I’ve seen this type of discussion come up many times within my community, and in others. When someone breaks a site rule and is “reprimanded” for it, they will often scream about their Freedom of Speech, guaranteed by the United States Constitution. I always get a chuckle out of this. You see, when you join a privately-owned site and agree to abide by their rules, there is no Freedom of Speech. The owners and administrators of said service are well within their rights to tell you what you can – and cannot – discuss on their little corner of the Web. If you don’t like it… well… no one is forcing you to stay there as a member.
This may sound harsh to some of you, and I don’t intend for it to be. I guess I’m trying to remind all of you that common courtesy and a maturity in following rules YOU agreed to when you joined a particular site are far more important than anything else. Anytime I see some ticked off person on Geeks yelling about their Freedom of Speech, my first thought is to ask them what rule THEY broke. I’ve learned over the years that 99% of the time, the upset person in question wanted to push the limits, and discuss something illegal, or otherwise against the rules.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe that the owners of a particular site or service have the final – and likely, ONLY – say in what is and isn’t allowed there?
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