In late 2014, during my second year at Harvard Law School, a student group called Students For Inclusion created a blog entitled Socratic Shortcomings. Its commitment, we are told, is to “[foster] productive and contextualized conversations on matters related to race, gender and class.” The site allows students—and anyone really—to post anonymously about events at Harvard Law School.Isn't this a case for: Get your own damned blog?
The site quickly picked up steam, as students gravitated toward a safe and faceless forum, where they could voice their displeasure. For a short while it appeared that the site might encourage open dialogue and actually inspire change.
However, soon thereafter, students began to complain about submissions vanishing into thin air. The moderators, we eventually learned, were selectively publishing submissions and denying others without further explanation. It seems that the Students For Inclusion only wished to include some students....
The blog is moderated. It doesn't "allow" "anyone" to post there. You can see how it's operated. That's what it is. It's a blog that takes anonymous submissions and has a point of view or a set of points of view that it publishes. Here's the submission page as it looks right now. It "reserve[s] the right to maintain this blog" as "a safe space." There are moderators, and they have standards. They have a vision of the place and they mean to preserve their speech by excluding those who interfere with their idea of the place. That's not anti-free speech. Free speech didn't die.
It's not like Twitter kicking Robert Stacy McCain out of Twitter (which is discussed in the column) because Socratic Shortcomings is on Tumblr and nothing prevents the voices excluded from Socratic Shortcomings from setting up another Tumblr account and inviting submissions and putting them all up without moderation or moderating them to put up exactly whatever they think is excluded from Socratic Shortcomings — the shortcomings of Socratic Shortcomings. Start something like that of your own and you may gain some appreciation for the speech that is furthered by selectivity.
Subtraction is part of creation....
What you don't say is part of what you say. Speech doesn't "die" by editing. It lives. Ask the reader. And get your own damned blog.