Nathan Schneider and I wrote this piece for Noema about Mastodon. To address online harm effectively, we’ll need to learn from transformative justice and restorative justice. How can we scale that? Subsidiarity!
Restoring justice and transforming online communities
Lately my work has focused on thinking about how it could be possible to design online communities with the principles of restorative and transformative justice.
Rosalie Gillett interviewed me, Tarleton Gillespie, and Leigh Goodmark on these topics for a recent episode of Future Tense:
I’ve also presented parts of this new research at the “Community Driven Governance Online: Past, Present, and Future” workshop, which was organized by the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, at Annenberg’s Center for Media at Risk symposium, “Image-Based Abuse: Prevalence, Resistance, Prevention,” and at the Akasha event “Designing for moderating decentralized social networks.” A recording of my Akasha presentation is available below.
But how does all this scale? Nathan Schneider and I have a draft of a paper grappling with that question, “From Scalability to Subsidiarity in Addressing Online Harm.” Feedback on this work would be very welcome!
Privacy Camp Panel: “Can restorative justice help us govern online spaces?”
Here’s a summary of the talk from the European Digital Rights conference Privacy Camp 21 Panel: “Can restorative justice help us govern online spaces?”
Dr. Amy Hasinoff kicked off the session highlighting the shortcomings of a traditional content moderation approach, which offers some relief to victims but does not tackle the real underlying problems. Just like prison in the current criminal justice system removes the person who has done the harm from society, commercial content moderation performed by platforms is a punitive model where harmful content is simply removed. This process deprives people from understanding the conflicts. She then introduced the principles of restorative justice which take into account the needs of the person who did harm, the person who was harmed and the community. Finally she listed the conditions to apply restorative justice online: one must devote resources, support facilitators, allow openness and foster community transformation when the community has not yet integrated important values (such as gender equality).