Uncomfortable Thoughts On Decentralization


Just to be clear: I am all for decentralization. That, in fact, is what makes me think about how it works, and how to make it work.

I’m having an uncomfortable moment thinking about decentralization. This particular uncomfortable moment has been brought on by a couple of Myanmar articles (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/meghara/facebook-myanmar-rohingya-genocide#.mo28M4QGL and https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/myanmar-facebook-hate/). In short, Facebook has banned a group of accounts from Myanmar, including some high-ranking military officials. The world is happy, and seem to be praising Facebook for finally taking some action against the genocide. I mean, genocide.

What if Facebook was a decentralized platform? There wouldn’t be any banning then, right?


This is not necessarily true. You can have curation and moderation in a decentralized context, for example the TCR design pattern is effectively creating a filter based on some (often subjective) criteria. Similarly, we have been discussing how to use the Aragon Court mechanism as a means to provide subjective moderation on proposal submission.

It is possible to design decentralized systems which have collective moderation policies, and while its still both a technical and theoretical challenge at this point, it seems like it will be an essential piece of the decentralized web.