An essay/speech/rant by Overthinkers
Freedom of speech. Everyone wants it; everyone thinks they can use it. Therefore, everyone gets mad when you, quote-unquote, “suppress” their freedom. In few places is this misconception more apparent than NationStates.
It may be beneficial to address, first of all, the modern interpretation of “freedom of speech”. People seem to think that the term implies freedom from consequences. If that is so, then perjury and slander laws are unconstitutional. No one can prevent you from saying it, but that doesn’t mean you’re not responsible for what you say.
Of course, there’s already a fatal flaw in assuming that freedom of speech is universal and applies to other people’s privately-owned sites. But Max Barry himself makes his opinion clear in NationStates’ Frequently Asked Questions: “Ahahahaha! Hahaha! Free speech!. . .I run this website, see, so you have to play by my rules.” Of course, who reads rules nowadays? It’s more fun to jump in blindly and do whatever you think you can get away with!
And so the newbies dive in headfirst. If they don’t think anything of it, surely others won’t! Or, in some cases, they don’t care if others care. And when they’re reprimanded, what do they hide behind? Free speech. “You can’t stop us,” they say. “You’re a meanie. You are a worthless human because you won’t let me post nonsensical gibberish and generally offensive jokes.”
Thing is, site administration allows regions to run themselves however they wish (within the Terms of Service, of course). The One Stop Rules Shop specifically states that founders and regional officers can suppress spam, or any other messages, on the RMB. If someone doesn’t like it, only their own incompetence prevents them from leaving a region and joining, or creating, a new one. A user’s rights are not being suppressed along with his or her posts. You can meme just as effectively elsewhere and likely receive much less hate.
Why, though? Why do we suppress the stupidity? Because it’s our game too. Generally it’s one or two dissenters who are new to the region versus an established government trusted by the majority of the region. We want to make the game as enjoyable for ourselves as we can despite NSGP, and looking at poorly spelled alt-right rants is not our idea of enjoyable. So, simply put, the will of the majority overrules. Again, the government is more or less implicitly supported by residents by their residing there, so the government is generally acting within the region’s best interest.
Simply put, the people who abuse free speech are generally the only ones who complain about its seeming lack of presence. Funny how that works. You may not be able to promote your ideology as easily by moving to your own region, but really, if your post was suppressed few were going to listen to you anyway. “Free speech,” in the sense many seem to see it, will never be a thing in NationStates. And if you don’t agree, you can complain about it…somewhere else.