The "Tell" that gives the Bluff away:
Have you ever played poker? I’m definitely not a professional poker player and I'll never earn millions on the Vegas circuit, but I learned enough about the game at science fiction conventions to describe the basics of bluffs and the tells that give them away for metaphoric purposes. The reason I bring it up is because there is a psychological epiphany that happens when you play poker long enough, and it doesn't take long. It's the moment when you know that you're being bluffed, when you know the other guy is, without a word about his hand spoken to you, lying to you with his actions, his bets. There is a "tell" that gives it away.
That's the kind of epiphany you can experience when you start posting at certain websites and then find out your posts are no longer showing up. When a certain kind of purely polite and informative post is deleted it's a "tell" about the other guy's state of mind. The guys who are trying to bluff you, who are, in a metaphoric sense, trying to make you think they've got more in their hand then they've actually got, are websites like Uncommon Descent (at least a few years ago), Ray Comfort's blog, and Free Republic. It's the moment you know when the guys on the other end aren't as fooled by their own arguments as they pretend to be and are, in fact, consciously lying to their other readers by silencing you.
Perhaps my readers can name other sites that behave the same way? If you can, please leave a comment here with a link to the site. Also, if you've had posts deleted from any of the same sites I've listed, let me know that too. I'm not sure about every website that has banned me or deleted my posts, just some of them. For example, there's Tom Gilson's blog called "Thinking Christian" where I once posted and then got banned from. Jim Lippard over at "The Lippard blog" wrote about it in a post called "Thinking Christian blog blocks my comment."
As Jim Lippard notes, clicking on my link first gets you a content warning from Blogger, so one might think there is sexual material here (actually there is in one post). And what might Christians make of the title "Blog from Hell" and the atheist skull animation? That might be worse than pornography to them. But Jim's comment was purely informative and his was deleted too, so that's another example of the silencing treatment we get. However, it should be noted in Tom Gilson's defense, the deleted posts were restored. The other sites mentioned above have never done this.
If it were just me, then I wouldn't feel as sure about these websites. In the case of Ray Comfort's blog I can point to this post, "Why wouldn't Ray publish this?" over at "Reflections of the Damned." In this case the blogger calling herself "CodewordConduit" had a post directed at one of Ray's other readers deleted. Perhaps the comment was deemed too insulting? I don't know. Ray lets others insult himself, but perhaps not others?
In the case of me on Ray Comfort's blog, I don't think I can post anything there any more. Even short little compliments get deleted. But I did break one rule, my name linked to my website.
It was a few years ago, and my memory is fuzzy, but when I got booted off of Uncommon Descent it was a post about genetic algorithms being used in artificial intelligence that never showed up. I may have included too many links. They had let me say that "evolution might, in a way, represent a kind of intelligence that is similar to certain human mental capabilities." They tried to twist that into me saying something I didn't intend to say. When I tried to explain the comment my post explaining it never showed up.
In the case of Free Republic you can get banned pretty easily by making any kind of pro-liberal or pro-democratic comment. You have to go out of your way in acting like a right-wing shill just to get posted. In their case I'm not entirely sure what this "tell" is telling me. They seem to insist on maintaining a community of right-wing nut jobs where no counter arguments can ever be heard.
What does occur to me is that these "tells," these posts and comments that get deleted without a word or never show up, could tell us a lot more if we shared information about which comments never show up and which comments do. At what point do you get banned and no other comment you make ever shows up?
So, please share your story here. These websites, of course, have the right to control their own space, but we also have the right to use that control to our advantage by using their post deletions and banning to learn what they are afraid of.