Desensitizing and Controlling Content in Online Environments

In her article “Better Online Living through Content Moderation”, Melissa King proposes “using content control features is not guaranteed to stop the effects of abuse, they do help and their use should not be disparaged and discouraged.”  Content control can help users that suffer from PTSD that need to “avoid topics and people that trigger their anxiety”. King brings awareness to “cultural opposition” towards suffers that are viewed as weak and overly sensitive. Online aggressors who invoke attacks, blame the victims stating they should “just deal with it”, regardless of the context or situation. King believes “Content control is helpful in limiting the worst of these attacks, which themselves can cause PTSD if severe or long-term enough.” Melody Hensley, a feminist who claims Twitter gave her PTSD A major argument against content control is that people over-exaggerate the “abuse and harassment they receive” and that they should be “less sensitive”. King claims these arguments create an invalid comparison to exposure therapy, “a type of therapy designed to combat severe anxiety through gradual and controlled exposure to its source, to inure an individual to these triggers and lesson the disruptions they can cause.” Opponents misinterpret “Exposure Therapy” as a means to “hurl insults and threats at someone with the hope they somehow come out more mentally durable”, King considers not only a mishap in content control discussions but also in the understanding of human psychology. King discusses the other argument against content control, which is the belief that no real harm can come from words said online. She claims that the same “ignorance that yields metaphors to exposure therapy” fuels popular cultures idea that...

Summary of Better Online Living through Content Moderation

This article by Melissa King discusses the subject of trigger warnings, block lists, privacy options and ignore functions and the criticism that users of these receive from those who do not need them. This piece acts as a well worded defense for those who suffer from PTSD, anxiety attacks and other afflictions from the people who would tell them that they’re “weak”, “too sensitive” or that they should “just deal with it”. It is essentially divided into three sections. The first has no subtitle and acts as an abstract to introduce the reader to the content that the rest of the column will discuss. The next section, labeled “Computer Chair Psychology” (likely a play on the phrase “Armchair Psychology” used to refer to amateur psychology) and discusses the psychological aspect of protective measures like trigger warnings and block lists. It points out how appeals to “be less sensitive” or “ignore it” misuse a type of treatment called Exposure Therapy wherein the patient is slowly exposed in increments to the stimuli that causes them anxiety in an effort to overcome that anxiety. Here, the author relies on quotes from two other voices on this subject. The first is Maddy Myers, where King references her article on TheMarySue.com on trigger warnings. The next is Caleb Lack, a licensed clinical psychologist and psychology professor who specializes in treating anxiety disorders, who says: “Bullying has long been known to have a severe impact on mental health, particularly if the bullying is repeated and prolonged… So, given what we know about PTSD, and given what we know about the effects of bullying (cyber and otherwise) on...
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