Friday, August 19, 2005

Flag This

So now you can flag this post as objectionable.

I have written some naughty things on this blog, although more obscene things are said at White House briefings every day, if you ask me. Come to think of it, I have written some politically objectionable things, too. At the time I posted them, you could just click "Next Blog" if you didn't like them, or whatever you might have chosen to do in the privacy of your own workplace (because you were reading it at work, weren't you?).

You could have, would have, moved on and found something to read that was more to your taste, and left me and my perverted left-wing thoughts alone. And what I have written is mild compared to some others. You know who you are.

But now when you don't like a post, the personal thoughts of some complete stranger who is doing you no harm whatsoever, you can go to the top of the Blogger page and click Flag? I'm not sure what this will actually do. Maybe a censor from Blogger will stop by and read the post, deleting the bad parts, or maybe deleting the whole thing if it crosses some line. Maybe the author will get a cease and desist email from Blogger. Maybe the post will simply be flagged as objectionable, thus warning folks before they read it. Or maybe multiple offenders will just get kicked off Blogger. Yeah, that would work.

I know this: From now on I will be looking for flagged posts, as they will no doubt be the best reading on Blogger. I hope an index of them will be created, so I can find them easier. My idea - don't try to use it or I'll tie you up in court for fifty years.

But I predict not much will actually change. There will be flag wars, of course. People will flag posts, and those authors will immediately turn around and revenge-flag the other guy's post. There will be a huge number of posts that are flagged for no reason. Blogger won't be able to keep up, and a flag will become meaningless, or a badge of quality, to be displayed with pride. An awards banquet - The Flaggies - will be held annually to honor the authors of the vilest, most anti-Christian, work.

But most of us will censor ourselves, and thus lose a little more of our freedom. There will be no one to blame, because the whole flag thing is meant only in the best way. We should all think alike, just like in the old days. Never mind that were no idyllic "old days" during which everything was better. Transgressors should be flagged and gently guided back to the Right, toward the official truth.

I am going to flag this post myself, if no one else does.


Blogger kStyle said...

I would never flag a blog for being naughty or polemical. I would, however, seriously consider flagging a neo-Nazi blog, if such a thing exists.

I'm just sayin'.

Sat Aug 20, 07:19:00 AM 2005  
Blogger DrinkJack said...

Holy crap batman! The one thing that drew me to blogging and reading blogs is the whole act of speaking your mind no matter what the subject matter. Censorship, in my opinion, is just wrong.

I do find it humorous that Blogger is going to have a lot of fun censoring blogs. That is, unless they automate the "turning off" of objectionable material, then they will start losing "customers".

Sat Aug 20, 07:28:00 AM 2005  
Blogger nobaddays_in_sd said...

I just want to say that if Blogger is going to institute this flagging thing, then they should give us a choice of flags. For example, there should be a rainbow flag, a pirate flag, a weather-warning flag, a martini flag, an American flag, etc. You could indicate your particular mood at the moment with your flag choice. And let everyone guess why you flagged the blog to begin with.

Sat Aug 20, 09:47:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Carol Davidson said...


Sun Aug 21, 12:45:00 AM 2005  
Blogger tacit1 said...

What is the bloggosphere coming to....It's a sad sad day.)-:

Sun Aug 21, 09:39:00 AM 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Blogger's description of what flagging is supposed to accomplish, and am now left wondering....what flagging is supposed to accomplish. Part of the ambiguity comes from the word "objectionable." Isn't everything worth reading objectionable to someone? And if it's not, what gives?

Sun Aug 21, 12:42:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Theresa said...

I'll flag you if you flag me!

Sun Aug 21, 06:56:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

kStyle - Well, there you go, then. I'm sure there are neo-Nazis blogging. You'd flag the old Nazis, too, I presume?

Jack - I think the law says that the the government isn't supposed to censor free speech. Corporations are allowed to censor, though. You're not on Blogger, but I'll bet your hosting company has some rules that you agreed to.

No Bad Days - This is an excellent idea! And while we're selecting our flag, we'll forget about our objections. Who feels like censoring when one is fashionable in the flag of The Slovak Republic?

Abby - Best one-word comment to date, and an addition to the dictionary to boot.

T1 - As I have said, I think this will just be a fiasco that accomplishes nothing. Don't worry your pretty little head. Or elbow. Or nose, or anything...

Erin - Yeah, I think Blogger may have stepped on its tail with this, and they haven't explained it very well, either. I'm seeing at as a way to feel superior to people who start blogging after today: "We were here before The Flag. You couldn't know what it was like before they cracked down. Oh, the glorious freedom, and the brilliant writing!" (Did you catch my self-censorship in this reply?)

Theresa - Something like that is bound to happen, and flags will lose their power to upset. I'm already way less upset than yesterday.

Sun Aug 21, 10:00:00 PM 2005  
Blogger kStyle said...

Do you really think many old Nazis are blogging? What with them being old, and technology mystifying old people.

Mon Aug 22, 09:21:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

kStyle - Hey, I'm blogging.

Anyway, I didn't necessarily mean the members of the original Inner Circle, but young, strict-constructionist Nazis who adhere to the Old Principles, not the new, corrupt interpretations of today's neocons -- oops, I mean neo-Nazis.

Mon Aug 22, 10:06:00 AM 2005  
Blogger kStyle said...

Are you trying to get flagged, mister? ;)

Mon Aug 22, 10:38:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

Are you threatening me, young lady? Don't you be waving your flag in my face.

Mon Aug 22, 11:45:00 AM 2005  
Blogger kStyle said...

Why do you assume I'm young?

(Yes, it's all about me today)

Mon Aug 22, 12:23:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

I've learned always to assume that women are young. It's not exactly flirting. It's self-preservation.

Mon Aug 22, 01:35:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Stephanie Han Windham said...

That flag thing seems so ripe for abuse--is that really such a good idea? I guess it's supposed to like Neighborhood Watch, but what if your neighbor's a dickhead?

Mon Aug 22, 05:28:00 PM 2005  
Blogger molly said...

This blog is free. Blogger set is all up, and all we do is click on the boxes. Of course they kept control over the whole thing, like when your dad gave you the keys to the car. He didn't sign the title over to you.
The explanation of flagging refers to "we", but I don't really know very much about who "they" are, except they refer to themselves as "Google", and that's like me calling myself "Teacher".
The flag explanation talks about the blogging "community", but this is a no-cost-to-us community, and that means we have no control, either, within this format.
I have been a guest in enough situations to know that "they" can kick you out at any time, and you'd better know where your suitcase is. (Back up anything you want to keep. Your computer may crash tomorrow. Carpe diem.)
Of course the Linux people are right, but who wants to spend the time to be independent? I'd rather pay my electric bill than chop down all those trees.

Mon Aug 22, 08:56:00 PM 2005  
Blogger molly said...

BUT, having said that, of course I agree that flagging sucks.
Objectionable content is a problem with no easy answer, and they make it sound very easy. For me, the most objectionable content in "flagging" is the falsely democratic tone of the explanation. They will rely on the blogging community to tell them when to crack down on us. Hmmmm...
Erin is right, you have a great blog. Congratulations.

Mon Aug 22, 09:09:00 PM 2005  
Blogger -G.D. said...

I just flagged your ass. ;-)

Mon Aug 22, 10:17:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

Steph - Heh, heh. You said "dickhead."

Molly - Welcome and thank you! Of course you're right. Google is not obligated to afford us free speech. But in the U.S. the concept is so ingrained that people get really crabby when they think their right to voice any opinion is being abridged, even if it's by a private corporation that owns all the hardware and software and lets us use it free. In other words, Google might find that, while they can do this if they want to, after a while they don't really want to anymore.
Well-said about the falsely democratic bullshit.

G.D. - Did you really flag my ass? Because I see that my "flag" button is not lit. After I wrote that post I flagged my own ass, and the flag button lit up and stayed lit. I thought I was only flagging that post, but then I realized it was flagging the whole page, which was eight posts and getting longer. So I clicked the button again to unflag my ass, and it reflected that action.

So now I think when you flag someone, they don't even know. I probably won't know when they remove me from the Who's Who, either. Life's a bitch.

Mon Aug 22, 11:11:00 PM 2005  
Blogger L said...

I'd love to see a flagged blogs list -- never even noticed it until you pointed it out

Wed Aug 24, 07:39:00 PM 2005  
Blogger A said...

I am putting together a separate blog on this particular topic.

Wed Sep 07, 08:12:00 PM 2005  

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