Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 1.6:
I notice that some of these newsgroups are moderated. Isn't moderation censorship?


It depends on your definition of censorship. The Merriam-Webster dictionary (at defines censorship as follows:

Main Entry: cen·sor·ship
Pronunciation: 'sen(t)-s&r-"ship
Function: noun
Date: circa 1591
1 a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring b : the actions or practices of censors; especially : censorial control exercised repressively
2 : the office, power, or term of a Roman censor
3 : exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor

"Censor" is defined as:

Main Entry: 2censor
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): cen·sored; cen·sor·ing /'sen(t)-s&-ri[ng], 'sen(t)s-ri[ng]/
Date: 1882
: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable

Hence, under this broad definition, moderation can be viewed as a form of censorship: objectionable material is not permitted in the particular venue. However, there are some arguments against calling moderation censorship:

Do people prefer a moderated newsgroup? Some do and some don't. It is only recently that moderated spinoffs from soc.culture.jewish have developed. This is due to the increased traffic on Usenet, and the changing nature of the Usenet audience from the early academic focus.

Many on S.C.J feel that part of its appeal and taam (flavor/tang/spice) comes from the freewheeling unmoderated approach which brings together posters from all parts of the spectrum. However, many have tired from the intrusion into the group by others with specific agendas to push that are decidedly non- or anti-Jewish.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <>