Blog as a place for free political speech

The article I am responding is Maynor’s in 2009. Two posts are both from Hot Air BLOG. The first one Waterloo: Obama’s approval at 42%, down eight points in three weeks  is posted on Sep. 24 with 138 comments. It shows t the president’s approval is 8 points lower than three week ago. Besides the Tea Party effect, the author believed that Obama had disappointed his electorate. Once his support rate is below 50 percent, it may result in loss of 36 House seats in midterms. The comments are basically debates between Obama’s supporters and those who may lose faith in him. The other one is Romney: Let’s face it, Obama’s going to be very tough to beat, posted on the same day with 246 comments. Mitt Romney, former Mass. Governor, a Republican, claimed that the GOP needs a nominee equally centrist to compete for swing voters. In his statement, president Obama is going to selling himself to pass economic legislation where he could get most credit. The blog post presented and also challenged Romney’s points. Comments for this post are mostly retorting Romney’s view, including both Republicans and Democratic.  

Code of conduct: By scanning Term of Use on Hot Air blog, I found CoC is basically fulfilled in this blog community. Hot Air clearly stated that only registered users who provided a useful E-mail verification could comment and users have to be above 18 to be responsible for account’s activity. Users retain all ownership rights for what they post. Hot Air also expressed its reserved rights to delete libelous and spam comments. Comments containing threatening and libelous information are not found on these two posts. I am with O’Reilly that CoC was not necessarily tantamount to censorship because uncensored speech was not equal to the most free.

Theory of autonomy: Maynor briefly depicted “self-correcting” and “self-directing” features of blog in autonomy theory.  Users found their own destination which is most inspiring to them, practice and exchange their knowledge through the interactive process on blog. On Hot Air, blog users autonomously found blogs with topics they desire and communicate with bloggers and other users through publishing comments. During this process, users either receive more information or correct themselves on former opinions.

The three V’s: According to Maynor, “value, volume and velocity” are three Vs challenge the autonomy theory. My first reaction is that these three challenges are happening to all online community but it probably is a serious consideration for blog as a democratic deliberative  community. I found some users cited words in their comments from other sources, including online and offline, which made their statements more credible. As for other two features, I do not think it is a big deal since blog users are autonomously select the information useful to them. The information selection is under control.


September 26, 2010. Uncategorized.


  1. luckymaggie replied:

    I like your discussion on CoC, autonomy and three Vs. It’s very clear to see how you match these abstract theories with concrete examples. Since I also I totally agree with you that Hot Air offers good management, reflecting the fulfillment of CoC. Although the readers’ comments are somewhat polarized and personalized, I didn’t see any venomous remarks in my cases. It’s also important that you juxtapose CoC with censorship. The same as you I don’t think they are identical because censorship is more than management, it’s control in nature. In addition, I think people today are mature enough to face huge amount information online. If they are able to filter what they want, three Vs are not big deal as mentioned. =)

  2. tinamomo replied:

    My problem with CoC is that it’s not so user-friendly, I understand it’s designed to regulate the blogosphere, however, like we discussed in class, restraining speech isn’t the best solution to achieve deliberative democracy since you have to bring everything to the menu and let the customers decide what to eat. As for the theory of autonomy, I just think that in the cyber space, people kind of pick out the ideas they are most likely to agree with instead of exposing themselves to all schools of thoughts. The internet actually reinforces the preexisted opinions they have. However, I agree with Maynor that we should consider the blogosphere as a supplement to other more well constructed platforms of deliberative discussion.

  3. Mindy McAdams replied:

    Not only “Hot Air clearly stated that only registered users who provided a useful E-mail verification could comment” but also they have closed the registrations:

    That is unusual!

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