Violet Blue Purged from Boing Boing, Boing Boing Talks Back
Excerpt from the LA Times blog:
Almost all of the deleted blog entries ... were posted not by [Blue] but by BoingBoing writers highlighting and linking to her work. Blue said that none of the ... posts were particularly scandalous, illegal, or "disgusting." Not all were even about sex. The one post Blue did write herself -- also deleted -- was edited by [Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin] before publication.
A source speculates that Federated Media, which sells ad space for Boing Boing and other uber-popular online sites, might have pressured Boing Boing to nix the Blues.
Open source sex meets Big Business's big-ass eraser. Sinister. But as far as I can see, FM and Boing Boing have an amiable relationship: "Federated Media ... not only get business, but they get blogging too," Boing Boing recently wrote. Federated Media also sells ad space for many other popular blogs.
Boing Boing responded to the "internet shitstorm" early this morning. An excerpt from the post:
[Violet's] posts were removed from public view a year ago. Violet behaved in a way that made us reconsider whether we wanted to lend her any credibility or associate with her. It's our blog and so we made an editorial decision, like we do every single day. We didn't attempt to silence Violet. We unpublished our own work. There's a big difference between that and censorship.
While I'm personally iffy about wiping archives to disassociate from a person -- as opposed to being frank with that person and never working with her again -- I can respect Boing Boing pulling the "editorial decision" card. We don't really know what happened between it and Violet and it's probably none of our business.
Still, as one BB commenter put it, "In the face of that damage, y'all's continuing decision not to tell us what's up is disheartening, but maybe we'll get over it."
I don't know what it is about blogging, but readers expect a certain degree of frankness mixed with all the business we do behind the scenes. It's a courtesy we didn't always get from newspapers as they began consolidating under larger companies.
But like newspapers, we're also held accountable for what's in our past. We may have the capability to delete stuff, but abusing that ability is frowned upon, especially when the deletion rate is high and systematic -- which would be the case if you wanted to wipe away all traces of a professional relationship.
I feel a slippery slope coming on...