Free Speech

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  1. profile image0
    Sooner28posted 11 years ago

    My policy on my hubs is that, if someone engages me in an argument and/or discussion, I will approve almost any comment.  To date, as can be seen by any regular reader of my hubs, I have not disapproved anyone who disagrees with me.  In fact, I welcome it.  I think it's good for the brain and for understanding opposing viewpoints. 

    However, recently someone did silence me.  I'm not going to name this person, because I feel that would be a bridge too far.  But this individual has allowed other people to respond to what I said, without giving me a chance to respond to them.  Even on hubs I disagreed with, this never never happened before.

    A political system needs a variety of speech, and all of it to be free, for citizens to be able to make informed choices, and have a truly free thought process.  None of us are infallible, and living in a society that silenced people for speech would be sure to limit human thought, the same way Orwell warned about.

    What is your policy on people who disagree with a hub you wrote?  Are you a silencer, or, are you like me, in favor of free speech, even if you believe the person responding to you is completely "wrong" (in the logical, argumentative sense)?  And I don't mean someone who posts 20 comments in a row on your hub that disagree; I mean someone who disagrees, you engage them, and then silence them when they try to keep the dialogue going?

    1. hawkdad73 profile image60
      hawkdad73posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I see that a lot within my town.  I am told that my blog is one sided, yet those people won't talk to me to shed light on the other side.

      1. gmwilliams profile image86
        gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        To hawkdad73, this is usually the case.  Remember the adage that there are doers and there are critics.  While the doers are being proactive in their worlds, the critics are passive and probably are envious of the doers, knowing that they are not capable of creating and changing the world as the doers are.

      2. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        They usually don't have the arguments to support their side, and that's why they won't talk to you!

    2. maxoxam41 profile image64
      maxoxam41posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I love people who disagree with me. They have to be strong to come, oppose and bring arguments against mine. I admire them even if most of the time their arguments are not rational and based on the opinion of the news, only.
      However I can't stand people who facing the truth won't accept my comments and hide behind self-padding comments like JTWalters!

      1. gmwilliams profile image86
        gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Oh no, Max, you WENT there!  We have those kinds of hubbers- yes, we have ALL kinds.  It usually those who CANNOT who critique those that CAN! Enough said, let's move on!

    3. Attikos profile image81
      Attikosposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I have denied no comment at all. Chances are that, sooner or later (so to speak), one so indecent will come along no one in his right mind would put it into the public eye, but the opinion stated doesn't count toward that, and so far it hasn't happened.

      1. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I respect that completely.  I haven't denied one yet, but like you mentioned, eventually one will probably come that needs to be.  It would take a lot though.

    4. American View profile image60
      American Viewposted 11 years agoin reply to this


      There are a few on HP that do not allow fee speech. They want to impose their views on you and then restrict you from your opinion. I had a few of them I tried to respond to and they just kept deleting me. So now I ignore them. How sad are they to not be open minded to have an intelligent discussion

      1. John Holden profile image61
        John Holdenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Yup, I always think that if a comment of mine is disallowed the writer must be very unsure of his ideas and finds my thoughts far too challenging.

      2. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        It is really depressing isn't it?  I guess all we can do is just point out that it's occurring and hope people think about their actions.

  2. John Holden profile image61
    John Holdenposted 11 years ago

    Sooner, if it is the person I think it is (very likely unless your hubs attract them) then I'd say they are contributing nothing to the hub and I don't think the loss of their comments would distract from the hub at all,in fact their absence would probably improve it!

    1. gmwilliams profile image86
      gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Excellent point, John.

  3. Express10 profile image86
    Express10posted 11 years ago

    Silencing someone is something I wouldn't personally do, however, I too have seen this when a person gets angry that someone doesn't share the same perspective and comments on this. Even when the comments that differ are respectful, I've seen people get bashed for their attempt to further the discussion which is what I and many hubbers prefer. However there are many people who refuse to hear another perspective and might even treat you rudely or allow others to do so. These people exist online and off and it seems there's not much that can be done.

    I don't write controversial hubs but I read and enjoy a lot of them regarding race, politics, etc. In fact, I think I commented on one that you had also commented on last night. I would just like to add that it's always good to see you whether we agree or disagree on a given issue smile

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I only write controversy now!  Sometimes I feel like I should do something more light-hearted. 

      I just find it strange someone would not allow me to respond to attacks against me, most of which were ad hominem and didn't even address what I was saying.  But it is what it is. 

      I think there is high value in hearing a variety of perspectives, whether it be libertarian, socialist, liberal, or communist.  Just reading something doesn't mean you have to agree with it!  People really do box themselves into a small world sometimes.

      I need to finish rereading 1984.  Our politicians love to engage in doublethink.   Limit thought, limit debate, and then the majority of people can be controlled without violence; they literally won't have the vocabulary or thinking skills to revolt.  It's a scary idea.

  4. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 11 years ago

    I don't think there is an obligation to offer free speech in hub comments.  Those that do: that's great.  But it is discretionary.

  5. Cagsil profile image71
    Cagsilposted 11 years ago

    I don't mind accepting comments. However, when rationale is lost in the conversation and a comment is reposted(meaning the person is repeating themselves), then the comment isn't approved.

    To repeat yourself while your previous statement was rejected/dismissed/negated, is absolutely meaningless and does not help the content of the hub. I don't mind people attempting to make a point, but if that point has already been considered and rejected/dismissed and/or negated, then speaking about it is a waste of time.

    I run my hubs by engaging my readers. My readers don't engage my other readers. I don't permit it. Yes, the comments section is a place for discussion, but the discussion should be limited to the topic of the hub and directed at the author, and not other people, regardless of what is believed about the topic.

    My readers don't come to my hub to engage other people. They come to read what is written and if comfortable enough, leave a comment to engage me. They don't come to a hub article to be engaged by arrogant morons who don't know their place in this world, much less discuss a topic/subject of any kind.

    1. Healthy Pursuits profile image81
      Healthy Pursuitsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Wow! I couldn't agree more! That just happened to me. I agreed with a hubber who wrote about gun control and was slammed, stomped and generally mauled by two other readers who also slammed the author. I've never had another reader address me when I commented before - let alone in tones like they used.
      I walked away and wrote my own hub. Now I'm being hounded by one of the commenters on my hub. Of course, I'm moderating, which is adding fat to the fire, but I think moderating is necessary, too. If it had been done in the hub I had commented on, I wouldn't have been harassed in the first place.

    2. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Allowing hubbers to argue on your hub is a little different.  I personally allow it, but I could understand why someone wouldn't, just to ensure the discussion stays on topic.  I won't always respond to someone else responding to me on a hub that isn't mine unless I know the hub writer doesn't care. 

      I think free speech is messy though.  It isn't clean, and people are going to vehemently disagree.  It's just reality.  Unless someone posts something like "you are stupid and you should crawl in a hole and die," I'm probably not going to reject it. 

      I think sunlight is a great disinfectant though, so I am hesitant to reject any comment, just so everyone else can see stupidity on display.

      1. Cagsil profile image71
        Cagsilposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Unfortunately, from what I have learned about HubPages, writing articles and from reading of some other hubs by some really informed people, is that when your hub has a bunch of comments and those comments are not on topic, then your page will be devalued. This is just one factor among a number of others.

        If your page doesn't have value in the eyes of the search engines, then your hubs will be solely written for the people of HubPages and not for the general searcher looking for information on your topic.

        The Search Engine will dismiss your page and most likely categorize it somewhere on Page 50 or even 100 of it's search engine. No one will find it to read it.

        Your earnings are based on traffic. If you use just Adsense or if you're using both (HubPages Ads Program and Google Adsense), then traffic matters.

        Not knowing whether or not you're here to earn as well? I would hope that you are, but to each their own.

        1. profile image0
          Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Actually I did not know that.  That doesn't change my specific situation, since it was very on topic, but I do understand if something gets way off topic there would be a monetary incentive to deny comments.

          It happened again!  Twice in one day...Some people apparently don't like to defend their POV, even as they trash the opposition (which in this case would be me).

    3. gmwilliams profile image86
      gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      You are correct regarding this premise.

      1. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I admire you allowing all the comments on your recent controversial hub.

        1. gmwilliams profile image86
          gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          You have brought to my mind, a family discussion where many of the members disagree with the parent.   Some parents do not mind and actually welcome their children's disagreements as part of healthy discourses while others vehemently forbid it, stating that THEIR word is law and final.  The wise parent allow and encourage disagreement!

  6. HarperDavis profile image59
    HarperDavisposted 11 years ago

    While I wouldn't silence anyone save for cursing negatively or anything along those lines, I believe everyone has the freedom to silence who they please on their hubs.

    Free speech is only my personal right as a U.S. citizen, it doesn't extend to peoples' personal space here or anywhere else on the web. To demand that I be free to comment on their personal space would be infringe on the control they have over their personal space.

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      No.  It's not personal space.  It's a public forum.  It's not the same as going over to someone's house and beating down their door to give them your opinion.  We all post here knowing you will be read by a wide variety of people.  No cursing was involved.

      It shows what the person would be like if they were in charge of the country if they are quick to silence people they disagree with.  Giving people power shows their true characters.  If you abuse it, we now know how you are.  If you don't, then power hasn't corrupted you.

      1. John Holden profile image61
        John Holdenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        But Sooner, imagine a public forum where people had got together to discuss, say, a skate park for the kids and somebody insisted on discussing meals for the elderly. You'd have no compunction about shutting them up surely or else the kids skate park would never happen!

        1. profile image0
          Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

          If they wanted to talk about meals for the elderly, they would be free to.  I wouldn't put duct tape over their mouths so they couldn't speak and we couldn't hear them. 

          It's also different because a skate park isn't set up to talk about political issues anyway.  When someone writes a hub on a political issue, they know exactly what they are doing, and what kind of comments they are going to get.

        2. gmwilliams profile image86
          gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Totally agree with you John.  There must be a certain amount of professionalism and respect regarding making commentaries in response to hubs.  However, if a person is too negative and/or too abusive with his/her comments, the hub author has the freedom to not approve such comments, pure and simple.  I have done this many times.

      2. HarperDavis profile image59
        HarperDavisposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Don't skate your issue. Free speech is only a right guaranteed by the government. No individual is guaranteed to give you the same right.

        1. profile image0
          Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

          So you think it's fine to silence people when you disagree with them as a "private citizen," but if you change your title and become part of the "government" that is somehow "separate" from "everyone else," then you cannot do anything to my speech.

          Interesting view.  I guess we should all work for the government then.

          1. John Holden profile image61
            John Holdenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            It's not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, more a matter of keeping to topic or not.

          2. HarperDavis profile image59
            HarperDavisposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            I've already said I have no personal issue with people speaking their mind as long as it isn't pure negativity and cursing (i.e. responding to something with "this f*cking sucks"). Even at that, I'm more so against responses like that so as to not fuel more responses that don't engage and add to the topic as hand.

            If someone wants to silence another individual for whatever reason they desire, they have an absolute right to do so whether we like it or not.

            This isn't something I randomly came up with, it's not a "view". It's just how things work. If you want to get ethical, then by all means, but that doesn't change anything. However, how I feel about it has nothing to do with the fact that free speech is only something guaranteed by the government, and I refuse to get my feathers ruffled over what individuals have no obligation to uphold.

  7. Mighty Mom profile image76
    Mighty Momposted 11 years ago

    I don't tolerate people disagreeing with me on MY hubs.
    My hubs are not opinion. They are based in complete fact. Every single one!


    The key for me is when the tone gets nasty and personal and the spirit of debate gets stomped. Then silence truly is golden.

    1. gmwilliams profile image86
      gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      +++++. Stomp it like a roach.

  8. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 11 years ago

    Even a parent allows disagreement only within parameters.  If the child wishes to call his mother a whore, this right is generally not respected.

    I think free speech belongs in the speakers own places, and in public places.  But a hub is the hubber's place.  The internet is the general public place and there is always somewhere to speak there without insisting on doing it on someone else's hub.

    1. gmwilliams profile image86
      gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      This is true.   I definitely and adamantly refuse to let a commenter personally attack me.  Oh no, if I read a comment and it personally attacks me, oh no, I disapprove the comment!

    2. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Clearly this was not the situation psyche.

    3. Uninvited Writer profile image79
      Uninvited Writerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      But some people think that what they say is so important and interesting to everyone else in the world that it should never be denied.

      1. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        And some people seem to be completely misunderstanding the argument smile.

        1. Uninvited Writer profile image79
          Uninvited Writerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Not at all.

  9. maxoxam41 profile image64
    maxoxam41posted 11 years ago

    Your logic is I can insult my mother but can't criticize a hub!

  10. Greekgeek profile image79
    Greekgeekposted 11 years ago

    An article is not a public forum. It is someone's own work, and they have been courteous enough to permit commentary dictated by whatever parameters they choose to set up, in the same way that a talk show host may decide what kinds of calls to let onto the air. It's their show, NOT yours.

    Even this forum is not a public forum. It's owned by Hubpages, which is paying for the server costs, and which depends on a community spirit to keep the site going. If it dissolves into acrimony and drives people off, then Hubpages pays the price.

    The first amendment guarantees that our government cannot silence us or pass laws stopping us from speaking. That's a guaranteed right.

    The first amendment does NOT force anyone else to print your comments. Period. You want to say it? Fine. Post your own blog. You're free to publish anything you want. But your right to express yourself does NOT and never has required anyone else to publish your comments for you on their newspaper, book, talk show, or (now that we've entered the 21st century) website.

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Ah so people don't want to turn up on Google you say?  They don't want millions of views from around the world?  I'm sorry I misunderstood.  Hub Pages is STRANGE to advertise that some hubbers have thousands of followers.  It's quite self-contradictory to do such a thing!

      People don't want to intellectually defend themselves against arguments that are different from their own positions?  Wow I'm sorry for misunderstanding.  I guess people would rather live inside their own bubbles than think about alternative viewpoints.    People want the VIEWS, but they don't want the comments huh?

      Sorry for arguing against the herd mentality.  I must've misunderstood the purpose of this place.

    2. gmwilliams profile image86
      gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this


  11. SpanStar profile image61
    SpanStarposted 11 years ago


    Everyone is entitled to their approach regarding a conversations. What is good for someone else may not be good for another.

    I personally believe free speech does not mean anything and everything that comes out of the person's mouth. In order for people to have an effective conversation it specifically from my point of view needs to begin with Respect if we can't begin on that ground level then we have nothing to say.

    Disagree with me that is your right but don't hound me over and over again in an attempt to get me to go along with you. I believe one can reach a point in an argument to where we are only beating a dead horse at that point we need to agree that we are going to disagree.

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      The only real limits on free speech are inciting violence and libel/slander.  The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that political speech is separate, and the only way it can be censored is due to inciting violence, for now anyway.

      If I tell someone to bomb the U.S. government, then I can be in trouble.  If someone writes a hub addressing MY belief system and saying it is irrational (which is fine, that's what argumentation is about) and I respond and attempt to engage the person, it is cowardly to deny my comments.

      Part of being a critical thinker is answering objections people have to your positions.  If someone refuses to do such a thing, they are not critical thinking at all.  They are insulating themselves into a box to protect a worldview that may/may not be defensible. 

      It's often what religious conservatives to do their kids.  They attempt to control them and keep them from being exposed to anything that does not fit the conservative Christian POV, even if that includes science.

      1. SpanStar profile image61
        SpanStarposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        In a Moral society focus needs to be more than just the letter of the law. Do we not caution people about television, movie programs which could be offensive to young children?

        Can school teachers express free speech based on their point of view in a classroom meaning they can use racial slurs as they choose?

        Can a phone prankster continuously call the police making untrue assertions?

        In a moral society mature adults do not need to gravitate to deplorable behavior which lets everyone know we are dealing with ignorant people.

        1. profile image0
          Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

          How is this relevant to my argument?  I didn't say you should approve of comments that are ridiculous and childish.  "You stupid poopie face" probably could be denied without any great less.  Or,  "crawl in a hole and die."  If someone uses racial slurs repeatedly, I EXPLICITLY  said I had no problem with others denying those comments.  I personally believe sunlight is a great disinfectant, but I can see why others would not.  It adds nothing to the discussion.  Checking out the comments on my hubs shows I do practice what I preach.

          But if you post a hub about something that is controversial, and people who take the opposite position of you post a comment, and you deny that comment, you are showing your intellectual cowardice.  You are either trying to keep up appearances that EVERYONE who comments agrees (sounds like the Soviets and the North Koreans, or just childish ways to boost self-esteem), or you have no defense for your positions, and you don't want to look bad not being able to answer objections.

          It's OBVIOUS I am talking about general political speech, and not HARASSING the police or using racial slurs.  That's absurd.

  12. SpanStar profile image61
    SpanStarposted 11 years ago

    I'm afraid your perspective, your view isn't the only view. There are other people who see free speech as a way to say what ever they want. One of these hubs has a video of a guy who I believe owned a bar (drinking establishment) and on his property he has a sign addressing the president of the United States as a (N..ger) and his comment was just because it offends does not mean it's not free speech-relevant enough.

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Maybe I was unclear in my introduction on this thread.  I was never saying approve any and all comments, and allow anything to go.

  13. Lisa HW profile image61
    Lisa HWposted 11 years ago

    I'm happy to post differing opinions on my Hubs.  I don't approve any comments that have anything in them that I don't want attached to my name (like borderline off-color stuff, profanities, etc.) Differing opinions add color, so I'm happy to have them.  Sometimes if the comment involves someone misinterpreting something I said I may further clarify.  If it seems like there's no misinterpretation and the person just wants to be nasty (but clean-nasty) I'll approve it (and maybe add a "you have a right to your opinion" type of thing (or nothing).

    Having said that, though, I don't think I owe anyone "freedom of speech" on my Hubs.  The US Constitution doesn't cover freedom-of-speech on people's Hubs.  smile  In fact, I see my own freedom-of-speech as having the freedom to have on my own Hubs whatever I want said on them (and not allow what I don't want on them).  HubPages gives me that "right" with the "allow/deny" feature on comments, so I go with it.  A few months ago I was finding comments were taking up too much of my time, so I shut off comment capsules on all but the more recent Hubs.  I obviously didn't "silence" anyone by doing that - just stopped people from exercising their own freedom-of-speech on my Hubs.  smile

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      It's not necessarily a constitutional issue.  It's just an example of people not actually liking how messy free speech is.  That's one conclusion I am noticing from some of the comments on this thread.  People have this idealized idea where everyone sits around at a table, expresses their opinion, we all vote, and then we sing Kumbaya and eat together in harmony.

      Slavery was EXTREMELY contentious.  People wrote op-ed's to newspapers arguing for their POV, and there were intense debates in Congress, and at dinner room tables.  When we all have the right to an opinion, there MUST be disagreement.  It's inevitable.  If someone wrote a hub promoting slavery (let's pretend the internet and hub pages were invented back then), wouldn't you, as an anti-slavery person, WANT them to approve your comments and think about what you had to say, rather then denying them and only approving pro-slavery comments?

      If you don't want controversy, then write hubs about neutral topics that won't attract any dissident comments.  But if you are really in favor of free speech, accept the consequences that the messiness and craziness of it all as just inherent in the process itself.

      1. SpanStar profile image61
        SpanStarposted 11 years agoin reply to this


        Confrontation, arguments is all a part of communication. I don't have a problem with controversy but I do have a problem with ignorance. Behaving ignorantly, talking ignorantly doesn't accomplish anything.

        I am not sure if you are familiar with a television speaker by the name of William F. Buckley. From the beginning I never cared for Mr. Buckley however he was a very educated man and even though I disliked a number of his points of views ultimately I respected Mr. Buckley because he was a genuine. He conveyed his points of views not in anger but logically and sincerely. Mr. Buckley defended his position through intelligence and dignity so even though we differ I believe we still could communicate.

        Some of these KKK grand Wizard's that spoke from the podium there is no way we could communicate. Their conversation were/are insulting, the views they expressed hateful.

        1. profile image0
          Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

          The KKK would be hard to deal with.  But imagine a racist commenting on a hub saying something derogatory about African Americans.  You then have a chance to ask for them for evidence to back up their claims.  When they cannot produce any, it will show how weak their thinking is.

          Comments are also easier because it's not face to face, and one person shouting over another.  It's a very ordered, respond, respond, respond type of situation. 

          But like I said earlier, responding to a racist is my personal idiosyncrasy.  If other people weren't comfortable with it, I can completely understand.

  14. Charles James profile image66
    Charles Jamesposted 11 years ago

    I think if elderly people were starving and it were proposed to build a skateboard park I might go to the meeting and suggest that feeding the elderly is more important.

    So far I have not refused to publish a comment. If I did I would probably say

    "Sorry X, I have not published your contribution because you were unnecessarily offensive. If you can say it without being offensive please resubmit."

    1. John Holden profile image61
      John Holdenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      OK Charles, bad choice of examples but I'm sure you know what I meant, just swing it round to people at a meeting to discuss feeding the hungry wanting to discuss a skateboard park!

      1. Charles James profile image66
        Charles Jamesposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I agree with you John about the irritating people who go on about irrelevancies and disrupt good conversations.

        One of the things I like about this predominantly Amwerican site is that the hubbers are on the whole willing to accept for publication statements they disagree with. There are a few boors but there are in any community.


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ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)