You’ll be familiar with Godwin’s law. Here’s Kimbo’s Law, you read it here first. :o)
If somebody on a forum, in usenet or via a social network uses the “Freedom of Speech” ploy to try to win, they have already lost the argument. If they cannot make their case calmly, in an appropriate way for the location, they can’t win the argument - FoS is not a trump card.
People play the FoS card most often when what they’ve said is removed by moderators. This will happen because they’ve used offensive or inappropriate language, or because the discussion is ill-placed.
In the first case, if you’re reduced to “naff off you twat” it’s pretty clear that you’ve failed to make a compelling case. Of course, “naff off you twat” can sometimes simply be a pleasing thing to get off your chest, but let’s not pretend it wins any arguments.
If the post, or indeed an entire discussion, is removed because it was inappropriate for the medium chosen, the poster fell at the first hurdle. If you want to have a robust, bare-knuckle fight about a subject that you’re passionate about, then find a bare-knuckle forum where you can get stuck-in with your fellow combatants and all’s fair in love and discourse. If you choose a fluffy forum, a social group, a business site with a reputation to protect, or some other friendly chatty spot to air your contentious views - then sorry, you’re just a coward who was too scaredy-cat to try the proper venue and thought you’d get an easy ride with the fluffy bunnies. Don’t try to claim you’re a sword-wielding rebel fighting for your beloved freedom of speech and the good of mankind, when everybody else is armed with a butter knife and just looking for the toast.
And while we’re here, let’s just check quite what the guy with the Sword of Truth really means when he talks about FoS, shall we? Roughly, it works like an irregular verb:
My freedom of speech gives me the right to say anything I like, anywhere I like, in any language or form I like, and squeal like a pig if I’m censored or blocked.
Your freedom of speech gives you the right to agree with me, or on a very good day disagree with me politely, briefly, and with all due deference but then I reserve the right to accuse you of being a censor, moderator, bigot or prude in whatever terms I choose.
His freedom of speech means he’s allowed to say “yeah, right, you tell ‘em, bastards” as often as he likes as long as it’s me he’s agreeing with.
Freedom of speech as a trump card may only be played once - if I claim my FoS is being hampered by you disagreeing with me, you can’t play that back to defend your disagreement.
And finally, FoS only applies to locations other people own or control. On my own ground I will remove all possibility of anybody else saying anything at all in any way, even in private, in case they’re cleverer than me and I end up looking a twat.
So, in a nutshell:
Kimbo’s Law: Anybody who uses the Freedom of Speech ploy to win an argument has already lost.
And if you don’t agree with me… naff off you twat. ;o)