Cut-Price Lords Chamberlain

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Not entirely startling news from the depths of the child protection industry:

A small team of students decides what content should be blacklisted by several of Britain's leading ISPs, McAfee has admitted... [Thus], despite the inherent subjectivity in labelling pornography and the like, the categorisation of such websites is left to a small team with little training.

My reactions, in order:

  1. Since there are no objective categories involved, does it matter? (What exactly might competence in such classifications look like? Agreement with subsequent court judgments, perhaps including the sort of obscenity trials which themselves involve lay juries? Agreement with the judgments of customers who would prefer those judgments to be made for them?)

  2. Whom would one rather have doing the job? (Art critics, who already deal in the sensuously subjective, are generally expected to have cultivated their tastes through extensive appreciation of art; I sense that the classification of pornography is not universally expected to be analogous.)

  3. Isn’t this basically how a substantial portion of those students’ academic work will be assessed for their degree classifications: subjective judgments by postgrad. contract workers with little training prior to starting to teach?

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