What the Bots Don’t Understand

I’m generally against censorship, especially if it’s heavy handed and unfair. And, I see a lot of my friends complaining about how they got banned from Facebook, or had to spend time in ‘Facebook jail,’ and they always think it was unfair, so I suppose I should side with them. Also, when you see that notification that says ‘violates our community standards,’ it’s sort of hard to form a judgement, not knowing what those standards are.
But I saw one complaint today that made me think. It said something like “the bots don’t understand sarcasm” Which is an argument in favor of more human moderators, which would go a long way toward alleviating unfairness, create a lot of jobs, and is well within Mark Zuckerberg’s means. But that’s not really my topic for today.
Every kind of communication has its strengths and weaknesses. When language was first developed, it was a great boon to mankind, but saying “I see danger on the horizon” has less immediate impact than a high pitched shriek.
When print was developed, it meant there was less need for everybody to remember everything.
Now, on the internet, we have a whole new set of problems. On the one hand, we can bitch about censorship, which can be emotionally gratifying but won’t get us heard. On the other hand, we can learn to write better, in a more straightforward, factual manner, or in a higher level of sarcasm which the machines won’t spot. But, I doubt many of us have the ability to do that. Especially since we don’t know what the censorship bots are looking for.

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