It’s no surprise for regular readers that Mobility Digest posting frequency has been somewhat lax for the past few months. While we have two dozen or so contributors, most of us are busy doing our thing in one way or another. So it also wasn’t that surprising for me to NOT see any MD articles posted in Weave, probably the best news reader for Windows Phone and Windows 8, during my daily reads every morning and most evenings. Then, I got some energy and posted four articles within a couple days. That’s when I noticed that none of the articles appeared in Weave’s Windows Phone timeline, although all were tagged as windowsphone. I tried adding the full Mobility Digest feed to my Technology category and nothing. No articles.
At this point I became both puzzled and confused. Checking with staffnotify members, I discovered that Windows Phone News, another Seles Games offering, displayed MD articles flagged for Windows Phone just fine. I also tried adding the Mobility Digest feed to X Reader, a Win 8 app, as well as Nextgen Reader, a Universal app for WP and Win 8. Again, everything worked as expected. No issues, except with the aforementioned Weave.
I remembered seeing the below tweet from Seles games a month or so back,
so I decided to contact them for an explanation.
I sent an email to Seles Games last Friday asking for some help. If there was some misunderstanding, I wanted to try and resolve any issues privately, without broadcasting across the Internet. This is the content:
Mobility Digest Blocked?
While you may have your own opinion regarding some of the content Mobility Digest has published, I have to ask, are you blocking the site from appearing in Weave? I fully understand your removing Mobility Digest as a preferred feed (which it does not appear you have done), but to prevent someone who adds a custom feed from seeing content reeks of censorship. Something I have a serious problem with. I noticed today (not sure how long it has been going on) that MD content was not appearing in my Windows Phone feed. I tried adding MD to my Tech folder and got nothing. Added the feed to several other News Reader apps, and it appears to be working fine. As a long time Weave, Seles Game, Lazy Worm supporter, I think I am entitled to a reply.
Jim Szymanski Sent from my Lumia 1020, a Windows Phone
I have not heard back. Yesterday I tried posting another article on Mobility Digest and then checked all my connected news readers to see what would happen. Again, the article posted fine, within 30 minutes, on all of the readers, except Weave. I posted the following on Twitter yesterday, as Seles Games is usually quick to reply with app issues.
But again. Nothing. I even tried uninstalling/reinstalling the app today as a last ditch effort. Again, no change. Seles Games silence is deafening at this point. One more tidbit. When I tried adding the general Mobility Digest news feed, along with the specific Windows Phone feed, to the Technology section of Weave, the MD icon did not appear. Sort of indicating that the feed is not accessible, even though I didn’t encounter any errors when I set the feeds up. Note that the Mobility Digest feed for Windows Phone has been there for the past three years. And yes, I did try adding a few new feeds and their icons appeared immediately.
Now, I would love for this to be one big misunderstanding. And will hastily post a retraction and apology if that’s the case. But I suspect at this point it’s not the case, which really saddens me today. Actually, I had a difficult time at work thinking about this all day, continually checking mail and Twitter for a reply, an explanation. Censorship is a very slippery slope. One which I don’t subscribe to. If Seles Games / Lazy Worm (my understanding is Lazy Worm developed the Win 8 app, so not sure how involved they are) did not want to include Mobility Digest as a preferred feed when someone searched the app for news sources, they are of course entitled to do so. But purposefully blocking a feed that a user manually enters, especially without explanation, is nothing short of censoring.
I will be the first to admit that some of the stuff posted on Mobility Digest is on the fringe. But it’s our choice to not simply repost the same news, over and over again. We are always looking to put an alternative twist on things. That’s how we differentiate our site from others. Is that wrong? Do we deserve to be censored for that? What’s next. Censoring sites that are too conservative, or too liberal. Or sites that mention religion. Or news sites that post opinions or commentary relating to the recent police shootings, or police deaths. Islamist Jihad, Ukraine, North Korea, Christmas, and so on and so on. I live in, and love, the United States of America because EVERYONE has an inalienable right to speak what they believe. At the same time no one is obliged to listen. That’s what makes our Republic the greatest on earth. So ignore us, chastise us. But don’t silence us. Because the next to be silenced may just be you.
I assume this form of censorship does not violate any of Microsoft’s Developer ToS, but I will lodge a complaint anyway. I have to. It’s the right thing to do. Moving away from Weave is going to be difficult for me as I have grown so accustomed to using it each morning, but it’s another thing I have to do. A person without principles has nothing. In the meantime, everyone reading this (and not sure how many that is as Weave is the most popular news reader for the Windows platform) needs to think, “do I want to support a developer who is going to decide what I can and cannot read”. Think about it.