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Over the past several months, I've noticed a few instances where people have removed previously posted journal entries without acknowleding an entry had been pulled. Sometimes the journal entry had comments not to the orginal author's liking.
I'd like to suggest this is a poor practice for librarians and other knowledge workers. How can we be for intellectual freedom if we delete conversations that don't go our way? How can we be for openness in government if we pull items previously posted to the Internet? It undermines our witness in a number of ways and is a luxury we can ill afford in these dark days of government secrecy and claims of unchecked power.
I'm the first to admit that we will sometimes need to pull items, especially if there is a conflict of law. But in those cases, we should follow mdoneil's example of posting a revised entry like he did when a posting interfered with a court settlement. He didn't simply make the posting disappear, but explained why he needed to make recissions. That's fair to me.
I'm also sympathetic to the hurt that one feels if people commenting on your journal start attacking you personally or take the discussion in a direction you feel is counter-productive.
But we shouldn't allow that hurt to prompt into the same types of Orwellian practices we condemn in others.
Let me close by making a distinction between the legal and moral areas of this issue. As copyright holders of our journal entries, we have the perfect legal right to alter or pull our work off the Internet. More so than any government agency. But morally, we library and knowledge workers must hold ourselves to a higher standard. We cannot condemn a refusal to hear differing points of view if we do not hear them ourselves. If we are for freedom of information and intellectual freedom for others, we must practice it ourselves.
As a wise person once said, "Be the change you seek."