How do you create a peaceful, drama free online community? It appears that there are two very different ways to achieve peace online. One involves moderation by the owners and many rules for the community to follow and the other involves a few key rules and self-censorship. Gab.ai and Imzy are two new social networks that have recently been launched due to a frustration with Reddit, Twitter and Facebook. Imzy provides a “safe space” for mainly left wing voices while Gab is currently attracting mainly conservative and libertarian voices.The reasons for this difference are explored in this article by heatst.com
Gab was created in the fallout of Twitter banning and censoring conservatives and sought to be a free speech alternative to Twitter. Imzy was created by an ex-Reddit employee who was disturbed by the harassment and mob mentality he saw at the site, and sought to make a warmer, friendlier version of Reddit.
While a free speech free-for-all and a babysat playground do not inherently hold any political connotation, the two sites have inevitably attracted very polarized user bases.
…If asked, neither of the site’s creators would say they only want one side to exclusively use their site, but it seems an inevitable outcome. Many on the left would be too offended by the unfiltered nature of Gab, and many on the right would eschew the censorship of Imzy’s strict rules.
…Gab quickly attracted right wing firebrands like Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannopoulos, while Imzy partnered with Lena Dunham to create a community for her blog.
It’s pretty clear already that Imzy won’t be a “safe space” for controversial opinions. To test their boundaries a few months ago, I created a Gamergate community (KotakuInAction), not because I’m a member of Gamergate, but as a joke/test to see how Imzy dealt with a group whose politics are antithetical to their values. A few months later and the leader of the Gamergate community has already been banned from Imzy for posting material admins at Reddit or Twitter wouldn’t even blink at. Imzy took the bait and proved my point that it’s essentially a progressive echo chamber.
On the other hand Gab provides “self censorship” tools for those who want to filter out some of the madness, but it may not be enough to attract much of the left, especially not the easily offended PC crowd that’s already flocking to Imzy.
Mainstream social media sites are already in a constant state of conflict between users of opposing political views. Much of the censorship on these sites come from users mass reporting content they don’t agree with, even leading to some political political pages getting removed from Facebook. Twitter operates under a constant cloud of political nastiness, with ugly slapfights galore. And Reddit occasionally suffers from one political group brigading another community and interfering with their voting system.
In contrast, Imzy and Gab seem so peaceful. They are drama-less communities of friendly, like-minded people — not a toxic atmosphere of conflict and derision.