A question was posted on EnglishForum.ch about Esperanto: “I am wondering if I can use Esperanto in Switzerland? Is the number of people who speak Esperanto growing?”
There were about 20 responses from 12 users when I came across the thread — a mixture of useful information and dismissive comments.
I created an account and replied; the text of my post is copied below in full, in the first comment. It appeared on the site for about 20 minutes, but when I refreshed the page to see if there were any replies, I was told that my account had been blocked for spamming, and would never be unblocked. Charming.
Going back to the thread again now, I see that the post from “Michjo” (which I refer to in my post) has also been removed, and I’ve been told that Brian Barker suffered a similar fate (both posts were polite and informative about Esperanto in Switzerland).
I’ve written to the web admin to see if there’s some technical explanation and posted on their Facebook wall asking about it, but it certainly appears that dissenting voices are simply rejected from EnglishForum.ch.
I’ll update this post if I hear back from them.
UPDATE: an informative comment by “Enrique” was also pulled from the thread, although I’ve just noticed that a comment by “nicolee” about attending an Esperanto poetry seminar has been up there for over 36 hours now. Meanwhile, the author of “You’ll find just as many people speak Klingon as Esperanto. It’s a hobby, not a language” has been “thanked” by six other users so far.
UPDATE (2011-10-09 18:08 UTC): currently there’s a comment by Lu Wunsch-Rolshoven that simply says “Maybe some of the Esperanto groups in Switzerland would be able to help you.” Let’s see how long that lasts. Incidentally, my post on the Facebook wall is still there.
UPDATE (23:12 UTC): Lu Wunsch-Rolshoven actually posted three or four messages to the thread which stayed live for a few hours. In the last hour or so though, the whole thread has been made private, i.e. viewable only to forum members. Google still has the posts cached, if you want to read. PS My Facebook post is still there!
UPDATE (2011-10-10 09:30 UTC): Lu Wunsch-Rolshoven’s posts have, predictably, been deleted, as has the one by “nicolee” about attending an Esperanto poetry seminar. The thread has also been moved from http://www.englishforum.ch/language-corner/127522-esperanto.html to http://www.englishforum.ch/trash-duplicate-questions/127522-esperanto.html, effectively hiding it even from members. How spectactularly rude and closed-minded.
If any administrators from EnglishForum.ch would care to comment below, I’ll be happy to post their comments in full, verbatim, and permanently.
UPDATE (15:22 UTC): I’ve had a reply from the moderators to my query about why my account was banned. Here it is in full:
You were banned under the our general ban of Spam and/or unwanted content because your location and subject matter does not fit our forum’s topic matter.
To make things perfectly clear The English Forum is NOT a language forum. It’s a support group for English speaking expats who reside in Switzerland. IE; work permits, housing, social events, schooling and just fitting in to name a few.
True, we do have a language area but if you take a moment to look at the description you would see why Esperanto is out of place within our forum as it is not one of Switzerland’s official national languages.
Questions and answers for learners of German, French and Italian, translation help
If you are searching for Esperanto forums I’m sure you’ll find many online but as I’ve already stated, The English Forum is not one of them.
thank you for your understanding.
I’m pleased that they have at least responded, but find the response rather inadequate. My post answered a question posted by another forum member. If they’re so concerned that everybody must talk only about French, German and Italian, why was the original post not removed first? Why were the snarky, unhelpful answers not removed first? (before the whole thread was taken down, obviously).
It certainly looks like the informative posts about Esperanto rubbed up some moderator’s prejudices the wrong way, and a rule was found, and inconsistently applied, to back that up.