The Virtues of Moderation

James Grimmelmann, The Yale Journal of Law & Technology, Apr 07, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is a careful, deep, sophisticated article that consumed a large chunk of my morning working my through its 68 pages of detailed explanation and rich referencing. In many respects, this account of internet moderation can be considered authoritative. To view the taxonomy itself, view the table of contents, where we can see listed techniques, distinctions between types of moderation, and community characteristics. There are four case studies. As a note of caution, however, I draw attention to the author's four overall conclusions: moderation is complex; moderation is diverse; moderation is necessary; and moderation is messy. These conclusions are used to draw some 'lessons for law' in the area of the Communications Decency Act and copyright enforcement. This to my view, however, represents a not-so-subtle shift from communities on the internet to the internet as community. And it is by no means clear to me that the taxonomy, nor the conclusions, apply to the internet as a whole. And yet I feel that legislators and critics, on reading this article, will feel such a pull inevitable. At any rate, this is a must-read. Image: Best of Metafilter. Via Jessamyn West, Facebook.

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