Apple Becoming Big Brother or Not

Apple has decided to censor a dictionary app because of objectionable content. Someone needs to get their head examined at Apple. It’s a dictionary.

Update: Gruber gets an update from Phil Shiller himself, and nope it isn’t as bad as I thought, but still. The whole process needs to be reformed if dictionaries are getting censored. What’s next? Deleting 1984 from your book library? Oops, that already happened thanks to Big Brother Amazon!

Is deleting an ebook from everyone’s Kindle kind of like burning a book? (à la Fahrenheit 451) I don’t know, but it’s getting up there with despicable things a company/organism can do. This reminds me of a chilling scene in Indiana Jones, in Berlin, where Nazis were burning books. I hated that.

Boing Boing And Violet Blue

Valleywag sheds more mystery into the break-up between Boing Boing and Violet Blue. Valleywag is making it sound like a broken up love a triangle. It’s possible, but how could it the other Boingers be convinced to remove Blue from their archives? There is more to this story, of course.

The whole “We don’t find her wonderful anymore” line by Xeni Jardin stinks to high heaven.

Boing Boing Responds To Violet Blue

Boing Boing finally responds to Violet Blue

Speaking for all the Boingers–

Boing Boing has been caught in the middle of a real internet shitstorm and pile-on over the last few days. A blogger named Violet Blue noticed that we unpublished some posts related to her. Some people wanted to know why.

Bottom line is that those posts (not “more than 100 posts,” as erroneously claimed elsewhere) were removed from public view a year ago. Violet behaved in a way that made us reconsider whether we wanted to lend her any credibility or associate with her. It’s our blog and so we made an editorial decision, like we do every single day. We didn’t attempt to silence Violet. We unpublished our own work. There’s a big difference between that and censorship.

Be that as it may, it is a form of censorship. Boingboing didn’t like Violet Blue, so they removed any reference of her from their blogs.

We hope you’ll respect our choice to keep the reasons behind this private. We do understand the confusion this caused for some, especially since we fight hard for openness and transparency. We were trying to do the right thing quietly and respectfully, without embarrassing the parties involved.

It is a bit hypocritical to talk about openness and transparency when something like this happens. Clearly the way that Boingboing does business needs to be reconsidered. This whole episode is anything but transparent. It’s one thing if the decision was taken, then the blogger was informed and proceeded in a normal, albeit private matter. It’s another thing doing it behind closed doors, not being transparent and clear, and just editing her contributions out.

Clearly, that didn’t work out. In attempting to defuse drama, we inadvertently ignited more. Mind you, we weren’t the ones splashing gasoline around; but we did make the fire possible. We’re sorry about that. In the meantime, Boing Boing’s past content is indexed on the Wayback Machine, a basic Internet resource; so the material should still be available for those who would like to read it.

Yeah, whatever. That’s not the same thing. I just hope Boingboing is able to resolve this with Violet.

Xeni Jardin’s response:

We, too, prefer that drama be reserved only for one’s momma.

But when the apparent campaign to turn this into some kind of a petty blog fight went on for days and escalated, we felt like the responsible thing to do for you, our readers, was to address it.

Blog fights are stupid, airing personal grievances in public is stupid, picking troll wars is stupid. We just want to blog (and make internet TV).

The “unpublishing” versus “deleting” issue is this: the posts were removed from public view while an evaluation of what to do took place. We didn’t want to pay to host them on our blog anymore. This is also why we remove hateful, ad hominem attack comments from public view, too: this is our home, we are proud of the home we built and the guests who visit here with us, and we like spending time here ourselves.

This is a directory of wonderful things. If we no longer think something is wonderful, we have every right to remove it from this directory.

This is not Wikipedia or the New York Times. Boing Boing began as a personal blog, and still is in some ways, even though Boing Boing is a bigger thing now. When new information becomes clear, or someone’s behavior changes, sometimes a creator of work reconsiders what aspects of their personal creative work they’re proud of, and removes them from public view.

The posts still exist in our archives, and they’re also available on the Wayback Machine.

We realize that we’re now bigger and more complex, and we’d probably handle something like this differently now that we’ve grown (and now that we are more aware of how things can play out when someone’s determined to pick a public fight over it). This hasn’t happened before.

But this was not intended to cause harm to anyone, least of all the subject of the posts. We mean no one any harm.

Nobody was “disappeared.” When we start doing extrajudicial blog executions, or showing up to livejournals in the dead of night in unmarked cars and putting bags over people’s heads, or slicing the power cords off of other people’s own blogs, come talk to me about “disappearances” and “unpersoning.”

We didn’t want to pay to host them anymore? WTF is that? What does it cost, like 0.02 cents a year? That’s the stupidest excuse that I’ve ever heard. Posts/articles and comments are most definitely not the same thing. A comment is just a response. To compare both is ludicrous.

The comments are interesting to read on that post on Boing Boing. However, there are over 700 comments. I got tired after 240.

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