As soon as I posted Has the freedom of speech been compromised in the US? I got many downvotes. Given that I'm not an American and I'm not familiar with the political atmosphere in the US (that's why I ask questions about it), maybe there was something inappropriate in my question that I can't distinguish. Please let me know what was wrong with that question.

Besides, is using the word Bullshit (it was used in one of the answers) in answering acceptable?

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    The use of Bullshit was part of a quote so that is fine.
    – Warcupine
    Mar 2, 2021 at 21:02
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    Note: the OP apparently deleted their account, which deleted their (answered) question too. Mar 5, 2021 at 12:58
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    @Fizz I've undeleted this question because of the (highly) upvoted answers.
    – JJJ Mod
    Mar 5, 2021 at 13:48

3 Answers 3


I can't speak for all the downvotes, but I was one of them for a reason that came up several times in the comments and was pointed out in the answers: there is such a clear disconnect between your quote and your examples that it didn't seem like you could possibly be asking your question in good faith.

The definition of freedom of speech you found states that speech is protected 'without censorship or restraint by the government', and you then list two examples you think violate this protection: one where a private company banned a political figure from posting on their website, and one where a private company stopped offering website hosting services to another private company.

Neither of your examples were related to restrictions by the government in any way, and restrictions by the government was a key part of the free speech definition you said those examples violated. This made it seem to me (and, judging by similar comments/answers, several other downvoters) that you were just trying to make a point or spread a view rather than to actually ask a question and get an answer.

However, it's clear that the substance of your question isn't inappropriate: your question has been marked as a duplicate of a several similar questions, and a few of those are highly upvoted and have many thorough answers. The only issue is the way you asked your question, since this seemed to cause many other user to perceive it as not a genuine question.

So, if you still are looking for answers to your question I think there are two directions you could go:

  • keep the definition of free speech in your original question but find examples of the government restricting speech and ask about those
  • keep the examples of private restrictions and find some definition/claim that those actions violate free speech in the US (or another country if you're interested)

Both of those options seem like they would be entirely on-topic (assuming they haven't already been asked on here), and would still get at the core of what you were asking while hopefully avoiding the sort of negative response that your original question got.

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    To be fair to the OP mixing the issue of free speech and providing a platform is a common strategy for political figures in the US and UK and probably pretty much everywhere else. It's an understandable confusion.
    – Jontia
    Mar 3, 2021 at 18:35
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    @Jontia: That's definitely a big issue these days, but that doesn't really explain just how overwhelmingly negative the response was to this particular question (other recent free-speech questions were had mixed responses at worst). That's why I believe the structure of the question was the issue: even without considering the current political environment, the question was just a definition about government restrictions and examples of non-government restrictions, and that disconnect was so obvious that it's hard to give someone the benefit of the doubt that they were just misinformed.
    – Giter
    Mar 4, 2021 at 18:55
  • @Giter When I see a high level of collusion and intermingling between gov officials, activists and big business, I have problems to treat too seriously argument that's just private actors and not gov intervention. Equally well, one may explain that thanks to Five Eyes US gov is not spying on US citizens, it's just letting it allies do that and receives their summaries.
    – Shadow1024
    May 26, 2021 at 20:43

I'm not sure about the number of downvotes. Since questions about free speech come around more often and it considers a politicized issue (President Trump and social media), the downvoters may feel that a lack of research is reason for voting the way they did.

As for the expletive term in the quote, I don't think it requires moderator intervention. It's part of a quote and it's not meant to offend any of our users or other specific persons. As for precedent on meta, it allows such quotes but discourages their use just to add "charm" or "flavor" to a post.

Others moderators may choose to edit it out, but I think the comic (of which the quote is a small part) is very to the point. It specifically addresses that constitutional free speech is limited to application by the government.


To add to the other two answers, I think the reason this question got such a negative response is that this question has been asked so many times, and people are just kind of annoyed at seeing it again. This isn't necessarily your fault since you didn't post it multiple times, though we do expect you to take some effort to search for duplicates before posting a question, but it's just human nature that a repeated question will get a worse response.

People who think it's a bad-faith question are going to be less likely to assume good faith if they've already seen the same attempt to push (in their opinion) bad faith ideas many times. People who may like the question are going refrain from upvoting because a repeated question is "not useful" and shouldn't be rewarded. Meanwhile, those who might be inclined to fight to keep the question open (through comments, edits, or upvotes) are unlikely to make the effort to do so if they've been through that fight before unsuccessfully.

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