[tech] Managing un-moderated account creation and it's side-effects

Mansfield mansfield at ondollo.com
Fri Jan 8 02:57:54 GMT 2021

I've been 'thus said'ed!! :-D Thank you.

On Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 1:03 AM Sean Conner <sean at conman.org> wrote:

> It was thus said that the Great Mansfield Mansfield once stated:
> > Hello!
> >
> > One of my goals has been to have a client / server pairing that
> > supports helping non-technical users go from downloading a client to
> > posting content as quickly and painlessly as possible. In my mind this
> > means allowing new accounts to be created *without* moderating their
> > creation... which leaves me wondering how I might respond to side-effects
> > like any unwelcome content (illegal, offensive, spam, etc.).
> >
> > I understand that walking down a path that allows un-moderated account
> > creation is asking for trouble. I'm still interested in exploring
> > the possibilities to see if a compromise might be found for
> > my implementations.
>   I am not a lawyer, so take what I say with a few bolders of salt.
>   How concerned are you?  I can see where you might be subject to:
>         * laws where you live
>         * laws of the domain you register (for instance, the purely
>           fictional .fd top level domain (Freedonia) might  subjects you to
>           its punative libel and copyright laws despite where you or the
>           server or your users are located)
>         * laws where the server resides
>         * laws where the user lives
> All of those might be the same country; it might not.  The US has strong
> freedom of speech codes and thus libel cases are harder to prosecute (to a
> degree); the UK has less free speech and very strong libel laws (compared
> to
> the US) so you might be liable for something a user said.  Again, it
> depends upon jurisdiction.
>   I know the US (since I live there) tries to make a distinction between a
> "publisher" and a "platform" and one of the differences comes down to
> moderation---do too much and you can fall into the "publisher" category
> which makes you more liable for what is said than if you are in the
> "platform" category.  Too little moderation and, as you say, is also
> troublesome.

I think I'm following your walk through the legal aspect... I guess that
was part of my thought process too... not too dominant, but part.

I'm not too worried - and now I can see how attempts to find a desirable
outcome from constricting and controlling too much might lead to an
undesirable outcome anyway if the situation is seen as more-like-publisher.
Good food for thought. I get the sense that you would lean more toward
little to no moderation, which can make sense. From the little that I've
seen, I *think* that if I wanted an 'account' on your gemini server I would
need to email you. Are you able to keep up with the invites, or, said
another way, do you sometimes wish you weren't in the middle?

>   Okay, ignoring legal liabilities, one way might be to use an
> "invite-only"
> system.  The website Lobsters (https://lobste.rs/) uses an invite system.
> Users can invite new users (even ones they don't know) but they then become
> liable for the new users behavior.  I'm checking the current moderation
> queue for users [1], and while most are userid changes (foo changed
> username
> to bar), some users have been banned (mostly for spamming; one for
> "repeatedly trying to use Lobsters to whip up an online outrage mob against
> organizations they don't care for"), some have had invites disabled for
> inviting too many other people who have been banned.  That seems to work
> for
> Lobsters.

This idea of invites becoming some form of responsibility appeals to me
quite a bit.

>   Also, trying to invoke a community spirit can help.
>   -spc
> [1]
> https://lobste.rs/moderations?moderator=%28All%29&what%5Busers%5D=users\
> <https://lobste.rs/moderations?moderator=%28All%29&what%5Busers%5D=users%5C>
>         I'm not sure if you can read the link if you aren't a member.

The link worked fine for me and I'm not a member. Interesting that there
seem to be a dozen to a few dozen 'moderation actions' a week.
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