Ron Silliman has, in a word, opted in favor of Internet censorship, radically curtailing the reader's right to offer intelligent, constructive criticismnot taking questions from the audience at a private event you entirely sponsored and organized is not a sign of the end of free speech. getting rid of the letters to the editor section of a non-profit publication that you pay for out of pocket is not a sign that everyone is being repressed by a totalitarian dictator. and getting rid of the comment section on your own blog is not the downfall of freedom as we know it.
you can't just go screaming that you've been repressed every time someone makes a personal decision that happens to violate your vastly over-inflated sense of entitlement.
Silliman's decision to end the comment section sucks, but your free speech is still intact. you can still go get your own blog, write something, and Silliman will probably even link to you every so often, put you on his blog roll and all that. the funniest thing about Conrad's complaints that free speech is dead is that i guarantee that Silliman will link to his post.
Silliman scours the internet every week for pertinent poetry discussions and links to them. he does this for free, for nothing, on top of his job, family, and poetry and blog output. how anyone can get the idea that they are entitled to this free service is completely beyond me.