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yog (19073) writes "An assistant at a grocery store in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, was ordered by the Performing Right Society (PRS) to obtain a performer's license and to pay royalties because she was informally singing popular songs while stocking groceries. The PRS later backed down and apologized. This after the same store had turned off the radio after a warning from the PRS. We have entered an era where music is no longer an art for all to enjoy, but rather a form of private property that must be regulated and taxed like alcohol. "Music to the ears" has become "dollars in the bank"." Link to Original Source top
yog (19073) writes "Pfizer is offering free viagra and other drugs to the unemployed. Could this be an underhanded way to eliminate spam? Why would that 0.001% of the population click on another v1agra "rock hard all night" type of spam email, when they can obtain these coveted substances for free? I think Pfizer has unwittingly stumbled on a definitive solution to the spam problem, currently said to account for 94% of all email traffic. Maybe if this works, they could try legalizing cocaine and marijuana. The mind boggles at the possibilities."
I've noticed that quite often when I make a comment on a political topic such as the presidential elections, Islamic terrorism, and the Iraq war, it tends to get moderated as "flamebait". Now, I am not interested in starting flame wars, as anyone who reads my comment history will note.
Yet, on political subjects, if I express something the least bit opinionated beyond merely quoting the "facts", several moderators will step in and hit the comment with "overrated", "flamebait", or "troll".
There are in fact very few true flamebait postings on this forum, though lots of deliberate trolls. But someone commenting on a topic, no matter how opinionated they are, should not be modded down unless they are disrupting the conversation in some way. When I have mod points, the first thing I do is search for "flamebait" in a forum and, if appropriate, I will re-mod it to something more applicable.
I'll fight and die for your right to disagree with me.
It's too bad that not everyone sees it this way, and it's a damn shame that the metamoderation system, which is supposed to prevent this kind of incompetent use of mod points, does not work, apparently.
In recent years I have noticed that comments which have the slightest political overtones, especially those that support the Republican government, get moderated down as "troll", "flamebait", or "overrated". Once a comment has a zero rating, most readers will not see it because the default settings skip over zero and -1 comments.
This is a form of mob rule and censorship that is inappropriate for a public forum. I know of no other internet forums that allow anyone to effectively censor my comments. A real moderator who is fair and dedicated to preserving quality discourse is much preferable to the haphazard system which Slashdot has become.
I have also noticed that informative comments are sometimes attacked by ignorant moderators who either failed to understand what the poster said or mistakenly thought it was a duplication of another post.
Clearly, people given moderator privileges are using them to attack those with whom they disagree rather than to improve the dialogue. I have started metamoderating religiously and I will moderate as unfair most attempts to censor legitimate comments. Unfortunately, an army of one is a bit outnumbered in this war.
I think it's time for Slashdot to move to a better system; it was an interesting idea nine years ago when online discussion forums were just getting rolling, but today Slashdot seems clunky and dated, its moderation system strange and ineffective. You can't post and moderate in the same topic, which today seems like a pointless limitation given the tremendous abuse of the moderation system.