Those who call for anonymous posting to be disallowed and for more regulation of content posted to the Morrissey-solo main page and general forums are not only demanding censorship of free speech, they are advocating for a filter bubble to protect themselves, Morrissey, and the rest of us from information and opinions that don’t fit their world views.
According to author Eli Pariser of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You, the filter bubble “…places us in an isolated echoing world…whereby we receive news and information that is mainly pleasant and familiar—which confirms our beliefs.” These filters are invisible—we don’t even know what is hidden from us. Although his argument mostly addresses how the filter bubble negatively impacts our search and social networking—due to personalization by algorithms designed to market to our needs and interests as consumers, it also can effect discussion forums and fan sites when opinions and news are filtered by a gatekeeper(s) who claims to have our best interests in mind. If David Tseng were in support of a filter bubble, Morrissey-solo would look very different than it does today.
If Morrissey-solo had a filter bubble, we would all be under the illusion that Morrissey was beyond reproach—that his remarks in the press were deemed acceptable and are mirrored by his entire online fan base. We would be under the impression that all his music was brilliant and that his band could do no wrong. We wouldn’t be privy to dissent. This isn’t just censorship of negative news and commentary, it is altering reality. And this alternate reality isn’t a good thing for any of us—including Morrissey himself.
Only seeing compliments and news items that depict Morrissey and his music in a positive light would paint an inaccurate picture of his fan base. Morrissey’s fans are not completely comprised of docile bodies and sycophants. We are a diverse group with a wide variety of tastes, opinions, beliefs, and worldviews. We are not a homogenous group—though we sometimes like to think we are. Our diversity is reflected in our comments and arguments on the main page and in the discussion forums. Instead of calling for our differences to be stymied, we should embrace them and regard them as an opportunity for growth.
Even Morrissey should embrace feedback that is both positive and negative. Criticism is not just coming from trolls who wish to harm for harm’s sake. Many comments are made by long-term fans who are genuinely concerned about the direction Moz is taking his music and or his recent actions and statements. Criticism can be unsettling. But this can be good. It unsettles us—stirs up the sediment and knocks us out of our comfort zones. Morrissey should feel fortunate for this feedback rather than scorn it out of fear. Although it can be painful to have the truth reflected back at you, it is a mistake to turn away from it.
A filter bubble at Morrissey-solo isn’t what is needed. David Tseng is doing the right thing by allowing the free flow of ideas and opinions. His gentle hand at moderation keeps things civil but still affords us—including Morrissey—the opportunity to get a more accurate view of the world of Morrissey—faults and all.
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