In case there is any doubt, we do censor at VoicesNet. Most private websites do have some form of censorship. So do most forms of media.
Comparing our censorship to Nazi Germany censorship is ridiculous. We censor to protect young kids from reading certain content, and for other reasons. We don't want people to recruit in a religious way, so we do not allow any religious writing that is with the intent to recruit. You can write all day here about almost any religion that you believe in. We do try to respect all religions so we tread lightly in this area, of course. We don't like hate that is targeted at specific parties. We don't like vulgarities. We are sensitive about suicide and will not allow most postings about suicide because we don't want to be the conduit for someone reading a poem, and following the advice of a suicide poem or blog. We also do not want too graphic of material regarding child abuse and other abuses.
As far as our review processes go, we have various volunteers who review all writings eventually and remove the ones we feel do not meet our stated guidelines. From our experiences, most denials have been for obvious reasons that are clearly stated in the site guidelines. Most people don't read site guidelines. We understand that at times mistakes are made, sometimes the lines are very gray, and it is a difficult job for our volunteer reviewers. This is why there are clear guidelines and we ask everybody to abide by that text when they join. We find many who complain have not read the site guidelines.
Notification by email is very difficult with volunteer reviewers. We once did that and found that we were then starting a new conversation way too often, and it was always an emotional conversation. We wonder where we would get volunteers to sustain those types of discussions on a regular basis? We get so many poems that the thought is impossible.
We do understand the emotions that we all put into our writings and that is a great thing, but we ask please do not turn that emotion on the great staff at VoicesNet.
We also do not allow people to post complaints about VoicesNet on VoicesNet. We will gladly accept your criticism. Please recognize that there are proper mediums to do so. Posting that criticism on this site takes away from the community and causes damage. Our goal is to get readers to view the writings of our members and we spend a lot of energy and effort to get viewers here. We will also not to allow people to flame the site, its members, or its management.
We consider the postings here publications with the same respect we would give to those in a magazine and ask that our members do too.
We ask that members be patient when a posting is removed and if you think your writing clearly does meet required guidelines, please try again and see if it goes through in case there was some mistake the first time. If you still do not see that it meets the guidelines, then let us know via email and we will eventually get back to you. Recognize that it will take some time to work through the review process as our reviewers are volunteer, but know that management will look at any writing if a member feels strongly that they have not violated guidelines.
Also a debate over a writing that is on the censorship fence, as they say, and a complaint from someone who thinks we should not have censorship, is two different things.
If you are posting writings that are clearly not allowed here and are thinking that we are doing something wrong by censoring our submissions, then we would kindly suggest that you find other sites that allow such content on the Internet. There are sites out there that allow you to write and post things that are more graphic or intense than our site guidelines allow for example, very graphic abuse or intense suicide scenes. This is not the site to do so, but we do encourage you to find the site where you will be able to write and post if you need.
We are not bad at VoicesNet because we do not want certain content posted here; we are normal free people making the choice to preserve and protect our private property being made available in this case for free to all members who come. We are the ones with these rights because of the fighting soldiers in the past wars. We even have a sister site for war letters and notes.
We also might suggest that writers who have works that go over the edge post writings that meet our site guidelines here and writings that do not on a site that has a different set of guidelines.
We ask that you please be patient and understanding with these matters and understand that we are not at War here at VoicesNet, but part of an amazing thing so let's not forget about the incredible community here. We have no problems clearly understanding our mission and are good at what we do here. Also, although this is a very important debate, most people never come into contact with it here at VoicesNet.
Thank you to everybody who helps to run this site, who stay up crazy hours to keep it clean and respectable, more so than ever. If we made mistakes, we still have agreed to support our reviewers who have taken on a hard job in a clearly emotional environment. We are a forgiving site and encourage that in the world.
We have accepted almost a quarter million (250,000) submissions here at VoicesNet and every one of those submissions have been reviewed by site admins and we bow to all of these people. That is incredible and the end result of this long post for all who have made it this far, is huge respect, recognition and we hope, community acknowledgement towards all of the volunteers who have done this role over the years for VoicesNet. We also appreciate and value the content provided by our outstanding member base, and are daily inspired by their trials and tribulations.
The VoicesNet Team