Sunday, July 10, 2011

fight back against censored comments!

#cencom If you ever commented somewhere only to find that your comment was not published or later on deleted and regret not having made a backup, the following is for you.

censorshipWe've all been there. You stumble upon some article, want to engage in a debate, carefully write a long argument and then discover the magic words "your comment will be visible after approval". Then other people comment, their comments are published, but yours is no longer visible and by the time you realize you've been censored or that your comment is simply lost, you have forgotten the exact wording of your comment or when you tried posting it.

Sure, high-minded individuals may meet and talk at Oslo about democracy and censorship but apart from the serious instances where a state is acting against its citizens, most people are likely to encounter situations where one individual will impose their views or tastes on others. Nothing wrong with that, but you have lost yet another little piece of your mind. To keep your piece of mind, you might want to keep the information somewhere..

That`s why I decided to create some way to track such comments for myself, then I realized that there's no point in keeping it for myself only, since there may be others who have encountered similar difficulties. I thought of a system that is mostly maintenance-free and has high resilience. Sure, one can imagine building an entire website out of this idea, but that's not what I wanted. I wanted something that I can give away for free and won't be "down" more often than Google and that meant using a free service. I thus came up with 3 ways of posting this information:

1. Google Webform

This will use a Google Webform ( fully public and visible to any one (

2. Google Group

I have little experience with Google Groups but this seems to be a great idea. Not only can you post your comment, but you can add further replies to your comment and others may comment as well. I marked the group as "Adult" because I want it to be as permissible and constraint-free as possible. Here's the link they've given me:

Google Groups
Subscribe to Censored Comments (cen-com)
Visit this group

Obviously, it's called censored comments or cen-com in short. There is also a link below, in Sources.

3. Facebook Discussion

Facebook is not exactly known as a champion of free speech, but their platform is ubiquitous and convenient. Feel free to post the details of your comment "in waiting" in the thread linked below.

4. #cencom on twitter

One quick way to post a screenshot of your comment is to twit it. Use #cencom so that it is easier to find it later.

You may also enter your comment below, with Disqus - at least I plan to do that as well.

In the future, I might make a script to automate posting to all this, as follows:

  1. I posted a stupid comment on an article of mine, the screencapped it with (this URLs were generated when I twitted).
  2. As a test, I will now post this info in each group (gg, fb).
  3. I even recorded a macro which I will adjust and modify later.

If you can think of additional services that are 2B2F, please suggest them in comments.

Sources / More info: Google Groups, Facebook Discussion, flickr, wiki-cen

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