This Week in Discourse - Chess enters the online drama phase
Plus: Chinese influence op gets busted, Meta's Oversight board flops, and the WarThunder forums are at it again
Welcome to a mega-sized Labor Day edition of This Week in Discourse for paid subscribers! If you’re a paid sub, thanks for being one of the classier types of internet chaos gremlin. If you’re not a paid sub, you can always change that!
Meta’s Oversight Board - Worthless and slow?
Platformer has a great post breaking down some disturbing facts about Meta’s Oversight Board you should check out. A quick refresher - the Oversight Board was created by Meta to act as a sort of ‘Supreme Court’ for moderation decisions on Facebook (and now all Meta properties). The idea is a genuinely good one - create an independent group consisting of legal scholars, ethicists, etc, to weigh in on the trickiest moderation problems. Meta did a good job setting up the board, and has made reasonably strong commitments to actually abide by the Board’s decisions. The whole set up has a lot of promise in my eyes.
Unfortunately, the reality of the Board hasn’t matched it’s idealized purpose. There have quarters where the Board heard as few as three cases, and it can take the better part of a year to make a decision on a controversial post. In the case documented by Platformer, 7-8 months passed between a Cambodian post that incited violence and the Board’s recommendation that the post be removed and a politician’s account suspended. In that time, political violence had already spilled across the country.
I don’t think there’s an easy way to fix internet content moderation. Mike Masnick is famous for his theory that content moderation is impossible to do well at scale, no matter how hard you try. I tend to agree - all content moderation efforts are going to have failure points, no matter what you do. But at the same time, there are degrees of failure. Some failures are much worse than others, and you should at least try to minimize how badly you’re failing. The Oversight Board seems to be failing in pretty obvious ways and should wake up and try to fulfill its original promise. It’s hard to go fast, but they’ve got to do better than 7 months.
Chess’s biggest cheating scandal ever wraps up
If you’re not a huge chess nerd but you do love salacious internet gossip, then this is the chess story for you. It involves cheating, lawsuits, bizarre behavior, and accusations of anal beads.
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