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

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Fri Oct 12 02:33:22 EST 2012

What happens on email lists is performative on the level of the structure; 
with people leaving, the list can disappear. So you must have moderation. 
There's another list I know of, for example, that deals with suicidal 
people (the moderator actually killed himself - I'm not sure it's still 
running); my co-founder of Cybermind was on it (who also died, young, of 
more or less natural causes, a long story - his death set the tenor of the 
list for a long time), and told me that it was tightly controlled; it had 
to be. One of the greatest tragedies of the commons was what happened on 
the newsgroups - most of which were unmoderated; after AOL released about 
two million subscribers onto the Internet proper, and after the net was 
(more or less) privatized, they were hit with so much unstoppable spam, 
that they stopped functioning altogether as communities.

- Alan

On Thu, 11 Oct 2012, lgm at theorbiolchem.org wrote:

> If I'm not mistaken, this circle here is kept up by philosophers and intented 
> to be read by philosophers. In philosophy there is no such term as "hate 
> speach", but in philosphy there is much reasoning (even if indirect) for free 
> speach. Without free speach philosphy is dead.
> And let's not forget: everybody has the right to be stupid, and the 
> non-stupid ones have the responsibility to show how stupid the stupis is.
> Laszlo G Meszaros
> Quoting Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>:
>> 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 
>> alive.
>> - Alan
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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