Today I was the victim of censorship and I can’t tell you how angry that made me. Maybe I am over reacting, maybe censorship is too strong a word, I don’t know, but it is how I feel. I hemmed and hawed about posting this at all but through some strong FB support, I decided to take the plunge and share.

I joined a G+ community that will remain nameless that centered on Googley Stuff. I joined the community and was approved. I posted a question asking about Pear Deck.

For those who don’t know, Pear Deck is an awesome presentation tool that works hand in hand with G Suite (new name for GAFE) , Chromebooks and is web based. You create within G Suite and all of your work is saved in G Suite. Here is my post:  

Working with a district on Pear Deck, I have limited experience. Does anyone have any decks they would be willing to share for the basics, training and or amazing samples ?

My post went into moderation because I am a new member of this group,  a practice which is perfectly within the bounds of the community manager and not something that I think is problematic. As a matter of fact I think it is smart, it is a good way to weed out the spammers.

We have had a few conversations, back and forth, the first response was “This community is about G Suite.”  I responded that I understood that and that Pear Deck is a tool utilized solely through G Suite and I apologized for going against the policy. This was the response:

It’s not about ‘policy’ — it’s about a post that isn’t clear. I would bet most readers have no idea what Pear Deck is, or that it works with G Suite. Further, the post doesn’t share or even ask anything with regards to G Suite — it’s wording seeks collaboration with other Pear Deck users — clearly nothing to do with Googley  Education Stuff

I was angered and confused and saddened by this response. Isn’t Google in Education all about collaboration? Don’t we, as a community, pride ourselves on sharing and helping each other out?  My post is clearly not spreading spam or anything inappropriate. Shouldn’t members of the community have the right to learn by asking if they don’t know or just ignoring the post if they have nothing to contribute? I learn the most in communities when people post questions or ask how to do something that I clueless about. I then start searching for the answers and following the post to learn more. I am angered that this particular community has a leader that won’t allow them the opportunity to learn simply because I don’t fit into the boxes they created. They could have asked me to explain what Pear Deck is instead of censoring my question. 

I truly hope that this community manager takes my response into consideration and allows my post to be public,
I have a lot to share and even more to learn but apparently I won’t be doing it in this particular community, which makes me sad. There was a whole new set of people to meet and collaborate with but now that won’t happen. 

This experience makes me wonder, how often do we do this to students without meaning to? When students turn in their written work and it doesn’t quite follow the assignment and we ask them to edit and try again, aren’t we in fact censoring students from sharing their thoughts? I don’t know how I feel about that after my experience. 

5 Comments

  1. Mrs_B says:

    As I was reading, I kept thinking "Right on, Anne! You were wronged! People need to get with the learning, sharing, community-building program."
    Then I read your last paragraph. Now I have thinking to do. Thanks for starting this conversation in my head!

  2. My son gets shot down quickly because he doesn't communicate well. I have been working with his teachers and my parents on how to respond to some of his suggestions or thoughts. In this case, the moderator should have suggested a way to rephrase your question instead of shooting you down. Personally, I wonder if the moderator was just a bit intimidated by your post about a tool they themselves were not aware of.

  3. A whole lot to think about, thanks Anne!

  4. I love that you posted this Anne. I think you were right on to share this. Of course you were hurt. This is not even close to the type of community I have ever experienced. I also think you're right to wonder what lessons we could learn from this experience. Lastly shame on that person and the learning opportunity they missed.

  5. OK, I'm going to play devil's advocate for just a second (bear with me). Perhaps, the moderator knows the members of this community. Maybe they moderator were concerned the membership would be confused or overwhelmed. Heck, you could be a Pear Deck rep trying to infiltrate the community! Shame on you Anne! 😉 Whatever, there are lot's of other groups out there – let this moderator have his or her kingdom. Some people have their own agendas (we can have that conversation another day).

    The important part of your post is the last paragraph. That's what's going to get people thinking. And that's what matters. Glad you had the courage to share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *