Loved seeing these examples! Folks might also follow New_Public (they also have a Substack) where people are talking about precisely all these elements of moderation, user interaction, personal vs designed behavior, etc. Especially in light of recent Twitter news, the momentum is building for new imaginative public (or semi-private) spaces, where scalability isn't the only value. Also note alternatives like Front Porch Forum, Slow Social, Notabli, and other small-scale efforts to have human-sized interactions online. Agree with others here that there's a strong formation component to all this, namely: If the ancients understood that virtue is indeed shaped by habit and practice, we have to ask ourselves, to what degree are we able to intervene in systems that incentivize corrosive behavior, and to what degree are we just inevitably shaped by it?

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I didn't respond to the original post, because it seemed to be about virtue in gaming communities which I never had any interest in.

I don't think it's possible to cultivate virtue on line, because many people want to be on line and escape the social pressures to behave well.

The most I can say is that I do my best to act on line as I would in person, with the best of virtue in mind. I seek out those places on social media that embody that, ie., supportive communties for writers readers and fun communities around questions of pop culture.

I stay away from the toxic, but I notice when the overly controversial and toxic topics come up. I jsut ignore them.

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Apr 28, 2022·edited Apr 28, 2022

I don’t have too much to say here, other than *man* do I miss The Toast. (This is where I first became familiar with your work, Leah.)

The site had its flaws, but they managed to encourage really healthy and generous dialogue among commenters without laying down many rules. I think some of this was just self-selection among readership: a bunch of nerds were delighted to find an internet home and didn’t want to mess it up. But based on the meltdown of the post-Toast slack community, I realize that a lot of the goodwill and order in the site’s commentariat was due to judicious intervention from the editors. Not sure whether they had firm ground rules or just good sense, but they really fostered a great community while it lasted.

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I think the joyfulness of the Toast helped shape the culture. And most of all, the fact it was rooted in a friendship. <3

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