|added Thu December 20 2007 at 8:18 PM
|It's not the first time this has come up on my site. I guess with all my libertarian rhetoric, it's an inevitable topic. Am I allowed to censor the commentary on my site?
Technically, the answer is an obvious affirmative. In fact, I do it all the time. Because I've been too busy, I haven't set up the proper permissions or even a good captcha scheme to keep spambots awaay. I've thought about it at various points, but right now really isn't the time to do it. At any rate, I started getting serious amounts of blog spam several months ago and I made it so that I have to manually approve all comments. It is technically easier for me to disallow a comment than to allow it.
Legally, it's probably an open and shut case. It is my private website, hosted on my brother's private server. I make it clear that I am strictly moderating all comments. I do not advertise my website as an open forum. I could probably be a bit more clear and make a legal disclaimer that I may delete comments for any reason, but if it were ever a legal issue, I would just remove all comments before allowing a comment that I didn't want to.
But what are the ethics involved? I claim to be a proponent of free and open discourse. I often complain about government playing Big Brother and trying to repress free expression. So at what point do I put my foot down?
There's more to read. Read the extended entry.