The Nostr protocol, a censorship-resistant platform, faces the challenge of balancing freedom of expression with content moderation to protect users from offensive or illegal content. To address this, developers and community members are working towards a bottom-up content moderation system that empowers users to choose their moderation standards. By establishing a common vocabulary for content classification, implementing it consistently, creating moderator reports, developing user-curated "Trust Lists," and extending the system to feed algorithms, Nostr aims to give users control over their content experience while still allowing for some level of censorship by governments or other entities.
Nostr, a censorship-resistant protocol, has been navigating the turbulent waters of content moderation. The platform’s mission is to resist censorship while allowing users to share content freely. However, finding a balance between freedom of expression and protecting users from offensive or illegal content remains a challenge.
Relay owners and operators on Nostr can censor content on their relays for various reasons, such as legal or personal grounds. This has led to concerns among some Nostr users who view any form of content moderation as censorship.
To address these concerns, developers and community members have been working towards a bottom-up content moderation system that empowers users and reflects their preferences. Unlike top-down moderation, where a single authority determines what is acceptable, bottom-up moderation allows users to choose which content they want to see or block.
The proposed system involves a cacophony of voices, including individuals, moderators, automated bots, and organizations, all offering their opinions on content moderation. This decentralized approach allows users to choose which voices they trust and listen to, creating thousands of unique standards across Nostr.
To achieve this, several steps are being considered:
- Establishing a Common Vocabulary: By creating a shared, translatable vocabulary for content classification, users and moderators can communicate more effectively and efficiently.
- Implementing the Defined Vocabulary: Consistent use of the shared vocabulary across various functions, such as content warnings and reports, ensures a unified approach to content moderation.
- Creating Moderator Reports: A clear system is needed for moderators to share their findings with other trusted voices in the community. Questions on how these reports should be submitted and organized are still being discussed.
- Developing Trust Lists: Users can create their own “Trust Lists,” specifying the people or organizations they want to moderate their content. This way, users can have full control over their content moderation experience.
- Extending to Feed Algorithms: The same system can be adapted to help users discover content they are interested in and filter out the content they don’t want to see.
The Nostr protocol is aiming for censorship resistance, not complete censorship-proofing. While governments can still create and enforce their own rules, the bottom-up content moderation system empowers users to choose their own moderation standards and access content through various relays.
As Nostr continues to evolve, striking the right balance between freedom of expression and content moderation remains a challenging but essential goal.