A Panopticon in Reverse

Who says the mainstream media doesn’t do some things well? New York Times writer Mattathias Schwartz explores the world of Web trolls.

Ultimately, this issue is about the idea of the “commons” and whether the Web can function as a place to exchange ideas and information without getting buried in slime:

Does free speech tend to move toward the truth or away from it? When does it evolve into a better collective understanding? When does it collapse into the Babel of trolling, the pointless and eristic game of talking the other guy into crying “uncle”? Is the effort to control what’s said always a form of censorship, or might certain rules be compatible with our notions of free speech?

(Via Firedoglake.)