Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 32 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/5/16

Who Will Watch the Watchers -- at

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   38 comments
Become a Fan
  (9 fans)

Critiques, like charity, may be said to begin at home. How, then, can a longstanding author and commenter on fail to critique potentially-adverse changes to his favorite website for progressives? The ancient Romans were fond of asking: Who will watch the watchers? That remains an excellent question today -- except that, first, one must know the identity of those watchers! At OpEd, those watcher identities seem totally unclear. Perhaps those with sufficient computer skills might be able to dig them out -- but if they are policing our articles and comments, for most of us authors they must be a form of secret police. WHY?

First, though, to understand the genesis of these issues, consider the following statement posted by each and every time an author tries to comment on an article (boldface italics added for emphasis -- disconnect at the start of the bullet points is part of the format given by and is not a typo), as follows:

These discussions are not moderated. We rely on users to police themselves, and flag inappropriate comments and behavior. In accordance with our Guidelines and Policies , we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms.

--welcomes lively, CIVIL discourse. Personal attacks and/or hate speech are not tolerated and may result in banning.

--Comments should relate to the content above. Irrelevant, off-topic comments are a distraction, and will be removed.

--By submitting this comment, you agree to all rules, guidelines and policies.

Consider the implications of these official policy statements. Who determines whether discourse is sufficiently CIVIL, and whether or not it might constitute inappropriate comments and behavior? Who determines what remarks constitute personal attacks and/or hate speech? And, in reality, who if anyone knows all rules, guidelines, and policies at our own Is this a website emphasizing progressive free speech, or an insurance policy?

Then there are the threats in the same quoted paragraphs above: authors may be subjected to banning; irrelevant off-topic comments are a distraction and will be removed; and certain other types of comments are not tolerated if, to the secret watchers of, they are hateful. Worst of all, is this threat: we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms. That type of vague innuendo would not even be a legal part of any modern insurance policy, let alone appropriate for any progressive website! All of this has a chilling effect on free discourse at

French philosopher Voltaire stated: While I may not agree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it! So, in the spirit of Voltaire, the floor is now open -- I am looking forward to comments from other concerned authors, who will react to this sad, new trend.

Interesting 3   Must Read 1   Well Said 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Eugene Elander Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author's Biography Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

American Banking's Shameful Double Standard

The Decline and Fall of AARP

Georgia's State Bar is a Bar to Complaints Against Attorneys!

Meet the Worst Post Office in America!

Ukraine and Putin: Shades of Adolf Hitler!

Romney's Rancid Rant!

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend