Soft Security is defined as "relying on the community, rather than technology, to enforce order. An online neighborhood watch."

Basically, in a forum that relies on Soft Security, each user is expected to take on the responsibility of correcting inaccurate facts, removing inflammatory content, and keeping trolls in line. It is a form of social control used in place of the traditional form of control mechanisms such as access control. Rather than restricting who can post what, all users are given complete freedom, and therefor must keep each other in line.

The premise of Soft Security is not a new one. In many more "primitive" cultures, Soft Security governs the actions of an entire village. The Guarani of South America, for example, Soft Security played a major part in how interpersonal transgressions were handled. Their social structure called for everyone to treat those in their village like family. They would share what they have and treat others kindly, knowing that they would receive the same hospitality from their tribemates. If one person mistreated another, that person would be looked down upon and excluded by the whole village until they learned from their mistake and made amends.



Please note that what I've said about the Guarani people is just what I remember learning about them in an environmental anthropology class I took several years ago, so it is entirely possible that I've got it all wrong. If anyone has a copy of "Forest Dwellers, Forest Protectors: Indigenous Modals for International Development" on hand it would be great if they could fact-check it for me.
-MelindaSingleton
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