I've read before about a phenomenon where a community's desire to allow unrestricted communication out of desire for diverse viewpoints actually has the opposite effect, driving sensitive and even moderate voices away from the community, thus leading to a homogeneous community in the other direction.

What is the name for this phenomenon?

  • It's a particular example of the phenomenon that people tend to become apathetic when they don't have to strive to improve their lot. An adage covering this is familiarity breeds contempt. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 25 '17 at 0:31
  • I recall a similar question in the last few weeks but can't locate it with any search terms. – Xanne Mar 25 '17 at 6:38
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    This seems related to political correctness. – Barmar Mar 25 '17 at 10:00
  • Would 'marginalization leading to homogeneity' fit the concept you're looking for. – Polymath Mar 30 '17 at 19:01
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    I don't think there is such a term. It's pretty subtle. "Drowned out" is close, but lacks the extreme v. moderate angle. – Maverick Apr 12 '17 at 15:45

Polarize: To cause a group to be divided into extremes.

This may not fully capture the context you are searching for (specifically regarding freedom of speech causing a directly undesired outcome), but I believe this describes the result of the phenomenon.

As this answer describes:

Polarized opinions does not necessarily imply two opposite opinions, it implies two different opinions.

and while that may seem contrary to my point, it goes on to also say:

Yes, they do tend to be mutually exclusive but they need not be opposite as such.

Example usage (from the linked answer [emphasis mine]):

Our society is polarized with respect to abortion

Further, in a more scientific context, Group Polarization (Wikipedia): may describe the actual phenomenon you are describing (not just the outcome). In social psychology, group polarization refers to the tendency for a group to make decisions that are more extreme than the initial inclination of its members.

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