Anyone who’s been on whirlpool forums knows the ridiculous overmoderation that goes on there. There is no free speech, any discussion on virtually any subject is just arbitrarily shut down. It’s quite common, after posting just a comment, to find your whole account gone, with a smug little comment about the account being closed.
In particular, anyone who criticizes anything, or questions immigration, or in fact raises any issue about anything is quickly shut down.
To be accurate, they should give the disclaimer: ‘please note these discussion forums should not be a forum for discussion’.
The same declining gang of easily offended commenters is gasping along, no new voices allowed.
The question is, why? Why did something that provided a useful outlet for commenting become so ridiculous and so dead? That provided a useful forum to discuss things anonymously (because, lets face it, people are bland to the verge of pointlessness when discussion is under their real names).
I think the reason Whirlpool has collapsed into a no-discussion overmoderrated joke is part of a broader collapse of free speech on the web, closely linked to ridiculous defamation laws and lawyers. There is virtually no benefit from publishing comments, where there is an ocean of legal pain available to plaintiffs. I wish these laws were changed, but until they do, we can say goodbye to the old ‘free discussion’ whirlpool and we’re stuck with what it is now; a joke which might as well just shut down.
The collapse of free speech on the web will be the subject of another, more detailed, post coming soon.