In this headline...

Elon Musk manages free speech versus 'hellscape' at Twitter ----Reuters

What are the two opposing sides of the preposition "versus"?

Is it "free speech vs. hellscape"? Or is it "Elon Musk manages free speech vs. hellscape"?

  • I think it's your first interpretation, but it's not an obviously correct reading.
    – user888379
    Nov 1 at 13:50
  • I'd guess it's the same construction as "John Smith referees Liverpool vs Manchester City" but it would be nice to see the article.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 1 at 16:09
  • Thank you, everybody. I guess this is the crucial passage of the article : "The flood of requests underscore the challenge the CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) faces, balancing a promise to restore free speech while preventing the platform from descending into a 'hellscape,' as he had vowed in an open letter to advertisers on Thursday."
    – Theseus
    Nov 2 at 2:22

2 Answers 2


The two sides of the preposition (I believe) are:

Ideal free speech (within natural intact human considerations, and/or per moderation)


Hellscape: Unlimited free speech not bound by human decency/ mutual respect/ community health etc.. and also not moderated whatsoever.

  • Thanks! May I ask what does "manages" mean in the construction "manages (free speech vs hellscape)"?
    – Theseus
    Nov 2 at 2:28
  • In online platforms, content moderation is the process of ensuring that comments adhere to the policies for the site. That is what I was referring to.
    – 4dcndn
    Nov 2 at 14:07
  • Thanks again! So, in this context, I guess "manages" refers to reviewing and managing user-generated content, is it right?
    – Theseus
    Nov 2 at 16:45
  • Yes, it is the responsibility of whoever publishes that content to do that.
    – 4dcndn
    Nov 2 at 16:59
  • 1
    Thanks for all the replies, I understand now.
    – Theseus
    Nov 3 at 2:21

The two opposing sides of the equation are "free speech" and "hellscape," though those being the only two options are either Elon Musk's opinion or the headline writer's opinion.

IMO, the sections of any social platform that can be described as a hellscape are enabled by free speech. When you have speech that does not follow any rules (and even lots of speech that does follow moderation rules), other people are going to say things that are offensive and those voices can be amplified to the point that it becomes quite unpleasant for other users.

  • Thanks for giving the view about social platforms
    – Theseus
    Nov 2 at 2:30

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