Why free-speech platforms all end up moderating content

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/15/why-free-speech-platforms-all-end-up-moderating-content.html


Do you want your platform to look like the shit stain like 4chan? Or 8chan? (The site that said 4chan was too square.) Then you gotta moderate at some point.


And let’s not forget that 8chan exists because 4chan started moderating /v/


Unfortunately the act of providing a soapbox functions as an amplifier for the extremist view. Perhaps this is a ‘feature’ of any social animal…? As a thought experiment, place a platform in a public place with a megaphone on it and see how many address the crowd with a call for the temperate view. If that occurs at all, (sez me), it’ll be the outlier.


AI is not going to save us either…


This is the “Nazi bar” story, for people who haven’t seen it before


So, what exactly did they moderate? I pop in like 2x a year and it seems as vile as ever.




Free speech is protection for ideas, not the right to distribution.

“The government is bad” should never be an offense. You can stand on a soapbox and yell that all day.But there’s no obligation for anyone to distribute it. A newspaper just decides there’s no news.

And there are restrictions to “free speech”. Usually because what’s said might harm someone or cause others to act.

Eugene Debs spoke against war in WWI and got ten years in prison. The committee organized to protect him and other war resisters slowly morphed into the ACLU. They don’t protect nazis bevause of the cause, they fight for free speech.

There is a big difference between the time I wrote about cops disappearing so one could threaten me with a beating, what it felt like and what I thought of doing afterwards, to a hearing on racial profiling, and someone putting up a poster “kill a cop”. I was conveying what it felt like, and should never be punished.


It should also be noted that most platforms that adopt a “free speech” slogan as a badge of honor are fairly notorious for moderating and banning users who post leftist content, because “free speech” in the context of these kinds of sites is almost always a mask for “I want to be a Nazi without getting called out for it”.


Really? That was their bridge too far?

I guess I am out of the loop - but I don’t search in the dark corners much anymore :confused:


lol I was going to say the exact opposite. While that AI is clearly not up to the task a properly trained ML is the only way to go. Properly labeled comments, inline with whatever the corporate policy is, used to train ML as to what isn’t and what is acceptable would be able to classify comments in real-time. The key is properly trained ML, there will be mistakes but those mistakes then get adjusted in the re-training of the ML and it gets better. Bonus is it won’t care if the comment comes from an influencer or celebrity etc. and treat them all equally and then if the platform goes against it’s own policy it becomes obvious.

Any platform who’s lack of central moderation is dependent on the people controlling it not wanting to do that will always fail. Eventually there will be a financial or legal gun put to their heads, and it’ll happen.

For a platform with no central moderation, it has to be impossible for anyone to do that, by design.


No need for thought experiments


I’ve seen a lot of references to punks rejecting nazis lately, but this is great.

Another good bar analogy I saw on twitter: https://twitter.com/JenAshleyWright/status/1349493225007013895


Any unmoderated forum open to the wider internet will turn into a sewer of shit-flinging trolls, shrieking bigots, conspiracy theorists and loons. This has been known since the Usenet days, and yet people keep imagining that “this time will be different!”


So sad to hear assholes are having trouble finding each other. This is the organism healing itself. The community is asserting itself. Toxicity on SM continues to be a real problem and this is the remedy, for now. Be creative, assholes. It’s the least you can do for society. Fuck your fascist fallback techniques.

My in-progress social media platform (I registered the domain years ago, but I never got motivated to set up my idea) would curate content. Utter diarrhea content for shit-stain use base. And ordinary content for people who have a brain instead of a head filled with bees.

The technical aspects aren’t too tough, it’s a well-tread path, even though I’m not a “web guy”. The main need for allowing such horseshit content on my platform is that I wanted it to be decentralized and beyond my control. My main worry is pedos and terrorists (foreign or domestic, I don’t draw a distinction).

So anything that is basically only there for the purpose of shit-stirring gets moved to the ‘cesspool’ channel?