Billions of dollars of private research being poured into self-driving cars by our greatest minds and millions of dollars in lobbying against gun laws all in the name of preventing unnecessary human deaths... yet according to Ben Bernanke (and his references), opioid overdose killed more people in 2015 than automobile accidents and firearms related crimes combined .
I'm curious whether the disproportionate concern has more to do with the perception of drug addicts as weak and deserving of their fate or because they're not a group that can be profited from politically or commercially or is overdosing just not as easy to solve as gun crime or automobile deaths?
Personally, I find all those excuses to be sad and bullshit so I'm hoping it's something else entirely.
The point of business is to create a customer. For that to happen, there has to be someone out there who has voluntarily decided they want to use (and ideally pay for) your product. The same goes for political movements - to build a mass political movement, you need a critical mass of people who voluntarily decide that this cause is worth investing time and money into.
By definition, addiction means that your voluntary choices are going to serve the furtherance of your addiction. So there's no customer there, and no profit potential, unless you're a drug dealer. Social interventions like drug treatment clinics could perhaps work, relying on the desires of loved ones, but it's very hard to help someone else unless they make choices to help themselves. When your brain chemistry has been altered so all it wants is more of the drug, that's not a given.
It's a hard problem. Unfortunately history hasn't been kind to populations with mass drug abuse; when I think of countries with a societal drug problem  or even subpopulations within a larger nation with widespread drug abuse , the cultures involved all basically collapsed. For countries, the general pattern involved top-down reforms -> military defeats -> revolution -> conquest by another power. For subcultures within a larger nation, it's the total marginalization of the group in question, assimilation into the larger population of the remaining productive members, and then long-term decay and blight on the remnants of the subculture.
And this is what government and regulation are for in my view.
That's no different than people going blind/dying from wood alcohol during prohibition.
The solution is to legalize and regulate, but I'm not holding my breath.
The opioid crisis seems like a symptom of our social problems (hopelessness in the rust belt, unscrupulous over-prescribing of pain meds) that has fatal consequences.
Short of a drug that provided a permanent cure for opioid addiction itself, I'm not sure what sort of solutions can be pursued by scientific/tech research, as opposed to addressing the root social causes.
I'm interested in what ideas others might have though.
I'm not from the US, but I think there is enough people already, all pointing out in the same direction:
Over the past decade, pharmaceutical companies have spent more than $880 million on lobbying and political contributions at the state and federal level. That’s more than eight times what the gun lobby and more than 200 times what those advocating for stricter prescribing rules spent over the same time period.
The makers of prescription painkillers have adopted a 50-state strategy that includes hundreds of lobbyists and millions in campaign contributions to help kill or weaken measures aimed at stemming the tide of prescription opioids
I'm not parent, but I'm sure this is intentional as the consequences of such a scenario are easy to extrapolate...
> The US market is where pharmaceutical companies expect to recoup their R&D costs.
They could do this in two ways - having high margins on their drugs, and/or selling a lot of drugs. It is no surprise to see pharma lobbying against tight laws on prescriptions, or anything that gets in the way of the 'market' getting access to their products. Not coincidentally, the opioid crises means they get to sell more drugs.
On the other hand in my home country we had some big pharmaceutical companies (compared to the size of the country) exporting drugs world wide. I thought that for example the pain killers I knew as I child would be used everywhere on the world. When I moved to Germany I realized that I was wrong. There are tons of different drugs for the same purpose with the same ingredients sold by different producers. Therefore only becasue you in the US buy some expensive - and highly addictive - pain killers you are not automatically financing the R&D of pain killers sold in Europe by Europian companies to the Europian people.
Let me be a smart ass and improve your calculation:
45% of drug revenue is generated by 5% of earth's population:
45% / 5% = 9
but you do not compare this number to 1 but to
55% of drug revenue is generated by 95% of earth's population:
55% / 95% = 0.58
So a US citizen spends 9 / 0.58 = 15.54 more on drugs as a non US citizen. Even if price difference is a valid argument, this number is still too high.
Just give them the opiates for free in supervised facilities and let them have otherwise normal, albeit constipated lives. It works and costs very little.
What people don't think about is the extra societal costs associated with drug addition: thefts/violent crimes, prison costs, unproductive time from seeking the next high, etc. Cutting out the middleman would solve a great deal of these issues, and save the taxpayer money too.
It seems the moral issue of giving "free drugs" to addicts is just too much to bear, unfortunately.
By cutting out the time and money needed to "feed the beast" while providing professional help, they can break this cycle and move towards bettering themselves when they don't have the nagging of addiction voicing itself at every turn.
Of course its not simple and perhaps there will be people who refuse to better themselves. My biggest point is that it not only will save money from going underground, but allow potentially productive members of society to have a means to break the cycle.
When I had my wisdom teeth pulled and was prescribed an entire bottle of Vicodin, when I didn't even need a single one, that wasn't a greater issue in my life. That was medical malfeasance and a just society would execute the principal architects of it.
Going off on a tangent, what my country might have a problem with, is benzos, however. They're prescribed like psychiatric vitamins.
I agree that there is a problem with over prescription of opioids, but this problem isn't solely due to a simple conspiracy of drug makers. I think that sort of rhetoric is unhelpful.
From my reading (and I will admit I do not see the logical reasoning at all, which I think is why the case was later overturned) the judge thought that they were guilty not of failing to predict it, but of giving an inadequate message. Presumably, to me this implies some sort of laziness, or intent to not make more of an effort despite knowing better.
I will admit that I am biased being a doctor dealing with this daily, but I think that blaming this solely on the pharmaceutical companies is easier to do than looking at what is happening to our culture, expectations of pain, the way we deliver healthcare, how we grade healthcare (for example read about Press Ganey's Fifth Vital Sign).
This is not how opioid pharmacology works. Tolerance to the desired effects (analgesia) increases but so does tolerance to the problematic effects (respiratory depression).
Opioid use -- even chronic and long-term use -- is not a death sentence. The phenomenon of so many opioid-related deaths referred to as the "opioid epidemic" is an extremely recent one (compared to the timescale that humans have been using opiates for pain relief) and is a product of drug policy/enforcement, not of the inherent evil of opioids.
People have actually been trying vaccine approaches to opioid addiction for a while, but it's tricky since opioids are small molecules which inherently don't give you a lot to work with as far as antigen presentation.
Apparently there has been some promising evidence recently though. See Derek Lowe's blog below for details.
Along with its therapeutic cousins Cannabis and MDMA, look what else we have on the list of substances for which federal research funds are banned (Schedule I):
Yea. That doesn't necessarily sound good:
> Clinical studies of ibogaine to treat drug addiction began in the early 1990s, but concerns about cardiotoxicity led to termination of those studies. There is currently insufficient data to determine whether it is useful in treating addiction.
I'm not really sure this is some sort of miracle drug that the establishment just doesn't want us to know about.
The thing is, it doesn't matter if you're "sure" or not, because while it's on Schedule I there can be no federal funds used for research into whatever degree it may be a "miracle" (nirvana fallacy) drug. I hope we can agree that therapeutic substances have been derived from harmful ones.
I'm not sure there is an ethical way to find out.
This. The AIDS epidemic in the 1980's was the same. Tens of thousands of people dying every year, with more than forty thousand per year at jts peak, and more than 600,000 dead to date. Because of homophobia, the public at large didn't care about the victims - most people, if they took notice at all, only expressed groundless fear in catching HIV just going about their business.
Opiate addiction isn't a disease in the sense that there's a biological virus or bacteria that can be transmitted from person to person, so "normal" people think they can't "catch" it. And so without public sympathy for the victims, no wonder there isn't some mass political movement trying to get Congress to fund a proper response.
Maybe his point of view was out of date, but I recall that he saw kicking any of these problems was something that came from within. You had to want out strongly. My friends moment was when his kids didn't want to see him.
People shun addicts to survive, not out of cultural conditioning. The addiction comes first, and the addict will hurt anyone to get it.
Methadone clinics, rehabs and other places like that, however, do profit off of addicts' recovery and may even have genuine intentions of helping (it seems to vary from place to place). Those profits are minor compared to the profit off of addicts' misery and death, however, and their efforts are not usually talked about much in the press. Laws also hold back such institutions from providing good treatment and dehumanize the addicts trying to stay clean. In many places, addicts are treated horribly and made to suffer intentionally by the staff, often having to wait around sick for hours just to see a doctor before getting a dose of methadone even though they've been on the program for years. They are made to line up daily or weekly for a dose when a regular prescription would do just fine, even after they've been on methadone for years. At many of these clinics, it's a wonder that anyone stays clean. There is no professionalism. Doses are messed up when addicts travel and they are left without their methadone. Staff end up stealing either money or methadone. There is no accountability. Not all clinics lack compassion and treat addicts badly, but many do. It's no wonder these places try to fly under the radar while the good clinics and rehabs are too busy helping addicts to be in the press or make much noise. If cancer or heart patients were treated this way, you can bet your ass there'd be a national backlash, but our society has been conditioned to have no compassion for addicts. This is the result. It's ugly and nasty.
On the matter of self-driving car investment, vs opiate addiction treatment - car makers need to turn a profit, so they need something new to sell. A lot of people also commute daily, and don't enjoy doing so. So in the (distant) shiny future where your car drives you to work, they are building something that I think a lot of people will be willing to pay for, or use as a service.
 Addendum - it also avoided the public eye because of where addiction was happening, and who to. A lot of it started in smaller towns, often those struggling economically. The kind of places that don't get a lot of attention.
So while the public at large may be ignorant of this crisis (and honestly, on how many issues is even the most educated of us truly knowledgeable about?) the States' representatives that have these problems back home appear to be taking it very seriously.
Rather, "several" out of 52 GOP senators are taking it seriously. Or do I misunderstand you?
1. The opioid crisis is getting a lot of airtime in the media outlets that I read.
3. The opioid crisis is one of the biggest reasons why the Senate's Trumpcare bill is now dead, and was also a major topic of discussion in the weeks leading up to its unexpected loss this week. In short, its drastic cuts to Medicaid would have decimated opioid treatment in some of the states hit hardest, and Senator Capito of West Virginia, at least, would have voted against it because the $40-odd billion dollars that Mitch McConnell would've specifically allocated to opioid treatment would have been a 'drop in the bucket.' Here's some earlier discussion of this point: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/capito-says-opiod-treatment-...
So, all said, maybe find some new sources of news and discussion?
edit: here's a new wire article from the AP that just crossed my RSS reader: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/democrats-trump-action-opi...
I remember seeing a Vanguard episode on the "pain management" industry in Florida called the Oxycontin Express  back in 2009 (won a Peabody). And yet it's only in the last year or so that I've actually heard about it being addressed more publicly.
If you're telling me that I'm wrong and that actually more people, dollars, and attention are going toward saving people from opioid overdose than automobile accidents and gun crime, then I would be happy to be wrong and would want to see numbers.
Otherwise it sounds like you're telling me to tune my news inputs so I hear stories in a proportion that would please me better?
Talked about, from my perspective, it is. Addressed, no, it most certainly is not being addressed.
Actually, it is the opposite. Gun violence, opioid crisis, etc are given too much attention.
The deaths of opioid crisis and gun deaths are minuscule compared to the deaths cause by obesity, sedentary lifestyle, cancer, heart disease, etc.
Take the top two killers in america - heart disease and cancer ( about 600K deaths each ) vs gun violence + opioid crisis ( about 30K each ).
Heart disease by itself kill 10X more people than gun violence and opioid crisis combined.
You could go further and say brain death is the leading cause of death, affecting 100% of Americans. Let's put more effort into transferring our consciousness into computers so we can survive it! Again, it would be nice but seems tolerable to carry on as we are.
From your own link:
"According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2015 52,404 people died from drug overdoses in the United States. 33,091 of those deaths involved opioids. In comparison, 35,092 people died in auto accidents in 2015 (Department of Transportation), and 12,195 people died from non-suicide firearm-related injuries in 2014 (CDC, 2015 data not yet available)."
I'm not surprised at all, and the only emotion I feel is complete disgust, directed at politicians that refuse to work together. It started the second Obama was elected POTUS and the opposing party declared they would not work with him, and that lasted the full 8 years.
Even neglecting that, crash victims are more worthy (on average) than overdose victims, as they come into their fate largely on accident, while overdose victims largely make an informed choice to roll the dice. I don't like saying this; it sounds judgmental and it certainly won't be popular, but this is the logical conclusion. Fortunately, the choice between self-driving cars and combatting the opioid epidemic doesn't remotely hinge on this point.
Don't most people develop an opioid addiction after being prescribed insufficient pain medication by their doctor? After that, sure, once they realize that getting more opioids - much more than they ought to, medically or legally - is literally the only way to stop the daily pain?
What do you want to see? What would you consider an ideal world here?
I know how you feel. It's utterly ridiculous that a society should so heartlessly abandon the most vulnerable among us who struggle so needlessly. We should do better! We can do better! We MUST do better! It's a moral imperative.
Yet, for all that, it's possible that resources are limited. And when resources are limited, questions of sustainability, achievability, returns, and cost-effectiveness become relevant. This is particularly true when there multiple goals to be chased - would you be happy if all Medicare funding for the elderly was stripped away in favor of treating opioid addiction?
If corporations found it profitable to ensure everybody was happy and living well, I can guarantee you that the vulnerable would be taken care of very well.
It is just a matter of perception. By graviating towards money and profit, we undermine the worth of all humans and hence you asking "would you be happy if all Medicare funding for the elderly was stripped away in favor of treating opioid addiction?".
Of course nobody would be happy! :)
You're right! Resources are unquestionably plentiful! However, it's possible that plentiful might be slightly different from unlimited. If I wanted a billion PhD-educated engineers to colonize Mars tomorrow, I might run into limits, no?
It is just a matter of perception. By thinking about how to best utilize plentiful-but-limited resources, considering the value and independence of all humans, we think about how best to create a system in which all these wonderful and infinitely valuable humans self-organize for what's best for them. That way we can gravitate towards happiness and wellness!
I'd glad we agree on the value of humanity. I see human labor, human love, and human affection as valuable at all times and places. I also see that humans are plentiful-but-limited, time is plentiful-but-limited, and resources are plentiful-but-limited.
> Of course nobody would be happy! :)
Yeah. That's because it's obviously a bad way to distribute plentiful-but-limited resources like human labor and human love and human-run biochemical production facilities to make the greatest number of people as happy and well as possible.
"..and we will do better, and we will start this moment today!"
It's the same for basically every issue. Humans can be altruistic, but organizations rarely are.
Simply: change happens when expending power leads to a greater expected increase in (relative) power than doing nothing for a sufficient amount of power-brokers to overcome costs of change and opponents(those who expect to lose from the change). This is a structural issue, not human nature.
Blaming the addicts helps to reduce the cost of doing nothing. The good(?) news is that this is tending to hit wealthier people than past epidemics and so is getting correspondingly greater attention.
Rejoice! The problem is far worse than these sad, bullshit excuses.
I think you're right but the reasoning is one step removed from the conclusion.
Drug addition is a poor people problem (in part because it takes resources and support to break the cycle).
Opiod (and meth for that matter) addiction skews rural and therefore white.
A lot of people take the attitude that poor rural white trash are poor white trash because they live in a dying town with no industry and refuse to relocate to somewhere they can more easily scrape by. The catch is that the people making these judgements generally have a very different set of values than the people they're judging.
When you take the attitude that the situation that leads one to easily become an addict is the fault of the addict then it's hard to have sympathy for addicts.
There's also a lot of (well meaning) "optimism to the point of stupidity" in assessing how effective firearms legislation is as an avenue to reduce violent crime and how easy it is to make a driver-less car that can effectively share the roads with vehicles operated by people
One of our biggest blockers has been the existing recovery industry. Addiction is so stigmatized that getting people to use an app on their phone, even after treatment, is problematic because they feel like the data could get out that they're an addict. This is another reason more research isn't done. These existing facilities literally don't collect data - much less use it in any relevant way.
Value-based payments and growing oversight from insurance companies is changing that somewhat. These facilities are starting to be required to report outcomes data - so from a business perspective we're good. But man this industry and it's privacy/secrecy are something else.
Self-driving cars actually would have a benefit for society in terms of higher durability for vehicle and optimal road selection leading to lower carbon emissions, lower traffic accidents, and less use of natural resources.
I am more annoyed by all the time and effort going into Google's and Facebook's ad-tech optimizations.
Wait, what? This is a "lobby"?
I thought the NRA with their even larger resources, backed by industrial interests, is the actual lobby. You know, the one who pushed forward those laws into insane directions, which you'll find almost nowhere else in the world.
Assuming that might have been misspeech, it's easy to see why autonomous vehicles have so much more interest. The interest isn't in preventing human death, the interest is there because not only is it a more fascinating problem to solve, but it saves everybody time and hassle. Lowering the number of deaths is just a great effect.
Focus on a problem isn't always about sheer concern, sometimes the focus is so much higher just because it's a problem more people feel they can contribute to solving. Parkinson's law of triviality...
Young black males are disproportionately the victims of gun crime, pretty sure that is a well-known fact that I don't need to look up. I also believe the data is in on young white males disproportionately being the victims of opioid overdose .
Are opioids a white problem and guns a black problem? Or are both actually related to a different condition and it's actually a young male problem? What about if we looked at the socio-economic class of these people ignoring age, sex and race? Something common there?
I think that the focus on the racial/ethnic/sexual/gender makeup of the victims is less useful than some people want it to be.
If anything I'd say it's an economic and community issue, this Kutzgesat video goes into it somewhere . If there were better community support systems for people of lower economic classes then I think we'd see far less overdose and gun crime.
One thing I will say though, and it is addressed in the first link somewhat, is the way drug enforcement is (and has been) conducted differently in different communities. That certainly exposes much of the systematic discrimination in drug enforcement which I do hold as almost as serious a problem as these deaths.
And nobody with political power will admit it because it will make them the enemy of both camps on both issues.
They already are being profited from politically via the War on Drugs.
Addicts don't make good customers.
On a more serious note however, I understand what you mean. I think there's also the perception that significant cases of drug abuse, addiction and the crimes related to this are something that seems to happen far, far away for most people in a position to offer help. Something you see in movies and dramatic VICE documentaries, but not in your own backyard. If you're not confronted with the problem it's easy to not perceive it as one.
I used to laugh at the idea that people need jobs to feel fulfilled. I thought those must be quite helpless people who can't even make their own hobbies. But from personal experience, I found that dreams are for young people and people with demanding jobs. They're a grass-is-greener fantasy when they're out of reach but deteriorate into boring unrewarding work when you actually do them. Working for a company is especially fulfilling because you more productive than you can be on your own. You feel more useful. You feel important and needed.
So I think the idea of widespread happy unemployment isn't going to work. It might still happen but I think it'll be a tragedy, not a paradise unless we can find something else that takes the place of work.
You seem to be suggesting that one can't simultaneously have a job and dreams and be an alcoholic/drug addict/gangster. This is sloppy logic
Edit: Your perspective also explains why society hasn't addressed alcoholism and drug addiction for so long: to you, the alcoholics and addicts are an entirely separate group from upright, hardworking, motivated, dream-pursuing "normal" people.
You are completely right that it sucks to not have a job, but its possible that's a reflection of how social life is structured and not some biological Protestant work ethic. Right now "I work at X company" is shorthand for "I am a a productive member of society". That certainly benefits companies and certain types of people. But it's not the only imaginable value system. And I suspect that people who feel valuable are a lot less likely to find solace in bottle of pills.
/r/glassine is probably the most interesting. They rate heroin bags in the Pittsburg area. It's supposed to be for everywhere, but it's mostly Pennsylvania
/r/opiates is a place where addicts confide in each other and practice harm reduction. They do not source. They tell hilarious, sad, amazing stories. Lots of personal confessions and "whole life of an addict" style narratives. Overall, a good community for addicts to find a safe space, instead of a place that hounds them for not being in recovery.
/r/stims is where the meth heads hang out. Occasionally you get these great "I'm on meth and here's everything in my mind right now" text barfs, but mostly I feel like this is an empty sub
/r/researchchemicals is where people discuss Shulgin chemicals and beyond.
/r/drugnerds is amazing. Papers. Lots of them.
/r/drugporn is where people post photos of their drugs, and then a week later the picture is taken down because Missoula Police saw it and arrested them through the GPS sig in the photo.
/r/noids is where people discuss synthetic cannabinoids, which are horrible. Never use these.
The rabbit hole goes very, very deep. Check /r/DarkNetMarkets/
I have been consuming reddit via the https://www.reddit.com/r/all/gilded/ feed and it is just WILD what kind of weird and worrying stuff is going on.
EDIT: Looks like it was a place to connect opiate buyers and sellers
To my recollection, each post contained replies listing a username and perhaps a region of the state where they were available, and each post had upvotes or downvotes as well as some replies saying how "friendly" each listed username was. All other conversation other than "friends" and ratings seemed to be swiftly deleted and users were encouraged to move to reddit private messages.
At the time reading the content naively I thought it was people looking to use heroin together more safely, but now I'm thinking it was probably people looking for heroin dealers.
Here's a screenshot of the subreddit rules (from Google cache): http://i.imgur.com/2PKOr7B.png
I don't think I took a good screenshot of the forum's contents before it was banned. I think it was active for several years.
Reddit has really gone downhill ever since they turned into a nanny forum where they arbitrary enforce rules.
Sizable numbers of people get into opiates out of boredom? I thought this was driven by people with chronic pain.
The US prescribes far more opioids than any other developed nation.
These two combine and there are a bunch of people without addiction, but with spare pills. Those pills have a market value, and so they get sold. Or relatives of the patient find the pills and take them.
When drugs can be used to change how you feel people often will to escape negative feelings. Replace boredom with depression, anxiety, pain, it's all similar.
It's all about escapism.
The pendulum has swung in the other direction-- doctors have been inundated with the 'crisis' message and are terrified to prescribe any strong pain or anxiety meds to anyone. It was once routine for me and others I know to be prescribed hydrocodone for conditions like painful seized muscles, root canals or severe strep throat. We were apparently all in the ~80%+ who used it as intended and stopped. It worked great! No one I know has received an opiate for those conditions in a very long time. They all tell you just take ibuprofen now, which is completely insufficient. So what to people do instead? They drink or turn to illegal drugs. Functionally banning drugs does nothing to fight addiction, and in some cases can make it worse.
Sorry to rant, but I have both seen and experienced the hell of untreated pain due to skittish doctors. The cowardice and misinformation resulting in such direct harm really angers me.
"The simplistic idea was, 'Oh, this is all about prescription opioids, and therefore that's all we need to do: reduce the supply of prescription opioids and we'll reduce all these deaths and people won't become addicted,'" said Alexander Walley, a physician and director of addiction consultation services at Boston Medical Center.
"Well, what we're seeing now is that even as you reduce access to prescription opioids, you're seeing an explosion of heroin use and heroin overdoses ."
Still, it's hard for someone that has not experienced these conditions to understand how prescribing these highly addictive substances could be justified.
Is it the only form of treatment ? How is treatment handled in other countries ?
I think this is exactly the kind of drug abuse people want to get away from. Some people also used heroin or meth and managed to stop. This doesn't mean it's OK to abuse opiates for things like "seized muscles, root canals or strep throat" ... WTH? Opiates are used to manage severe pain, not this I've-torn-my-nail-a-bit-I-need-opiates-now.
Pain is a part of life, stop being a princess and deal with it.
Here's something... curious. Poppy production was virtually wiped out in Afghanistan: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/20/world/taliban-s-ban-on-pop...
Then we invaded. Now it's high: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Afghanis...
As an outsider not well-versed in this topic, my guess is that the root cause here is hopelessness, struggle, and boredom caused by poverty and unemployment.
The solution then would be to employ people and give them a sense of purpose, or at least get them out of poverty.
I'm a huge proponent of a universal basic income (UBI), though I'm not sure that a UBI would fix this problem. Thus it seems as if some sort of government jobs program may be necessary. Giving people meaningful well-paying jobs in science and technology would do wonders in getting people off these ridiculous addictions.
The jobs are gone. Now it's time to stop marginalizing and treating jobless people like parasites. This would help more.
This one is interesting because many people use kratom to wean off opioids.
I know people who use kratom and they have good things to say, but I've known people who say the same thing about x, y, and z supplement/nootropic whatever.
Getting off Kratom resulted in something like a flu that lasted 2-3 weeks. And I wasn't taking an especially high dose, and I had only been using for 3 months.
I purchase all of my kratom from a vendor that also provides documentation to prove that they're selling unadulterated kratom. Lots of vendors are resisting this, because they know the lengths some unscrupulous southeast Asian distributors will go to to get "the most fire kratom" to sell to American vendors (and lie about what they're selling). And there are known instances of American vendors realizing that they've been sold an adulterated batch, and then continuing to sell that kratom in order to not be holding a loss. I appreciate your recounting your experience, and I'm sorry to hear it was troublesome, but having used kratom for going on ten years now, and regularly taking extended breaks to keep my tolerance from building, my own anecdote is the opposite from yours: I experience little to no withdrawals whatsoever, and I take a relatively high dose. I understand kratom affects people differently, but the testing that's been done, and things added to kratom by the Indonesian or Vietnamese distributors' own admission shows that what people are buying could be anything.
As more vendors realize that regular testing and publication of the results is what consumers want, I believe we'll see fewer and fewer of these kinds of stories.
A lot of countries (Japan for example) already banned Kratom for exactly that reason and I wouldn't be surprised if the US follows soon.
Granted, people can switch to Kratom and take a huge dose to try and catch a buzz but most people that want to use Kratom to actually stop will take a maintenance dose. No different from using Suboxone to taper down.
This is the road to censorship, burning books, and confiscating servers. Some people are fine with censorship, because they imagine people who think like them as the censors.
You can only fight ideas with better ideas. Kicking them out and silencing them, says to them you can't compete. You can't offer them an argument as to why they should tolerate foreigners, other races, etc. It seems obvious to you now, but the ideals of tolerance and equality took years and years of discourse to dominate public consciousness.
The problem with this is that human beings will reject ideas that don't agree with what they want to hear, like the populations of coal towns in Appalachia that want to blame "Liberals" for their lot in life because they've hitched their wagon to the (dying) coal industry and don't want to change.
It's like the Simpsons Principal Skinner meme. "Could I be wrong about something? No! It's definitely everyone else that is wrong!"
Also, ideas don't woo people in and of themselves. Why do you think that charismatic leaders can swap entire populations to follow horrible ideologies that offer simple and easy solutions to their problems by throwing other people under the bus to pave the way to a better future for a select few?
Coal to them is a dream, its the last time people in their family and towns had money to spend and were happy. Telling them their glory days ruined the planet is not a way to convince them of anything.
The problem with Appalachia is that nothing short of basic income will save them. No rational investor is going to build any new manufacturing there. And even if they extract natural resources, it will be done with 1/1000th of the workforce and the value will flow right to the pockets of a large corporation with shareholders far, far away. So in effect almost every major politician is lying to them (and they know it) so they are willing to try anything.
This is the issue. There are no good solutions for Appalachia, but they don't want to hear that because the reality isn't as good as the fantasy that people like Trump want to sell them (that the "good ole days" are coming back).
Placing blame on "Liberals" and hitching their horse to Trump is living in a fantasy land rather than dealing with their situation rationally. The reality, is that those towns are basically dead. They are slated to become modern-day ghost towns unless someone can figure out a way to bring a new industry to those areas. "Liberals" didn't bring about this situation, the realities of coal did. Maybe the "Liberals" didn't do anything of note to help them, but that's different than saying that this situation wouldn't exist if only the "Liberals" hadn't been in power.
To bring this back to the topic at hand, it's an example of how it's easier to sell a positive fantasy than a negative reality (or even a long-term positive reality that has an unpalatable -- e.g. need to move away, retrain -- short-term reality). So this idea that we need to "fight ideas with ideas" fails in the face of realities like this. The best ideas don't always win. People will fling themselves off of a cliff just because someone convinced them that the landing will be soft (even if it doesn't make any logical sense).
Agree, but to return to the topic of depressed rural/ex-industrial areas and Appalachia specifically - That's not the sentiment. The sentiment is '8 years of Obama delivered no improvement and only a continuation of the decline' and the response to that isn't 'hitch a horse to Trump' it's 'At this point what harm is there in a risky gamble? Spin the wheel and roll the dice'.
Appalachian fatalism is a thing. It's not helped by American elections being rigged as a two-party affair. Combine these and it should be no surprise that many end up pushing their chips all-in and taking what might be a 50/50 chance.
But the odds aren't even that bad, from the perspective of these people. What do these people have to lose from this gamble? Economically? Already fucked. Socially? Reproductive Rights/LGBT Rights/Foreign Relations are nowhere near the top of their list if they are on the list at all.
You're spinning an enormous segment of the population as irrational actors, but they are not.
From their frame of reference, maybe. On the other hand, if the only industry supporting your town is a dying industry, then you have a couple of possibilities:
1. Move elsewhere that has economic prosperity.
2. Get another industry to move in that will help prop up the town's economy.
3. Repair the dying industry.
Option #3 is likely the hardest, and the most likely to fail, yet it seems to be the only option that people in Appalachia want to hear about.
I think it's dangerous to conflate government sanctioned censorship with moderation on a privately owned website.
If you're constantly posting threads highlighting successes of the market in /r/communism you will quickly find yourself kicked out of there. If you are constantly writing letters to the editor about conflicts of interest and unethical dealings in local government then local government will screw you at every turn until you leave town.
In places where local governments have little control over people (e.g. the middle of nowhere Montana) there isn't much of a parallel. In places where you need a building permit for a garden shed you had better not "piss off the mods".
Lol okay dude hop onto stormfront and engage in some civic discourse, offer some arguments, see how that goes.
Tribalism is our natural state, we gravitate toward those who act & look similar and away from the different. It takes thought and discussion to fight against this instinct. With kids growing up just being told racism is bad, many don't go though the intellectual work of actually proving it to themselves.
Seeing these arguments in public is important. It may help convince someone living in a racist bubble why its wrong. But I doubt seeing some racist joke or tirade will actually convert a nonracist person to racism. On the other hand a deleted post does absolutely nothing.
Now I tread carefully because you never know what kind of propaganda is being spread around.
People say stick to the subreddit. But I think that's silly. If the core of Reddit is rotten, then the subreddit themselves will be affected. It has happened to places I visit like /r/environment. There is a constant barrage of non-environmentally friendly comments. Not enough to change the overall makeup of the subreddit, but enough to make you wonder who is on the other side of the screen voting or down voting on stories.
Then there are places like /r/technology, which is almost intolerable to me at times.
People say I am paranoid, but like with anything, if you know a place well and visit it for years, you can sense when things change.
And yes my opinion is subjective, but this is a subjective topic.
> Reddit is a net-negative to society in my opinion.
I did not agree with this before, but after /r/the_donald, I am re-considering my position.
Just because there exists a thing you do not agree with does not mean it should not exist. It seems like many people on HN are for free speech as long as it's speech they agree with. There will always be people who do not think like you and do not believe in same things as you, but you are not helping any situation by no platforming them. Join the debate and use your words, like adult human beings, don't use force (even if it's virtual and not physical)
What would you call it?
The reason the posts hit front page is because people keep voting them up. You can disagree by downvoting. While they could very well be banning people who express opposite opinions so are plenty of other ideologically driven subreddits. You can join one of the dozen opposing subreddits for discussion about the topic(s) in hand. I still see no reason to take away their platform.
I do not subscribe to their opinions completely, but I can also see merit in some of the opinions from that camp just as I can see the flaws. Same goes for more left leaning opinions. Bad thing is that everyone gets so emotional and rallied over their own opinions they completely refuse to listen to the other side and budge even an inch. This just creates bunch of echo chambers on either side where no real discussion can be had.
Not anymore. Since reddit made numerous changes, I don't think I've ever seen one of theirs make the front page. Pretty funny that the site had to change the core of their operation to target them.
Sounds exactly like Reddit
Can you clarify why the actions of shill accounts are inherently anti-democratic? I don't really see the connection between the concept of Democracy and paid posters on a social media website.
I still enjoy the smaller subreddits. Unfortunately anything political becomes brigaded, but things like /r/gamingsuggestions and local city subreddits still make the site worthwhile to me.
Local city subreddits are one of the best things about reddit. National politics sometimes leak in, which is when they're at their worst, but, overall, it's probably my favorite thing there.
I believe that some kind of accessible and open platform will eventually take the place of place in the local discovery field.
For me, the crucial change of how I curate my subs happened when 2x became a default. I hated the sudden influx of bad posts, mansplaining, and terrible/abusive comments.
Good and bad people everywhere. It sucks.
This is a pretty broad claim.
While I don't disagree that toxicity can spread to different subreddits, that doesn't automatically mean it will spread to all of them, especially if the subreddits have solid rules and moderators to enforce them.
Take /r/baseball, for instance, it's a great, topical subreddit and I've pretty much never seen serious political commentary anywhere on it, even during the worst of the recent election.
So yes, places like /r/programming and /r/netsec is still pretty insular. But it's like asking me to visit a bad neighborhood, because there is a good restaurant there. At some point it's just not worth the risk.
Perhaps we thought our little islands of posh culture would stay on their own when reality is taking a dive ?
/r/the_donald specifically exists to spread false information, and to dox and harass people.
/r/politics is opinionated because of it's user base. It's not intentionally a propaganda machine.
One could argue that /r/the_donald uses the banhammer to maintain order (the narrative), and /r/politics uses shill comments+downvoting to do the same.
That is, excepting the "shill" name-calling -- it leads me to believe that you are in fact speaking on behalf of r/the_donald. If that's true, then I know why the term was used. If not, what leads you to believe that anybody involved in discussion in r/politics are "shills".
Because Hillary had hired people to do exactly that:
Remember someone leaked a private Slack chat of Reddit admins where one was boasting of receiving their CTR check.
If that is true, supported by the articles you referenced:
-- r/politics has over 3 million subscribers, with an average of 30 - 40 active users during the daytime.
-- if every one of those users was a "shill" commenter then every single one would have earned $0.30 for their efforts. That's not counting other forms of social media.
I have to admit some skepticism toward the assertion that the entire subreddit is a controlled narrative. Instead, it seems that there will be those who adamantly support the people they're paid to support, and that those users are in the minimum. Instead I think it's just a general consensus what the popular ideals are in there vs. r/t_d. Besides, not sure if you've been around there much but I certainly don't see much love lost for HC.
so many people don't realize this. if you can tell it's propaganda on the face, it's shitty propaganda.
Point being liberal application of the banhammer should not be interpreted as proof of the mod's intent to run a "propaganda machine" as much as a necessity of holding a discussion within parameters that presume certain reddit-unfriendly positions.
Can you substantiate that? I went there a few times after election and didn't see any doxing or harassing. There were gays, trans, immigrants people of all walks of life all seemingly having fun with their frog image or whatever they call it, and don't remember seeing a lot of harassment. I didn't follow but maybe you're saying it is hidden somewhere or they are subversive and just pretend to be nice?
It follows the "safe-space" "you're not allowed to dissent" model pioneered by some "leftist" subs, and will ban people for having perfectly legitimate dissent.
It managed to exploit some loopholes in how reddit works to take-over the front page. The most interesting one was "stickying" new posts so they were shown on their front page. They did this to a new post pretty frequently. This let them
* Coordinate which posts got to the front page of reddit
* Exploited the reddit algorithm for determining "hotness"
For a while, 8 out of every 10 posts on the front page were from /r/the_donald.
It marks the first major incidence of the community engineering tools (that I believe were pioneered by subs like /r/shitRedditSays) being used by the right.
Exactly -- and why I lasted only a week on Reddit. It's nothing but a collection of echo chambers. No matter how sincere and thorough I would try and make arguments, if they're weren't in line with the herd I'd get downvoted to oblivion (no counter argument except insults) if not outright banned (never had been banned before). It's no fun participating when the only accepted input is "me, too!"
It used to be the front page while logged out was /r/all, but that was replaced with /r/popular a while back (which has a completely non-transparent filter applied to it)
Warning: once you see it, you can't un-see it.
Even though they are generally heavily downvoted, I worry that their one-liner soundbites and gotchas will reach more people with weaker critical thinking skills.
No "these people are evil" is not an acceptable answer.
The people who voted for trump may be wrong, but they are still perfectly understandable humans, doing what they think is right. Or at least what they think they have to do.
It's understandable that people who post in the_donald are heavily biased and even think they are doing the right thing.
This American Life had a podcast where they interviewed these people at the DeploraBall, and one of them even said that he "Memed Donald Trump into the presidency". For some it seems this is part of their identity.
Similar to another one in this thread saying "it's just the same as /r/politics", it's important to normalise the_donald in the eyes of potential subscribers and to imply that what goes on in there is no different than in any other political subreddit. The difference, of course, could not be starker.
They also game the reddit voting system so their stories and comments are constantly being featured in /r/all -- so much so reddit had to take action.
Their purpose is to troll, and they are damn good at it.
So, even though a massive amount of their userbase pushes for genocide against "Mdslimes" or "Kbabs", Reddit admins let them exist.
Of course I read the comments. Two comments, here:
1) We don't have a lot of conversations about race or Islam or intersectional feminism (or whatever) over on the credit card churning sub (for example). Not everything is political.
2) Of course, we do have a lot of these conversations on /r/stlouis, some of which, I'm sure, include comments the Hacker News contingent would find obnoxious. But, you know what? They're fine. We get through it. It doesn't dominate every thread. People are downvoted when they're particularly vitriolic. And it's mostly names I recognize from other threads (not outsiders brigading). It's really not a big deal, like, at all.
The problem with having something r/the_donald on reddit is that its posters don't stay in r/the_donald. They go out to other reddits, and post hateful shit.
It's like having a shared space for clubs, that also includes a local chapter of the KKK.
It'd be fine if they just played dungeon and wizard dressup and complained about black people in the confines of their club room every Tuesday.
The problem is that they spill out, and start burning crosses and handing out beatings to the other users of the shared space. Pretty soon, the entire community turns into a dumpster fire, and people who don't want to deal with that bullshit leave.
The owners of the space can then pat eachother on the back, and congratulate themselves for encouraging freedom of expression.
Someone wrote a script that would res tag the_donald posters in other subs, and it's very noticeable how they're the ones derailing discussions that just involve a keyword like immigration, Islam, Europe, race, healthcare, or other hot button issues for them.
Like it or not, Trump won, so there is obviously a large quantity of people who subscribe to the positions you've labeled "hateful". Why should your interpretation of their opinion override their ability to share their thoughts on the topic? Subreddit mods have the ability to constrain the discussion within their own parameters. What else is needed?
I particularly dislike the attitude of "Let's tag people who post in this sub". How are you supposed to know if you have common ground if you can't even post in that sub without getting labeled or banned?
Some notable ways they derail discussions are:
- Oppression Olympics: Saying the U.S. meddles with other countries' elections so it's not so bad that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. "Happens to everybody."
- Whataboutism: Deflecting or changing the subject to be about Hillary Clinton or President Obama.
- Oversensitivity: "They're just memes, lighten up snowflake." "Nobody takes this seriously haha."
As for res tagging, it's extremely apparent that their patterns of behavior they exhibit are fairly uniform. This is probably a side effect of the strict way with which mods of the subreddit ban anyone who doesn't conform to a certain mindset. It creates a strong signal about users who aren't interested in genuine discussion, but are incredibly biased and self serving.
There are subreddits about everything. Most of them don't include conversations about police shootings or Islam.
(And the only reason it seems that they aren't a problem is because moderators of more specialized reddits have to delete their posts, and ban the posters.)
Some customers aren't worth keeping.
Off the top of my head:
Most of the time when you notice overt bigotry on reddit, the user frequents t_d or one of those subs, or the similar clones that are now all over reddit.
I would highlight https://reddit.com/r/europeannationalism/ as the very worst of it.
They've also taken over the mod teams of extremely large and supposedly politically neutral subs like https://reddit.com/r/uncensorednews/ (every single mod there is also a mod of /r/europeannationalism).
Check https://reddit.com/r/againsthatesubreddits/ for a running log of much, much more.
And for every one open nazi, there's a dozen more concern-trolling, brigading, vote-manipulating, and quietly recruiting more people towards the fucking genocidal far-right.
It's getting so bad that at it will soon be hard to defend Reddit's admins from charges of complicity.
(And I say astroturfing, not as a throwaway attack, but because the voting and usage patterns on those subreddits are very anomalous and smell of manipulation)
Meanwhile, the_donald is the one and only pro-Trump page on the site that has any kind of popularity.
I am not sure how the existence of these anti trump subs leads you to believe that views that r/the_donald is racist and hate filled are misinformed.
Also, I disagree with your last point since there are many altright subs, and r/conspiracy has become extremely pro Trump for some reason.
I'll ask the same thing I ask every time this topic comes up: Where's the hate? Link some. I see posts praising LGBTs, I see plenty of criticism of Islam (usually in relation to Islamists' poor treatment of LGBTs or worse),
but "hate"? Racism? No. That is hyperbole at best. Anytime I see overt racism, it's downvoted into the negatives. Given that my observation conflicts with the narrative, and that verifying it is trivial to check, I have to assume most people repeating it are just going on what they were told by friends or media, rather than their own observations.
is +73 positive enough? I wanted to give at least one example but its a bit hard since the work comp doesn't load reddit and my cell has terrible reception here.
However, this is mostly about me wondering if you're being honest about this. I have seen this rhetoric before (show me a link!) and it usually isn't long before someone does actually link something. Usually, excuses are made why they don't count.
I find it very doubtful someone never showed you the racism/hate straight from the source when demanded.
No, because that indicates the post didn't resonate with the user base there. Front page the_donald posts usually start at 5000 points and up. That tells me that the sentiment isn't really shared all that much. On much smaller communities with much lower average scores, this would be more significant.
On top of that, unless you install a third party addon or disable CSS (most users will not), you can't downvote posts there. That means the average user can't react to posts they dislike beyond reporting it if it breaks the rules.
On top of that, many the_donald users will chain-upvote everything on /new/ without even looking at it in an attempt to counter botting. I can't give you a link here, as this came up in a discord conversation.
I certainly hope you don't think these concrete problems are "an excuse". The score of a post is the only signal you have to determine what the community at large thinks about it.
Judging a community of 460K (with 13K online during off peak hours like right now) using a nine-day old post with a minuscule score isn't terribly honest. Your example post, if anything, is a counter example to the point you were trying to make.
So instead, How about +4614?
While cousin marriages are a problem, they definitely aren't half in the middle east. 50% is only reached in Pakistan and one African country that I'm not sure why its included in the first place
Deeper in the thread there's a link to https://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2015/07/17/half-of-worlds-m... with some statistics as well as spitballing at a cause (Koran is okay with cousin marriage would seem to be a big one) - and if you're having babies with your cousin, that is objectively inbreeding.
At best, this is arguably a statement of fact, and not "bigoted" or "hateful". Neither is a general sentiment that Islam is negative or hateful.
Which is basically where your argument falls apart for BOTH links I posted. Because that's how The_Donald gets away with bigotry: it posts vague "factoids" that overblow a situation to let users make the desired conclusion but create plausible deniability once the users start posting them. You know it wasn't that long after before someone posted something like this: https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/6p7do4/hard_fac...
Turns out, when your sub is constantly suggesting a whole demographic of people are retarded without literally saying it, the users eventually make the connection and start believing it. Ironically that may be breaking down soon when such a ridiculous post like that managed +710, probably due to recent events causing desperation. (Also before you say "buts that's only Somalis!" OP was kind enough to elaborate in the comments that he's talking about Arabian immigrants too).
Either way last post, feel free to have last comment. This thread is probably dead now and now I can definitely tell you're not honest. This conversation is basically pointless.
That's not a good software recipe for a community to become empowered or build their own space at all.
This leads to conflict when one person feels their identity as a "redditor" is under attack by the success of a sub that is diametrically opposed to their political or religious perspective, which leads to invasions, trolling, doxxing, harassment, and lots of other types of nastiness.
Keywords: become empowered or build their own space
The argument was not "that's not a good software recipe to cause high traffic."
In the good old days with forums, people were recognizable with avatars and signatures. People chatted about everything, not just the topic at hand, so the personality of each person had a large spectrum. The communities were small enough where people formed an identity and reputation. Many times they even connected their real life identity in "post your picture" threads.
Reddit has effectively killed many forums without replacing that human community aspect and it's kind of sad.
I wonder if there's space for forums with purposefully limited membership where people could get to know each other on that more intimate level. I know you could always set up your own private forum for your friends, but maybe as a service.
Unlike a traditional forum with long-running threads that get bumped to the top, many subreddits suffer from newcomers asking the same questions every other week (there's only two stickied threads, and people usually don't bother with the wiki). In addition, the notion of karma encourages unwanted behavior like recycling content.
The ease of use of Reddit can't be emphasized enough, though. Before, you'd need to find a host for your forum, then set up phpbb. And users would need to sign up for a bunch of different forums. Now, one can set up a new subreddit in seconds, and users can join without going through a new account flow each time.
Imageboards also suffer from newcomers asking the same questions, though this is mitigated by third party archive sites and encouragement to use them, to the point in which a common reply to a newbie question will be "search the archive". There are only about 15 pages of threads (with about 10 threads on each page) active at a time, which is significantly less than on a subreddit. You cannot reply to deleted threads, but individual threads can reach around 350 replies if they're baity/good.
Imageboards have no notion of karma, except social. You usually (save for boards with in-thread IDs) can be an expert on one topic in a thread, then ask a newbie question later on, letting you also play devil's advocate. This is because you can be anonymous. But if you want to attach your name to your posts, you can do so securely using a code which nobody can replicate unless they also know the password to generate it that you know (a tripcode). People who use tripcodes are frequently derided (such as by being called "tripfags").
Imageboards are relatively easy to use. You post a thread using a form at the top of each board page, and reply to a thread using the same form at the top of the thread page, which is accessed by clicking "Reply" displayed next to an individual thread on the board pages.
Imageboards usually host multiple boards. 4chan for example has a board for most topics people are interested in, from anime, technology and toys to papercraft, transportation and the paranormal. Within these boards, it is common to have "general" threads in which they act like miniature boards, threads created for just one topic, however they are not moderated, as they are set up by regualar users, so they can go off-topic. For example, /g/ (the Tech board) has a frequent general thread called "/tpg/ - Thinkpad general" in which people can talk about IBM Thinkpad laptops. Multiple people can create topical threads with the same subject line.
Other imageboards let you create your own board, the most prominent example of which is 8chan; by creating a board you become its moderator and administrator, subject to the global rules of the website, of course.
Imageboards, like Reddit, have a feedback loop in which commenting in a thread will bump it to the top of the board, so people viewing the first page of the board will see that thread. Unpopular threads tend to fall in ranking until they are eventually bumped off the board by a new thread. To avoid participating in the feedback loop, you can "sage" a thread, which is to post in it, but not bump it to the top.
But most importantly I will reiterate - imageboards are anonymous, there are no accounts, and there is no barrier to participation except maybe feeling bad because you haven't lurked enough.
I'm not the first to talk about the virtues of imageboards over traditional forum stoftware (phpBB, Reddit, etc.): https://wakaba.c3.cx/shii/shiichan
And this is of course ignoring that you can use an imageboard to host a personal blog, by only allowing a pre-defined administrator tripcode to post, and to set new replies to not bump threads. It's a real shame the flourish of earlier imageboards died, as they were often home to quality discussion.
Saying that it's just humanity is unfair to the people who used to like a forum and then left it behind when it was no longer worth fighting for.
Various subreddits are slowly being taken over by racist agitators who know how this works.
I agree that free speech is a good thing, and I think that "You have to take the bad with the good, because we don't agree on what's good" is a broadly useful philosophy. But systems which take in both bad and good, and strengthen the bad more than the good, are themselves bad.
Cross-subrreddit trolling and genuine spills at least minimises echo chamber effect somewhat. If that was limited or non-centrist subreddits/users were banned, the centrist (or whatever was supposed to be OK) echo chamber level would go off the charts.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
The key word is "congress" which can be broadly interpreted to mean the government, but not private corporations or individuals.
The First Amendment is just a law which prevents the US government from restricting Free Speech. Free Speech itself is a principle which can be applied anywhere.
However I'd like to point out the admin policy towards hate groups and speech on reddit is in my opinion incredibly dangerous and damaging to our society. They will take action against subreddits like FPH (fat people hate) because of "real life" actions, meawhile there are thousands of highly upvoted calls to violence daily. Is this just a reflection of our society? Probably but I'm always interested to see which sites allow what. Here's what Jack Dorsey had to say about it regarding twitters ban on hate speech "Abuse is not part of civil discourse. It shuts down conversation and prevents us from understanding each other. Freedom of expression means little if we allow voices to be silenced because of fear of harassment if they speak up"
As a minority I've stopped using reddit and know many others like me, the ones that stay stick around to drop in "As a [insert minority group]...it's totally OK that this racist meme is highly upvoted with racist comments - because its a joke ha ha" posts
The obvious counter-argument is silencing them strengthens their argument and makes them a martyr. I don't buy that argument at all, it's far more dangerous to allow them to indoctrinate and appeal to all the fringe disenfranchised youth which they've become frighteningly effective at. In any case it's clear reddit can be used for good like in this article, I'm just not so sure it's a net positive to society as another poster argued.
Is it fair to say it's their responsibility to police society when they just run the platform? Probably not, but I do know there's a big problem here and it's causing immense damage daily, racism and xenophobia are on the rise.
I think at this point reddit is almost a good representation of the internet, and getting out of reddit because of shitty subs feels like taking distance from internet because of 4chan and YouTube comments.
Brigading in reddit has always been an issue and it's likely not going away for a very long time. That's also a cause of inter-subreddit mixing that can lead to abuse.
You're mostly correct that if you stick to the smaller and more moderated communities, you'll avoid a lot of the crud.
Edit: and to be further on topic, the r/opiates subreddit also gets a lot of outsiders going in and flinging abuse at the users there.
that said there are plenty of small communities that are pleasant, sure. But some people would rather go elsewhere than take the time and effort to curate their subs, and that's perfectly reasonable.
I think your basic premise is wrong - that "racism and xenophobia" are on the rise. You can't measure the number of people who aren't racist because you don't hear them. And before you argue that "not saying anything is being complicit" it's just not true. As a "minority" I just don't care what someone on the internet posts. It doesn't have power over me.
Yeah but you have a President and his son, aides, etc. who use the subreddit and similar places on the internet to get their information from. The President himself has retweeted stuff a few hours after it became popular on 4chan, T_D, etc. and has posted completely fake stormfront/4chan/coontown infographics about black crime that he still essentially stands by.
The information sources of many of the most powerful people in the world comes from these sites, so they certainly have an impact.
Having been on reddit for a decade it's sad to see it go from a tech/intellectual community to what it is now. I want real discussion, not arguing with racists. Seems reddit offers less and less of the former each day.
Is this really an issue? Are they going to /r/programming and dominating the conversation? Because I'm just not seeing it.
I think that the quality of a community is inversely related to the size, which explains why reddit "used to be cool". But the reason I still use reddit is because you can subscribe to communities you want - and there are still many good ones.
That said, there is room for improvement on the moderation side. I think a "peer-moderated" community would be awesome. Say for example, when a comment is flagged - a random but deterministic set of peers will make a judgement call. A "deterministic peer-jury" could be a useful mechanism for communities to grant voting/commenting/moderation rights.
The bigger issue in my opinion is controlling the discussion via sock puppets and underhanded moderation.
It simply didn't used to be this way. The discussion used to be what I'd go to reddit for, now it's the part I avoid.
I am Micmac, Irish, and African American. I don't care if someone is racist. I don't care if they say racially charged things. I care only when it manifests physically.
I don't believe I've the right to control the thoughts or speech of others. I don't let them control my emotions. I do not cede that power over me.
Unfortunately, yes. Look at the comments for any news story about a protest. Half the commenters are shouting that the protest should be non-violent, while the other half are shouting that the police should beat and cripple the protestors. There is also intersection between these two groups.
Or the people posting copy-pasta about how violent the Religion of Peace is, all the while advocating for glassing the countries it is prevalent in.
Generally, calls to violence are taken quite seriously, but calls to the worst form of violence - war - are considered political.
That's kinda the problem. As a species, our entire communications spectrum can't be forced into either bucket. It has to exist in both.
The kind of things I wouldn't tolerate at all around my family I'm fine tolerating around my friends. And the kind of things I wouldn't tolerate from a friend I'm fine tolerating as part of the public discourse. In fact, the last thing we want to do is use either minority or majority power to silence what folks consider "intolerable" speech. That way lies dragons.
It's a difficult if not impossible spot for social networks to be in.
Reddit is among the most widely-used websites in the world -- 7th, by Alexa's rankings. Reddit lives up to its motto of being the front page of the internet.
Imagine one of the top-10 newspapers in the United States were occasionally publishing stuff from /r/The_Donald on its front page, and had content from various hateful sub-reddits a few pages back. You could argue that this imaginary publication harms society.
Of course, Reddit is not the New York Times. So different standards apply. But the argument that Reddit -- and thus its administrators policies -- may be harming society, seems to hold some weight.
Its "real" freedom of information, without many of the mechanisms that larger society uses to fight back against it. Instead it is just ignored and left to fester and grow until it pops into the public forum at the point where huge efforts are required to fight it. I feel like the internet is a great way to get differing views out, but not a great way to build any cultural agreement.
CNN and Infowars have the same number of subscribers on Youtube. Now, I'm no fan of CNN, but Infowars is a unique kind of gross in my opinion. To the extent that subscribing to a youtube channel connotes social value, apparently the world has decided that Infowars is approximately equal in value to CNN.
Most people view CNN through TV or CNN.com; I suspect a much greater proportion of InfoWars's content is viewed through YouTube.
Reddit is not like an ISP, who can (until recently) claim that they're not responsible for traffic passing through their network, as reddit has no reasonable claim to be a "dumb pipe".
After denying it, you just explained why it's a difficult spot.
By the way, website are in fact not legally responsible for that traffic, under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which the courts have upheld against sites like eBay, Google, Craigslist, Backpage and MySpace.
I only know as much about Section 230 as I just read at that link, but it seems that this doesn't provide protection for things like calling for violence against a religious/sexual/race group. I concede that the exact boundary of what is a call for violence is hard to pin down, but I don't think that makes it OK to throw up your hands and say "Anything goes on my site!"
That's the job of the Constitution, as the SCOTUS made clear in Brandenburg v. Ohio, in which an actual KKK leader was being charged after participating in an armed rally and talked about getting revenge on various races and on those who supported them, like the President and Congress:
"(..) the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
I have health problems. Every single health "support group" (email list or forum) I have ever participated in has been a shit show. A recent attempt to post to a health Reddit reminded me of that. So, I started my own health related Reddit.
I participate very little. I am trying to figure out how to create things that I want to have for myself, basically.
I realize this is hard. I have been thrown out of a few different forums over the years and have simply walked away from others because of bullshit. But I am trying to find a path forward and not just throw in the towel and let the assholes have the internet because it is the path of least resistance. It may be the path of least resistance, but it impoverishes my life and I suspect it impoverishes the lives of a lot of other people as well.
If I weren't so politically burnt out right now I'd call for a Reddit boycott.
Either way this thread has reminded me to block it and delete my account because I'm done with that site after 10+ years.
To be clear I'm not trying to rail on the founders of these orgs, I can't say for sure that I'd do much better in their position, it's a business first after all.