/ ethereum

Some Thoughts on Censorship

Yesterday Fragmented got a lot of attention from a Reddit comment I made to share the project. In the comments, a discussion was started over how a lack of censorship can attract a very low-quality community. Low-quality meaning people who post content that most of the world would find highly distasteful. My goal is not for Fragmented to be an "Anything goes" platform, and some wording on the landing page may have been misleading. I fixed this by adding the word "unjust" to the sentence "Fragmented will be a safe place to peacefully share your opinions without unjust censorship". I do think certain types of content should be censored. In particular, while Fragmented uses a centralized backend like the Beta uses now, I will have to delete any post that links to illegal content.

Ideally, one person or company should not be making decisions on what content to allow or censor on a platform like this. It will take some time to build features into Fragmented that allow the community to do this rather than relying on me. And that is the goal - to build a platform where the users decide which content is acceptable or not. Today when a platform like Facebook has billions of users who live in many different countries, it is not right that only a few people and algorithms at Facebook get to decide what goes on their platform. Facebook is building tools to enable governments to censor content.

This is why Fragmented is important. We can't allow corporations that only care about their stock price to own the only means of expression that people have access to.

We can't pretend that governments always do the right thing. And that every person in the world is free to call them out on it without threats of violence. We have to build unstoppable tools that allow people in free countries to exercise their rights, and to allow those who don't to achieve them.

I do not have all the answers about what types of content are acceptable to post online. That is why I am inviting all of you to join the discussion. Let's solve this problem together. Please tell me what you think about censorship in the comments on Fragmented.

Update 2/11/18

I have since found some articles on Medium that describe the censorship practices on r/Bitcoin. I knew that there was censorship on r/Bitcoin, but did not know how bad until reading these articles, so I will share them below for anyone that is interested:

https://medium.com/@lopp/moderation-methods-vs-censorship-claims-f6baeb3c7392
https://medium.com/@johnblocke/a-brief-and-incomplete-history-of-censorship-in-r-bitcoin-c85a290fe43
https://medium.com/@johnblocke/r-bitcoin-censorship-revisited-58d5b1bdcd64

My goal with Fragmented is to design a system where subscribers to a community can directly vote using Ethereum on the rules of that community. They can also vote on moderators who will have some power to remove or block content. In addition, there will also be moderation logs so that users can see exactly what the moderators are doing. I think this will create a healthy balance of power that will allow moderators to remove scams, obscene, illegal, and hateful content while giving users the power to remove the moderators if they abuse their power.