Masthead CMC Magazine / January 1, 1996

* A Plea for Understanding--Beyond False Dilemmas on the Net, by Charles Ess

Moderate Communication

Such moderation or editing is not, in my view, "censorship." It is rather:

  • the simple business of men learning to take seriously the perspectives, beliefs, values, and communicative styles of "others" (including women and minorities, peoples of other cultures, etc.) - so as to acknowledge in this perspective-taking, the emotive impacts of both our overt forms of sexism (e.g., the exchange of snuff pornography) and more covert forms of sexism (i.e., how our tendency towards adversarial style works to exclude rather than include those who prefer different styles);

  • seriously enough to learn how to communicate with others in some measure in their own terms (rather than playing the communicative provincial who insists on his right to simply shout his own message ever more loudly);

  • for the sake of expanding our own understanding of others' perspectives, beliefs, values, styles, etc.;

  • for the sake of more effectively communicating with others; and

  • for the sake of building communities on the Net that are genuinely democratic and pluralistic and diverse, rather than fragmenting the Net into ever-more homogenous and isolated interest groups which only reinforce our original provincialisms.

The appeal of this form of communication is based on --positive freedom.

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