Censorship, Unpublishing, and New Media

The actual reasons may never be discovered, but Boing Boing, the perennially top ten ranked blog, has “unpublished (NSFW)” stories by, about, or mentioning author and sex columnist Violet Blue (NSFW).

Much has already been said about the Orwellianism of “unpublishing” and how it conflicts with the ethics of the web, as well as the incongruence between these actions and Boing Boing’s position on web censorship, media manipulation, and revisionism. And on July 1 Boing Boing itself joined the discussion. Thad didn’t go so well.

One theory suggests that Blue’s April 2007 column slamming Amanda Congdon may have touched this off. Another theory suggests that Boing Boing was pressured by (or simply wanted to please) closely embedded Federated Media. And if you think you know how this will play out, then play the news game (above), where they suggest this all started with a lovers’ spat.

My interest in this, however, is in how new media like Boing Boing are struggling with growth from small personal sites to multi-million dollar businesses ($one million in 2006). The question now is if the site will survive the transition without alienating the community that makes such sites successful in the first place.