Why the “gatekeeping”?

Copyright and education – the necessity, the vital import of the free, unrestricted flow of information through the realm of education, has been a big concern and obsession of mine. See this post for some views, see my copyright tags, see my own “Captive Mind” series.

It is so important to not “possess” or appropriate ideas. However, our whole system is founded on the principle that some know and “own” this knowledge. The “neck up” types who’ve got to the sacred realm of the university towers.  They alone have ideas and all the rest of us just borrow them from these esteemed gentlemen.

Poppycock! It’s all about power. All a dice game. Read many of my posts, I won’t get into it here. What I do want to mention is a big peeve of my own.  I really get upset by how so many blogs, networks, communities ban/delete/prohibit/(choose your word) anyone who posts links.

You know that scene. You read a nice blog post. You want to post something you wrote or a link to something you are involved in. However, you hesitate, you know you’ll be blocked, banned or brushed up.   How  dare you try to help others by leaving a link!

This is the culture on so many sites/blogs. So proprietary. I’ve been deleted often, on many blogs in ELT that preport to be “open”.  All in the name of “keeping things on their own blog” and in essence, restricting the flow of information.  It stinks, I’m calling all this out.  It is as if they don’t think we are adults and can judge where information comes from and assess information in and of our own right. I say, “we don’t need any gatekeepers”.

On my own site, EFL Classroom, I’m always astounded by the emails I get from people asking to post a link, some information. I’m always flabberghasted – they are actually asking permission to post something informative on a social networking site? Go figure – that’s how much of a “walking on glass” mentality we’ve created with so much coveting and possessiveness in the realm.

I was recently interviewed by a student doing her Master’s. She was researching ELT blogs. She was so surprised when I mentioned that many ELT blogs were not open and were insular and all about their name and protecting their own – not really about open discourse and sharing – they don’t pass the litmus test of allowing members to post links in their comments.  She laughed when I related some stories about some ELT blogs – she said everyone else had told her we were one big happy family! I’m sorry but I got to call it as it is – there are too many protecting their own and not about information and sharing worthy things but all about building their name and presence. I say they have it backwards.

So to end this diatribe — please, please, please, post a link to your own blog, a link to any other information on the web – when you comment. As long as you aren’t spamming and copy/pasting on many blogs. It’s okay. We’ll all live. The world won’t stop……



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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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5 Responses

  1. Well-said, David, and I agree for the most part.

    A small caveat would be those that actually aren’t interested in participating, but simply having a link back to their site for others to see within a popular thread.

    Wouldn’t you consider that spam ? My personal policy is to moderate comments with a link. If it’s contributing to the discussion, I always approve it. If not, then why let it take up space when it’s not pertinent ? I’d consider that less “gate-keeping” and more quality control.

  2. Now seeing your last sentence touches on that point. sorry for the spam 😉 http://ow.ly/7f9rG

  3. ddeubel says:


    Thx for the comment and first off, want to say I’m not challenging anyone’s “right” to do what they want on their own community/page or blog. But Brad, who is to throw that stone? to decide to enter the mind of the writer and “guess” at their intentions? Beyond the obvious spam (which I’m sure we all can agree upon) – this is what I see happening. Website creators/bloggers who preport to espouse an “open” policy, act as thought keepers for the wider community.

    I think if there is a “contribution” of any sort, let them link to something relevant (and use a wide definition/breadth here). Why do we all have to walk on glass? I’ll relate, I’ve been banned or deleted on quite a number of blogs, simply for sharing what I’m interested in and knowledgeable of and believe will help others. Why? Not because I’m thought of as a bad guy but simply I think – there is a reading into things of my intentions. Usually far off base. But this fantasy and control continues across many PLNs that on the surface say they are all sharing and helping the wider community.

    I could go on and should share some practical examples from which to ground my rather general thoughts. Must be another blog post…..

  4. I think we see pretty eye-to-eye here.

    Who is to throw the first stone, indeed… but I do enjoy the stones you stack up on top of each other here, hoping to construct a critically-thinking lot of teachers. Cheers, Brad

  5. Hi David,

    I’m with you most of the way on this, although by the same token, like Brad I can appreciate why some bloggers and social media sites don’t allow people to post links.

    I’m fine with people posting links on my blog and other social media sites in principle, but there is a fine line between sharing knowledge and contributing to the discussion and off-topic being overly self-promotional, and not everybody gets that. For me, blogs are a discussion medium and stopping by just to leave an unrelated link on a blog post isn’t really contributing to the discussion.

    I’m not suggesting for a minute that this is something you yourself do, but I’ve seen it time and time again on other people’s blogs and my own.
    After a while it becomes tiresome deleting these kind of posts, and the temptation kicks in to disable the ability for people to post links.

    Just my ten cents worth 🙂


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