Online Abuse is the Greatest Challenge the Web Faces Today

That’s a pretty sensationalist headline, taken from a pretty sensationalist statement by Umair Haque in Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It):

I’m going to suggest in this short essay that abuse?—?not making money?—?is the great problem tech and media have. The problem of abuse is the greatest challenge the web faces today. It is greater than censorship, regulation, or (ugh) monetization. It is a problem of staggering magnitude and epic scale, and worse still, it is expensive: it is a problem that can’t be fixed with the cheap, simple fixes beloved by tech: patching up code, pushing out updates.

He may be right:

Abuse isn’t a nuisance, a triviality, a minor annoyance that “those people” have to put up with for the great privilege of having our world-changing stuff in their grubby hands. It will chill, stop, and kill networks from growing, communities from blossoming, and lives from flourishing.

I’ve definitely self-censored some things I say online because I don’t want to deal with the trolls who will inevitably rise up to assail me.1 I’ve even grown comfortable with my usual posting schedule of late in the evening because it seems to reduce the risk of trolls. This means they’ve won without even having to fight.

  1. Me, of course, not my thoughts or positions or opinions. 

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