I have written many times here about the Anti-Commons, and their resident paradoxes. I have also many times on many sites been chafed by some of the, "free speech" anti-censorship, pro-privacy leaning sites. In my dealings with them I have learned a hard sort of lesson. They may be, "anti-censorship", but this does not prevent them from suppressing opinions on their website that they disagree with. This active suppression of dissent is the strange hypocrisy of private web-fiefdoms.
I am a skeptical person by nature, and I avoid ascribing myself too deeply to any one over-arching politic or ideology. This nature in and of itself causes problems for me when I either ask for more evidence or challenge someone inside of their domain or web-fiefdom. Pointed, journalistic styled, questions or challenges generally leads to poor treatment, by either the operator or moderator.
The way that a politician dodges questions, filibusters, talks-down, and dismisses inquiry during a press conference is an unsettling close approximation to some comment sections on websites that deal with current or political events. Only on the modern website there are also all the acolytes to add to the shaming.
This behavior produces another paradox below the obvious one; site operators, develop an unreasonable expectation that the visitors to their publicly available content will always agree with them. As the conventional wisdom goes, "the web is a big place, I'm sure you can find somewhere that is more comfortable for you."
It is through this conventional wisdom that we have developed a dangerous sort of anti-discourse. These writers and operators have developed a terminology, now widely accepted as truth, that the comment section is full of trolls and angry misanthropes.
This whole state of affairs makes me wonder why people insist on doing anything they know will cause a stir at all. Their website this in public view, what do they expect? After all in normal society if you post something on a billboard, in public view, such a posting is now considered a matter of public discourse. For some reason people when engaging on the public comment sections on a website seem to expect that they will not be asked either pointed or journalistic questions!
Some websites have gotten fed up with the reality of these matters and if their core group is willing these sites generally develop a low barrier pay wall. To me this is the obvious step that web-fiefdoms must take if they wish to avoid any dissenting opinions. The act of payment is a form of vetting, a way of showing that the user agrees with the political leanings of the fiefdom in question.
Now why don't such fiefdoms want to put up pay walls? Here I think things are easier to understand, a pay wall also cuts down on the possible traffic to the site and it prevents the fiefdom from acting as a "channel" (as in a TV Channel) for discourse that is meant to influence the feelings of the greater body politic.
I don't pretend to understand this reality or where this reality might take our society, all I know is that the Internet is a far stranger place then anyone ever intended.