Having been a victim of attempted playground bullying myself in the distant past, I abhor the idea of public shaming, as the herd don’t always get things right. The same herd mentality is also what once drove racial and cultural lynchings, and still does in some places.

However… In essence, it is an expression of what the herd define has value, and what doesn’t, in a similar way as a market, so it is actually a form of democracy in action.

When the herd get things wrong, it is invariably due to a few instigators getting the wrong information, and propagating it, often with spin. It is those few instigators who are the ones really deserving to be shamed.

In order for that kind of rough justice to correctly identify the truly immoral, it is really important for all parties and all people to have a voice, i.e. to be able to present their whole, true selves to all other people individually, who can then make their own judgements, unbiased by the judgements of their peers.

And that, currently, is where we have things very wrong. Social media, in the interests of profit for platforms, deliberately carves us up into groups, with highly variable visibility of others, encouraging us to block / ban / bar / cancel / censor points of view that we might not agree with. In extreme cases this even covers up or distorts the worst kinds of criminal behavior.

So, in essence, I agree with the principal of public shaming, as in a truly open, unbiased system, it can be democracy in action, for which every participant individually deserves even to be rewarded for their contribution towards defining what has value in the world.

This is the basis that a basic income for all people should be based on. A person’s own data, containing their reactions to all things they see, is the real valuable thing in this world, for which they should be generously rewarded.

Our current system is broken, because that data is currently siphoned off and used by various third parties instead to profit from us, instead of rewarding us. Hence we see the damage done to society, with divisions and disunity created in every way imaginable, assisted by ai of various kinds on pretty much all platforms, including even the current, unfortunately.

So herd judgement can only work fairly in an open, non-profit system which literally forces all participants to have continuous visibility of all others, no options of blocking / cancelling the views of others.

I note you appear to be highly qualified academically, so you may be familiar with Metcalfe’s law of network value. When we analyse this, we see that for a network to have maximum value (not maximum profitability), all parties must have equal connectivity to all others.

Hence our current societal system of social media actually has only a small fraction of the value that it could have, where we define value as being that which is desirable to all people.

But it could work correctly. Other systems are under design towards that end.


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store