Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: TV & the First Amendment

Author:Jeremy Bowers
Posted:10/25/1999; 6:17:50 PM
Topic:TV & the First Amendment
Msg #:12349 (In response to 12345)
Prev/Next:12348 / 12350

Would a request to pass notes ridiculing the Klan have been turned down? People reading the notes might be ignoring the Klan, so the notes would be a real interruption. But, like Third Voice, they would be voluntary. You don't have to read them. Want to rework the metaphor?

No, I don't. Why should some text in the metaphor be regarded as passing notes (the annotations) and other text be regarded as spoken words (the KKK rally) just to make Third Voice look more innocuous? They are both the same type of thing, so they should both be represented in the same medium. The counter-demonstrators wanted to drown out sound with sound, Third Voice at its worst can drown out text with text. (Try using the service, I can point you at pages where this happened.)

And how does the fact that the people would not have to listen to the numerous counter-protesters any more then they would have to read the "notes" release them from responsibility of the act of trying to drown out the KKK?

The fact that Third Voice can be turned off only fixes the problem that the user faces of pages possibly being distorted. The problem is that I question the right of a Third Voice user to post a note, directly on to a webmasters page. Why should the webmaster not care about their platform being hijacked by other people, simply because the user isn't being forced to view that content? Is the KKK supposed to take comfort in the fact that people within 10 feet of them can still hear them, because they aren't being "forced" to listen to the counterdemonstrators w/ amplifiers, or was New York wrong to find that the counterdemonstrators should not be allowed to infringe on the right of the KKK to speak?

I'm claiming that Third Voice is more-or-less equivalent to those counter-protestors, except on the web, they ARE allowed to use any tactic, directly on your platform (the webpage). Assisted by Third Voice and other annotation services instead of loudspeakers and amplifiers, the First Amendment rights of people to post a page on the web and speak to the public without fear of being drowned out on their own soap box (of course, nobody has to listen) are being directly infringed on, equally as if the counter protesters were allowed to drown out the KKK (after all, don't the counter protesters have free speech too?). That the user/listener can ignore it is irrelevent and if the counter demonstraters had tried to use that as an excuse, they would have been a laughingstock; everybody would know that is a stupid excuse in the real world; only in the virtual world is it a challenge to see.

Further, web annotation is inherently inturruptive in nature, and should not be allowed unless the web master approves, as is his/her right on his/her own page. This is a reasonable metaphor to make because while not all usage of Third Voice is as nasty as trying to drown out the original voice (which would hopefully be an exception rather then a rule, though I have my doubts), it is all inturruptive by nature and by no stretch of the imagination should the webmaster be forced to tolerate it.

(one additional answer to the "Want to rework the metaphor?" question: No, because the entire point is that the counter-demonstraters wanted to shout down the KKK, and were told they couldn't do that. They were not told they could not pass out notes, but they weren't interested in passing out notes, because they wanted to shout down the KKK, not bury them in snide little notes. If you remove the inturruptive nature, then you are no longer dealing with a Third-Voice-like scenario of being right on the same "page"/platform/area as the KKK, you are elsewhere, and I've never said you can't say what you want on your own space, and never will.)

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