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NotFound404
NotFound404

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Do you want a decentralized web with free speech support?

When we use the web, every site on this web is centralized.
Where the administrators or moderators can delete, block, mute and other administratively operate on their users.

As a user, do you ever think about to have a decentralized web where no admins or moderators can do any operation on you, and you can publish any content you wish to, even it is false and offensive.

If you agree to have such a web, how would you do to realize it? which technologies will you choose?

Discussion (41)

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booleanhunter profile image
Ashwin Hariharan • Edited on

As a user, do you ever think about to have a decentralized web where no admins or moderators can do any operation on you, and you can publish any content you wish to, even it is false and offensive.

I would never agree to this ever - and I say this as someone whose genuinely good content has been banned or removed more than once from social media. I very well understand why one might hate moderation, but it's necessary for platforms that allow users to generate content.

Almost every major computer scientist who have shaped the internet as we know it unanimously agree that blockchain's immutability would be a terrible use-case for any app that has user-generated content, and this would create an immense scope for abuse.


Where the administrators or moderators can delete, block, mute and other administratively operate on their users.

Much has been talked about how moderation is evil, about how admins are all these bad people who are constantly banning you. The cases of genuinely good content still being blocked by moderators are but a small fraction - what we fail to see is the vast majority of moderation working for the benefit of users by removing swathes of objectionable and offensive content, preventing abuse on a daily basis.

Here's an excellent video that dives deep into the problems that can potentially arise when you introduce immutability and lack of moderation - the worst possible combo for user generated content:

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610470416 profile image
NotFound404 Author

I don't think it is a small fraction.
Almost all moderators are evil as history tells us.
Even with democracy, administrators and moderators in real society can very easy to be evil. Let alone on a centralized web site administrators with unlimited power.

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booleanhunter profile image
Ashwin Hariharan • Edited on

Almost all moderators are evil? 😳

Even dev.to has moderators who flag bad content, remove spam and copyrighted content. Despite what you might believe, this is what they are interested in doing. Are you suggesting the majority of them are evil?

Even if democracy or moderation was as bad as you say, the alternatives proposed need to be better. No moderation or 0 governance seems to me isn't a solution at all, it would just lead to anarchy.

If someone were to post private information of me on social media, I'd want that information that could potentially be misused against me by bullies, to be deleted. I'm interested to hear whether you have any solutions that address this problem without any moderation whatsoever.

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610470416 profile image
NotFound404 Author

bullies are equivalent to moderations. Centralization is almost the same to anarchy. But moderations(centralization) may kill the truth message, but bullies(decentralization) won't. In fact the humain history is a history on how to learn to overcome power centralization.

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qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

Your "want" of having your information information the spread of which you believe impacts you negatively may be a "nice to fulfill", but it is not fundamentally different from any other censorship.
Human rights are continuously eroded under the motto of "Think of the troops children!". This is no different.
I am sorry there is information out there that's tragic for you, but removing it from popular platforms would not make it actually disappear. (Unless it was so uninteresting that truly no one has backups.)

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booleanhunter profile image
Ashwin Hariharan • Edited on

Okay, let me try and unpack things a bit,

First off, I'm not talking about stuff that people find offensive or something that hurts my feelings. I'm talking about information on the internet that can cause real tangible harm (like your private photos being exposed, or your home address/phone number - these are just a few examples on the top of my head).

What if someone plagiarized your content or some copyrighted information? Should we expect all this to remain permanently visible on the internet? It might have been uploaded by someone else. Heck, you could have put it up yourself too, unknowingly. Or maybe you put it earlier but now you regret it. Except now there's no way to undo or it - if a mistake is made knowingly or unknowingly, it's etched on the platform forever.

If web3 enthusiasts claim that not only they're building the next generation of the internet, but that it will be better, then they absolutely need to account for these problems.

I've in-fact moved away from centralized blogging platforms like Medium to now writing on my own custom blog first. So rest assured that I am well aware of the negatives of too much centralization.

But in correcting for it, the solution isn't to swing the pendulum to the other extreme (i.e have 0 regulation, 0 laws, 0 moderation). We aren't living in a communistic utopia where people are all nice and good, so checks and balances will still need to be there. Otherwise, you might as well argue let's get rid of the police force and the constitution as we know it. Just like there are negatives in having too much moderation, there are negatives to having absolutely no moderation.

The rational solution is better moderation and better ways to elect moderators, not no moderation.

There are positives to having some centralisation - so much so that even web3 is inevitably moving towards centralisation. Marketplaces like OpenSea are effectively acting as authorities, deciding which NFTs are fraudulent and flagging them - and the artists from whom art work was stolen/plagiarized are more than grateful for it.

My content has also been removed in the past due to moderation. But however distasteful you and I find it, moderation in moderate amounts is the only way we know as of now that ensure that platforms with user-generated content don't inevitably descend into a cesspit of poor quality content, NSFW content, fake news & propaganda, to outright abuse & putting information that could potentially harm people. Quality and authenticity is what makes a digital platform valuable to people.

But of course, if you have a solution that accounts for and fixes all of the above with 0 moderation, I'm all ears. ☺️

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610470416 profile image
NotFound404 Author

The decentralized web is aimed to protect the freedom of speech, not to protect the privacy or any other things.
Because even with centralized web privacy data leakage happens every day.
No sign indicates that centralized web can have better privacy protection.
And this is beyond the ability of technologies.
With centralized power, people are more easily be bullied by those of ignorance.

I think web3 has nothing to do with the decentralized web.
It is only a blockchain network.
Decentralized web should totally be different from blockchain network.

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booleanhunter profile image
Ashwin Hariharan • Edited on

I'm all for protection of privacy and freedom of speech, but never in the absence of moderation.

Absence of content moderation sounds good in theory, but when combined with something like the concept of privacy it becomes an absolute nightmare.

Just like household ammonia and chlorine bleach are both useful by themselves, but put them together you can produce chlorine gas, a truly horrific chemical weapon that was rightly banned by the Geneva Protocol.

Learning ethics of technology implementation is really important. You find problems with centralisation - sure, no one's saying that it's all perfect. The alternatives proposed must demonstrably be better, not make things worse than they already are.

By your original post, it is clear that you are willing to have privacy at a great price - even if that could lead to great harm down the line. I wish you could also really respond to the other points I raised earlier. ✌️

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610470416 profile image
NotFound404 Author

What you are afraid of is happening in the centralized web as well.
If you think centralized web is not perfect, why you think the decentralized web should be perfect?
The decentralized web is only a tool to record what people really are. All problems are human society's problem. Technology can not be much helpful.

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610470416 profile image
NotFound404 Author

I would like to have privacy be protected, but the freedom of speech is the top priority for the decentralized web.

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qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

Dear @booleanhunter

Seeing the length of your comment, I was going to reply in detail, but I am not sure how constructive of a dialogue can be had with someone that posts inflammatory statements like:

I'm all ears. ☺️

and

so I'm going to exit from the conversation. ✌️

So, I will just clarify a few to potential readers:

I'm talking about information on the internet that can cause real tangible harm (like your private photos being exposed, or your home address/phone number) ... Heck, you could have put it up yourself too, unknowingly. Or maybe you put it earlier but now you regret it.

Yes, that is exactly what I was talking about. Having tools to censor that means having tools to censor anything.

Your argument builds on a lot of implicit assumptions. The ones I disagree with most are:

  1. That decentralized/censorship-resistant web has anything to do with blockchains/"web3", a hyped and scammy ecosystem that tries to apply mismatched technologies to problems that cannot be solved purely in cyberspace.

  2. That the following have any net positives:
    a. Gommunism (you called it a utopia, not sure on how many layers of irony, so I will play it safe)
    b. Police force
    c. Constitution (good idea, in theory, sometimes. Has one ever been heeded or enforced? Does a great deal to pacify the population though. Liek, we totally have a consitution, man!)
    d. Centralized "NFT" marketplaces like OpenSea
    e. Any uses of art NFTs to date
    f. Censoring "NSFW"
    g. Censoring "fake news"

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booleanhunter profile image
Ashwin Hariharan • Edited on

Hi @qm3ster, thanks for your response. Let me try and unpack things:

The reason I brought up communism is because it largely constitutes the libertarian school of thought that inspires blockchain-advocates. My comment on communism was to intended precisely to indicate why such ideals don't result in any utopia as the blockchain VCs would have us believe - not that I personally believe it would lead to utopia.

Your response seems to imply that I'm arguing in favor for web3 and blockchain - i most definitely am not.
I said that the alternatives proposed (namely, the ideals like blockchain or web3) end up making the current system even worse than they are. So you have me confused - what exactly are you disagreeing with me about? I think we're on the same page at-least when it comes to blockchain & crypto?

As for NFTs, NFT marketplaces, communism - I don't think I ever implied as seeing them as net positives, quite the opposite.

That decentralized/censorship-resistant web has anything to do with blockchains/web3

Agreed, this is exactly what I intend to convey when bringing up the point about OpenSea - the blockchain ecosystem is getting centralized. So again, I'm confused because I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with me about.

Maybe you're wondering why I brought up blockchain? That's because the OP has tagged this post under that category. Hope that clarifies it.


Maybe you disagree with me in that you view any centralisation or moderation as evil, even the tiniest amount? Then yes - here's where I will disagree.

Having tools to censor that means having tools to censor anything.

I'm for moderation, but against censorship. A limited, accountable and transparent form of centralization is desirable and a net good - the OpenSea comment was precisely to indicate that. Again to be clear - its not to say that I am in favor for the overall ecosystem of blockchain. Hopefully this clarifies my position.

Thanks again for your thoughts 🙂

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610470416 profile image
NotFound404 Author

The reason to tag it with blockchain is becuase some of the data may use blockchain tenology to store sensitive data to keep it safe.

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qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

How does a blockchain keep it safe? Safe, in conventional speech, for the time being, usually implies privacy, not immutability.

As for @booleanhunter, I don't mind the existence of ephemeral (or at least temporarily broadcast) communication. I believe it can be improved in its privacy, with or without decentralization, and can coexist with censorship-resistant media. But it's the latter that I feel it is crucial everyone has access to, while the former is just a relaxing "nice to have".

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610470416 profile image
NotFound404 Author

means hard to be changed over multi nodes.

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NotFound404 Author

The question is what is illegal? For the human history, telling the truth is often illegal. Men dies for pursuing turth.
Still a lot of people are taken into prisoners for just showing the truth.

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t0nyba11 profile image
Tony B

I think, from everything we've seen in the last decade, we need more moderation not less. People are gullible sheep easily fooled by con artists and extremists. The big question is Who does the moderation. I certainly don't want an unmoderated internet in my children's future.

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NotFound404 Author

And they can be easily fooled by moderators too.

610470416 profile image
NotFound404 Author

web3 has nothing to do with d web:)

610470416 profile image
NotFound404 Author

Free speech is limited to speech, which normally reflects a state of mind. Not we need no laws or rules.

610470416 profile image
NotFound404 Author

Unfortunately your assuming is wrong.

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krish_desai profile image
Krish Desai

Not at all.

qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

No, but mesh networking or at least decentralized content delivery becoming the default is the best bet of what might. I am not affiliated with the article author, so there's no need to bring up blockchains to me.

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Cody Seibert

I think it’s useful for certain use cases. For example, if you have an important video you need the world to see, it would make sense to host it on ipfs or other decentralized services. Or if you want to chat with others and not have your discussions be censored, decentralization is necessary.

But, I do think centralized services are useful to help reduce the toxicity of online users. When you can’t easily delete content, it’s easy for abusive content to flood the internet.

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NotFound404 Author

I would agree that both centralized and decentralized web are needed. Both can cause problems, both have their value.
Centralized web are more efficient and cheap, while decentralized are slower and more expensive.
Centralized web can remove content easily, while decentralized can not simply remove contents user generated by others.

qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

What makes you think I haven't seen the casualties of the war on drugs yet?
And do you really think that smuggling "private" bridges to people in China and Russia is somehow a sustainable solution, with the menace growing day by day?

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jasoncubic profile image
JasonCubic

I was on irc in the 90's and saw what this looks like. Free speech is ok as long as it's not impersonal or anonymous. So, it's basically impossible to not be impersonal using computers where you aren't in the room with the person you're talking to. That idea will take off with hate groups though.

qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

Unfortunately, it does 🐴

qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

Beyond the fact that we live in a world of Russia and China, do you really not believe that "illicit" drugs are a human right?

qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

I meant technology does get adopted based on rhetoric alone, which is unfortunate.
However, I am lost in the reply thread. And also in the sauce.

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qm3ster profile image
Mihail Malo

I believe it is crucial, but I don't really see it happening right now.

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NotFound404 Author

I hope it will happen:)