?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Reddit's got it right: free speech is an ideal independent of laws

« previous entry | next entry »
May. 18th, 2014 | 01:34 pm

Attributed to Reddit administrators:

We stand for free speech. This means we are not going to ban distasteful subreddits. We will not ban legal content even if we find it odious or if we personally condemn it. Not because that's the law in the United States - because as many people have pointed out, privately-owned forums are under no obligation to uphold it - but because we believe in that ideal independently, and that's what we want to promote on our platform.


From a comment Further down the page:
Free speech is a concept that exists outside of the Bill of Rights and isn't wholly defined by the government.

All from http://www.reddit.com/r/comics/comments/23c1dq/xkcd_free_speech/

Link | Leave a comment |

Comments {9}

Ron Newman

(no subject)

from: ron_newman
date: May. 18th, 2014 08:46 pm (UTC)
Link

OK, but does that apply to every sub-reddit? Reddit and most other online forums (including LJ communities) would be unusable without some judicious moderation to keep things on-topic and spam-free.

Edited at 2014-05-18 08:48 pm (UTC)

Reply | Thread

bemused_leftist

(no subject)

from: bemused_leftist
date: May. 18th, 2014 08:57 pm (UTC)
Link

I'm not that familiar with Reddit. Of course moderation is needed, and even making one's own forum a 'safe space' to develop the ideas of one's own tribe is needed for larger free speech.

My point here is showcasing different people using different terms to show that 'free speech' is an ideal independent of laws, and shouldn't be dismissed as xkcd and others are doing.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Ron Newman

(no subject)

from: ron_newman
date: May. 18th, 2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
Link

If you run a private forum (online or otherwise), you may sometimes have to treat 'free speech' as a utility-maximizing function rather than as an absolute. Let's say there are 100 people in a forum, and one of them is a raving bigot whose rants make life unpleasant for the other 99. You can remove the disruptor, or you can do nothing and watch 80 other people leave in disgust. If you choose the latter, have you really protected free speech?

Edited at 2014-05-18 09:09 pm (UTC)

Reply | Parent | Thread

bemused_leftist

(no subject)

from: bemused_leftist
date: May. 18th, 2014 10:22 pm (UTC)
Link

Sure, safe spaces are good for the discourse in general. But a principle such as 'free speech' can apply universally, but to different extents in different cases. There's always some room for differing views, or there wouldn't be any room for discussion or developing consensus or at least better differing views.

I don't much tolerate raving unpleasant posts here, and imo no forum should.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Ron Newman

(no subject)

from: ron_newman
date: May. 18th, 2014 10:33 pm (UTC)
Link

But now you seem to be agreeing with me that free speech is not absolute, and that maximizing free speech may actually require limiting some speech. I came here for an argument ;-)

Reply | Parent | Thread

bemused_leftist

(no subject)

from: bemused_leftist
date: May. 19th, 2014 12:00 am (UTC)
Link

Sorry about that. I'll caffeinate and come back later. ;-)

Probably with something about the definitions of words like 'absolute'. How about, absolutely everybody* universally has a right to some amount of free speech in absolutely every forum/venue and the general marketplace of ideas.

Or, to have his universal right of free speech facilitated BY every etc etc, whether they agree with zim or not.

What amount of free speech (eg forum space) or facilitation, depends on the character of each forum etc, and how much or how little power the contrarian has to get zis views read/heard through other channels.

For example, a major news source should provide more (proportional) forum space to differing views, than a small support group for emotionally vulnerable refugees should.

But even at a near-worst case, a sincere contrarian should not be shouted down or insulted -- just perhaps the post quietly removed, and a note sent as to why it was off topic, and a suggestion of some other venue/s where it might be on topic.

I think fairness and decency require that I should try to facilitate all views getting heard somewhere -- and certainly not attack or insult or do anything else that might make someone FRIGHTENED to (in civil tone, of course) express their view.


* every nice, sincere, non-troll

Edited at 2014-05-19 12:02 am (UTC)

Reply | Parent | Thread

Greetings Fellow Comstoks!

(no subject)

from: fengi
date: May. 18th, 2014 09:58 pm (UTC)
Link

Reddit has a history of refusing to ban abusive/illegal content like upskirt pictures and non-consensual pictures of women. They revel in harassment and threads which call for the rape and harassment of "enemies". They are free to do so, but those chosing to do so are free to be revealed for who they are. That's the how free speech works.

Reddit uses that rhetoric as a pretext to profit from abusive and harassing communties, who often advocate harassment and behavior which victimized people in ostensibly legal ways and also to protect themselves from people who get exposed as bigots and then suffer the consequences. It's not high minded, it's just a "you can't sue us" mentality.

Edited at 2014-05-18 10:00 pm (UTC)

Reply | Thread

Ron Newman

(no subject)

from: ron_newman
date: May. 18th, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
Link

My impression is that Reddit is a collection of many independent fiefdoms, each of which is free to set its own rules. What's OK in /r/Boston might be forbidden in /r/LosAngeles , or vice versa.

Edited at 2014-05-18 10:08 pm (UTC)

Reply | Parent | Thread

bemused_leftist

(no subject)

from: bemused_leftist
date: May. 18th, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
Link

That's an example of ad hominem -- accusing your opponent of having bad motives, instead of focusing on zis actual statement.

Regardless of where Reddit admins got that statement, or why they posted it -- it still neatly makes a good point: that the ideal of 'free speech' is independent of laws, is an ideal which stands on its own, and which the larger unofficial community should honor rather than try to destroy (as xkcd did).

Reply | Parent | Thread