Posted on Sunday, June 7th 2009, 3:23 pm by Asian Chris

1 of our many rights is the right to Free Speech. We all know it. We all use it. But sometimes you have to wonder when to draw the line. 

Over at Switched, they managed to compile a list of some the most controversial sites that they can find. Here is the rundown on what they came up with and they had to say about it.

 

  • Rotten.com
    • The Controversy: The original NSFW site, Rotten is home to goiter pictures, necrophiliacs, and poop jokes. Though it doesn’t have a political slant, it’s the Internet home to all that turns the stomach.
    • The Verdict?: Bad for morale and the appetite, but not illegal.
  • HouseOfThin.com
    • The Controversy: The credo of “Pro-Anas” is “treating the person, not the symptom.” So, if the symptom has to stick around longer than it should, well, too bad. This Web site is the most popular anorexic “support” group, with no one openly judging lifestyle choices.
    • The Verdict?: Once again, we have to say it’s just bad taste, not over the line. We’d prefer no one be anorexic, but we can’t condemn “Anas” for getting together and talking about their experiences. Just count us out of the convo.
  • Scientology.org
    • The Controversy: The organization has dueled with Wikipedia, ‘South Park,’ and anyone who uses the word “Scientology” without sanction from the organization. Scientologists have been particularly aggressive with shutting people down. We aren’t going to say whether it’s a cult or a religion, but when your origin story is too embarrassing to release, you may want to reconsider what you believe in.
    • The Verdict?: Long live free speech. The courts have done a good job ruling on Scientology’s attempt to bar information from spreading. And once one critic is shut down, ten others appear, despite the threat of Tom Cruise showing up at their front doors with an E-Meter.
  • RateMyTeachers.com
    • The Controversy: Designed by educators and originally meant for teachers, RateMyTeachers became a site for students to lob harsh criticism towards their instructors. Reputations were ruined, careers smashed, and chalkboards tarnished, even though the site has volunteers deleting profanities and insults.
    • The Verdict?: Keep it. Calling someone a poor teacher isn’t libel, especially when comments are monitored. Besides, as with any Web site based on a ratings system, you are bound to have haters. Lousy profs, instead of worrying about your careers, perhaps you ought to try listening to students for a change.
  • armyofdude.blogspot.com
    • The Controversy: Amazingly written and heart-wrenchingly real, Alex Horton’s blog about life in Iraq is seriously declassified. Showing the gritty realities and dysfunction of the situation in Iraq, Horton laments being deployed, mourns his friends, and is consistently called an anti-military coward who badmouths the war.
    • The Verdict?: Controversial in the best way possible. Here is a man writing from the front lines. He might not say what we want to hear, but that’s specifically why it’s so important for him to say it.
  • File sharing sites like MyPirateBay.org, YouTube.com, SurfTheChannel.com
    • The Controversy: Though we love these sites, they tend to violate intellectual property laws. In a perfect world, to do creative work means leading a financially viable life, we have all the music and movies we want, and the artists we love are getting paid for what they do. But this world isn’t perfect, so we steal what we can.
    • The Verdict?: Keep them up. These sites have forced corporations like Hulu, iTunes and Netflix to come up with better ways of making money. The pros and cons of file-sharing have been analyzed in greater depth than here, but the bottom line is file-sharing gives you viruses. There are so many better alternatives, so we feel like these will evolve on their own.
  • Perverted-Justice.com
    • The Controversy: Well, it is a vigilante service, which outs chat-room surfers on the Net and teams up with ‘Dateline’ for those ‘To Catch A Predator’ shows. Depending on volunteers with no real law enforcement experience, P-J.com has been accused of ensnaring its targets.
    • The Verdict?: The site appears to be a bit of a problem. The PeeJ-ers (as they call themselves) seem to do some good, but also conduct sting operations based on little evidence and with little credibility. We suggest someone sues for libel, only because Perverted-Justice seems to walk a dangerous line, and we all know that nothing good ever comes out of TV vigilante-ism.
  • Craigslist.org
    • The Controversy: We don’t know about other cities, but in New York, the supposedly non-erotic-services M4W ads are a step below prostitution (using code words like “generous” for johns and “roses” for dollars to get around the Craigslist monitors). The simple, message board-like construction of the site means that you have the freedom to post, well, anything, selling whatever you have to sell. From yourself, to a sea serpent, to a cat bus.
    • The Verdict?: Controversial, but not illegal. But it is a great example of what humanity is capable of unchecked. While we can condemn the site for creating dangerous scenarios, it’s the people that choose to answer a level 8 ogre-mage. Craigslist is terrifying, but so are singles ads, dating sites, the subway….
  • eHarmony.com
    • The Controversy: Last month, the Christian-leaning-but-all-religions-as-long-as-you-aren’t-gay site launched a strictly gay site called “Compatible Partners,” separate from its flagship site. This was after a three-year long lawsuit by New Jersey resident Eric McKinley, who claimed that he was being discriminated against due to his sexuality.
    • The verdict? Yes, it’s annoying that eHarmony excluded an entire sexual orientation and then capitulated to the gay lobby because they had to. But we have to go with what the pro-gay blog Queerty.com says: “Connexion.org bills itself as ‘Gay and Lesbian Social Networking, Dating, Chat and News.’ Where is the class action lawsuit from heterosexuals demanding it set up, right on the homepage, another section for heterosexual social networking, dating, and news?” To that, we agree. A Web site is a service, not a right.

 

Via Switched

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One Response to “Some of the Web’s Most Controversial Sites”

  1. Twitter ResourcesNo Gravatar Says:

    Thank you, great read!


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