To Block or Not to Block: That Is The Question

To Block or Not to Block: That Is The Question

In a land where we believe in freedom of speech, should individuals be "allowed" to block other people from exercising their right to say what they want to say? I mean if you ask a question or state an opinion in the context of a public forum like social media, is there not an expectation or an assumption from those that chime in, that you DO in fact want to hear what they want to say? Why is it that after you've said your peace, one can choose to block you?

Whether you are online or off, just because someone says something, whether "right" or "wrong," doesn't mean you have to listen. It never has, and it never will.

To Block or Not to Block: That Is The Question

Along with freedom of speech, people also have the right NOT to listen to you and make up their own minds what they want to hear. In real life, if you disagree with someone, you CAN walk away and the same exists in the realm of the internet, where if you don't like something that's said, in this case, you can block it.

....ah, but I already hear you shaking your first and screaming about people who block you just because...and I would agree with you, absolutely! There are people who do not understand how civil conversations, facts, truth, and reality work, and/or they are petty and just stop conversations because they just need to have the last word, but THIS is the world we live in. The internet is just a much more intense version of it. Do you not know petty people in real life that hang up on you or block your number when you start speaking the truth to them, or speak behind your back, or refuse to accept factual information because they just want to be right? How is the internet world any different?

To Block or Not to Block: That Is The Question

We as adults want to believe that we can have an intelligent conversation online or off with those around us who also want the same. Even if we disagree with one another, we want to still be able to argue and discuss and share opinions because that is what freedom of speech (PAUSE)..."should" be about, but if you are holding on tightly to this notion of how things ought to be with a vice grip, I guarantee you will be nothing but continuously disappointed with the world around you. There should be no expectation of how people should act. Why would we need laws on books and people that have to actively enforce them if everyone just behaved a certain way?

There are real reasons to block people that aren't just petty like harassment, or trolling, or say someone making sexual comments to a minor, BUT alongside with that, we shouldn't say you have to listen to someone just because they said something. Too many people take it personally that someone blocks them because they're hurt by it, they are annoyed by it, they know that nothing they said was offensive or hurtful, but not everything you or I or anyone else says is right, or coherent, or truthful and even if it is, if someone doesn't get that and doesn't want to listen, they really aren't worth your time and efforts.

To Block or Not to Block: That Is The Question

Talk to people who "get it." People you can actually debate with or who don't freak out because you said something they disagree with. THIS is the reality of life on or offline. You can't win every conversation, you can't get everyone to like you or understand your point of view, and YES, absolutely yes, some people are too immature or petty to handle having any kind of discourse, but so what. Blocking or not blocking won't change these people, believe you me. They are who they are and so are you, so let them block because what you'll be left with is everyone else whom you can actually talk to, and isn't that what you really want anyway?

To Block or Not to Block: That Is The Question
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Most Helpful Guys

  • Sensmind
    I have one slight quibble with your theory.
    Yes to remove your post or question on a forum basis say GaG goes against Free Speech (a whole different debate there - I am not saying whether right or wrong)
    But a person say I block you is not against Free Speech, it is saying I don't want to hear/listen to you on my question. You can give your view on your next opinion or you can write a question saying I am blocked when I try to say XYZ (Get my drift)
    There are times when blocking is wrong
    (1) The Bomb :: Say something like "I hate Caterpillars" and block everyone supporting caterpillars to give a jaundiced view on the topic
    (2) The Last Word :: In an argument throwing something out in the form of a smackdown then blocking chance to reply
    (3) The Unfair Block :: I don't like you because you are X, Y and Z (so what if I only talked to you once or never
    (4) The Abusive Block :: Might be subjective but should be a given that if a person is being abused, they can cut it off without falling into any of the above
    Sometimes I think it is okay to block
    (1) If you are coming at me, I will usually just block though I do try to let any current interaction finish so it doesn't look like a Last Word Block but if it just a straight you asshole, I will block there and then
    (2) Someone wanting a debate - When I can I say , I will give a view, you are entitled to respond but I don't want an acrimonious debate for the rest of the week. If you keep coming back you will be blocked, I will leave my opinion up and yours for consideration
    (3) If you feel someone is being inappropriate, I suppose the same way IRL you might put up barriers to someone you feel is crossing a line
    Is this still revelant?
    • Anonymous

      Maybe clarify your quibble, because I state that, "....ah, but I already hear you shaking your first and screaming about people who block you just because...and I would agree with you, absolutely! There are people who do not understand how civil conversations, facts, truth, and reality work, and/or they are petty and just stop conversations because they just need to have the last word, but THIS is the world we live in."

      There is no argument that there are people who block for what amounts to what others feel is no real reason such as harassment or bullying, but with free speech or blocking, all you have is the ability to do it. What people tend to argue is that one must listen because someone said something, but that isn't true at all in the same way one could rightly argue, if you ask a question, expect an answer whether you want to listen to it or not.

    • Sensmind

      I agree with you to a degree possibly we are looking for perfect variations of Free Speech, Forum communication, the behaviour of others etc but always in the knowledge it will never happen and our attitude to what has gone wrong becomes honed.
      In these somewhat divisive debates I tend to try and see both sides, accept the thoughtful views of either but not become engaged with it. I find it is easier in life not to care, I have been blocked by a number of people and blocked a number of people but honestly have no idea who they are until I try to submit something to one of them (Frustrating and especially galling if I blocked them HaHa) though I think may have changed after last upgrade.
      As to the quibble thing, I think I misread you a bit , you do reference different types of blocking.

    • Anonymous

      Ah, no worries. Overall, I think if you are on the end of things where you believe in true discourse and discussion and debate, it makes no sense really to have someone put a giant roadBLOCK to that by cutting off the conversation entirely, but we also must realize as part of this set of people that we cannot control the actions of others. Saying people "should" not block, and "should" listen if they ask a question is making an assumption that they care to, want to, or are of the mature sort to want to actually carry on a conversation they in fact started. It's annoying yes? But to them, so is you not agreeing with them. They may not understand the world will not always share in their point of view and their ability to block affords them the opportunity to agree with themselves, but that is a bubble that cannot and will not last forever. They must eventually be put up against reality where they may find themselves up the creek without a paddle because they've yet to develop the ability to have civil dialogue but as I argue that people can walk away from conversations in real life, unlike on the internet for the most part, there can be real life consequences for their level of immaturity or inability to see different POV's.

  • Anonymous
    The only time you should block someone on any platform is if they deliberately harass you in the daily as if that's what they want to do the moment they wake up. But if you're that type of person to block someone simply because you didn't like their opinion then you're a snowflake.
    Is this still revelant?
    • Anonymous

      My point about this is, well, so what, in regards to those people you deem snowflakes. What does it actually matter if they block you because they've indicated to you that they can't handle a conversation. Do you really want to continue to even try to talk to someone like that if they refuse the basic principals of two way communication? People "should" do a lot of things, but they don't. When you expect the people of the internet to be any different from those in real life, that's when you'll find yourself really disappointed all the time.

    • Anonymous

      If someone posts a topic about anything and it's debunked by someone else with facts and you block them, you're choosing to live in your own ignorance.

Most Helpful Girls

  • aWes0MeNeSs
    I do agree that as annoying as it can be, people have a right to not listen to your opinions or block you for essentially no reason. It doesn't really bother me, though I find it amusing when people get outrageously upset and block over a minor difference of opinion or turn what was originally a civil discussion into insult hurling on their end and then block. Oh well, if it makes them feel better, then so be it. Lol.

    A lot of people really don't understand how a public forum works, though, you're right about that. They act as if it should be a platform only for those with a similar mindset to their own, or some even treat it as their own personal diary and love to say that what they post is "none of anyone's business", yet they make it everyone's business by posting it publicly. I always try to choose what I share publicly carefully and am aware that it's open to all feedback, including negative.
    Is this still revelant?
    • Anonymous

      I absolutely agree with this. I'm on both sides of this issue if that is a thing. Someone has the right to say what they'd like within the bounds of free speech laws, and the other person has a right to listen or not. I definitely understand the frustration though. If you just want to hear yourself talk to yourself, write a blog and close down the comments rather than ask open ended questions and just shut down everyone who disagrees and the second end to that is like you said, why share ten paragraphs of something on a public forum just to say, I don't care what you think knowing this is open for response. It makes no sense, but my point to all those that are positively shaking with anger over being blocked over such things is, there will always be those that choose not to listen and you can't make them. One shouldn't waste vast amounts of time and energy on those people because you aren't going to "win them over." They don't want to hear it and so be it. Interact with those that do.

    • aWes0MeNeSs


  • DorkVader
    Just because there is free speech doesn't mean all speech is valuable or necessary. Like hate speech, it is protected by law, but doesn't absolve one from consequences. Block button or punch in the face, people get what's coming to them
    Is this still revelant?
    • Anonymous

      I think there is this sense of entitlement when it comes to speech....because someone said something, therefore you should have to listen to it and/or believe they are right. People have been disagreeing and walking off for centuries. Now it's just that we have the internet. I agree that one of the consequences of free speech is that it isn't free from consequences and in this case, you may be blocked whether one agrees with why it was done or not, because someone doesn't want to hear it. People have the freedom to say it, and people have the freedom to walk off or block it at their own discretion. Blocking nor free speech are about right and wrong. All that you get is the ability to do it.

    • Just_a_human

      Some people will block others for the simple that they didn't agree with what they said, no hate speech involved.

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • MannMitAntworten
    There zero wrong with self policing. As an individual we can censor our outside world - choose to turn off the tv kind of thing or walk away. Sure, there are negatives to living in a bubble as it tends to make one more rigid or even less flexible to other views which often leads to broader forms of censorship which never is a good thing no matter how offensive the content might be. Censorship only slows growth from both good and bad ideas.
    • Anonymous

      My grandparents were from an extremely small town where there was only way way of doing things, kind of thing, and there is nothing fundamentally wrong with that in that bubble, but when you move outside and realize one way is not the only way and people don't automatically agree with their opinions, it's a hard truth that eventually those that leave no room for outside opinion face no matter how hard they try to ignore it. People can block if they want to, not listen, ignore reality, but none of that changes what is, which is truth and fact or many people with many different ideas, differences and opinions from them. Case in point, censorship has NEVER actually ever completely and totally shut the truth out of any place because it always finds a way in.

    • Yup.

  • Thatsamazing
    ... Why did you put "allowed" in quotes?
    Anyway, Blocking someone who disagrees with you means you're stupid.
    • Anonymous

      Allowed is in quotes because people think they can somehow control the actions of others here or elsewhere. If you don't ever block anybody, then don't, but it doesn't make you brilliant or intelligent because of that in the same way blocking those that disagree, does not mean one is stupid.

    • Thatsamazing

      Yes, it does.

    • Anonymous

      That is your opinion, sure.

    • Show All
  • 420cat
    We are here because we want to know what others think. I don't expect everyone to agree with what I say, some of what I say is from experience and some is just my own personal opinion and everyone has an opinion. That's what makes us individuals. If we ask for an opinion we don't have to agree with it, just respect it. Getting the good and bad or the pros and cons. We could learn one or two things if we keep an open mind and are willing to listen.( Or read as the case might be)
  • Screenwriter
    The only thing that surprises me is when I see "this person or you have blocked comments". I have no one blocked. And when I see someone has blocked me, I wonder what they've blocked me about when their name is not recognizable. Makes me wonder what I've said that's offensive, and how could I have done differently.
  • Liam_Hayden
    "In a land where we believe in freedom of speech, should individuals be "allowed" to block other people from exercising their right to say what they want to say? "

    Yes. Freedom of speech is a prohibition upon GOVERNMENT. It is not designed to force people to pay attention.
  • Likes2drive
    Just like Jack Nicholson‘s character in “A Few Good Men” said do you want the truth? you can’t handle the truth , and that’s why people will block other people. I never blocked anyone but have been blocked by one person that was a chronic blocker on this site that everybody probably knows
    • OfDeath

      I think I know who you mean

    • Likes2drive

      @OfDeath Yeah but it’s a “secret “ 😉😉

    • OfDeath

      It certainly is secret lol

    • Show All
  • RHK36
    Speaking on the internet versus in person is night and day. In a perfect world the internet would function the same it doesn't. It allows one to remain hidden anonymously to easily spill all matter of opinion with little to no real consequences. I find it kind of ironic if you choose against blocking while asking a question anonymously. Block is a feature to prevent hearing or further hearing of unsolicited anything. You can't truly compare internet to real life, they don't operate the same.
  • OfDeath
    I used to occasionally block someone. However, now I never block anyone. In fact I have unblocked everyone I have ever blocked.
    I mean, why? Why block? I'm not a girl who will get harassed by perverts and stuff so I really don't have any reason to block anyone.
  • soleil2666
    It is better to have the strength to look at it and choose how to respond, or whether to respond at all.
    I have never understood the whole 'block them' part (though I have used it a few times temporarily when things got a bit too much).
    The truth of it - nobody was forcing me to read the messages right then and there, I could have done it later (and the other side always apologised afterwards anyhow)
  • brunettegirlxx
    Well nowadays people use block for no reason. I know people who block you even if you have not talked to them in a long time. Shows immaturity in my opinion. If there’s no harassment I don’t see the reason
  • cirno
    Uh tbh you should use block function only when people obviously try to just bully rather than just press block when someone has a different opinion than you since uh think thats why its there
  • usernamesk
    People need to understand what harrassment truly is...
    • Anonymous

      I don't think that's an issue. People know when they are being harassed, but as in real life outside of that, if you disagree with someone, you can walk away, ignore, put some headphones on. I'm not sure why people believe that the internet should be any different then it is in real life. No one has to care what anyone says even if they did ask for your opinion.

    • usernamesk

      Same rule apply online. Just walk away.

  • Phoenix98
    I only ever block people if they go out of their way to pester, annoy or piss me off on purpose then I bloc them. But if we just have one disagreement or we have clashing opinions, no I'm not going to block em.
  • Knighted2170
    Free speech is different than free license. Just because you have the right of free speech doesn't mean you have the right to say what you want, when you want, how you want.
    • Um, actually that is precisely what free speech means. Literally the exact meaning of "free" and "speech".

    • Knighted2170

      Um, no it doesn't. Not all speech is protected under "free speech."
      There are restrictions which include:. Content-based and Time, place, and manner based.
      I can give court cases if you would like.

    • go for it. But free speech is in fact free speech and any law that prohibits it is in fact illegal BY DEFINITION as it violates constitutional law which superscedes state and federal law. As the constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; OR ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
      What that states, is that the government does not have the right nor ability to reduce, constrict, retract, or limit the freedom of speech. Again, its quite clear (just because the government violates the law repeatedly doesn't make it legal (technically most of our laws are illegal as they have either not been passed by congress (Obamacare for instance was technically not legal as it was passed with an executive order. Same with rules and regulations from subgroups like the EPA for instance), or it violates constitutional law (like limitations on speech or gun ownership (both of which started around the mid 1900s). So your free to give what ever examples you would like, I'd be interested in them, but they would also be entirely wrong from a legal standpoint because again, its in DIRECT violation of constitutional law (legal precedence is also not law, yet another example of the many illegal "laws" we have).

    • Show All
  • MackToday
    Free speech pertains to state power not individuals. Any individual can block anyone just like they tune you out on the street if they don't like what you say.
  • Gedaria
    Yes, I agree. There are some on here , they ask stupid questions and they get upset when you give them a stupid reply. I've just had on, answered it, didn't like my reply and blocked me.. Good for her...
  • dootdoot5
    Yeah you should be able to block people, however I believe it is most of the time a childish thing to do. I have never blocked anyone in my life no matter how much they pissed me off. However I do see the necessity for it if someone is truly being harassed or blackmailed and its not just a dumb internet argument
  • Fromdusktilldawn
    I only once blocked someone. It was a weird guy I had to do a group project with at uni. He was just a straight a**hole and was impossible to work with. After the project he annoyed me with hate emails so I blocked him.
  • JustforLaughs1
    I don't block people. I'm a dude so I don't have an issue of people hitting on me or sending dick pics. The only time I do block is if I realize some one has blocked me. Then I return the favor. Just because. Outside of that I don't really see a need. I can send some one to their therapist pretty fast if I truly need tooo. Hahaha!

    The internet is the internet. It is as real or as fake as you want it to be. To me it is just an entertaining pass time. Nothing more.
  • kathy1121
    Right to free speech doesn't mean right to free harassment when it gets to that point I just block without a care
  • hellionthesagereborn
    Okay, so basically we should as a society be perfectly content with and defend people who block others? What does that accomplish exactly? I don't block people, never have and I doubt I ever will, because I do believe in free speech. However if your endorsing blocking people or allowing it, that's not something I am against because I think its should be outlawed or shouldn't be a feature, I am against it because it really does hurt the individual. It creates echo chambers where people can tailor their world view based upon those comments that coincide with their own beliefs absolutely and never bring their reasoning into question. Do they have the right to block people? Yes absolutely, but should they? No. So I will continue to be against it because its harmful to the individual (like drug use, I think you have every right to do it I just don't want you thinking that its healthy or acceptable).
  • kim45456
    Gag and other sites are global. If you have a right to choose tosay whatever shit you want, i have a right to not see your bullshit under my post or whatever
  • I block, They Block.
    "He Said, She Said". lolxx
  • Rin_Chan_
    uh... so your saying something like... i should not be allowed to block or ignore bullies? :/
    • supersplif

      educate them instead... you might be in the wrong.

    • Rin_Chan_

      uh... im still a kid and i never mentioned i was the smartest...

    • supersplif

      has anyone ever said to you hide from a bully. or have they always said you have to stand up to bullys

    • Show All
  • You have a right to an expression but do not have a right to force that expression onto someone or preventing or alter that persons expression.
  • itsdea123
    I never blocked anyone over arguments, or discussions. I blocked people who got me really upset or mad that I didn't want to speak to them anymore. Or because they hurt me.
  • Manuel2
    To care or not to care, that is the bigger question
  • SamirahD22
    I block whenever I want to. There are no rules on who, when , where and why you should block anyone. I can block whoever whenever
    • That’s true. Basically if you block me on one sort of social media I will be default block you on everything else

  • Texaskid1
    Blocking is something that feminists do when a man disagrees with them.
  • Gibby09
    It's not pride because accepting is putting you down it's a fizzy confusion from here. We should listen till the end I was taught this way
  • LogicBomber
    Blocking and shaming are for the pathetic and childish.
    • Liam_Hayden

      Shaming? You mean like calling people "pathetic and childish?"

    • LogicBomber

      @Liam_Hayden Sure... if by my saying it, you feel pathetic and childish. But generally shaming tactics are used to silence people from saying things you don't like, not point out a mentality of an action. I am not trying to silence anyone... if people stop blocking and using shaming tactics, that would actually be a good thing.

  • supersplif
    you can't progress after a block... you might be in the wrong and not them... right?
  • Nikki1989
    Blocking itself is freedom of speech, you are basically say fuck you.
  • MikeTheGreek79
    Threating to kill someone or yell fire in movie theater or bomb threat.
  • serious
    This is a very good take.
  • GloriaMc
    Blocking is one of the imatures characters lol 😂
  • KaraAyna
    Good take
  • Anonymous
    Yes people should be allowed to block if they’re getting harassed. I had that happen to me recently. This girl confronted me for flirting with a guy. Mind you, he flirted with me first. Plus they weren’t official, and she had the nerve to tell me to stop flirting with him. She was coming across as an obsessive psychopath, so I blocked her on Instagram and Facebook. If the guy isn’t your boyfriend, you can’t tell another woman not to flirt with him.