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“Moderation” / “Censorship” / “Filtering” [Was: Re: list moderation]

From: Alexandre François Garreau
Subject: “Moderation” / “Censorship” / “Filtering” [Was: Re: list moderation]
Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2019 02:51:26 +0100

Le mardi 5 novembre 2019 18:17:16 CET, vous avez écrit :
> Samuel Thibault writes:
> > Wow, this is so welcoming a community...
> > 
> > Samuel
> Ruben has been placed under moderation and I rejected the message that
> you are referring to.  If you received it, it's because he sent it to
> you personally (I guess by scraping the email addresses of everyone who
> has participated).  I will see what options are available to us.

Mmh, this is very interesting.

It shows two problems, one social and one technical.

First of all, the first problem, social, shows moderation is censorship, 
because here it suffers from one of its flaws: when censoring something instead 
of fixing or answering it (and fixing the root of the problem we try to 
that same thing will keep going, but outside of our eyesight (hence of our 
possibility to react and fix it).  That’s not to say I want that moderation to 
cease too (lax is good), but just to better define terms (censorship might be 
not considered always bad (for instance self-censorship, or local personal 
censorship (as does a spam filter, a(n) (ad)blocker, or simply refusing to read 
something), though this is arguably (less) censorship)).

“Moderation” is a often a meliorative term for censorship (that arbitrarily 
groups it with *true* moderation: positively tell people to actively write 
less or tone down (which at least give them the choice and help adapt in a 
more fluid, consistent and responsible way), like ams did (and was acclaimed 
for) until then.

However, I guess some people might argue some specific censorship (like 
removing what’s illegal (like insults, hatred, possibly racism, critique 
against some regime, etc.) or useless (like spam or more broadly self-
repetition)) is not (it is, removing spam is useful censorship… that ought to 
be inspected… at least spammers don’t complain), and I find the notion of self-
censorship is arguably strictly the same, and both local personal censorship 
and refusal to read are likely not (contrarily to what a Crocker’s rule 
follower might advocate), hence the line to draw before saying it’s not 
censoring anymore.

So I propose saying “moderation”, or at least “positive moderation” for doing 
moderation like I said ams did (otherwise any censorship might be moderation, 
because it indeed moderates the amount of what’s possible to read, so it 
becomes either a too broad terms, either a poorly defined one), and “filtering” 
for actual removing or blocking of messages.

If you want to use “censorship” like me, please keep using “censorship” when 
it’s done by an entity different from the entity not reading anymore.  The more 
different the entity, the more censorship it is.  If the censor doesn’t/can’t 
read what he censors, he’s really much one.  If it’s a small part of the 
audience that would otherwise read, it is.  If it is *allegeably* most of the 
audiance, it might class as “tyranny of the majority”, but then it’s 
discutable. If that’s a software, that might still be, depending on several 
factors (is it free? does the user knows how it works? how to use it? 
inspected its job to be sure it works?).

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