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I have seen multiple questions and comments deleted, closed, and moved without much justification. Why can't the moderators etc. just let the people ask and answer the questions peacefully and without censoring unless there arises a serious problem? Just let people talk. Look at how the New York Times publishes pretty much all of the submitted comments. I have posted to the New York Times for 5+ years and none of my comments has ever been censored/blocked/deleted by the editors. It's called freedom of speech and freedom of association.

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    Regarding the last sentence: Those things really have nothing to do with this and bringing them up just makes it look even less like you did your homework before posting this. – Tobias Kildetoft Jul 23 '17 at 14:48
  • If you repost this on CogSci.SE you could get an explanation of Freud, including the problems with Freud and why, although he is still influential, he has mostly fallen out of favor within psychology. Essentially, we are this way because we toiled trained well at an early age. ::shrug:: – Bryan Krause Jul 25 '17 at 20:02
19

Why can't the moderators etc. just let the people ask and answer the questions peacefully and without censoring unless there arises a serious problem?

Most content that is deleted on Stack Exchange is deleted because it simply doesn’t belong where it is posted (and not due to censoring). This is necessary as, no matter what you do, there always will be people who ask questions that do not fit the topic of a site or cannot reasonably be answered within this format, use answers for asking questions or similar, and use comments for dumping their opinion and having discussions. The success of the Stack Exchange model is based on keeping the site clean from such misplaced content.

That this is a good thing is demonstrated quite well by most of the rest of the Internet, where relevant information is often buried under tons of garbage and comments are a write-only area for those who have a desperate need to share their opinion. For example, comments on news pages may be less moderated, but then I hardly ever read them and if I do, I usually quickly regret it.

It's called freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Nope. Please read this educative cartoon (which is about even stronger cases, but still gets the general gist).

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  • I'm reasonably sure that calling someone an asshole, even by association is a failure of the "be nice" policy. – Valorum Jul 30 '17 at 19:18
  • @Valorum: Who called whom an asshole? If this refers to the word anal, it has – for reasons that are beyond me – found its way into non-scatological English. – Wrzlprmft Jul 30 '17 at 19:31
  • Your cartoon calls him an asshole, as I said, by association. – Valorum Jul 30 '17 at 19:31
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    @Valorum: I think anybody reading this has to make quite some stretch to associate this to himself (as does every reader of XKCD), in particular since nobody said anything about whose posts this is about. Anyway, see my edit. – Wrzlprmft Jul 30 '17 at 19:49
4

I have seen multiple questions and comments deleted, closed, and moved without much justification. Why can't the moderators etc. just let the people ask and answer the questions peacefully and without censoring unless there arises a serious problem?

Because the StackExchange network is expressly meant to be a curated source for information, not a free-wheeling discussion of whatever happens to wander in.

Just let people talk. Look at how the New York Times publishes pretty much all of the submitted comments. I have posted to the New York Times for 5+ years and none of my comments has ever been censored/blocked/deleted by the editors.

"Don't Read the Comments" is one of the great rules of the Internet for a reason - the lack of a curated comments section leads, very, very often, to a rambling cesspool of insults, digressions, spam, and any signal gets swiftly lost in the noise.

It's called freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association only apply to the government (and a specific government at that) - the Academia StackExchange site is not obligated to indulge any post that wanders in.

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  • In order to create a sense of community and an enjoyment of free-spirited exchange of ideas the moderators should censor less and listen more. Freedom of speech underpins a MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS. Let the readers judge for themselves what they want to read and to answer. The moderators repeated interference (based on my small sampling) is paternalistic and the mark of centralized communist system. Let the invisible hand of the marketplace of ideas decide which posts gain multiple views and responses and which posted questions get ignored. – Jessica Rabbit Jul 30 '17 at 14:46
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    @FredSmith: This cannot work on the scale that posts of this site have. Most posts are so short that, in order to judge their quality, I have to read considerable portions, if not all of them. I cannot judge to not to read it then. Also this site is not about sharing or developing ideas. – Wrzlprmft Jul 30 '17 at 20:02
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The moderators here work quite hard for a position that pays nothing. They work in academics, and thus have too much spare time to waste. For example, look at this:

What happened to my comment?

Moderator @ff524 deleted the valid comments because she didn't like it (not related to her research?). No other moderator on any other StackExchange site would have done that.

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    That does not seem to be an accurate description of the reason for @ff524's supposed actions. She made it very clear, in response to the question you link to, that the reasons for deletion of comments were procedural. It is also not clear to me that the deletion was the unilateral decision of that particular moderator – Yemon Choi Jul 30 '17 at 2:42
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    You appear to be suggesting that academics are underworked? This is the opposite of my own observations ;-) – Flyto Jul 30 '17 at 10:45
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    I work in academics and yet I am not a paternalistic censor. It's called a marketplace of ideas because the invisible hand is supposed to guide consumer preferences, not a centralized censor. Being an academic, having little time to waste, and being paternalistic and censorial are not associated together. – Jessica Rabbit Jul 30 '17 at 14:49

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