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Patnet and censorship: Performance Art?

By justme following x   2017 Nov 14, 11:22am 11,682 views   236 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    

I wonder if @Patrick has just staged a piece of censorship Performance Art by instituting omnipotent censorship, under the guise of "moderation", and crowd-sourced mass-silencing (encouraging the use of the "uncivil" button) on patrick.net. The aforementioned scheme of blog control is so far removed from Patrick's former free-speech self that I am starting to wonder. Perhaps this is just an exercise in showing what happens when you give absolute power over some domain of life to ONE semi-random person, even one that otherwise professes to love liberty and freedom?

It is more than a little ironic (but should not be surprising to any serious student of human nature) that right-wingers appear to be every bit as eager to censor their opponents as they have recently been accusing the left-wingers of being. And by that I mean the last several years of talk about liberals and their desire for "safe spaces" on and off university campuses, calling them "special snowflakes", and so on.

Well, the right-wing has in recent days been out in force on Patnet, trying to enforce a "safe space" , free of "uncivility" and "NSFW" material, and acting like special snowflakes themselves. And boy, are these right-wing special snowflakes melting down Patnet in a volcanic eruption of censorship actions.

The famous 1960s psychological experiment known as the Stanford Prisoner Project comes to mind as an analogy of sorts. That experiment showed what happens when you give authority for random people to control other random people. What soon happened was not pretty. Read up on it if you want.

Finally, I will revisit and highlight a suggestion I have made several times this year:

What I would like to see is to have free speech, and at the same time avoid massive storms of low-quality comments. For a blog, I think that means to make threads and comments a limited commodity for all posters. Specifically, to limit the number of threads that a user can post on any given day to 1 or 2, and to limit how many comments every user can post on every thread to 10, or 10% of the total number of comments on the thread, whichever is larger.

The purpose of moderation should not be to censor certain forms of expression, but rather to make everyone's time (or space) on the proverbial soapbox a valuable commodity. That way, users are more likely to spend their posting currency wisely. Users who wastes their currency by posting low-quality drivel will lose esteem, or at the very least not be able to dominate the discussion based on volume posted only.

Think of it as rules of order, a very lightweight and blog-adapted version of Robert's rules of order. (By the way, a quite well-known now former pat-netter just mentioned Robert's rules just days ago, and is hereby recognized.)

PS: I very well understand the meta-question as to whether the impact of a blog, as measured by commercial value or informative value, or even political/propaganda value(!), is reduced when the number of threads or comments are somewhat limited. I think many people may think so, perhaps even Patrick himself. Personally, I will take quality over quantity any day.


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