I am a #cuckpod
operator (still have to register on the list though). In my case, it's pretty simple, because I operate the pod exclusively for myself as only registered user. But even if that wasn't the case, I'd have no qualms with swinging the ban hammer against alt-right, neo-nazis, incels and whatnot.
Yonatan Zunger actually wrote a very good thread
about social media policies and free speech a while back. In it, he makes this interesting observation about policing speech:
Because speech can be used to suppress other speech, the speech maximum is not the zero-regulation point.
And comes to the conclusion that in order to have a good and open community on your platform, you need to develop a distinct editorial voice for the platform and police that:
So if you want to have functional policy in the modern age, come up with an editorial voice, and admit that it constitutes a social norm. The value prop of your platform to users is that social norm; embrace it, identify it, advertise it.[...]
So end of long rant: If you want to maximize user engagement, don't be afraid to tell bad actors to piss off.
I only disagree with him in one minor aspect, and that is that the goal is to maximize speech. That's a fine goal for a big centralized platform, but less so for me as operator of a small pod. Free speech is not an absolute right, but has to be weighed against those rights of others that it might intersect with. And in this particular setting, I use rights here in the loosest sense - feeling comfortable on the platform and not being bothered by f***heads is a right, too. So I would always prioritize the agreed upon community standards / editorial voice of my pod over any free speech concerns. But in the end, I think that doesn't really contradict what Yonatan saysand leads to mostly the same conclusions.
I would like to see diaspora* have some kind of flexible way to manage these kind of policies.
For me, the one thing that could use some technical improvements is being really transparent about any bans.
It would be great to have an accepted community standard for letting people on your pod know exactly who has been banned and for what reason. Posts by the podmin with a certain hashtag might work, but the problem I see is that you can't just follow the tag, because that would spam you with bans from other pods.
But as I said, since I'm alone on my pod, I personally have all the transparency I need ;)