Some thoughts. Use 'em for discussion or not
One should perhaps understand that the biggest reason for there BEING censorship here on this Forum - is not because of 'concern over peoples feelings' (or possible legal issues)- but because it then justifies the existence of these 'Moderators' in the first place.
No censorship = No Need For Mods
which in turn means there's NO power structure into which those who think its 'important', will try to climb somehow.
Removing all censoring = removing the need and the lure of 'power' from those forumites who want it.
I would assume that those who have been made 'Mods' - feel somehow better or superior, to those who haven't. Indeed, some of the Mods may have actively pursued the idea of - for instance - 'behaving well enough' ('social engineering') for the site owner to graciously bestow the honour of being a Mod upon them.
The existence of Mods requires the existence of humans who believe that the extra powers and tools which they can use on Forum, is somehow 'important'.
Like anyone who's been in the Army can tell you, there's a whole unofficial structure in place for new arrivals - who are considered less important than the exact same people who've been there for longer. (The 'roerfs' and the 'oumanne' syndrome) Not because the longer serving people are better in any way - but because it suits the Powers Higher Up, to have the slaves squabbling and fighting and believing there's some sort of 'status' which can be attained.
Same here on Forum. I see very few instances where anyone says. 'Get rid of all Mods' - why? Because of the niggling lure and dangling carrot of a 'higher status' being possible at some point for them. All the more reason to consider removing this fake 'status'.
I personally would turn down the offer of being made a Moderator, because I'm not power-hungry, and have no desire to be given any extra authority - and also because I'm aware that I'll delude and fool myself into saying "Oh well, whatever I do, it's for the 'good of the Forum'.
Meantime, the truth deep down is: I've been manipulated into playing the same old self-deluding game that all slaves get offered.
"Here, have some power - no, don't tell yourself that it makes you feel stronger or higher status - just lie to yourself and pretend that what you're doing is to serve a Higher Purpose."
(In this case, the bogus illusion and lie that I'd imagine most current and potential Mods use is:"I'll be a mod and er enjoy the authority and status in order to protect the Forum, look after the feelings of individuals using it, and make sure there's nothing that could be legally acted upon - and thus damage the Forum.")
So instead of the Forum being anything like a haven for free speech, and a yardstick to force its users to learn tolerance (or not) - it becomes a message board that reflects the fears, predjudices and status-seeking, of those slaves who've shown that they want/need some power.
(I forget who it was, but someone once said - the mere idea of someone saying they want to become a politician, or have some power, should immediately prevent them from ever being allowed to go into politics in the first place.)
Would it not be more useful and educational all round, for there to be no censorship and no Mods on this Forum - so that users are forced to learn what its like to have to deal with each other and cope (or not) with each others probably stupid idea's and beliefs?
Or - if that idea is too scary to those who currently like their Mod ahem 'status' and self-delusions for their reasons and powers - and in order to retain the focus of this broadband site:
*Remove ALL censorship and Mod powers from the Off Topic section, and add a simple clickthrough warning, that clicking into Off Topic means you agree you're an adult and you accept that you may encounter material that you find offensive and which the site accepts no responsibility for.*
I think this would be a very useful and educational step, for the Forum as a whole - for there to be a deliberate 'untouchable and uncensorable' section - to remove the whole parental babysitting approach that users are currently
It's not democratic, it's not productive and it's creating a whole genre of users who think that whining like little babies whenever someone says something 'mean', and running to percieved 'authority figures' to help make the unpalatable words go away' is an adult form of behaviour - and as for the Mods - the current situation means they're allowed to believe that 'looking after other peoples feelings' and acting as pseudo parents to grown adult humans online, is somehow 'productive' on any level - and going to make users learn tolerance and other democratic values.
It's not - and it can't cause anything that's even close to democracy or tolerance, as long as there are parental figures on forum who can 'make all the naughty words/idea's/thoughts go away' - for anyone who complains.
What this means in reality is: the Forum itself becomes censored down to a nice Disneyfied worldview where the lowest common denominator is the norm. In other words, the Forum is reduced to content which has been deleted, censored and controlled down into a bland non-offensive form that is designed to be acceptable to a young child.
But for the most part - we're not children here.
So why tolerate structures which are clearly anti-democratic and designed for children's young tender minds?
Make the OFF TOPIC section 'Mod' and censorship free, so that we learn how to operate as adults, and not as whiney easily-frightened, easily-offended users who are being taught how to use their individual supposed 'sensitivities', to have material they don't like, censored.
This isn't adult, or mature or democratic, or productive to the Forum, or the country as a whole..