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John Passant

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December 2009



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

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Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

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Reddit Australia and censorship

Reddit Australia quite rightly has a number of articles on Senator Conroy’s internet filter plans, almost all of them critical. 

For those who don’t know, here in Australia our Labor Government is implementing a plan that will see ISPs block certain named sites because of their content. 

The plan is to ban access to about 1,300 sites that show child pornography, bestiality, sexual violence or have instructions about committing crime. 

An independent body will blacklist sites by refusing them classification. The public can make complaints to the body about a site. 

In doing this Australia will be joining China and Iran among others in the internet filter club.

The US led war of terror against its enemies, big and small, around the world has had as one consequence a lessening of personal freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism. 

The internet filter is driven by the same mindset – to control our minds and make sure we don’t think dangerous thoughts.  For Senator Conroy any thought that differs from his narrow world view is a dangerous thought.

For example sites advocating Palestinian resistance to the genocidal zionist regime could well be refused classification and access blocked for “inciting crime”.  One can imagine pro-palestinian articles in Socialist Alternative being the subject of complaints to Conroy’s censors and the ISP being forced to block those articles, if not the whole magazine.

 There is an irony in Reddit Australia running all these anti-censorship articles. 

Reddit Australia has banned me from submitting links to  my articles on their site. Every time I hit the submit button it comes up in bright red: forbidden (

Requests to the moderators of Reddit Australia have gone unanswered.

While Reddit politics and Reddit socialism publish my material, the fact that I am Australian and write often about Australian politics means the Reddit Australia ban impacts heavily on me and my ability to gain access to an Australian audience for my left wing ideas.

Reddit itself proclaims that ‘Reddit is a source for what’s new and popular on the web. Users like you provide all of the content and decide, through voting, what’s good () and what’s junk ().’

Apparently that is not the case for my articles on Reddit Australia. They are presumably too left wing to be published.

The ban seems to have started after I submitted an article called Iraq’s butchers: truly the Anzacs of today.

In that article I made the point that the Iraq War walk past was ‘… an attempt to bring the Iraq invasion into the circle of national myth to ensure the next round of soldiers will gullibly march to war for Australian imperialism.’

So when you read about Conroy’s censorship plans, bear in mind that censorship is not just something the State does. The struggle for free speech is just as often against private as well as State interests.

Note: I got a response from one of the Reddit Australia moderators saying I had been banned for spamming my blog. Evidently submitting my own material is spamming. No other reddit site has yet used this as a reason to ban access to my material.  In any event it just proves the point. An unelected moderator decides for whatever reason to ban my site and I am blocked automatically from submitting any material (not just my own.)  No right of appeal. Not right to dispute the decision. It is just done. Very Senator Conroy, except that in the internet filter case  people may at least have a right to challenge the decision. So more Conroy than Conroy.



Comment from Benjamin Solah
Time December 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Far out, hypocrisy from Reddit much. I haven’t used them much but will have to submit my own posts to see what happens to me.

Trackback from uberVU – social comments
Time December 19, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Reddit by Passy: Bear in mind that censorship is not just something the State does. The struggle for free speech is just as often against private as well as State interests….

Pingback from En Passant » Reddit Australia and censorship | australianews
Time December 19, 2009 at 5:44 pm

[…] ban impacts heavily on me and my ability to gain access to an Australian … Continued here: En Passant » Reddit Australia and censorship Share and […]

Comment from Arjay
Time December 19, 2009 at 10:11 pm

The corporates have enormous power over our Govts.Who donates most of the funds to both political parties and which media groups have the power to annoint both a Prime Minister and a particular party?

You only need 13% share holding in a media group to have influence over policy.In Aust we have a du-opoly of Packer and Murdoch dynasties.They are both pro-war and support corporate dominance over democratically elected Govts.

We have to realise a very fundamental tenant.This is not about left V’s right,it is about individuals having the liberty to choose.

We do not have anything approaching true democracy.We are rapidly losing it.

Comment from John
Time December 20, 2009 at 9:41 am

I got a message from one of the moderators. I was banned for spamming my blog. What does that mean? Submitting material is spamming?

Comment from Peta
Time December 21, 2009 at 12:07 am

I’ve looked through your history and every single submission you have made has been from your blog, some of them submitted 4+ times to different subreddits. It’s extremely tiresome.

Reddit isn’t your free advertising venue.

You’re allowed to occasionally submit your own material, but to do so constantly while contributing nothing else to the community is spamming.

If you want advertising, then pay for it. Spamming /r/australia with your content is smothering other submissions that are not self serving to submitters.

Comment from John
Time December 21, 2009 at 6:00 am

Thanks Peta. I submit my articles on the basis of interest and debate, not with so called ‘free’ advertising intent. In any event surely someone else submitting a mainstream media article is doing exactly the same – an outcome of submitting is giving free advertising for that group. But that is not the reason for them submitting – it is the ideas in the article that are important.

It’s true I submit my multi-layered articles to different reddit sites. Thus an article on Australian politics that deals with environmental issues and socialist responses should I would have thought been able to be submitted to reddit australia, politics, environment and socialism. I fail to see what the problem with the interchange of ideas is.

The idea that it is spamming strikes me as absurd. I want to debate and discuss my ideas with the audience and that audience is not just in r/australia. It is in r/socialism, r/politics, r/environment and so on. I note that only r/australia blocks my material. None of the other redddits have.

It may be I have a different perception of reddit to you. I thought it was a vehicle for the interchange of ideas, including ideas outside the mainstream media.

Comment from Peta
Time December 21, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I think you will find that r/politics (171 190 sub.) and r/environment (35 735 sub.) have a larger and more active submitter base than r/australia (4030).

This means that when you submit many articles from the same source, it clogs up the front page with content from the same source (I have experienced this with your content on a number of occasions)

In r/socialism – it is likely that the readers already agree with you. This is not stimulating conversation and debate, it is what reddit calls a ‘circlejerk’. However, if the subscribers of socialism have no problem constantly seeing your content, then they have every right to keep it there.

If you really wanted to facilitate discussions, you could also submit a self post asking the questions and sharing the ideas you have shared in your blog entry.

However, as it stands – you’re directing all of the traffic to your blog (and getting advertising revenue from this) and judging by the rarity of these submissions actually getting upvotes – the reddit community doesn’t like it.

As someone who seems to value open discussion, you must acknowledge that part of facilitating this process involves an exchange of ideas from more than one source. Your constant submissions of this blog smother this opportunity.

I don’t believe this misunderstanding has arisen because of different perceptions of ‘what reddit is’. May I remind you of some of the reddiquette (the rules of using the website):

– Please don’t flood reddit with a lot of stories in a short span of time. By doing this you monopolize a shared resource – the new queue.

-Please do feel free to post links to your own content (within reason). If that’s all you ever post, and it always seems to get voted down instantly, take a good hard look in the mirror — you just might be a spammer.

The latter seems to apply to this very situation. Even though you and your readers may consider your content to be wonderfully valuable, whether it’s mainstream or not – its constant submission is stifling other content.

Comment from John
Time December 21, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Thanks Peta. I’ll take your word for blocking up the queue and stifling other content. Does my submission take someone else’s away? How so?

Not sure how that works because it doesn’t seem to be a problem at r/socialism.

As to circlejerk – what a cute word to describe difference from your one’s own view – I would merely point out that most of the socialists on r/socialism disagree with my support of the state capitalist approach and arguably the very conception of what socialism is.

I guess we’ll just leave it as me being forbidden to submit my material. I thought I was helping you by introducing some left wing opinion into the Australia reddit. My naivete is legend.

The fact you pre-empt voting me down, which I think sounds more to me like circlejerk or group think than anything else, indicates a certain lack of regard for differing views. Anyway, nothing you have written seems to me to differ you in substance from Conroy think.

Comment from Peta
Time December 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Hmm I don’t think you’re reading what I’ve written. Nowhere have I judged your content – I’ve simply stated the reasons why you have been banned (which have nothing to do with your content and everything to do with your methods of submission).

In fact, I agree with many of your perspectives and discussions on this blog – however, I’m also supportive of a diverse selection of available content available to the people of reddit. It’s interesting that you don’t notice other ‘left wing opinion’ is available on the Australian subreddit as it is almost always consistent with a left wing bias.

However – the few right wing submissions facilitate valuable debate and action from the users.

You keep bringing this discussion back to crying ‘Censorship!’ but what I am telling you is that it comes down to moderation.

I have never downvoted your submissions – I have merely watched as your submissions are downvoted. This is reflective of the userbase being tired of seeing submissions from the same source time and time again.

I take offence to you comparing me to Conroy as what he is trying to force upon us is abhorrent and is irrelevant to this debate.

Comment from John
Time December 22, 2009 at 6:42 am

Thanks Peta. If I substitute paedophilia for moderation in your arguments you sound exactly like Conroy. By the way another left winger has told me they have the same problem with reddit/australia. Anyway, you have made your decision to ban my submissions. Since I am a radical democrat I’ll say that appears to me to be censorship.

Comment from Senexx
Time December 23, 2009 at 11:49 am

My lesson with social media approval sites like Reddit, Kwoff, Digg, etc is people only ever submit what is currently in the mainstream media, they are not interested in alternative ideas or approaches to a given situation.

Thus they all become an exercise in a ‘circlejerk’ anyway. If I want to know today’s news I can go to a mainstream site for that.

I have heard of reddit, but that’s about it. I have had a look at reddit australia and it is not very aesthetically pleasing on immediate sight.

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