Some years ago I started to participate in online conversation forum. I wasn’t really familiar with it. I partially enjoyed it very much as we tackled with some interesting philosophical topic, and I partially hated it, and regret having ever participated.
An interesting aspect of that forum is that it wasn’t moderated, and anyone could write about anything he/she wanted to, which often made it pretty chaotic and even more interesting.
However, there was indeed a sort of a moderation and censorship among it’s participants by it’s participants. Often, instead of discussing about the subject at hand, it’s participants engaged in ‘character kill’s (public defamation of another) in order to dominate with their idea the ideas of others. Stuff like ‘you think so because you’re brainwashed/crazy’ were very common. And so, as times passed, less and less interesting, interested and liberal people wrote, and in the end few remained, whose interest was mostly to pound their ideas, and to learn nothing that was not aligned with what they were already convinced about.
Although I keep hearing about it, I have never experienced censorship by law. But I have experienced it by many many people who instead of posing an argument about a topic, tried to attack me personally instead. Apparently, the years where governments did that work have passed. And apparently, those governments didn’t operate without the consent of such people.
Oddly enough, many identify themselves as great freedom lovers. And by that they only means they’re free to harm, while the other is not even entitled to backchat.
I try to be very courteous in not insulting anyone, by writing about something, but that’s pretty hard, or nearly impossible, as I either lack the skill to do so, or they lack the tolerance of a different viewpoint or both. I’d only insult somebody who habitually insults. That I consider fair. However, that’s not the sort of discussions I like to participate in.
Like I previously wrote free, honest communication can work as a great solver. But of course an intention to solve stuff must exist, as much as honesty, otherwise it work.
Unfortunately, a phenomenon can exist where what has been done to somebody, or what he has done to himself, he tends to do to others (and visa versa). And so, people that haven’t previously been free to talk, but to parrot certain ‘right’ things instead, and to get bad grades and ridiculed before other for anything ‘wrong’ they said, as they weren’t even the masters of their own minds, wont allow others that freedom, either. But in time, this will get better too.