Why I Don't Like (and Often Leave) Communities Without at Least Some Moderation/Regulation

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1 year ago

Decentralisation has its positive/useful features/points, but it's not a one-size-fits-all tool. Nodes, by necessity, must (and will) always be centralised if they are to have any longevity. Censorship isn't the problem; political factions and lack of confidence are. Play by the rules, appeal to authority to change them when you have an issue with them or GTFO!

Content approval (censorship) can be A Good Thing, if done fairly and judiciously by the people whom are trusted to wield the power accorded to them. (Benevolent dictators aren't inherently bad, autocratic or otherwise.) In the best case, it ensures that only posts of quality and that are on topic make it into any particular channel/group (particularly if that group is focused on certain political ideologies or causes; you wouldn't want an Incel having free reign in a Feminist group, for example). However, if you don't trust/endorse the moderators (even if you personally don't like them or their decisions), the problem lies with the leadership or the group's members, not the fact that the group is moderated/censored.

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, Your Grace?" —Pessimal

"Oh, I know that one", said Vimes. "Who watches the watchmen? I do."

"Yes, but who watches you?", asked Pessimal with a self-satisfied little smile.

"I do that too", said Vimes, "all the time."

— Terry Pratchett; Thud!

I am the owner of a fact-/knowledge-sharing channel on Noise (and a couple here), one of the rules of which is "cite your source", the other is "write legibly". Those are there not because I'm a grammar Nazi (although I am), but so that I can check submissions for accuracy and subscribers can draw their own conclusions from the presented material without having to do mental labour on the behalf of the poster. I've received a number of interesting/informative and well-written submissions, but the key disqualifying factor is that there's no source citation given, so I've rejected them for not adhering to the channel's only rule. Otherwise, I risk decreasing the quality of the channel by flouting standards. My channel, my rules, biased or otherwise. (I'm generally not an adherent or endorser of following rules, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.) An important point worth mentioning is that to keep things fair and balanced and make sure I don't hold all the power (being a firm believer in/subscriber of Anarcho-Syndicalism), I seek out non-like-minded individuals in whom I have confidence to both uphold the rules and contest/question my decisions in a rational and reasonable manner. To these people I grant moderation powers.

Well-kept walled gardens die by pacifism. When you remove the centralised regulation, you remove the barriers to entry that keep out the trolls. Giving trolls free reign because no banhammer exists or those with the power to wield it are too afraid/underconfident to do so until the eleventh hour is more harmful in the long term than using the banhammer indiscriminately will ever be.

Total freedom simply reverts power and freedom to those with the means and will to take it by force from others. Very swiftly follows totalitarian oppression, since no-one takes a stand against it.

The Libertarian idea that, somehow, total freedom will be totally freeing is put paid to by the fact that there still does not exist a single functional society or government in the world that is both libertarian and a good place to live, irrespective of how advanced is the technology it leverages. There's a subtle, but distinct, difference between anarchy and chaos (mob rule).

As the old adage goes, "if you don't like it, you're as free to leave of your own volition as you were when you joined". That is the freedom for which we should strive, not the mistaken and ignorant idea that because everyone is free to hold an opinion (ridiculous or erroneous as it may be), they are also free to not experience consequences, ridicule or ostracism for expressing it.

In summation: Censorship isn't the problem; political factions and lack of confidence are. Play by the rules, appeal to authority to change them when you have an issue with them or GTFO! Whatever you do, don't attempt to remove censorship or demolish the walls of the fortress in which you're comfortable and safe!

Lead image: Photo by Sora Shimazaki from/on Pexels

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