Legitimate discussion and debate are drowned out by insane verbal "body-slams" on Twitter, because Twitter doesn't really exist to promote legitimate discussion. And with the endless amounts of content and data we consume daily, we place far more importance in services like Twitter to help us navigate the sea of noise instead of taking the time to dig deeper into issues.
It's far easier to just attack someone on Twitter if you disagree than it is to thoroughly debate why you disagree with them.
Ultimately, one gets the sense that there isn't enough time to have a complete and nuanced conversation about a controversial topic because there are so many other things vying for our attention.
It is a controversial topic, but that doesn't mean that we should shut up the sides we disagree with.
Well, if this is what it takes to stop the outrage cascades from taking over HN too, I'm quite fine with it. It's not like the article was telling us anything we didn't already know - no point in just rehashing the same old stuff over and over.
If there's "no point", then I'd expect it not to be upvoted. Obviously HN finds it relevant otherwise it wouldn't have been the top post.
It's less about protecting the readership from inflammatory information as protecting the community from inflammatory discussion, because it is true that there are a number of people here who are too sensitive about certain topics to be able to discuss them civilly.
Hacker News is fine when discussing technical issues (as long as a certain language doesn't come up) but as soon as you see a topic relating to feminism, political correctness, race, gender, American politics, etc... it seems to be a toss up whether that thread will turn out to be worthwhile or yet another flaming garbage fire of polemic nonsense.
That said, while I can understand why threads like this get flagged, it's worth pointing out that flagging a thread doesn't block the comments in it from appearing on the comments page afaik, while hiding a thread does. So if people just don't want to see the discussion at all it's preferable to hide it and leave it be when it clearly already has some traction.
If it can't be discussed on HackerNews, it can't be discussed anywhere. The problem of polemic nonsense (nicely put) is at the scope of society, not HackerNews.
I'm not being flippant. If you can think of another online forum that would do a better job, please name it. Slashdot? Reddit? I don't think so. As far as I can see, the discussion in this thread seems civil and thoughtful.
I second _carl_jung. It just isn't necessary. Beyond that, it's not healthy to deem an important topic to be simply out of bounds to discuss. Is that the route to well-considered positions?
I realise I'm arguing from a position of relative ignorance here though. Perhaps there was a flood of spam and trolling that's been removed.
I would guess that what it takes to stop outrage cascades is heavy handed moderation of the comments that promote it, either you agree with them or not. E.g. all outrage comments ends as dead either they believe in AGW or not.
With a few exceptions  I find it better to hold a reasonable concersation with people I disagree with than making them martyrs.
I personally think it would be extremely much more useful to discuss hot topics openly, remove flagging privilege for people who abuse it to flag honest questions (just look how short time it takes from a poor soul asks an honest question about actual numbers in a climate thread before downvotes and flags pile up because "just asking questions" is always just a tactic.)
Same with a lot of other stuff. Just on my way home I had a very interesting discussion with a former UN soldier who disagrees with me on a topic that interests both of us.
But it was interesting because I'm actually listening to verify if I'm missing something, and I guess it was interesting for that other person as well because even if I objected to a couple of points I did so by pointing to verifiable information that could nuance tjat persons opinion (if they wanted) instead of saying "you are wrong".
: for a good example I personally don't argue with actual nazis - but you might find me trying to talk sense into people who get called nazis but are really just unreasonably worried about immigration or aren't too good with statistics.
Social media in its best case is a platform to prove to the world what a creative and good person you are and connect you with others that appreciate you. But it's been twisted to a platform for us to bring down people that we think are lesser than us. We've built a hate generation machine for ad money.
Did rolling stone intentionally lying about campus rape cause the problem or social media? Is the media constantly peddling lies like "campus rape crisis", "racist attacks", etc the problem or social media?
I don't remember social media having this level of problem until the news industry forced it's way into social media.
The outrage isn't being driven by social media. It's being driven by the news industry and the media in general. But I guess blaming russia hasn't worked so now we can scapegoat social media.
From UVA to Covington to Mollett and everything else, is it the platform or the journalists, celebrities, etc creating the message.
> I don't remember social media having this level of problem until the news industry forced it's way into social media.
I'd argue that this is largely due to the fact that it took many years for social media companies to onboard large portions of the modern world. You may notice a correlation here, but where's the evidence of causality?
> The outrage isn't being driven by social media. It's being driven by the news industry and the media in general.
I disagree with this. Many social media platforms guide their users to certain types of content automatically using their recommendation engines. As an example, I consume a lot of political content on Youtube, and yet I get recommendations to watch conspiracy theory videos constantly. CNN isn't telling me to watch Q, YouTube is.
What does Q have to do with outrage? Is Q responsible for Smollet and the race baiting by CNN and the rest of the media? Is Q responsible for the russia fearmongering?
Are you really blaming small fringe youtube channels for the current state of affairs? Most people get brainwashed into hysteria by CNN, MSBNC, Foxnews, NYTimes, etc, not fringe youtube channels.
Conspiracy has been on youtube and the internet forever. It's nothing new and it is fringe.
What's new is that the entire media apparatus has decided to shift blame onto social media for the problems they caused. The extremism isn't on youtube, it's on CNN, MSBNC, NYTimes, WashingtonPost, Huffpo, Buzzfeed, TheVerge and all the rest of the media.
They are the ones spreading conspiracies. They are the ones spread lies. They are the ones spreading hate. They are the ones claiming one side are nazis and the other side are commies. They are the ones lying about trump being a putin slave just like 8 years ago some in the media painted obama as a foreign born muslim.
The only ones blaming "Q" are propagandists working for the media or politically affiliated groups. 99% of americans haven't even heard of Q. But 99% of americans have heard the hate-filled divisive propaganda from CNN, MSBNC, NYTimes, WashingtonPost, etc.
Blaming social media for the current outrage is like blaming mortgage borrowers, rather than the multinational banks for the financial crisis. It's absurd.
Also, don't you think it's a bit odd that outrage has increased since youtube, google, facebook, etc shifted their algorithm to favor CNN, MSBNC, NYTimes, WashingtonPost, etc. I wonder why.
And most importantly, much of the outrage is coming from the left, not the fringe Q crowd. You know the people consuming CNN, MSBNC, NYTimes, WashingtonPost, etc. But we can blame "Q" or "4chan" or "russia" or any of the other nonsense the people pretending to be journalists love to spout.
I'm not sure how you can say that when most of the actual murders (shooting up church congregations; shooting up synagogues; shooting up festivals; driving cars into protestors; etc etc) is coming from the right.
You don't get much more outraged than trying to kill someone.
I'm not talking about journalists getting scuffled at rallies. I'm talking about church congregations getting killed. It's disingenuous to suggest there's any equivalence.
> During the past decade we have witnessed dramatic changes in the nature of the terrorist threat. In the 1990s, right-wing extremism overtook left-wing terrorism as the most dangerous domestic terrorist threat to the country. During the past several years, special interest extremism—as characterized by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF)—has emerged as a serious terrorist threat. The FBI estimates that ALF/ELF have committed approximately 600 criminal acts in the United States since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of 42 million dollars.
> Right-wing groups continue to represent a serious terrorist threat. Two of the seven planned acts of terrorism prevented in 1999 were potentially large-scale, high-casualty attacks being planned by organized right-wing extremist groups.
I'm not much into US politics, but aren't the two mentioned "liberation fronts" left?
It's very clear that most violence, and the worst violence, is from the right
Democrat attitudes feel increasingly puritan instead of actually liberal to me (as demonstrated by the continued insistence on everyone aligning to a specific moral framework), while Republican attitudes feel increasingly laissez-faire instead of actually conservative (as demonstrated by the continued insistence on destroying our environment instead of, you know, conserving it).
The reality is that the political spectrum is not one-dimensional, or even two-dimensional.
I was an elected official of a party committee once and I faced issues where I believed one thing that only half of my constituents believed so I slowplayed whenever I could.
I worked for a paper in 2016 on their software team and saw how much of an impact that Trump's name in a headline had on the traffic an article received. Everyone on the outside was screaming about why the media was giving him so much attention while the industry, in the middle of a financial crisis, was less than interested to leave money on the table. In the age of internet journalism, orgs are heavily incentivized to produce what they think the community wants, and that has some really dangerous long-term implications.
People don't realize how bad the financial situation is for newspapers across America, and how desperately print media orgs are trying (and in many cases, failing) to stay afloat.
This doesn't jive with the agenda of most journalists, who very much want to "change the world" and "do what is right not what is easy", etc. They see a big part of their job as guiding readers to the correct decisions and protecting them from false ideas, but of course if you throw up a paywall and charge money, you're much less able to do that.
I used to be quite sympathetic to the plight of the news industry - it wasn't their fault that times were changing, that they were now all competing with each other, that Craigslist outdid them on classified ads etc. But then some papers started turning things around financially, I realised nobody forced these papers to put all their content online for free, and I became much more aware of the extent to which journalists try to manipulate their reader base. My sympathy is now gone: newspapers are businesses, and they need to turn a profit by charging for their services. If that means giving up influence, well hey, welcome to the world the rest of us live in.
Many that do achieve profitability do so at tremendous sacrifice to the service they provide to the community. A perfect example of this is Alden Capital Group, which owns over 100 papers. They're infamous in the industry for reducing the newsroom headcount by up to 50% and replacing them with sales. Not only that, they're now trying to offload their entire new portfolio because this model of profitability actually devalues the papers in the marketplace, largely because they can't serve their communities. The papers they print are essentially worthless because they can't put resources into writing important local stories.
> I realised nobody forced these papers to put all their content online for free
The model of the internet forced them to do this. Had local newspapers held firm and implemented paywalls, a huge number of them would've gone out of business very quickly. Ad platforms by companies like Google were the best way for them to monetize, but in doing so they gave up all control. It was a die quickly or die slowly scenario. Most chose the latter.
All the market is telling the news industry is that it's way overstaffed. Too many journalists doing too little work that anyone actually values, too badly managed, often because their idea of an important local story isn't really aligned with what local people think is important.
Your case study of Alden seems to back this up. They're private equity, their purpose in life is to turn around failing businesses and make them sustainable, which they have done. The difficulty selling the resulting business is blamed in the final paragraphs on pension liabilities i.e. the hangover of an era when they were fiscally mismanaged; not on their inability to put resources into writing important local stories. With a 15% profit margin they should be able to easily find a buyer regardless of their perceived journalistic quality, but a huge pensions liability will definitely kill the attractiveness of the businesses.
That's like arguing nobody forced you to create a LinkedIn account in order to get a job. All of the infrastructure to get a job is online and has been for years, as is journalism. Sure, you don't _have_ to create an online professional profile, but you're dramatically limiting your options by doing so. Print media chose move online largely due the explosive growth of the internet. Publications saw the internet as innovative (who didn't?), and chose to jump on. Look at the bubble in the 90's, companies were trying to figure out how to incorporate the web into their business years ago. The armchair argument of "they didn't have to jump on" is weak when you consider they didn't have the benefit of hindsight. Everyone was getting on the web.
> Too many journalists doing too little work that anyone actually values, too badly managed, often because their idea of an important local story isn't really aligned with what local people think is important.
Investigative journalism is dying in the United States because it often takes months or years to investigate a story and can come at an astronomically high cost.
We're approaching an era of journalism where major landmark stories may never see the light of day because the market doesn't care to pay enough for them. Should we be concerned that future investigative scandals (think Catholic Church sex abuse) may not be unearthed in the future because we're not willing to pay people to investigate them? How much money is knowing about such scandals worth to a society that isn't willing to pay for it?
How much money is knowing about such scandals worth to a society that isn't willing to pay for it?
I suspect there are models that can pay for deep investigations, but it's probably not daily or weekly newspapers. One problem is that so much investigative journalism is junk that collapses when itself investigated. We focus on the high profile impactful stories and ignore the constant stream of heavily promoted "scandals" that end up being more in the journalists' heads than in reality.
There are many reasons why legitimate investigations don't yield results (inability to retrieve financial records and other evidence, lack of cooperation by key players, threats from sponsors, etc.)
From the article above:
> The level of sponsor interference that news directors said they experienced this year was pretty much the same as last year – it exists in more than half of all newsrooms. In all, 17 percent of news directors say that sponsors have discouraged them from pursuing stories (compared to 18 percent last year), and 54 percent have been pressured to cover stories about sponsors, up slightly from 47 percent last year.
This survey was conducted when news media was in a much healthier financial situation than it is today, and back then, over half of news stations received pressure from sponsors in one form or another to either cover or suppress stories.
> We focus on the high profile impactful stories and ignore the constant stream of heavily promoted "scandals" that end up being more in the journalists' heads than in reality.
Can you provide some examples of such "scandals"? Investigative reporting, like most other reporting, typically goes through many layers of approval before being published.
Claas Relotious is a particularly notorious recent example, but there is plenty of meta-investigative journalism out there, like Glenn Greenwald's writeups of how the media present things that look like investigations of scandals but which are factually wrong. Here's a recent summary he did of 10 such cases:
I myself am a subscriber to a daily newspaper, which I read online, to get access to paywalled content. It's essentially opinion and analysis which I find value, and only rarely investigation of scandals. There are lots of newsrooms and only occasionally do they ever get a genuine Watergate or Snowden style scoop which means I can't really subscribe to get them because I don't know where they'll crop up next. And anyway, any paper I do subscribe to will end up paraphrasing and summarising the original paper's investigations anyway, which for me is fine - there's no particular need to learn about these things quickly or even at all, because I can't do anything with the knowledge usually.
In the end I'm skeptical journalism is the right way to keep powerful institutions in check. There are other ways.
Had local newspapers held firm and implemented paywalls, a huge number of them would've gone out of business very quickly.
Cable wasn't so important back then.
CNN found its stride which was extreme low-cost programming based on the same talking heads blathering endlessly about the latest "news". For instance, CNN kept talking about MH370 for months despite there being no real developments in the case. On a slow news day when there were not any plane
crashes or school shootings, the CNN anchors might wonder why their ratings are so bad and why people don't take their civic duty of watching CNN seriously.
Trump changed all that. Ever since he started his campaign you never knew what crazy thing would come out of his mouth next. Then he became president and it's been like a terrorist attack every day -- and the best thing is that they can sit on their touches in Atlanta and D.C. and not pile on short notice into an airplane to go visit some school that got shot up in a flyover state or go to Egypt and get beat up by Mubarak's thugs the way Anderson Cooper once did.
As shown with BLM, the MAGA-teens and now the Smolett-case, people will even manufacture things to be outraged about, just to justify their own virtue.
While I consider that scary enough by itself, what I fear even more are the (guaranteed to come) counter-reactions. It’s not going to be pretty.
Smolett it now seems was faking it, but what conclusions are you drawing from that?
In other cases, they should have withheld judgement until they did know.
And I'm not just talking about the court of public opinion here— the point of BLM is that many POC don't even get the benefit of the doubt from law enforcement when lethal force is in play.
One does get that impression from a superficial examination of the stats, but Roland Fryer, professor of economics at Harvard and himself a black man from an underprivileged background, looked deeper and concluded that, if all other factors are the same, police are actually more likely to shoot white people:
(Postscript: in my personal opinion, this divisive issue is unproductive. Why can't we oppose the aggressive policing of America (a problem that undeniably affects people of all races to some degree) without making it a racial issue?)
There's a pretty widely-cited and thoughtful rebuttal to the Fryer paper, which I'd encourage you to read in its entirety: https://scholar.harvard.edu/jfeldman/blog/roland-fryer-wrong...
"Even if one accepts the logic of statistical discrimination versus racial bias, it is an inappropriate choice for a study of police shootings. The method that Fryer employs has, for the most part, been used to study traffic stops and stop-and-frisk practices. In those cases, economic theory holds that police want to maximize the number of arrests for the possession of contraband (such as drugs or weapons) while expending the fewest resources. If they are acting in the most cost-efficient, rational manner, the officers may use racial stereotypes to increase the arrest rate per stop. This theory completely falls apart for police shootings, however, because officers are not trying to rationally maximize the number of shootings."
"It is a failure of journalism that the New York Times heavily promoted this study without seeking critical perspectives from experts in the field. Fryer makes basic methodological errors, overstates the quality of his results, and casually uses the term 'racial bias' in a way that is nearly guaranteed to be misinterpreted by anyone who isn’t an economist."
"All lives matter" is not suggesting the "firetruck" should ignore the "house next door" (black victims of police violence).
BLM, on the other hand, is suggesting exactly that: the firetruck should ignore the white victims.
But your argument is against a strawman. No one is asking for white victims to be ignored, and no one is asking for "100% of coverage" to be about injustices against blacks. Obviously the lives of white people murdered by cops matter, but those murders get attention and sympathetic coverage by default. Those are the crimes where people start to ask whether policing as an institution needs to be reformed, instead of asking whether the victim was wearing the right clothing or was sufficient subservient or had just committed a petty theft. All that BLM activists and their sympathizers are asking for is to see similar coverage across the spectrum. That so many whites see this as an attack is just indicative of how much work there is yet to do.
BLM as an activist group was really built on two cases though: Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. In both cases, the truth of the situation was grossly distorted in the initial media reports, and never really got corrected in most people's minds.
The summary truth of Michael Brown is that he was in the process of being caught for a robbery, he fought with the officer for his gun, and got shot.
The summary truth of Trayvon Martin was that he was in the process of being caught for burglary, he fought with the neighborhood watch guy, banged his head against the concrete, and then the neighborhood watch guy pulled out his gun and shot him.
The criminal justice system actually worked in all three of these cases. Darren Wilson was not charged, George Zimmerman was acquitted, and Jason Van Dyke was convicted of 2nd degree murder.
See the non-existent border crisis and migrant caravans as the most recent example. Other things I can think of run from Obamaphones to endless Benghazi investigations to "But her e-mails"
This is amplified on the right not just by social media, but by self-styled provocateurs like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. The left doesn't really have any comparable outrage provokers. (Rachel Maddow maybe?)
Point 1 I realized recently when I discovered my family is especially good at emotional gaslighting, where I would complain about something and the family member (any of them, practically) would argue against what I said, in favor of whatever I was complaining about. It was a mix of the Mr Rogers' documentary and a falling out with the family that made me realize empathy means letting others feel, letting others talk, and truly understanding them. Once you're both on the same page emotionally you can offer suggestions or advice, but if you're not on the same page you're denying that person's personhood.
2 and 3 are an interesting combination that I think has led to society at large condemning not-niceness and leaving us in the newer generation either to not have strong opinions or to have VERY strong opinions, pretty much on any topic. I'm sure this happened in generations before but now it's so easy to see one lunatic on Twitter and subconsciously think "that whole group is just like that." I think social media is a mistake, and it will be interesting to see how it pans out in the future.
I have a different take on this. I think part of the reason people seem more hostile and or threatening to one another is because we have more access to each-other. 30 years ago, you probably didn't have too much of an idea what other people really thought unless you knew them personally or they were some kind of a public figure. Now you can go online and have immediate access to in-group conversations you're not a part of - including the conversations of groups who might consider you their enemy. I think we might need a few more decades to develop the social tools to handle this without being at each other's throats all the time.
I suspect another element, at least in the US, is the subtext that the explosive growth in terms of the material well-being of the middle class which was enjoyed in the post-war period through the 90's has slowed. I think in times of scarcity, or perceived scarcity, people tend to emphasize devision and find more reasons to bludgeon the groups they're not a part of.
Tech is being accused of tearing our societies apart. We're told it's causing yelling over rational discourse, a feedback loop on both sides of the spectrum that amplify the feeling of being wronged on either end, and a shifting of the magnetic poles such that a side traditionally associated with freedom of speech is now associated with Puritanism, and vice versa on the other side. We're asking whether clickbait profit motives are causing this, whether it's the demise of the print media, and so forth.
This is a technical conversation about morality as it tries to answer some real world problems.
And we have the arrogance to flag the conversation? If we don't take it up, lawmakers surely will. It's already happening in the EU.
Please don't flag important conversations. It's not all about Node.js and the annoyance of whiteboard interviews, is it?
It vastly misrepresents the importance of issues.
People that actually have opinions worth talking about don't have time to engage heavily in it, either because they are experiencing real difficulties or are too busy actually being productive.
Traditional channels (radio, the pulpit etc.) all have some sort of barrier for those who wish to broadcast. Some kind of credibility, accomplishment or urgency has to be present for the chance to be heard.
This is a feature.
Posting a tweet has no credibility whatsoever.
Just treat it like 4chan.
Many others have families and careers and just stay quiet, which is the rational move. Would I ever do what she did for anything I believed if it were so controversial? No way, I have bills to pay...
That was over twenty years ago, before online communications were commonplace. Somewhere between then and now I realized this had never happened to me. In fact, MOST of the outrage people complain about is always third-hand. Certainly you can see it online, but even most of that is outrage over outrage.
If we look at the actual encounters we have in meatspace...there are plenty of wrong idiots, but somehow they are always smaller in number and importance.
There's definitely a lot of 2nd hand outrage. Look at Reddit. There's tons of popular subs that exist for no reason other than to shit on other people for doing certain things. Every now and then we get a HN thread where it's basically just everyone bitching about whatever thing the article is about. I'd call that 2nd hand outrage.
That's not to suggest in any way we as a society, or that our government should try to stifle the media. But the media outlets, from the journalists all the way to the owners need to take heed their power and use it responsibly and constructively. And that's something they've been ignoring for far too long.
But any organization that chooses to act ethically is handicapping themselves because of how profitable outrage is for engagement and page views. We can allow them to self-regulate but if they refuse to do so, we should take measures to put organizations acting ethically on the same footing as the unethical actors.
She's talking about "outrage culture", but she herself was clearly trying to monetise anti-outrage-outrage by running a video show accusing other people of lying. She could have chosen to, you know, not do that.
The author of this article didn't stay on the sidelines, which is why she got dragged into this mess. Most people stay on the sidelines. The author of this article hosted a podcast called "Me Neither" and, predictably, her life was consumed by a shistorm. One almost feels like this is what she wanted.
I'm not saying anything about that is good -- I'd rather live in a world where people could disagree about whichever issue without anyone's business being ruined. But we don't appear to be living in that world and, for almost everyone, it's totally possible to stay on the sidelines of "the culture war" and just go about your life.
(I presume you keep the access available for people agreeing with you.)
Unfortunately, most vocal are people with too much free time and not much else to do, or wannabe political activists. And of course tools, trolls and provocateurs.
The algorithms are the much greater contributors to echo chambers than individual peer blocking.
Then people are outraged that people are outraged about X.
Sooner or later people won't remember what they are outraged about but they will still be outraged.
That's the power of "fake news"; it doesn't matter what X is at all.
Sorry to disagree, but this is not really happening and I think it's one of the reasons for the current madness. People who are outraged first claim some type of victim status, and this is enough to force other people to support them. And anybody who might disagree is silenced by moral blackmail- how dare you voice an opinion against somebody who is a victim?
There are at least a couple of things that seem lost to public ethics:
1) the victim of some injustice is not on the right side of any possible dispute, nor is he/she free from the normal obligations of civility towards anybody, including the perpertrators.
2) the magnitude of some perceived injustice should be measured by some objective standards, not by how much someone is "crying, shaking".
1. I wonder to how much an extent this "outrage culture" is a natural result of click-based revenue models. The game at the moment is to get the most number of people to click on a headline as possible, and it turns out that pushing people's emotional buttons (especially fear and anger) is really effective at getting attention. Sure media has always been able to sell outrage, but with modern analytics and AB testing, it's possible to hone in on the perfect rage-inducing message much more quickly.
2. Twitter is such a strange thing. Most people I hear talk about it suspect it does not make them happier, and we've got this weird social contract right now where whatever you say, or have ever said on there, regardless of context, could potentially result in real-world repercussions including loss of one's livelihood. If there were any other technology which could get you fired from your job for 15 seconds of indiscretion during a night of drinking, or while sitting on the toilet I would guess people would stay the hell away from it.
What's that quote about bots noticing that people look at highway accidents and thinking people need to be shown more of them?
The character limits clearly contribute to the fact that it's so overrun with drama. It literally prevents anyone from writing a long form, nuanced thought, let alone an essay. Yet this is also why it's so popular - it lowers the bar to a point where everyone can take part on a level playing field, without feeling outcompeted by skilled writers who have time on their hands (consider how few people blog vs tweet). And you know, the original dream of the internet was that everyone could publish, everyone would be a creator. With things like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, we're there. The internet achieved that dream. It just turns out that sometimes what people create isn't very appealing. Well, that's humanity. It's hard to criticise the internet or social media for that.
I think Twitter has had another effect, which is that it's revealed to the whole world, practically for the first time, the extent to which the social elites are no better thinkers than anyone else and often seem to be worse thinkers.
Historically, certain social classes have been able to work together to present a very polished, very glossy exterior. This was especially noticeable with politicians and corporations before the Twitter age where people often complained that they were fake, spoke in soundbites, were just faceless party apparatchiks and so on. Journalists would claim a moral high ground in which they claimed to be totally politically neutral and trustworthy, bureaucrats and academics would claim to be scientifically disinterested in anything except their narrow domain and of course completely above any suggestion of bias or impropriety, corporations would only speak in terms of carefully worded press releases, politicians would change their positions totally and claim they hadn't changed views at all, and so on.
But now every politician, journalist and half of the corporate world blurt out whatever random thought pops into their head to the entire world without a seconds hesitation and it's recorded forever. And guess what, journalists turned out to have extreme political biases, many academics turned out to have crazy opinions on everyday topics, government bureaucrats likewise, a politician who contradicts themselves will be immediately skewered by some ancient YouTube video of them saying the opposite, and so on. The whole facade of intellectual neutrality fell apart completely once Twitter gave us direct insight into the minds of these people.
To take an example from a couple of days ago:
Boulton is a Sky News journalist who is required by UK law to be politically neutral in his reporting, yet here he tweeted that he believed members of the government that support Brexit (i.e. all of them, given their manifesto commitments) are "far right". So now people see this sort of tweet, and next time Sky News tells them about the "far right" they'll remember this tweet and recall that these people believe the UK is in fact run by an officially far right government. And then they'll ignore it.
Is this for the better or for the worse? I think it's for the best. Yes, it leads to a lot of outrage and drama for a whole lotta years as people adjust to the idea that every segment of society that claimed to be trustworthy isn't, and a whole lot of new groups and ideologies jostle for power and prestige in the vacuum that remains. But in the end social media didn't create this problem, it just revealed what had always been true.
That's what users thought, because they have not read the Terms.
Why else would someone with "a 15-year-old business with a spotless track record" publish obviously controversial opinions for the world to see. She wants to matter. And now her opinions is on the first page of HN and I'm reading it. Congratulations Nancy, you are now a player in a game with no winners.
This is not new. Side channel attacks like this are how people and organizations with power make the lives of "inconvenient" people they don't like miserable. If you're the reporter constantly covering police brutality don't expect anyone who shares your address to ever get a warning from the police. If you're the guy who blew the whistle on some BS going on in state government expect your brother's restaurant to be much more scrutinized by the health department. Making people who are inconvenient miserable by putting pressure on the people around them is not something new.
What is new is that now any one member of masses who can craft a compelling narrative (aka something that goes "viral") can harness the power of internet lynch mobs to make people miserable. Suddenly this power that a few had is potentially in everyone's hands and it's a Bad Thing(TM).
I really don't like internet lynch mobs but they are just a product of technology giving everybody the power to try to rally people to a less than just cause. It will blow over. Social norms will adjust to make this sort of thing (screwing people for association with people who you find inconvenient) not acceptable or at least not as acceptable to do to this extent. Give it time.
Being offended is having an opinion everyone should wholeheartedly agree with: reserves are offenses in themselves. Offering an opinion do not mean that, it is still open to discussion. I don't see the problem with the latter, but I do think that many of today's "offenses" should be requalified as opinions, over which one should have the "right" to disagree.
having said that, baristas quit? hire new ones, sorry, I am not feeling the outrage regarding this outrage.
He should turn it around and go all MAGA. Some rebranding and you have a true red blooded American coffee ;) with wife as journalist they can probably spin it into a decent speaking gig too.
In current America you are either MAGA/fascist/sexist/whateverist or you are SJW/commie no other choices.
Linked Paper (from video description): "What Makes Online Content Viral?" https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1528077
Quite like Steve Hugues's bit on the subject.
The "social justice" movement has turned into a church where everyone who disagrees is a heretic that has to be burned at the stake.
One thing I've noticed of the social justice crowd is the ever shifting goal posts. Anyone to the right of you is an enabler of malicious ideas. Hardly ever are people criticized or ostracized for being to the left of you. There is a way to respectfully disagree but only when both parties actually respect each other. Labeling someone a nazi for voting for a right wing candidate results in the dehumanization of that person, thus removing any respect.
(Here is the part where im going to get down voted). I live somewhere EXTREMELY liberal and if I go any direction for 10min it gets EXTREMELY conservative. I see both sides daily. One thing I realized is the lack of masculine social norms on the left and feminine cultural influence on the right. The right seems to have a minimal respect for how things 'feel'. They won't care if you are offended and rarely try to buffer any tumultuous conversations. The left has minimal respect for authority leaving the louder individual as the person more likely to be heard And listened too. Lefties also embrace the idea that words can be violent and that if someone is allowed to say something entirely opposed to their beliefs then responding with physical violence is okay because that person was violent first. Its rarely an issue on when both parties are on the left because the capitulation to the louder individual in addition to the seemingly similar trajectory of thought patterns.
To create a more harmonious society the left needs to dig its feet in the ground and hold their position stronger against the more fringe radical members that would like elimination of ulterior ideas altogether in favor of a homogeneous and bland society. The right needs to listen to feminine influence more frequently to understand that sometimes the fear of violence can create a situation where violence otherwise would not occur.
That's the part where you are going to be downvoted and you know it. Everything else may be relatively right, but that's part is just plain wrong. There's no evidence that "lefties" are more violent, except your feeling, based on a bunch of articles the right has pushed toward you.
(I'm using quotes here because I don't think this is what the majority og the left, right or muslims want.)
-"the left" very much more often fight in the streets, throw stones, destroy property, burn cars. This happens on a daily basid now.
-"the right" has been responsible for a smaller number of much more deadly attacks.
-together with "the muslims" who'll also bomb a subway or concert from time to time.
A few decades back it was "the left" (RAF and others) that stood for the spectacular bombings and hostage takings while "the right" were shaving their heads, beating people and destroying property.
None of them are right and I wish them all behind bars.
we have inherited puritanical zealousness/reductionism, a mechanical/calvinistic sense of 'the predetermined elect', an overly rationalizing sense of self-righteousness / exceptionalism, yet simultaneously the notion that not only are all opinions somewhat valid and worthy of consideration. further, topics pertaining to 'what is right' (e.g. philosophy/ethics/morality/religion) as a whole are ignored or assumed to be 'decided' within this framework, which limits our ability to actually view things from differing perspectives. and of course the whole thing is the summit of human progress, so one cannot criticize 'the box' without being ostraciszed (witness downvotes here)
added up, this means that i can think whatever extreme thing I want because all opinions are valid, my zealous reductionism can carte-blanche dismiss all contrary opinions based on arbitrary moving-goalpost criterion (that i'm allowed to invent, because opinions), i can self justify my attacks out of self righteousness, and engage in narcissistic self-identification as the 'elect' by joining with others of my group in claiming to be part of the 'elect' which hold this opinion.
when faced with conflicting opinions i can use these same extreme-reductionist tools to simultaneously attack ad-hominem (you are not the elect), use my over-reductionism to dismiss valid counterclaims out of arbitrary sliced-up criteria (yes but..), and when this fails, sit well with dismissing the whole discussion using 'everyone is entitled to their opinion' which gives myself a good feeling of 'fairness' (despite the actual discussion being the contrary and a mockery of actual discourse) and use the good feelings to rationalize away the nagging feeling that i just actually dismissed something legitimate..
further, in living in such a confusing environment of im-entirely-right-but-yet-you-are-entitled-to-your-opinion contradition soup, i can either stay in the middle trying to be balanced and be confused, or latch on to an extreme point of view, and use the rush of it's novelness and 'clarity' (viz. moving goalpost extreme reductionism) to give my self an ego boost (joining the elect), and 'solve for the problem', which i must adhere to strictly and fully, lest i fall away back to the confusion again..
that said the combination of social media vapidness and broadcast media hunger to pick up 'controversies' makes the whole thing worse, i agree.
> This isn't "outrage culture." That's what is supposed to happen. Shitty people should be shunned.
This is literally outrage culture in its purest form.
> Because we need that next hit, we need it right now. Being in a constant state of emergency — a condition in which people notoriously make terrible decisions — is like having a fire raging inside the body, one that needs to be fed. It needs new fuel, and so we seek new enemies.
I had this on mind, for example, because a few weeks ago a co-worker had to leave work early one day because she had a terrible migraine that wouldn't go away. She was out of the office for the next few days and even went to a doctor because it just would not subside. What she eventually discovered is that she accidentally bought a decaf coffee. When she switched back to regular, the migraine completely subsided and she has been fine since.
Her experience really struck me. It's not really a subject I have ever thought about before, but I wonder how prevalent that level of addiction to caffeine really is.
Headaches are a thing if you quit too fast but they usually only last a few days. For me the worst part is losing the rituals of coffee. It's hard to give up years of routine.
Give them a fucking break.