Even banned posters have intellectual validity in the atmosphere of reflective discourse, for both the good and the bad help to formulate those ideas which make any discourse valid. All ideas, even ideas which give rise to discourses (and even behavior) we don’t like, feed the atmosphere of self-conscious, universalizing discourse which should be held sacred in any community which values intellectual freedom.
We have laws, prisons, and the military for state defense; we have police, laws and manners for community defense.
Poets.org permits powers to revoke membership and silence speech to defend its internal integrity.
Locking a thread, however, can only be compared to shutting down a newspaper, for it censors general discourse, the protection of which ought to be unquestioned.
This goes beyond the issue of ‘moderator power’ or ‘rights of members.’ Shutting down discourse violates a principle both human and universal.
If moderators can ban posters and delete posts at will, what possible defense, or just punishment, or good, is served by locking/ending a current and active thread?
Locking a thread not only capriciously punishes, it violates a bedrock principle of civil and intellectual life.
Once a poster crosses a certain line, that poster gives up their rights to exist on poets.org.
When a post is deemed inappropriate, that post is whisked out of sight.
But a thread is different; a thread belongs to all; to censor a thread is to turn the will of a community--a principle which defines the very existence of the Academy--against itself.
(This thread appears as a LOCKED thread on Poets.org as Locking Question. Reposted here with permission of the author.)
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