Dear Medium: Ban Writers from Censoring Readers

Fostering free speech online…

Blocking content from Medium readers — including users who pay monthly membership fees — is an unfair and biased approach to fostering feedback and enhancing engagement. Do you agree with this assessment?

Yet online censorship is the antithesis of promoting a free and open debate. Censorship suffocates diverse views and favors a one-sided narrative that can stray from reality.

Welcoming Criticism

Online censorship is dangerous on multiple levels, from moral grounds to editorial decision making. Writers should never be allowed to unilaterally suppress free speech by deleting reader comments with which they disagree.

Medium Should Moderate

How can Ev Williams, Siobhan O'Connor and Medium Staff promote the free flow of information if authors delete comments and block readers for questionable reasons?

It’s unorthodox in digital journalism and social media to give users or writers blanket editorial discretion to self-censor comments by readers, especially for trivial reasons.

Enhancing Engagement

Too many writers are easily offended by reader feedback.

Real Writers

Writers with fragile egos should likely refrain from publishing online if they can’t handle being criticized or subjected to rigorous review by readers.

What’s really spineless is when writers block readers without justification because they just can’t take the heat. This is detrimental to editorial freedom and fairness online.

Final Thoughts

There’s also a fine line separating constructive criticism from the likes of online harassment, bullying and trolling. Writers should not intentionally blur these lines by mistakenly equating one category with the other.

Related Reading…

Strategic comms consultant for social justice, DEI, CSR | prior career spokesman at U.S. EEOC, WH political appointee for Bill Clinton | DC-based, NY-bred

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