YDO takes YouTube to task for their underdeveloped sense of humor, puritanical standards of decency, and the unnecessarily-harsh tactics that they employ against offending users


Editor’s Note:

As the title of this article suggests, YDO takes this opportunity–and uses YouTube’s free service–to criticize the video giant’s seemingly unfair policies regarding what is and isn’t acceptable to publish. And while an entity such as YouTube, which is intended for all audiences, must adhere to certain standards of decency, we’re left wondering whether a reasonable alternative to censorship might be to offer its viewers and users an “adult” section. Barring that, we at least think that a more lenient approach to dealing with offending content is in order.

For those of you who are unaware, YDO recently had his channel suspended for uploading a video of himself on the toilet. While the video didn’t contain any nudity, our West Coast correspondent’s bowel movement was the video’s central theme–and at one point, YDO even went so far as to hold up a piece of soiled toilet paper for the camera’s benefit. Many would argue that such a display lacks any redeeming social value–and I tend to agree, which is why I opted not to publish it here–but to delete his entire channel without warning–without offering him a chance to correct the problem–seems like an awfully heavy-handed solution. In my opinion, a more reasonable approach would have been to delete the video itself and issue a warning. To obliterate an established channel such as YDO’s punishes not only him, but negatively impacts his viewers–and when all is said and done, this “solution”accomplishes nothing (YDO had a new channel set up even before the dust cleared). Yes, the inconvenience that such an action causes to everyone involved is extraordinary. As I write this, our editors are still working to restore the dozens of broken links to YDO’s videos that now litter this site … and so while I freely admit that it’s not just my disdain for censorship that has me taking up YDO’s cause–shameless self-interest is a definite factor here–I want to be clear that I can sympathize because I’ve had to deal with similar issues as the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory.

Most people know that Google owns YouTube, along with a lot of other popular sites and services; but what many folks don’t realize is that their definition of what is and isn’t acceptable mirrors that of a humorless, fundamentalist religious zealot. If I didn’t know any better, I would suspect that the person who was the basis for John Lithgow’s character in Footloose had gone on to a grim yet successful career composing the convoluted text that makes up Google’s Terms of Use.

Advertising is a very important aspect of maintaining an online magazine; as the largest advertiser there is, Google has objected strenuously on numerous occasions to certain content appearing in this publication. Anything having to do with sex, for instance, is unacceptable–even clinical text and diagrams. The very fact that we employ a love and sex advice columnist puts us at odds with Google. And while I maintain my own standards when it comes to what I will publish and what I will not, I find it irksome that I must consider someone else’s opinions when making that decision … but the decision is still mine, even if it means not running ads on pages that are deemed “offensive.” And while I understand this, what’s more troubling is knowing that Google has the power to blacklist any site at any time, for a variety of reasons. Of course, I still have the final say as to what is published here, but running a blacklisted site would be rather pointless. Building and maintaining an audience is hard enough without those kinds of hassles.

As a user of YouTube, YDO is at Google’s mercy–and pulling ads or risking exclusion by search engines in order to produce a video of himself on the john aren’t even options that he has. So while this is not a First Amendment issue, and we must recognize that playing with Google means playing by their rules, we can still question their standards and methods of enforcement.

Please go to http://www.youtube.com/user/ke6ydoCh2 and make a donation or click on the button below.

 

Robert Martin, KE6YDO

Robert Martin, KE6YDO

Robert Martin, born sometime in 1961, began working at the age of 15 as a truck driver when his dad got too drunk to drive. He was in a motorcycle accident at 17, resulting in a coma. After recovering, Martin worked as a security guard and also worked in an appliance warehouse/distributor/repair business for awhile. Martin is currently living in homeless obscurity on the streets of Los Angeles with his brother, Richard, who is an amateur radio operator (KE6RJI) and Robert’s camera man. Robert exists on a meager social security income, hoping to find somewhere to live again.

Robert is a 50-year-old amateur radio operator (KE6YDO), who has fun making crazy YouTube videos—mostly because of homeless boredom and a desire to be “discovered” by … who knows? Robert is considering writing a book about his experiences on Earth and beyond. Stay Tuned!

Robert Martin is Secret Laboratory’s West Coast Correspondent; email him at ydo@secretlaboratory.org and visit him at http://www.youtube.com/user/ke6ydoCh2.



Robert Martin, KE6YDO

Robert Martin, born sometime in 1961, began working at the age of 15 as a truck driver when his dad got too drunk to drive. He was in a motorcycle accident at 17, resulting in a coma. After recovering, Martin worked as a security guard and also worked in an appliance warehouse/distributor/repair business for awhile. Martin is currently living in homeless obscurity on the streets of Los Angeles with his brother, Richard, who is an amateur radio operator (KE6RJI) and Robert’s camera man. Robert exists on a meager social security income, hoping to find somewhere to live again. Robert is a 50-year-old amateur radio operator (KE6YDO), who has fun making crazy YouTube videos—mostly because of homeless boredom and a desire to be “discovered” by ... who knows? Robert is considering writing a book about his experiences on Earth and beyond. Stay Tuned! Robert Martin is Secret Laboratory’s West Coast Correspondent; email him at ydo@secretlaboratory.org. 

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