You can have a discussion on whether this is a good thing or not, but being smug about how "we knew better all along" is very low value. The best comments I feel shouldn't be about the type of response you should have to the article, it should be about the contents of the article. Yet comments like these trigger something in people to upvote it anyway.
Because when you criticize one side, you are side-taking. And everything you say or write is used to justify global politics (and is primed to do just that). There's no "impartiality" when you single out one side to criticize.
Either put it in context, or make a statement criticizing all parties doing the same. It's not really difficult to study and learn about things, and put them in perspective, instead of singling out a party as some unique "evil".
And it is doubly insulting to countries and peoples who have suffered your version of doing the same thing to see you point out others and demand their heads for it. It's adding hypocrisy to injury.
>To me, it's all terribly demoralizing.
To me people making accusations only for others, and neglecting their side's serious complicity in the same thing, is not only terribly demoralizing, not only hypocritical, but also strategic.
The 60s anti-culture movement could simultaneously criticize USSR, the Prague invasion, etc AND Uncle Sam and Vietnam. Not just in their media, even in a single song oftentimes.
Now it's 1000 articles criticizing one side as uniquely evil with not even a whisper of own actions, and 10 giving the internal perspective. Not exactly balanced (talking about foreign politics here. In internal politics, I guess it's more like "Hurray for the democrats/republicans establishment ideas, down with Trump" what passes for criticism of both democrat/republicans and Trump).
(And anybody attempting to correct that is hit with the thought-stopping accusation of "whataboutism")
This "singling out" is a fabrication though, and that's the problem here.
> people making accusations only for others
Again, who's doing that? You use the people who do that as fig leaf to ignore the people who don't. You dodge the strongest interpretation in favor of a weaker position that is conjured before anyone even shows up who is actually holding it.
> neglecting their side's serious complicity in the same thing
Same here, just because some people are doing that, doesn't mean all do.
Either way, even the hypocrisy of that hypothetical person doing that would be utterly dwarved by the monstrosity of the atrocities the reaction to which is diluted by games such as this.
You can read a forum or a media outlet for days, and you'll see single one-sided mentions 90% of the time, with no context, and with hypocritical framing as if it's only one side doing it.
And I remember times when they weren't doing so, where coverage was not so one sided, and where people (e.g. 60s and 70s media, influenced by people looking for wider truths, and looking into alternative media and counter-culture) would be critical of all sides, and offer more perspective.
>Same here, just because some people are doing that, doesn't mean all do.
I don't care for all, I care for what most do. Especially most media.
It's of little comfort if most of the people do X and some conscientious minority doesn't. The noise of what most do still prevails and informs public opinion and policy.
In other words, nobody is doing it here, in this context.
> And I remember times when they weren't doing so, where coverage was not so one sided, and where people (e.g. 60s and 70s media, influenced by people looking for wider truths, and looking into alternative media and counter-culture) would be critical of all sides, and offer more perspective.
You call it "more perspective", I call it dilution and spam. It could be attached to any discussion, and it doesn't tell us anything new. All the hallmarks of comments that end up flagged and admonished by people piling on, if the context is different. That's the only interesting data here.
> I don't care for all, I care for what most do.
As I said, "You use the people who do that as fig leaf to ignore the people who don't."
> It's of little comfort if most of the people do X and some conscientious minority doesn't.
That doesn't change what you and the comment you found so spot on are doing, which is not responding to the actual article, or any actual comment.
Does "but the US is doing it too" provide comfort to anyone? Nope. So the argument that X doesn't provide comfort falls flat in light of nothing else providing said "comfort" either, whatever that would even mean in concrete terms.
It wouldn't tell someone "anything new" presumed they already knew their side was doing the same shit. Most don't. And being predominantly told about the evil others doing it (in accordance with whatever the current enemy/ally du jour is, and which agenda is to be pushed at any time), doesn't make them any favors. That's the actual noise.
>As I said, "You use the people who do that as fig leaf to ignore the people who don't."
No, I'm interested in actual outcomes, and those have to do with frequency of something being done. You can find some people doing the right thing at every point in history and on every matter. Their existence doesn't make it less of a problem -- as long as the majority (or a big enough segment, or those with more power) are not doing the right thing.
I'm not sure what the "fig leaf" accusation is supposed to settle. If someone speaks about e.g. tourist's polluting a national park, would you go and tell them "there are some people who don't throw garbage when they visit there", as if that somehow makes the problem go away? And you'd be mad at them when insisting the problem exists, because they "use those that do as a fig leaf to hide those that don't"?
>That doesn't change what you and the comment you found so spot on are doing, which is not responding to the actual article
That's called "agency". As an individual, I don't have to respond to the way something is phrased and stick to that like an automaton.
Nor is it always to the detriment of the discussion not sticking to the narrow scope something was presented in. Especially in politics (this is not a technical matter).
Speaking of that, I think I already have wasted more time on this tripe than I can justify.
I am absolutely not saying that China (or anyone else) can't be accused of propaganda (I mean, I'm pretty sure it's literally in their government playbook after all), just that it's funny (can I say 'funny' instead of 'amused' or am I not allowed to derive entertainment in any form?) when people from a country with a strong history of international propaganda get all upset and act like it's unfair when another country does it.
It'd be much more appropriate to just say "hey, looks like the Chinese propaganda machine is producing X at the moment, think twice if you read this kind of article / see this kind of endorsement / etc."
If you want to jump on the China principles bandwagon that’s your right, but you have to realize the principles allow for different outcomes, some more or less universal or inclusive or exclusive.
Put another way, would you propose the US (or Europe) adopt Chinese styled principles and use their influence to project them? Would that be a good thing?
The US' principles gave us decades of corruption and drug trade in South America.
The USSR's principles gave us the iron curtain, and the Afghan and Czechen rebellions.
I'm sure there's nuances all around, but let's not pretend the previous perpetrators were a shining beacon of morality.
Ever since WWII the US had sponsored all kinds of media, funded opposition parties (of whole dictators, guerrilla armies, and so on), wined, dined and bribed foreign journalists, politicians etc to spread the stories they liked, runs thousands of cover publications, organizations, "NGOs", and media, including the more transparent ones, like "Radio Free Europe", and so on.
Others are doing it too? Cry me a river...
On the astroturfing point, anyone who wants more explanation can find reams of it here: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20astroturfing&sort=by.... In particular, here's a recent detailed explanation:
And here's a recent thread which clearly demonstrates why we have this rule:
Finally, please don't use the tired trope of "whataboutism" on HN. Clichés like that contain no information, and this one is merely a rhetorical device to exclude something the speaker dislikes. If somebody brings up a point which you don't think is relevant, explain why in specific terms, not by calling generic names.
I tried to explain this in the other comments I linked to. If you look at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19485935 in particular, this should be clear.
That is orthogonal to Confucius Institute agents being trained to use the same tactic that happened to be the most upvoted comment.
I didn't insinuate parent is astroturfing or an 'agent'. I just pointed out that parent is repeating the same mindset that China wants to be repeated, it is literally in Xi's strategy outline. I am sure parent wholeheartedly holds that view and is not a shill or anything of the sort.
But at least I see where the misunderstanding came from.
Consider a construct like, "I'm not saying you're a spy, but...". Saying I'm not saying something is a way of saying it.
I hope this is in fact a misunderstanding on your part and not reflective of a broader bias.
The bigger problem is the fact this submission was censored from the front page as soon as it started to gain traction. Sam Altman's China strategy would appear to include censorship of Hacker News.
Articles and sites like this one are off topic for Hacker News. We're looking for articles that gratify intellectual curiosity, not ones that gin up flamewars, let alone nationalistic flamewars. Submissions to Hacker News need to be much, much more substantive than this—most of all on divisive topics.
This is obviously a single-agenda, highly politicized site; we ban all of those, regardless of their politics. We also ban accounts that only use HN to promote their own site (https://news.ycombinator.com/submitted?id=subsonico). Indeed, on second look, it's clear that this account and this site have simply been spamming HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18381256, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17834767. We should have caught that a long time ago. (Edit: and even the current article turns out to be blogspam from another source.)
We don't moderate stories about China differently than any others. HN moderation standards are consistent to the point of tedium. There is inconsistency in practice, but only because of the quantity of material that appears here—way more than we could ever hope to read or even see.
Users with strong opinions of whatever flavor are quick to convince themselves that they see bias, but that's because the stronger your feelings on a topic, the more your feelings affect what you notice. Plenty of stories critical of things in China spend plenty of time on HN's front page (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19493033 has spent most of today on the front page). If you've noticed those at all, I'm sure they didn't attract as much of your attention as this one getting flagged. Readers with opposite views to yours feel equally certain that HN is heavily biased against China—and frankly, based on the stories that appear here, they have a better case for their claim than you do.
"Sam Altman's China strategy", whatever that is, has nothing to do with HN. Our sole "strategy" is to maintain an internet message board that doesn't choke to death on its fumes while burning to death from its flames. That is already a feeble enough hope that we have no bandwidth for anything else.
Edit: having just taken a look at your comment history, I'm dismayed to see that this account has also have been using HN exclusively for nationalistic and political battle. As I'm sure you know, this is not allowed on HN and we ban accounts that do it. Worse, you appear to have done it numerous times before. When people create accounts to break HN's guidelines like that, we eventually ban their main account as well. If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and use HN as intended from now on, we'd appreciate it.
The other thing is just that it's necessary to follow the guidelines even more scrupulously as a topic becomes more divisive. Things like "Assume good faith" are our lines of defense against the forum destroying itself.
It's so easy to spread ideas using Internet these days, that almost all business, political and social entities around the world are involved in the spreading whatever ideas they deem worthy.
The bigger entities are able to spread them more effectively which is expected.
Internet may eventually turn out to be a bigger monster for modern human civilization than other threats in the past like World Wars and Cold War.
The two highest-quality (in terms of professionalism and level of detail) English news sources reporting on China are https://scmp.com and http://sixthtone.com . The South China Morning Post has somewhat retained their independence, but Sixth Tone is a government-backed propaganda outlet, existing only to counter negative reporting on Chinese politics with news in other domains. Someone reading a lifestyle article on Sixth Tone isn't easily going to realize that they're reading propaganda unless it's pointed out to them.
These films remind me of Rambo even including the jingoistic pro-nation-of-origin message.
I think the international market accepted Rambo because they thought USA was cool. I wonder if we will find ourselves consuming “Chinakana” (riff on “Americana”) when we think China is “cool.”
I thought they at least did some work to summarize the report, but even the text of the "Summary" section is lifted directly from the foreword.
Since people are upvoting and commenting, can someone share this article?
The risk of nationalistic flame wars needs to be weighed against important discussion potential. But the submission is interesting enough even if the comments are disabled.
Is there any statistics on changes to Hacker News censorship since Sam Altman's China strategy was announced?
I responded here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19496933.
We've also had plenty of China-related flame wars stay on the front page for longer, so I don't think you can accuse the moderators of applying a double standard compared to other political topics. https://hn.algolia.com/?query=China&dateRange=pastWeek
The lack of transparency with the soft censorship is alarming, particularly given YC's financial conflict of interest.
On the other hand, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19493033 is currently on the front page after previously disappearing, so the mods seem to have intervened in that case.