What's the difference between censor, moderate and review?

Real-world examples would be much appreciated.

Edit: thanks for the answers guys, from my understanding, censorship means the action to prevent readers from knowing stuff, moderating means making readers get an altered version of stuff, and review means feedback for editing. Is my understanding OK?


Censoring removes material from a work; deleting a scene, placing black bars over exposed genitalia, "bleeping out" obscenities, and so forth. For example, Pink Floyd's song Money had a censored version for radio play throughout most of the 80s and 90s where the line "Don't give me that do-goody-good bullshit" had the word "shit" replaced with silence.

Moderating in internet usage is often a combination of editing and censoring; you look over existing posts for offensive or off-topic material and either re-word the offensive parts or remove the posts. Preferably there is an element of feedback in this process to provide the offending poster with a chance to improve their habits.

The other type of moderating generally is as the person who facilitates a debate between two or more people, making sure that all debaters get asked the same questions, get the same chance to answer them, and do not monopolize the microphone.

Reviewing is providing feedback regarding a work (sometimes directly to the author, sometimes to the potential audience of the work), where you explain what you liked and didn't like about it, and in the case of direct feedback given prior to the work's final production, make suggestions on how to change the work to improve it. For example, Many authors provide pre-release copies of their latest book in a series to a small core of dedicated fans, who point out problems with continuity, plot holes, and the like so that the author can fix things up before the book is published.

  • Is it safe to say moderating is also a form of censorship? – est Feb 24 '11 at 6:07
  • Censorship is generally used to refer to the removal of "objectionable" material; something that offends or disturbs. Internet-based moderation is more about keeping a community properly focused on its intended purpose, not allowing distractions to arise and overwhelm the desired conversations. In many cases those distractions may be interesting and enjoyable, they're just not what is supposed to be going on; so the moderators are there to "steer" rather than to "censor". (In some cases, of course, actual censoring may be required in order to steer properly.) – Hellion Feb 24 '11 at 7:18

Censoring has to do with removing parts of a text.

Moderating has to do with examining a text for appropriateness and taking action as appropriate.

Reviewing has to do with examining a text for appropriateness, but the reviewer may not necessarily have the power to take action.

For example, if I write an article critical of a country, the country might censor me by removing that article. If I were to curse, a moderator might edit my post to remove that word and send me a warning. Reviewing generally has less to do with this type of situation.


Agreeing with waiwai933, but I would add:

When you censor, you edit out what you don't like, or suppress the work entirely.

When you moderate, you re-write what you don't like (although "moderating" a written work is a rare usage).

When you review, you produce a separate document summarizing your opinion.

  • censor: examine a book, a movie, etc. officially and suppress unacceptable parts of it
  • moderate: make or become less extreme, intense, rigorous, or violent; (in academic and ecclesiastical contexts) preside over a deliberative body or at a debate
  • review: examine or assess something formally with the possibility or intention of instituting change if necessary; write a critical appraisal of a book, play, movie, etc. for publication in a newspaper or magazine

Her mail was being censored.
She shall not moderate her criticism.
A panel moderated by a Harvard University law professor was assembled to resolve the issues.
The company's safety procedures are being reviewed.
I reviewed her first novel.

[Reference: the New Oxford American Dictionary.]

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