King, Melissa. “Better Online Living Through Content Moderation,” Model View Culture 28 (October 14, 2015). Web:

This article is all about content control features. It opens explaining these features and reasons for them. King states “These are all valid reasons for employing content control. In fact, there are no such thing as an invalid reason: nobody should be required to read or listen to content if they do not want to”. She says that users of these tools face constant cultural opposition often seen as “weak” or “too sensitive”. She also goes on to say that it turns out becoming the victim’s problem with people telling them to just “deal with it”. Her argument is “While using content control features is no guaranteed to stop the effects of abuse, they do help and their use should not be disparaged and discouraged”.

Her first section discusses one of the main arguments against content control. She discusses that people being abused and harassed blow it out of proportion. She says that with this, people draw parallels to Exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a type of therapy that exposes the source of someone’s anxiety to lessen the disruption they can cause. King argues that “Without controlled exposure, someone suffering from PTSD is likely to have their trauma magnified rather than reduced when face with triggering content”. King quotes an article by Maddy Myers which examines generational pushback against content warnings in university settings. She says that there is evidence that younger generations may actually be more open to difficult, complex, and emotional content. In this section she argues that “the fact is, threats of violence online can be a cause of PTSD in and of itself”.

Her next section discusses block lists. They are rising in direct response groups to hate groups. They have inspired “vehement objection and reproach of users”. She says that one of the more direct attempts to fight block lists came from legal action. The second argument made in this section states that “block lists are bad because it means subjecting one’s internet experience to the whims of another”. She argues that asking victims not to take action to protect themselves is like asking them to spend more time with their abusers.

The last section discusses intimidation tactics. It is argued that women are especially considered fair game to this type of abuse when they tread in areas considered “male dominant”. King states, “Giving others the power to personally moderate the worst of the internet in no wat violates anyone else’s rights, and is often the best option victims have”.

She concludes her article by saying that the diversity of human psyches and experiences is taken into account with content control tools, which allows these people to act on behalf of their own mental and emotional needs. Anti-content control is insufficient for helping manage one’s mental state and offers inadequate solutions which could increase patterns of online abuse.