Against moderator action

The people who run almost every platform that has user-generated content of any kind share an assumption that it's necessary to have moderators remove uncivil content. This assumption is mostly wrong.

My thoughts about this were influenced by Shamus Young's "Philosophy of Moderation" where he argues against having explicit written rules. His article is great, but my position is more extreme than his. Hereafter, I'm going to use the word "censorship" instead of the euphemism "moderation".

Philosophy of Moderation

First, I argue against the *necessity* of censorship. Muting systems are not much less effective at achieving the benefits. If someone's persistently an asshole, more people will block/mute them until no one wants to engage. It isn't as instant or sweeping a consequence as censorship, but that's not a bad thing - it can allow for more granular consequences rather than a moderator having to decide whether to delete something or not.

Next, I argue for *drawbacks* of censorship.

And it's not just the censored user that gets bitterer. Anyone who wasn't responsible but liked the censored content or just thought censorship was an overreaction will also be offended.


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