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Growing pains

All of the name calling and back-biting seen in the recent Hip-Hop Backlash article that Brad submitted has brought an interesting question to my mind. With something as amazing and free as the internet, is it really possible to leave the opportunity for Freedom of Speech? Can Mason leave his site unregulated forever? Or will he eventually have to censor comments? (Which I am sure is something that he does not want to do).

Contention, unfortunately, brings out the worst in people. And with a site such as Provo Pulse, where topics ranging from local, to national, to cultural issues are being brought up, it is a given that everyone is not always going to agree. What is the answer here? Some sites have resorted to having the moderator approve all comments before they appear. But is it really possible for someone to be 100% objective in his judging of what is appropriate and what is not?

What do you think will happen eventually Mason?

I've thought a lot about this

I've actually been thinking about this from day one, and to be straight-forward about it, I'm confident that Provo Pulse will be able to scale to accommodate a larger community, and that it will actually get better as it grows.

I explained a little about this here.

And just to put people's fears to rest: please know that I'm very sensitive to how specific changes may or may not affect the site. I'll be very careful not to mess things up.

BTW, over the summer I'm going to have much more time to work on the site, and I've got a long list of things I want to add / implement / etc.

(Jen, I hope you don't mind me shortening your title ... =)

The New Thought Police

Yeah, alot of the comments posted by Anonymous Cowards reminded me of what was said in a book written by Tammy Bruce called The New Thought Police. Tammy Bruce is a lesbian feminist activist, and former president of a chapter of N.O.W. who explains partially in her book about the liberal left-wings efforts to control Speech through some of the exact methods that were used by some people in their comments. When they have nothing to say, but know that they disagree with what is being said and want others to disagree with them, they will throw out powerful, emotionally-charged phrases or names in an attempt to quickly call the ignorant onto their side of whatever argument or debate is on the topic. Phrases like 'Fascist' or 'Nazi' or as we saw 'Adolf' or 'Taliban', etc. or the much more subtle, yet still condescendingly intented 'Puritan', etc. These titles and phrases alot of times have nothing to do with what is being said, and only used alot of times because the user is ignorant of the meaning of the word, or because they have nothing intelligent to say. It's the classic argumentless argument. Something to say when there is nothing else to say, but wanting to sway public opinion even still....

While I do not agree with everything in the book, or endorse her political standings or personal lifestyle, it does stir thought on the topic that Jen brought up....

I think that people are gener

I think that people are generally horrible to other people, and its even worse when you don't have to account for your actions (i.e. posting anonymously). Have you thought about requiring people to sign in before they post? It's not like it would cost them anything, and it would certainly cut down on the Ashlee Simpson Rapid Response Team comments.

provopulse and censorship

Can Mason leave his site unregulated forever? Or will he eventually have to censor comments?

Having been a recipient of Mason's censorship on more than one occasion, I can assure you that it does happen... just not when people are rude and demeaning. It is apparently okay to post something obviously un-Christian, just not something that some may ignorantly perceive as un-Mormon.

I don't get to decide, but on

I don't get to decide, but one doesn't necessarily equal the other.


The Rapid Response Team was just about the best laugh I've had all week. Ashlee has SOOO much talent, and it shows because she attracts hordes of rabid teenage fans. If we didn't have the groups like the ASRRT, we wouldn't have sites like, and then my life would be just that much more boring. Thankfully, when you post anonymously on provopulse, you are declaring yourself a coward, and who wants to be a coward? Maybe you could make the term a bit harsher. Anonymous posters could be called "An Anonymous, Spineless Coward" or something more derogatory, if you can think it up.

The A.S.R.R.T.

Some of the best comments to read are the ones that the Rapid Repsonse Team are putting up. The stuff those poor misguided teenagers post is some of the best comedic reading this site has to offer.

"ASRRT" -- pure genius, T$.

"ASRRT" -- pure genius, T$.

Yeah, I've considered disabling anonymous comments, but at this point I don't think the benefits outweigh the loss of participation.

It's always an option though. Hopefully it's one that we won't have to use.


Can't you see what Jen is doing? She is totally manipulating you.

As she posted,"What do you think will happen eventually Mason?

Which really means, I am afraid and vulnerable, I want you to eliminate any comment, or sarcastic remark, that I perceive as a threat to my black and white worldview.

That is sick. No one cussed. No one talked bad about the church. All I did was point out her hypocrisy in using personal attacks, and I made sarcastic remarks about her wanting to control the blog (the Taliban comment). How is this justification to use censorship?

In The Clouds, by Aristophanes, Strepsiades is corrected by his son who studied philosophy. Instead of Strepsiades justly rebuking his son, he goes and burns down the Thinkery where philosophy is practiced.

Jen is unjust in her motivations as Strepsiades was unjust in burning down the Thinkery.


So I've screened your article

So I've screened your article submissions that I felt conveyed an anti-mormon sentiment. Of course I'm not the perfect judge on what is and what is not anti-mormon, but I'd rather not promote a lecture on mormonism by a former BYU professor who was excommunicated for apostasy.

The other thing you've got to realize, Tyler, is that I screen all article submissions, that's why they're "submissions" ... It's completely up to me whether they get posted or not, and you go into it knowing just that.

(BTW, Provo Pulse was never meant to be a completely uncensored forum of discussion.)

funny, yes?

"they will throw out powerful, emotionally-charged phrases or names in an attempt to quickly call the ignorant onto their side of whatever argument or debate is on the topic"

How evil and wrong of them, right Brad? Oh wait, what about this:

"Tammy Bruce is a lesbian feminist activist, and former president of a chapter of N.O.W. who explains partially in her book about the liberal left-wings efforts"

"Phrases like 'Fascist' or 'Nazi' or as we saw 'Adolf' or 'Taliban', etc. or the much more subtle, yet still condescendingly intented 'Puritan'"

How about phrases like the following: 'Lesbian' or 'Feminist Activist' or 'liberal left-wing'

Seems like you learned a lot from the book.

Yeah, so Jen is lobbying for

Yeah, so Jen is lobbying for comment moderation, and she could have been more straight forward about that. I'm with you there, but I don't think she was trying to purposely be "manipulative".

Comment moderation is something I really have been thinking about from day-one. As this community grows it's a step I'll inevitably have to take if I want to keep Provo Pulse's signal-to-noise ratio within a comfortable range for its readers.

The nice thing about the system I have in mind is that it's not outright censorship. Some comments are moderated down a level, but for the most part what occurs is that really good comments are moderated up. Then, people who don't want to spend a lot of time reading through an entire discussion can just set their comment viewing threshold to where they only see, say, the top 10% of the comments below a particular article.

But you can also set it to where you see everything, even the comments that got moderated down from their initial starting level.

I think this sort of system is a nice compromise between wanting each article's discussion forum to be fairly open so that the minority's ideas are still represented, while still maintaining readability.

some jest

My previous comment was meant with some jest, though probably uncalled for.

I am serious about the odd censorship of possible un-Mormon content with the absense of any censorship of un-Christian actions on Provopulse. For example, my submission of an (unfortunately) excommunicated Mormon's lecture which was censored (even though his presentations was fairly pro-Mormon and his testimony extremely pro-Mormon), but comments wholly made of name-calling and other un-Christian things (such as the telling someone to "piss up a rope" go without any sort of condemnation.

Hey Mexican Scientist! Those aren't my words

Those aren't my words. Those are actually Tammy Bruce's words to describe herself. Get educated before you just run your mouth. Read the book and you'll see. They're also in all of the reviews of her book on sites like '', etc. and besides - they're true words to describe her, and I know exactly what they mean, and so did she when she used them to describe herself. Again - they're her words, not mine....Read the book.


  1. There's a big difference between using a word despite of the connotation and using it because of the connotation.
  2. Calling a lesbian a lesbian and calling someone who posted a fascist are two very different things.
  3. If you're using someone's writings as evidence to support your claim on a mormon blog, does it make sense to call them a lesbian if indeed you are using the term lesbian to persuade people to believe your contention?

This isn't about using words with derogatory connotations. It's about using those connotations to form an argument.

article submissions vs. comments

What I should have also explained in my last comment was that I screen article submissions much more than comments because of the fact that they're so much more visible and also because it's understood that articles are things Provo Pulse has actually published, whereas comments are posted by the users themselves in more of a forum setting.

So, I usually only remove comments when they're obscene, and not just when they're un-christian.

Now that's not necessarily the only reason for deleting a comment. (i.e. I don't want to tie myself down to a specific policy on this. New circumstances are always coming up. I'm just doing my best to keep things together around here.)


I wasnt lobbying for anything. Merely wondering what the future held. The Pulse is not my site, so I leave the administrative decisions up to you.

I just exposed your duplicity

I just exposed your duplicity, which was demonstrated by the fact that you trashed us on your blog and insulted those who had honest concerns about your post, after coming on as someone who wanted to initiate a friendly discussion. Meanwhile you'd already decided we were "happy valley" robots before you even submitted the post. I got a little too emotional when I said go piss up a rope, sorry.


Well, perhaps it was obvious to you and your beloved author, but to every other person reading your post, it seemed as though you yourself had said them.

Also, you did not put the stated text into quotations, which leads me to believe that you are not only narrow minded, but you are a plagiarizer as well.

"Get educated before you just run your mouth"

I love you, too.

thank you

yes, thank you.


It is a shame that people are not mature enough to handle their emotions in situations
like this. The reason people say comments that need to be sensored is because they are
caught up in the moment and don't have the knowledge to say anything else besides
hurtful things. It is too bad that some things have to be sensored, but until people
learn how to express themselves in a mature manner, you may need to keep an eye
on the comments.

Not even just a little?

It's not like there's anything wrong with making a suggestion anyway. I'm all ears.

BTW, when I hear "The Pulse" it reminds me of "The Max" off Saved by the Bell. I knew it sounded odd to me but couldn't put my finger on why. =)


It wasn't a direct quote, but how could it be plagiarism if I cited the source? You had just failed to read the book, is all. Is it so hard to admit you were mistaken without further insulting someone?


I had honest intentions when i made my Musings post. True, I already had some notions about how it would be received by some on Provopulse (mostly based on responses to discussion on the Iraqi war) because those who side with Bush on the war effort tend to be much more conservative and less open to free thought and ideas. You very much surprised me provojoe. As I recall, we were usually on the same side when it came to issues concerning the war.

So yes, I did believe that some would take on the Happy Valley mantle and instantly dismiss what I had to say. I knew that many would see that it went contrary to that which they learned as CTR and Valiant classes. I also thought that there were many who would find it an engaging discussion. I thought LaurenceB and provoking would have some keen thoughts (thought they have been totally silent and seemed to drop off the face of the earth). I thought you would have had some things to add to the discussion. I expected dJake and porgo to mightily disagree. What I did not expect was a near unanimous assault where my motives, beliefs, and testimony were judged and attacked without any real discussion of the issues.


Let's look at your rosy logic, Bradly.

"Those aren't my words. Those are actually Tammy Bruce's words to describe herself"

"It wasn't a direct quote"

So which is it? Are those her words to describe herself, or are they your words paraphrasing and labeling her?

There are no quotes where one could find 'Tammy Bruce's words to describe herself' so one is then left with the assumption that they were your words paraphrasing Tammy, which I gracefully did.

Bradly, please, you can't have it both ways. *giggle*

Just because you raise it doe

Just because you raise it doesn't mean something is an "issue" worth "really discussing".

Give me a break

"those who side with Bush on the war effort tend to be much more conservative and less open to free thought"

So if my ideas on the Iraqi war are different than yours I'm close-minded? I was not aware that conservatism and close-mindedness were the same thing. Can one not think freely and then choose to agree with a more conservative thought? Or does the very act of agreeing with a conservative point of view nullify any previous open-mindedness?

come on.....

you're trying to catch me in my words. It's not a direct quote, but every one of those words she uses to describe herself. Just read the first chapter of the book. You'll see what I'm talking about. Or go to the website that is linked to and read some of her speeches. It's her own language, but not directly quoted. Can you comprehend that concept? And again - they're not just flippant, insulting comments about her. They are words that ACTUALLY describe her. They're the truth. Not just emotion rolled into words. If you think that my words were condescending or insulting to her, then there's at least one person that disagrees with you - Tammy Bruce. Knock it off with the childish responses. Read the book or don't.


lighten up

yes boss

And you get to decide its worth because...?