I love the old days of the Internet and Usenet in particular. Life on Usenet was considerably different than it is today. Moderated groups were rare and the huge majority of them were unmoderated and yet they worked for the most part. Moderation was something that people did and not moderators. If you didn’t want to see something, then you added that person or a keyword to your “killfile” and they wouldn’t show up again. It was a simple and mostly affective block.

I don’t think we could go back to that way of doing things. It just wouldn’t work. People don’t want to be responsible for moderating what they see.

…and yet there might be something there that can be taken and applied to future social media forums. Let’s call it a reputation system. With a reputation system, we can get rid of a lot of banning and shadow-banning. One of the truths of free-speech is that people have the right to speak but they don’t have the right to be heard. That people that people have the right to ignore things that they don’t want to hear.

Let’s say that User1 is moderately popular in Political_Group_A but non well known or somewhat less liked in Political_Group_B. If he posts in a forum for Political_Group_A, then his comments will be higher in the list and if he posts in Political_Group_B, it may be somewhat lower.

In the case of User2, if she is a troll when it comes to Political_Group_A who only shitposts, when it comes to Political_Group_B, her reputation will also be lower there by default.

Then there is User3 who is new to the forums. His reputation will be low everywhere until he starts contributing to the conversation. It will be tougher for a new user to get recognized but a user with no reputation is still better that a user with a bad reputation. This also helps with people with multiple accounts. I should take a while to build up a new account.

Reputation would be based on like and dislikes from what they post but also whether the user’s own account gets likes and dislikes. A user who is generally pretty positive but has a single bad take shouldn’t destroy their entire reputation but a known troll who actually has an insightful comment shouldn’t be ignore for it.

Should people be able to other users' reputation score? I don’t know, though I do think that a person should always be able to see their own.

Reddit has a system sort of like this, but more rudimentary, and they do employ bans, shadow bans, and autobans for be a part of the wrong community which I’m against in most cases. What I really want is to put moderation in the hands of the people like in the old days of Usenet, but in a sane and user-friendly way.

The biggest problem that I see, besides the inherent complexity of a system like this? What do you do when someone sends a bot army after someone that they don’t like to destoy their reputation score because they dared to post in something unfavorable in a political group or had an unpopular opinion about a sports team? People on the intenet are vicious and they will try to hurt each other, sometimes for the dumbest offences.

Oh well, this is the kind of thing that I think about at midnight when I’m trying to get to sleep.