Our communities are defined by the worst things that we permit to happen. What we allow tells the world who we are.
Because the vast majority of online abuse is directed at underrepresented people who are women, people of color, and/or members of other marginalized groups, the net effect of online abuse is to silence members of these communities. Allowing abuse hurts free speech. Communities that allow abusers to dominate conversation don’t just silence marginalized people, they also drive away any reasonable or thoughtful person who’s put off by that hostile environment. Common sense tells us that more people will feel free to express themselves in an environment where threats, abuse, harassment, or attacks aren’t dominating the conversation.