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Disqus Assisting in Toxic Speech Censorship

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Lex Jurgen - September 15, 2017

Disqus, the leading third party provider of blog commenting systems you see omnipresent on the Internet, has added a "toxicity" feature that will allow site owners to censor comments based upon an AI learned speech or content pattern the site owner finds "toxic" to healthy conversation. This is above and beyond the foul language or keywords or links or spam or photos of other such existing Disqus features for keeping story comments and responses in reasonable stage of public decency. This is about keeping language or ideas you find hateful or harmful off your site. 

The reason comments sections exists, outside of the fact advertisers goo upon them as a prisoner upon a conjugal visiting wife, is to provide a reader response to the content of an article. In many cases to provide a counterpoint, disagreement, or differing opinion than the one published and promoted by the author and site. Occasionally simply to find new phonetic ways to spell "fuck". It's the Internet's best attempt at debate. 

In a concession to the times and the fear of unpleasant thoughts or frightening ideas, the "toxic speech" feature will allow you to train your comments section to censor all things unfriendly or foreign to your sensibilities. To train out the bad or hurtful speech, under your own definition of such. As the AI learns what you find offensive, it will trim off those edges that might make people feel uncomfortable. Things like counterpoint. Ugly facts of life made less ugly by omission.

"Toxicity" certainly sounds like something nobody wants. Who wants to be poisoned or drastically made ill? It seems high time to keep comments to stories within properly aligned and lightly to fully supportive agreements. Does it further degrade the ideals of free speech and healthy debate? Naturally. But imagine all the feelings that won't be hurt. This is the new America. Disqus is merely the messenger.



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