From Kevin Roose’s “The President Versus the Mods” in Saturday’s New York Times:
As a teen in the early 2000s, I spent a lot of time on online message boards. They were funny, chaotic places where my fellow nerds and I spent hours arguing about everything under the sun: sports, music, video games, the latest episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
No matter the topic, there was one universal experience: On every board, some divisive issue would inevitably erupt into conflict, and an angry group of users — often led by a single, vocal one who felt they were being treated unfairly — would lead a rebellion against the “mods,” the moderators who had the privileges to delete posts, ban unruly users and set the rules of the board…
looking at Mr. Trump as an aggrieved user of a fractious internet forum, rather than a politician making high-minded claims about freedom of speech, clarifies the dynamics at play here. Mod drama is never really about who’s allowed to say what, or which specific posts broke which specific rules. Often, it’s part of a power struggle between chaos and order, fought by people who thrive in a lawless environment.
My take: Speaking as a mod—and as someone who also cut his internet teeth on the early message boards—Roose has nailed it. Who remembers Vic?