October 10, 2005

Typical bogosity — the “censorship” furor

Fabian Pascal and Alf Pedersen are complaining endlessly about Computerworld having censored some comments of theirs, in response to blog posts of mine (the first of which was a response to Alf’s blog post in response to my August column). They even seem to have gotten Tom Kyte worked up about it.

So let me be very, very clear.

1. I never had the right or ability to edit or censor comments.

2. I opposed almost all the editing and censoring that did occur.

3. I vehemently opposed the policy of editing comments (mine or anybody else’s) without a posted notice to the effect that they’d been edited, because that amounts to putting words into somebody’s mouth they didn’t actually say. This is the prime reason I no longer blog at Computerworld. (Had Computerworld had a posted warning about the likelihood of editing, as newspapers have on the Letters to the Editor page, I might have felt less vehement. But they have no such notice, or if they do it’s buried out of sight in a long legalistic Terms of Service page somewhere.)

4. I don’t recall ever suggesting the removal or editing of any comment whatsoever, except for one garbled non sequitur that wasn’t in a DBMS2-related thread.

5. I have a pretty good idea of why some posts were censored, based on direct communication with the editor in question, and it had to do with tone and nastiness and promotion of people’s websites, not with the substance of their comments. There’s only a slight chance I’m wrong about that. Indeed, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have the technological knowledge to understand, for example, the main differences between Pedersen’s opinion and mine.

Let me stress that all this applies only to the blog editor, who’s a very different kind of person from the other editors it has been my pleasure to work with at Computerworld.


6 Responses to “Typical bogosity — the “censorship” furor”

  1. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services»Blog Archive » More flame war stupidity on December 9th, 2005 12:18 pm

    […] Robert Seiner (publisher of TDAN) and Fabian Pascal are now claiming that Computerworld approached Bob and asked him to do something about the false charge that I personally engaged in censorship. To the best of my knowledge, they’re both lying. It was just me, and me alone, who approached Bob, which is exactly what one would think, if for some odd reason one cared about the matter at all. I don’t have the faintest idea why they fabricated this story, or what they think it demonstrates — but they did. […]

  2. Tom on March 6th, 2006 10:49 pm

    I really enjoy reading your articles. Keep up the great work.

  3. Bob Badour on March 12th, 2006 9:16 pm

    With respect to point number 5, you admit that the editor in question is not qualified to judge the arguments he censored.

    No publication that pretends to inform the public has any business censoring a scientific argument for ‘tone’, and I don’t see that as an excuse. I apologize if I am mistaken that your point 5 at least partially tries to excuse the censorship.

    Quite frankly there is no polite way to expose a charlatan for what he is. Consider the potential harm to the public if the scientific community were not allowed to expose charlatans.

    Further, I see no valid argument for censoring a scientist’s reference to his own work. In a case such as Fabian’s, where he has already published extensively debunking exactly the sort of nonsense he was responding to, a short reference to that existing body of work is entirely appropriate. In fact, I would look upon a scientist who failed to demonstrate his knowledge of the prior work in the field with great suspicion even if I do not always follow up on every bibliographical reference.

    In short, you did the right thing by opposing the censorship. Unfortunately, this industry has been overrun by pretenders like Computerworld. Eventually, we need to drive the pretenders out.

  4. Curt Monash on March 14th, 2006 2:31 am


    We disagree strongly about Fabian’s level of commitment to advancing truth.



  5. Bob Seiner on February 4th, 2010 8:30 pm

    The points of this blogger are senseless. At no time did I ever conspire with Fabian Pascal nor did I ever change my story. To call us soul-mates is absolute nonsense. You ought to only write about those things that you know. And at this point, it does not appear to be much.

  6. IDG and me | Software Memories on March 24th, 2014 11:29 am

    […] left as a Computerworld blogger when I challenged my editor on his ethics, and he didn’t take it […]

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