The Australian Human Rights Commission has threatened legal action against a widely read but controversial US-based website over an article that encourages racial hatred against Aborigines.

But online users’ lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia said that trying to stamp out the deplorable content would only create the “Streisand” effect, whereby an attempt to censor online content only brings more attention to it.

In a letter to Joseph Evers, the owner of Encyclopedia Dramatica (ED) – a more shocking version of Wikipedia that contains racist and other offensive articles dubbed as “satire” – the commission said it had received 20 complaints from Aborigines over the “Aboriginal” page on the site.

The same page was in the news in January when, in a rare move, Google Australia agreed to remove links to the article from its search engine following legal action from Aboriginal man Steve Hodder-Watt.

On the Australian Communication and Media Authority’s blacklist of “refused classification” websites, which was leaked in March last year, was included. This means the entire site will most likely be blocked under the government’s forthcoming internet filtering plan.

This website entry for aborigines really is unfunny degrading racist shite, but censorship is not the answer. I note that the gutless article didn’t link to the offending page. The equally gutless federal government is sure to use this as more fodder for their web filtering campaign.

UPDATE : I had a conversation with a sysop from ED after they banned me for a comment critical of that page. Here’s a couple of direct quotes.

“I agree that the Aboriginal article is crap, and it needs improvement. There are big changes coming for it soon, I promise, but at the moment, it’s creating a lot of drama in Australia so it has to stay as it is. However the general theme of taking the piss out of Aboriginals must stay.”

“With over 8000 articles, and only forty sysops, its hard to keep quality control on all pieces.

We’ve made our bed, and now we have to sleep in it, however the last thing we want to do is bow to pressure from interest groups or governments and modify the article.

As I’ve said, watch this space and you’ll see a, what I hope to be, funnier iteration of the [[Aboriginal]] article.”

  1. Anon says:

    ED is basically a catalog of shock sites/memes and other internet mischief. You don’t just stumble across it. Fuck censorship.

    People looking for things be offended by is another part of the problem. It should be a requirement to have a thick skin to be able to use the internet. I grew up playing CS in the late 90’s in a sea of hackers, trolls, team flashers, and team killers. You learn to just ignore people that are obnoxious, or the easy option, LEAVE THE SERVER/WEBSITE.

  2. Joe says:

    ed is pretty much protected by 4chan (which declared cyber war on Australia for like 5 minutes) so I wouldn’t fuck with them on any level.

  3. sargasso says:

    It is hard to be so completely, profoundly offensive, that you make the inevitable censorship of your poison universally popular.

  4. Gasbag says:

    Fucking wankers in Canberra with so called censorship! I had not heard of this site and what right does the Australian Human Rights Commission have over a US web site? I not going to sit down and shut up anymore

  5. Hatman says:

    It is not as if the articles on other races are more flattering. They might have a case if Aborigines were being singled out.

  6. RBG says:

    Keep in mind that if we don’t support the potential for thousands-upon-thousands of completely racist, sexist, and other dehumanizing web sites, then this will automatically lead to jack-booted storm-troopers marching through our streets. Or something like that.


  7. honeyman says:

    #5 Hatman

    So being an arse to one person makes you an arse, but if you’re an arse to everyone you’re not an arse?

  8. Big Bad Cop says:

    Rascism?? C’mon..

  9. Hatman says:

    #7 honeyman,

    It doesn’t mean you are nice, just not discriminatory.

  10. Grim says:

    If you don’t like it, don’t look at it. If idiots are ignored, they tend to disappear.

    But now of course, everybody is looking.

  11. brian t says:

    It’s a Wiki-based site, so the content comes from its users, not from “the management”. Same as other offensive Wikis like Conservapedia or Sickipedia.

    Looks like the Streisand effect has already kicked in. Good on ’em. It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so go and read what they say about Ireland.

  12. bobbo, we are all marked by the beast says:

    “I had a conversation with a sysop from ED after they banned me for a comment critical of that page.” /// I’ll bet they didn’t even blush?

    [They cared enough to ban me – h]

  13. Hmeyers says:

    Censorship is a little bit silly. There are plenty of inappropriate web sites and pages out there.

    The answer isn’t censorship, the answer is easily offended people chilling out and relaxing.

    Thoughts and expressions, even mean and bad and arguably inappropriate ones aren’t the problem, but rather the concept that preventing someone from expressing the ideas somehow solves a problem.

  14. Anon says:

    #3 If you make censoring acceptable behavior, even for the most vile websites, then it just starts the snowball tumbling down the hill. However if censoring is completely unacceptable in the first place, there is no issue, no debate on what is acceptable to be viewed or not. When it becomes a battle of where to draw the line that’s when HUGE issues crop up, because who decides? And what keeps the “deciders” in check so they don’t fuck up the web for everyone. We need a internet bill of rights badly.

  15. GregAllen says:

    Living overseas and especially in Muslim countries, made me realise how thoroughly American I was regarding freedom of speech.

    Lots of cultures think there must be a minimum threshold standard for protected speech.

    Until relatively recently America had this standard, too, — pornography, for example, had to have at least a small amount of literary or artistic value to be allowed.

    PS: By the way, I didn’t know young aboriginals where called “lake angels”. Is that offensive in a way I don’t understand? On the surface, it’s kind of poetic and beautiful.

  16. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    They ban you (honeyman) for a comment critical of a page, but are p*ssed off because Australia is thinking of blacklisting them.

    Methinks they may be hypocritical.

  17. MikeN says:

    The problem is when you have a human rights commission. What else do you expect them to do?

  18. Anon says:

    The issue isn’t about ED, and if you are making it about ED and their content, you’ve missed the point entirely and what is left of a free and open web is doomed.

  19. woody says:

    Just an average Australian paying tribute to Abos. Har!

  20. MikeN says:

    The Canadian Human Rights Commission is equally dismissive of free speech rights. They went after Mark Steyn and Macleans for some things that upset some Muslim groups.

  21. Rick Cain says:

    Encyclopedia Dramatica is offensive??!?!? Who knew!!!

  22. Rich says:

    I think this Australian Aborigine bashing thing is just a ruse to get me and others here at DU to take a closer look at Encyclopedia Dramatica.

  23. Aaron_W says:

    If you don’t like racist websites just don’t go to them. What is the problem?

  24. honeyman says:

    #23 Aaron_W

    So if someone on the other side of town posts a facebook page, for instance, about how much of a cunt you are and making the most obscene, insulting and immature jokes about your character, you should just put it down to free speech?

    While I support ED’s right to publish whatever they like, I also support the Aborigines right to tell them to shut the fuck up.


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