[Foundation-l] Letter to the community on Controversial Content

Thomas Morton morton.thomas at googlemail.com
Tue Oct 18 09:43:07 UTC 2011

> > And that is a mature and sensible attitude.
> >
> > Some people do not share your view and are unable to ignore what to
> > them are rude or offensive things.
> >
> > Are they wrong?
> >
> > Should they be doing what you (and I) do?
> >
> > Tom
> The question is, if we should support "them" to not even try to start
> this learning progress. It's like saying: "That is all you have to know.
> Don't bother with the rest, it is not good for you."
> nya~

 Which assumes that they want to, or should, change - and that our approach
is better and we are right. These are arrogant assumptions, not at all in
keeping with our mission.

It is this fallacious logic that underpins our crazy politics of
"neutrality" which we attempt to enforce on people (when in practice we lack
neutrality almost as much as the next man!).

It's like religion; I am not religious, and if a religious person wants to
discuss their beliefs against my lack then great, I find that refreshing and
will take the opportunity to try and show them my argument. If they don't
want to, not going to force the issue :)

> It's like saying: "That is all you have to know. Don't bother with the
rest, it is not good for you."

Actually, no, it's exactly not that. Because we are talking about
user-choice filtering. In that context, providing individual filtering tools
for each user should not be controversial.

I understand where that becomes a problem is when we look at offering
pre-built "block lists", so that our readers don't have to manually
construct their own preferences, but can click a few buttons and largely
have the experience they desire. So we have this issue of trading usability
against potential for abuse; I don't have an immediate solution there, but I
think we can come up with one. Although we do quite poorly at handling abuse
of process and undermining of content on-wiki at the moment, this could be a
unique opportunity to brainstorm wider solutions that impact everywhere in a
positive way.

If an individual expresses a preference to hide certain content, it is
reasonable for us to provide that option for use at their discretion.

Anything else is like saying "No, your views on acceptability are wrong and
we insist you must see this".[1]

*That* is censorship.


1. I appreciate that this is the status quo at the moment, I still think it
is censorship, and this is why we must address it as a problem.

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