Editorial: Hypocrisy! Censorship! The 'Furry Times' we live in
Last week, a Neswbyte was posted linking to an opinion article by Perri Rhodes on a site named Furry Times, covering the controversial Furry Raiders. It ended with with the following indictment of Flayrah from Ahmar Wolf:
It has always been a policy of mine no matter who you are, and if you have something to say and I would say Perri Rhoades, (who did an excellent job). That you should be allowed to speak, that no one has the right to shut you down…period. Like some tried to do on Flayrah.
Ahmar may have been referring to those who disagree with Perri using our comment karma system to rate down her scores of comments. No one on Flayrah staff had censored Perri. In fact people can still comment there if they wish, including Perri. However, in a fit of irony, Furry Times closed comments on their article which had shamed other sites of censorship.
Let’s take a look at why a site preaching for free speech cut the conversation short on their own controversial article.
Hate speech of a mild-mannered variety
Another article on their site from May 4th lays out why they closed their comments on the article. According to the site owner, hate speech and name calling were the key factor in the comment shutdown.
If You Got Something To Say…
Say it, I will give you a platform as long as you don’t openly bash some sites, as that is due to legal issues I have had with some of them. Or other posters, and I know I have to be careful on how I say this, in other words you disagree with them. Not to call them vulgar names simply because you disagree.
However, I have evidence of what actually ended up getting the comment section shut down, because apparently the comments he was included my own. My comments replying to Perri’s articles were persistently removed by the site’s owner until he got so fed up that he shut them down.
It started on May 1st when I made a comment in response to the article, which was then held in moderation mode. This isn’t anything too unusual, as Dogpatch Press uses the same method of pre-moderated commenting. However, in this case, a day later it was removed.
A recording of hypocrisy in action
Since my comment appeared to be removed from the article, and given the fact that the editor made statements against censorship, I decided that I would try to post it again and see if I received the same results. While doing so I used a recording program to chronicle my actions.
May 2nd 9:00PM
In the video headlining this section, I rewrote the comment that had been deleted to the best of my memory, read it aloud and re-posted it. It was in anticipation that like the first time the comment would be deleted. It would also show that the comment is not hateful, harmful, nor really demeaning in anyway beyond acceptable discourse. It was simply critical of word usage and in the article that compared 2 Gryphon’s lost performance slot at Anthrocon with a terrorist attack and the constant misuse of the word “war”.
For those who don't want to watch the video, the comment is quoted below:
I think you are confused as to what the term zealot means. When I call someone a religious zealot I am not claiming that they are an avid atheist. What that phrase means is it ties the zealotry with the religious aspect of the individual. Zealot is defined as one who suppresses other with a differing viewpoint. Therefore a Burned Fur zealot would be a person who was a Burned Fur and was pushing their viewpoint obsessively on those that were NOT Burned Furs. If anything, Xydexx would have been an anti-Burned Fur zealot.
Such discrepancies in language use make this article hard use make this article difficult to follow. This is why people would point at a sentence like that and call the article fake. Burned Fur zealot is the opposite of what Xydexx is.
The other thing that makes this article hard to take seriously is when you claim 2 Gryphon losing his performance slot at Anthrocon was equivalent to a terrorist attack upon the fandom. As someone who attended Midwest Furfest 2014, I can say that I and a few thousand more others, have received first hand experience as to what a (thankfully minor) terrorist attack looks like in person. So to say such verbiage is eye-rolling and makes the rest of the article seem extremely sensationalist is an understatement.
I can also say that most furrys have never experienced real war. I am one of them who has not. There are some furrys in the military, and if I asked them if the conflict our group had with the Burned Furs was a war, they’d probably laugh me out of the room. But I’m not them, so *shrug*
Only one recorded incident of intra-fandom murder has occurred in the 3 decades of our fandom, and the Burned Fur Fracas had nothing to do with that.
May 3rd 6:00PM
The very next day the comment was removed. I once again posted the comment, and then contacted the site owner via twitter to ask if there was an issue with the site causing dropped comments.
May 4th, 9:00 PM
There was no response on Twitter - and the comment on Furry Times, once again, was gone. I had planned on trying a few more experiments for any reasonable doubt, but to my surprise I did not have to. Not only did was the comment removed, but the comment section was locked.
This was when I discovered the Furry Times follow up article indicating that the comments were shut down due to hateful and vulgar speech. Little does he know I recorded what caused him to shut down the comments, and I don’t believe my statements qualify.
Stones cast within the glass house
The above recording could be seen as a selfish complaint. At the end of the day, it’s just a comment, and it’s the site owner’s right to decline it. Get over it, Tantroo; you don’t have the right to speak everywhere. I’d agree with that statement – and I might not have pointed it out, had said owner not been launching accusation of censorship at other furry media establishments such as Flayrah and Dogpatch Press.
Perri, in comments on my YouTube video addressing the Furry Raiders armbands, claimed that the Anti-Fascists and Social Justice Warrior furries will be the ones to destroy free speech within the fandom. So now it seems ironic that while Flayrah allowed those such as Perri who were arguing in favor of the Furry Raiders to comment as much as they wanted, the site she ran to in order to defend free speech in the fandom shut down their comment section in a matter of days because they couldn’t handle one kangaroo’s dissenting opinion.
It may seem a massive assumption that it was purely my comment that caused the comment section to be shut down. However, if it was not considered hateful by the moderator, then why was it deleted – not once, not twice, but three times – before comments were locked due to 'hateful speech'? It seems a logical conclusion that the action was instead due to the realization that I would keep trying to post my comment, day after day. Instead of dealing with the annoyance of having to decline it again and again, he closed the ability to reply entirely.
Of course, worried that people would accuse him of censorship when shutting it down, he came up with an excuse in the public eye as to why he had to do so. While someone else's comments could have been hateful, given the evidence, I doubt there were any such comments whatsoever. And if he considered my comment hateful, then I question his ability to judge when hatred is occurring.
At the end of the day, I agree with Ahmar Wolf: If you have something to say, say it. But be sure you say it in a place that will respect your words and not toss them aside into the digital dumpster simply because it doesn’t follow the narrative an individual wants to create within the fandom.