“…It is a get out of jail free card for a writer who cannot back up their claims.”
I agree, but it actually goes further than that.
It boils down to one individual exercising his right to freedom of speech or expression, and then, by using the BLOCK function, effectively censoring the right of another to freely express theirs.
Freedom of speech or expression does not guarantee that said speech is going to be accepted or adopted by others, it just grants an individual the right to say it. Even then, there have always been restrictions concerning these basic rights, such as;
“…obscenity, defamation, incitement, incitement to riot or imminent lawless action, fighting words, fraud, speech covered by copyright, and speech integral to criminal conduct; this is not to say that it is illegal, but just that either state governments or the federal government may make them illegal…”
Far too many people are all about grabbing hold of the freedoms while forgetting all about the responsibilities that stem therefrom.
I may have the freedom to yell FIRE or BOMB in a crowded theater, but I must expect to be liable if 10 theater-goers get trampled and seriously injured by my false statement.
It seems disingenuous that someone authoring an article and publishing it on the Medium platform gets the ultimate decision on what other viewers get to see based solely on what the author has determined as harassment or some such.
Seems to me that once the PUBLISH button is clicked the author must be prepared to see responses that are critical of his views on that particular subject matter. He is certainly free to respond to those who have criticized his work as he is equally free to simply ignore the criticisms, while still allowing everyone to read the article.
This is exactly what has been occurring on college campuses, the very places where one used to be able to debate the issues without fear of retribution, harm or censorship.
In fact when any protest devolves from marching and carrying signs to rock throwing, starting fires and assaulting others who have opposing views, it is not protected free speech or free expression.
It’s authoritarian and fascistic!
That’s where we’re headed when hate is the guiding factor in the collective’s actions.