Cat Rambo has an unsurprisingly insightful essay on the Baen’s Bar mess:
“I am so tired of this argument, which so often gets used by people who have, indeed, fought the good fight but somewhere along the line also acquired the idea that only people who’ve gotten punched in the face for speaking get to talk. That’s what underlies someone talking about “swooning” or “pearl-clutching” and don’t even get me started on some of the gender stuff that gets draped onto that rhetoric like a six year old putting tinsel on a Christmas tree.”http://www.kittywumpus.net/blog/2021/02/18/opinion-on-baen-books-moderating-discussion-boards-political-expression/
Well worth a read but it also made me think of showing pictorially what was wrong with some of what Eric Flint said. I keep circling back to the kinds of stuff actual white supremacist murderers have posted on line, like the Christchurch murderer making jokes about the Spyro the Dragon video game in a manifesto calling for a race war. Flint is literally deluded about there being a common sense way of spotting real threats from jokes.
The delusion is that there’s a nice clear distinction between the two (or at worst a small overlap) so that there’s a nice clear point or zone where a moderator can step in and outlaw the truly bad stuff from the innocent jokes or just-arguing-hypotheticals etc. It is an utterly wrong headed perspective that is literally helping violent people organise online.
I thought this illustration might help. The ‘moderate here’ line is intended to be the point where you can be pretty confident that all the bad stuff gets moderated. I call the bottom one ‘reality’ but even that is an idealised situation and doesn’t reflect how broad genuine threats can be.