Usenet is, to my knowledge, really the only Internet free speech forum. That is, it is almost universally available yet has fewer rules of conduct than any other forum I can think of. It is not a "least common denominator" system, tolerating only the intersection of everyone's sensibilities.
There is forever a risk that the network in general will drift toward censorship, filtering, and other kinds restrictions that lead to people not being able to say what's on their mind. At least for now, usenet, crude as it may be, stands as a sort of refuge for people to go to when they don't like the restrictive nature of other forums. The world would be a scarier place without usenet or a forum of similar design, I think, because there would be no obvious way to audit whether there were unheard voices trying to speak out.
Once you acknowledge that its purpose is not to restrict posters but to accomodate them, it almost automatically follows as a corollary that the consequential effect will be to restrict readers. That is, you can't accomodate all possible readers without restricting posters, nor vice versa. That's just a practical fact dictated by simple logic, I think, unless you stipulate that the desires of all posters and the desires of all readers are identical, which I think it's fair to say they are not.
That, I believe, answers the "must" question. Must it be so? Literally, by logic, I believe it actually must. It's mere statistical coincidence when for a time it's otherwise.
This is a little like asking whether its just that 2+2=4. Were it unjust, what would it mean to repair it?
We can always ask people to be different, but we cannot demand it. And we can vote with our feet by creating other forums that do restrict posters and make it happier for readers and preferring to patronize those places. At the risk, of course, that people will call us fascists for restricting the speech rights of others. Of course, we'll defend ourselves by saying participation in our restrictive forums are voluntary, and that people could always go elsewhere. And this will be true provided at least one of the elsewheres is as free as usenet. But if someday there is no usenet nor anything like it, I think it will be a lie to say that participation in a more restricted forum is voluntary. People have a need to speak out somewhere, but if they are required to choose among forums that restrict them from what they want to say, is their speech still free?
What one recommends for others doesn't have to coincide with what one tolerates. There's nothing wrong with aspiring to be friendly and mannerly, and nothing wrong with encouraging the same in others. However, expecting that every person in the world will be friendly and mannerly 100% of the time is a lot to ask.
We all have our bad days--some more than others, I suspect. Personally, I give people who contribute positives to the world a lot more slack with their respective negatives. I have very little patience with a person who only complains or insults or flames. On the other hand, a person who regularly contributes usefully and once in a while gets quirky is a hard call. Could that person be better? Perhaps. Some try and do not succeed. Would the world be better without such people? I don't know. Somehow I doubt it.
Homework Assignment: Go back and watch the episode of Star Trek in which Kirk is split by a transporter accident into the good Kirk and the bad Kirk, and think about how wimpy the good Kirk is without his bad side...
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