By facilitating two way communication, the Web enables single issue zealots to suppress free speech. Here’s a suggested fix.
The Web is a product of the enlightenment, but it’s being undermined:
…But the interactions always go something like this:
Interest group wants someone shut up, gathers some friends together, fires off several complaints without any foundation in reality. The site sees the sheer numbers and acts, either out of laziness or I believe sometimes sympathy for the interest group. The delete button is pressed.
The users find they have been deleted out of nowhere (to them) and contacts customer service or abuse. Almost always nothing is done, after many form letters and interactions.
This electronic equivalent of being shouted down by a mob is mostly driven by economics. Financially strapped web businesses can’t hire decent moderators, so leave the decision to censor to a grunt or an algorithm.
But if MySpace, LiveJournal, Digg, YouTube etc. are used by mobs to suppress free speech, that creates a great opening for more transparent competitors.
One nice competitive solution would be to make wannabe censors pay for every entry they want to suppress, say by PayPal. The abusive personality types that like to censor will do so as a habit and usually be economically weak.
So we just need to set the fee high enough to deter the habitual censor – say $50/hit. That would either drive the censors back to their old MySpace, Digg etc (turning these into digital slums), or enable the competitors to hire moderators. Either way, free speech is restored.
The new businesses would still be vulnerable to Saudi funded zealots.
But that helps the FBI track terror sympathizers (subpoena PayPal, ID censor, subpoena his bank account).
What’s not to like?