David Schwartz, the CTO of Ripple, has become the latest casualty of censorship. Fortunately, the situation is very lighthearted. On Quora, a community-based Q&A site, one user asked a not-so-serious question about trademarks and tattoos. Schwartz’s sardonic response was quickly taken down by moderators.
— David Schwartz (@JoelKatz) March 21, 2019
Quora Stays Serious
Whereas other sites are wrestling with illegal content and hostile conduct, Quora has taken a stand against joke answers. This is a sore point for many users—partially due to the fact that humorous questions are allowed on the site. Perhaps Quora’s stern attitude makes it even more tempting to post ridiculous responses, but Quora has shown that it is willing to delete such answers.
Naturally, some have suggested that Schwartz should begin answering questions on a blockchain-based site that is unable to censor him. Some sites, such as the Bitcoin Cash-integrated Lazyfox.io, are providing an alternative Q&A platform. However, this particular site doesn’t actually host content on the blockchain, and its lack of moderation is mostly due to its small scope.
Moderating Blockchain Content
There is another dimension to the issue. Contrary to popular belief, most significant blockchain content platforms don’t take a hands-off approach to user content, and many actually have some amount of moderation. Peepeth, for example, explains that although its blockchain is immutable, it is perfectly willing to hide content that violates its policies.
Other blockchain-based sites are taking similar stances. Minds.com has taken an explicitly anti-censorship position, but even it has a lengthy list of terms for its users to adhere to. Steem also has a content policy, although it is largely focused on fighting against the plagiarized content that its users are attempting to monetize.
It seems that moderation is an active force whether it takes place on a blockchain-based platform or not. Even the most well-intentioned policies can be applied unreasonably, causing division among a site’s user base. On Twitter, Schwartz’s joke sparked mild debate over the issue without generating conflict or hostility—something that very rarely happens for such a divisive topic.