This one was supposed to arrive a few days earlier, but due to my Internet connection being gay, you get it now.

So, self-censorship. First off, what is it?

By "self-censorship", I’m referring to the process of holding back. For example, withholding certain statements for fear of offending someone, or not speaking your mind because you don’t want to be rude, or not sharing your true thoughts on an essay because you think that the teacher will disagree and give you a bad mark. Stuff like that.

This is a problem for me in particular because I want this place to be somewhere that I can share my thoughts with as few limits as possible. With a readership of about three people, it shouldn’t be an issue. In theory, all I have to do is avoid saying anything nasty about any of those three people, and I can say whatever I want. Besides, those three people are friends, and I wouldn’t slander them anyhow.

The problem is that my readership is actually larger than three. The thing is, I don’t know how much bigger. More importantly, I don’t know who those peripheral readers are. And let me make it clear: Having a large readership is not a good thing for me. It would have been lovely during the days of s3c0ndh4nd and Kakunaman, when entertainment was the chief goal, but not anymore. I need a few people to give me their love and support, but any more than that and it becomes constrictive. This obscure corner of the Internet has become a little bit less obscure lately, and I don’t like it.

90% of the time, the process of blog-writing goes like this:

I post a blog.
A few comments appear from the usual suspects within a few days.
Repeat.

But sometimes, someone who usually doesn’t usually comment will leave a comment. It’s weird, because other people only tend to comment on blogs in which I’ve mentioned them. I mean, I write a blog about Kevin and the film club, and who comments? Kevin. I write a blog about winning that award with Michael Bazzocchi, and who comments? Michael Bazzocchi. I write a blog about the Wrigley Field Incident, and who comments? Camilo, who I hadn’t even spoken to in over two years. There were another few occurrences as well that I can’t be bothered to remember at 2:00 AM.

There are three possibilities:

A) It’s a coincidence. Everyone just happens to stumble upon blogs where I’ve mentioned them by name.
B) There’s some sort of mechanism that alerts people on my MSN contacts list when a blog is published which contains their name.
C) There are other people who read this thing at least occasionally.

It’s happened a few too many times for me to consider A), and I have no clue about B).

Option C seems to be the most likely scenario. Do you agree, or am I flattering myself here?

The problem with C being the correct answer is that it means that I have to censor myself. I can’t say "Man, I really hate person X" because of the fear that person X might be reading.

This problem would go away if people would let me know that they’re reading, but I can’t fault them for not doing so. If you tell me that you’re here, I might have to hold back a bit in order to avoid pissing you off in some way.

Now, I would assume that the reason that anyone reads this is to hear my thoughts on a particular issue. If I’m holding back anything, you’re not getting the whole story from me. As such, it’s in the reader’s best interest to make themselves anonymous in order to receive the best content from me. I know how the system works, and I understand it, but I don’t like it.

There’s no real solution to this problem. If I keep writing blogs, I keep running the risk of people discovering this place. If I stop writing blogs, well, I lose.

Ironically, the best solution might be to blow this place up and start anew. And whaddya know? Microsoft is making me do that in six weeks anyhow! I’m not happy about having to move, but one of the few advantages is that I’ll go to a new obscure corner of the Internet, and people will have to find me all over again.

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