#426: Euphemilder

Freedom of speech. It’s a great idea; until you are forced to spend one minute listening to some nazi or nerd or sycophant or fundamentalist or egomaniac sounding off. Freedom of speech is fine, as long as people don’t drown each other out and can walk away from the soapbox.

Which leads me to online communications. At the moment, I can search the web with various ‘safety’ filters in place. Often however, when I read some comments string or some newsgroup, people are just so intolerant and rude. There is a tendency to resort immediately to some unnecessarily hyped language. Two posts later, it becomes obviously inappropriate.

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Today’s invention is a software based filter which web readers can use to substitute-in less emotive words when they are perusing user-generated content…”idiot” would become “person with limited understanding” etc. (We might resort to the automatic substitution of derogatory terms by friendlier emoticons instead and there would also have to be some slightly intelligent handling, in English, of the use of ‘a’ and ‘an’).

This would lessen the emotional tone of a lot of comms and make it easier to see the strength of people’s arguments, independent of their intensity. I’d be interested in a scheme which blocked postings from individuals whose comments had been very frequently edited in this way. I claim the inalienable freedom to ignore their rantings.

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