Back then, the consensus was roughly:
1. If a community accepts pseudonyms, it is polite to use either your realname or an obvious pseudonym.
2. If a community places high value on realnames, either use your realname or a realname-sounding (i.e. non-obvious) pseudonym.
3. Unmasking someone's nonpublic realname, or other private information, is generally considered impolite if not aggressive, regardless whether the community places high value on realnames or not.
Has anything substantially changed since then?
Can you just not use Facebook? There are obviously only 3 choices: (1) not use it, but then you won't have an account where all of your friends are; (2) use it with your real name and lose your privacy, with obvious risks, like your employer or relatives being able to find you on Facebook or (3) use Facebook with a fake name and risk being banned for breach of contract, with all of your investments in it lost.
Lets not pretend that today's Internet is the same as the Internet from the eighties and nineties. Your father and grandma weren't on Usenet.
Just the Facial Recognition alone has caused problems for people attempting to do this.
Further OpSec is not just on you, I know a couple of people that have tried this only to have OTHER people expose thier data or information by posting things on facebook and other sites about them.
I am so sick of this 'better security' argument - it's a roundabout way of saying you don't have a good answer. The whole 'better security' argument is based on the notion that conflict is inevitable so it should take priority over everything else (which might be why defense is such a large part of the US' discretionary budget). But taking that as your guide results in substantially worse quality of life. If crime goes up in my city, is the best response for everyone to put bars on their windows and dress in body armor etc. etc.? No, that would suggest we've given up on the idea of being able to reduce crime by any other method. Putting bars on my windows is near the bottom of my list of responses to crime, because it would make me feel like I'm living in prison - in which case, what's the point in being law-abiding, I might as well take up crime myself and hope I don't get caught than spend money on turning home into a fortress.
This isn't an argument against self-defense, but against security costs as a negative externality.
I know many people are a part of Real Worlds clubs, attend conferences, or other events under Identities that do not match their government issued documents. They do this for a verity of reasons.
Since you can't easily change your face there is a very substantial risk that some human you run across will recognize you, or that some computer algorithm will ask a human likely to to confirm it's tagging of you in a picture they have no context on.
> An idiot in Athenian democracy was someone who was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private—as opposed to public—affairs. Idiocy was the natural state of ignorance into which all persons were born and its opposite, citizenship, was effected through formalized education. In Athenian democracy, idiots were born and citizens were made through education (although citizenship was also largely hereditary). "Idiot" originally referred to "layman, person lacking professional skill", "person so mentally deficient as to be incapable of ordinary reasoning". Declining to take part in public life, such as democratic government of the polis (city state), was considered dishonorable. "Idiots" were seen as having bad judgment in public and political matters.
Step one is to recognize the problem, and that's compared to the seriousness we should have, we're all idiots. And we no longer can afford it, we have invented to many idiocy multipliers. If that hurts anyone's feelings I'm real sorry, but considering all those war profiteers we host I'd rather be able to look wise people and dead people in the eye, than the people who can't look those people in the eye. The world's a dirty, dark, and more than anything a foolish, petty and derpy place; but cleansing one's own "soul" is possible, to a degree.
Of course ads profiling of each identities should also be kept separated. And of course a strong privacy statement backed up by some technical information on the architecture should also be a part of that change (Apple iOS security guide is a good example to follow IMHO).
Unfortunately this look so far away from the current Facebook approach to new users "hey trust us type in your IMAP credentials so we can scrape all your acquaintances by snooping all your mails!"
None of that really matters if you just want to maintain an anonymous persona aside from your real identity. However, you're still only a subpoena away from the government tracking you down. I haven't even given it that much thought, but it seems really hard to cover your tracks these days.
A few months ago, worrying about such things seemed kind of silly to me. Now, I think I understand the need better.
I am assuming you are now concerned because of the incoming administration. I find this puzzling.
Do you remember this character? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ashcroft
Suspects who are innocent of a crime should [have Miranda rights].
But the thing is, you don't have many suspects who are innocent of
a crime. That's contradictory. If a person is innocent of a crime,
then he is not a suspect.
If your OpSec is adequate, subpoenas aren't an issue.
Cash transaction for a prepaid phone. Pretty easy, if not a little inconvenient.
So suddenly you have to explain to your real friends/family/coworkers why you have a fake account.
Naturally people want to use FB because it's convenient to be able to communicate with and make new friends through a consistent convenient interface. FB has a comparative advantage in terms of privacy protection, anonymity etc., simply because it has the data centers and the database and the developers - there's little additional technical cost to going with one policy over another (although there may be a substantial business cost). There's a relatively high technical cost for the individual user in doing all this compartmentalization etc. so most people don't bother - partly because they don't want to pay it and partly because they don't know the business value of the information they are giving out about themselves, and can't easily estimate the economic impact of their decisions.
I don't think that it's a special case of (3). It's rather a combination of (2) and (3).
Why even have a fake facebook account? Facebook will know it's you. The government will too.
If you don't want the whole world to be privy to what you post, then why even use Facebook? Just post your green frogs and political opinions on forums and websites that do not base their revenue around tracking you 24/7.
that, in a nutshell, s why we could really use a good social networking protocol rather than a platform. Platforms are like land, land has landlords, and landlords want rents.
This is an important point. This entire infrastructure was designed, and initially used, by academics and engineers. I remember thinking about the SPAM problem in '95 and reaching the conclusion that given its provenance, little if any thought was given to addressing anti-social behavior by users by its designers.
People using real names on Usenet did not usually face a serious risk of being harassed and endangered in real life by an army of trolls: E.g. having their address, phone number and other private details stolen and publicly disseminated. Having armed police raid their house because someone has made a bogus 911 call. Having their utilities and back accounts cancelled because someone rang up using their details. Having the same harassment happen to their friends, relatives and colleagues. Etc.
And this is without considering people living in countries with oppressive governments, where using their real name could see them arrested, beaten and imprisoned.
Basically, the stakes are a lot higher for a lot of people. For many, preserving anonymity isn't a matter of "politeness" — it's a matter of personal security. It can literally be a matter of life and death.
As concerning as that was, it in no way compares to what women in particular face today online.
Trade Wars players can be aggressive at times.
I see the issues you are stating, but not so much a qualitative change.
> serious risk of being harassed and endangered in real life by an army of trolls
This type of trolls (aka "stalkers") have already existed decades ago. Back then I had no trouble finding such cases documented in the Usenet archives. Of course, these happened to fewer people, but then, the net was a lot smaller, too.
> For many, preserving anonymity isn't a matter of "politeness" — it's a matter of personal security
How does this differ from what I wrote? "... is considered impolite, if not aggressive ..."
> And this is without considering people living in countries with oppressive governments, where using their real name could see them arrested, beaten and imprisoned.
This may really have changed, considering that those countries joined the internet relatively lately. Yet, it still seems that this is covered by point 3) "... is considered impolite, if not aggressive ..."
It's the difference between living in a city with one murder a year, and one hundred murders a day. To the individual killed, the distinction is irrelevant, but in terms of the effect on others, and on the measures taken by the society as a whole, it's everything.
But I would also argue there has been a qualitative change, from harassment conducted by isolated individuals, to large scale, organised harassment, as well as an escalation in the tactics used. A malicious Usenet user could not call on an army of globally distributed 4chan trolls to endlessly pursue a particular vendetta. And the much greater integration of technology into institutions means the available methods to harass someone and remotely disrupt their life is far greater.
There are billions of people on the internet now. How many were using it in the days of Usenet?
If everyone is exposed to everyone at all times, then everyone is endangered in large groups (seems obvious) even if no one is consistently looking for trouble more than anyone else. If that the qualities that inspire that 1% reaction have a clumpy distribution (either in perpetrator or victim), the experiences that individuals have will be vastly different in an average forum, and when holding the tolerance for danger constant, the least targeted will feel comfortable in far larger towns than the most targeted.
Of course, in real life, the larger the town, the higher the level of anonymity. In the case of internet forums, however, 1) smaller groups are being eliminated in favor of larger groups due to finance and economies of scale and 2) there is a profit motive in de-anonymizing users. There's absolutely no degree of moderation that can make it work. Anonymity simply makes the problem disappear. What you said can be targeted, you yourself cannot be.
Curious to see a specimen or two if you can dig it up. Not challenging the statement, just mostly interested in which specific era of usenet you are referencing. I couldn't dig up anything earlier than 1999 for "usenet stalking".
It's not that pseudonyms are a new thing either.
This seems to be mostly an american problem, not an online problem. Which means maybe it's not something that should be fixed by online communities but by the nation.
Use of a particular service or website is not a human right. If your particular situation is such that it's unsafe or you need to violate TOS/regulations/laws by using a service... don't.
Classic. "I'm not at risk, so we need not change anything. Your behavior is therefore at fault."
> Use of a particular service or website is not a human right.
Of course not. Would you say that being able to freely live your life without threat of death (as you most likely already do) should be?
Allow me to extend your conclusion:
- People harass me at the laundromat because of my appearance, to the point where I fear for my life. "Don't go to that laundromat ever again." OK, I'll now have to go 30 minutes out of my way every time I need to do laundry. And suppose that this other laundromat is no different?
- People shout threats at me at the grocery store. "Don't go to that grocery store." Or, better yet, maybe I should just perfectly change the color of my skin and facial features to match theirs, so that the problem is solved!
I know you guys are going to hate this, but this attitude is precisely what is meant by "white privilege." Please let me know if I am misunderstanding your attitude, or what you think about this.
I'm sure you meant to say "Classic strawman:" because that's not at all what I said, or meant. Please actually respond to what I said and not whatever argument you heard other people make.
I think it's demonstrably true that if using Facebook is an acute risk to your life, you are better off not using. That doesn't mean you're at fault if you use it and someone kills you. But it doesn't mean that Facebook needs to change its real name policy. It means you need to weight the pros and cons of why you want to use Facebook and why using it could get you killed, and whether you're willing to risk that.
> Would you say that being able to freely live your life without threat of death (as you most likely already do) should be?
But that doesn't mean that it's a right to do things that could engender threats to your life. A Tutsi has an inalienable right to live in Rwanda without fear of persecution or death. A Tutsi does not have an inalienable right to use Facebook (nor does anyone). If you're a Rwandan Tutsi, and you use Facebook, you should understand the risks. You should be able to use Facebook without fear or persecution or death but it's not a right any more than it's a right to have an email address or drive a particular type of car or eat a certain food on a certain day.
They're separate issues and it's Facebook's decision whether or not they want to require real names. To make that the issue ignores the fact that people are being killed because of their beliefs, or because they're transgender, or whatever the actual problem is.
> People harass me at the laundromat because of my appearance, to the point where I fear for my life. "Don't go to that laundromat ever again."
Well no, my response would be "Call the police." There are a lot of things that could happen from there. If it's actually harassment and the police address it, potentially problem solved. If it's actually harassment and police do nothing, that's a related but separate issue, and yes I would say that not going there again is the smart move. You have a right not to be killed and you have a right to wash your clothes but you don't have a right to wash your clothes in that specific laundromat at that specific time.
If it's not actually harassment then it depends what's actually happening. A group of teenagers pointing at laughing at you is uncomfortable and wrong but probably not harassment. A group of rough looking guys in a bad part of town staring at you will make most people feel uncomfortable but is also not harassment.
> People shout threats at me at the grocery store. "Don't go to that grocery store."
Call the police.
> this attitude is precisely what is meant by "white privilege."
I know you are going to hate this, but why is it the first person to bring up race is usually someone saying that something is offensive or privilege? I tend to agree that a certain level of privilege exists in the world and some of it has to do with race but Facebook's real name policy is a piss poor example of it.
How does one's LGBTQ status affect their legal name?
According to another anonymous source, Facebook refused their name despite presenting government-issued documents.
There are activists internationally examining and discussing how privilege and systems of oppression affect their individual cultures. It would make sense that a primarily English-speaking site would explore privilege in context of English-speaking cultures, usually described as "western". This may look like there is no discussion outside of "western" spheres when this is incorrect. This is the kind of not-realizing-the-greater-context in which I believe privilege thrives in.
'Folding Beijing' by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu, and winner for Hugo 2016 Best Novelette http://uncannymagazine.com/article/folding-beijing-2/
Nonetheless, I did no know of Japanese discussions on "microagressions", that's curious. You do agree, that Japan is often thought of as belonging to the "Western" countries, don't you?
I find it interesting that you honed in on Japan and ascribed with rhetoric Japan's discussion of its own xenophobia as a "western" influence. You could with some mental twisting ascribe any such discussion with "western" influence due to the phenomenon of globalization. But in doing so there isn't room for another culture to develop their own capability to analyze and discuss potential problems within their own culture as people of that culture- in other words it is a rhetoric that denies any non-western culture agency. To say Japan's examination of its own cultural xenophobic tendencies is due to "western ownership" denies the Japanese their agency to look at their own culture and think critically about systems of oppression in Japan for themselves. It also presents Japan as a culture that is not itself, it "belongs" to another system, which of itself is a kind of unpleasant view of other cultures given you are of a "western" culture and benefit by presenting other cultures as "belonging to" your culture.
The quality of this advice is very dependent on the quality of the police you are calling.
For instance, someone in Kern County (incl. Bakersfield), California, should probably not call upon the police for anything less severe than "someone is already dead".
If you truly fear for your life at the laundromat, save your quarters for a few weeks and buy a washtub, scrub board, wringer, and clothesline. Or use a drop-off service. You do not need a laundromat or your own washing machine to do laundry. It is counterproductive to feel like you're going to soil your pants when trying to get another pair clean.
But the grocery store... food is a necessity. You can't really decide not to eat, or to grow everything you will eat at home. There, you're going to need to carry the most effective weapon for self-defense that the state will allow you to keep, keep your shoelaces tied properly, and be hyper-vigilant of your surroundings, potential threats, and escape routes.
The police aren't there to protect you, specifically. They are paid to enforce the law, as directed by their superiors. If you wind up dead, it is likely that no cop will ever be held even partially responsible for it, regardless of the circumstances. If you take appropriate and ethical measures to protect your own safety, police may treat you as just another part of the problem when they arrive (if they decide to show up at all).
In any case, the danger is not Facebook, or the laundromat, or the grocery store: the danger is the person who wants to harm you. The danger is that you cannot effectively defend yourself from such people in your everyday life, regardless of whether some business or other is passively enabling their threatening behavior. If someone is using Facebook to make you fear, complaining to Facebook is the wrong thing to do first. Depending on your means, build a wall, hire a bodyguard, buy a weapon, get security monitoring, join the neighborhood watch, or install surveillance cameras--whatever it takes to make you feel safe from unknown assailants. Then you can complain to Facebook.
Call the police? You don't have enough proof, and shouting death threats at people isn't "harassment" anyway, it's just "free speech", so just grow a thicker skin already, and stop encouraging the death threats to be sent to you by being out in public like that!
You have a right not to be killed and you have a right to wash your clothes but you don't have a right to wash your clothes in that specific laundromat at that specific time.
Nice how you seem to have started to realize your logical conclusion was "but you don't have a right to wash your clothes without the threat of being killed", but tried to avoid it.
I know you are going to hate this, but why is it the first person to bring up race is usually someone saying that something is offensive or privilege?
A while back I criticized the "politics" "detox" on HN by saying that there are a lot of people who don't have the luxury of just saying "I'm tired of all this, I'll take a week off from it". They don't have that luxury because they're going to be bombarded with hate, and probably harassment and threats, no matter what they do.
Meanwhile there are a lot of other people who can simply take a week off: they don't face that constant bombardment, nobody will try to follow them around and keep forcibly exposing them to it, etc. This is what's meant by "privilege"; the people who can treat this as just something tiresome which can be safely ignored for a week are fundamentally living in a different world than the people who will be followed and threatened by it no matter what (because, let's face it, there are dedicated ragemobs out there which don't care if somebody stops reading one site, or going to one laundromat -- they'll track down phone numbers and home addresses and keep coming).
Getting the people who "take a week off" to understand that this is something unique to them as a class, something that others can't just do whenever they want, something that really is a luxury compared to the way others are forced by our society to live, is often very difficult, because when you live in that protected bubble you often are completely unaware of its existence. You don't face that kind of treatment, after all, and you think of yourself as average, so on average that kind of thing must be very rare or perhaps greatly exaggerated. Dragging people out of that bubble and making them confront the fact that no, it's not rare and no, it's not exaggerated (if anything, it's often understated), and yes, there are very clear patterns, based heavily in race and gender, which consistently appear to determine who gets the luxury of the bubble and who doesn't, is very hard, but necessary.
In situations like the hypotheticals described, I would also say that the local authorities have lost their mandate to govern, and that those subject to the adverse conditions are ethically justified in securing their own safety by any means at their disposal, including against those (former) local authorities, if necessary, while still engaging in everyday commerce and public discourse. Making everyone stay home to stay safe is not an acceptable option. Living your life is more than just avoiding an untimely death.
You do have the right to do business at a laundromat without the threat of being killed, but it is not the owner of the laundromat that has the ultimate duty to provide the illusion of physical security there. If a state exists, it is the state's duty to make you feel safe anywhere in public, provided that you do not yourself act unlawfully.
No government upholds that duty perfectly, however, so a certain measure of responsibility for one's personal safety will always fall upon the individual. And in order to safeguard the benefits of trade, a certain measure will always fall upon the business owner who wishes to keep their customers (and unpurchased property).
Facebook has chosen, perhaps wrongly, to implement its policies such that it is easier (and cheaper) to hold misbehaving individuals accountable after the fact than to protect innocents from misbehavior before it happens. This is a business decision, and it reveals by its failures that state authorities are not effectively investigating and prosecuting criminal harassment to the extent necessary to make people feel safe, and in the worst cases, it is the state authorities themselves that are harassing identifiable individuals.
> The police aren't there to protect you, specifically. They are paid to enforce the law, as directed by their superiors.
Those people who say "Just call the police." have likely never actually called the police (in the US).
And this segues into my response to you: as you said, it is very hard for some people to just "up and ignore politics for a while".
What I feel you are missing however is that there is a very perverse mirror effect: as a white guy (which I assume from your comment you are not), drinking from the social justice firehose is like basking in anti-white male hate (remember that just like not every white male is a racist and a sexist, not every advocate for social justice is immune from similar hateful beliefs targeted at the former group).
One difference is that you're supposed to like it. Or at least a white male who's a "good person" is.
Now, I don't know to what extent both situations are similar or different, I've only ever experienced one side of it (and all the minority friends I ever asked couldn't relay experiences that approach the level of severity people imply on the Internet. But maybe that's because Québec/Ontario is a very different place than wherever you live, or maybe I just don't know the right people).
> something that others can't just do whenever they want, something that really is a luxury compared to the way others are forced by our society to live
I don't really know how to frame this, but I think it's worth noting that in fact, no matter what you've experienced, you still live a luxurious life yourself by today's world standards.
Indeed, if you make just 18k $/year, you're part of the world's richest 10%.
If you have Internet, then you're part of the 40% of people lucky enough to do so.
In many countries today, female foeticides (that is, killing babies because they are not males) is a reality. In other places, young boys are used as sex toys. In a few Islamic countries in Africa (Sudan and Chad are the 2 I remember offhand), actual chattel slavery is still a thing today.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that probably all of us who can comment on HN live in a bubble (certainly some bubbles are inside others however).
And I think it's easy for all of us to look at bubbles inside our own and "take a week off" from problems which do not affect us directly. Heck, I've seen videos of crazy stuff and I'm writing about it here and I still don't really grasp that people actually get stoned to death for adultery.
In perspective, it feels to me like the plight of marginalized people in western countries is akin to a rich lawyer complaining to Bill Gates about how unfair it is that he can't afford a small island himself while ordering a burger from a minimum wage cashier.
Sure, there are awful things happening around the world. But your response is classic "whataboutism". At some point you have to start prioritizing problems to solve, and problems which are closer to home will, psychologically, impact people in ways different from problems that are distant. Plus, bringing up conditions in developed countries probably creates the opportunity to marshal more resources to do things about other places (since newly-empowered people will have greater capital and technological resources to bring to bear on eradicating trouble around the world).
My understanding of whataboutism is that it must be an attempt to deflect from some problem that the user doesn't want to address. Like if one is a racist and say 'oh but what about children in country X'. And even then, there are ways to interpret what I just wrote unfavorably due to the plethora of possible definitions of the * isms (is it subtle bias or is it fear/hate of, or etc.).
Anyway, the point I would make is that I think your argument about what to prioritize is shaped around the conclusion you want to reach. Consider this: why should I prioritize my fellow countrymen/westerners of another race over my fellow human beings from another country?
Because they are closer or more akin to me? If so, why not care about people even closer to me: my family and my 'tribe'?
What I'm describing is what is generally seen as conservatism and I expect that it is even seen as either actual bigotry/racism/etc or at least related to it, yet your argument for the 'opposite side' is very similar. Or, if you prefer, what might be said to be racist about an argument against caring for other races could be said to be xenophobic about yours, in a way (I'm not trying to insult you, but rather trying to point out a case of repugnant conclusion).
But anyway, the whole topic is vast and I realize that I've contradicted my own recommendation of emphasizing solutions, so here is my attempt at that: it could be that there are ways to improve race relations that are either the most effective ways to improve the world or that also happen to benefit everyone's ingroup and if those exist then I encourage people to focus on sharing those.
As for more contentious solutions, I have no idea yet. I have seen too many life skill assessment surveys and such to believe that pure 'system 2' solutions (to use Kanehman's nomenclature) will ever work: most people are what Kahneman would call 'lazy thinkers' and I'm fairly convinced that the *isms are merely consequences of such cognitive biases. Short of genetic engineering or separating groups into nations based on their group identity, I don't know what could work.
It's our government. We should write the best rules. If the company doesn't like it they can go to a different country.
The problem with rules is that they are "one-size fits all". Very binary. Instead of telling people what they can and can not do, why don't we simply require full disclosure?
> We should write the best rules. If the company doesn't like it they can go to a different country.
That's easier for companies than citizens. But the determination of "best rules" in a (representative) democracy depends on which mob is in charge this week...
Using the word right for something should be reserved only for those specific, first-order activities which are so inalienable as to suggest the inability to do them is reprehensible to and an affront to basic humanity.
Being safe is a right. Speaking your mind (with certain reasonable limitations) is a right, even if your opinions are garbage to 99% of the world. Using the laundromat at Whittaker and 8th is not a right, nor is using Facebook or even the internet.
People often ask me why i still haven't changed my name to Swizec legally. This is why.
You never know who out of the thousands of people you interact with online could get crazy ideas. With a pseudonym they can still identify you and know who you are, but they can't call your bank and do something silly.
In the good ol' days, we had this thing called "a phonebook", which was basically a big printed book of alphabetically sorted mappings of surname to phone number and home address...
I had a friend who got brigaded by 4chan in high school (I think she posted nudes and got doxxed, don't entirely remember, and I didn't ask for too many details).
Long story short: hundreds of letters over about a year addressed to her house, her parents' workplaces, our school, all with really fucked up messages. Telling her to kill herself and other terrible things about her or her family. Letters listing everyone in her family or including pictures of her family from myspace (this was just before everyone was on Facebook) with names, phone numbers, and other details. Phone calls to her parents insulting their daughter.
No "real harm" ever came from it aside from the threats, and her parents handled it very well, but still...
It's not so much one person knowing "your" address. It's an unknown number of people knowing you and your family's address.
Send the police to save your (non-existent) hostages: http://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/03/the-world-has-no-room-for...
Or to arrest you for the drugs you ordered (or were sent to you):
One of the searches for my name results in my parents' current address. If I'm a sufficiently flagrant asshole online, there could be reprecussions, anything from a glitterbomb to being swatted. (And what worries me that I don't even have to be a sufficiently flagrant asshole, I just have to run into one.)
The reactions to Kibo suggest that was unusual at first.
How apt to use critical thinking the average / many users of the Internet are.
"Real names" on Facebook profiles are also problematic since they are not actually authenticated in any meaningful way.
If users had to use a credit card to buy some type of service and the name on that card became their public identity name then at least in that respect it would be ///a/// Firstname Lastname that was an owner of the account. There would still be namespace collision issues (there are billions on this planet).
> Designers need to acknowledge that design cannot solve harassment and other social problems on its own.
Trying to remove anonymity will not 'fix' trolling and harassment. After all, a lot of people simply don't care what others think of them, know they're too far away to be affected (in most cases) or just have nothing to lose to begin with.
What can 'fix' trolling is evenhanded, firm moderation of a community site. There are tons of forums and wikis and other such sites out there which do well here, because they simply lay out clear rules for participation and ban people for being scumbags and breaking said rules.
Facebook and Twitter struggle with this, partly because it's impractical to manually moderate a site with so many users and partly because their model doesn't really allow it. And maybe in part because they're very clearly inconsistent with who gets banned for saying what (like say, banning more conservative accounts than liberal accounts for trolling). Which itself undermines confidence in the site's rules.
So yeah, the key to an online community without harassment isn't removing anonymity, it's having clear rules in that place and enforcing them equally regardless of a member's status or political views.
While that is true, many times what person A considers to be harassment, the person that is harassing them does not consider it to be harassment at all.
This is not to say the person is not being harassed, although I have seen many examples of people claiming to have been "harassed" but when I view the twitter history for example I do not consider it to be harassment. That said often abusers do not self identify as abusers for example a Wife beater does not believe they are abusing their victim.
>>Facebook and Twitter struggle with this, partly because it's impractical to manually moderate a site with so many users and partly because their model doesn't really allow it.
Facebook and Twitter struggle with this because they refuse to create the clear rules for participation you stated other sites do. They proclaim to be "Free Speech" platforms welcome to "All Ideas and discussion" while creating mushy and lose rules that are highly subjective and makes enforcing those rules problematic.
Where as the sites you describe are normally subject matter sites so it is somewhat easier to define a more ridged rule set.
Facebook, twitter, and to a lesser extent Reddits problem is it impossible to be both a "Free Speech" platform and a censor... These are mutually exclusive concepts
It's why they're struggling with communities like The Donald and had a lot of previous issues with the likes of Fat People Hate. Because they realised that their original philosophy doesn't really scale well and puts off more 'moderate' users, yet also realise a large portion of their audience joined on the promise of freedom of speech and go ballistic if things get censored.
I disliked the Fat People Hate subreddit, you know what I did... I did not visit the Fat People Hate subreddit.
The communities I join and participate in on Reddit are moderated well and do not suffer from the problem, if you do not like what is talked about on The Donald, don't go there, not that hard.
The problem is people do go, get "offended" then complain or raise hell because the mere existence of speech they dislike is what they want to end. This is not Freedom of Speech, but censorship.
Reddits Original model is the correct one, Allow Communities to form on the platform, and if people do not like the content of those communities they can unsubscribe, or avoid them.
However, Reddit and similar platforms usually can't operate under this logic. Why? Because they need to make money to stay online/keep operating. And unfortunately, that means content that alienates advertisers (like a lot of the more controversial subreddits) ends up actively hurting their revenue stream.
They could try and get round this by monetising in other ways (micropayments, subscriptions, purely donations, etc) or by looking for ad networks with real low standards, but those methods likely wouldn't pay enough to keep them afloat.
It's why in the long run, I suspect the answer to the problem isn't a centralised platform that hosts a lot of different communities, but a system that connects individually hosted communities into a 'network' of sorts with similar features to Reddit.
That way, you can have both controversial and non controversial 'subreddits', with the latter paying their own hosting bills and the former either doing the same thing or getting subsidised hosting by the network owner.
It also shuts down any future attempts at censorship by not giving the company running the service any way to edit what happens on any one community.
Usenet vs Reddit
IRC vs Slack/Twitter
I believe the internet is harmed by these Platforms in general and we should go back to Decentralized Standards for communications vs For profit Platforms
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this just a protocol?
Losing your target audience is a problem for any company. Free speech is a right insofar as the government cannot ban speech. Private property is a right. Reddit cannot ban me from saying what I want in real life, but they totally have the right to not allow me to say it on their property.
/r/all has always been and will always be trash.
I find that it works. r/all is a lot of memes and time wasters, but can be fun for a quick look at what's going on outside of my bubble. I've found things(like rick and morty) that I wouldn't have found if I hadn't punched up r/all once in a while.
By not clamping down on trash content, reddit is monetizing hate speech.
And that's why I avoid reddit entirely. Not because I'm worried my feelings will be hurt by some shitposter, but because that shitposter gets reddit gold and ad impressions that make money for reddit inc. I'm just not interested in participating in that business - in my mind they're not seperable, you can't just ignore r/the_donald or any of the other hives when they're all part of the business plan.
Doubtful, Hate Speech is subjective, what is "hate" to person A is not hate to person B.
as an example
>you can't just ignore r/the_donald
You find the_donald filled with Hate Speech, but as a Libertarian I see all kinds of Social Justice, Statist, and other Posts to be "hate filled" that I bet you do not.
So tell me again how "don't go to those subreddits" is the solution?
OK, Dont go to those subreddits.
>Fat People Hate was known for going into other subreddits and shitposting all the time.
I was no aware that subreddit's could post anything. Now users that happened to subscribed or vist FPH may also visit other communities, it is up to those communities to then moderator their subreddits,
As to /r/all, reddit should just really remove that "feature" /r/all has never worked, and will never work, that is a non-issue.
To expand on that: "I disagree" is not and should not be a valid defense when someone is accusing you of harassment. Harassment is a violation of personal space and only one person gets to define the limits of that personal space; it is not the aggressor that sets the limits.
In a way, it is the same discussion as with privacy: the only authority on what personal information to share with whom is the person themselves.
Yes, this premise is easily abused, and yes, in US' adversarial society a discussion on this topic carries a lot more weight (because legal) than it probably should, but the fundamental premise is still the same: personal stuff is personal.
As for the false dichotomy between free speech and censorship: that is the same as arguing that freedom can only exist in anarchy; they both rely on a very narrow definition of freedom: that each person exists foremost as a singular entity, and that every interpersonal exchange is governed by mutual negotiation. I think that's a very myopic view, because it implies that every relationship starts adversarial.
I disagree completely on this. Using this definition of harassment, in combination with a prohibition on said harassment is ripe for abuse. I have seen many many many people claim others are "harassing" them simply because the other person expressed a dissenting opinion from their own. Harassment must have an objective definition, not a subjective one. At-least if it is going to enforced as a part of over all rules for a platform like Twitter.
Further under this definition of Harassment no one can be harassed online, since you can not violate a persons PERSONAL space if you have no physical proximity to the person
>>they both rely on a very narrow definition of freedom: that each person exists foremost as a singular entity, and that every interpersonal exchange is governed by mutual negotiation. I think that's a very myopic view, because it implies that every relationship starts adversarial.
What is your definition of freedom then. I do believe every person is a singular entity, with self agency, and that every interaction with other people is a mutual negotiation where by both parties should voluntary agree to interact and at any time for any reason either party can choose to end the interaction. With out the ability to chose whom you interact with, and for what reason you can not have freedom. That is far from myopic
If I falsely and maliciously accuse you of being a paedophile that can cause you to undergo intrusive investigation, possibly leading to you losing work; it can cause people to physically assault you, perhaps even kill you. I have no physical proximity to you, but I have intruded on your personal space.
But even if none of that happens: it will affect you. These types of actions cause actual, measurable, harm.
See, for example, how people react when they read the sentencing remarks or Mr Justice Spencer in Regina vs Joshua Bonehill-Paine
There are people who'll try to deny that this was antisemitism; that it was actually harassment; that she wasn't harmed by it etc.
Where? How do they react?
I disagree, you have caused other people to violate my personal space, but you did not.
>But even if none of that happens: it will affect you. These types of actions cause actual, measurable, harm.
This is true, that does not make it a violation of "personal space" nor does it have to be a violation of person space to have liability for actions attached to it
Hence why I said that the discussion is needlessly complicated. But a single bad implementation does not prove a bad design.
I have seen many many many people claim others are "harassing" them simply because the other person expressed a dissenting opinion from their own.
So? The only problem with that claim is that it automically converts into a legal threat. Otherwise: stop asssociating with them. People who cry harassment are not interested in your argument anyway, whether their claim is justified or not.
I am a little puzzled though how my definition can be both "ripe for abuse" and cause that "no one can be harassed online"?
What is your definition of freedom then
My view on life is that every person is an amalgamation of the role they play in a multitude of social circles. Each circle may have its own norms and customs, and each person assumes those norms and customs to a degree each is comfortable with. For my definition of freedom it therefore follows that I don't think it is useful to consider a person in the singular, as everything we are is informed by the context of the roles we choose. A person in the singular is just that: a person, and a pretty uninteresting one at that.
The agency we have is to choose the circles we move in, and the degree to which we let each role subsume us. Interaction within a chosen circle is not always optional though: we can choose the circles but not directly its members. Freedom then, to me, is the ability to choose our roles and circles without fear of reprisal from other circles.
both parties should voluntary agree to interact and at any time for any reason either party can choose to end the interaction
Either party can choose? Yes, that surely matches all documented cases of harassment, both online and offline. It also perfectly matches the online model, where my browser is happily associating with tens of tracking networks for each single page I visit, and where my interaction with those trackers ends as soon as I close the page :/
To be more clear: I think it is myopic is because a) it assumes that all interactions are voluntary, and b) it assumes that all interactees have equal footing for negotiation.
So when debating whether these platforms should have moderation policies, and how far they should go, one needs to ask if they value diverse points of view more, or harassment and hate speech more.
There is a person on Facebook using my exact (very rare) name, going to my exact university, living in my exact city, also happening to be gay like me.
However unlikely that this is just one gigantic coincidence, I would have been willing to let it slide if their public Facebook timeline wasn't filled with desperate pleads and public invitations to be sexually pleased in every possible bodily orifice.
Me and a dozen other friends reported the profile as impersonating me and it was denied literally 3 minutes later, which, I guess, is completely understandable considering I use a pseudonym on Facebook.
So what would be the solution? Changing my Facebook name to my real name and uploading a scan of some document to prove to Facebook that it is really me? Seems like too much to lose and practically nothing to gain (I'm not overly upset about the impersonator but I wouldn't mind them gone)
> So what would be the solution? Changing my Facebook name to my real name and uploading a scan of some document to prove to Facebook that it is really me?
Close your FB account, write a blog post and/or magazine articles about it, contact facebook and demand to remove this impersonator for slander and defamation.
Worse it'll probably be some punk kid (no money, no real consequences, etc) and you'll be left with nothing but giant legal fees.
If anything this is a clear indication that //allowing// real names online is insanity. The polar opposite of current policy should be in effect.
They're not even allowed to enforce it in Germany : "Facebook may not prevent its users from using fake names, a German privacy watchdog said on Tuesday, in the latest privacy setback for the U.S. company in Europe." Note that said authority is part of the government (unlike, say, EFF).
Similar to the right of getting all your data in the EU. They stopped answering requests and the government representative in Ireland (who is responsible) also stopped replying to emails. They'll give you all your data if you sue them, otherwise they just ignore the laws. With Dublin on their side, there's little the EU can do.
But what I do with the logged-in browser is influenced a lot by wether it is a community with a real name expectation our wether it is a pseudonym playground. The virtual place where we connect with people we meet while parenting our enjoying an expensive outdoor hobby provides infinitely more valuable targeting opportunities than the places we go to indulge in shamefully inappropriate jokes. Making the community better is not a pretext for pro-advertising features, it is a key pro-advertising feature itself.
And for many years a majority of my friend circle were people I probably never even knew the "real" name of - people in the demo/cracking scene where it was often common for people to introduce you by handle and group (e.g. say Strider of Fairlight, to take a "well known" example from the scene that I spoke to on the phone but back in the day but never met, who I can't for the life of me remember the real name of). Some of these people I'd meet in person regularly and still not use the real name of because their real name was not what people around us would know them by in that context.
My ex goes by three different names: Her "real" name from her passport. An Anglicized name that her immediate family and childhoold school friends uses, and a different Anglicized name that most of her work colleagues and newer friends uses. Many of them don't know the other names.
A lot of people have different names that are used in different contexts that are just as real as the others, just not legally recognised.
You are likely in a small minority. This is the difference between a social network meant for the general populace and one specific for tech folk.
E.g. which name for my ex is most "real"? Her legal name? Using that would prevent most of her friends from finding her - it's not the name she uses. This is common for vast numbers of immigrants with names that are hard to pronounce.
> This is the difference between a social network meant for the general populace and one specific for tech folk.
Facebook is trying to be the one to decide how we should interact with our friends, and fails to understand even how names are used in real life, not just for "tech folk".
Agreed. I'm a fairly introverted person and participate in a lot of online communities, but I rarely consider people I haven't met to be my friends. That just seems strange to me. I'd even venture to say that in the tech folk world that is a minority position. Most of the people I know need some sort of tangible validation to form a real friendship.
Also, I think it's unfair to pretend that real names don't make a difference. They're a big part of what makes Facebook different than MySpace, Twitter, or other social networks.
Well, they do need your name to link and correlate it with other data sources (like address books uploaded by people, offline data sources like data brokers, etc.) and use that to show "better ads" and make more money. The value lies in identifying related information with attributes like name, age, sex, location, preferences, check-ins, etc.
> Also, I think it's unfair to pretend that real names don't make a difference. They're a big part of what makes Facebook different than MySpace, Twitter, or other social networks.
Nobody is pretending. There are millions of people, not just a few exceptions, who use their real names and still engage in horrible behavior on Facebook. It's a misconception that "real names" makes people behave better or brings in accountability. It doesn't for the ones who harass others. On the other hand, using a real name exposes people to plenty of abuse online, like getting their profiles reported and deactivated because of Facebook's nonsensical rules and utter lack of any consideration for users, while bullies just go around shutting down people. Facebook is a great tool to shut people down whom one may disagree with.
Reading EFF and other sites' articles on Facebook's "real name policy" and the later rechristened "authentic name policy" would show the dark side of using real names online.
> Nobody is pretending.
Just because some people are willing to still troll under their real names does not mean it doesn't have a substantive impact on people's behavior.
Heck, I personally have seen the difference in my own activity on Reddit (where I'm anonymous) and HN (where I'm not). I definitely hold myself to a higher standard here, even when arguments get heated, because this is part of my professional profile (and Reddit is not).
You seem to be making assumptions based on how you operate in the world and attributing superpowers to Facebook where there are none. I know people with Facebook accounts where their real name is not listed anywhere on the profile or in communications they have with others. These people do not fill in things like email address, phone number, place of work and other data that can be linked with address book uploads by other users. The people in these people's friends list are ok with communicating with the "non-real name" and haven't snitched even when Facebook tried to get them to.
> Just because some people are willing to still troll under their real names does not mean it doesn't have a substantive impact on people's behavior.
Heck, I personally have seen the difference in my own activity on Reddit (where I'm anonymous) and HN (where I'm not). I definitely hold myself to a higher standard here, even when arguments get heated, because this is part of my professional profile (and Reddit is not).
It's not just some people. I never said that all people who use real names behave badly on social names. But many do (as I said above, not just a few exceptions). Real names is a facade that Facebook uses to get more information about people, and does not influence bad behavior negatively in many cases. And your behavior and how you conduct yourself with respect to the use of real name or otherwise on different platforms is your choice. It has no bearing on what others do.
Not very. Assuming the demographic infomation is still accurate, that's the part they can sell.
Believing the line of reasoning that real names lead to better communities is like believing a blog post explaining why open office plans are uniformly better for worker productivity/morale/whatever.
At the end of the day there are probably some true believers, but they're just useful idiots to people with ulterior motives.
They get most interest data about you from within FB (what pages and posts you like etc.) and from pages across the internet you visit through like buttons embedded there (even without clicking them). So there's a lot of relevant meta data directly linked to your account and no need for them to know your real name.
Spam and fraud accounts are a rather big problem, and this is one way of raising the barrier for creating those. And yeah, Facebook surely has other motivation too, like not having your metadata scattered across multiple accounts.
But I still don't see how knowing your real name would make a strong difference to them. I have quite a few FB friends that use obvious fantasy names (mostly for privacy reasons I think), and they don't seem to be banned or forced to change it.
It baffles me how nobody sees a parallel with 1984, here, and it's not the usual cliche claim.
>do not say anything against someone
>do not think anything against someone
The step is incredibly short.
Moreover, how are we supposed to have true bipartisan information if we can only see one side of the coin because the other one would require to talk bad about someone?
I can see every dictator of the world smiling, as proposals like this are being considered throughout the world.
Offense might become even worse when it's not done anonymously though. Then it becomes a real person kicking a target's shins. Can be good (the argument improving, becoming more of a critique than just brainless insulting), can be bad (the offender not giving a fuck).
Linus has been offending people for a long time without using a pseudonym. But he knows what he's talking about, and is not ashamed of himself for the language he uses / has used.
> Offense might become even worse when it's not done anonymously though. Then it becomes a real person kicking a target's shins.
If you completely ban pseudonyms, the trolls will just impersonate other people. The effect is that it will be even more harmful for personal well-being for both those who get trolled and those who get to be impersonated.
The problem isn't the anonymity, it's the norms.
The problem here is that "freedom of speech" has come to somehow include, "freedom to incite violence or threaten murder." Just this New Year's weekend, I had to connect two IRL friends over Facebook, because Friend X knew someone in Friend Y's region of the state who had been doxxed and was being threatened with guns. I tried to put them in contact so Friend X's harassment and threat victim could stay on Friend Y's couch, since their own home wasn't safe anymore.
Only people you really bond with usually known your last name.
So why on earth should every person you talk to online should be provided your full name and possibly start stalking you?
The internet is no different, except we are now expected to behave in a singular way in a group conversation of 500 people.
Then social media came and destroyed that dream.
Consider the difference in mood between the idea of creating a metaverse in the 90s/00s to creating one now.
One is the freeing experience of Second Life or Active Worlds and the other is that widely circulated image of a large crowd, all wearing GearVR headsets while Mark Zuckerberg strolls past.
The solution for this and fake news, would be chains of trust.
I do not trust my government, i do not trust my media, but i know two or three guys, i would trust too know. If these guys vouched for the guys vouching for the knowledge i see to be true, i would trust that.
In return, i can fade the crack-pots opinions with a filter, based upon a similar chain of trust.
But this system would need to be decentralized, it would need to allow to withdraw this trust in an instant. Centralize this, and the inherent distrust breaks free time after time again.
Back in the times of Usenet, this already existed: The client-side (hence decentral) "Scorefile" and "Killfile".
So much ink has been spilled about how Facebook's algorithm chooses what to show you, but imagine having complete control on the client side over both the algorithm, and the parameters tuning it. We used to have this, the only thing stopping it now is bad incentives.
Too bad it was a mess of half-articles, intro paragraphs, fake submissions, and a very rare full article mixed in there somewhere.
I believe that Usenet has been replaced mainly by mailing lists, not by blogs.
Having long-text conversations through blogs is possible, but mailing lists and (what's left of the) Usenet are better suited - the same way as IRC and instant messangers are better suited for chats than email, although you could chat via email as well.
A lot of these anti-reality movements only function because they have the critical mass of participation to not easily be ignored or sidelined. Once you have millions of willing participants in a lie, by that fact alone, it is given legitimacy.
I can't agree with the author's statement, that design itself is not primarily responsible for a solution, as it is instrumental in enabling such an environment in the first place.
But your view kind of sums up in a nutshell why freedom of speech is a hard battle. Because it's all too easy to only see 'horrible' people and views benefiting due to them being the type of views people would want to ban if freedom of speech didn't exist.
It's the same kind of problem Tor advocates have when arguing that privacy and anonymity are rights people should have. Because people only see the drugs, crime and illegal porn and think that privacy is only something 'bad' people need.
Either way, both freedom of speech and privacy benefit everywhere, yet get a bad rep due to people only seeing the negatives they allow rather than the people and rights they may save.
Too often one person's freedom of speech is a megaphone used to drown out some marginalised group.
Do you have examples of freedom of speech used to disproportionately drown out opposing views, i.e. "marginalis[ation]"?
After a month or two it got so bad that management decided to remove the anonymity. The tone of the group changed literally overnight, and people started behaving in a civil manner. The sad fact of the matter is that if you want human beings to behave, you have to be able to hold them accountable.
Trump as a politicization reminds me of one of the Foundation series books that Azimov wrote. A politician of sorts visited the foundation, and after someone there actually took the time to look at everything he'd said they realized that effectively only puffery and no actual promises had been made.
> Fair enough, the man says some things that make polite society cringe
His words reflect thoughts that should cause any human being with a shred of humanity to recoil in horror, not merely cause "polite society" to cringe; as a society, we should be over all of this by now - it is disheartening to find that for a large segment of our American society, that we haven't progressed much beyond the 1950s when it comes to certain social issues.
> His position on illegal immigration, while couched often in racist terms
Again with the above. While he might not have gotten my vote had he spoke otherwise, there was absolutely no reason, as a politician and businessman seeking to obtain the highest office in the land, that he had to speak about these issues in terms which were bigoted, racist, sexist and derogatory to people both within and outside of our borders. He could have - and should have - easily explained them in a professional, rational, and clear-headed manner which we could all find commendable, even if we didn't actually support the proposals.
Instead, he chose to speak differently, in a style of language which perhaps pandered to his supporters. Those supporters should have supported him regardless of how he spoke, professionally or otherwise. That he felt that he had to speak in a more base manner in order to gain their support says much about him and his supporters.
> But he's at least talking about things that are important to a very large part of the population, which is largely invisible to those of us in media-savvy urban settings. And those things are important enough to people that they are willing to look past some of the vile things he's said and done.
Those people aren't ignorant - they as much as anybody should be able to see that historically, supporting a person for highest office who says and does "vile things" rarely reflects well upon them. Indeed, sometimes such a person causes great strife or worse, both among his supporters and his detractors - which could easily be predicted had they cared to look and understand. I guess we'll see how things work this time around. I hope I am wrong. I fear otherwise.
> Hillary Clinton was the definition of establishment status quo; the Clinton Foundation's dealings with foreign governments created at the very least the appearance of impropriety; and while her husband's foibles are not her own, Bill Clinton's past behavior can be seen in a modern context as sexual assault, and the fact that she remained with him was a matter of genuine concern even to some feminists.
While perhaps of concern for a potential presidential candidate, all of it pales in comparison to what we know of our current President-elect. Hillary's decision to stay within the bonds of marriage and support her husband, while perhaps being something that would concern feminists, should have been seen as commendable by the conservative/evangelical right - yet it wasn't. Regardless, all of it was and is very minor to what we know of Trump's past and present.
It is my opinion that when given the choice of the "lesser of two evils" - the choice was to elect the greater of the two. We'll see how well that plays out, I guess.
> Trump can legitimately say he has enough money that no-one can bribe him to do something he doesn't already want to do, and while there were allegations of assault, they do not seem to have been very convincing, as the conversation around them quieted down fairly quickly.
Conversation on such allegations can indeed quiet down fairly quickly when one has enough money; maybe nobody can bribe him, but the inverse also applies - especially in this case. Of course, this is merely idle speculation and opinion on my part - I nor anyone else has any proof.
Moderating the content is far more effective if done right. It's probably a bit like IT security and should be thought of as such.
Real names are something you can do but it's most likely on the same level as whitelisting programs and hotglue-ing all unused ports shut. Even with all that, a determined hacker will just use the office copier and the installed OCR Text Recognition to infiltrate a microsoft office script. (DEFCON talk that I recommend to watch).
There is no 100% safety from trolls and every defense measure also hurts legit users in some way.
TL;DR Know your threat level. Real Names are not necessarily the thing you want and most likely are very rarely and still won't be 100%.
I know anonymity in comment systems is as touchy a subject for internet freedom lovers as gun rights are for people in high crime neighborhoods. Those that hate them have already made up their mind and won't look at contradicting evidence, those that love them have already made up their mind and won't look at contradicting evidence. The truth seems to lies somewhere in the middle.
So "Real Names Policy" definitely has it's place. Maybe not everywhere, but definitely in some communities.
However, you are also completely wrong. I'll produce two anecdata points.
Look at the Facebook comments on a local newspaper that uses them (e.g., thestate.com). Note that on any article that touches on a partisan issue or a scandal, the tone and contents of the comments are vicious, personal, and frequently harassing.
I admin a large-ish meme page on Facebook. The comments section is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.
From what I can tell, some communities have better norms than others, in terms of promoting civility, but the use of real names doesn't make a significant difference.
Also, I've certainly seen plenty of flaming in FB comments on news sites.
Like you are doing here...
>>TechCrunch switched over from Disqus to Facebook comments,
I stopped commenting, Did the level of comments drop as well because I do not have today, nor will I ever have a Facebook account, any site that uses Facebook as a comment system does not want nor will get my feedback or participation
For instance, if you looked through my HN or reddit comments, you could easily figure out roughly what area I live in, my occupation, my approximate age and many other pieces of information that would link back to my real identity. That information combined with my real name would uniquely identify me even if I had an extremely common name.
That said, I don't think pseudonyms should be banned in order to prevent harassment, but where people go to discuss complex and sensitive topics, I would expect to see more thoughtful responses from a Real Name vs. a_guy_with_nothing_to_lose, barring a decent karma system.
Step 0.) We did it! Everyone has to use real names now! Equality unlocked!
Step 1.) Put in someone else's real name instead of your own.
Step 2.) Troll as that person or use that real name to infiltrate that person's social network
Step lulz.) Doxx brigade/morality police now target the wrong person.
Step 3.) Congratulations, not only did you not solve the problem you were trying to solve, now your rules are a robust breeding ground to cause actual social and economic damage to people YOU ALREADY AGREE WITH because "pixels are feelings, too".
Step 4.) Hang your head in shame for such short-term thinking.
Step 5.) Downvote me because of tone.
Also, I'm pretty sure they have no idea that when you create a massive repository of identities to try and protect the childrens, you're just painting a huge bullseye on the back of it's database.
It's like people believe Russians hacked the election, but no one could EVER hack a central repository of identities! Why, it's protected by good intentions and saving the childrens! Oh hey, another 1 billion Yahoo! identities got leaked...
And to be fair, I've hardly ever seen serious insults on Facebook, but been called dipshit on anonymous platforms regularly. But again, this could be due to community standards.
Every once in a while curiosity and boredom get the better of me and I visit ESPN or some other mainstream news site that uses FB profiles for the comments section and I almost always walk away shocked at the kind of comments people are willing to post while directly linking to their real name and profile, often containing their place of employment. Respectfully, if you haven't seen serious insults on FB, or at least on sites using FB profile logins, you haven't been looking hard enough.
But I'm not extremely active though and hardly ever see large comment threads, like from ESPN.
For example, while HN has no real name policy, HN users are generally substantially less anonymous than accounts on Reddit (for example). Many people openly list their personal identity in their profile.
To some extent of course that means people can afford to be ruder on Reddit than here. But for my part at least I've "invested" as much in my Reddit username as I have in my username here, probably more. Just in different aspects of my life. What I say on Reddit has less effect on my work life, but just as much or more on my social life (most people around me are not on HN; most of them are on Reddit), and so I'm not about to "burn" my Reddit account.
The greater difference here I think is the same as you see on smaller subreddits: A relatiely large proportion of the comments come from a small pool of heavily invested long term users.
It doesn't matter if you know who we are in real life as much as it matters that newcomers that don't settle in to the culture here will be quickly pushed away (often after a number of downvotes and "this isn't reddit" comments) by longtime users that outnumber the newcomers. That happens on many subreddits too. But when you go to the bigger ones, the turnover is huge and it becomes impossible to police without very dedicated moderator teams which many subreddits lack, and the trolls congregate where they can get away with their trolling.
There are plenty of subreddits where I'd be happy to go by my legal name. The reason I don't is more down to already having an established identity over the course of many years and no reason to.
I have changed my first name legally three times.
I have changed my last name once.
I currently have different legal names in three countries, on my undergraduate & masters degrees, and on my 401k, and none of those are the name I am known by to my colleagues & friends.
What is my "real name"?
At least, as far as the one most easy to use against you.
Not having a canonical "real name" is a giant PITA.
> In societies including the US where violence and mistreatment of women, people of color, and marginalized people is common, we can expect similar problems in people’s digital interactions 
>  Sarah Banet-Weiser and Kate M. Miltner. #MasculinitySoFragile: culture, structure, and networked misogyny. Feminist Media Studies, 16(1):171-174, January 2016.
I reject the assertion that these issues are "common" in the US, even if "violence and mistreatment" is broadly defined as people acting rudely on the internet. A post by ESR was even flagged off HN because its message was that he expected evidence to back claims of harassment, which is a microcosm of the trend of "feelings > reality". This is absolutely ludicrous and I'm surprised Mozilla is funding this junk.
Further, it's getting rather tiring that the US is always listed as an example when countries/societies exist without legal protection for all races/genders and where slavery and forced labor is still legal.
There's at least one other reason users may have flagged it, and in line with the site guidelines: it doesn't sufficiently satisfy intellectual curiosity, and at the same time has a high likelihood of producing little to no constructive discussion while also being very susceptible to flamewars. That doesn't mean that the topic shouldn't be discussed, just that it's unlikely to be constructively and civilly discussed on HN.
On what grounds do you reject that? Do you have hard evidence that women and ethnic/sexual minorities in the US are not at increased risk of violence and mistreatment? Or are you basing this on "feelings > reality", as you put it?
> Further, it's getting rather tiring that the US is always listed as an example when countries/societies exist without legal protection for all races/genders and where slavery and forced labor is still legal.
The "I can't be bad as long as someone, somewhere, is worse" argument is a classic excuse to get out of ever having to improve anything.
Recently learned the awesome names for this fallacy. "Tu quoque" is the general name. Whataboutism is the awesome term for its use in soviet propeganda.
In any case, based on your mention of learning new fallacy names, you'll probably like this site: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/
How is calling out fallacies not the best kind of discourse??
It can also lead to a desire to score points rather than to reach some kind of mutual understanding (if not agreement), which also doesn't lend itself to constructive discussion.
I hope it's clear that my explanation as to why that particular URI is banned is just speculation, and not very strong at that. I can't think of a better explanation, however.
For what it's worth, it looks like I'm not alone in thinking along these lines:
citing a logical fallacy is often employed by those who are lazy and aren't genuinely addressing a given argument.
For reference, a couple of other HN threads where this URI has been discussed:
This adds a little more nuance:
1) LOGICAL FALLACIES ARE USUALLY IRRELEVANT OR CITED INCORRECTLY...
2) CITING LOGICAL FALLACIES IS USUALLY COWARDLY AND LAZY
Rather than engage with the ideas in a text, it's much easier to skim through it trying to spot a quick fallacy; and once a fallacy is found, a baloney detector can safely ignore everything else.
I wouldn't say this at all demonstrates the weakness in identifying fallacies. Falsely identifying fallacies is not identifying fallacies (the fallacy fallacy?); and nothing says that one fallacy invalidates an entire text; also, I find there argument there weak, e.g "these people seem to have no other opinions on the text" - so what?
(a) identifying fallacies is good; and
(b) pointing out the fallacy and nothing more is fine.
As for (a), we're in agreement, and I believe I was clear in saying so above (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13320712):
I agree with you that identifying weaknesses or fallacies in an argument is a good thing.
As for (b), if pointing out the fallacy is limited only to identifying the fallacy by name, I disagree, and also expressed this in the same comment. In short (and I repeat myself), I think it lends itself to point scoring rather than cooperative, constructive discussion. If it includes explaining how the argument is an instance of the fallacy, I think that's better.
I appreciate your taking the time to provide the reference to "Your Baloney Detection Kit Sucks". However, while it's related, I'm don't believe I'm making the arguments you cite (though the second is similar in spirit) and argue against.
I'm fine with our possible disagreement on (b). I can understand why some people may think that identifying and naming the logical fallacy is sufficient. I just don't agree, as I want more out of the discussion. If I've misrepresented or misinterpreted what you've written or intended, please forgive me as this is not my intent, and I would appreciate you pointing it out. Otherwise, I thank you for the discussion and take my leave.
However, I think most are not so.
I don't think anyone can ask for more engagement. Being made aware of a fallacy is like being made aware of a spelling mistake - it is just a note of something to be fixed, no further engagement is needed from whoever identifies it.
There is also another issue: there is a lot to read on the web, all competing for attention. I think there is a greater burden on a writer to produce fallacy-free text than there is on the many potential readers to read any one text despite its flaws. A fallacy is a common falsehood, so common it can be easily identified without further discussion of the topic. The nature of fallacies, to me, seem to be quick, efficient identification of logical flaws i.e. the low hanging fruit.
As such, maybe a text with such flaws shouldn't be engaged, if such basic flaws exist? People pointing out these flaws both help you fix them, and hinder by warning off readers until they are fixed.
Are you perhaps responding to something (much further) upthread, such as here?
If so, please respond there.
You have just entirely illustrated the truth of this paragraph.
I disagree with the author, so I don't believe there is any truth to it, illustrated or not. But in any case, the reason I describe it as 'emotive', is the name-calling ("asshole") and and things like "you're excluding a voice from your privileged in-group"; why is this an issue if on the basis of merit - Because it's an offended woman, as opposed to an offended man?
the context here is:
> By way of illustration, suppose you are a guy who identifies as a skeptic. And then suppose you encounter a woman who tells you that because of the insults she has received from guys in the skeptic community, she has decided that the skeptic movement is fundamentally sexist
So, talking to a male skeptic that has presumably perpetrated no act of sexism, but is being accused of it in this context, and is as such defending the movement. Is this interpretation wrong?
Let me alter the proposition a little:
> suppose you are a Muslim. And then suppose you encounter someone who tells you that because of the sexism they have encountered from other Muslims, they have decided that Islam is fundamentally sexist.
Would it still be as offensive to say:
"These people are not assholes because they are skeptics, they're assholes who happen to be skeptics"
And in the case, it's more likely that religious beliefs could lead to sexist ones, compared to skepticism.
That's beside the point of what the parent comment actually said.
To illustrate: Certainly, national park rangers are at increased risk of being struck by lightning during the course of their work (as compared to, say, software developers). However, it would be silly to claim that lightning strikes of rangers are common.
What your parent comment basically did (in the analogy) is state that lightning strikes are not common for park rangers. You try to counter that by saying that lightning strikes are more common for park rangers than for others. That makes no sense.
You're engaged in a discussion that is purely about the definition of fuzzy words. What is "common"? It's about trying to get the upper hand rhetorically by defining words (from both of you). Not a particularly enlightening debate.
Good catch and I considered that as well, but decided it was worth commenting on for discussion as I took the use of "common" with the context of a named country/society to be a claim of happening with increased frequency relative to other countries/societies or to mean "likely for one in that country to experience" (while also noting the author was casually asserting something quite bold).
I quite strongly believe in online anonymity, and as such, I don't want the argument for it to become weakened against debate.
The burden of proof is usually on those who state that something is a problem. So .. are there reliable sources for that claim?
The FBI gathers data on bias in crimes; I reject that the issues are specifically "common" in the US because they constitute a small number of the total crimes committed and are taken very seriously (harsher sentences and being racist/sexist has severe social stigma). The article's use of "common" is an attempt at alleged certainty, much like saying "we all know that developers.." to avoid having to actually back the claim.
> The "I can't be bad as long as someone, somewhere, is worse" argument is a classic excuse to get out of ever having to improve anything.
That's not the argument here. It's stating that it's tiring that the US is always singled out as if it's somehow _specifically_ bad. Strong people fought for equal protection of people under the law in the US, so why is it consistently picked as an example over, say, Pakistan or Mauritania? Even if I was to concede that calling someone a "bitch" on Twitter falls under "violence and mistreatment" (as is suggested by the Coral Project's cited source), why should US shoulder all of the blame for the global site?
And that isn't the case in the original quote. The US isn't listed as specifically bad, it is included as a member of a list where the author contends mistreatment of some groups is common:
"In societies including the US where violence.."
Nothing special or notably different there. Additionally, usually the kind of articles you are alluding to are addressing a US, or at the very least a Western/Anglophone audience, so if the US or UK are pointedly included, the intent may be read as "'we' are not any better at this thing than we imagine 'other' countries are".
I contend that the US doesn't belong in that list, and also that a generalization with a single enumeration is almost comical to defend as not attempting to identify as a specific case.
e.g. "Software pirates, including 7Z7, often..."
> the intent may be read as "'we' are not any better at this thing than we imagine 'other' countries are".
Except that the UK and the US is quite good about these things to the extent that the author had to cite something written about _Twitter_ (with a title mocking a perception of men, no less) to make a point about violence.
I'm not engaging with that, as I said "the author contends".
However, the single enumeration stands as it is addressing a US audience. It isn't a special case on the list, it is a special case to that audience.
>"Software pirates, including 7Z7, often..."
If the article that included the above sentence was addressing an audience of people to whom I was particularly special (ie. the 7Z7 Fan Club), then this is completely appropriate, even if I am not a particularly rabid example amongst other software pirates.
>Except that the UK and the US is quite good about these things..
The point then, is that despite patting ourselves on the back, we are not yet as good as we could be, nor as good as we apparently think we are - despite there being worse examples in the world.
No. People flag ESR posts because he's a pathological arsehole and his threads contain some deeply unpleasant posts.
>I reject the assertion that these issues are "common" in the US
Interesting that you complained about people not bothering to support their claims, and then immediately make a claim with no support.
The bar is higher for an article, than a comment.
It's hard to pick one example because there are so many, but read what he says about the Catholic abuse scandal:
There are so many errors scattered through that piece that there's no point rebutting them. It's best to just flag anything (not related to computing) about ESR.
That doesn't mean that he's incapable of making a coherent or interesting argument. Don't flag just because you expect to be offended, as the flag mechanism prevents others from being exposed to content that they may be interested in, if even just to sharpen their sword for use on someone trying to put what you see as harmful/dangerous thoughts into actions.
> In societies including the US...
Oh, so the other unnamed "decent" societies must have figured it (their social and cultural problems) out then. And you've chosen to focus on "digital interactions"... why??