Moderation

Published by Prometheus in the blog Prometheus's blog. Views: 32

The intention of this post is not to slander any person involved with the recent actions here. In fact, in every aspect I’m aware of I believe it was handled very fairly. That is not to say that I know everything that might have happened privately just that what I witnessed showed restraint beyond most moderators I’ve dealt with. In this kind of community an anarchist, at least an AnCap such as me is faced with difficult ethical questions. Firstly an Anarchist doesn’t believe any person has the right to limit their freedom beyond the preservation of that other person’s same freedoms. The conflict comes from the belief in contractual law, and property rights. This forum is private property, and as such the owner has the right to do whatever they want with it. When we as members join we enter into a contractual agreement to follow a certain set of rules, or limitations upon our rights.

The event has got me thinking about times in the past (none here) where moderators have allowed their almost godlike powers to harm the community. I’m writing this as an example of what can happen when abuse, be it from members of the community or the moderators gets out of hand. In the following story I was the primary individual responsible for what happened. I won’t claim I was blameless, but will say that my actions were comparatively innocent to the rest of the participants.

Six years ago, at the height of my Libertarian activism days I joined a very lightly moderated libertarian forum. Over the next four years I cultivated a lot of friendships with those members and we personally and as a community grew. However, right from the beginning I had a personality conflict with another Alpha Type writer. We shared almost all political and philosophical beliefs but there was always friction between us.

One day I posted a link to an erotica picture (A Blackie IIRC) in the picture nipples could (sort of) be seen. This was a very lightly moderated forum, and more graphic content than it had been (openly) posted in the past. I even hung a NSFW tag above the link. The other writer who was one of the Mods banned me with no warning whatsoever. This forum had always listed “banned” under any member who was kicked out. The other Mods realizing the unfairness of this action chose not to list me as banned, in order to avoid addressing what had happened to the community. As I said I had developed quite a few good friendships there and it didn’t take them long to find out what had happened. They tried to redress the event within threads there. The Mods would delete these threads very quickly. Several of my friends quit in protest, several others stayed to fight on our behalf. They were banned in what eventually led to a 30% purge of active members. This event led to us starting our own un-moderated anarchist forum, one of only a handful on the net I know of.

The writer who I had the conflict with eventually quit because we were all unbanned and invited back. Most of us, myself included returned, but the place was never the same. We had seen the effects of bad moderation and preferred our new board. As I said, I feel this event here was handled very fairly but thought I’d post this as a plea for restraint by all.
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