Reading Summary #6

In the article, Better Online Living through Content Moderation, Melissa King argues that the use of content control features benefit users by lessening the chance of negative responses to harmful or insulting content that may be seen online. Some examples of these controls are content/trigger warnings, block and ignore functions, blocklists, and privacy options (King, lines 1-2). The reason for these privacy precautions is to stop users from seeing content that may trigger PTSD, an anxiety attack, or other negative feelings. King describes these as valid reasons and goes on to state that, “In fact, there is no such thing as an invalid reason: nobody should be required to read or listen to content if they do not want to” (King, lines 7-9). Although content controls are a positive feature, there are some people that disagree. King allows readers to see these controls from the negative perspective, but provides a valid argument against opinions like these. Those who are against content controls often perceive users that utilize them as weak or over sensitive (King, lines 10-11). Situations in which users are being attacked or bothered by online aggressors are thought of as the victim’s problem instead of the antagonist’s doing. Others think these users should just toughen up and be less sensitive, which goes hand in hand with the Exposure Theory. This theory is designed to put a stop to anxiety by slowly exposing the subject to the source (King, lines 27-28). However, this theory does not come in handy when it comes to content controls. The Exposure Theory is all about controlled exposure; the Internet has no control...

A Summary on Better Online Living through Content Moderation by Melissa King

Melissa King, a recent University of California Santa Cruz graduate, composes an article that demonstrates the usefulness of content moderation and why some people might be against the idea. In the first paragraph, King presents reasons to why people might want to utilize content control features. She expresses that there is really no invalid reason “to read or listen to content if they do not want to.” In the article, King examines a major argument against controlling content; the misunderstanding of “sensitive” people that are abused and harassed. Psychology plays a big role in this article. King uses it to support her case in that there’s a “struggle to protect the psyche of vulnerable individuals is not limited to online interactions.” She notes that some see online harassment as just cruel words, but in reality is deeper that. King includes evidence from Caleb Lacke, a clinical psychologist, to further explain her research. Lacke reveals that prolonged online bullying and harassment can lead to PTSD or PTSD symptoms because of the “severe impact it has on mental health.” King incorporates this fact to assure opposing people that controlling content can effect mental health and can lead to serious issues. Some of the content control features King includes in the article is “blocking”, “content warnings” and even “privacy functions.” These feature are essential to those who have a hard time being online or on the computer due to the emotional stress of past experiences. King concludes her article by stating that the privileged people who have had a safe online experience shouldn’t ridicule or “shame” those who haven’t. She argues that...
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