[-empyre-] VII: free speech and its ends

Jonathan Marshall Jonathan.Marshall at uts.edu.au
Thu Oct 11 14:14:25 EST 2012

I agree with everything Alan says here, and thanks again to everyone for adding to the discussion

The point is 'simply' that dilemmas arise and they are painful dilemmas
and they are not simple dilemmas - or even binary dilemmas.

And that people get hurt, and withdraw, and internet communities can die off 
in the face of pain aroused by text, and reaction to text - .
(And the pain is not metaphoric at all)

And yes everybody knows this, but often people want to make it clean and
unemotional, or simply EVIL - which is an emotional response in itself.

(We have had a lot of news media space devoted to the evils of 'trolling recently
in australia - with at least one newspaper claiming victory over trolls....
As i will try and argue later, trolling is not completely avoidable in the info society, neither is flame)

And as i've described on a number of ocassions, this maintaining order (to me) 
seemed to be a burden put onto the moderators, 
as they would often be blamed for what happened, when
indeed they had done their best to mitigate the angst and restore harmony
(to the extent that harmony was ever normal)

The awareness that there is no simple right solution is another pain people have to carry, or supress.


>The situation is an aporia; there are no short-cuts but decisions have to
>be made. When there was hate speech or trolling, the list became unweildy
>and furious; while I as co-moderator might side with subscribers who
>wanted completely freedom, the fact was that - out of pain and anger -
>we'd usually lose about a third of subscriber within the first few weeks,
>and other postings would go down. In a sense, the list was held captive.

>On a practical level, there were two ways we dealt with this behind the
>scenes - first, I never made decisions alone; they were always made by the
>co-moderators together; and second, I would also try to nip things in the
>bud (an odd metaphor, ah well) - if someone joined the list and
>immediately posted something defamatory about the 'Hebrews' (which
>happened), I'd immediately unsub that person and ban him or her.

>There's no solution right for everyone; as you know, this list as well is
>moderated, and its the moderation that hopefully keeps the discussions

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