The Echo Chamber

So if we ban those we don't agree with from 'our' social media, do they go away?

I get this feeling we are making our conversations worse off.

And they don't.

Of course we support the banning of unpopular ideas, but my unpopular ideas is I review and write erotica. I am sure I am somewhere "on the list" somewhere because what I do is disagreeable to some and uncomfortable to others.

But I like those with radical and unpopular ideas to be on social media platforms, because if these ideas are truly reprehensible - they can be challenged. Instead, I feel they become ban-fests where users "run to mommy" with the reporting system and disagreement becomes a deletion game.

Back when I played a lot of old-school online multiplayer games, there were these unwritten rules. Never report anyone. Never get a moderator involved. Let the community moderate itself. If someone were truly a bad player, they would isolate themselves through their actions. Completely through community action and avoiding the "ban hammer" of often unwarranted responses and unconcerned moderators that worked for the company.

But I feel we have these social media services that want to drive the discussion. They feel they have a political bent and agenda, and I feel probably not related to one viewpoint but to funding and profitability. I want opposing viewpoints, and I want people on there I don't agree with. I don't want the moderators playing games with deleting accounts for anything other than spamming, harassment, or true abuse.

And there are some ideas that do upset people greatly that should be discussed without fear. If someone supported complete and total nuclear disarmament for all countries, something seen as radical and dangerous, should they be silenced as well? They upset a group of people, cause fights, post inflammatory memes, and hold radical beliefs - so maybe we should ban them?

I say let them speak.

For anybody. I may hate the idea someone advocates, but I don't care. I believe the light defeats the darkness, it sends the cockroaches scurrying away, and why are you taking away my ability to reply to people I disagree with and instead...we ban them from the service. Right or left, this or that, or whatever the issue may be. Express an unpopular opinion and get banned.

I feel progress can only happen with free and open discussion. That discussion, that fight, that battle, may lead us to a better world. Many good things in our history came after a long battle where ideas are shared and viewpoints argued. And I believe in the progression towards a universal good, that the best and most fair ideas held by most shall win.

I do not fear the darkness.

In fact, we need to fight it to advance the common good.

And so now the darkness is hidden.

And what defines darkness? For one side or the other they see each other as such. A platform attracts one type of user and ban the other. One issue takes over the community and they ban discussion of any alternatives. Right or left, this issue or that, it does not matter. But fairness can exist on both sides and this is one of the common goods.

By banning you are letting fear win by using fear to moderate your community.

And I do not fear any idea. I fear outcomes, but never discussion.

Do I want to support that by my use of the platform? I am a free speech advocate, and I feel it is a basic human right. For everyone. As long as it does not cause harm, I feel we are better off with the free flow of ideas. My use of a social media platform means I support what they do. I am one of those old-school consumer activism types, if your company supported taking away people's human rights or supplied weapons for a war in a third-world country I did not agree with I did not do business with you.

My choice. But these platforms are so big I suspect really don't have one. There are no other places to go.

I get this queasy feeling banning for unpopular speech is the digital equivalent of silencing opposition figures in a dictatorship. These platforms are so big I feel they have a monopoly on communication these days. You can't get away from them. Social media is the public square these days.

The times, they have changed.

I feel we end up with a slow and steady progression towards an echo chamber of similar ideas. This is not as useful to me because it limits the reach and audience of the platform. I have fans on all sides of every issue, and I don't really care about their politics. I care about what I write.

And I know how this goes.

Someday the person who upsets someone will be me.