Everyday I tell myself that I'm going to stop blogging about this censorship issue and move on to other stuff. And then everyday I read stuff on the Net or in the MSM that makes me indignant enough so I have to blog about.
So. A final set of requests to everyone discussing / debating the ban (and tomorrow, I really, truly will move on):
1) It's not a blog ban:
Can we all please stop saying that the government is banning blogs? If there's one thing this whole incident has made abundantly clear it's that the GoI can't tell a blog from bloodwurst. The GoI is banning websites. If you're reading this, you probably a blogger yourself and don't see much difference, but to most people, who haven't heard of blogs, they're not the same thing. And we need to emphasise that we're trying to protect the freedom of the Internet, not of blogs:
a) I'm tired of hearing the 'how does it matter - blogs never say anything worthwhile anyway' argument. Aside from the fact that we don't make laws that distinguish between people on the basis of their intrinsic worth (can you imagine, for example, a legislation that said it was okay to murder someone as long as they weren't really contributing that much to society), it's useful to remember that the GoI doesn't think / know that it's blocking a bunch of 'trivial' blogs that no one reads. They think (apparently) that they're blocking radical websites that have the power to influence millions. There is nothing in the censorship system of the government that says they're going to make trade-offs between the perceived importance of a site and its harmful content. They'll block anything. They'll block the entire Internet if they feel it's necessary. The way things stand today they have the right to do that. So we're not fighting to protect our right to blog. We're fighting for our right to have free access to the Internet.
b) If there's any hope of winning this battle at all, it's if we can make a community larger than just bloggers understand what government censorship means. And saying the government is banning blogs is entirely counterproductive to that end. Most Internet subscribers don't know what blogs are. Saying the government is banning blogs rather than websites is like saying the government is banning voodoo rather than saying the government is banning religion. The fact that the popular perception of this action is that it's about banning blogs is, frankly, largely our own fault, but let's at least try and communicate to a wider audience what's really at stake here.
As far as I'm concerned, the 'best' thing that could happen at this point is if we could somehow get the CERT-IN to ban shaadi.com. Or Google. Then people might begin to realise what we're fighting about.
2) Free speech is not about sufferance:
I'm tired of everyone, including those who support free speech, acting as though free speech means you just let people have their say and spread whatever message they like without doing anything about it. Of course not. Free speech simply means that you don't stop them from having their say. It certainly doesn't mean that you sit around and do nothing about it. If you don't agree with them, you attack them mercilessly for what they're saying. You tell them why you think they're mistaken. You expose, assuming you can, the flaws in their logic, the inaccuracy of their facts. You prove them wrong. Nobody's saying you have to let them get away with it. Nobody's saying you need to like them or accept them or even be polite to them. All we're saying is that you don't suppress them from saying what they want.
I don't understand why we're so afraid of propaganda. If we were afraid of the truth, and wanted to stop that from spreading, I could understand that. Not accept it, but understand it. But why does propaganda frighten us so much that we feel we have to stop it? If the messages we want to block are so self-evidently wrong, shouldn't we be able to publicly demonstrate that? And if we can't demonstrate it, then what right do we have to ban them? 
3) Exit Sandman:
Can we please stop making up hypothetical terrorist websites to combat? I'm not a five year old child. I refuse to be scared by some mysterious bogeyman that no one's ever actually seen but is so horrific and frightening that the whole nation could be destabilised by it. So far, all I've seen is a list of 17 websites, none of which seem to me to pose any threat to national security. From now on, I refuse to deal in abstractions of 'dangerous sites' - if you think censorship is needed, show me an actual site that you think should be banned, tell me what it actually says and explain to me why you feel not banning it will put the security of the nation at risk. Quasi-mystical discussions of all the horrifying propaganda spewing sites that must be out there don't interest me.
4) No, you DON'T support free speech:
Can we please stop saying things like "I support free speech, but...". No, I'm sorry, you don't. If you believe that it's okay for the government to have the power to block any website they choose without providing information about what sites were banned and why, and without having to prove the need for those sites to be banned before they ban them, then you DO NOT support free speech. At least have the courage / conviction to accept that.
5) It's NOT just 17 sites:
Finally, I'm sick of people saying "We know the sites the government has blocked - it's that list of 17". No, actually we don't. We know (finally) some small subset of the sites the government has blocked. But by the government's own admission, they've been issuing orders like this one for a long time now. For all we know they may have issued a second notice on the 13th of July. For all we know they may have issued a dozen notices since. For all we know there might be thousands of websites that they've blocked before this that we don't know about. No, I'm not being paranoid (for a change!). I'm simply saying that as long as we don't have a complete list of all the sites that the government has ever blocked, we have no way of assessing the extent of censorship that the government is practising. So please, stop shooting off your mouth about 'how does it matter if the government blocks a few harmful sites' because you don't know (any more than I do) how many sites the government has blocked or what they contained.
P.S. To clarify - I'm not saying that it would be okay if the GoI were only banning blogs or had only banned 17 sites. Banning anything in this way is unacceptable. But it's important to recognise that the situation is much worse than that.
 I'll go a step further - if we want to fight these 'anti-social' elements (and believe that it's okay to make concessions on principles for that, as those who support banning clearly do) why not use propaganda ourselves? If 'they' can spread lies that will get people to hate decent fellow citizens, despite the fact that they're underground, despite the fact that they have little or no broad-based support, why can't 'we' spread lies that will make all these impressionable people hate them, when we're in a majority and control all of mass media? You'd think it would be easier. (You'll say - but that's lying! Sure. But how come you're willing to sacrifice the rights of ordinary citizens to fight terror, but won't tell a few lies of your own about these alleged hate-mongers?)