DEV Community

loading...

Discussion on: Censorship on DEV Community 😶🤐

Collapse
cher profile image
Cher • Edited

On the other hand, even just yesterday, a 100% respectful comment of mine I spent some time writing, got censored - presumably because it disagreed with the author's point of view.

Your comment was not hidden.

It was (unfortunately) threaded incorrectly because you replied to someone else instead of me. I hid their comment because it was abusive until the moderators could get to it.

This just tells me there is an issue with the platform's UI for replying when there are other replies.

It's frustrating to me that you assert here that it's because I disagreed with you, when I clearly didn't hide any of the rest of your comments, and had dialogues with at least 15 other people who also disagreed with me.

I opened an issue for this on github: github.com/forem/forem/issues/13730

Collapse
andy profile image
Andy Zhao (he/him)

Hi @cher and @sanspanic . I want to apologize for the hidden comment feature's tooling and messaging, and how it's not as clear as it needs to be. It has caused a lot of misunderstanding, and what I believe has allowed for a decent part of the back and forth that you two had. I'm truly sorry for that.

If it's any solace, I'm taking a lot of the feedback here in this post and the discussion, and will be sharing it with our product team. There's a lot of room for improvement and additions to our tooling and messaging here. We definitely want to make sure folks can engage in the content and not spend a lot of their emotional energy feeling frustrated at misunderstandings.

I really appreciate you both sharing your thoughts on the platform, and hope you two can feel a little bit more at ease that Forem is keeping all of this mind.

Collapse
sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik

I was motivated to engage with the current article due to my recent first experience with censorship. You'll note that I never linked to your post or left any identifying information whatsoever, neither did I assume that the article was about you - in fact, I'm fairly certain it wasn't. I did nothing wrong. I'm just trying to live my life and engage in the topics I'm curious about. The reason I'm curious about this topic might have been initially inspired by how your actions in your comment section affected me, but now no longer has anything to do with you.

I'm not attacking you, and I'm definitely not looking for a fight. In fact, I'm really scared of you and your 30k Twitter followers who you just actively tweeted at about a group you call "us" behind our back, LINKING to this article. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

screenshot

Thread Thread
cher profile image
Cher • Edited

neither did I assume that the article was about you - in fact, I'm fairly certain it wasn't

It's not, and I'm not asserting it was.

You'll note that I never linked to your post or left any identifying information whatsoever

This comment thread was linked to me on Twitter because it was very obvious to anyone with context (including other people in this thread as you can see) was talking about me.

You specifically stated that I hid your comment because I disagreed with you. That is simply not true, as I did not even hide your comments. I agree it is unfortunate that your comment was hidden as a result, as well, and definitely not my intention, nor do I think that's what every author would want to happen unless they choose to hide an entire thread.

I'm not attacking you, and I'm definitely not looking for a fight.

To be clear, I didn't say you attacked me, nor am I saying that you did. The idea that you gave identifying information to anyone with context of my post really isn't an issue to me, nor is talking about how you feel about the fact that I hid comments, and talking about how the platform gives me the right to do so. My issue is that you said I did something that I did not do, and went further to say why I did that thing that I did not do, when a large portion of your argument against my post is precisely that you feel I was making assumptions about the antagonist's motivations that I couldn't possibly know for certain.

You may be reading this as hostile, and I have to accept and take responsibility for that, but I emphatically express that I am not being hostile. I am frustrated that I'm having to defend moderating my own content and further that it's as immature as "they disagreed" when there are 60+ comments of dialogue, including your own, debating the topic.

In fact, I'm really scared of you and your 30k Twitter followers who you just actively tweeted at about a group you call "us" behind our back, LINKING to this article. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

I'm sorry that you're scared of me, and in terms of power dynamics, I understand that I have that kind of advantage. I am doing my best not to create a pile-on, which is the reason I hid some of the comments.

The link to the article was to a moderator, not to my 30,000 followers. Only people who follow both her and I, or drill down into that content would see it. And that audience is extremely limited.

engagement of link to post, seen by 20, clicked by 3

Thread Thread
sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik • Edited

My issue is that you said I did something that I did not do, and went further to say why I did that thing that I did not do, when a large portion of your argument against my post is precisely that you feel I was making assumptions about the antagonist's motivations that I couldn't possibly know for certain.

Cher, this is a separate article about a separate issue. I was not accusing YOU of anything. I simply said that I recently had my first experience of censorship, without providing context or clarification.

I follow Amelia, and so I was one of the first people to comment on this article, if not the first one. I wasn't jumping on a bandwagon of a pre-existing, obvious theme. I simply mentioned my experience, in the fresh and empty comment section of a new post.

As for "assuming": how could I have known my comment got hidden due to a bug, and not your intention? That shouldn't ever be anyone's default assumption when they see the message "some posts have been hidden by the post's author". I implore you to put yourself in my shoes and have some empathy with the fact that assuming I got censored was the most logical assumption to make. Besides, when I ended up on the "comment graveyard" URL, I saw some other comments, similar to mine, that had also been hidden. How could I assume anything other than what I did, seeing multiple comments like mine tucked neatly away?

I would have stayed the fuck out of this article had it already had a lot of engagement, because as I said, I'm scared of your power and the ramifications our public interactions can have on my career and my life. You have 30k followers, and a DEV mod immediately replied to your tweet that they'd aid you if you need it. I don't think that's fair to the many people who have expressed their opinions here, opinions that have nothing to do with your article or you as a person. Seeing that Twitter interaction between you and the mod honestly made me lose faith in the fairness of this platform.

In summary: I can only speak for myself, but I've moved on from your article! I was thinking out loud about censorship in general, not in reference to you.

I'm not on a mission to tarnish your reputation or even engage with you at all at this point, and I really hope you stop referencing me in your tweets (which is, despite your claim, something I distinctly managed NOT to do in my interactions here) - your hostility towards me is causing me a lot of hurt. I'm here to help people like me transition to coding from a diverse background. I care about making coding accessible to all, I'm passionate about mental health, equality and I like to defend the underdog, even if the underdog is, god-forbid, a cis het white male on occasion. I'm not here for this, and I feel nauseous at how this escalated.

Thread Thread
sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik • Edited

One last thing, you're wrong to assume you did not create a pile-on, and you're wrong to think you've hidden the post. I can see it, and I follow neither you nor the moderator.
screenshot

Thread Thread
cher profile image
Cher • Edited

I was not accusing YOU of anything

On the other hand, even just yesterday, a 100% respectful comment of mine I spent some time writing, got censored - presumably because it disagreed with the author's point of view.

I'll resign to the fact that you weren't saying I was responsible for hiding it, but surely you can see how you are implying that I did.

how could I have known my comment got hidden due to a bug, and not your intention?

This contradicts what you just said... but you could have waited for me to reply your repost? You could have asked me? I certainly didn't engage with you in a way that suggested I was uncomfortable with anything you wrote, and I even "liked" your final post because I was too tired to reply, but wanted to express that I appreciated it.

I implore you to put yourself in my shoes and have some empathy

I do, and I implore you to do the same.

I was honestly refreshed by our interaction, and given that so much of the emails I received were openly hostile and misogynistic, it was nice to engage in a discourse with not only no aggressive undertones, but also with someone who has had at least some similar experiences to me to discuss an opposing viewpoint. I sincerely appreciated our discourse.

When I was linked this thread, it wasn't pointed to your post (though I chose to reiterate that I didn't hide your comment as was implied, and link to it, and the issue I raised in github) because it was clear to others that it was about me and while the author as the ability and right to hide my standing up for myself and correcting misinformation, I hoped she wouldn't given her position on the matter.

Seeing that Twitter interaction between you and the mod honestly made me lose faith in the fairness of this platform.
I don't think that's fair to the many people who have expressed their opinions here, opinions that have nothing to do with your article or you as a person.

When I got here there were already more than 100 comments here. They were already watching it because of that. She just expressed if there was any sort of abuse happening that wasn't getting dealt with, to reach out to her directly, because it's already a lot for the mods to handle as it is.

Furthermore, my tweet actually had nothing to do with your comment, but rather many of the others. I don't actually think your comment on its own would be so obviously identifying, except if someone clicked through your profile, and while it frustrated me, it only prompted me to correct you and work to solve the underlying issue by opening a github issue.

you're wrong to assume you did not create a pile-on

Can you point me to the pile-on? I don't see that here or on Twitter.

you're wrong to think you've hidden the post

I didn't say I hid the tweet. I was saying that I actually hide replies and comments at times because they are aggressive in tone and I don't want anyone else to jump all over the person to defend me or attack them.

I'm not on a mission to tarnish your reputation or even engage with you at all at this point, and I really hope you stop referencing me in your tweets (which is, despite your claim, something I distinctly managed NOT to do in my interactions here) - your hostility towards me at me is causing me a lot of hurt.

I didn't think you were. I haven't referenced you in my tweets. It confuses me again, why you are saying you didn't reference me in your comments here. This isn't hostility. I'm sorry that it's coming across that way, as I said before, I'm actually trying really hard not to express the frustration that your assumption made me feel, and I'm struggling to find language in anything I've written that can be read as hostile, outside of the fact that we are clearly at odds over a misunderstanding.

You are not the only one hurting here. I'm glad you've moved on, and I had hoped that the churn of a new issue would give me the space to do that as well, but I didn't get to do that. I was linked a thread of people openly expressing their disdain for me (not including yours), and your implying I hid something because you disagreed with me, after I felt like we had a really good dialogue cut deep.

I wish you the best, truly.

Thread Thread
sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik

What I understand least of all is why you hold me accountable for making an assumption that this website literally DISPLAYED AS A MESSAGE to me. I got told my comment got hidden by the post author. And I got led to a URL where I saw others like mine, also hidden. I don't understand what happened on a technical level. I also don't understand, on a human level, why you think my assumption that I got censored, given the information I had, was the wrong one.

Thread Thread
cher profile image
Cher • Edited

I got told my comment got hidden by the post author.

I am so sorry, I wrongly understood based on what was said here that folks' comments have been hidden without being notified, unlike when it's deleted, and because in your reply on my post that it simply 'disappeared' because it was no longer in our conversation thread, and that you reposted it thinking it was a technical issue.

I have never had a comment hidden or deleted, so my understanding is based entirely on what has been presented here and in your reply on my post about it.

I also don't understand, on a human level, why you think my assumption that I got censored, given the information I had, was the wrong one.

I didn't have the information that you were sent a notification that I hid it, so hopefully that clears that up.

I completely understand now why you believed that.

I hope you can understand, from my perspective, why I was confused and hurt by what you said here, without the context that you were notified.

Thread Thread
kaydacode profile image
Kim Arnett 

@sanspanic Hi Hello Hey - I'm the mod you're referencing above.

I offered to step in because I know what it's like to be a woman on the internet as I'm sure you do as well! Things can turn toxic incredibly quick, especially when you're speaking out.

As a mod I have a responsibility to enact the COC put forth by the DEV team. I would never abuse that. I was apart of DEV from dang near the beginning. This community means a lot to me and I want to ensure peoples voices are heard.. IN A CONSTRUCTIVE MANNER. As do the other moderators of the site! There's an active mod chat where this article was flagged long before it came across my radar. Everyone on the Dev team want to make sure this community stays safe for everyone. That's it.

Just wanted to clear up any confusion on where my intentions lie. I'm a big fan of Cher, I'm a big fan of Dev, and I'm a big fan of authors having control over their space on this site. Carry on. :)

Thread Thread
sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik

Hi Kim. If this thread was already on your radar, then it means it was already getting moderated, so why engage publicly on Twitter? This platform also means a lot to me, I'm pretty sure it's basically the reason I now have a developer job. To get unfairly targeted on Twitter by someone with a large following, based on assumptions that even Cher herself has since apologised for, and to then see a content moderator of this website essentially say "I've got your back", makes me feel all kinds of sad and unwelcome.

Also sad is the fact that I've just posted a new article, arguably my most useful one yet, and I've never had less engagement. I can't shake the feeling that I've been put into a category of "troublemaker" and suppressed. All for speaking up, and respectfully sharing my opinion, which on ONE occasion happened to deviate from the norm.

The lesson here for me is that I need to bite my tongue before disagreeing on sensitive issues, if I am to remain in the moderator team's good esteem, and retain access to what has until now felt like a welcoming and safe space.

Thread Thread
kaydacode profile image
Kim Arnett 

That's not how moderation works, we honestly don't have much power.

It wasn't on my radar, it was brought up in a mod chat. I've not been on DEV for a bit, so I was unaware. As my tweet said, If there's a need for a mod let me know. I've offered that to others as well. Need for a mod == CoC was violated and is going unchecked. A lot of content goes through this site, it's easy for things to get missed.

I'll RT your article right now. Hopefully that will help drive some engagement. Best of luck Sandra - I'm glad you're here and a constructive contributor to this conversation, for what it's worth.

Thread Thread
sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik

Apology not accepted, I am hurt and thanks to you, I’ve lost both followers and faith in this website and at least one of its moderators. I feel like I have to take my content elsewhere. For an early career developer, losing my momentum and the opportunity to reach people in this way is a pretty big deal.

You have 30k followers and with that comes a responsibility to check your tweets before you make incendiary statements that are not backed up by facts. The most ironic thing is that you’re talking about me behind my back and making wrong assumptions, in what I can only assume to be a bout of cognitive dissonance, about me experiencing cognitive dissonance, and making wrong assumptions whilst talking about you behind your back.

Thread Thread
cher profile image
Cher • Edited

To get unfairly targeted on Twitter by someone with a large following, based on assumptions that even Cher herself has since apologised for

Sandra, I apologized for being frustrated with you and for saying you had no basis for assuming I purposefully hid your comment, because it was a misunderstanding. I didn't even express myself in any emotional way to you until you responded to this comment with hostility.

You claimed I did something I didn't do, I respectfully corrected you and let you know I found it frustrating that you attributed it to simply disagreeing with me, when there's obviously a ton of dialogue between myself and others AND YOU that I did not hide that is based entirely around disagreeing with me.

I'm trying really hard to be understanding of the dynamics here of having a discussion with someone with a large audience, and believe me, I've been there, but saying I targeted you on Twitter is just categorically false. This is absolute exhausting and I think my good graces and patience are spent on this matter.

thanks to you, I’ve lost both followers

I did not drive anyone directly, nor indirectly, to your content. Not on Twitter. Not here. Not on backchannels. I responded to you, both on your repost and here, where you mentioned it.

The most ironic thing is that you’re talking about me behind my back and making wrong assumptions, in what I can only assume to be a bout of cognitive dissonance, about me experiencing cognitive dissonance, and making wrong assumptions whilst talking about you behind your back.

I've told you more than once, that tweet was not about you. I made no wrong assumptions. You assumed I deleted your comment, which I didn't know at the time you received notification of, and I corrected you, here, on this platform.

I sincerely wish you the best, but I cannot psychologically handle this dialogue with you any further.

Thread Thread
Sloan, the sloth mascot
Comment deleted
kaydacode profile image
Kim Arnett 

Patrick, you are posting on a public thread, on public articles where anyone can see what you’re saying. Anyone could have pieced together what article many of these comments are referencing.

Please see Michael’s comment with more info on this safety feature of hiding comments.
The DEV team is always open to suggestions to make things better, if you have ideas!
dev.to/michaeltharrington/comment/...

Thread Thread
sanspanic profile image
Sandra Spanik • Edited

The fact that many people came here, independently, interested in this topic after having recently felt censored, is a natural result of many people having recently felt censored.

You continue to make us feel like we did something wrong by simply talking about a subject we have interest in, without any disrespect, without names, without links, indeed even without any recognition that a lot of us had been involved in the original post as well - for example, I never saw Patrick’s comments until now. They had, after all, been removed.

And you, a supposedly neutral moderator, are here because the author LINKED to this post on her public Twitter with 30k followers, actively pointing towards our cognitive dissonance. You’re making us feel like we were wrong to discuss something because it could have easily been linked to the initial post.

Doesn’t this strike you as problematic, even hypocritical?

If you think this thread is insensitive because it is public and could have too easily been traced back to some other thread, why do you think it’s okay for someone with a huge public platform to literally DIRECT people here?

Thread Thread
kaydacode profile image
Kim Arnett 

Again, this is a public post on a public article. Never did I say this thread is insensitive. Never did I say this was wrong to discuss, in fact I believe I thanked you for being a constructive contributor to the conversation.

If you or others feel anything in this thread/article or any other has been unfairly moderated, you're welcome to reach out to yo@dev.to.

Thread Thread
Sloan, the sloth mascot
Comment deleted
cher profile image
Cher • Edited

This is the last thing I’m going to say here.

the author LINKED to this post on her public Twitter with 30k followers
someone with a huge public platform to literally DIRECT people here

I did not direct anyone here other than a moderator. I showed you how it works, and that an audience of 20 people saw the link, and only that moderator has chimed in, reflecting that intention in its impact.

Everyone who saw this on their own that had context knew you were talking about me, which is why I was linked it in the first place.

Claiming that I have branded folks villains, censored people for opposing viewpoints, and the lack of general consideration for me as a human being led me to feel compelled to defend myself.

without any disrespect

You continue to push that all the commentary here has been respectful, and I don’t agree. It felt, as the subject, I was being dehumanized by being robbed of my perspective while folks publicly “vented” about how I moderated my own space, for my own mental health.

I am kindly asking you to stop saying I’ve done things that I have not done.

And a final note, context is key. And more often, ditching the context is powerful. It's easy to share one side of a story and not allow anyone else's to be surfaced. I hope that's what we are ultimately talking about here (in this article). Please take time to reflect on how we feel when our content is hidden, but also when we strategically hide others' to tell an untrue story.

[...she is now telling] me that I’m not entitled to a dialog with her. 😳

vs

You aren't entitled to a dialogue with me, nor am I to entitled to one with you.

Thread Thread
kaydacode profile image
Kim Arnett 

Not my website, not my decision! I'm a volunteer mod, as with many others that have already been responding in here!

There's an existing bug linked below. I will add a comment that notifications should be included as well.
github.com/forem/forem/issues/11636

Also I'll respond with I was watching that thread as well, just to ensure things stay civil. I feel both sides are expressing how the interaction made them feel. If you feel otherwise, or feel my judgement is not neutral, you're welcome to message yo@dev.to to get further help.

Thread Thread
patricknelson profile image
Patrick Nelson

Sorry about that! I'm relatively new to the site; thanks for the clarification. 😊