Saturday, October 20, 2007

TripAdvisor Incident Becoming Revolution

In the past few days, there's been a flurry of e-mails among frequenters of the Israel Forum and the management there regarding the incident I wrote about here previously. My discussion of dealing with issues when visiting the Western Wall are, apparently, just the tip of the iceberg over TripAdvisor's overly zealous policy of removing posts and topics. The thought is that there may be some disgruntled customers or political or religious activists who click on "Report post as inappropriate" whenever they see something remotely connected to certain topics or to exact revenge on some posters whom they feel have bad-mouthed them. It is, after all, supposed to be "self-policing," but one of the key Forum participants points out that she's observed commercial posts and posts promoting prostitution in the Bulgaria Forum, and suspects that the Israel Forum is being singled out for greater scrutiny.

This week, the TripAdvisor management is again discussing the issue and we'll see if there is any relaxation of its removal of posts or in its policy of what are acceptable topics. I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, the OC Register recently changed its posting policies, too, in order to eliminate anonymous hate posts to its blogs and in reaction to its articles.

I read Haaretz, the Israeli daily paper, and you should read some of the anonymous responses posted there--from virulent anti-Semitic, anti-Israel diatribes to knee-jerk, Israel is perfect, Judaism is the only way responses, and everything in between.

Is that no-holds-barred kind of forum of greater value? Not in my opinion. There's got to be a middle-ground between overly strict censorship of such forums and offensive commentary.

Until next time...


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