Censorship in Professional Online Groups

This is updated from an older post and re-posted

I write this post to reflect on a trend that we have observed in more than one online group; the trend, or practice if not a trend, is Censorship and moderation. This include major global organization that we pay fees to join but if you decide to critique them – they block you … will write more about this next week.

We agree that some time, moderation would be necessary for new members of a group or to avoid potential problems. However, I would prefer that for professional networking and discussion groups there should not be any moderation, and for sure no censorship of opinions.

To avoid problems, the group could have strict rules if any member violate these rules, should be notified (in case it was an honest mistake) but if the violation occur again, then the group moderator can apply moderation on this specific member or ban them, if the offense is major violation.

Personally, I post a lot of articles online and I participate in many groups, with respect of the rules. However, once I notice there is a moderation – where a post or response could take days to clear … or when there is censorship because the moderator did not agree with a message I posted – professionally … then I drop my participation in such a group. Today, is such a day, where I am dropping my participation in such a group.

Some Examples

One experience we have had is with LinkedIn PMI Credentialed PMPs group. This is one of the largest group online and we often contribute to its various discussions. We are usually respectful in our comments, even when we offer a critique or opposing opinion we do so in a professional way. Some might argue that this is a large and moderated group, if it is than how come other comments are going through?

A few weeks ago, a general manager of a competing organization posted a discussion on another group; forgot which group it was. This person posted a new discussion, I responded, he responded once than I offered a follow-up response countering his argument. Instead of answering my points, he removed the discussion from the group. It disappeared so no one else can see it.

In another situation also from a few weeks ago, this time on Facebook, PMP Lebanon group. Apparently the moderator was away for a while and some members were posting questions with no answers. So we tried to help answering some of those questions and at least one of them was very important to members. When the moderator woke up, she deleted all of our posts and removed us from the group.

It is really sad to see people launch professional groups where the audience are senior professionals and even executives yet they resort to censorship to block others opinion and even removing people from these groups without warning or explanation of any violation of the rule, assuming there were violations. It is just a reality that some people cannot accept different opinions.

This blog is open – we do not block any post regardless of who is posting or what is their opinion. The software block spam messages.

About Mounir Ajam

Mounir Ajam is eager to awaken the giant of project management within individuals, organizations, and nations! He is an experienced executives with global experience working on projects from the United States to Japan and in between. He has been privileged to work on multiple small projects and mega projects. Mounir is an author, volunteer leader, speaker, consultant, executive coach, and entrepreneur who is open for further learning and sharing.
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9 Responses to Censorship in Professional Online Groups

  1. Marc says:

    It’s a shame… A public blog (and more important, a professional one) should be open for comment. It is not a marketing tool. Deleting comments from other contributors just demonstrates their weakness, and how unprofessional they are.

  2. drpdg says:

    FWIW, the Malaysian Chapter of PMI and the Indonesian Chapter of PMI also censor, and there are several other Linked In groups, most which seem to be related to PMI and/or founded by PMI members who also censor peoples postings.

    I find that incredible, given that PMI is US based and the USA is always touting “free speech”. Amazing how the very values the country has enshrined in our Constitution are not honored or adhered to by the professional organizations or their practitioners.

    Sad commentary…..

    BR,
    Dr. PDG, Jakarta

    • Mounir Ajam says:

      We are having problem with PMI Lebanon and even PMI (main operations)

      • drpdg says:

        Not sure why you continue to support PMI……. The more people who drop the organization, the less credibility they will have…..

        BR,
        Dr. PDG, Singapore

        • Mounir Ajam says:

          Dr. Paul

          This post is from the past … Personally, my last volunteer assignment with PMI was 5 years ago. Our REP is expiring and we are not renewing. I am not renewing my membership either and when my PMP expires I will not be renewing.

          These are despite the fact that our market here still thinks that PMI is the BEST.

          However, we cannot ignore the fact that our community is still mostly aligned to PMI and PMI has some good products. It is our job to help our community understand the good, the bad, and the ugly. PMBOK is not the best but it is good – PMP is not the best but it has value and we cannot deny people to fulfill their interest!

          • drpdg says:

            Hi Mounir, while I normally am in substantial agreement with you, I think PMI has come to the point where they are now doing more harm than good to the practice of project management.

            They had their chance and in what, 45 years, project management has yet to improve significantly so now it is time for them to step aside and give other professional organizations a chance to have their methodologies or BoK’s be seen and compared.

            IF PMI’s products were so good, then it stands to reason that after this many years, we should have seen some measurable improvements, don’t you think?

            Give it some thought and I hope that your leadership by example will help pave the way to minimizing the disproportionate impact that PMI has had on the practice of project management.

            BR,
            Dr. PDG, Singapore

  3. Pingback: Censorship and Moderation in Professional Online Groups | Redefining Project Management

  4. Mounir Ajam says:

    Dear Dr. Paul

    In regard to PMI as an organization – I think we are in agreement. In more than one blog post, I had stated directly and indirectly that PMI played a significant role in the growth of project management and now it is playing a major role in hurting project management – even damaging project management due to PMI business practice instead of professional practice. In some situations, i have experience situations on the border, even of corruptions.

    I separate PMI from the standards – yes PMI sponsor these standards but it is the volunteers who write them. Many would agree that these standards are declining in value and / or not being significantly vetted and handled – PMI disclaim any role in these standards. However, one has to be realistic … the PMBOK use is wide spread or acknowledged (due to the muscles of PMI). A large percent of practitioner today are familiar with the PMBOK.

    Based on the above, my points are:
    – PMI is respect is declining in many areas of the world and among practitioners
    – PMI certifications (PMP primarily) is declining in value although the truck has not stopped yet
    – PMBOK is good (not great) standard and is in use widely
    – Problem is in the practice of the PMBOK; most people i come across do not understand the PMBOK well; partially due to PMI, its chapters, and vendors … in addition to the PMBOK language
    – More and more volunteers who contribute to the PMBOK do not understand it well – so it is declining … i will give a silly example

    – PMBOK says initiating process group is to initiate project or phase
    – process groups repeat in every phase
    – initiating group has two processes develop charter and identify stakeholders
    – the above means we develop a charter for every phase – even though PMBOK calls it Project Charter
    – 4th edition of PMBOK says “charter is the document that authorize the project or a phase”; confirming the above understanding
    – In the 5th edition a smart volunteer (or volunteers) changed the statement to say “charter is the document that authorize the project” … removing “or a phase”

    For someone who does not know the PMBOK well – this is a minor change but is it? The removal of “or a phase” does it mean that the charter is now for the project only and not for a phase? If for the project only – does not this now contradict with the concept of process group repeating? Or is it now that some processes repeat and some don’t?

    The issue above – is left for people to understand what they wish and PMI does not provide a team of experts to answer these questions … this is why the PMBOK is declining in value — i can provide many examples like the above.

    The bottom line – is we care about project management and our community – PMI is doing anything to provide the proper understanding – so we try to help raise the awareness in the professional community about the good, the bad, and the ugly, as i said before. This is not to help PMI since PMI DOES NOT care – it is for those who care about project management.

    Sorry about the lengthy response!

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