A brief argument that “moderation” is distinct from censorship mainly when it’s optional.
I read this as a corollary to Scott’s Archipelago and Atomic Communitarianism. It certainly raises similar issues—especially the existence of exit rights. Currently, even heavily free-speech platforms maintain the option of deleting content. This can be legal or practical. But doing so is incompatible with an “exit” right to opt back in to the deleted material.
Scott also suggests that if moderation becomes “too cheap to meter,” it’s likely to prevent the conflation with censorship. I’m not sure I see it. Assuming he means something like free, accurate AI tagging/filtering, how does that remove the incentive to call [objectionable thing X] worthy of proper censorship? I suppose it reduces the excuse of “X might offend people,” requiring more legible harms.
As a side note, I’m curious if anyone else browses the moderation log periodically. Perhaps I’m engaging with outrage fuel. But it also seems like an example of unchecking (some of) the moderation filters to keep calibrated.