And I doubt in any way I’m alone in this—proabably the far majority of PewDiePie’s subscribers don’t take media outlets serious anymore.
The age of journalism has long been dead. Click-bait killed in, and now they just putting nails in their own coffin.
Gell-Mann amnesia  is rapidly disappearing as people has access to broader information channels.
He spoke at length about the recent Swedish elections, how his mother cried when the Swedish Democrats (the new right-wing) party won, how he thinks young people can be more racist than old people today, went on to defend immigrants, the old Swedish values of being an open society etc.
He sounded like the complete opposite of what the media in these stories are portraying him to be
Sam Harris and Matt Taibbi had a good discussion about this. How news has gone from being a loss leader to competing with clickbait.
It seems like a new form of witch hunting?
It’s the degradation of all media rather than just a large portion of it, which is new and worrying.
You're absolutely right about it being a constant in the history of journalism though. Recently I've heard a lot of talk about how the situation in this respect is getting worse, but I think it's important to remember that yellow journalism is nothing new, nor is the influence it wields. The Spanish American War was essentially started by yellow journalist media barons fabricating public consensus, and the ramifications of that war were fairly severe in both hemispheres. Maybe Vox picking on pewdiepie is unfair, or maybe they're justified. But viewed in the proper context it's inconsequential either way; neither Vox nor pewdiepie are provoking bullshit wars. Thank the gods for that.
But they are provoking bullshit wars.
Being an unreasonable extremist and drowning out the reasonable voices on your team gives the unreasonable extremists on the other team license to do the same.
People being able to express contrary opinions in public is a release valve that allows a moderate consensus to form.
Polarizing everything and then shutting down public debate is how you get into a war. Just because nobody is actively building munitions factories doesn't make this a benign development that it's reasonable to ignore just because the country is not yet literally on fire.
No not actually. Hyperbole is fine but don't confuse it for the real thing.
To reiterate my point: Yellow journalism that successfully warmongers is a far cry from yellow journalism that gets into a heated argument with a youtube celebrity. The methods employed by yellow journalists may be identical (in fact I'd argue they probably are), but there is a serious disparity in the severity of the outcome. And considering that in one case we're talking about significant loss of human life, I don't think you should be abstracting that away so coldly.
You should be thankful that the Vox/pewdiepie spat is not getting thousands of people killed and territory annexed. Is that not clear?
When you find a tiger loose in a city, the response should be to do what it takes to get it off the streets, not that we should be thankful that everything is fine because so far it has only been hunting puppies.
Only if you're abstracting away the value of real human lives. If a tiger breaks loose you should be concerned by that tiger but ALSO be thankful that nobody has been eaten by it. If you forget the later, you forget your humanity.
Who the fuck cares about what pewdiepie does with his platform for his speech?
Trump, on the other hand, has far more power, but hasn't figured out how to anything other than being the center of everyone's attention.
And while Fox News is ginning up fervor against immigration in the US, it's not like we're going to go into a serious war with Mexico over it. Thank God.
It's the "humourless, ironclad dogma" aspect that provokes the response of people like Pewdiepie, and it's that aspect of the reaction to Pewdiepie's satire that makes it a self-completing feedback loop wherever it's discussed.
A generation ago, this description belonged to right-wing moralists like Focus on the Family and Tipper Gore. Now it belongs to the left-wing moralists who have largely taken over corporate messaging and university curricula.
To me, the political aspect is less interesting than the underlying desire to control thoughts and behavior. The most alarming aspect is that it has gone beyond redefining what constitutes crime to using social media to attempt to destroy the lives of those who run afoul of the agenda. And it only takes a handful of people to start up the outrage machine and direct all of its fury at a particular person. It's the source of the sense of dystopia that I feel many days.
It will be interesting to see what the generation coming up now ("Zoomers" I guess they're called) does in reaction to the full-throated adoption of the humourless, ironclad dogma of the Millennials. I see it played out almost daily between my millennial daughter and her Zoomer son. I think it's going to be uglier than the Boomers fighting with the Silent Generation in the 60s.
a) A person with an incredibly impressionable, young, and naive viewerbase would shout out an obvious, virulent bigot because he shares their views or
b) A person with an incredible impressionable, young, and naive viewerbase would shout out someone that is an obvious, virulent bigot because he's so divorced from reality outside of video games that he didn't understand that they would be offensive.
his followers arent dumb and youre underestimating what young viewers are able to figure out. if they can see that its not a big deal then why are you so outraged for?
The video INCLUDED neo-nazi rhetoric. Literally click on any others and they include n-slurs in the title. Again, either he's a moron or he's a racist. I'm not sure if the former is that much better a look for him.
Also, young kids can figure things out, yes, but the biggest YouTube star on the planet shouldn't be normalizing neo-nazi terrorism.
none of the videos have n-word in the title, are you making that up? did you read about how that channel is verified by youtube itself?
now youre calling it terrorism? slow down there. i think you should learn to take a joke like the rest of the world. if everyone else can figure it out then maybe its you that has an extreme problem with it?
One of them did, it has since been deleted by youtube. It probably slipped by people, including youtube moderation for years, because it was a deliberate misspelling of the word "reneging".
I'm not going to link it for obvious reasons, but if you're skeptical you can find it by searching for the guy's mirror channel on one of the more infamous "free speech youtube alternatives" where he's uploaded it again with a note about youtube deleting it. In all honesty, I think it's likely this anime review guy is masking genuine nazi propaganda behind an edgy humor. I think he's doing it in a way that in each instance he usually has plausible deniability, but when viewed as a whole a clear picture emerges. I think this is why many people including yourself, youtube moderation, and supposedly pewdiepie did not notice it on first viewing. Furthermore I think that it's uncharitable and morally wrong to accuse people who missed it of having character defects, so please don't think that I'm impugning your character by disagreeing with you.
I can still see it. 2 of them posted 2 years ago with 400k views each. If he had more I wouldn't know, which is even more concerning.
I'm not going to see it as a character defect, but I will see it as incredibly irresponsible. It would be irresponsible even without Quilette editors tut-tutting about the people who are disturbed by it. The fact that people defend it even with the full scope of the evidence available is not acceptable however.
I'm pretty sure most people, including the FBI Director and Jeff Sessions, believe the Charlottesville attack was terrorism.
>In one example — a video Kjellberg publicly liked, leaving a comment underneath — E;R uses aerial footage of the moment when a car drove through a crowd of people during the white supremacist-led “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last year. The incident left multiple people injured and one protester, Heather Heyer, dead. E;R turns a scene from Netflix’s live-action Death Note movie, describing how a death is carried out when a name is written inside the titular notebook, into a joke about Heyer’s death using actual footage from Charlottesville. 
Therefore, paywalls and online subscription is actually the best thing that could happen to online journalism.
The journalists in question are not reporting the nuance and context in their rush to burn the witch.
He's suggesting that, but it is extremely unlikely that he didn't know.
> nce that was pointed out, he removed the shoutout from his video.
Sounds like the journalists are doing their job.
> Sounds like the journalists are doing their job.
Sounds like the death of investigative journalism.
It seems like it's quite the opposite most of the time, which is the reason for the backlash against the articles.
1. Commissioned someone for 5 dollars to hold up a sign stating "Death to all jews"
2. Published the footage upon seeing it to an impressionable young audience, without putting why it'd be wrong to do into context. And thought this was an okay thing to do.
That's all that was reported on. And rightfully so.
I find it very sad that I get warned for "ideological posting" and yet quillette is a source allowed on here; easy to spot what ideology they support by their mention of Ben Shapiro as some sort of idol: reactionary. (If you're not convinced, find their sidebar for feminism bashing)
You should really reconsider if your own bias is distorting your moderation policies, dang.
I'm Jewish and I'm open to criticizing decisions and behavior that make light of anti-Semitism, but classifying someone as a racist, Nazi, or white supremacist should have a higher standard.
PewDiePie has commented quite a few times on this, but I’ll loop you in.
1. He was, in a satirical bit, showing what people were offering as services on Fiverr. As a result of this, he was surprised about what people were willing to do, and wanted to push it to the limit. He expected his request to get rejected, but it actually got approved and the guys did the sign—proving the point that people are basically willing to do anything for $5.
2. Have you even seen the video? You’ll honestly have to be the most clueless person on earth to not see that he is quite clearly not thinking this is okay, not is he condoning what they did, but it is still a very relevant thing to showcase what people are willing to do.
> An ironic nazi is still a nazi. No matter how you turn this...
Sure...if he was even remotely a nazi...Are you aware that what you are doing is actually doing a service to actual bro-nazis and a disservice to people trying to deal with actual problematic people? Desensitising people like this, means they won’t take the serious cases, well, seriously. Ever heard of the boy that cried wolf?
"DEATH TO ALL JEWS"
on a banner for 5 bux is some sort of capitalism critique and not a spectacle to get views, I don't know what to tell you.
I guess I can leave you with this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjNILjFters
whats wrong with the quillette and ben shapiro? arent you showing your bias here?
"Satire" has a meaning - A Modest Proposal wasn't Swift going "haha what if we ate babies"
You're saying that as if a post unopposed is neutral, and opposition is "taking a side" and therefore showing bias. It's not. There is no neutral here. The article poster has taken a side and the moderation team has too, even if it's just a slight pro.
I can say a lot about Shapiro, few things good. But I've been told to keep away from this sort of flame war and I'm convinced if you're willing to change your mind you can seek out the information I'd provide easily on your own.
Titles like the above are likely the reason that news outlets like Vox and Vice have fallen on hard times.
It’s a shame really - both outlets have done some seriously groundbreaking work, but this...this is just cheap outrage-bait for clicks.
Pretty much the definition of shortsightedness. They are killing their reputation long term to get ad clicks today.
What seems obviously broken is the fact that ideals like free speech, free association, due process, etc. have taken a backseat to some new rules like inclusivity, hyper sensitivity and hyper empathy.
That is dangerous for society. It has happened before in so many theocracies. A very vocal group seems to have seized the reins of all mainstream media and technology companies in areas like "trust and safety", which always seem to morph into propaganda outfits.
By displacing to a large extent judeo Christian values, for all their faults, perhaps in education and elsewhere, it looks like something far more broken, dangerous and sinister has filled the void left by it.
As a result the new crop of young talent seems to be attracted to these new "woke" companies like vice and vox who are pandering to their misguided ideas of the world.
So hypothetically if you say the wrong terminology to refer to a group of people, then you have blasphemed and regardless of context your use of the terminology deprives you of due process, presumption of innocence and freedom of speech. Anyone who defends you has their freedom of association revoked.
Stories like these seem to be becoming more and more common. The dark and sinister replacement seem to be a new set of rules whose goal is to protect people from certain blasphemies. At one time it was the sun revolving around the earth or denial if the ressurrection of Christ. Today it's some forbidden phrase like Merry Christmas or handicapped or midget. If you are the CEO of Firefox or Oculus rift, you are fired for your charitable donations. Freedom of association is far more important to society than the harm done by a CEO who blasphemes or pays people to blaspheme.
Judeo-Christian values are hard to pin down, but I feel confident that the 15th century Catholic Church did not reflect those values.
I'm just offering the Reformation as evidence that even people in the 1500s didn't consider the behavior of the Catholic Church at that time "good".
Edit: As the responses point out, people don't all agree about values. I didn't mean to imply otherwise.
The Spanish Inquisition (unlike the Papal Inquisitions, or the later Roman Inquisition) occurred under the aegis exclusivelt of the Spanish Crown; and “Judeo-Christian values” are most often cited as a thing by evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants trying to pretend that their views (often quite personal and not even broad enough to be sectarian) have some kind of broader grounding than can be justified factually.
> Judeo-Christian values are hard to pin down
Because “Judeo-Christian values” aren't actually a thing.
Also considering that Christianity is a rejection of many of the values and norms of Judaism.
A good quote - "A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on society. Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses. And it will be simply impossible to stand through the trials of this threatening century with only the support of a legalistic structure."
> What seems obviously broken is the fact that ideals like free speech, free association, due process, etc. have taken a backseat to some new rules like inclusivity, hyper sensitivity and hyper empathy.
"As an insider" it seems like this as well. Not everyone in America falls so far on either side that we can't see this.
If you are not familiar with it see the section on religion morality and education
> If you are not familiar with it see the section on religion morality and education
Am having a hard time seeing how the idea that morality can't be maintained without religion connects to "free speech, free association [and] due process".
Much of the new culture I am referring to, seems to elevate the rights of groups and treat individuals as unequal because all people are born unequal depending on the group they belong to - the exact opposite of what the country was founded on and believed for a long time. It isn't untrue because people are born to vastly different circumstances that have a big impact on their long-term success in society. This seems to have become a sacred cow, i.e. a new set of religious principles.
How this plays out in this particular context is that when Pewdiepie uses his YouTube channel to make amusing videos, if he touches on certain blasphemous topics, then regardless of context, he is convicted as having "ties to white supremacists". His rights as an individual are deprioritized because the subject matter is blasphemous to the new value system, which places a very high priority on protection of the sentiments of minorities.
This is an exceptionally great goal, but freedom, due process and presumption of innocence of the individual must come first, if the goal is to create a fair and stable society, in my opinion.
You've also been using HN primarily for ideological battle—we ban accounts that do that, too. Please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow the rules when posting here.
The article mentions South Park too. I once loved the show, and still remember many moments in a strangely fond way. But the problem of Poe's law and the like means satire is sometimes taken seriously, and the cumulative effects of that have serious and real repercussions.
The creators of South Park, for example, recently "apologized" to Al Gore, who they ridiculed mercilessly. Many people believe that ridicule seriously hurt the climate change movement. I can't imagine what a real world solution would look like, but I would gladly live in a world where those episodes disappeared and we were in a little better spot regarding climate change.
We probably don't yet know what the lasting legacy of PewDiePie will be, but personally I'm doubting the positive aspects of it will outweigh the effects of many of his viewers taking some of his satire seriously.
Placing any of the blame on South Park for exposing it is an example of a dangerous yet all too common idea: tolerate, even conceal, bad behavior lest the overall movement be harmed.
1. They did not talk about any of those valid criticisms
2. FAR more people saw those South Park episodes and, at least somewhat, adjusted their views of Gore to be more negative without even realizing it, than came in contact with anything that DID talk about those valid criticisms
Well clearly Matt & Trey disagree now.
It is quite funny that very few people are actually able to come up with valid criticisms for his climate change advocacy, which wasn't even on the more alarmist side of climate change in 2006.
I guess that depends on what you mean by "valid" but I think his plan to profit from carbon trading was a clear conflict of interest.
All the conservative people I know are aware of this, so it also depends on who you know.
And if those conservatives find out that Matt & Trey now think they should have kept this a secret to avoid damaging Gore's climate change advocacy, that will only reinforce their distrust of climate change advocates.
Giving people a reason to think his efforts were a money-making scheme was just stupid.
Al Gore was telling us that burning fossil fuels was going to destroy the world. The only appropriate response, if that were true, would be immediate "wholesale lifestyle deflation".
That is an absurdly narrow viewpoint for a website dedicated to news about technological advances. I'm honestly astonished.
Also, you must be unaware of what Al Gore was saying. "An Inconvenient Truth" predicted horrible things would happen by 2015. That was a very common prediction in the 90s, actually.
We're past that now and technological advance is nowhere near eliminating or even reducing climate change. It was obvious even in the 90s that zero-carbon technology wouldn't be ready for decades.
The only solution to the doomsday prediction Al Gore was selling 20 years ago was immediate drastic action (which even the Democrats never actually had the will to call for).
It was only after the WSJ articles that I found out that people actually defend him unironcially. Not sure if that's just him evolving or because of some other factors..
Now I'm not so sure - much like how early 4chan's self-deprecating and self-aware irreverence devolved in a swell of uncreative people taking the memes (and themselves) way too seriously, the same seems to be occurring with the media. Maybe the media is on to something when they say memes, jokes, and satire are dangerous because too many people take the performance literally and become neo-Nazis? But I don't see this phenomenon as only existing inside that sphere - so many people, even journalists who should know better, are content with bits of second-hand information and out-of-context sound bites when making up their mind about something or someone.
Maybe we're getting too comfortable with the internet. It was once a curio outside of our brain, but as it becomes a part of who we are we increasingly give it authenticity.
A community that consistently pretends to be something will eventually attract and finally be replaced by exactly the people they meant to pose as.
In this case, nazis. Even now you can't really tell how serious people on there are.
Poor Pewd! It's sad how these accidents keep happening to him, over and over again. Just bad luck, I guess.
SPLC, for example, made a name for themselves by winning lawsuits against the KKK and Aryan Nations. Now they are losing lawsuits and having to apologize for falsely calling people "extremists": https://www.newsweek.com/splc-nawaz-million-apologizes-98187...
In the article about PewDiePie, Vox tries to call Laci Green "alt-right". I'm sorry, if Laci Green is alt-right, then the word has lost all meaning. They updated their story, but the update was pretty inadequate: https://twitter.com/jessesingal/status/1074762800109637633
What's more interesting is that every single bleeding-heart journalist that seems to have an issue with him all have tweets praising Nazis, throwing racial slurs around or generally being whatever they're criticising Felix for.
An example from the Vox writer: "seeing #WhyIJoinedTwitter trending and all i can think of is, Don't be stupid, be a smartie! Come and join the Nazi party!" - with gif of people doing Nazi salutes 
Call that satire if you like - which is how she's trying to defend it - but that's exactly what Felix is repeatedly crucified for. Just bad luck for her too, I guess. Except she's not apologising for it, nor is she being punished by her employer nor is she having articles written about her for it.
If, on the contrary, let's cherry picking the good things said by Pewd, then anyone can come at the opposite statement.
I am really disturbed by this line of thinking, which bases conclusions on top of unfounded claims in the first place.
You seem to be saying that they're cherry picking the negative things which means they can't be 'unfounded claims' like you say later.
No it doesn't. Why do you think it means the negatives must outweigh the positives?
I assumed the link was pretty obvious... to paint a vivid picture if you have a person or group that says nice things most of the time about puppy dogs but just once says some hateful nazi rhetoric, someone out there will find that the negative outweighs the positive and won't care that there are positive statements.
Edit - I probably should've qualified my statement in my original post to better state that position. I can see now that it seems my statement is an absolute for all people. Not my intent.
I am disturbed by the line of thinking of basing conclusion on media reports.
I do not say negative outweighs positive or vise versa. That's not my point.
My ultimate point is that a person is complex. If you want to base your perception on media reports, that's clearly lazy and manipulated. To know a person, you need to see the whole picture. Then if you want to claim that a person's repetitive attacks from media is because that person is problematic, that's disturbing.
So, to clarify, you're saying these perceptions aren't necessarily true? If so, I'd suggest that your original comment comes across as saying something very different.
1. Youtube star who links a white supremacist channel and then immediately disavows it - still a racist.
2. Democratic presidential candidate (Obama) meets with and has photos taken with avowed racist and anti-Semite (Farrakhan) and then disavows it a few years later - no problems here.
Websites with discussion (like hacker news) have simple rules like "assume good faith." If somebody says they don't believe something, participants are expected to accept that, unless there is evidence to the contrary. Yet, "respected news organizations" like Vox and Vice only presume good faith for people who agree with them.
Obama disavowed Wright and Farrakhan in a speech that was praised by nearly everyone, including Mike Huckabee and John McCain, and was president for 8 years without winking at Nazis, white supremacists, or anti-semites like Farrakhan.
meanwhile you should probably pay attention to actual fascists out there in the world like in china and russia
Not that it absolves him of even saying it, which is pretty bad on its own, especially in a pejorative sense.
For the record, I know from being on the receiving end that racist young people use it in America too so he's not getting a pass on that from me (nor should he).
Also many racist things that would be totally unacceptable in Sweden are common in USA so it is not like we are more tolerant or racist than you are over there, we just focus on different things. For example in Sweden it is unacceptable to group people together like "African American", expressions like that are there to alienate groups. Instead we think it is enough to call everyone "Swedish", it is unthinkable that a politician would start calling immigrants "Afro Swedish". Or at least it was seems like we have gotten more influenced by USA now. But another thing: In Sweden it is seen as very racist to ask about race, gather data about race etc, while in USA that is mandatory. A politician suggesting adding such measures would get called a Nazi and thrown out immediately.
About the other things, pewdiepie has produced around 600 hours of original video content with edgy humor on his own, each clip getting millions of views. Edgy humor tends to skirt on whats acceptable and he is bound to make mistakes sometimes, especially with the cultural differences between Sweden and USA. I think it is stranger that they haven't found more dirt on him on than they did.
not a big deal.
> Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya once recalled his work with Facebook this way: “We trumpeted [our platform] like it was some hot-shit big deal. And I remember when we raised money from Bill Gates…And Gates said something along the lines of, ‘That’s a crock of shit. This isn’t a ‘platform.’ A platform is when the economic value of everybody that uses it exceeds the value of the company that creates it. Then it’s a platform.’” The brilliant Microsoft founder knew that his own Windows operating system was a true platform because, as Microsoft openly bragged, the company itself captured only a minority of the value created through the Windows ecosystem. Facebook, YouTube and Google are in a completely different category—because the vast majority of the wealth they generate is controlled by the social-media oligopolies themselves. They aren’t platforms so much as rent-seeking agents that oversee a set of critical economic protocols.
Youtube certainly seems like a platform for others to make money, the top example being PewDiePie himself making 7 million year 2 or 3 years ago from just youtube ad share. No idea how much more he made from product placements or endorsements. There's clearly some amount being made by groups like Vox, Kurzgesagt, Corridor, and similar channels who . Would those channels be able to survive if they had to pay to stream their own video?
What are we going to do about it?
Sad state of affairs.
The essence of the anti-censorship position, non-governmental or otherwise, is acknowledging when someone says something that you object to, and nonetheless supporting their right to say it. Sweeping it under the rug is just cowardice.
(I’m being generous in even linking this to censorship of any form. PewDePie is still on YouTube (as he should be allowed to be!), he just wasn’t featured in a highlight reel).
100% correct. Too often though, this is the default defense-non-defense for all sorts of awful behavior. However, it's a great tactic to try to switch the conversation from a "should" to a "can".
this kind of power hoarding exists only because of insufficiently farsighted design of the early web ... Were there a public protocol that allowed video to be shared as easily as hypertext, there would be no need for YouTube
But this is a major misunderstanding of the problem, which is not due to the web's design but rather the basic incentive issues around the creation of decentralised, public infrastructure.
Because of course there is such a public protocol that allows video to be shared as easily as hypertext. It's called the web. How does this author think YouTube works, exactly? Anyone can transcode a video, upload it to their personal web server and use the <video> tag. The codecs, the transports, the viewer software, it's all free and public.
So why don't PewDiePie and others like them do that? Why do they all flock to YouTube and then create massive dramas over YouTube's policies? And by the way, I ask these rhetorical questions as someone who is no fan of Google's recent turn towards blocking and censorship of conservative views.
Well the questions are rhetorical because the answers are obvious. They stick with YouTube and don't even go elsewhere if they get silenced because the value YouTube is providing them is staggeringly huge. YouTube isn't merely a way to publish video. It's a huge, no questions asked bandwidth and CPU subsidy. It's the technology to instantly handle serving to planet-scale populations. It's commenting and voting that's defending against spamming and other forms of DoS. It's discovery and sharing. It's editing tools and analytics and most of all it's advertising - monetisation is what we lack public infrastructure for, not video serving.
And why do we lack public protocols for all these things? Because creating YouTube is a hell of a lot of work for many people and they want to get paid for their skills. Which inherently means they need to own the result of their work, and ownership implies control. Private property rights, that's capitalism and incentives 101.
I've worked on decentralisation related software for a long time and still do, because there are certain areas where it can really help. But you can't inherently point the finger at existing technologies and say "if only they were better, everything would be decentralised". No, it doesn't work like that. It's a failed analysis of the problem. Create decentralised tech like the <video> tag or git, and a YouTube and GitHub will arise around it and re-centralise it all by providing value the public protocol does not. Society wants centralisation because most of the time, the abuses of power it allows are collectively considered low cost relative to the benefits of the extra features and competence the centralisation allows.
This doesn't mean it's all useless. Git being decentralised is helpful even though everyone has centralised around GitHub: if you do want to move your code off of GitHub, you are just a "git push" away from having all your history and branches painlessly transferred to GitLab or your own server. Sure, that won't help your issues or pull requests, but that doesn't take away from the fact that source code is now properly decentralised and that's still better than before. So we should continue to develop decentralised technology, whilst understanding that it won't result in everyone using purely decentralised systems.
I just wanted to say that of all the commentary on the article across the web that I am aware of, this is by far the most interesting and informed. I would really encourage the contributor of this post to copy and paste the whole thing onto the Quillette article itself as it may well get a great conversation going.
In short, I am aware of all these issues and agree that the best way to frame the problem is not really in terms of 'technology' per se, but in terms of incentives. That folds in what I think is the all-important point about monetisation, which I completely agree with.
Where I think I disagree slightly is the overly deterministic assertion that 'recentralisation will occur' due to social demands. I think this understanding underplays how much social interaction with technology is moulded by the technology itself. This is getting a bit subjective at this point, but I don't think society really does 'want' centralisation, at least not along the lines of such a sweeping declaration. I think they like the results of centralisation as they happen to exist on the web so far. But, as above, these are strongly determined by the available technology, and in turn what incentives are viable. As you say yourself lower down, there are cases at meaningful scale where the degree of decentralisation is increasing, and other more speculative cases in which the degree of decentralisation is a step change from current norms. My thought (/my hope) is that this provides enough leeway to enormously alter incentives such that social interaction with the technology can alter enormously as well.
Fortunately for some, unfortunately for others, I covered these issues extremely briefly and overly rhetorically in the article as I am assuming that some 99% of the audience has never even considered these issues, never mind having the technical understanding to follow a discussion this in-depth. I was really using the hook of PewDiePie to meander towards this exact topic. That said, I am very happy that this discussion has got going here! Good job, and please spread it if you can!
You may well be right about the interplay of what society 'wants' vs technology choices. After all, git and GitHub competed in a market against totally centralised and proprietary version control systems, and won. The decentralised nature of git, making forking easy and so on, was surely a part of that, and is certainly the hard part relative to fairly trivial features like an issue or PR tracker.
I'll copy and paste the comment into Quillette. One might say, I'll fork the conversation. Perhaps we need a git-like mechanism for discussing essays on the internet :)
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18743326 and marked it off-topic.
Of course, this part of the crowd was not sensational and was not covered so perceptions were shaped accordingly. The part that was repeatedly covered was the neo-Nazi vans showing up later in the day (the original attendees started leaving when this happened), and the subsequent brawls and vehicle terrorism.
Much like how there were well-intentioned statue protesters and violent antifa marxists, there were also well-intentioned statue advocates and violent neo-nazis. In light of that the statement of "good people on both sides" is not malicious or technically wrong, though it was unnecessary and tone-deaf.
Your general point about movements being messy things is right. I’m just not so sure it applies here.
The fact that so many have devolved into a religious fervor over silencing any views they don't like is anathema to the fundamental purpose of the internet itself.
Edit: and entirely predictably, I am being attacked for saying this. HN is part of the problem.
And it's not as unthinkable as you say at all that an individual or organization would attack others for what content they create. Since there has been an internet there's been people who attacked others for their content. I'm not sure what internet you saw 20 years ago but it wasn't the same I saw.
Sure people "commented on" things they didn't like, on their own websites. Not on platforms from which they wanted to kick others, certainly not as a habitual normal thing a sane person would consider. Yes, "such people always existed", so in that sense it was "thinkable". But it wasn't done as a matter of course, as a way to win debates.
It's unthinkable that you would criticize Vox for content that they have created. 20 years ago this wouldn't have happened!