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Neutral?

July 15, 2008 pm31 9:26 pm

I am not neutral. This blog is not neutral. I posted five versions of Which Side Are You On? last month because I like the union song, but also because being on the front line (this is a coal war song) there are no neutrals. The closing line of this post is not a mistake.

I am pro-union. Pro-teacher. Pro-public education. I am against the war. I am against unfairness, inequality. And so is this blog.

Why bring this up? Well, it is worth knowing that if you are on the wrong side, I won’t give you an easy go of it in the comments here (ex 12). Also, if you lie or cheat or intentionally mislead. And if you advocate action for the other side. You can get banned for that. But that’s not why I write today.

This is a content guideline, not a civility guideline. jd2718 is not “an agora of informed commentary on public education and labor issues” (from the Edwize disclaimer).

There are blogs besides Edwize that maintain open policies on comments, that do allow a wide range of views, and that do not privilege the views of those on our side. I won’t condemn the idea of “neutral discussion” but it bothers me, especially from those (such as my union) that should have a side.

And policies evolve. My dispute two years ago with NYCEd was essentially about union politics, but was specifically related to his control of the comments section of his blog. Since then, however, he has explicitly taken control of content and civility on several occasions (I relinked after he first did so), including quite emphatically, just today.

But here’s why I am writing – I fell behind in my reading, finally caught up to this guest post on Eduwonkette from last week (sometimes I skip the guest posts or put them aside.) Reading the comments I wanted to cry. That discussion should not have been allowed. You’ll never read that vile stuff here. Never. This blog is not an open-market for vile, racist ideas. I am not neutral.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachel permalink
    July 15, 2008 pm31 11:43 pm 11:43 pm

    I understand why you want your site to be a non-neutral site. But I don’t think it would serve education well if there were no sites that strived for neutrality. It’s easy to get caught up in an education-world bubble — but for better or for worse, the voices many of us disagree with seem to have traction in the significant sectors of policy making and I’m not sure that total disengagement works.

  2. July 30, 2008 pm31 5:40 pm 5:40 pm

    Rachel,

    your point is well-taken. But I think neutral commentators make neutral commentary. To make change, on the other hand, activity or advocacy is required.

    That there is a need for some voices that fall in between, ok, let’s say that there is. But that doesn’t mean that those voices are allowed absolutely no strongly held beliefs, or that the blog need become a platform for advocacy (and that’s what that racist stuff was) opposed to the blogger.

    Tolerance need not be absolute.

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