discussion participants to potential legal harm.

THE BACKGROUND

A couple of weeks ago I was reading and posting to IMC. I usually do this where I have access to the Internet at work. I do not always post views that could be called part of the “majority” at this site, but I thought that dissent was what this site was about. If I recall correctly, I had posted something that was contrary to the typical leftist mantra of a particular string. However, this posting was not abusive, racist or otherwise patently offensive, it was only counter to the general discussion. About three hours later after lunch I logged back onto IMC and wanted to comment on the Phelps protest (which since Mr. R. was a friend, I was supporting, but again not in the manner proposed by some of the more radical posters). I was not permitted to post and received a message that said I was precluded from posting for “spamming.”

Spamming !!! What the hell was that. So I did some leg work and found that the IMC policies permit them to exclude persons who repeatedly “attack” the IMC site, but nothing about what exactly they consider spamming to be. I guess that spamming means anyone that they don’t like. If you want to read some discussion among the editors about “spamming” during this time period go to http://howard.indypgh.org/pipermail/imc-pgh-editorial/2003-May/subject.html. Granted, some of the people that they refer to in their discussion may be posting strong views, and even poking fun at other posters, but I do not see any reason to call this spamming. If IMC is a free and open discussion then let the discussion rage on. We are all adults and don’t need IMC to tell us when someone is being a lout. We also don’t want IMC making that decision for us.

I tried to comment on the IMC site several times that day. But some how they had identified me and were able to preclude my from commenting. Since I use a lap top computer I was able to try logging on from someplace away from work to see if this changed anything. It did not. Whether I accessed IMC from Starbucks, home, or through a dial-up I was locked out and got the same message. IMC could not have tagged my particular computer without identifying me. (Wait, it gets worse.)

The very next day I began receiving several emails that I thought were spam (from the URL of the email). This was several more than I had ever received in the past. I also received an email that I thought was not spam. It contained a virus. I was able to shut down before too much damage was done. When I had my company’s IT staff try to fix the problem, they told me that they had been busy that morning with an attack on our server, but I was the only person at the company that received the virus email. That was too much coincidence for my tastes. First I was identified and excluded at the IMC site, and then almost immediately this happened.

THE SUBSTANTIATION

First of all, IMC tagged my PC. To do this IMC had to be logging, tracking, or otherwise watching IP addresses. I have only been able to comment on the IMC site when I can get access to another PC. Also, since my laptop belongs to my employer, I am wondering what IMC may have done that is going to cause other issues with IP access and possibly get me in trouble with my employer.

IMC has developed some method of excluding persons that IMC does not want to have you hear from on this site. IMC does not want you to know about this and does not discuss this process on its policy pages. You will need to review the discussion of how this process should be implemented as it appears in an editorial collective discussion. You should be interested in the fact that the editors specifically did not want to discuss this process further in the online discussion. Please take a look here: http://howard.indypgh.org/pipermail/imc-pgh-editorial/2003-May/000699.html and here; http://howard.indypgh.org/pipermail/imc-pgh-editorial/2003-May/000700.html and here - http://howard.indypgh.org/pipermail/imc-pgh-editorial/2003-May/000701.html and here -http://howard.indypgh.org/pipermail/imc-pgh-editorial/2003-May/000702.html - http://howard.indypgh.org/pipermail/imc-pgh-editorial/2003-May/000703.html.

In all of this, it is interesting that one of the members of the “editorial” collective had this to say about the “secret” tactics which IMC intends to use against others such as myself:

“My biggest concern is that some public resource would be blocked. It would be bad if the CPL system were blocked or something. Is this possible under the proposed secret ;-) system?”

THE REQUEST

I would request that IMC post big red apologies over each of my postings at this site.

THE PROBLEMS

IMC’s credibility is seriously tarnished with these actions. IMC is squelching the voice of dissent and the voice of opposition to its own views. I certainly hope that this is not the only way IMC believes that its favored political ideologies can survive, if IMC keeps all attacks of these ideas hidden away. Let this site be free and open as you say it is.

By this conduct IMC has said that some ideas are more important than others, some ideas are better than others, and some ideas are more dangerous than others. Is that really IMC’s decision to make for us all. And IMC is oblivious to the hypocrisy and danger that it has created. In fact, IMC or others posting in support of IMC have stated that they believe the “undesirable” voices on this site are only from a couple of (obviously very busy) posters. This line of rationalization appears on the news strings and in the editorial board discussion postings.

What is worse is that now that IMC has demonstrated that IMC can identify the users of its site and that it does in fact identify the users of its site, the IP’s of IMC posters is obtainable by law enforcement. So it is possible that rather than just using the postings of an IMC participant who openly identifies himself at a trial, the FBI or the DA could obtain the logs of IMC. Just think how angry we would all be if the FBI tried to get the names of the books we bought at our favorite bookstore (as they did from Kramer Books in D.C. during the Monica Lewinsky fracas). But we are not outraged when IMC does this for the purpose of taking action directly against a participant in the “free” and “open” discussion here. When we each log on here we have an expectation of anonminity and privacy that IMC has told us they would respect. IMC has not lived up to this promise.

And the legal problems don’t end there. Since IMC is actively overseeing the discussion and content posted to its site, IMC is now a publisher and not just a passive vehicle for distribution of content. This distinction is important because now IMC can have legal liability for the material posted at this site. For example, regardless of what you may think about the whole Rich Mackin discussion, some of the postings could clearly be legally actionable by Rich Mackin if he chose to pursue a claim for slander and libel. IMC is a potential defendant in that action because of the level of editorial control it exercises here and the fact that it did not censor the potentially slanderous statements or exclude the slandering posters.

Similar legal actions could arise for other activities discussed at this site. For example, the marchers that engage in acts of civil disobedience that are illegal could be prosecuted for such actions. If IMC allowed discussion and planning of those actions to occur on this site then IMC is potentially criminally liable as a participant in the conduct. This was a favorite tactic of the feds against the right wing militia types. I bet no one here thought that was a problem when the law was used against the website that facilitated criminal actions to plot to blow up abortion clinics, to deny a woman access to a clinic, or to tell some lunatic how to make a fertilizer bomb. But you should have problem with it when IMC is walking itself and each of us into this risky world of all things Patriot Act.

THE CONCLUSION

IMC should stop its arbitrary, senseless and reckless conduct of stifling dissent, opposition or the free and open exchange of ideas and debate. IMC should immediately undo the intrusive exclusion of all participants which it subjected to its “secret” policy and technical sabotage. IMC should acknowledge that it has not disclosed the IP’s or ID’s of any users who were subject to the “secret” editorial punishment. IMC should develop clear and unambiguous editorial policies. IMC should allow for open debate on this site to discuss the appropriate and unambiguous policies regarding the hiding of posts. IMC should add a clear link on each page (at the side with the policy links) to all hidden posts and offer reasons for the hiding of the posting. IMC should have an open comment string available at each hidden post allowing users of this site to voice their objections to the application of the editorial policy as to any post.

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If I Am Not Responding To Comments ...
by Ewan Kenkesmearse Sunday, May. 25, 2003 at 8:58 AM

It is only because IMC has been so effective at keeping me from participating in this discussion. I appreciate teh support that I have had in this discussion. And I appreciate that IMC so actively tries to discredit the claims of its critics. I will try as possible to provide further information and input for this discussion. But please understadn that I can only do this from a computer other than my own (since IMC has disabled the ability for my laptop to access this site). Do not inpterpret my silence as anything other than IMC's active efforts to keep you from hearing my views and opinions. Thank you all for your support on this important issue. KEEP UP THE PROTEST OF IMC's EFFORTS TO STIFLE FREE AND OPEN DEBATE !!!

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lies and half-truths
by matt, imc editor Sunday, May. 25, 2003 at 1:12 PM
matt@indypgh.org

during a short time during the very early morning hours of Tuesday May 13, 2003 (it should be noted that the IMC usually receives little or no posts and comments during this time of day) a slew of highly offensive, sexist, and content-free comments were made to the pittsburgh IMC.

these included offensive comments to lingering rich mackin-related threads.

these included the imfamous (and fabricated) slew of responses to the "men against patriarchy" story.

these included fake "dialogs" between posters like "am not! you are!" posted 1 minute after a previous troll.

these included stories with the fake name of "Tim Voining" (attempting to impersonate and slander a local activist simultaneously)

these included posts by "2balls", "M.Alenvy", "stinky" and other pseudo-personalities created to disrupt and intimidate IMC posters, not to mention "S.odamninsane" and "Jackel"

it is the editorial collective's job to keep this site functioning according to the collectively consented-to IMC principles of unity. the goal of the IMC is not to give you a forum to air your sexist views during your (considerable) down time at work; when it becomes disruptive to our principles (which boil down to fostering positive social change through democratic non-hierarchial media and media empowerment) we must take action. we have done so in a transparent and collective way, as you noted from our open list archives.

IMC editors spent weeks, possibly months, trying to control these inappropriate postings which hurt the IMC's credibility far more than your disengenious claims. it seems clear that your goal was to become as offensive, loud, and disruptive as possible (by posting HUGE volumes, often more than all others on the site combined) to try to get yourself "censored" so that you can suddenly start writing in a pretentious, official-sounding style about censorship. what was done had to be done to stop the attacks to our website; your posts never contributed news, information, or even an honestly arguesd counterpoint, but instead attempted only to disrupt and mislead. this decision was consented to by the editorial collective; email your concerns to imc-pgh-editorial@indypgh.org or attend an IMC meeting to contribute or express concern.

Do not mistake this poster (whose current alias I will not use since I do not want to create the mistaken impression that he only recently began posting, and that he is any different from the pervious aliases which do nothing but disrupt) for an oppressed voice on this website. He has made every attempt to taunt the users and editors of the website yet has never contributed any news. He has abused the very limited resources of our group. Only after the most extreme abuses, the most extreme and avoided actions were taken on that Tuesday, after being consented to by the collective. This issue must be put to rest. No amount of fake indignation, false persecution complexes, cries of censorship or misunderstandings of how IP addresses, TCP, and computer viruses work can make what happened into an act of political censorship.

And, again to reiterate, the web site's web server access logs still do not include IP addresses, but other methods may be used to deal with abusers.

thanks for reading!

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I am not "2 balls", "stinky" or the others you refer to.
by Ewan Kenkesmearse Sunday, May. 25, 2003 at 10:02 PM

Guess what editors, if that is why you exiled my opinions, then you live up to the lowest expectations of your form of "justice" as demonstrated by the Rich Mackin lynching. You seem to have attributed the remarks of these other person to me just because I had been logged on and posting at the same time as these people. You guys screwed up. I post with the same tone adn written "dialect" that you find so "official" sounding now.

I am not the persons you refer to. I did not post any racist remarks. Besides, I do not believe your editorial policy allowed for censoring of "racist" remarks (check the editorial collective emails). And I am not sure that you are in any position to determine what is and what is not racist or sexist in htis world today. It seems that again you try to label opposing ideas sexist or racist whenever your ideology is challenged. During the Rich Mackin debate there were alot of people calling sexist anyone who objected to the way the mob assalted that guy without any substantiated evidence of a crime.

And just how did you tag my PC if you did not track IPs? How did you determine that I was even logged on at that time if you do not log IPs? You tagged the wrong user, and you utilized your "secret" IP tracing agaisnt the wrong person. Just because your volume increased I guess that is now an indication of spam. You must be psychotic to fear your own success this much. Have you also banished posters like "Prodigal Yinzer" and "S.Odamninsane."

IMC IS USING ARBITRARY AND DISHONEST TACTICS TO PRESERVE ITS HOLD ON YOUR MIND !!!

Start your own revolution, post a protest at IMC.

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I trust the editors
by Stephen Donahue Monday, May. 26, 2003 at 11:43 AM
sdonahue412@hotmail.com

I trust the editorial collective.

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shut up Evan
by me Monday, May. 26, 2003 at 11:46 AM

I do as well. We have a lot of postings that go against the "leftist view" on here and they are not censored. I believe Matt.

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i believe evan
by josh Monday, May. 26, 2003 at 12:24 PM

I posted a comment on a recent mumia thread where I pointed out all the evidence against him and included a link to http://www.danielfaulkner.com. The post was not off topic, was respectful, and just sought to point out some flaws in the propaganda Mumia's camp sends out, but it was hidden. In addition I've had posts actually deleted (not hidden, deleted) for no reason other than I disagreed with someone.

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they censor and delete. no doubt about it.
by free person Monday, May. 26, 2003 at 3:07 PM

the editors have deleted and censored many posts i have seen. now they're spamming the fuck out of my mail. i believe ewan and i wish imc would stop this shit.

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alright already
by Michael Monday, May. 26, 2003 at 11:16 PM

(free person -- Please describe in more detail how the IMC is "spamming" your mail. Your allegations are without question baseless, as the IMC does not send unsolicited mail of any kind; our mailing lists require confirmation to join.)

I'm certainly not sure that all the troublesome posters are the same person, but there's believable evidence that many are: just take a look at the style similarity of various consecutive posts! But Ewan is fanning the flames of rebellion against the IMC for reasons that cannot be construed as benevolent. I'm very glad that he's making efforts to substantiate his claims, but the evidence he has introduced is most useful in showing the extent to which he overstates his claim of censorship.

I tire of this thread, honestly. It was bullshit when it started, and it continues in that proud scatological tradition. If you have a problem with the IMC, email the editorial collective. imc-pgh-editorial@indypgh.org Don't be a hater -- it just makes the rest of us feel sad for you.

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hidden comment?
by Michael Tuesday, May. 27, 2003 at 12:31 AM

There appears to have been no post matching josh's description hidden from the Mumia story (http://www.indypgh.org/news/2003/05/6580_comment.php). There remains a post by "mike" containing a link to the web site josh mentions.

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How 'bout the legit journalism?
by wheatpaster Tuesday, May. 27, 2003 at 2:51 AM

So, I checked http://www.wpxi.com, http://www.foxnews.com, and http://www.msnbc.com to read some articles today. The majority of the articles were either chillingly bias against the political perspective most posters exhibit in indypgh, or at best centrist but lacking a leftist perspective. It disheartens me most people read articles containing this political ideology and never experience any opposing views.

Thats why I come to this site: to get the perspective missing from the corporate news. I don't come to this site to wade through all these trifling cries that the voice of the conservatives is being repressed. The people who post here deserve a space to write, because reporters with our views are repeatedly chased out of the corporate media. Writers also deserve their articles to be easily found, without twenty empty articles and posts distracting from their writing.

In a debate, a "red herring" is a statement that distracts the judges/ opposing debaters by disclosing false or irrelevent information. In politics, a "filabuster" is a long, often irrelevent attempt at obstructing the public's attention and (hopefully) delay legislative action.

If there is less purposefully distracting information on this site, more people will check it out. I apppaud the fine job the editors do in finding filabusters and red herrings, not to mention offensive racist, sexist, and homophobic drivel and eradicating it.

Keep it up, yall!

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michael
by josh Tuesday, May. 27, 2003 at 11:20 AM

here appears to have been no post matching josh's description hidden from the Mumia story

It was an earlier Mumia article. I'd dig it up for you but what's the point, there'd be no post on that one either (probably because it was HIDDEN as I said)

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the point
by Michael Tuesday, May. 27, 2003 at 6:27 PM

Josh, the point would be to validate your allegation. If you tell me which story your post was hidden from, I can check the system and perhaps explain why it was hidden. If it does not seem the editorial guidelines for hiding apply to your comment, I will make sure it is restored to the site. The best way of dealing with problems like this in the future is emailing the Editorial Collective (imc-pgh-editorial@indypgh.org), rather than posting as a comment where we might not notice.

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computer tracking
by gwen Wednesday, May. 28, 2003 at 7:42 AM

As a computer expert, specializing in the internet and web practices, there is only one way they could have "tagged" your laptop by the methods you describe: through the use of cookies. If you think cookies are intrusive and abuse your rights to privacy, well, you're right. So turn them off.

Problem solved.

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Freedom of Speech
by Chris R Wednesday, May. 28, 2003 at 11:32 AM

Why does everyone seem to think that freedom of speech means that other people must make their resources and time available to you so you can spout off?

Freedom of Speech means that you have the right to say what is on your mind - it does not mean that I need to listen to you, respect your opinion, or provide you with the means to do this. If I (as a private citizen) do decide to give you space to make your voice heard its because I have decided to grant you the privlidge of using my resources. I am under no moral, legal, or ethical obligation to allow you to use those resources to express opinions I find offensive, rude, purile, banal, or just generally stupid. This isn't censorship - this is *me* as an individual expressing *my* rights.

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It may not be censorship, but it is still wrong
by IMC Reader Wednesday, May. 28, 2003 at 10:47 PM

Chris R., it sounds like you may be speaking on behalf of the editorial collective there. If you are not, then that should be made clear, because your statement is very troublesome. Your statement seems to imply that some person or persons have a claim to the ownership of IMC. I hope that no one believes that IMC is theirs to do as they please. It is true that you do not have to listen to the opinions of any person, just like it is true that no one is morally, ethically or legally required to heed your opinions.

IMC is not a private forum like a Faux News or CNN. IMC is an open public forum and a tax-exempt charitable organization [ http://indypgh.org/process/wishlist/ ]. As a tax exempt organization IMC must not be exclusionary or discriminatory. IMC must also be careful not to become a political tool for a limited few. By making qualitative decisions as to the content of postings based upon the views expressed (as it appears that you are encouraging), you would cause IMC to violate the law (and not just its own policies). IMC is supposed to be an open forum for the whole community, not just a select few with ties to the editorial collective.

IMC should be as open as possible and should allow anyone to post here. IMC should stay out of the business of making determinations about the quality of a person’s opinions.

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Ewan get a job!
by puhleeze! Friday, May. 30, 2003 at 11:02 AM

What kind of work do you do Ewan, that you spend all of your workday obsessing about how to get your troll off on the IMC site? Must be some kind of government work. That would be a dichotomous conservative! Are you with Homeland Security? Are you just a provacateur? A professional troll?
If you're really just a pathetic loser with nothing better to do with your life than to stumble upon a website, abuse it, and then complain when your abuse is pointed out, I feel pretty sorry for you.
The behavior that you described as you tried to post to IMC is borderline obsessive/psychotic behavior! How much time did you spend trying to figure out whether you'd been blocked? How many different computers did you try? Did you drive down the street right away to the Starfucks to try it out, or did you wait until lunch break or after work? Have you been lurking on their e-mail lists for a while now, or did you decide to spend a couple of hours of your "free" (work) time reading all of their archived e-mails? How much time did you spend trying to figure out if they were breaking their own rules? Did you read all of the mails back to the formation of their IMC? Did you study all of this info before you ever posted to the IMC? None of this sounds the least bit obsessive to me, but perhaps you should see a therapist, becuase you're either doing this because you're sick, or because you're getting paid to do it.

These people don't work hard volunteering their time, money and equipment for you to wank off on any time you want to. They do what they do for a reason, and all of the IMCs have a mission statement. Check it out since you have so much time on your hands!

I do have a solution:
I'm pretty sure that you could get a blog if you wanted to say whatever you want to say over the internet without being censored! http://www.blogspot.com Lots of blogs are even FREE! You can spout off all you like all over the internet without having to wory about those rotten IMCers, and they can have their website to work for thier mission statement without spamming abusers like you!
Everybody wins, everybody's happy!

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