Moderator in Government-Initiated Online Discussions

Moderator in Government-Initiated Online Discussions

Arthur R. Edwards (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch356
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In an older version of a Dutch Internet dictionary the moderator is defined as “a person who exercises censorship on a mailing list or newsgroup.”1 In the libertarian tradition of the Internet, moderation has often been viewed as conflicting with free speech and unrestrained communication (Tsagarousianou, 1998). However, as the history of the famous PEN-experiment (Public Electronic Network) in Santa Monica (1990-96) already showed, the free speech principle has to be weighed against other legitimate concerns, like the need to facilitate a genuine discussion and to counteract possible abuses of the medium (Docter & Dutton, 1998).

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