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[liberationtech] Facebook Asks - Hard Questions: Social Media and Democracy

carlo von lynX lynX at
Tue Jan 23 11:19:00 PST 2018

> > If the rules of the discursive process are sufficiently
> > well defined, then everyone is inhibited from causing
> > damage or bring forward opinions that aren't compatible
> > with previous fundamental decisions such as human rights
> > etc. To ensure that rules are respected you need
> > moderators and to ensure that moderators aren't abusing
> > their powers you need judges. That's what it takes to
> > really have online democracy - simplifications may fail.

On Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 12:08:32PM -0500, Richard Brooks wrote:
> You are begging the question. Who makes those rules?
> If it is the majority, then 50 years ago gay speech
> (let alone transgender) would have been suppressed.
> How do you deal with the tyranny of the majority?

Majority is a word I learned to dislike in recent years.
I like consensus. Not a perfect consensus, because that
is too hard to achieve, but something like a 80 or 90%
consensus. I am bumping into entire political groupings
that are trying out such a path of consensus to avoid all
the failures of majority decision-making, so it seems to
be part of a general philosophical development of the
new digital human society.

Also, there are methods that give space to minorities
without at the same time giving them the power to
dominate all discourse. Consider that our current
political system is dominated by minorities that can
pay for lobbyism etc. So the method it takes must be
well balanced, to ensure the *rights* of minorities
without becoming unjust.
> And the hecklers veto? Are pro-nazi statements
> permitted (in the US, yes. In Germany with a
> constitution written in large part by the US,
> no.)

In the US it is legal to make pro-nazi statements
in your home or pub, but that doesn't mean that it
is permitted to do so within an assocation of
people that have agreed on stricter rules, like
the respect of human and civil rights. Therefore,
if the group first establishes that statements
disrespectful of others aren't permissible, such
statements would not get published on the platform.

Actors who tend to employ offensive rhethorical
methods would have to learn to refrain themselves,
which in my experience works suprisingly fast.
The best way not to have any unpleasant exchange
with moderators is to respect the rules.

Should the moderators however be in error, blocking
a statement that doesn't actually infringe prior
agreed rules, then there must be a way to appeal to
a higher court. The net needs to learn to practice
checks and balances in everyday online discourse,
I think - because automated or collective justice
systems do not actually produce justice.

So, does that sound like a plan?

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