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Cleaning the Newswire, Moderation

This page, originally created for the UK Indymedia Meeting held in Sheffield, is the collective memory and point of discussion about the Newswire.

Introduction: Where we are and how?

The discussion about how to manage the newswire and what should be on it has been going as long as the site.

After a lot of discussion UK IMC operates an open publishing newswire using what was described as the Dutch Model more here... This means the there is a newswire with everything on it, but some articles are "hidden" from the front page wires.

ImcUk has a set of Editorial Guidelines for what posts may get hidden. Each Region in the United Kollektives can decide their Editorial Guidelines.

This short history of hiding guidelines explains how the current process of reporting hidden posts to the e-mail lists developed, and why it is needed.

There is an ongoing discussion about these guidelines and posts that get hidden. This defines what IMCistas want the website to be for...

note: the urls of posts in list archive may have changed and so you may have to search around post linked to find on reffered to. If you do find new location feel free to update ont his wiki page.

Discussions about Posts

Earlier notes - before July 03

There is a collection of links to discussions and e-mails about hidden messages here. Topics highlighted include:
  • Non-News
  • Not grassroots
  • Anti-semitism, racism
  • Bilderberger
  • Party Politics
this is not an exhaustive list. Have a look at them.

Sheffield Discussion: Culture, Events and Local News - July 03

There has been debate on the IMC-Sheffield list over July and August. It started with a local issue, with a known individual's postings, but not isolated started things off. Thread starts here. There is also some valuable discussion in the comments on this article and the whole debate is being documented here: ImcUkSheffieldModerationDebate2003

Later conversations including (these are the start of threads):

What's News and Non-News - Oct. 03

Summary from irc chat discussions

Unfortunately, doesn't seem to be working today - I know that I have made a couple of posts that haven't (yet) come up - and there have been a number of debates recently on irc #uk channel debating articles which should or should not be hidden. Particularly, this seems to revolve around what is 'news' and what is 'non-news'... some examples revolved around the following posts:

The first 3 articles (above) were hidden as "Non-news : posts which are clearly purely comment, opinion or rants unrelated to a recent event or action etc;" however, the 'hider' did not discuss why and a subsequent discussion in the #uk irc channel on concluded that they probably should not have been hidden.

The last 2 articles were also partly hidden as non-news: "278381 is contributing nothing to the newsire, just another rant from that "Tom Paine" and that have been hidden by default since july and 278374 is a ADL statement, say that the UN was wrong to condemm the apartiheid wall and it was "biased against Israel." In my humble opinion both were valid reasons for hiding; Tom Paine's stuff is usually the same old same old..." [quote from irc]

The conclusion to that debate was to hide 278374 but _un_hide 278381 as an "interesting comment had already been posted by WMD [tho not the one by rockwell wink ]"

But what should have been done? (answers on a postcard...)

Another article I think is interesting to draw into this debate is a document on defamation by a UK legal firm... They start by saying "It should be remembered that a basic principle of English law is that of freedom of speech and the objective of libel laws is to strike a balance between the competing public interests of free speech and protection of a person's reputation which rights are now enshrined in Article 10 of the Human Rights Act (1998) ["HRA"]. I found this after a (nother) recent discussion on whether an article was suitable or not for the newswire - but think it is also relevent here as I think we should be trying to promote free speech...

Having now done a google search, I have, today, found another resource - which may be better or easier to understand - on defamation:

  • Urban75 - good coverage, as ever!

Anyway, comments/additions very much welcomed... perhaps it will be possible to link in some of the list debates when the server is back up!

Hiding of party politics debate / Replies to a critique from the Trotskyist left - Apr. 04

After a posting about the Manchester University Union election results was hidden drcce posted a broadside attack on imcuk's political stance and editorial guidelines to which Yossarian and philb replied extensively.

Hiding of Channel 4 documentary article

The hidden article
Email discussion that followed:

Hiding of "Alternative votes in Liverpool" article

The hidden article
Complaint article that followed, with brief discussion in comments
Repost of original article following discussion between author and IMC, edited to be less of a party notice.

Hiding of Marks & Spencer picket article

"Victory to the Intifada" have been posting articles about their pickets of Marks & Spencer for some time now on IMC UK. In one recent case, their weekly report was hidden, as it included a reference to "heroic killing of 6 Zionist soldiers", which prompted a flurry of complaints in the attached comments (though I can find no complaints in the UK features email archives).
Followup article from author complaining about hiding
Email discussion that followed:

The Geronimo/zinfandel troll debate

Here was the postin that complained about the editorial policy.[What is wrong with Indymedia] Some classic arguments about editorial policy etc. Followed by more complaints on the newswire: And posts on the features list - how persistant: (complaining about IP bans)

Sheffield Wiki

Here's a page about stuff that's been hidden by Sheffield IMC.

Marking Hidden Posts As Hidden

In January 2005 changes were made to the site templates to make it obvious that hidden articles were hidden. (Before this, if you came directly to a hidden article, there was no indication that the article was hidden). This included adding a header to state it was hidden, and having a watermark behinds the article. This proved controversial, and dominated the traffic on imc-uk-process for that month. Views ranged from deleting articles and having black text on a black background to hiding as little as possible. A proposal was made and this is the present state of affairs.

Deletion of Personal Details

This has been discussed several times, and there have been objections. The matter is not yet settled. One view


Proposal in February 2005

Atzmon article

A request from Tony Greenstein to remove a post written by Gilad Atzmon sparked a long discussion on the imc-uk-features list and articles and discussion elsewhere on the web

The argument for banning Atzmon from Indymedia UK is given here; the argument for not banning Atzmon from Indymedia UK is given here.

The discussion continues, on list between admins and off-list in meetings. For now this is being used to paste other mails received.


Open Publishing, Dutch, German

Over simplifying: Open Publishing is publishing everything. The Dutch model puts everything on the front page, and move it off if it isn't appropriate afterward. The German model puts the newswire on another page and promotes articles to the front page wire. IMC-UK operates something like the Dutch system at the moment.

Before, when UkMovingToMir, there was the debate on dutch or german models of hiding. A simple explaination of the difference here. IRC meetings at the time are logged in UkMirCommunication. Do postings go up on the front page before or after moderation? Definitions and Discussion summarised here. There was also discussion about the use of topics here.

The discussion can also be picked up in imc-uk-network 2003-May and imc-uk-process 2003-May. One debate starts with this post putting a position arguing against Open Publishing.

Also recently on new-imc list there has been stuff on open publishing and differences including this thread which starts off with differences around the world. It includes a link to New York IMC's recent announcement of a moderation policy and a defence of open publishing.

Other Suggestions

More categorisation

  • An earlier discussion, with a promotion of the use of categories here 2002-July
  • a rant wire only classifiable by admins, would take posts out of the newswire

User Moderation : Voting

Promoting Quality

Other Links:

MeatBall on soft security

-- WikiKes - 04 Aug 2003 page posted, and added to stuff on german/dutch/open publishing to make section
-- WikiKes - 05 Aug 2003 more stuff suggested on german/dutch/open publishing has been added
-- Added "Hiding/Moderating debate - Oct. 03" - MedicineMan - 03 Oct 2003
-- Added "Hiding/Moderating debate - Oct. 03" - MedicineMan - 03 Oct 2003
-- Added "Rantwire" in alternatives, "Back" links and table of content - AndiE - 08 Oct 2003
-- Uploaded imc-uk-features archive messages as static files, and linked to them to fix broken URIs. - SpanneR - 15 Nov 2003
-- SpaceBunny - 08 Oct 2003 - I have been bold and removed the word 'censorship' as it has a loaded intepretation of purpose of indymedia that is not shared by all involved. I think Wiki doc should give an overview of the debate. If not we can diverge the doc into various wings but I think that would have less utility.
-- AndiE - 02 Apr 2004 - added "Hiding of party politics debate / Replies to a critique from the Trotzkyist left - Apr. 04"
-- WikiKes - 21 Apr 2004 - reordered page to make it clearer added introduction
-- SpanneR - 19 May 2004 - replaced some static wiki copies of emails with links to original archived messages, so their threads can be followed. Started pasting in good discussion links mailed to features list by CC.
-- SpanneR - 30 May 2004 - lazy boy, finally got around to pasting in the rest of the links from CC.

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Topic revision: r22 - 30 Dec 2007, TotSpur
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