Seelai and Gweilo Diaries banned from the aggregator?

In a comment to a post several days ago, Ron of Seelai contended that he and Conrad have both been banned from the Living in China aggregator. He said he thought it was because they both put up pictures of scantily clad girls, and that a self-righteous blogger demanded they be dropped.

My immediate inclination (as you can see in the comments) was to reject this theory. After all, last week one Mainland blog linked to photos of male genitalia, and a few days before that another showed magazine covers featuring risque photos of men (and one woman) and these blogs weren’t banned. I thought it was a technical glitch, and that the aggregator simply skipped a couple of their posts.

But now BradF writes in my comments the following:

Disclaimer: I’m not an official spokesman for LiC

I checked the list of feeds that the aggregator er…aggregates, and both seelai and gweilodiaries have been removed. I don’t know the reason, and I don’t know who did it, but if it was intentional and for the suspected reason, it’s bad.
a) it sets a terrible precedent (slippery slope, etc)
b) it was rude to remove the feeds without notification
c) damages our (their?) credibility with the China blogger community

I hope to see this resolved in a day or two.

Apparently this has now been going on for at least a full week, so I don’t know why Brad is so optimistic that it’s going to be resolved “in a day or two.” It raises all sorts of interesting questions about the motivation behind the ban, what the criteria are for banning a blog from the aggregator, and especially why there has been no announced policy in this regard.

It kind of reminds me of that grim morning back in January 2003 when I turned my computer on and tried to open my blog (then powered by blogspot), only to see that it was inaccessible, without explanation. I want to think that the creative people who brought us a site as innovative and useful as Living in China would be above that sort of thing. Here’s their chance to show us that they are.

Update: I just remembered, this isn’t the first time Conrad’s vanished from the aggregator. Check my earlier post and comments. Just a case of bad luck that he’s shut out again…?

UPDATE: Whadaya know? All of a sudden Seelai’s latest post popped up on the aggregator after a lengthy banishment. So who’s the man behind the curtain pulling the levers? Braf F. explains deep within the comments that he reinstated Ron and Conrad.

The Discussion: 53 Comments

Richard,

I asked them via email as to why?

I got a reply that Mike and someone else are on holidays so wait for a couple of weeks before things get sorted out.

Sure!

Well, I don’t care whether they aggregate us or not. But if the reason behind is what is speculated, then I can say LIC’s reputation is history. At least with me…

And ironically, the way it looks to me, their behavior resembles those of the communists. Stifle and suppress.

Holy Cow! What voices from China?

Cheers!

January 26, 2004 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

And BTW, thanks a lot Richard for supporting us. We really appreciate a lot.

Cheers!

January 26, 2004 @ 12:11 pm | Comment

Ron & Richard,

I have checked with
There are quite a number of people who have access to the LiC aggregator feed list and so, I am afraid we won’t be able to find out what had really happened until everyone is back from their vacation.

Personally, I hope nothing of the sort you described had happened or will happen.

January 26, 2004 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

Was meant to write up there that I checked with people who are not away for holidays had not removed any feeds.

January 26, 2004 @ 2:19 pm | Comment

“I can say LIC’s reputation is history. At least with me…”

Ok fair comment and noted.

Now Richard I can honestly say I have no idea at all what happened here.

So that puts me I think in a reasonable position to comment.

The first think to note is that LiC is a voluntray association, so we don’t have a professional staff, people do go on holiday – you must have noticed there haven’t been too many posts these days – and we are not the department of home security, so if it takes a few days to sort this out I would simply ask you to bear with us.

However, there is an issue now it has been raised, and this is who exactly is a member at LiC. If it is a community, then in communities there are rights and responsibilities.

Again what sort of community is it?

Crooked Timber is one kind of community, Volokh Conspiracy another, and Fistful of Euros another.

So just what kind of community is LiC?

This would be the first issue I think we need to discuss in the pages of the zine on our return. I think Conrad and Ron should have the possibility to explain what kind of community they want to see, and what they would like to do to help build it. I think this is where we are going.

Ron and Conrad, please correct me if I am wrong but I didn’t notice any posts on the zine yet.

January 26, 2004 @ 2:38 pm | Comment

Appreciate it Andrea. Ron’s and Conrad’s posts always used to show up on the aggregator, then one day (possibly by coincidence at the time of Glutter’s posts) they were suddenly both dropped. I would think that had to be a conscious decision by somebody.

January 26, 2004 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

Edward, I know it’s volunteer, and I have sung its praises loudly. If it has a policy whereby if you don’t contribute to the zine then you get dropped from the aggregator, that should surely be common knowledge, and it should surely apply to everyone. (And maybe before someone’s dropped, they can be told about it so they can choose to contribute to the community or not….)

January 26, 2004 @ 2:48 pm | Comment

Another issue would be what kind of posts do we want on LiC. I am not talking about what kind of opinions, but what kind of thematic material, we need to talk about the focus, again here is another area for discussion.

It is obvious that we cannot accept just each and every post: we have to be very careful with anything relating to Taiwan, and to sects. If we aren’t we will just find the plug pulled, and this would serve no useful purpose.

Some things can be better said elsewhere.

Now you mention some blogs who have linked to male genitalia: fine. I wish Conrad and Ron would do this sometimes.

But there is a big difference between having a link to something, and running a blog which appears to be centred only on this, what is China related content here?

This doesn’t simply relate to China blogging – you can see what I have to say about Denton here
http://www.eamonn.com/archives/001158.html#001158

and here

http://www.eamonn.com/archives/001160.html#001160

for what it is worth.

So I think the issue here is not erotica, but China related content.

I mean if your principal interest is in a certain kind of photo, maybe the more appropriate place is an aggregator that is into that kind of thing, and I am sure Kinja will be.

So here is another issue to look at.

January 26, 2004 @ 2:49 pm | Comment

The last two comments have been more in my capacity as an administrator of LiC.

For an individual view, and again I emphasise, and not just diplomatically speaking, that I have no knowledge of the aggregator problem background, I would say the following.

My issue is not with sexism, but with racism. I have a difficulty with blogs which only present pics of ‘Asian Beauties’ run by US bloggers.

Why not a ‘US beauties’ section?

I mean you don’t have to have a doctorate in semiotics to understand that these things carry a message. I personally find the implied message repugnant (which doesn’t mean there should be an aggregator ‘ban’, whatever that might mean, just some clear and frank talking). The way I read it, what is being said is Asian women may be stupid, but my god, are they a good shag.

Conrad, Richard, have I got it right? Please correct me if I am missing something.

January 26, 2004 @ 2:57 pm | Comment

“If it has a policy whereby if you don’t contribute to the zine then you get dropped from the aggregator, that should surely be common knowledge, and it should surely apply to everyone.”

Richard, I agree. I am not proposing this, but I am suggesting we discuss it, openly, and in the pages of LiC, and I am suggesting to Ron and Conrad as high profile bloggers that they might like to take the opportunity of joining in this discussion.

I think there is a difference between someone who has just got off the boat and arrived to teach English, and seasoned warriors like you and me, and Ron and Conrad.

If you can’t take the heat, don’t walk into the kitchen.

All I am saying right now, is that I am glad this has happened, since it will give us the opportunity to discuss freely and openly what we think.

Do you want me to speculate on what happened. Someone who had been drinking too much Chinese beer, and had access to the template, got pissed in both senses, and did something stupid.

Howard Dean apparently said ten years ago that the Iowa Caucuses were a waste of time (maybe he was right, I don’t know ๐Ÿ™‚ ) What I do know is that this kind of thing doesn’t make you ineligable to be US president.

I think it should be clear by now that this is not policy anywhere, that we will now talk about all this, but equally, and once we have consensus, things may not be as they were before.

Meanwhile please bear with us, we have grown very quickly, and now are noting the growing pains. There are certainly issues we need to clarify before we go on to the next stage.

January 26, 2004 @ 3:09 pm | Comment

Edward, I have never once posted a picture of Asian women on my site, so I may not be the best one to answer your question. But from my point of view, Ron and Conrad are showing photos of girls they find attractive. What is wrong with being attracted to Asian women? Some may find it a little annoying and silly, but it’s their blogs.

Edward: “The way I read it, what is being said is Asian women may be stupid, but my god, are they a good shag.”

Why do you read it this way? To my knowledge, I have never seen either Conrad or Ron make such a statement, or anything even close. Could some of us be projecting our own attitudes here? (No, I’m not saying you believe Asian women are stupid. But maybe you have the fixed idea that Western men who find Asian women attractive also find them stupid. If so, that’s your prejudice, not theirs.) This is why policing the morality of others is so fraught with peril. A lot of crap can get in the way….

January 26, 2004 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

Actually, now I think about it, and to demonstrate that we are not trying to hide anything here – my god it was Brad who is a core admin member who started the rumpus, Andrea and I are here, while Mickey and Phil are incommunicado on wanderings round the planet – I would like to invite Conrad and Ron to post on LiC explaining their editorial policy about the pics. Remember my point is this:

“you don’t have to have a doctorate in semiotics to understand that these things carry a message. I personally find the implied message repugnant (which doesn’t mean there should be an aggregator ‘ban’, whatever that might mean, just some clear and frank talking). The way I read it, what is being said is Asian women may be stupid, but my god, are they a good shag. ”

Maybe I have got it wrong, so maybe they could clear this up.

January 26, 2004 @ 3:16 pm | Comment

Conrad’s off in Indonesia, and I doubt he’ll see this thread anytime soon.

Ron, comments?

January 26, 2004 @ 3:20 pm | Comment

“But maybe you have the fixed idea that Western men who find Asian women attractive also find them stupid. If so, that’s your prejudice, not theirs.) This is why policing the morality of others is so fraught with peril. A lot of crap can get in the way….”

Richard this is a fair point, and you are a fair person. So this is why I would invite them to explain: what is their interest and fascination. I think this could be a really good debate on LiC.

I am not a prude, I am not against investigating sexuality and sexual orientation. In fact, like you, I prefer to have it out in the open.

I am against the commercial exploitation of sexuality, or using cheap, stupid sexual stereotypes in advertising for eg selling cars to silly men who wish they had a longer penis.

What do images project? Well should we link to anti-gay blogs?

Do you like photo albums which only have the nice traditional couple and two children? Think about it.

January 26, 2004 @ 3:24 pm | Comment

You make some good points. But I think the question, “Well should we link to anti-gay blogs?” is off-base. It would be relevant if Ron’s and Conrads’s sites were patently “anti”-women or anti-Asian women or anti-anything. Conrad’s blog is 80 percent politics and he writes a hell of a lot about China. I can’t say much about Ron’s site because, in all honesty, it hasn’t been one of those sites I read regularly. But from my brief visits there, I’ve never thought it to be anti-woman. I’ve never seen anything encouraging readers to think negatively about women. So to compare their sites to “anti-gay blogs” is wide off the mark, I think. In order to be a truly anti-gay blog, it would have to have specific features, ridiculing gays, advocating against them, mocking or humiliating them, etc. The two blogs in questions don’t come anywhere near to meeting these conditions. So, maybe they are in bad taste. But so what? We can make noise about it in their comments, we can write about them in our own blogs, but if this was indeed the criterion for their vanishing from the aggregator I think it’s a poor judgment. Who is going to be the Morality Police for the aggregator? Who makes the decisions and based on what criteria? It opens up a real can of worms.

January 26, 2004 @ 3:44 pm | Comment

“it was Brad who is a core admin member who started the rumpus”
And I apologise for that — I reacted too quickly and opened up a discussion that would’ve been better posted openly on LiC.

The three missing blogs have been added back into the aggregator, pending open discussion on LiC in February — there are too many people who should be involved in this, who are currently unavailable for comment.

January 26, 2004 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

“I reacted too quickly and opened up a discussion”

But in the end it is good that this discussion is open.

“”Well should we link to anti-gay blogs?” is off-base.”

Ok, again Richard this is fair. The point is we don’t really know what their feelings towards these woman are, because they haven’t really spoken openly and freely about them.

I think it is out of the wardrobe time. I think LiC is the ideal forum to explore these issues.

I was thinking of suggesting that Hard Candy might be an appropriate person to interview these guys with some explicit questions on these topics so we can try and clear this up.

“We can make noise about it in their comments, we can write about them in our own blogs, but if this was indeed the criterion for their vanishing from the aggregator I think it’s a poor judgment. Who is going to be the Morality Police for the aggregator? Who makes the decisions and based on what criteria? It opens up a real can of worms.”

Richard, I think we agree on this, but now the can of worms is open let’s do something useful with it.

EG, I think LiC is a place for China related material. MT has a facility to enable discrimination, if people are responsible they can set to send only China relevant material. I think that would be appropriate.

Incidentally, it is to avoid all these kind of issues that, in my own aggregator, on Bonoboland, I have made plain that it is my blogroll, blogs I like, and recommend. There is a wide spread of opinion (incidentally you are there) but in the end it, like anyone else’s blogroll, is my choice.

January 26, 2004 @ 4:21 pm | Comment

Fair enough. “China-related only” sounds acceptable to me. You’ll just have to teach morons like me how to use the technology that makes it possible.

January 26, 2004 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

Can’t say I’ll miss em. Maybe they can start their own magazine
Sniffing Schoolgirls Bicycle Seats or The Free Gary Glitter Campaign.

January 26, 2004 @ 7:50 pm | Comment

Yawn. Intra-blog politics

are a boring topic, frankly, and I dislike posting about it. If you’re not into the “china blog scene” you can skip this post and rest assured that you are missing nothing. Unfortunately I have to devote a few paragraphs…

January 26, 2004 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

Richard,

I was in China throughout the day [and night] and have just returned back.

Let me read all the comments and digest before I comment.

Many thanks in advance.

Cheers!

January 27, 2004 @ 3:07 am | Comment

Both Ron and Conrad write a lot about China. A hell of a lot. In Conrad’s case much of it might not be friendly stuff but it is relevant.

You could either build a category list based on each blogs categories or you could use a keyword list that looks for specific kewords in posts, like “China” or “no naked women in this post”.

Adding some sort of identifier for people to voluntarily mark a post as appropriate would require an MT plugin to affect the XML output and specs for those of us who are self built which is frankly unworkable.

No blog is going to be 100% relevant to LiC from what I can see which means blogs are being removed for censorship reasons not because of relevance and if that is the case then LiC (which I prominently support on my site) will become a joke in my unlearned opinion.

January 27, 2004 @ 4:01 am | Comment

Okay, I’ll play the prude here.
“Left click on the picture to see the album And The Internet Sex Prayer to help you out with Girlie pics….”
Come on, this looks like Living in China was attacked by spammers.
There was this fine post on Living in China titled “How to post only China-related entries in LiC aggregator” at http://www.livinginchina.com/archives/000609.html.
I haven’t joined LiC because I write too much about Tennessee football and because my primary audience is my people back home, and many of my China explainers are things everyone reading Living in China knows about. I went through the trouble of following the directions of the post and I will soon submit my application to LiC. It may take a little time to do it, it doesn’t take a computer expert to figure this stuff out. Conrad and Ron can do the same thing and keep their site meter gimmicks where they belong. I’m sure whoever spent the time creating Living in China has a vision for it and they should insist on a set of standards so it lives up to that vision. Both Conrad and Ron write posts relevant to Living in China and as soon as they figure out a way to keep “Left click on the picture to see the album And The Internet Sex Prayer to help you out with Girlie pics….” on their own sites, then they should be welcome on the aggregator. What they do on their own sites is their own business, what they are putting on Living in China is a different matter.

January 27, 2004 @ 8:00 am | Comment

You know something, Brian? I essentially agree with you regarding relevance to LIC. What bugs me is the sudden yanking of certain blogs by an anonymous nanny, with no statement of policy, no announcement, no warning, no comment at all. So maybe this will be a useful exercize, helping to define what the identity of Living in China is, and what kind of posts belong there.

January 27, 2004 @ 8:20 am | Comment

Brian,

I am fully aware of the post you mention which is pretty unworkable for me as I do not run MT. Also, I do not have a specific china category as ANY of my categories could be relevant depending upon the nature of the story. TO make this work I would have to do some hardcoding on the front and back end and frankly I am a bit busy earning a meagre living.

LiC could choose to make this therefore something to which only MT users could contribute and what a nice little club that would be.

You are right, it is their choice. My point is not about the right of site owners to decide what is on their site, but on the image they present and I think it would be very sad, especially knowing one or two of the personalities in involved, if their policy became one of censorship by whim which is what Richard says immediately aboe and was basically the point I was making, albeit sarcastically.

January 27, 2004 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Regarding the technology of how to do it, I don’t think we need to install any plugins. Do it like this:

In the xml define a record . Assign all of your posts a category, as most of us do already. Have a category called “not_suitable_for_LiC” that everyone creates. Whenever you have a nekkid pic or what-have-you, assign the post to that category. MT allows you to assign more than one category, but I don’t know how you have your system set up Phil.

Then, the aggregator code can go in there and excempt any posts that have been assigned that category.

This is fairly simple and straightfoward, it would only take a few changes in the feed, but it would be a standard change (i.e. copy and paste)

How about it?

January 27, 2004 @ 1:14 pm | Comment

Edward: ‘Richard this is a fair point, and you are a fair person. So this is why I would invite them to explain: what is their interest and fascination. I think this could be a really good debate on LiC.’

I think it could be a really good inquisition.

Really, it’s pretty fucking retarded to demand that people justify their choice of subject matter for their blogs. Is their material appropriate or not according to the vision of LiC? What are the guidelines for appropriateness and are they clearly laid out? The motivations behind people’s posts are irrelevant.

‘The point is we don’t really know what their feelings towards these woman are, because they haven’t really spoken openly and freely about them.

I think it is out of the wardrobe time. I think LiC is the ideal forum to explore these issues.’

Are you suggesting that they are *hiding* something? ‘Out of the wardrobe’ is pretty loaded, as is ‘haven’t really spoken openly and freely’.

January 27, 2004 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

First, I could care less what LiC, or pretty much anyone else for that matter, do with their blogroll and/or aggregator. Indeed, perhaps the censorship of material deemed unacceptable by invisible apparatchiks will enhance the whole “living in China experience” — sort of like being in the actual PRC itself.

This whole Glutter inspired outbreak of PC hysteria is tedious. Furthermore, seeking controversy by picking fights with better read blogs in order to gain traffic is an old tactic and one which I will not fall for. Nice try.

Don’t kid yourselves, none of the participants in this absurd spectacle
get enough traffic or drive enough readers to make me care a flying fig whether you link to me or not. Ohhh, I’ve been delisted from an obsure, unread blog, I’m friggin’ crushed, I’m sure.

There are barely more than a handful of blogs whose listings I care about, whether because I appreciate the traffic or the content. Richard’s, BTW, is one of them, Phil’s is another.

Finally, the presumptuousness of certain commentors in this thread, seeking to dictate the content and/or layout of my site is staggering. Please feel at liberty to kiss. my. ass.

January 27, 2004 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

Well,

I agree that our girlie pics look odd on LIC and may be reaching the wrong audience [including underage].

I for one am willing to create a special category called “Not Suitable For Aggregators” [rather than just LIC].

And since I can assign a post to multiple categories at Typepad, that should be no problem.

Besides, if one notices, all our Girlie pics are under “Girlie” category. And those which have nude pics [like the Sex on Mars] in political cartoons are under the category “Humor” with a warning about nudity – popup and not a pic.

Continued in next comment

January 27, 2004 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

Apart from the above, there is not much I can say except that we should have been informed.

And to those who keep portraying our site as just Girlie sites, please bother to read our archives, where we have openly criticized almost all politicians [local], Bush, as well as many others.

While there are few local bloggers who openly criticize government or local policies, I have yet to see a site that mocks the administration like we do. And we do it daily under our Daily Circus.

And yes, we have a lot of China articles.

But the question is, why all of a sudden we are dropped when Glutter started the “over 40…’?

All the issues about Girlie, etc. did not exist prior to that? Or is it just a coincidence? We are really trying hard to believe that it is.

Continued in next comment [as it does not allow me to post long comments]

January 27, 2004 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

Finally,

Thanks to all those who supported us and those who left “racist” comments at our blog yesterday.

Yes the comment is deleted but proof exists.

Similar to Conrad above, I also don’t care whether we are aggregated or not.

I don’t think girlies are going to stop at my blog unless there is another compelling reason for me to do so.

If it is a lot of bother for LIC, feel free to remove me for good.

Yes, Conrad, I too mentioned yesterday that the policies look similar to those of communists.

I think many can see that.

Thanks Richard and Phil for your kind support.

Cheers!

January 27, 2004 @ 1:48 pm | Comment

Living In China

First of all, sorry for the lack of posts since yesterday as I was traveling in China. Well, talking about China, there is an aggregator that goes by the name of Living in China which basically is a good service

January 27, 2004 @ 2:14 pm | Comment

So, you were added to the aggregator without your knowledge, and didn’t complain. Then you were dropped without your knowledge, and it’s censorship. Now that you’re back in the list, you don’t care whether you’re linked or not. Which one is it? Do you want to be syndicated or not?

There should be some corrolary to Godwin’s Law regarding comparison to Communists. Communist policy is to crush dissent, which LiC obviously hasn’t done. A personal blog was removed from a list on a community blog site, a discussion was opened, we’re trying to resolve the problem, and you still continue to bitch and moan. Your arrogance and hyperbole is enough to make me want to support censorship.

January 27, 2004 @ 4:45 pm | Comment

I thought I’d offer my two cents:

Personal rivalries, hurt egos, etc. should be left out of decisions about content and quality on a blog, a blogroll or an aggregator.

Personally, while I don’t like having an editor, I do appreciate editors for this reason, that an editor can think for a larger purpose than an individual’s preferences.

Of course I think it’s lame for anyone to remove a link at a community site for personal vengenance, if that’s even what happened.

I think it’s lame for anyone to assume they have control over anyone’s rights to say whatever the hell they want.

On the other hand, one thing is true, there should be a more pointed discussion about what is relevant to LiC and what is relevant to personal blogs.

That’s not a decision I could offer on my own. I’d really like to talk about it with everyone else.

A role model of mine, Raymond Carver, used to believe that if anyone in a community has success, we should praise them, as it benefits anyone in the long run. We shouldn’t be so insecure about our own abilities to assume that our audiences won’t find us. They certainly will. Mine find me without problems.

January 27, 2004 @ 4:59 pm | Comment

To add to this, that’s why I will now put everyone’s links on my blog, because my personal feelings are smaller than the entire purpose, which is to improve writing and increase writing about personal and political, cultural and artistic life in Hong Kong, in China and on the planet.

January 27, 2004 @ 5:02 pm | Comment

This discussion as it stands is just as boring as the topic itself. I don’t know why I bothered offering a suggestion.

I’m keeping out of this.

January 27, 2004 @ 5:38 pm | Comment

Adam,

I have taken your suggestion as you can see at today’s Girlie post. Because, I found your suggestion to be very reasonable and also help young or offended readers at LIC in avoiding such posts. LIC can take it from there [I think] as in how to avoid our Girlie posts appearing on the feeds.

I have already added “Not suitable for aggregators”.

That is what See Lai can offer. And I am out of this discussion as well.

Cheers!

January 27, 2004 @ 5:49 pm | Comment

Let me make it perfectly clear to you Brad, I never complained about being dropped from the agggregator. Indeed, precisely the opposite, the only comment I have previously posted, above, expressly stated that it makes no difference to me either way.

Sorry to disillusion you but until I saw Richard’s post, I didn’t even know what the Aggregator was, much less whether I was a part of it.

What I do take exception to are the presumptuous bastards in this comment thread who (1) think that web access gives them the right to dictate the content or layout of my site and/or (2) expect me to engage in some friggin’ internet “struggle session” regarding my editorial policy. That is what I responded to in my prior comment.

January 27, 2004 @ 6:56 pm | Comment

The aggregator has been updated to filter out entries posted to the “Girlie” and “Boobies” categories. No one needs to change the content or layout of their sites.

In February, the members and administrators of Living in China will discuss our syndication and membership policies. Of course, anyone who wants to be a part of the discussion is welcome to join in.

January 27, 2004 @ 8:50 pm | Comment

It always pays to read the fine-print:
http://www.livinginchina.com/style.html

The three blogs in question did not register as members, and were added in the name of inclusion. Perhaps that is why they missed our guidelines.

“Articles on Living in China should be about China; meaning People’s Republic of China (often referred to as mainland China) includings its autonomous regions, Special Administrative Regions (SARs) and Taiwan.

“Other than that, anything goes, with these exceptions: excessive profanity; excessively violent, racist, sexist, homophobic or other bigoted opinions, and; anything that could potentially have the site blocked or brought into disrepute or for that matter any of its members arrested, deported or shot! The editorial team at the time of posting have the right to take down any such content. If you are unsure about a topic you would like to write about, please contact the relevant editor.”

As an editor, these sorts of posts in the aggregator are deemed to bring the site into disrepute:

“This little kitten is on fire
Flying Chair: Beat you death like Chicken | January 27, at 08:44 PM
Posting certain pictures is all the rage here in Hong Kong and is good for traffic so just for a bit of fun here is some hot pussy.
โ€ข continue reading”

There’s some very healthy debate happening here about a little site which is the pride and passion of a very small number of people who have invested freely of their time and money to create a project which is intended to be more ‘broadsheet’ than ‘tabloid’.

January 28, 2004 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

Michael, I really appreciate your clarifications. The only reason it became an issue was that I noticed (or was told, in Ron’s case) one day they were there, the next they were gone. In the future, you might want to send the candidate for expulsion an email just so threads like this can’t take off with lots of hypothesizing.

January 28, 2004 @ 1:40 pm | Comment

I tried to be a member or whatever using the cgi-script.

Problem is it threw up on me with a message that went something like:

“This site is hosted at blah blah blah in China or what have you and you are forbidden to access the server or something like that”.

Of course, I don’t remember the exact words of the message, but after entering all the required details at that script [no I could not see any terms or conditions there or maybe I overlooked] it didn’t go through.

Now surely that is not my problem.

Besides, for some odd reasons it was giving the Living in India rather than Living in China script or whatever.

Complicated!

BTW, all this transpired two or three weeks ago. Long before other issues.

Cheers!

January 28, 2004 @ 2:28 pm | Comment

You’re welcome Richard,

Although I’ve been taken aback by the malice here and elsewhere, the result has been healthy debate, and this is all good. I’m not a vindictive person and I would not have added FC, Seelai and Glutter in the first place if I did not think they had worthy things to say about China (from time to time).

There’s always a good explanation for things like this and equally an opportunity for good things to come of it. For the tiny admin team it really is a labour of love and I only wish there were more hours in the day to devote to improving our communication strategies and to make our editorial policy more clearly known.

However, this debate has failed to question why Glutter was also (temporarily) removed. The only coincidence is in the timing. Her blog was removed because of the nasty language she has employed to criticise and damage the reputation of our community of bloggers (both in her blog and in personal diatribe to my email address).

Finally Richard, you are a marketing man, so I know you appreciate the importance of positioning. Anything you could do to help us define our marketing strategy would surely be met with open arms by the admin team.

January 28, 2004 @ 7:50 pm | Comment

Not Flying Chair Phil, the other Phil who helps with LiC.

First and foremost, everyone chill. Please. No point going into cultural revolutions about this.

Just to reiterate, the guidelines have always been there at the ‘about’ and ‘style’ pages.

Secondly, yes, I appreciate the censorship question and it needs to be debated. But there are more important things to talk about regarding China other than boobies.

And ultimately, the final censors are not the administrators or even the CCP (who I’m sure would block us if we got too controversial). The final censors are the readers who will turn away if they perceive the site to be just another puerile girliefest.

The aggregator issue needs resolving (once M and I get back we can all think further), but at the end of the day if you want to post boobies, you can do so do your heart’s content on your own personal sites. LiC is supposed to be a group site, so at the risk of sounding PC, we do have to observe some sensitivities.

January 28, 2004 @ 8:35 pm | Comment

I decided to leave this discussion, but now that it is heading towards some positive goal, my suggestions are:

1) The latest development of filtering out “Girlie” and “Boobie” is quite convenient for everyone concerned.

As long as we keep posting in these categories, I don’t see how LiC’s readership would be offended as those posts are not going to appear there.

[continued in next comment]

January 28, 2004 @ 8:54 pm | Comment

[continued from previous comment]

2) About being a strictly China based site, well, here I do see some problems.

At moment, I am composing a post about Japan and for some words there I am forced to put it in “Girlie” category even though it is not.

Nonetheless, if even such posts are going to be say non-China [because we are talking about Japan Tourism] then it creates a lot of complication for bloggers.

Unlike US bloggers, Asian bloggers touch many countries in the region as we are somehow inter-related. For example discussion about say avian flu, etc.

So while “Girlie” problem is easy to solve, the totally China related part seems to be challenging.

I reiterate that as for being a member, if we are provided with proper scripts or procedures or even a simple email questionnaire, I don’t see why we won’t be able to reach some agreements.

Cheers!

January 28, 2004 @ 8:55 pm | Comment

“Unlike US bloggers, Asian bloggers touch many countries in the region as we are somehow inter-related. For example discussion about say avian flu, etc.” SO SAYS: RON

Hey, I’m so concerned about the spread of Asian flu I’m gazing upon a Conrad “boobie” pic whilst I choke my chicken!

January 29, 2004 @ 2:50 am | Comment

Must we be so specific eddie?

That was just a point in example.

If I had to be overly concerned about what posts on my blog were or were not China related, then I might end up with 500 categories which would look stupid and ridiculous.

I think you missed my point that China or non-China related posts are hard to control.

And I doubt any blogger would want to go through such trouble just cuz LiC thinks that is how their aggregators must work.

If such is the case, I would rather not be aggregated. And no Brad, this is not whether I want to be syndicated or not syndicated or I have made up my mind or not made up my mind.

This entire discussion is becoming ridiculous.

January 29, 2004 @ 4:45 am | Comment

One more thing eddie…

I should have said bloggers in the United States rather than “US bloggers”.

I am from US as well.

January 29, 2004 @ 4:54 am | Comment

woah – oh dear. How can a picture of a cat jumping through a hoop on fire bring a web site into disrepute? That post was an answer to the silly things that have been flying around lately, nothing more. Sorry if I upset anyone

January 29, 2004 @ 11:56 am | Comment

I am ending this thread, if you don’t mind. There’s a new piece up on Living in China on what should and shouldn’t be posted on our regional metablog. Better to post comments over there.

January 29, 2004 @ 12:01 pm | Comment

My last comment, to Michael, who asked for my thoughts on branding/marketing LIC: I’m too busy this week to think about it, but will try to give you my thoughts over the weekend. Thanks.

January 29, 2004 @ 12:03 pm | Comment

Black Santana Man steps in to HK blog war!

I do like it when others sense that a blog war is calming down and dig through old embers to keep it going. Still no signs of embedded CNN journalists sadly, but ukjoe offers her assessment of it all, and

January 29, 2004 @ 12:35 pm | Comment

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