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8chan goes dark after hardware provider discontinues service (theverge.com)
910 points by gregmac 18 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 1566 comments



My opinion is that freedom of speech is a fine ideal to strive for, but it relies on having a stable society with some minimum level of education (moral and philosophical too, not just the technical kind). It requires people who are able to fully parse the implications of what they are hearing to make sound and rational judgements on the rejection of an idea or the embrace of it. It creates a moral duty for the people who are listening to not only reject, but to actively push back against ideals which are universally understood to be reprehensible.

The concept of freedom of speech falls apart if universally reprehensible speech is allowed to be publicaly espoused without being firmly challenged. Forums like 8chan and 4chan effectively incubate hate speech by providing a safe space for anonymized, like-minded individuals to congregate, espouse their basest thoughts and feelings and receive gratification for it -all without challenge. Moderate people are repulsed by such forums and the quantity of hate-speech they generate, which further compounds the negative feedback loop.

Unchecked extremism compounded by more unchecked extremism inevitably leads to scenarios like the ones we’re witnessing more and more often.


My main issue with discussions on topics like this is a sort of fundamentalism. It's very easy to take a particular right (e.g., speech, property) and defend it absolutely. But rights are inherently social, and must be balanced against other people's rights.

For example, I don't think my freedom of speech should trump Cloudflare's or Voxility's right to freedom of association. They should generally be able to decide who to do business with. However, that freedom also isn't absolute; it was used for decades as part of race and gender discrimination, which impinges upon other people's freedoms. Thus the US theory of protected classes. [1]

Or to pick another example, employers should generally be able to hire who they want. But that has been used for religious discrimination, so we protect those people. However, that also isn't absolute; if for religious reasons I won't handle pig products, I'm not entitled to a job at a pork BBQ restaurant. To get reasonable outcomes, we need to welcome nuance and compromise.

I encourage everybody to be suspicious of anybody who thinks there's a single clear answer in situations like this. Fundamentalist positions are both appealing and dangerous.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_group


> For example, I don't think my freedom of speech should trump Cloudflare's or Voxility's right to freedom of association.

Right, but those only produce a conflict in a very specific case and your right to free speech should be defended by your government/peers regardless of where you do the caching for your blog (or whatever).

I have a huge issue with this modern relativist approach, because it leads to the situation where - instead of acknowledging that there are in fact absolute rights - we constantly debate where _the line_ is.

I think the boldest example of why this is bad is the right to live. In my view, this is an absolute right. "But what if it's a mass murderer?" - "But what if they are terminally ill and are suffering?" - "But what if they are so heavily handicapped that... ?" Adding _ifs_ and _buts_ to a right that should be absolute leads down a very dark path, because _the line_ will be a constant subject of discussion.

I think we would do ourselves a favor to just outright declare some rights to be absolute (as we did before and seem to have forgotten).


Disagree. "Absolutely positively absolute rights" are taking decent heuristics and turning them into thought-terminating clichés.

Let's go with the "right to live". Consider questions such as:

- Who has that right? You, or your body? If you don't want to live, should you be forced to? What if you're suffering so badly it's debilitating, and this state won't improve until you eventually die? Is living in a state of endless torture better than not living?

- How do you trade lives for lives? Imagine you have a crazy shooter killing people left and right. There's no fast way to get to them except a drone strike, and each minute you hesitate, they kill another person. Do you pull the trigger and save innocent victims, or do you wait for the armoured police to arrive and safely incapacitate the shooter, honoring their right to live at the expense of many other people? What if it's you facing the shooter alone, and they intend to kill you? Will you shoot first, or give your life for their right to live?

- What if probabilities get involved? The shooter is cornered, and a police sniper has his head in their sights. You can either take the shooter down now, or have a team of officers incapacitate them. The latter has a X% of chance ending in a police officer dying. At X=100%, you're trading life for life. At what X do you decide to have the sniper take the shot? What if there's a risk of more than one police deaths involved? At what threshold in the probability density function is it worth to take that risk?

- What if money gets involved? The most complicated variant, an extension of trading lives with probabilities. You have me sitting in front of a button, pressing which will immediately wreck the economy of a small country. You can't get to me, but see my head through the scope of your sniper rifle. I'm about to press that button. Will you pull the trigger? And before you say, "obviously no!", keep in mind that wrecking the economy of a country is bound to result in many, many deaths.

"Absolute rights" are good as heuristics. But like all heuristics, they hit corner cases. These corner cases need to be thought about explicitly.


> "Absolutely positively absolute rights" are taking decent heuristics

You're assuming that moral propositions are heuristics or a utilitarian optimization problem, and not moral facts that are simply true or not true. This is still a contentious debate, and not the only possibilities either.

In this case, the answers to your questions depends entirely on what the moral facts are. For example, it may be morally impermissible to take a life under any circumstances, which answers many of your questions quite clearly.


Unless you can build some sort of moral truth detector, "simply true or not true" is still a subjective proposition, because it's you believing that. So whatever you imagine the absolute truth to be is mostly irrelevant, in that you need to persuade other people with different viewpoints to behave the way you want. That leads you back pretty to utilitarian optimization problems.

I get that this doesn't have the thrilling clarity of some sort of moral fundamentalism. But that's my point. When two groups with different absolute moral beliefs conflict, our options are negotiation or murder. People like the El Paso killer clearly favor the latter. To me that's a sign that however much people hold absolute moral beliefs (and I hope it's relatively little), they should talk about it in utilitarian, relative terms.


> Unless you can build some sort of moral truth detector, "simply true or not true" is still a subjective proposition

See the Categorical Imperative, and also a Proof of the Objectivity of Morals: https://www.reddit.com/r/philosophy/comments/3etl9b/a_proof_...

There are very good reasons why most philosophers are moral realists.


I'll take your word for it that most human philosophers are moral realists. Even if true, I think that says more about human brains and the social structures that bless people as professional philosophers than it does about any deep nature of reality.


An invaluable observation, since practically all lizard philosophers are relativistic existentialists.

May be. My point was more that those questions need to be answered one way or another; I understood GP as saying they're unnecessary and are just muddying the waters.


> Who has that right? You, or your body?

You are your body, they are the same thing unless you can stop being in your body this is a moot point.

> If you don't want to live, should you be forced to?

Rights are freedoms in order to have the right to do something you must also have the right to not do it, or it's not a right.

> How do you trade lives for lives?

Well you don't thats the point. If you don't respect some one else's rights then there is no reason for them to respect yours.

> Do you pull the trigger and save innocent victims

The whole good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns is a myth according to FBI statistics.[1]

The point saintPirelli made is that people focus too much on hypotheticals (what if we can stop shooters by shooting them) rather than accepting the right and focusing on the reality(how do we prevent shooters from killing people), your argument demonstrates this.

[1] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fbi-report-active-shooters_b_...


"If you don't respect some one else's rights then there is no reason for them to respect yours."

Thats why a terrorist/psychotic killer/.. can get shot.

And it is not a myth, that there are daily people trying to shoot other people on this world. And some of them get stopped by a bullet.

The problem is, that usually both sides claim to only react, but that is a different story.

When there is someone mass killing "innocents" and the fastest way to stop it, is a bullet, then what would you propose instead?


>Thats why a terrorist/psychotic killer/.. can get shot.

Yes thats the argument I was making.

>When there is someone mass killing "innocents" and the fastest way to stop it, is a bullet, then what would you propose instead?

In my comment I propose preventative measures rather than reactionary measures. I do this because reactionary measures are a reaction and measured by the thing they are reacting too. Rights are not reactionary they are fundamental and you cant base a fundamental right on a reaction, thats the point.


That answer avoids the question by suggesting it can be made irrelevant. But no matter how many preventative measures you put in place , there will still come situations when the fastest and safest way to save lives is by ending a life.

So again, what do you do? Respect the perpetrator's right to life and let him keep ending other lives? Or respect the victims' right to life and end the perpetrator's?


> You are your body, they are the same thing unless you can stop being in your body this is a moot point.

No, you're not. You're the runtime state of the software that's running in your brain. Your body is just a peripheral, and can very well work against your will. More importantly, your body doesn't think.

I phrased it this way because in the case when someone wants to die, but the society won't let them, it's technically not them that have the right to live but their body (and the body can't voice its opinion).

> Well you don't thats the point.

Real world sometimes doesn't give you that option. Situations happen in which a choice between who lives and who dies needs to be made.

> The point saintPirelli made is that people focus too much on hypotheticals (what if we can stop shooters by shooting them) rather than accepting the right and focusing on the reality(how do we prevent shooters from killing people), your argument demonstrates this.

If you keep avoiding a problem, you'll be unprepared when you're suddenly forced to confront it head-on.


>You're the runtime state of the software that's running in your brain

That is not independent of the state of the underlying neural network, it seems no more reasonable to dissociate the two than it does to conflate them.


That's nitpicking, but I suppose I deserved it.

The point still stands: your mind and your body can be seen as separate things, and from this point of view you're your mind, not your body.


> You're the runtime state of the software that's running in your brain.

Unless you can stop being in your body this is a moot point.

> If you keep avoiding a problem, you'll be unprepared when you're suddenly forced to confront it head-on.

I argued for preventative measures not reactionary measures.

You keep talking about reactionary things but rights are not reactionary thats the point you are missing.


My issue with this whole argument is that, in the U.S. there is also a right in the 2nd amendment. Either that right needs to be abolished or we're left in the push-pull dynamic of the rights-against-rights.

I personally dislike the idea of whittling away a Constitutional right through piecemeal laws rather than an amendment to the Constitution. It a disingenuous workaround, like a poll-tax/literacy test erodes a specific class' right to vote without actually changing their Constitutional right.


The reason that a specific political bent in this country uses laws to curb the Second ("shall not be infringed", lol) is because any amendment altering or abolishing this right will never be ratified.

It's just much easier to sneak in legislation like the Hughes Amendment and hope a favorable Supreme Court and political climate allows it to stand.


If good guys with guns don't stop bad guys with guns then why do we keep arming our peace officers?


Keeping the peace is about keeping the status quo not keeping the peace.


So, then, when the status quo is murdering minorities with impunity that's the entire reason for the police department to exist?


We can talk about edge cases when we agree on the base principles. A principle isn't automatically invalid because it has hard-to-answer edge cases. This is faulty logic.


I think we agree on the basic principle, or at least we seem to be talking about the same principle.

My point is that any principle is going to hit edge cases when applied in real life, and so "instead of acknowledging that there are in fact absolute rights - we constantly debate where _the line_ is" is actually the right thing to do, because principles are not absolute rights, and edge cases in fact need to be solved.


The principle needs to remain unchanged though. A principle can and should not be designed to cover it's own edge cases. It's in it's application where we can apply tolerance. Aristotle calls this principle Epikeia: "epikeia is a restrictive interpretation of positive law based on the benign will of the legislator who would not want to bind his subjects in certain circumstances"

Source: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs...


But the application of law should be explicitly defined in order to be applied equally by law enforcement and courts. If you define the law to be "all people have the right to live as decided by local law enforcement and courts" then by not having explicit definitions of legality you're introducing the potential for abuse. Or even confusion as to what is actually allowed (and thus litigation as to whether certain behavior was within the spirit of the enforced law).

It sounds as though what you want is the The Constitution / Bill of Right. A basic set of simply worded principles that influence the definition of law, but aren't themselves "the law".


You seem to be contradicting yourself, unless I'm misreading things.

There are absolute rights, and debating where the line falls is pointless. But when applying it to the real world, you need flexibility (i.e. debate where the line falls).

Anyway, isn't that basically what we already have, with free speech? It's legally protected in even extreme cases where it arguably causes more damage than value, but per event it tends to go through courts (or there is enough court precedence to make that wasted effort).

Court precedence applying flexibility to an absolute intent/right is the debating of the line. Isn't it?


> edge cases in fact need to be solved

Most edge cases, in fact, can just be managed—they don't need to be solved.

With people, I would argue that not solving edge cases and just managing them when they arise should be the norm. People are messy, and our system should have enough slack in it to act humanely in the vast majority of cases. We really don't need hard and fast rules to cover everything, just "normal" things.


This is what I meant, but you phrased it much better. "Managed" is a better word.


I sympathize with this argument, but it has several problems: Rights and wrongs are inherently social constructs. The is no (currently) discovered moral potential in the laws of the universe, nor is there a well defined, clearly bounded, definition of life.

I would argue that relativism is in fact the fundamental construct, and that societies only arise in the unstable balances between extremes.

That's not to say that fundamental rights cannot be instrumental in strengthening society, but since they arise from within society, they will need to be updated as society inevitably changes in time.


> I would argue that relativism is in fact the fundamental construct

Then you pretty much agree with any practice that is currently-bad-but-wasn't-in-the-past? After all, it was relatively ok at the time, and can be again.

Minorities, women and children beware!


> Rights and wrongs are inherently social constructs.

This is an assumption, and not on supported by debates in ethics. Once you start questioning everything, you'll see that some moral propositions appear to be unassailable, in that, no argument can simultaneously question the truth of the proposition without also descending into logical incoherency. The categorical imperative would be one such approach, although not the only one.

There are good reasons why most philosophers are moral realists.


> I think the boldest example of why this is bad is the right to live. In my view, this is an absolute right. "But what if it's a mass murderer?" - "But what if they are terminally ill and are suffering?" - "But what if they are so heavily handicapped that... ?" Adding _ifs_ and _buts_ to a right that should be absolute leads down a very dark path, because _the line_ will be a constant subject of discussion.

Could you clarify what exactly you're arguing here? This part is not entirely clear to me.


I'm basically saying that the answer to the question of "Is murder wrong" should be a boolean value, not a float. Once it's a float, you open the door to all kinds of nasty thoughts arguing about where to draw the line.

Are handicapped people worthy of killing? What about long-term unemployed? What about the opressors - like rich people? Homosexuals? There have literally been people arguing and executing all of these appalling thoughts in the last century and I would argue beneath it all lies a deadly relativism that says "Of course there is a universal right to live, well, unless you are a ... of course."


I feel like that depends entirely on how you define murder. If you define murder to exclude things like assisted suicide then, yes sure it's always bad. If you define it to include things like assisted suicide it stops being quite that black and white.

EDIT: I guess my point is that people have a right to live, not a duty to do so.


In this context, would you oppose the idea of a country having a military?


I'm not sure what you are getting at, in my country the main areas of operation for the military are helping flood victims and providing drinking water after natural disasters ... so no, those are good things.

If you are asking me, if I think there is such a thing as a "just war": I don't know. I have read Saint Augustine[0] on this topic and am not convinced. I have not personally reached a conclusion on this matter.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo#Just_war


You don't need guns to hand out drinking water, so if that's what your conception of "military" is, maybe you need to look outside your country a bit.


...so why is the right to live an absolute right? What does it mean for a right to be absolute? (e.g. if someone kills other people to save himself, was he entitled to do so on the basis of his right to live?) Who gets to decide what rights are absolute and what rights aren't? Whose responsibility is it to enforce these absolute rights (and thereby to impose corresponding obligations on other people)?

The logic of "absolute" rights requires an over-simplification that doesn't reflect how rights work in practice.


If I declare a right an "absolute" right I do not aim to answer any of the questions you posed, those are all good questions that need to be carefully considered, but none of them render the "over-simplified" right to live any less morally justified or desirable.


That 'consideration' is drawing a line though. Where when two 'absolute' rights come into conflict does the decision to break one way or another get made? Choosing one over the other draws a limitation around the one that's less important in this context.

We have all sorts of restrictions on the right of free speech. I can't libel someone, I can't make a product and say it's the product of another company, I can't open a random burger place and call it Wendy's. These are all restrictions on my speech and (as far as I've ever seen) even the most ardent free speech activist isn't saying abolish trademarks.


In your statement above you bemoan that without absolute rights we must "constantly debate where _the line_ is"

Here you concede "those are all good questions that need to be carefully considered".

...so we're right back to debating where the line is.

I'm not seeing a coherent argument here.


I'm saying that knowing a right should be absolute and - for example - not knowing how to enforce this right for everyone, are not mutually exclusive.


Declaring them absolute also don't solve these problems, because sometimes you can end up with conflicts between absolute rights, where you are not able to protect both rights at once.


   It's very easy to take a particular right (e.g., speech,
   property) and defend it absolutely. But rights are 
   inherently social, and must be balanced against other 
   people's rights.
Would you find it acceptable if we societally agreed to do away with the privacy that surrounds the dispensation of healthcare - all the costly protocols (like Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and others), the costly mandated use of privacy compliant software, the costly mandated use of approved healthcare vendors and sub-vendors, the costly management, storing and archival of your records - all of that - say in the name of cheaper, higher quality and more widely accessible healthcare with more rich array of options offered to the citizenry as a whole - the likes of which that are unimaginable in our bloated, archaic and fault-prone system?

Doesn't that sound like a good societal trade off? Your paramount right to privacy can't be defended absolutely at the cost of people's basic access to quality healthcare.

Now can it?


I think you must be talking about HIPPA compliance, not SOX?

Anyhow, I think the right to privacy is also not absolute. If I'm in public and someone takes a photo, I can't stop that. I also can't force people not to look at me when I'm out in public, or stop them from saying they saw me on the street. Their rights to go about their business in public and their right to free speech are not trumped by my right to privacy.

Medical privacy is different, of course, but that's just another example of my point. In narrow circumstances, certain people (e.g., doctors, hospital staff) can be punished for violating your privacy about certain topics. But there are plenty of exceptions to that. The first hit on my search for "HIPPA exceptions" lists at least 10 reasonable exceptions, including public health and law enforcement: https://www.healthcarecompliancepros.com/blog/exceptions-to-...

In case it isn't clear, I think this is a fine example of balancing societal trade-offs.


Yes HIPAA.

Data protection is a huge latent cost in the dispensation of healthcare that goes unnoticed in discussions. And HIPAA can get expensive for the providers.

  If you are a small covered entity, HIPAA should cost:
    Risk Analysis and Management Plan ~$2,000
    Remediation ~ $1,000 - $8,000
    Training and policy development ~ $1,000-2,000
    Total: $4,000 - $12,000


  If you are a medium/large covered entity, HIPAA should cost:
    Onsite audit ~ $40,000+
    Risk Analysis and Management Plan ~ $20,000+
    Vulnerability scans ~ $800
    Penetration testing ~ $5,000+
    Remediation ~ Varies based on where entity stands in compliance 
    and security
    Training and policy development ~ $5,000+
    Total: $50,000+, depending on the entity’s current environment


> But rights are inherently social

No, the founding fathers specifically said that freedom of speech is a God given right and not something which the government gives to a person, instead the government simply recognizes that right. They specifically said freedom of speech is a "Natural" right.

Right to clean water is not a right, right to education is not a natural right in their terms. Right to speech, right to self defense are natural rights.


- founding fathers are not gods

- they can be wrong

- there most likely is no god

The absolutist nature of these discussions and the near deification of a bunch of well-meaning but ultimately fallible humans has me puzzled. There is no way that the people that wrote up the constitutions of the various still functioning (to greater or lesser extent) democracies had the foresight to deal with 100's of years of technological progress.


You seem to be arguing with some point I don't make. I'm saying rights only matter in a social context. If Elon Musk launches himself to Mars and lives alone there forever as a hermit, the concept of "rights" isn't useful there.

That said, I think rooting rights in somebody's mythological figures isn't a good idea. And "natural" in this case isn't much more meaningful. It's fine rhetoric, but it's not a very strong conceptual model.


Speech is a God given right. Nobody can stop you from saying anything you like, but that doesn't extend to inviting you to share that belief with the student body of your local school. The school are absolutely free to refuse to allow you to use their podium if they don't like what you have to say.

Equally, you have every right to set up a website to say whatever you want. That doesn't mean the people who provide the infrastructure behind that website have to continue to host your platform, it doesn't mean other peoples internet providers have to allow access to your website, and it doesn't mean search providers have to list your website in their results.

Freedom of speech worked really well when the largest audience you could get was the people in your local tavern, but it doesn't scale to a global internet without some adjustment. Just like your other example of the right to self defence - the idea of taking arms against a tyrannical government made perfect sense when everybody had muskets, but it doesn't really scale when the tyrannical government has drones and nukes.


    Freedom of speech worked really well when the largest
    audience you could get was the people in your local tavern
Even then, even before printing presses or the written word itself there were major, major limitations.

- You were never allowed to "say whatever you like" in the name of committing fraud

- You were never allowed to "say whatever you like" in terms of threats; I don't know any society that would tolerate a person standing outside his neighbor's home and screaming death threats

- etc.

I make this somewhat pedantic point because the idea of "free speech with limits" is not some kind of modern idea that represents a watering-down of the lofty ideals upon which modern nations were founded, which is why many people seem to object to it. There were always necessary limits to free speech; the right to free speech has never trumped other peoples' rights not to be threatened, killed, defrauded, etc.


> I don't know any society that would tolerate a person standing outside his neighbor's home and screaming death threats

Such societies did and do exist, but usually they are good examples of why we limit hate speech. Nazi Germany and the US South during the KKK’s peak are a couple easy ones to reference. Both of those are examples of societies without free speech that still allowed speech that most societies do not.


And, even then (at least in the US in the late 1800s) it was never legal to scream death threats at people or take other terroristic actions. The laws, unfortunately, were simply well enforced and a lot of people suffered as a result.


The freedom of speech actually means that you can say what you want and not be persecuted for it.

Except for enticing violence, fraud or etc.

In Europe, you can get in jail if you say hateful or discriminatory things. We want to keep our society more decent (although cracks are forming).

The freedom of speech indeed doesn't mean that others must facilitate you or listen to you.


You banned some undefined terms. They mean whatever you want.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olefVguutfo

We should designate a copy of archive.org as critical infrastructure.


The founding fathers enumerated rights like "free speech" because those were novel (not entirely new, but fairly novel) notions at the time.

What many folks (often, seemingly willingly) fail to understand is that those rights were never intended to be parsed in a naive, simplistic way that supersedes the rights of others.

The most obvious example would be speech that causes others to be killed: you have a right to free speech, but other people also have a right not to be killed.

That's why you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater and cause a stampede that kills people, etc.

There are many other examples of free speech that infringe on others' rights.

Call free speech a "natural" right if you wish, whatever that means to you, but only a fool would think that either the Founding Fathers or basic human decency and sense dictate that free speech is meant to exist in some sort of vacuum independent from any and all other rights.


> The founding fathers enumerated rights like "free speech" because those were novel (not entirely new, but fairly novel) notions at the time.

Uh, your history classes have really failed you. These rights weren't novel, they were explicitly enshrined in the English Bill of Rights in 1689. Some of the other rights (particularly debtors' rights) date back to the Magna Carta in 1215.

> That's why you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater and cause a stampede that kills people, etc.

For the record, you're citing a 1919 US Supreme Court case that has been overturned. The current standard for free speech in the US is Brandenburg v Ohio [1], which holds that it is constitutionally-protected free speech to advocate violent overthrow of the government. Only speech that amounts to incitement of "imminent lawless action" is prohibited. Note, of course, that the freedom of speech only applies to the government's ability to restrict speech for its content (which, in the US, is extremely limited); the ability of private parties to choose whether or not to provide a platform for speech is considered freedom of association and does not rely at all on any of these decisions.

[1] For what it's worth, the actual speech given by Brandenburg is basically the same sort of speech you'll find in these manifestos.


The English Bill of rights is not what you think it is.

It wasn't about giving freedom to the people, but shifting power from the monarchy to parliment.

The freedom of speech enshrined in the English bill of rights also isn't remotely comparable to the USA idea. It was about parlimentary priviledge - the ability for MPs to have freedom of speech while within parliment. It was about the freedom of parliment to debate and vote without interference from the monarchy. (Parliment can and does impose its own limits on freedom of speech within the chamber and MPs have been literally removed from the chamber for things they've said).

The UK has never had freedom of speech. We even had an official censor (Lord Chamberlain's Office) until 1968. Blasphemy was illegal until 2008, and wasn't just a legacy law which had been forgotten, but there were convictions for it right the way through to the 1990s at least.


Wow, that's a rude and (more importantly) factually incorrect remark. Is HN becoming Reddit?

    Uh, your history classes have really failed you. These rights 
    weren't novel, they were explicitly enshrined in the English 
    Bill of Rights in 1689. Some of the other rights (particularly 
    debtors' rights) date back to the Magna Carta in 1215.
Sure. That's why I qualified my statement: "not entirely new" and "fairly novel" rather than "entirely novel" because I'm aware that the U.S. Constitution is not the first time these notions have appeared in law. It was specifically an attempt to head off a pedantic reply such as yours.

    For the record, you're citing a 1919 US Supreme Court case 
    that has been overturned. The current standard for free speech 
    in the US is Brandenburg v Ohio [1], which holds that it is
    constitutionally-protected free speech to advocate violent 
    overthrow of the government
You're simply incorrect. The justices' opinions in this case specifically agreed with this particular instance of prohibited speech, even referring to it directly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_v._Ohio#Concurrenc...

    Finally, Douglas dealt with the classic example of a man 
    "falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic". 
    In order to explain why someone could be legitimately prosecuted 
    for this, Douglas called it an example in which "speech is 
    brigaded with action". In the view of Douglas and Black, this 
    was probably the only sort of case in which a person could be 
    prosecuted for speech. 
More to the point, please understand: this ruling specifically addressed inflammatory (no pun presumably intended) speech.

This was not a comprehensive ruling on speech in general. It was an influential ruling on speech specifically meant to rouse others to action.

There are innumerable other types of speech this ruling did not address. Libel, threats, etc.

Forget about folks' educations failing them; your misconceptions could have been avoided with a simple Wikipedia visit. On the bright side, this experience reminded me to make my annual donation to Wikipedia. Obviously it's a sorely-needed resource.


> Sure. That's why I qualified my statement: "not entirely new" and "fairly novel" rather than "entirely novel" because I'm aware that the U.S. Constitution is not the first time these notions have appeared in law. It was specifically an attempt to head off a pedantic reply such as yours.

I have no idea what you're trying to argue anymore here, because you seem to be both arguing that the concept of free speech was a radical invention of the American Revolution and that the fact that it predates the American Revolution is "pedantic."

(If you really want to be pedantic, the modern concept of expansive First Amendment rights is actually novel, but dates to the mid-20th century, when SCOTUS started interpreting these rights very expansively and setting up series of very stringent tests. I rather assume that the founding fathers would have been horrified at the depths that Brandenburg v Ohio went to protect offensive speech; it's certainly more radical than is the case in most countries even today).

> You're simply incorrect.

The statement "shouting fire in a crowded theater" is a reference to Schenck, where the justices used that as the example of why advocating against the draft was not constitutionally-protected speech, motivating the "clear and present danger" test that was explicitly overturned by Brandenburg's "imminent lawless action" test.

In other words, Brandenburg v Ohio was quite explicitly saying that the bar for what speech is considered so dangerous as to lose its constitutional protection should not be set at a level that is merely upsetting to people but rather at the level where it is at the literal cusp of violence.

> There are innumerable other types of speech this ruling did not address. Libel, threats, etc.

Of course not. But for the kind of speech that is in question, namely these white supremacist manifestos, it is exactly the case that rules.


In this reply I corrected your misunderstandings of a number of things: my post, history, etc.

As they say, I can explain it to you but I can't comprehend it for you. You're on your own now.


They were novel because they just came out of fighting for freedom against an oppressive empire who used all those things against them and they wanted to make sure that couldn’t happen again.

Any argument otherwise should be met with harsh skepticism because you could be actively trying to oppress us again or accidentally enable some future people in power to be able to.


    Any argument otherwise should be met with harsh
    skepticism because you could be actively trying to 
    oppress us again or accidentally enable some future
    people in power to be able to
It works both ways.

Russia's social media operations utilized (and is surely still aiming to utilize) our relatively permissive climate of free speech to sow discord within America and deepen our divisions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/17/us/politics/takeaways-rus...

So, there you go - there's "people in power" using free speech to weaken/oppress us.


Just because someone uses the word 'rights' doesn't mean they're referring only to the US bill of rights understood in a Thomas Paine-esque 'Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants' manner. Actually, even Thomas Paine considered a right to welfare (including education), so even founding fathers can reasonably disagree.


Not sure they said that... also “founding fathers” are not the be all end all of of what are “rights”. OP is talking about what is called the “social contract”.


Freedom of speech is really important but every person has a moral responsibility to use this right responsible. it is a bit akin to: the right to bare arms doesn't give you the right to shoot anyone you like.

So you should be able to criticize the king/ president but does it mean you should say anything that pops in to your mind? Defending racist and other hate speech with the first amendment is a banalisation of the first amendment.


You may want to look into the Magna Carta before discussing the Founding Fathers as the arbiters of rights.


That's a very US-centric view. Most democratic countries with constitutions less than 230 years old have broad exceptions for certain kinds of impermissible speech. (Germany takes it to an extreme, but even that seems to be compatible with a liberal democratic basic order.)


The US has always had those limitations as well.

It's just that many of my fellow Americans choose to interpret our constitution in a simplistic, childish, and frankly incorrect way.

Our constitutional rights (including free speech) were never meant to be interpreted in a vacuum, irrespective of all other rights.

Our courts have certainly never interpreted things that way. Our courts have always weighed each individual, constitutionally-mandated right against other rights.


They have, but the absolute language of the constitution has led courts to interpret freedom of speech in the US much more broadly than in countries with more modern constitutions.


Germany has learned some pretty hard lessons with regards to what too much free speech can lead to.


>The concept of freedom of speech falls apart if universally reprehensible speech is allowed to be publicaly espoused without being firmly challenged. Forums like 8chan and 4chan effectively incubate hate speech by providing a safe space for anonymized, like-minded individuals to congregate, espouse their basest thoughts and feelings and receive gratification for it -all without challenge. Moderate people are repulsed by such forums and the quantity of hate-speech they generate, which further compounds the negative feedback loop.

These boards do more than allow this hate to fester. They allow hate to grow as they become a recruiting ground that can radicalize people who never would have fallen into this mindset without these boards. 8chan might be compartmentalized in a way that allows it to become an echo chamber of hate, but it also is highly connect to boards about general topics like video games, TV, and movies. This normalizes the hate and it becomes just another thing to talk about.

I would bet a small minority of people who spew hateful things on 8chan sought the site out because of their own hate. Maybe they went there to talk about the new Call of Duty game. Before too long they are ingrained in the whole Gamergate mindset. Then they eventual start hanging out on /pol and before you know it they are a full fledged white nationalist. (A similar thing has been reported about Youtube's recommendation algorithm [1]) This wouldn't happen if the hateful sections of 8chan were sectioned off into their own site. No one accidentally stumbles upon The Daily Stormer and becomes a white nationalist. Just visiting that site genuinely requires a predilection towards hate and a sympathetic ear to white nationalism.

[1] - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/08/technology/yo...


> These boards do more than allow this hate to fester. They allow hate to grow as they become a recruiting ground that can radicalize people who never would have fallen into this mindset without these boards.

This is a common narrative, but it depends on an empirical question of whether hate spreads online and whether this motivates action. Fortunately, studies suggest that online talk does not motivate action:

https://www.rand.org/randeurope/research/projects/internet-a...

To summarize: the internet does not accelerate the process of radicalization, it does not provide opportunities to self-radicalize, and it does not allow radicalization without physical contact with other radicals. So the empirical evidence does not entirely agree with your characterization of 8chan's role in radicalization.


I haven't read the full paper yet, but the 'Executive summary' section seems quite explicit that the findings relate to the internet specifically; that is, does "the internet" increase radicalization as opposed to other non-internet venues?

But that isn't the point you're replying to; the point you're replying to is about "these boards" (ie. these venues), and makes no mention of their internet-ness being a factor.

The report, crucially, does therefore not seem to contradict the post you're replying to, as that post is about radicalization in mixed-topic venues in general; this one just happens to be on the internet.


What is a "mixed topic venue", precisely, that you would distinguish it from the internet or other media? Frankly, the internet is the ultimate mixed topic venue IMO.

Furthermore, it seems pretty clear that the OP was specifically referring to online boards, and this forms the context of pretty much this entire thread and every discussion of this topic here and elsewhere about the spread of hate online.


A mixed-topic venue is precisely what they described:

> 8chan might be compartmentalized in a way that allows it to become an echo chamber of hate, but it also is highly connect to boards about general topics like video games, TV, and movies.

Nowhere in the OP is "the internet" specifically mentioned as a factor. It's all about the general concept of mixing it into other topics to make it palatable (which is precisely how radicalization usually works online and offline, see also eg. biker gangs), and an online message board just happens to be the context in this particular case.


OP here, just chiming in to say that you are exactly right on my point and what my objection would be to that study. There is a distinction between the Internet and specific sites like 4chan, 8chan, Reddit, Youtube, etc. You can accidentally stumble onto hate on those sites. The hate there is both normalized due to the presence of that other content and can be framed in an enticing and seemingly logical way. That isn't true for the Internet at large. To repeat myself, you can't really stumble on to the Daily Stormer or be accidentally recruited into their ranks. The NYT's article I linked to in my first post details how that type of accidental radicalization can happen on Youtube.

And like you said, there is nothing internet specific about this distinction. The same thing applies if white nationalists are recruiting in the physical world. There is a lot more potential for recruiting new members at the local bar than their is at a KKK rally. I think some of us just want the bar owner to stop allowing those white supremacists to use the bar as a recruiting ground because they are turning violent.


8chan incubated hate speech because no one challenged hate speech on 8chan. 8chan welcomed everyone, but everyone ignored 8chan.

>The concept of freedom of speech falls apart if universally reprehensible speech is allowed to be publicaly espoused without being firmly challenged. Forums like 8chan and 4chan effectively incubate hate speech by providing a safe space for anonymized, like-minded individuals to congregate, espouse their basest thoughts and feelings and receive gratification for it -all without challenge.


I've called out hate speech on 4chan and 8chan many times before. I've gotten called an "SJW cuck" a lot, and others doubled-down in posting shit gleefully when they saw their shit "triggered the libs". That was the fun part to them. To someone like me who isn't there just to challenge people, it's exasperating. I gave up and they didn't.

I think certain site structures encourage different kinds of discussion. Imagine the most extreme possibility: a site that automatically hides posts that the majority would agree with after reading, and gives points to and highlights bombastic posts. You're not going to get good discussion out of this, no matter how much you try to convince people that it would be good for society if they visited this site and tried to challenge people there.

I think imageboards like 4chan and 8chan accidentally approximate this. They bump threads to the top on every reply, so threads that trigger flame wars are incentivized. The lack of names means no one will call you out if you flip-flop opinions, so you're free to flip-flop to whatever opinion will trigger the most people, which users will do in order to make successful threads.

After a few cycles of this, normal people ("normies") either leave or adapt themselves to fit in, so the remaining users have to amp up their ridiculousness to make threads that are bombastic to the new crowd. Users get used to having to make their opinions more extreme to get noticed. I think this then causes them to flock to threads that they can tell are bombastic to normies as a way to self-reaffirm their own tendency toward making bombastic threads. If you ever try to argue for the normie opinion on a subject, it "outs" yourself as someone who isn't a true user, as someone who isn't purposefully ratcheting their opinions up into offensiveness as the site encourages.

Years ago, I helped run a once-popular imageboard dedicated to a fandom, and its level of dysfunction was legendary. A big part of that probably came from the userbase's overlap with 4chan, but the way problems regularly cropped up in common interactions even in topics and groups of users with little 4chan overlap made me skeptical of the structure itself. It helped a lot being able to see which anonymous users made which posts and see how common it was for people to sock-puppet or radically re-work their opinions in their next thread.


Regarding the "bumping" mechanism and its effect on "normies": isn't almost every forum like this? I can't think of a forum that doesn't shift threads with recent posts to the top. This isn't limited to 4chan or 8chan, so I think it's unfair to single them out as encouraging extreme views.

Regarding anonymity: perhaps anonymity has the opposite effect, allowing people to be more willing to have thoughtful discussions and change their minds, instead of having to stick to their guns for fear of losing face. Perhaps the freedom of anonymity allowed people to say what they always wanted to say but couldn't because they feared for their reputation.

All of which is not to say that 4chan and 8chan don't contain hate speech and other forms of expression deemed unacceptable in broader society. But perhaps the reason people say such things and talk in those ways isn't because of the forum itself, but because of the state that political discourse has devolved to these days. 4chan and 8chan are nothing more than fora at the end of the day; and if they're blocked, people will simply move to continue the conversation (just like they moved from 4chan to 8chan in the first place).


Reddit and HN don't bump threads on activity. HN actually penalizes threads with too much activity. The anonymity is a big factor too; I think it's the combination that helps make things bad. It could also has to do with the way replies are shown: Reddit and HN's branching style causes discussions to fork off in a hundred different directions and focus on different details. Classic bulletin board forums make it difficult to really follow a thread as it gets too busy as you have to click and wait to load a new page for every 10 or so posts. Imageboards often show replies in a single quickly-scrollable auto-updating page in a very compact manner. This might make bandwagon effects much easier.

Maybe I'm wrong about how the specific details play into it exactly, but I think the differences between site structures is not considered nearly enough when trying to understand the differences between site cultures. I hope it's apparent to most that Reddit+HN, classic forums, Twitter, and imageboards each strongly influence discussions to work in different ways, and I don't think it's just because of their different communities. I think if you swap out the people or make multiple sites with the same structure, you see that each structure reinforces its own set of behaviors.

>perhaps anonymity has the opposite effect, allowing people to be more willing to have thoughtful discussions and change their minds, instead of having to stick to their guns for fear of losing face.

I can see the logic of that, but the "thoughtful" part has rarely been my experience on any anonymous places. I think people are more willing to change their minds, but in the direction of being more willing to change their mind to follow the "hivemind"/community or change their mind in a way that's more able to provoke others.


Do you have a blog with more insight?


>8chan welcomed everyone, but everyone ignored 8chan.

That's not true, the community actively tries to keep out "normies" by posting pictures of disfigured corpses or other disturbing imagery and sabotaging the posts that challenge their agenda through spam and trolling.

They even have a guide how to do that, the following page is linked from the homepage at 8chan: https://cryptome.org/2012/07/gent-forum-spies.htm


People did challenged hate speech on 8chan. What happened is that those who challenged hate speech on 8chan lost in following fights. One factor is that chan structure favors bad-faith actors and arguments, favoring inflammatory emotional ones. But the other fact is that bad-faith actors and arguments of the other side lost too.


It's unfortunate that IDs were not applied across the chans, as they went a long way to solving this issue (a single poster was tagged with a consistent identifier) without compromising the main point of anonymous imageboards (no persistent author identity was attached to messages, post contents stood on their own merits only).

Still possible to subvert, but harder to do so, and it made client-side blocking of particular ids fairly simple.

Tripcodes fail in this regard, as they are elective.


It's not a question of merely "allowing" hatred to grow, as though it were so much yeast on the wind, but of propagating the deliberate inculcation of white supremacism and misogyny, a campaign orchestrated by long-standing institutions of social control.


What are you on about? 8chan is pretty damn grassroots. The people on /pol/ definitely don't see themselves as backed by the institutions of social control; in their mythology, the insitutions of social control (eg. the mainstream media, Silicon Valley, banks) are all left-wing, "pozzed", and their enemies. They consider themselves a hated minority... because they are. What big institutions are backing 8chan?!


> In their mythology, the insitutions of social control (eg. the mainstream media, Silicon Valley, banks) are all left-wing

This is a classic, authoritarian tactic of misdirection.

Here's a report on some of the forces at play:

1. https://datasociety.net/output/media-manipulation-and-disinf...

By the way, they're wrong—although not alone—in thinking that Silicon Valley is "left-wing". This is a convenient smoke-screen, as illuminated here:

1. http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/californian-ideol...

I am not sure why we should put much stock in the explicit mythology of a troll army.


I don't want to appear to defend 8chan here - but I don't think your critique is apt.

For one, the people on 8chan are absolutely a hated minority. That's largely why they're getting banned from the internet. Mainstream figures aren't coming out in favor of 8chan, they're calling for it's dissolution. Saying you visit or enjoy 8chan in polite company would likely be a faux pas if anyone even knew what you were talking about.

Of course, pretending to be a hated minority may be a rhetorical tactic - but that doesn't make it untrue. The Westborough Baptist Church may have experienced enhanced camaraderie from being almost universally reviled - but that doesn't mean they weren't, in fact, almost universally reviled.

"Authoritarian" also seems like a poor description. The boards are anti authoritarian in that they have lax moderation. There isn't a punishment for unwanted opinions - you can't be downvoted or shadowbanned. People can't even judge your future posts by the content of your previous posts because everyone is anonymous and without a post history. Banning is by ip only, and easily avoided, and there aren't even accounts to lose. 8chan is much more anarchic than authoritarian. I'm making that claim based on their structure rather than their political ideology.

The idea that Silicon Valley is not left wing also strikes me as highly suspect. For example, in the last Presidential election Clinton received 95% of Silicon Valley donations compared to 4% for Trump [1]. There are other, similar reports, for specific companies and different elections, but everything I've seen slowed they skew heavily left.

I'm aware that there are conceptions of "left wing" where Clinton wouldn't really count as left wing, but so long as we are discussing American politics I don't think those alternate conceptions are relevant. Clinton is clearly further left than Trump.

1 - https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/nearly-all-of-silicon-v...


> 8chan are absolutely a hated minority

They're almost ubiquitously unknown.

> they have lax moderation

I refer to the boards ideological content, not its own governance, although there are arguments to be made that informal, social governance employs Patriarchal tropes to keep users in line.

> so long as we are discussing American politics

We're not. We're discussing an international propagandist forum.

> I don't think those alternate conceptions are relevant. Clinton is clearly further left than Trump.

The USA has never had a "Leftist" administration in any meaningful sense.

Edit: your attitude strikes me as suspiciously apologetic on behalf of an atrocious, violent reactionary movement. If this is due to naivete, I hope the previous ly cited texts can alleviate it. If this is due to your own Patriarchal reactionary bent, we're done; I've no reason to spar with a dishonest partner.


So many unexamined assumptions here. I sort of understand the appeal of channers just calling folks like yourself a nasty name and checking out rather than spending every discussion parsing out "the patriarchy" and what true leftism is. It gets exhausting.


> calling folks like yourself a nasty name and checking out

You forget; they also murder indiscriminately. You're acting callous and self-righteous; it's not hard for me to imagine you "understand" Fascism's appeal, a la Matt Bors' reluctant Nazi.

https://images.dailykos.com/images/574802/large/1350.png?153...


That's a goofy thing to say. There are millions of 4chan users, and at least hundreds of thousands of 8chan users and visitors. They don't "murder indiscriminately" any more than Twitter users do.

And gee, wow, you posted a comic where the author's self-insert tries to talk to a totally crazy and unreasonable Drumpf Nazi, who is a blatant hypocrite and makes a fool of himself, confirming your political biases and allowing you to impute terrible motives to millions! How will we ever recover?


In the context of the US, it doesn't matter what the 'left' in terms of the rest of the world is. If you're gonna argue and accuse someone of having a 'patriarchal reactionary bent' and being dishonest, perhaps be honest and genuine yourself.


A summary of my earlier response is that 8chan is mostly hated or unknown, they are more anarchic than authoritarian, and Silicon Valley is largely left wing. I don't see how any of that could be fairly perceived as 8chan apologetics unless you had a favorable of anarchism (which I do not).

Calling 8chan authoritarian, when they have little to no authority and little to no rules feels like a bad judgment. Surely Nazis and authoritarians abound there, but they aren't organized in any way, they don't control the site, they are just there posting their positions because anyone can go there and post whatever they like.

You suggest that patriarchal tropes are used to keep users in line. I'd like to know more about that. To my knowledge, the users of 8chan are not kept in line - that's kind of the problem. Moderators there delete illegal content as they become aware of it, but beyond that don't do much - per my understanding.

Regarding your point about politics - it seems facile. In the US, which is where Silicon Valley is located, "The Left" refers to a superset which includes the Democrat party. Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly Left in this sense. While it is true you could use a different definition of "Left", doing so only confuses the issue and for little purpose. The people of 8chan who accuse Silicon Valley of being Left leaning are not making the accusation in the cosmopolitan sense which you are apparently interpreting it.


> some minimum level of education

What a bunch of horse crap. Being told what to think, what to buy, who to vote for, how to feel.

If you claim to believe in a liberal democracy but want "education" or limited-speech then you don't have must faith in the system.

Democracy has been broken since the rise of technology and mass media. If you control the narrative, you control the people, and the power. The outrage over a shooting and some mean speech is ridiculous compared to the big corporation killing people with opiates or junk food. People have gone soft. It why Aristotle thought democracy was a bad system of government.

I don't agree with most hate speech you would see on these forums, but I enjoy seeing it because its an indicator that we haven't become completely neutered by large corporation yet, which is happening.


I respectfully and vehemently disagree. Hate speech has been proven to be able to convince people by virtue of appealing to their emotions rather than their intellect. It does not make sense to have a society based around human rights, with a point of view where stealing, murdering or otherwise deceiving people is wrong, while at the same time allowing speech which can subvert that same democracy. It's simply not smart. Just like your body has antibodies to prevent outside threats from outright destroying you from the inside (or outside), democracy too requires its defenses in order for it to work. The advent of fake news and social media manipulation should be enough to realize this: the US has a president that questions that validity of its own institutions right now, so does Brazil. Two democracies which have proven deceiving or hateful speech can mean trouble even for citizens who do not have anything to do with such rhetoric. Simply no, full-on free speech does not work and never will. The (anecdotal) fact Europe has some restraints on free speech while sporting arguably more freedoms, as in, freedom to live your life with a lot less chance of some random person killing you because they hide behind some crazy above-anything notion of freedom, should be enough to illustrate what I mean. Speech needs restraint or we need to stop pretending we care about human rights, simple as that.


>Hate speech has been proven to be able to convince people by virtue of appealing to their emotions rather than their intellect.

Replace hate speech with advertising and it reads the same.


Yes, but where's the connection between advertisement and a school shooting for example?


I would imagine some of the dissatisfaction with life that some of the school shooters feel is at least, in part, fueled by constantly being bombarded by advertisement that is trying to make a sale by convincing them that their life is terrible as it is without whatever they're selling.


I agree with you: the real issue we're talking about is putting a restraint on capitalism, because it is the notion that "development" means profit that's causing these issues. Those same advertisements make poor people in my country join the narcos, because while the government doesn't care about inequalities and unemployment, since it does not have social welfare as goal, those people are easily lured to work in drug trafficking, which pays.

Notice the ones defending crazy "free" speech are the same who defend crazy capitalism? Yeah, that's the issue: by defending what I call "responsible speech", which is free but not ultimate, we are defending social welfare and human rights AGAINST the former, because the former has no interest in defending the latter. We see it even here in Hacker News, when a corporation does something unethical or morally wrong, there will be someone to say "but hey, the corps are right they exist just give shareholder profit and that's what they're doing". It's a serious debate about sustainable development, which has the very survival of our species at stake.


So here in Europe we have stricter hate speech laws as well as stricter gun laws. Which one do you think is contributing more to the lack of school shootings?


What I think? I don't know, a lot of things goes against your intuition. I would think the combination of the two does a lot either way.


> What a bunch of horse crap. Being told what to think, what to buy, who to vote for, how to feel.

While much education in the US may have been reduced to this, your quote does not represent a proper education in theory or practice. A proper education teaches you how to think rather than what to think. Note that critical thinking is typically a key component in such education programs.

And yes, I think critical thinking, general literacy, and media literacy are critical for a healthy functioning democracy. The fact that many/most denizens of the US do not have access to this type of education is an incredible weak link in our democracy.


> A proper education teaches you how to think rather than what to think

No true education...


    What a bunch of horse crap. Being told what to think, 
    what to buy, who to vote for, how to feel.
We don't do anything else this way.

When an airplane has a problem in midair, we don't let the passengers each have one equal vote on what ought to be done, regardless of how much they know about flying.

A doctor doesn't crowdsource ideas in the middle of surgery. She certainly could, and it might work, but only if the crowd consisted of qualified doctors.

I'm not advocating to anything other than "one person, one vote" democracy, but surely the success of such a government depends almost exclusively on the quality of minds found in the electorate -- and I'm sorry, but "quality of mind" correlates pretty strongly with education.

You may fancy yourself some sort of exceptional autodidact who needs no education. Perhaps you are right! This is not the case for the vast majority of humans. The vast majority of humans are (by definition) not of exceptional intelligence and drive.


This is why the US is a constitutional republic designed with a lower house that was elected by and represented the interests of the people of the several states and a senate that was appointed by the legislatures of the several states and represented their interests.

The drafters of the constitution did not want the citizens of the country to have up and down votes about specific policy. Add to that the limited spread of information due to lacking infrastructure (and, well, a man on a horse on a several day's ride being the fastest way to carry news), and the populace would be too ill informed to be able to make a decision based on current facts. This is also why the US does not elect presidents based on popular vote and uses electors are representatives for the local voters.


> Democracy has been broken since the rise of technology and mass media.

I'm sorry, when was everyone equally franchised? Between Jim Crow, Women's Sufferage, and Civil Rights you've got what? The mid 60s to mid 80s as the heyday of American Democracy? Having Nixon smack in the middle of that doesn't really help the arguement.

If we define democracy as universal suffrage and equal vote weight, democracy has been more of an aspiration and less of a reality since the beginning of time. If you don't define democracy that way, then we're talking past eachother.


If deomcracy been broken since the rise of technology and mass media, then I assume we're talking about Hearst and his stoking of propaganda during the Spanish-US war of 1898?

Or perhaps you're referring to British propaganda during the Boer War?

Thinking that the advent of Facebook has radically changed the use of media for propaganda purposes is misguided. It may allow for more direct propaganda and greater ability to select and target a particular audience, but it is no different to the psyops and propaganda techniques that have been prevalent during the entire 20th century.


You don't need a radical change. A lot of small, incremental changes can throw a system out of balance. Take fishing as example. Mankind is doing it since pretty much forever and made many small improvements on the way. Now in hindsight we might have the necessary knowledge, models and simulations to determine what precisely what made us exceed replenishment rates. But that doesn't really matter in retrospect and now we have regulation trying to prevent overfishing.

So yeah, if you are trying to argue nothing changed in our media usage and systems interact just like they did 50 years ago, then that is most certainly a loosing battle.


If 1898 Democracy is functioning Democracy to you, we're taking past each other.


> Democracy has been broken since the rise of technology and mass media.

That seems to me like it might be the whole problem right there: Is there any reason to expect human institutions to survive the digital age?

I see "fake news", the problem of message authentication (not even encryption— keeping secrets —just authentication), and "deep fakes" as aspects of the same issue. Epistemology, "How do you know?"

We may have to extract the core values and value of Democracy and create some sort of new system that sustains or improves on them.

A kind of catch-phrase just occurred to me, "Computer-aided Integrity".


I believe you can oppose large corporations without helping terrorism. You can have an opposition without hate speech and bullying.


Why should it be a choice between education and speech? Why don't we strive to educate everyone? You have a false dichotomy here.

You're also conflating education with indoctrination. The two definitely are not the same. If you're trying to make a point that too often schools do too much of the latter and too little of the former, please make that point before relying upon it to support further claims.


> My opinion is that freedom of speech is a fine ideal to strive for, but it relies on having a stable society with some minimum level of education (moral and philosophical too, not just the technical kind).

It should be noted that the United States at the time of the drafting of the Constitution had way way lower rates of education than today. Even as recently as 1945, the median American only had a 10th grade education. No matter how you measure it, literacy, primary school completion, even intelligence tests, there's no question that the Americans today are significantly more educated than a hundred years ago let alone two hundred.

Yes, I know you explicitly said not to focus on "technical" education. But there's no reasonable definition of the term, whereby you can honestly make a case that the America of 1789 was somehow more educated than the the America of 2019.

All of which means that you have to bite a bullet. Either the Founding Fathers were wrong to enshrine such strong protections of free speech in our Constitution. OR admit that our citizenry more than meets the threshold you posit regarding minimum level of education.


The United States at the time of the drafting of the Constitution restricted the vote to white male property owners. Even after the constitution, some states restricted voting to white male property owners (about 6% of the population). Even in colonial times, enfranchised citizens were typically at least literate and often well-educated.

> Even as recently as 1945, the median American only had a 10th grade education.

Again, high school diplomas were more common among the enfranchised population.

> But there's no reasonable definition of the term, whereby you can honestly make a case that the America of 1789 was somehow more educated than the the America of 2019.

I would be completely unsurprised if voters in 1789 -- white male property owners -- were far more likely to have studied the enlightenment philosophers.


Americans in 1789 and 1945 did not have the ability to broadcast their thoughts worldwide for virtually nothing.


Personally I'm in agreement with Popper's view that societies should tolerate everything except intolerance. It draws a fine line between what's acceptable speech and what is not. And going by it, things like 8chan should get shut down.

The line of thought you put forward, by contrast, rubs me in a very wrong way. It was used to justify, depending on the period and country, not allowing people to vote on the basis that they didn't have enough revenue, didn't own enough land, couldn't read and write well enough, etc. Allowing to disenfranchise voters on some arbitrary sophistication basis can and, if history is anything to go by, unfortunately will get abused. It breaks down to: who decides what's sophisticated enough?

Popper's tolerance criteria, by contrast, seems clearcut in a you know it when you see it kind of way.


>Popper's tolerance criteria, by contrast, seems clearcut

What is that criteria? Because I can easily see people disagreeing on what is and is not intolerant. Would you agree that saying that a baker in Colorado must make a cake for a gay wedding is intolerant of the baker's belief? Because I'm certain a sizeable proportion of the US population would agree that it is intolerant.


> I can easily see people disagreeing on what is and is not intolerant

Not in the subject at hand. I think pretty much everyone reasonable agrees that "kill the {jews,muslims,hispanics}" (once more, folks, this was the THIRD ethnic massacre advertised on 8chan!) is intolerant, no? Can't we start there?


> I think pretty much everyone reasonable agrees that "kill the _INSERT GROUP_" is intolerant

I don´t know why but every time I read a sentence that starts with "I think pretty much everyone reasonable agrees that ..." I get the feeling that the person saying it haven´t really thought things through and does not see how vastly more complex the world is than they assume.

Think about it this way: what if in the mind of the person making that claim, it is one of self-defense and self-preservation? is it still intolerant?

Here is an example: As someone who grew up in the middle east, I heard people out in the open say things like: "Jews ought to be killed off" or "the imperialist American fucks deserve whatever happens to them" and if you ask them why they believe and say such evil shit, the answer in some way, shape or form always comes back to: they invaded our land, killed our ancestors and are threatening to do the same to us now, and hence we are not being intolerant but rather, we are just trying to defend ourselves (tribalism in other words).

You and I can agree that it is despicable and disgusting that people think that way. But in their minds, you are the unreasonable one. What you call intolerance to them is not that at all.

Take away: Perspectives matter in the world; and if you make a hard/deterministic rule based on a subjective understanding of an issue followed by projecting it as "what reasonable people should think", you will always get into some shady edge cases that cannot be resolved by the deterministic rule that you initially set because the world is not made up of a bunch of you:s.

You and I probably agree on what is intolerant/tolerant in most cases. However, other people who do not have the same cultural and moral upbringing might disagree with us. Hence the parent´s comment: "I can easily see people disagreeing on what is and is not intolerant"


I'm sorry, can you be specific: why shouldn't we burn 8chan to the ground? Which other sites do you want to preserve that would get swept up by our censorship run amok?

I'm gathering from your example that you're trying to preserve the rights of a bunch of middle easterners to say things like "kill the jews", and not understanding why you think that's permissible.

I mean, the El Paso shooter genuinely believes that the US is under invasion by mexicans too. Everyone has opinions. The point is that some opinions are just wrong. This is like morality 101. You aren't entitled to kill folks, no matter how much you want to. And you aren't entitled to egg other folks on to kill folks either.


> I'm gathering from your example that you're trying to preserve the rights of a bunch of middle easterners to say things like "kill the jews"

You seem to have extracted the wrong conclusion from the post made because you are thinking in identitarian terms.

> The point is that some opinions are just wrong. This is like morality 101. You aren't entitled to kill folks, no matter how much you want to. And you aren't entitled to egg other folks on to kill folks either.

You are 100% right, some opinions are wrong. But the point is: who´s to judge which ones are right and which one are wrong? I assume that you, in your infinite wisdom, find yourself to be of such a high caliber that all of humanity should use what is obvious to you as the "gold standard"? You took your inherited moral values from your culture, and projected them as the natural and obvious conclusion we should all reach. Now if that isn´t arrogance, I don´t know what is. And I am not trying to be offensive here, this is what your comment indicates. And that is what you should have gathered from the previous comment.

The funny thing is, I agree with you completely here. Again, you and I would probably agree on 99% in terms of what we deem "moral" because both you and I have inherited the those values from our cultures. However, you are in a sense dictating that the moral values you inherited are infinitely more superior than all the others. I mean you are making deterministic statements about subjective issues while calling those who dare not agree "unreasonable" without considering for a second that other people that live in other parts of the world might have different views.

Let me put it in a different way: I am not defending group X´s right to say or do Y. No matter the group. I hate identity politics beyond belief. I am merely rejecting the notion that YOU are reasonable enough to make claim as to what people should or shouldn´t be able to say. Because just as you think yourself to be the wise and saintly moral crusader that you are, others think the same about themselves. Soon enough HN user "bjross" will be writing the exact opposite of what you are writing while claiming that he/she is the moral authority on the subject.

It isn´t that I am defending the evil doers; it´s that I am opposing your (proposed) evil which I think is far worse as it leads down a slippery slope like which the world have seen many times before.


> who´s to judge which ones are right and which one are wrong?

Who's to judge that anything is wrong? Murder, theft etc.? In the end, we must organize a society. If you don't like thinking of society's judgment -- made through whatever institutions it creates -- as universal moral rulings, think of them as organizational rules. If you kill someone under certain conditions, society puts you in jail, and the word "wrong" is used for those things society deems jail-worthy (and probably beyond that, too). In this case, society does decide what opinions are right or wrong in the correctness sense, only what ideas can be detrimental to its own survival to a degree that justifies enforcement. Who decides where is that line? The same institutions that decide the penalty for reckless driving.


So those with power to enforce their ideals on society get to decide morality then?


Well, normally morality is "decided" by a social process, which also shapes the rules, so they don't often diverge by much. But my point is to separate the two issues: society decides the rules; who "decides" morality is another discussion.


Freedom of speech is the social process that works because ideas can be aired and then opposed or supported. Free conversations are where extremes can be moderated. Driving ideas or words underground where they cannot be easily heard or clearly countered is a path to authoritarianism.


Your argument is not very meaningful because freedom of speech means something very different in the US and in, say, France, and both of these different things can be said to "work well". I, too, agree that freedom of speech is very important, but can have a completely different opinion on whether 8chan should be shut down, because what I mean by freedom of speech is different from what you mean, and I believe neither of us means the freedom to say anything, at any place, in any medium, and in any time or circumstance. We just differ on the degree to which we limit that freedom, or whose freedoms we value.

Any freedom is some compromise. If a society has two people or more, then either one person is allowed to, say, enslave the other, in which case the society isn't totally free, or not, in which case the society also isn't totally free. So there is no such thing as absolute freedom, and whenever we say freedom we actually mean some point on a spectrum. We could argue over what that reasonable point is, but absolute freedom is something that can't exist. So instead of speaking in absolutes, let's acknowledge that we're arguing over a favorite compromise.


That social process is exactly why freedom of speech matters.


Isn't that obvious, based on society's dysfunction alone?

It's not a moral principle. It's an explanation of where we find ourselves. This doesn't mean we shouldn't keep striving for a just society, but we don't live in a just society.


The question is how ? how can you have a just society that everyone will agree upon ? Unless we are invent some kind of eugenics or brain wash mechanism so that everyone has the same believe, same way of thinking then its impossible.

Or maybe we can develop really advance VR so that make possible for everyone to live in their own ideal socity.


We don't all have to agree on everything all the time. You strive in a direction by moving in that direction, there is no end point, no destination, no way to "complete" the process. There doesn't have to be. Life is messy like that, even when people are generally healthy and happy and kind to each other.


The problem is which direction is it? Because whatever direction it is is ultimatley subjective.


Sure, but all meaning and interpretation of life, all ideas on what is right, and so on, are subjective. There is nothing wrong with that, since it's not like objectivity actually exists on the other side of the scale. When it comes to moral questions, what is "objectively right" simply doesn't apply, and isn't needed.

If everybody simply stuck to treating others how they would want to be treated, we'd live in a much better world already, even if it wasn't "perfect", and even if there were disagreements, and it all still always subject to constant learning and reflection.

Our main problems don't stem from out confusion about what we think is right (and by "we" I mean each of us as the individuals that actually exist, not as a collective abstraction), but from wanting what we think is right for ourselves, while having double standards for others, and rationalizations for those.


How is your system practically work ? For example, do you prefer 8chan to be banned ?


It's not my system, it's reality, there is no objective morality, and even where people agree on many things, they don't have the exact same opinions and reasons for having them, and so on. That's at all not contingent on me giving you a satisfying answer on such a tricky question about a site I don't even know.


How could it ever possibly be otherwise, are people going to enforce morality they don't believe in?


I expect so. It's reasonable[0] to believe there are policement and judges who will arrest and sentence you for drug use, thus enforcing the law, while not believing the law is right.

[0] I know there are such policemen, I extrapolate to expect there are likeminded judges too.


That itself, is a morality fwiw, plus plenty of cops absolutely do not enforce laws they feel are wrong/stupid/pointless.


And they definitely don’t enforce laws equally....


Who's to judge that anything is wrong? Murder, theft etc.?

How many people would think that it was okay for the government to steal private property in the border states under the concept of “imminent domain” if it meant that the wall could be built?

Yes imminent domain is theft. The government rarely pays the fair market value.


> ... universal moral rulings, think of them as organizational rules

Sure. Slavery was moral, or if I disagree with it, I'll accept it as an organisational rule instead. Ditto apartheid, ditto the way many mid-eastern countries treat women.


Society must come to some decision, at any given point in time, about what to do if X does Y; are they punished? if so, how? Morality is a more complex subject, that, of course, heavily interacts with the decision I mentioned. My point was merely that while the two are intertwined, they are not necessarily the same, and regardless of where one stands on some moral question, there necessarily must be (and there is) some rule about what to do when X does Y. You can equivocate on some moral question, but you cannot equivocate on a law (although a judicial system can infuse it with some nuance). So when a particular society legislates a law, you don't necessarily have to take it as if that particular society has settled a universal moral question.


I see what you're saying, but - and I mean this constructively - you can take a rather roundabout way of saying it which fogs your meaning.

Anyway...

> So when a particular society legislates a law, you don't necessarily have to take it as if that particular society has settled a universal moral question

Point taken, but laws can be plain immoral, even evil. Laws should be as moral as possible. Laws without a moral backing would seem to be meaningless.

But lets put that aside, let's take your intended point that laws are an attempt to formalise morality, and lets also assume morality is what we'd call moral (not oppressing women/minorities/certain religions/etc). You say

> but you cannot equivocate on a law

but you damn well can! In the UK the definition of theft involves intent. From wiki "[...] if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it"

It's all about intent. It's the crux of it IIRC (and I did a short course in law). A lot of law is about intent. I hit a person in the face. Deliberate? I get spanked. Genuine unavoidable accident? I get let off. Intent is central. It is very equivocable.

In our case, which of 8chan's members are in it for pure lulz, and which because they really want to start a race war. Hard to tell intent.

Still sounds like the world is a cleaner place without them lot.


> but you damn well can!

That's not equivocation, it's what I called nuance, and mentioned the judiciary's role in managing it. With ethics you can say, "this is a hard question," and leave it at that; with the law, you must decide. The judge or jury must ultimately decide whether to punish the possible thief or not, and if so, how -- say, by making a decision on intent, perhaps taking degrees into account. Either society decides to shut 8chan down or not; "it's complicated" isn't an option (I mean, it may well be, but a decision must be reached). So whatever ethics is at play, and however complicated it is, a decision on action must be and is made.

And BTW, not every offense must have criminal intent. Traffic violations, for example, do not (in the jurisdictions I know). Murder, as it is defined in many jurisdictions, requires intent, but even without it killing is often a very serious offense (e.g. you can kill through an intent to endanger, and you can kill through negligence, and you'll end up in prison for both).


> Sure. Slavery was moral, or if I disagree with it,

I think you mean that slavery was legal. Most people would hold that it was never moral. Some people hold these same beliefs now about some of our current behaviors toward other animals: they're legal but not moral.


Well, for me our current behavior towards animal is moral. Moral is subjective after all. Just like slavery it ultimately decided by who can force the other (physically or persuasively) to follow their morality.


> Moral is subjective after all

This statement is not as self-evident as you seem to believe. Philosophers and ethicists have been debating it for millennia.


Then what is your argument againts it? I provided attitude towards animal as an example.

>Philosophers and ethicists have been debating it for millennia

Thats even more strengthen my position that morality is subjective.


You provided your opinion. That's it.

So OK, I'll do the same: I disagree that morality is subjective.

Edit: so if I disagree that the world is round, that shows that it's flat?


Right, that show that it is subjective.

>so if I disagree that the world is round, that shows that it's flat?

No, it just show that you disagree that the world is round


You're pointing out that people disagree about what's "reasonable", the takeaway being that since "reasonableness" is subjective, a rule based on whether something is reasonable won't work "because the world is not made up of a bunch of you:s".

But just because people disagree about something doesn't mean it's purely subjective. Some things have an objective truth value but people will still disagree on it, because people get things wrong sometimes. Objectively wrong. All the time, in fact.

You're right that neither "ajross" nor "bjross" should be the moral authority who dictates the moral values. That's because they're almost certainly wrong about some things. You're almost certainly wrong about some things. I'm definitely wrong about some things, and I really hope I find out as much as I can about what I'm wrong about as soon as I can.

Therefore it would be a bad system to set up any one person as the moral authority. Instead, we want a system such that over time, the objectively better views dominate and the objectively worse views shrink in influence.

A total free-for-all where anyone can say anything and any kind of engagement will help promote those views, like 8chan or Gab, is clearly not such a system. You don't think a careful implementation of "tolerating anything but intolerance" could possibly be such a system, and is in fact a "far worse evil"? What rules do you think there should be, or do you think a free-for-all with no rules is the only way to not lead down the "slippery slope"?


Perhaps what would help in understanding the views espoused by OP (which I find very helpful) is to consider the idea of justifiable homicide. In France, when the police kill knife wielding maniacs, it seems to be black and white, however when cops in USA kill a mentally unstable person in self defense, the line gets murky. It gets completely greyed out when Mesa PD kills an innocent for not being able to follow contradictory commands. Where do YOU draw the line? What about moving the line to China and the Muslim minoritities being ethnically wiped? Talk to a Han Chinese on the street and see if they see it your way? Same with Palestine and Israel. The world is not black and white.


What in the world are you talking about?

Of course the world is not black and white, there are shades of grey. That is completely orthogonal to subjectivity vs objectivity. Just because a situation is grey and no one can agree on which shade of grey it is, doesn't mean the situation doesn't objectively have a shade. It can just mean humans are fallible and can't see perfectly, so we're all wrong to some degree about the correct shade. But there could still be a correct shade.

Separately, every single example you brought up is black-and-white. If a "knife-wielding maniac" were in the process of killing random innocents and police don't have a way of nonlethally restraining them, then of course the police are justified in killing them. If a cop in the USA or anywhere was in mortal danger and had no way of nonlethally restraining their attacker, then killing their attacker is justified regardless of the mental health of their attacker. If an innocent isn't following contradictory commands and isn't threatening anyone's life, of course it isn't justified to kill them, what are you talking about?! There is nothing grey about the fact that failing to follow contradictory commands by police should clearly not be punishable by death?!?!!

I'm sure there are tons of Han Chinese on the street who think concentration camps for Muslims in China is acceptable, just like there are tons of Americans on the street who think concentration camps for Muslims in America is acceptable, just like there were tons of Americans on the street who thought that internment camps for Japanese-Americans were acceptable, tons of Palestinians who think all Jews are invaders who should be wiped out, tons of Jews who think all Palestinians are suicide-bombers who should be wiped out.

Those people are wrong. Those examples are not shades of grey and not subjective, lots of people disagree because lots of people are wrong.

I'm also wrong about lots of things, I should not be dictator of the world, and neither should anyone else. That's why we need a system with rules set up so that the more wrong ideas shrink in influence and the less wrong ideas spread in influence.


You mention "objective truth value" and "Objectively wrong", which the parent comment says " But the point is: who´s to judge which ones are right and which one are wrong?"

Sure, we can say 1 + 1 = 2, and that's objectively correct. But in terms of morality what is "objectively right" and "objectively wrong"? Moral objectively usually comes from some base assumption that has to be made. Whether its the existence of a higher being, happiness meter, or utilitarianism.

"Instead, we want a system such that over time, the objectively better views dominate and the objectively worse views shrink in influence." According to history, I wouldn't really say this is guaranteed either, but that's my opinion.


Judgement can be made based on reviewing the effects of decisions over time. We need a dynamic system of laws and legal review that is capable of correcting for mistakes and adapting to new challenges.

I agree that we do need a system, that not tolerating intolerance is a good basic principle, and that such a system can be functional. I don’t think it can ever be perfect, because people aren’t perfect, but it can be a lot better than nothing.


Measurements and reviews are only valuable relatively to some goal(s). The question is how to decide on those goals objectively.


> "But the point is: who's to judge which ones are right and which one are wrong?"

I address this. In fact, I explicitly say I agree. No one can be trusted to make that judgment. Hence, the need for a system that doesn't place absolute trust in anyone.

> "we want a system such that [...]" [...] I wouldn't really say this is guaranteed either

What? You wouldn't say what is guaranteed? You wouldn't say it's guaranteed that we want such a system?


The system has already exist, that is the one who can force (persuasively or physically) other their rightness get to decide. In this case cloudflare has the power to decide whether 8chan is allowed or not in their platform.

If you think they are wrong then you have to gain power to be more powerful than them to override it (by gaining mass support, government support or any other means).

I don't think it's possible to have any other system.


Yes, and part of that system can be a culture among those in power of tolerating anything but intolerance.

My comment was an explanation of why advocating such a culture, as part of this system, is not an "evil [...] far worse [than "kill the jews"]".


>Sure, we can say 1 + 1 = 2, and that's objectively correct

even that can't be objectively correct because it based on agreed upon the definition of 1, definition of 2, definition of + and the axiom.


Agreed. A couple of examples to illustrate this: in boolean arithmetic, 1+1=1, in modular (2) arithmetic, 1+1=0.


> who´s to judge which ones are right and which one are wrong

We have the power to decide. This is what the companies dropping 8chan are doing: using their power to stand up to something they view as morally wrong. Most people are happy to take your money regardless of your politics, but endorsement of domestic terrorism isn't worth the abstract philosophical consideration. If you take a moment to empathize with your fellow humans and consider the horrific suffering wrought by ideologies endorsed by 8chan, it's very easy to come to the conclusion that 8chan deserves to be destroyed.


I don´t buy what you just said. And here is why:

If you want to use your platform for good, you do good no matter the time. You do your patriotic duty and we´ll all clap and cheer you on. However ISIS and right wing extremest sites have been protected by CF for years and nothing has been done so far. It´s not like CF went on a cleaning spree and dropped hundreds of shady clients that are faaaaaar worse and much much nastier than 8chan. This wasn´t a "do good / patriotic moment". This was a timely and coordinated decision (together with patreon) which leads me to speculate that it could be one of two things: either it´s mere PR move and I despise that type of behavior as it could easily be hijacked by echo chambers among other things, or it could be something far more malicious which others have speculated enough on so I won´t bother mentioning.

That said, if you are of the opinion that "A service provider has the right to deny service to a client that it subjectively deems to have a bad effect on society", then I´d like to know in case you´d make that same argument for the Bakery/gay wedding case. If not, then what is the difference really as the same argument could be easily made in both cases?


> If you want to use your platform for good, you do good no matter the time.

Why? It's a business not a "platform for good"

> It´s not like CF went on a cleaning spree and dropped hundreds of shady clients that are faaaaaar worse and much much nastier than 8chan

So what? Maybe recent events struck a personal chord with the owners and they said "fuck it, we don't need their businesses, it's one small thing we can do to offer our support to the victims". If they're hosting "much nastier" customers than 8chan then it's fair to ask them to do better or call out their hypocrisy and ask them to rectify the situation.

> this wasn´t a "do good / patriotic moment".

I never said it was.

> I´d like to know in case you´d make that same argument for the Bakery/gay wedding case

I followed this case closely and my views on it are complex. It's not as simple as most people like to suggest. In short, I think the SCOTUS made the right ruling specifically because of the reasoning put forth by Kennedy in the majority opinion; in particular, that the colorado commissions board demonstrated a hostility towards religion in their application of the state anti-discrimination laws. The opinion even goes as far as to say that the ruling could have went the other way if the commission had more evenly applied the anti-discrimination laws in past cases. Further, I agree with the reasoning that suggests forcing the baker to create a bespoke cake-to-order is a form of artistic expression and should be protected by the first amendment and that his speech should not be compelled. However, the baker in this case specifically argued that homosexuals should be prohibited even from purchasing pre-made off-the-shelf cakes that were not made-to-order. This clearly crosses the line into discrimination of a protected class, so in my view he ultimately got away on a technicality, but the SCOTUS had no choice.

> either it´s mere PR move and I despise that type of behavior

If it's "a mere PR move" then who cares? CF is a private businesses and it's their prerogative to operate their business in a fashion that is beneficial to their PR image.


>However, the baker in this case specifically argued that homosexuals should be prohibited even from purchasing pre-made off-the-shelf cakes that were not made-to-order. This clearly crosses the line into discrimination of a protected class, so in my view he ultimately got away on a technicality

If political ideology was a protected class, would you be opposed to Cloudfare dropping 8chan?


I reject the idea that political ideology should be a protected class, but if it were, I would still support CF in this case since this ban was in response to acts of violence endorsed and enacted by the 8chan community, not as a blanket ban on all white supremacist content.


EDIT: Rewrote the comment a few times.

It wasn't enacted by the 8chan community, it was enacted by the shooter only. And endorsed, well, I have seen many people on Reddit and Twitter who say that all Republicans are evil and should be killed, yet when Steve Scalise was shot, they weren't banned for their support of terrorism and assassination. The same principles you apply to your side should be applied to the other side.


> It wasn't enacted by the 8chan community

It was enacted by a member of the community and other members of the community voiced support for the acts before, during, and after the attacks.

> I have seen many people on Reddit and Twitter who say that all Republicans are evil and should be killed

You can find anyone saying anything anywhere on the internet, but it's very obvious to anyone who has actually used 8chan that it's a particularly toxic community that is generally friendly to violent ideologies.


I have a sneaking suspicion that some three letter agencies (US + Allied nations) have asked Cloudflare not to take ISIS and the like off the Internet.

Why? Because given the technical sophistication of NSA,GHCQ etc vs the average extremist manic in the wild, it is the easiest honeypot there could be to catch all the extremist flies. Click a Like button on FB ISIS page.. Gotcha; watch a ISIS video served through the CDN.. Gotcha; Have any sort of ingress,egress data flow from any of the ISIS content... Gotcha


That may certainly be the case. In fact, I sure hope so tbh. But who knows at this point really. The decisions seems so arbitrarily made. One could easily argue that the same agency should have asked CF to do the same with 8chan. But we get this asymmetrical decision making which leaves us wondering.... why?!


Based on the aforementioned hypotheses, I think it’s reasonable to posit that a three letter agency has concluded that since 8chan has become “internet famous”, it’s unfettered yet monitored existence is now worse in aggregate than pushing its members further underground.

Whereas foreign terrorists are always worth monitoring.


It does seem arbitrary but I think the answer might be far more mundane than conspiratorial; There is simply no legal authority to hoover up the data of and trace back to american citizens for 8chan type websites.

I don't know man, even if the NSA, FBI etc couldn't give a shit about the legal implications, Cloudflare as a public company and it's officers would have legal liability if they violated the law.

Wild conjecture I know :)


> If not, then what is the difference really as the same argument could be easily made in both cases?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_group


It sounds like you're proposing something akin to cultural relativism. The foundations of American democracy are definitively not in cultural relativism, but in cultural absolutism:

"All mean are created equal, etc etc".

Now, we've often failed to live up to those words in the past, but it's an (ideally) constantly-improving process. Regardless, it's much, much more desirable than some anarchical cultural relativism where everyone does what they damn well please.


>However, you are in a sense dictating that the moral values you inherited are infinitely more superior than all the others. I mean you are making deterministic statements about subjective issues while calling those who dare not agree "unreasonable" without considering for a second that other people that live in other parts of the world might have different views.

There is virtually no moral judgment that every person will agree on. So what? Just because morality is ultimately subjective, society should completely avoid making any kind of judgments regarding it? Frankly I don't care that every person, including those committing terrible acts, view themselves as morally correct. I have my own values that I obviously believe are superior, and I will make an effort to impose them on society. I assume that everyone else is doing the same thing. I hope that the "best" views will become the most common.


That is the perfect call for individualism there is. You try to push your ideas down someone else´s throat and they try to do the same. You´ll find no objection here. I am more than happy to live under such a framework. In fact, I think it would make for a much better world under the right conditions.

That said however, you are missing a lot of nuances imo if you think that this form of "every man for himself" is how the west currently operates.


Exactly! Saying that one moral code must be "superior" for we to push for it is injecting universalism (in the form of a single ladder of moral codes) into the discussion, which is exactly what we moral relativists do not find credible.


This a very well articulated comment, I wish I could have this conversation with the two of you over drinks. Maybe this should be a feature of hacker news.


If you ever find yourself anywhere near Stockholm hit me up! I am available for beer´s and a chat anytime :D


"But the point is: who´s to judge which ones are right and which one are wrong? "

Judges. That's literally what judges do.


> This is like morality 101. You aren't entitled to kill folks, no matter how much you want to. And you aren't entitled to egg other folks on to kill folks either.

So no death penalty? No military intervention in countries which have not attacked yours? And shutdown any site/radio/TV that try to talk about it?

I don't want to know your thoughts about those particular subject, just want to show what sort of situation you can get into when arguing for criteria to limit freedom of speech.

What about monitoring these forums possibly with keyword recognition, and enforce laws such as the ones against invitation to violence?


> why shouldn't we burn 8chan to the ground?

Because it's pointless? People that have feelings and drives that make them do heinous things won't stop having them, and won't stop seeking others having them and discussing them. They'd just publish their manifests on other places. There are tons of public places. Let's say next psycho creates a Github account and publishes the next psychotic rant as Github repo. Now we have to burn Github to the ground? Or only if there are three such psychos that know how to set up a Github account?

> The point is that some opinions are just wrong.

True enough. The problem here is that somehow you think you can always tell which ones, and that you will wield the power to do it. The experience shows neither are true - you probably hold lots of wrong opinions without knowing it, and the power to exclude wrong opinions from polite society probably will be not in your hands. The best way to check every law would be "what if my worst enemy was in charge of implementing it?". If you're still OK with it - then it's a good law. Otherwise you're assuming Powers That Be would always agree with you - and that's a dangerous thing to assume.


You aren't entitled to kill folks, no matter how much you want to. And you aren't entitled to egg other folks on to kill folks either.

Try telling that to the US military. Or cops.

And it if you step back a bit you'll see that it is _obvious_(!) that the person you are replying to is exactly NOT saying that it is permissible to massacre Jews. S/he is pointing out that "obviousness" is an ill-defined criterion which can let any old genocidal predjudice slip through.


There are rules of engagement... and they are generally followed.


Sucking on that rapidly dwindling pacifier may lull your conscience for a short while ... but it won't last for long.


We’re taking about rules fir governing a society. The military is for dealing with threats from outside a society, so it’s not relevant.

Cops in the US do not have impunity. They may sometimes get away with too much, but they can and do go to jail for murder. There have been a few cases I could name off the top of my head in the last few years, but I’m sure many more are findable with little effort.


A few cases over years? US cops kill over 1000 people every year (https://killedbypolice.net/), so a few prosecutions is more like bad luck than real punishment.


FYI "some opinions are just wrong" is a judgement, and it might make life easier to understand that what you consider "wrong" is your subjective _opinion_ :)

I totally don't mean that in a condescending way, just sharing my thoughts from my own experiences!

When you say that the El Paso shooter believed that the US is under invasion, that was his incorrect belief, not a "wrong opinion". The opinion would be that he thinks he's justified to try to kill those people.


"I think all right thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired... I'm certainly not! And I'm sick and tired of being told that I am." - Graham Chapman.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxhaunU2AxY


Now that is some George Carlin level word play. If you haven´t watch this routing, you owe it to yourself to watch it.

https://youtu.be/HEeDRUZIDq8


Usually whenever I see people evoke the paradox of tolerance they draw more attention to the authority of Popper compared to the nature of it being a paradox. It defers the question of what is tolerant, which depends on perspective as you rightly point out.


Arguments of authority are my favorites. It literally takes you 2 seconds to see through the person you are talking to and you can safely assume that they haven´t thought about the problems facing them long enough.


> You and I can agree that it is despicable and disgusting that people think that way. But in their minds, you are the unreasonable one. What you call intolerance to them is not that at all.

Don’t you think it’s despicable that we don’t think this way?

We’re there, killing their wives, children and friends. We’re destroying the infrastructure. But we don’t even have any particularly strong feelings about it. It’s just what’s economically and politically expedient...


> Perspectives matter in the world; and if you make a hard/deterministic rule based on a subjective understanding of an issue followed by projecting it as "what reasonable people should think", you will always get into some shady edge cases

Disagreement has been corner stone of any community. It is healthy in some sense, and might even be required for progress of humankind altoghter. That said...

> What you call intolerance to them is not that at all.

If ignorance, short sightedness, revenge, hatered, jealousy, wickedness is behind a thought or an action, we can universally agree to it being inferior and defective.

Like the OP said, moral and philosophical education along with ability to independently think sets reasonable people apart from others, and I agree.


> moral and philosophical education along with ability to independently think

That's a fairly good description of Machiavelli.


I agree with most of your points here, but I am not sure I see how this really amounts to an objection to Popper's proposed prescription. Nearly everything is contested by someone, even things as mundane as who is at fault in a motor accident. And yet, we have largely workable, if imperfect, ways to resolve such disagreements, so that everyone can get on with life. So the real objection has to be along the lines of: there is no practical set of procedures that would allow us to resolve the problems of intolerant speech and behavior in a reasonably effective way.

More philosophically, however, one important way to take on the problem of subjectivism is to use something like Rawl's veil of ignorance, or Sherner's fairness principle:

“The Fairness Principle: When contemplating a moral action, imagine that you do not know if you will be the moral doer or receiver, and when in doubt err on the side of the other person.”


Not going to lie, I hold an an insane level of disdain toward Rawl´s Veil of ignorance for many reasons that I don´t want to get into right now. That said, the following sentence - I think - is one of the most important ones that I wish more people would pay very close attention to:

> ... And yet, we have largely workable, if _imperfect_, ways to resolve such disagreements, _so that everyone can get on with life_

I agree with you on the first part but disagree on the reasoning behind it.

I have a framework that I personally use when I think about topics such as this one. It has helped me understand a fair bit about social organizations in general as I see it applied everywhere I look. I´ll write the gist of it down here and you tell me what you think:

1. There are two types of solutions to problems: deterministic solutions (100% perfect solutions that can be algorithmically spelled out) and heuristics (good enough shortcuts that have x% error margin and y% efficiency - What you called imperfect solutions).

2. We desperately want to find as many deterministic solutions we possibly can to any and all problems that we face. And where we fail to do so, heuristics are brought in to help us, as best as possible, approximate that "deterministic/perfect/ideal".

3. Heuristics are things like religion, moral frameworks, political systems, language, etc. - Notice that none of them is deterministic in any way, shape or form. They are all imperfect. However, they are rule-sets that are more or less ambiguous that helps us navigate most of the problem space with relatively low effort. But the trade-off here is that heuristics break at the edges - free speech vs. hate speech is a clear example of a failure in the heuristic.

4. It is important to note that all heuristics have some error rate. If they did not, they´d be deterministic solutions. So whatever heuristic you want to use to solve a given problem, Popper´s, Rawl´s or otherwise, you have to always make sure to take the errors that might emerge into account. The error rate is far more important than most people realize as it is the determining factor for how successful/effective the heuristic is going to be in society.

5. When suggesting alternatives to an existing heuristic because of some apparent flaws - such as replacing our current understanding and notion of intolerance by Popper´s take on the matter - the new heuristic that you propose that should overwrite the old one must have a smaller margin of error. Otherwise, why even bother? in fact, if this isn´t the case, you risk making things worse rather than better.

6. Iterate on the process until you come up with better and better heuristics that increasingly approximates the deterministic solution (lower error rate over time until you reach the holy grail of 99.999999...%).

7. Every once in a while, as humanity is traversing its path, some heuristics will be replaced by deterministic answers. Ex: science replaces religion when it comes to describing the natural world -> moving from heuristic religious interpretation of the natural world to a more deterministic approach.

This is how society betters itself over time. It is an iterative process that replaces old systems with newer ones that are less prone to errors. My beef with Rawl´s, Pooper (as I call him) and most of the other thinkers that people read in 1st year college class is that the heuristics they paint are already far inferior than the ones that we currently have. But unfortunately, the academic class (read teachers) cannot see that because they lack a good framework for assessing the effectiveness/error rates of a given heuristic.


This is great if you can agree on the goal and the measure. It seems like that is more the issue.


Exactly. I think that a lot of what is plaguing society right now is, in spite of how techno-sophisticated we have become, is in a sense a measurement problem.


It's not clear to me how you can say that a new heuristic is "far inferior", nor how you can say that the academics lack a good framework but you presumably don't. How do you know what a good framework would look like?

I would agree that it's a measurement problem in the sense that we don't even know what or how to measure it. But your analysis is silent on what an error is so I'm not really sure what you think you have gained by it.


Your point would stand only if these new heuristics are truly "new" when in fact, they are actually pretty old, tried and debunked at this point. And we actually do know what we want to measure and we have that as a goal but our methodology/framework isn´t all that good just yet (we currently use a form of bruteforce).

> It's not clear to me how you can say that a new heuristic is "far inferior", nor how you can say that the academics lack a good framework but you presumably don't. How do you know what a good framework would look like?

It isn´t that I have something that they don´t have. It´s far more sinister than that. And here is my argument:

The best tool we have at the moment is: you play it (any given set of ideas) out in the real world and look at the consequences in terms of elevating/reducing the amount of suffering that is at the basis of the human condition - after all, that is the end goal of political heuristics. Popper´s and Rawl´s ideas are not "new" in the sense that they have been extensively tried in the past. They were murderous beyond belief but somehow that is always forgotten and never accounted for as linguistics is used to disguise the actual end-result of the experiment by saying that "they have not been tested at all" or that "these are new cutting edge ideas".

As an example, we can take a look at communism. The total body count that was produced under communistic regimes would probably make for a giant mountain that would take months to climb. Yet somehow you always hear the slogan "that wasn´t real communism" as a rebuttal to the inherit evil of said set of ideas. If you pay close attention, parse the ideas given and see if they have previously tried or not, you can most often tell that the vast majorities of proposed changes are new reformulations of old and debunked shit.

Example: Marxism views the world as a battle between two groups, the rich and the poor. 3rd wave feminism views the world as a battle group between men and women. This is an over-simplification obviously but what I am hoping to demonstrate here is that it is the same old wolf in sheep´s clothing. We don´t need to replay that experiment to know where it will end up. This is the best we can do at the moment. Am I happy with this methodology of evaluating ideas? hell no. But we have no mechanism that performs any better. And as for the academic class, heck, it is they that purposefully spread these reformulations to the younger generations by actively reworking old debunked ideas as their own "new" takes on how the world ought to be - which is why I tend to believe that academia (especially the social "sciences") is far more sinister than first meets the eye.

Note: I used marxism/communism here as an example just for convenience. I could have just as easily used the Veil of Ignorance or the argument of intolerance to demonstrate that same principle. They have been tried many times before and they were incredibly counter-productive. In spite of what most people think, the modern form of western societies can be seen as a function of the set of most effective ideas that have been tested to date (effective = generate the most amount of reduction in overall human suffering). It isn´t perfect (it´s a heuristic after all) but in comparison to all other tried and tested set of ideas, it is the best we can do atm. Besides, even in the west, small variations of these ideas are currently being tried within each nation state. It is a process that takes time but as these experiments unfold, we will learn something new and converge on a better solution once one is found.


Have you considered that, rather that having some kind of sinister intent, other people simply have a different opinion on whether a particular idea is new or just a reworking, whether a previous idea is applicable to a current context, etc, etc?

To go way back up to your original post I kind of agree with you on subjectivity but I really don't see how you're then arguing that your framework demonstrates that Rawls etc have been 'debunked'.


That's kind of like the procedure for getting people to cut food in half fairly. One person cuts and the other chooses.


But in these cases there is a blurring of bad national policy with an entire group of people unconnected to it. This is very dangerous.

For example, there maybe those who dislike Israel and even want war. But to then say "all Jews are evil" is incorrect. Most don't even live there to control policy. Of those that do, many object to policy. It's like saying some terrorists are Muslim so all Muslims are evil. Or that North Korea is dangerous therefore all Koreans are dangerous. Or America does some bad things therefore all Americans should die. It's all obviously incorrect.

You can have a reason to want to fight a _country_ but there can never be a reason to annihilate a complex, nuanced group because of their skin color or religion etc. There can be reasons for war (which is bad enough) but there can never be reasons for genocide. Americans might have reason to hate Japan after Pearl Harbor but to lock up all Japanese inside the country is obviously wrong.

More generally, there can be very good reason to stop a group organized around an action (eg Neo-Nazis). But to say "all whites must die" (because all Neo-Nazis are white) is obviously an incorrect expansion.

Unfortunately, it's a common blurring that exploitative leaders take advantage of. Today some Western leaders foment hate against all Muslims and some Islamic leaders foment hate against all Jews. In the past it was other groups. It is these leaders that are the danger.


>It's like saying some terrorists are Muslim so all Muslims are evil.

Where is the thresh hold the judgment is made at and will we consistently apply it to all groups? I can think of examples of groups that are reviled by most, yet who have members who don't desire directly evil policies. Some desire forms of what may qualify as oppression that are even seen by the majority as acceptable when you swap out certain groups.


From the POV of someone who says that, the evil actions of Israel are not a fluke, but an inevitable result of the nature of Jewish people, just like genocidal colonialism is seen as the result of the nature of white people, etc. They see themselves as frogs talking about scorpions, to put it in fabulistic terms, and the fact that a particular specimen hasn't stung is no evidence that it's harmless.

To someone like me, who believes quite intuitively that humans are generally the same everywhere, it's hard to grasp, but I don't see how I can prove it's objectively wrong.


> think about it this way: what if in the mind of the person making that claim, it is one of self-defense and self-preservation? is it still intolerant?

Yes.

It may be understandable, I get it, I have the same angry impulses as most human beings and it's very easy to feel antagonists should be simply disposed with. But that doesn't distinguish it from being intolerant.

Even if there's a genuine existential threat, indulging an intolerant response means you (1) you cut off the possibility for negotiation, and the remaining choices are victory or your own tribe's annihilation (2) it's not like the one source of antagonism/conflict is really just the other tribe, and once you build into individual minds and your tribe the idea and support for this kind of total solution, it's likely to get used again even if/after you "win."

I don't expect everyone, especially among populations that have been part of generational conflicts where they already feel they're facing an existential threat, to just sing kumbaya. Maybe it's an important descriptive point to say "not everyone can agree genocide should't be tolerated in valued discourse," but it's not a good normative point. We should be trying to get to the point where genocide is beyond the pale, where people can more finely articulate that many aspects of middle eastern policy at the state or tribal level are unacceptable for a humane civilization without kneecapping any chance for improvement, and in general where we can shape discourse it should be steered away from tribalism.

Or I guess we could always try to kill everybody who believes in genocide.


I grew up in the middle east and I still live in the middle east and I never heard anyone say kill da Jews or da imperialists because those kinds of wacky statements can only be conjured up by a Westerner with preconceived notions about what middle easterners are and pretends to be one on the internet for argument points.


I've thought about this before and respect the open-mindedness. How do you justify words purely meant to harm others and not express ideas, like the n-word?


If you think that the n-word is only used to harm others then I assume you haven't listened to any late 20th and 21st century music. Context matters. That said, its use to racially insult people is shameful and not something I support.


That's a great point, I didn't think about that. It seems like it might be difficult to prove whether or not people had an intent to harm when you allow this kind of speech though.


Do you feel that speech intended to harm should be prevented by prior restraint?


Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUvdXxhLPa8

It will answer your question and make you laugh at the same time. 2 birds 1 stone!


That really got me thinking, thank you so much!


Your example illustrates something called "moral disengagement"[1] and it's the same thought-process used by a lot of people to justify their reprehensible views. Interestingly, the people who seem to be most "immune" to moral disengagement are individuals with high empathy. Fortunately, empathy is a skilled that can be taught and learned.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_disengagement


well maybe, since the US is finding this really really tricky for some reason, look at what other countries have done around hate speech.... because, you know, it didn't end civilization as we know it, we are all still free ( in fact, in terms of freedom many countries, with hate speech laws, rank better than the US ). It's bizzare that in a country where the kid who goes on a mass shooting, could engage in hate groups online, but until a couple of years ago would have been banned from getting a kinder eggs, coz ya know, it could of hurt him.


I'm pretty confident it is the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it. Check back in 50-200 years I guess.


What about "kill the {terrorists|Vietnamese (circa 1960)|germans (circa 1940)|japanese(circa 1940)|rebs (circa 1860}"

My response is clearly whatboutism, and I understand that jewish, muslims, and hispanics are greatly different than naming the belligerents of armed conflicts, but this very slippery slope is why historically the US Supreme Court has resoundingly only made the most narrow rulings regarding limiting speech.


This is a terribly laid out argument. It's not kill the Germans/Japanese/Vietnamese. Hell in Vietnam we had Vietnamese allies. In Okinawa we routinely tried to stop civilians from committing suicide. There's a massive, massive difference between calling for erasing an entire people simply for existing and fighting a declared military force. No one in the US is going over to wipe out all Arabs, they are going to protect civilians and our own people under a strict set of rules of engagement meant to minimize civilian and not combatant casualties. These people are advocating violence against a people who don't even know they exist or have no defined I'll will against them. You're also conflating government protections for free speech and requirements to support said speech by civilians. No one has to provide your microphone to tell through. The mail will still deliver their racist pamphlets, they can still shout their horrors in public spaces. They don't have a right to have their hate hosted online.


Your reply is a straw man.

The original statement was building consensus that "reasonable people" agree killing {some group} is intolerant.


There's a massive, massive difference between calling for erasing an entire people simply for existing and fighting a declared military force. No one in the US is going over to wipe out all Arabs

The clash of civilizations rhetoric makes this assertion dubious to most people that are not in the USA. That coupled with the large-scale widespread bombing of much of the world since WW2 and the support of despots engaged in torture and repression makes your fine distinction a cold comfort for hundreds of thousands (we think the price was worth it) of children.

The tendencies revealed in 8chan are a reflection of core values of US civilization.

To pretend otherwise, and agonize over the origins and supposed abnormality of racist genocide in the USA is copper-bottomed duplicity.

I suppose it makes it easier to sleep at night -- _this_ particular genocide is abnormal for us nice folks.


> The tendencies revealed in 8chan are a reflection of core values of US civilization.

To some extent, yes. But then, US civilization is sadly not all that unique.

The major issue is that the US is collapsing. Gradually, over the past few decades, but steadily. And that always creates lots of angry, nihilistic young men. Eventually they'll become cannon fodder.


All those are speech in the context of support for a declared conflict perpetuated by the government. We don't have to all agree, obviously, but yes: stated support for policies of our elected representatives has to be OK. I don't think anyone reasonable would disagree.

If someone were to talk about personal killing of gooks or japs or krauts or secesh for ethnic and not military reasons, even in a war, that would be different. But that's not what you seem to be talking about.

The distinction is precisely why we have the Geneva conventions, and this is well established law.


Your posting really gets to my core frustration with our Western political establishment: We have "rational", "moderate" politicians like Hillary, Biden, Merkel, or the late John McCain, who were in favor of the illegal attack on Iraq, well knowing that civilians would die, and that the area would be destabilized (hello IS).

But because the US didn't attack Iraq based on a protected class like race, and because the Geneva conventions exist, everything is magically okay. No reason to deplatform these heroes of bipartisan politics.

I worry about the end of radical free speech on the internet precisely because I feel deeply disconnected from "mainstream morality". As internet censorship progresses, I'm sure I'll be kicked out before any of the high-status war criminals.

(I'm referring to the 2003 Iraq war because I still remember who supported it, but I assume the handling of Vietnam was similar in its time.)


"I worry about the end of radical free speech on the internet precisely because I feel deeply disconnected from "mainstream morality". As internet censorship progresses, I'm sure I'll be kicked out before any of the high-status war criminals."

Same :(


Situations where Germans were killed for just being Germans, as opposed to being soldiers, are being talked about as injustice today. The rapes done on German women after WWII are not defended as rightful today either.

There is big difference between military action against Germany, ISIS, what have you and "kill Germans" in general.


> Situations where Germans were killed for just being Germans, as opposed to being soldiers, are being talked about as injustice today. The rapes done on German women after WWII are not defended as rightful today either.

I am glad you stressed "today", because back then, I bet, they weren't talked about the same way.

It is much easier to look back at distant actions and condemn them. At the time when they actually happen, however, things aren't always as clear-cut. I am certain that a lot of "totally ok" today things will be "totally not ok" once we are removed far enough from them.


In what way they were not clear cut back then? It is not like people at the time were confused over meaning of rape or confuscation of property and so on.

These were debated as issues from the first moment. You had those who push for these kill all policies and those who oppose them. Sometimes one side win, other times the other and result is controversial from start for years.

There is this idea that "judging by the time" means judging by the perspective of worst person available, but that is not how history happened.


I was talking about generally accepted opinions by the population. Today, as the quote said, "Germans being killed for just being Germans are generally accepted as injustice".

Was it the case back in the day, though? I am not so sure about that. Of course there were plenty of people who thought this was a great injustice, but I don't think the general public back then would even raise a brow of condemnation towards a person claiming that this was ok and totally justified.

P.S. this is a total speculation about this specific scenario, but I had similar conversations about atrocities committed on the eastern front by soviet soldiers with my older family members who were young adults in 50s-60s in USSR. What I got was that their whole generation was pretty much on board with it, because, in their words, "Nazis deserved it" (with the implication being that every German person was a nazi, of course, even civilians). Not so much of a popular opinion these days.


Try putting yourself in the shoes of someone in the US in 1940.

Would the statement "kill germans" be intolerant?

///

When I was in grade school, a holocaust survivor was invited to speak at my school. At the time we had a german foreign exchange student. As a joke, one of his friends baited the speaker into going on a vitriolic rant about how much he hated Germans. The speaker than paused, and gathered himself and said he did not blame today's generation for the previous ones horror, but that the terror inflicted upon him and his family would be with him forever.

I was chosen to ask a question, and asked him what it must feel like when he sees young people today wearing Nazi paraphernalia and glorifying the Nazi regime.


That isn't protected speech. Violence against specific people, and in some cases certain people groups (calls for direct violence) is not protected even in America. Saying you hope a whole group dies off or gets killed somehow is often protected though; or gets on gray lines. In most jurisdictions in the US, police will often move on credible threats of violence.


And to add, the courts may overturn based on speech it deems are not true threats, and thus protected.


> Can't we start there?

I'm not sure that I'd have a problem with starting there. The problem is, we wouldn't stop there.


> everyone reasonable agrees that "kill the {jews,muslims,hispanics}" is intolerant, no?

Does "everyone reasonable" also agree that "kill the {nazis,racists,transphobes}" is intolerant?


what about the beating of an openly gay viet-american journalist on a crowded public street? does that pass the reasonable standard for intolerance? because as of writing this comment, the individuals & organizations who cheered that on still have access to mainstream platforms & seemingly have faced close to no repercussions for continuing to advocate for violence.


> I think pretty much everyone reasonable agrees that "kill the {jews,muslims,hispanics}" (once more, folks, this was the THIRD ethnic massacre advertised on 8chan!) is intolerant, no?

I mean, saying something like "Kill the Terrorists" would be something many people agree with or find to be tolerant. This shows that there is some group of "terrorists" that people are happy to have killed.


I'm not sure we can because we can't even equally apply such philosophies or even laws modern day. For example, consider what TERFs consider acceptable and unacceptable concerning acceptance of trans individuals. Or consider the violent rhetoric aimed at the US president by prominent figures (at least enough to have appearance on TV, which is far more prominent than most of the posters here). Or protests against the rich. Or the views of what should happen to really bad people in prison. Or calling certain attractions as mental disorders (granted, they were labeled as such until recently) despite the newest research and the calls to lock such people up.

And what about cases where intolerance of intolerance is viewed as unacceptable because it can be confused with general intolerance. For example, take someone who wants to reduce/end immigration of groups that might support the execution of certain minority groups being confused with people who want to reduce/end immigration of those same groups for less agreeable reasons?

Even something as simple as "The Future is Female" has roots in a ideology of killing (most) men.


How about religious texts? Some of those have inspired a lot more killing than 8chan.


Frankly, I don't know what a specific legal criteria might even look like. In fact, I'm not even sure I'd like someone smarter than me with legal street credentials to come up with one.

What I do know is that SCOTUS famously refused to define what porn is [0], and went instead with something to the effect of: I know it when I see it, and this is not it.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it

Methinks we as a society can arrive to similar types of rulings for intolerance.


> Methinks we as a society can arrive to similar types of rulings for intolerance.

Freedom of speech is too important to be of secondary value to something that can't even be defined clearly.


On the contrary. It is so important that it cannot be secondary to something that can be defined clearly. Hence my comment.

Edit for clarity: What you think is fine or not today may or may not be considered fine in the future. So there's an incentive to not set what is intolerance in stone on the basis that today's standards may not match those in the future.


Freedom of speech ensures we can always debate the value of the rest of our rights. Without it, that amorphous 'tolerance' could remove the ability to speak against bad things.

Who defines hate speech? Mobs? Who gets to enforce the official definition of intolerant behavior? Trump? Hillary? (hyperbole to make a point) If we don't maintain freedom of speech above tolerance, then we cannot speak out when our words violate the accepted (and as you pointed out, transitory and unpredictable) definition of 'what is fine'.

Do you really want to just stop talking, without recourse, when a future mob decides your words are unacceptable?


This is exactly right. So much of the discussion here is because people can't turn their own arguments against themselves. The sentiment is, "clearly this is bad and needs to go away." This is also an extension of surveillance arguments where people say "i have nothing to hide." They forget to take into consideration the power that has been given to a group that could become immoral in the future and use that power against them. I really wish we could agree that freedom is a burden and we can and should shoulder that burden because it is worth it. Let's all take some responsibility for not doing enough to convince extremists away from their beliefs. Let's accept that censorship represents a failure of imagination in combating the issue responsibly (whatever that might be).


That’s probably the most widely mocked thing a justice has ever said -- it's even mentioned in your source -- so it's probably not the best argument to put forward.


I always took "I'll know it when I see it" to actually mean "I want to see a whole lot of it!", as Edwin Meese demonstrated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meese_Report

https://www.nytimes.com/1986/10/21/books/some-say-meese-repo...


Part of the problem is that historically intolerance has been defined as "opposition to openness" and indeed historically most human societies were too closed.

Any hope of easy classification crumbles when you consider that a society can be too open (there are actual group that want to include age as a form of protected self expression, with significant consequences on the legality of various actions).

At this point is it being intolerant if you do not tolerate treating a 30 years old person as 8 years old in matters of law?


Isn't that the key exception of not tolerating intolerance?

That is, the baker's belief is not being tolerated because it is intolerant.


If the baker were only baking a cake then it would be. But these were artistic cakes with a great deal of self expression, so issues of compelled speech are forefront.

Also, I wonder if, as software devs, we'd feel comfortable being compelled to take on contracts we might object to on moral grounds, e.g. I refuse to engage in projects building weapons and surveillance systems. I'd be quite upset if I were to be taken to court for refusing the contract on those grounds.


A majority of the US population was tolerant of refusing service to N——--—— when it became illegal.

Put another way, it’s rare that the rights of minorities are established by majority vote, even if these rights are owed by the Constitution.


> A majority of the US population was tolerant of refusing service to ...

But the refusal of service to certain specific races itself is intolerance. That is precisely what Popper's view is: tolerance (by the majority of Americans) of intolerance (towards non-whites) is bad.


What about certain sports teams who deny half of the population a chance from playing? They justify it with notions of biological differences, but in what other setting is that an acceptable justification?

There is also the difference in refusal to serve and refusal to provide a specific service. If you are willing to serve a group but not provide them with a service that you also refuse to provide others, even when the service has a strong corollary with a service you do provide, it is seen as a different matter than refusing to serve a group. This is seen in both the bakery case and the waxing case.


I do not see how any of the examples you cite are comparable.

Biological differences in performance have scientific basis. Racism does not.

I do not know which specific bakery or waxing cases you are referring to, there seem to be more than one such case. But I will try to clarify my position with a corollary:

Say I'm at a bar with a friend who is an observant Muslim. They are offered a complimentary drink by the bartender, who happens to be non-muslim. If my friend declines the drink because they think it is alcoholic, I will think no less of them. But if they decline the drink because of the bartender being non-muslim, I will certainly think less of my friend. In either case, it does not matter if the drink does or does not contain alcohol; only what my friend thinks.


>Biological differences in performance have scientific basis.

Yet I still can't actually use these to discriminate in most cases.

>Racism does not.

Not sure how this is comparable to the previous statement. The use of 'differences in performance' in one side and a -ism on the other indicate we aren't comparing apples to apples.

>Say I'm at a bar with a friend who is an observant Muslim. They are offered a complimentary drink by the bartender, who happens to be non-muslim. If my friend declines the drink because they think it is alcoholic, I will think no less of them. But if they decline the drink because of the bartender being non-muslim, I will certainly think less of my friend. In either case, it does not matter if the drink does or does not contain alcohol; only what my friend thinks.

So it seems the judgment is based off of the material and not the person. In that case, it seems similar to the case of the bakery as the customer was free to order any existing product. The waxing case isn't as simple, because the item relevant to the drink in that case was part of the person's body, and thus innately linked to the concept of who the individual is in a way the drink is not.


> Yet I still can't actually use these to discriminate in most cases.

Yes, you can. If you can prove a scientific basis, you can. A scientific basis is not a low bar, mind you, but if you can clear it, you absolutely can, as many of us do (from cosmetics to drug trials and prescriptions to even market investments).

> The use of 'differences in performance' in one side and a -ism on the other indicate we aren't comparing apples to apples.

Forgive me, I believed it was obvious that 'racism' in this context stood for 'differences in treatment by race'.

> So it seems the judgment is based off of the material and not the person.

You appear to have misread my point. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. Let me reproduce the essential parts:

"... because of the bartender being non-muslim ..."

and added clarification:

" ... does not matter if the drink ...; only what my friend thinks of the bartender"


>Forgive me, I believed it was obvious that 'racism' in this context stood for 'differences in treatment by race'.

The problem it is that it prejudges no such situations could exist. For example, one that would be easy enough to defend is that communities are better served by a doctor who shares the same race as the community because the members are more willing to follow the doctor's advice. This is why having enough black doctors to serve black communities can be argued to be a good thing, despite it being discrimination based on race. But past personal experience has taught me that the agreeableness of such judgment can changes when swapping to a so called majority group.

>You appear to have misread my point. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. Let me reproduce the essential parts:

Let me rephrase my point because I think I may have compacted it too much.

Your judgment depends upon your friends judgment being based on the material and not the person. That is to say, if you have reason to believe you friend is judging based on the person (the server being non-Muslim), you will view them negatively, but if you believe that their judgment is based on the material (thinking the drink has alcohol) you won't judge them negatively. Thus, you judgment of the friend's discrimination against the drink depends upon why they discriminate against the drink. If they did so because of a property of the drink it is fine. Does this correctly match your view?


> For example, one that would be easy enough to defend ...

I'm sorry, but at this point, I think you're being pedantic. I have no interest in that here, and while I could have been exhaustively thorough in my original statement, I just didn't think I needed to and thus chose to be terse. I continue to believe I was clear then, and also believe that in the example you cite here a scientific basis (either for or against) can be clearly tested and observed.

> Thus, you judgment of the friend's discrimination against the drink ...

No. My point is I do not judge my friend on their discrimination against the drink. I judge my friend on their discrimination against the person. The drink is just an object, it's only purpose is in being 'not a person'. Replace it with anything else (say, something edible, or, a greeting) and my point still stands.

> If they did so because of a property of the drink it is fine.

No, that doesn't matter. If they did so because of the time of day, or their mood, or the colour of their shirt that day, would be the same. The difference lies in whether they did so because of the person offering.


That's the crux of the whole problem. The government passed unpopular policies and tried to morally "correct" its people from the top down. It seems most people gradually caught on and normalized those changes, but it isn't surprising to me at all that some/many didn't. I'm wholly on the side of civil rights, but lately I wonder about whether the experiment of using the federal government to try to bring together a big landmass full of people who too often really despise each other along ideological and/or ethnic lines is failing.

Here we are talking about curtailing free speech because the majority can sometimes be wrong and evil, which sounds fair, but that raises the question for me of whether constantly doing things that most people don't want in the name of social progress will create a stable society. I wish I was wrong, but I think not.


Civil rights is just one example, there are many others were the unpopular policy became popular.

BTW note that the Constitution is popular.


The Constitution as a whole is, but interpreting the 14th amendment is still a hot topic.


I'm sorry. Refusing service to whom?


It seems amazing that you might not know, but in your case, may I recommend the film Blazing Saddles?

These days, it’s usually called the “N-word”.


The strange pattern of dashes you used suggested something else. Why not just say something clear like "African Americans" or similar?


I did know. That was an "um, come again?" not a "can you repeat that?"

Your comment literally reads as "they used to tolerate refusing service to (slur)s." Not only was it totally inexplicable to use the slur in the first place, you didn't qualify it in any way. No quotes, no "people they called," nothing. You just used it. Absolutely insane.


You don't have to use quotation marks for something to be a quote. It's not insane at all.


Yes, you do, that's how English works. If I insult you I don't get to say "well, it was a quote" after, I already insulted you.


To black people who they referred to via a racial slur.



Deeply disingenuous, please stop this intentional misunderstanding of other peoples' posts; you're basically spamming at this point.


huh? what are you talking about?


The criteria is pretty straightforward: you apply the "intolerance of intolerance" to the first intolerant action in the chain, i.e. the one that infringes unprompted on someone else.


So, the gay couple coming to the baker that doesn't want to make a cake for a gay wedding are the intolerant ones because they are the first intolerant action in the chain? Because you know that will be how it will be spun.


Congratulations on the apt handle. Your argument is irrational because it ignores the fact that the baker committed the first intolerant act in the chain, not the gay couple.


It isn't irrational because every human being involved experiences a different intolerant act as their first intolerant act. The baker experiences the customer as committing the first intolerance to him. The customer experiences the baker as committing the first intolerance to him.

There is no global ordering of intolerant events. This is basically the CAP problem. Every node (or human) sees their own version of the database (or the world) unless all humans coordinate with all other humans (aka impossible).


How so? Nobody invited them into his bakery.


So refusing to provide service is "intolerant"? Does this only works on "protected groups", or does it work in general? How about the baker is willing to provide service to the gay couple, but just not the gay wedding? Now, please elaborate how you define "intolerant".


Absolutely: refusing to provide service to gays, when you provide the same services to other people just because they are not gay, is indeed literally intolerant, without your scare-quotes or any other qualification.

What's so hard for you to understand about that?

If you're trying to argue for some slippery weaselly nuanced non-standard definition of "intolerant" which excludes bigoted bakers that you just pulled out of your butt, remember that it's a double edged sword that cuts both ways, and also excuses gay couples for not tolerating homophobic bakers.

It's not my responsibility to provide you with the standard definitions of common English words, when you're obviously capable of googling them yourself, and obviously misunderstanding them on purpose, and obviously not arguing in good faith. Look it up on Wikipedia yourself.


The baker in your chosen example is very convenient in that they are clearly anti-gay. Consider the the real life examples of bakers who are allegedly happy to serve gay couples, but believe that baking a cake for a gay couple's wedding would be a speech act in which they do not wish to engage, or a hotel providing 'separate but equal' treatment to people of colour. These things strike me as problematic, but clearly were not obviously so to the legal system of the time.

I think you're likely to run into the general issue that people seldom phrase their motives so as to make themselves sound unreasonable or intolerant.


The baker's argument was that it wasn't the same service. They would have baked them a cake; but they didn't cakes with "jim and john's wedding" written on them, in the same way you wouldn't bake a cake with the 14 words on it, even if you'd bake a cake for Richard Spencer.


I don't bake cakes for Nazis, no matter how many words they want on it. Simple as that. Not even cupcakes. No nuances.

It's pretty obvious when the baker and their supporters start bending over backwards to make nuanced hypothetical situations and ridiculous unbelievable qualifications, that they aren't making good faith arguments. If their best and most honest argument is that their bible told them to be intolerant bigots, then that's their problem for choosing to take their marching orders from that particular bible, while choosing to do business in that particular state which bans discrimination. The fact that your bible tells you to do something illegal is certainly no excuse for stoning your wife to death or killing gays, either.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-sn-manny-pacquiao-bible...

So we should have the conversation in which everyone has to make the best arguments they can, instead of trying to go recursively meta with the Paradox of Tolerance, accusing the gays of being intolerant of the baker's intolerance. Simply judge them all on the merits of their best arguments and intellectual honesty and willingness to address valid counter-arguments.


I see you saying things like 'judge them by the merits of their arguments', and 'intellectual honesty'. But the problem is, I don't trust that you're intellectually honest. I don't think you actually do much logical evaluation when it comes to a case like this; you're already predisposed towards being on the side of the gay guys, and not liking the christians. Well, fine. But I don't believe that you're coming to your conclusions through reason and logic, as you claim to; my impression is that you're just declaring that the chain of evil obviously ends with the people you didn't like to begin with, and their arguments don't need to be refuted because they're not in good faith.

Meanwhile, it's alright for you to categorically refuse to give service to someone for another kind of social identity.

Fine... I just don't get the feeling I should rely on you as a source of 'good faith' arguments about this stuff. You seem to have a pretty big axe to grind.


The Supreme Court already judged the anti-gay-marriage bigots on the merits of their arguments, and they were found lacking. They brought their best arguments, and they weren't good enough. That is evidence that supports my intuition. If you have some profound new anti-gay argument that nobody's already heard countless times already, they why don't you lay it on us and change our minds?

And yes, regardless of your distrust and disbelief in me, I have already logically thought about it a lot. I'm just not writing out every step of my logical thought process right now, and I won't or dang will ding me. So you'll have to take my word that I'm smart enough to figure it out logically for myself. Even most children can come to the same conclusions as I did, if they haven't been indoctrinated to hate.

I don't owe the anti-gay-marriage bigots the respect of rehashing and yet again arguing against their tired old disproven arguments and desperate Gish Gallops. It boils down to the bible told them to be bigots. They have no better arguments.

That's why the baker case is such a great example of how to properly resolve the Paradox of Tolerance.


>The Supreme Court already judged the anti-gay-marriage bigots on the merits of their arguments, and they were found lacking.

That differs from what happened in reality. The Supreme Court issued a 7-2 ruling in favor of Phillip's right to refuse to bake the gay couple a cake. It was the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that found them to be discriminating. That ruling was overturned when brought in front of the Supreme Court.

>In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled on narrow grounds that the Commission did not employ religious neutrality, violating Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips' rights to free exercise, and reversed the Commission's decision. [0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masterpiece_Cakeshop_v._Colora...


Can you explain how you are balancing the notion of freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom of speech here?

It sounds to me like you're are arguing that those rights aren't worth protecting for the baker and you are choosing to protect the customer's right to ... what exactly? What "right" is being protected in your analysis?


You're entitled to your intolerance, as are we all.


Only as long as it's intolerance of real, non-contrived intolerance, which in this case it clearly is.

Intolerance of gays is real intolerance, because it can't be logically justified, and it's based on religious bigotry instead of any legitimate justification.

Contrived intolerance is the baker claiming other people are intolerant of the baker's real intolerance of gays. You're not entitled to that kind of intolerance.


Is it your opinion that "religious bigotry" is not protected by the Constitution?

How are you going to define that outside your preferred scenario of bigotry against gays? Do you intend to insist (by law) that Orthodox Jews, for example, work on Saturdays because that is more convenient for you and that that they are being intolerant of your beliefs for no rational reason?

What about Orthodox Jewish wedding photographer? Are they required to work for you on a Saturday or is it OK for them too refuse you service based on their religious beliefs?


There's a huge difference between discriminating against a day and a gay: you can discriminate against a day because it's Saturday, but you can't discriminating against a person because they're gay.

It's ok for Jews to be Saturday-intolerant, just as many Christians are Sunday-intolerant. Days don't have feelings or human rights. And there's not a long history of discrimination and institutionalized biases against Saturday, the way there are against gays.

Monday, maybe, but definitely not Saturday.


Your reformulation doesn't seem reasonable to me.

In both cases the vendor is refusing to conduct business with the customer due to religious beliefs. Why do you think it is OK for the customer to have to find a new photographer in one case but not a different baker in the other?

I really have a hard time with the idea that the government is expected to pick the "right" set of beliefs to back on what should just be a voluntary transaction. Either both parties agree to conduct business or they don't. I realize that a laissez faire approach to commerce is not what we have today but I would prefer it over asking the government to mediate. And I do realize that would allow people and businesses to discriminate, but that just represents a business opportunity for someone else.


In the case of the photographer, the customer isn't being shamed, shunned, and stigmatized. The government definitely has a role here and should intervene in such cases in order to ensure that businesses treat customers equally and respectably.


So it is your belief that the government has a role in preventing someone from being shamed, shunned, or stigmatized by other people?

Is is always important to remember that "has a role" really means "can use force to ensure compliance".


In the case of businesses, yes that’s my belief


We'll have to agree to disagree.

Just think about the way modern media companies constantly shame and stigmatize people. How are you going to even define when someone is "shamed" or "stigmatized"? Aren't there people who should be shamed and stigmatized?

This seems completely unworkable and guaranteed to make absolutely no one happy other than the lawyers making money off of all the frivolous legal disputes.


Yeah, you have a good point. My opinions are pretty recently formed on this area so I'm probably off-base, and it was interesting hearing your perspective. Fortunately I'm not a judge! :-)


> Only as long as it's intolerance of real, non-contrived intolerance...

And this is where it all falls down. Any belief system which conflicts with your own is a system which is expressing “intolerance” to your belief system.

The whole idea is a crock in my opinion, as a way for one person to scream down another because they are the one who is being intolerant.

There is a lot of hate in the world, and fighting words should be shut down clearly. But this “intolerance” argument is extremely weak the way I see it, as is used as a way to hate and threaten harm against people with a different belief system, a belief system which may not have anything to do with hating or physically harming people.


>And this is where it all falls down. Any belief system which conflicts with your own is a system which is expressing “intolerance” to your belief system.

Not true. Belief systems can conflict without calling for each other's destruction, or discrimination and cruelty against each other's followers.

But the ones that do call for that kind of behavior, like religion calls for discrimination against gays and cruelty towards women, don't have the right to complain about people who they discriminate against (and other non-bigoted allies) not tolerating their discrimination.


> ... discrimination and cruelty against each other's followers.

A belief system is--by definition--discrimination against contrary beliefs, and therefore, followers of those contrary beliefs. And one definition of "cruelty" (e.g. to women - by denying full and free access to abortions) might be the inverse of someone else's definition of "cruelty" (e.g. to unborn children - by aborting them).

Someone can presume that they hold the absolute claim to the "truth" of which side is cruel, and which side is intolerant, but as human beings we simply do not and cannot know the truth of the matter.

So the problem I have is, when faced with such a dilemma, calling for violence against someone in the name of being "intolerant to intolerance".


Is this confounded or bound up with things like fake news or bad science -- would I, if I owned a platform – call it π-Chan –be prohibited from banning users who espoused anti-vax ideas because I firmly believed they put society at risk (or whatever the justification may be)?

I would, on the one hand, be strongly supported by science, but on the other intolerant of others' who have differing points of view. Would I be allowed to run my platform the way I wanted? Whose rights would prevail in that case?


The question is "who do you want to be your consumers" here. Both choices are PR choices. Legally, you're allowed to do either ("neutral platform" and "moderated discourse forum" are both things that are legally allowed to exist in the US at least).

If you want to appease the free speech crowd, you let the anti-vaxers stay (Gratz, you're running a Chan!) If you want to appease the intelligent discourse crowd, you ban/moderate people who violate your TOS (Gratz, you're running something closer to Hacker News!)


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-refuting_idea

And if you can´t see why the above applies, maybe you ought not to use the word "straightforward" anymore because you are clearly not qualified to do so.


Is that the ideological opposite of a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-licking_ice_cream_cone ?


kind of yea!


what if the "unprompted on someone else" is wrong?


Then you have a discussion about whether that is right or wrong, instead of having a discussion about how recursively meta you can go with "intolerance of intolerance of intolerance of intolerance of intolerance of ...".

Call it the "no recursion" rule.

Case in point:

The baker who refuses to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple is intolerant of gays. That is unjustified and wrong.

The gay couple who sues the baker who refuses to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple is intolerant of intolerance. That is justified and right.

The baker is unjustified and wrong to complain about the gay couple's intolerance of his intolerance, because he was unjustifiably intolerant himself, first.


Ok, let me be facetious. Take the baker situation and push it to full overdrive.

Let's say the baker was a victim of sexual abuse and the client was asking to bake a cake rape-themed. (Not in support, you can suppose it was a replica for a documentary let's say). The baker refuses, the client sues, who is the first intolerant?

Another case, a client enter the shop of a muslim baker and asks for a depiction of Allah on a cake. Who is the first intolerant?

Maybe you have answer for all such situations, but how confident are you that a majority agrees in all cases?


I think both these cases are fundamentally different -- the baker can refuse to bake a certain type of cake, on the grounds of religious expression clashing with the cake he is making. However, it's different if he refuses service on the grounds of the type of people he is making the cake for.


and in the actual case the baker refused to write a message on the cake. he was fine with the clients and with the cake.

He only objected to a custom message defying his belief. There are good arguments on both sides. (my stance is sort of about scale as in if he had enough employees to delegate or he was the only cake-maker there)


Oh I was unaware of that. Alright I find that I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision after all!


Isn’t every choice the exclusion of the alternative?


I think it can be simple.

Intolerance is a set of beliefs or behaviors that exclude.

Cake baker would be in the wrong, because he excludes.

It doesn't matter how many people hold an intolerant belief for that belief to be intolerant.


Are you intolerant if you won't let me enter your house? You let your friend enter, thus you exclude me.

Something even what seems simple, isn't so simple.


> beliefs or behaviors that exclude

Exclude, as in a company that excludes a website from their platform? Simple huh.


I get the feeling that most people in this thread citing Popper haven't thought about it very hard.


So nobody can exclude anyone else from anything? That would mean any organization is not free to stipulate who can and cannot be a member of that organization. Is the American Medical Society intolerant for excluding someone who does not believe in vaccines?


Because I'm certain a sizeable proportion of the US population would agree that it is intolerant.

It doesn't matter.

Religious freedom doesn't come before the civil rights of gay people. Gay marriage is the law of the land in the US; if your business can't service the needs of its citizens because of your religious beliefs, perhaps you shouldn't be in a position to be serving the public. It's really that simple.


> Religious freedom doesn't come before...

It's literally the first right in the Bill of Rights. I'm not saying anything about gay rights, just that freedom of expression lays the foundation for all other rights


The Supreme Court disagrees with you, but the other response lays out why that is so.


That's not a particularly good example. When you enter into commerce you step out of the personal space freedom of thought. And you do so in ways that may seem arbitrary. That arbitrariness is accepted as the price of entry. At least by most people with realistic expectations.


The baker case is very very specific, because it came down to the question: Is the cake art? If it is, and your business is to make are, can you be compelled to make art against your beliefs? If I recall, the bake got rid of all custom cakes and got in further trouble for refusing to tell cupcakes to homosexual couples.

But going back to the above post: at one time homosexuality was considered this abhorred plague, just has bad as modern day Neo-Nazism and white supremacy. So who decides what is and isn't acceptable speech?

When you start closing down those roads, you easily squeeze out any descent or ability to form new moral ideas.

In the case of 8chan, you're spreading these people to even more constrained services that amplify their view. You don't get less hate; you just bury it underground and give them they feeling like they're being persecuted. It will make the situation worse, not better.


Your last point seems spot on. The only way to get rid of nazis is to change their minds so they are no longer nazis. It should have been easy to show him that skin color doesn't determine culture or politics and that his actions were going to do nothing but drastically weaken his cause.


I can think of at least one other way to get rid of Nazis, as depicted in the Quentin Tarantino film Inglorious Basterds.


"You don't get less hate; you just bury it underground and give them they feeling like they're being persecuted. It will make the situation worse, not better."

I think the recent rise in white supremacist violence fueled by viral media on mainstream platforms like Youtube and Twitter is a pretty strong argument against this belief. Any content on such large and familiar platforms gets to borrow some sense of legitimacy, and people who consume the content have some plausible deniability. Furthermore, algorithms that favor "engagement" create the exact constrained hate-filled extremist communities you are picturing... but then actively draw users into them from the rest of the platform!

http://facebook.com/l.php?u=https://www.wsj.com/articles/how...

Having this content "above ground" is truly leading to more hate, not just making the existing hate more visible.


> Would you agree that saying that a baker in Colorado must make a cake for a gay wedding is intolerant of the baker's belief?

The whole point of that position is to prevent exactly that society. Where the hate, fear, discomfort, prejudice based intolerance grows to cause a society to degenerate into a sizeable proportion of a population deciding another proportion is morally wrong for preferring their own gender.

The goal of preventing that dysfunction supersedes word games about one type of intolerance being speciously equated to another.


Popper didn't exactly write a massive book on this. It was just a footnote in which he coined a memorable name for it.

> Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.

Popper argued here that we should try rational debate, but reserve the right to use force when debate has become impossible (due to intolerant people using force themselves, refusing to engage in reasonable debates, etc).

The issue isn't tolerance IMO, but the self selective societies that online forums can create.


I would also argue that asking for some minimum level of education/sophistication like the parent poster might qualify as the type of Platonic elitism which Popper was very much opposed to (The Open Society and its Enemies). But then again defining what qualifies as tolerance also has the potential problem Platonic elitism (i.e. who sets the criteria).

It's a pretty tough job to balance freedom of speech and prevent hatebreeding at the same time. There are many philosophical approaches but I'd say that I haven't found one that satisfies me. Currently I'm leaning towards allowing everything in the hope that rationality will win out.

At the end of the day I think it's simply a very tough topic with no clear cut answer.


Very true. He also said that suppression of intolerant ideology is unwise as long as public opinion counters it. 8chan isn't really the center of public opinion.

There were third parties that pointed their fingers to those losers on these boards and now some people lashed out. I don't want to blame anyone besides the murder, but that is the game that is being played.

Being opposed to nazisim wasn't exactly rocket science some years ago, so I don't really can get behind comments pointing to the need for education and that the lack of the latter is reason enough to curb speech.


How do you weigh something like the burka?

On one hand to reject it, you would be intolerant of hundreds of years of tradition.

On the other hand, to permit it is to accept the idea that men are incapable of controlling not sexually assualting a woman and that women ought to be blamed for their own victimization. This is clearly intolerant of women being full members of society.

Either way, permitting or banning the burka is intolerant.

Then you arrive at that whole legal concept of reasonable discrimination, because property laws discriminate against thieves. But what is reasonable here?

I'm fond of the idea of only tolerating tolerance, but how do you deal with these edge cases? If you rigidly adhere to that tolerance-uber-allis belief, how long until you end up jailing people for following ancient but intolerant traditions? How long until you end up with Chinese style muslim re-education camps? This isn't a troll, this is actually one of my own philosophical conundrums. I believe in a vacuum that people would be happier not following those ancient intolerant schemas, but I don't see that as the situation in the present day.


The solution to Burqa is not to make it illegal, but to educate future generations.

Burqa wearing woman don't harm anyone but themselves.

I don't understand how wearing Burqa is different from something like being Amish.

Should we make that illegal too?


> If the woman want to wear Burka, it should be within their rights.

What if there are robbers targeting fuel stations and 7-11 stores or mugging people on the street, using burka's and the entire black garment to cover their intent on approach and foil any video surveillance?

How many such incidents would it take before you would consider that Burka's ought to be banned in public spaces? Let's up the stakes and say the robberies were violent; how many people would have to die before you banned burkhas?


Are we talking hypothetically? Because as of right now I cannot find any stats on burqa attacks in the states but people are robbing 7-11 stores every day without burqa anyways.


Netherlands just banned the Burkha in public spaces for this reason (among others).

In Australia bike helmets are banned in 7-11, Fuel stations, Banks, Pubs, Casino's, Festivals etc for the same reason.

The point I am making is that you can't ignore the possibility of bad actors now or in the future. There are layers of cultural differences and social mores and in a multicultural society you can't just import one aspect of a culture without considering the foundations and layers on top.


You can’t ban people’s right to be in public anonymously because a few crazies will use it to commit crimes. The solution of banning those measures is nearly equivalent to saying “all humans should be under 24/7 surveillance in public by the state for their own good”


I'm curious to know your stance on the right to bear arms.


In the context of American culture it seems like a significant fraction of citizens wish to own and bear arms. That desire which exists within those citizens has deep cultural and historical roots.

But export that same cultural desire via a migrant American residing in almost any other country in the world and it would seem out of place in the context of the local culture. People would be weird out by the creepy American who insists on keeping guns in his or her house.

Same goes for the Burkha. Take it out of context of it's deep historical and cultural context in it's birthplace and it is an anachronism; like taking Mt Fuji and placing in the middle of Saudi Arabia.


> should tolerate everything except intolerance

By which definition the first person crying "intolerance!" wins - now they can be intolerant for free, because they are just intolerating intolerance, but their opponents can't be. I don't think such model can be defined as "drawing a fine line" - more like providing a rich field for rhetorical abuse, as long as you can excuse your own intolerance by casting whoever you target as "intolerant" you yourself get a free pass for anything. Very convenient, of course, but to me it looks like a cheap trick.


Thank you, I thought I was taking crazy pills until I encountered your sane comment in this maelstrom of illogic.


I have a simplistic test when it comes to hate. I take the part of the message that identity the target and I change it to the opposite side of the political spectrum. If the comment/speech still sound like hate then it is hate. Thus my definition for intolerance is intolerance when it is independent of the reader/authors opinion about the target.

A lot of people disprove of this approach, arguing that by doing so we ignore the oppressed or helping the oppressors, and thus we end up with different view about intolerance.


They're not disproving your approach: they're admitting tacitly that they have no moral compass in these matters apart from "evening up the score".


societies should tolerate everything except intolerance

That is a nice ideal to strive for, but the problem is that one person’s idea of tolerance is another’s intolerance. Example: people in the Valley love to think of themselves as “tolerant”. But most outside the Valley view actions like those taken against Brendan Eich of Firefox and the firing of James Damore of Google as examples of extreme intolerance. Defenders of these actions would argue that they are defending tolerance, because the Valley viewed these people as being intolerant. Defenders of the individuals involved here would argue that these actions show the Valley is extraordinarily intolerant of any view that even slightly differs from their own.

It’s a thorny issue. I absolutely detest 8chan and most of the speech on it. Most normal people would. But I also recognize their right to exist, at least in a country that holds the concept of freedom of speech in such high regard.


> It was used to justify, depending on the period and country, not allowing people to vote on the basis that they didn't have enough revenue, didn't own enough land, couldn't read and write well enough, etc.

Democracy was basically conceived of as a pen-and-paper version of blockchain, where the goal was to create a balance between private property rights and the redistribution of wealth. Allowing people without proof-of-stake to vote wouldn't have made any sense in the beginning given that no one had any idea how the system would work. Keep in mind that the government was basically distributing free property to people as fast as possible so that more people could vote, and only stopped doing that once the country ran out of land.

Even today, most people wouldn't want to live in a system where millions of people could just show up for vacation for a couple days, vote to give themselves ownership of all the country's assets, and then leave.


>It draws a fine line between what's acceptable speech and what is not. And going by it, things like 8chan should get shut down.

I agree with most of your post, but on this particular point...

"First they came for the imageboards, and I did not speak out because I did not post on imageboards. Then they came for my facebooks, and zomg how did this happen?"

8chan is just an anonymous imageboard, similar to thousands of others online currently. It happens to have the characteristic of allowing creation of new imageboards in a similar way to Reddit allowing anyone to create subreddits. This characteristic has made it one of the most popular imageboards.

Much like the solution for Reddit was to shut down individual subreddits and ban particular posters, and the solution for Facebook was to close down individual groups and ban particular accounts, the solution for 8chan is to shut down individual boards and ban particular posters.

>Popper's tolerance criteria, by contrast, seems clearcut in a you know it when you see it kind of way.

This breaks down quickly when faced with a current example: Some folks oppose immigration of people that follow religions which espouse intolerance. Via your measure, this is justified. But many I think disagree with that stance, so how can this be resolved?


> clearcut in a you know it when you see it kind of way.

"clearcut" and "you know it when you see it" seem like polar opposite concepts to me.


If you know something the very moment you see it, then that fact is "clear" to you. That is the general meaning of "clearcut".


Clearcut is something that is easily / sharply defined. If you only know something when you see it then that thing is by its very nature not easily defined / loosely defined. These are opposite things. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it


Hmm, I see I was wrong.


You make some great points. Let me also ask you a devil's advocate question.

"Let's go to oarabbus_'s house at <DOXXED ADDRESS> and kill him" is not protected speech, correct? I am sure everyone agrees upon this.

But "Let's attack folks who are <oarabbus_'s ethnicity> as they are a scourge upon our nation" is protected? Why?


That is not protected speech. The 'attack' is the keyword. Therefore, supremacist groups typically say "<oarabbus_'s ethnicity> is destroying <oarabbus_'s country of residence>" which is legal. They're just connecting the dots the only way they know how.


Yes, it is. The nuance he was intentionally illustrating is the basis of our entire law. The one key exception to freedom of speech is speech that will, with high certainty, provoke "imminent lawless action."

And this is something that is interpreted in the most literal and conservative fashion possible. In his former statement he has a specific target, time, and location. It is extremely likely that his behavior will result in imminent unlawful action. By contrast condemning a large group lacks any specificity and is, in and of itself, not likely to suddenly drive any specific unlawful action.


Obviously the only relevant opinion is that of a judge, but... nope.

I would say 'Let's kill <ethnicity>' as a standalone statement is illegal in every western country.


Issues similar to this have been brought up in the courts many times, and they almost invariably (sexual obscenity is one exception) yield lopsided results in favor of the 'offender.' One random recent case is Elonis vs the United States [1]. Elonis made statements online suggesting a desire to kill his estranged wife, later on kindergarten children, and then after that an FBI agent that had visited him in relation to the threat against children.

He claimed it was art and he was only expressing himself and not attempting to threaten or intimidate the individuals/groups in question, even though he was aware they would likely interpret it as threats. This is really a million times more threatening that some vague expression against an ethnicity. The supreme court ruled 8-1 in his favor. The US Supreme Court is extremely supportive of free speech, including the most detestable.

As an aside the links on the scotusblog are extremely high quality and provide lots of plain language analysis of the technical points. A phenomenal resource for any case or issue you're ever interested in learning about the legal nuances behind. For instance this [2] is their coverage of the 'gay cake' case.

[1] - https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/elonis-v-united-...

[2] - https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/masterpiece-cake...


> He claimed it was art and he was only expressing himself and not attempting to threaten or intimidate the individuals/groups in question, even though he was aware they would likely interpret it as threats. This is really a million times more threatening that some vague expression against an ethnicity. The supreme court ruled 8-1 in his favor. The US Supreme Court is extremely supportive of free speech, including the most detestable.

In this context it was not indeed a standalone statement.

from the wikipedia page indeed his statements are quite general and in a sense artistic. He did not argue for killing his ex-wife, there is no reading where he could encourage others to kill his ex-wife.

He really had a wish for it and was talking about it.

From what is reported in the wikipedia article even something like "I think it is a good idea to kill my ex-wife" would have been too much.


In America, it’s protected.


the "Let's" part is literally an encouragement. Surely it can be made legal (e.g. by obvious irony). In a case like Elonis v. United States the defense was that the statements where more of "I have a wish to kill X" instead of "I/you/we/they should kill X".


I’m sure you can come up with some situation where it’s not protected.


“Let’s attack” is generally the indicator here, and where we draw the line both morally and functionally. For example - there’s been very few partisan attacks on democrats despite the absolutely virulent “they’re destroying the country” speech from every conservative news sphere (and vice versa). Pundits have learned to walk that line because that has been the line that actual violence starts. 8chan has no filter or moderation on that. We see the results.


Not a lawyer. But I don’t think it’s protected when it’s said with such specificity. “I hate ethnicity <X>” is probably protected.


Not a lawyer either, but it's formally called The Brandenburg Test:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_v._Ohio

"The Court held that government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless that speech is 'directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.'"


One would want strong evidence for such a likelihood, of course. Evidence such as, for example, it having already done so three times before.


Steve Scalise's assassination was attempted by a radical anti-Trumper, Antifa has cracked open skills and sent people to the hospital. We have strong evidence that anti-Trump Facebook groups and subreddits cause real-world violence.


The exception in this standard is for "likely" and "imminent" violence. There are also exceptions for the commission of a crime, but then the crime has to be committed, and thus the intent.

Episode 8 of the "Make No Law" First Amendment podcast has an excellent explanation of the difference between the two. That episode is a Q&A and covers other great topics as well. The entire podcast is excellent if you want a good, baseline understand on the exceptions to US first amendment law and why/how they are so narrowly defined.


It's not: you are planning direct violence in a clear, present, and imminent context.


Exactly. Its very hard to claim that one is just putting stuff out on "the marketplace of ideas", when in reality, losing ground to an ideology that places people who have non-majority skin color, sexuality or religious views (or lack thereof) below the majority is simply dangerous to any minority, and should not be allowed to fester. This is not just about ideas, its about refusing others the full rights of personhood. And that should not stand in any ethical society.


What you speak of is one way of administering a society, but it certainly isn't anything close to free speech.


> Personally I'm in agreement with Popper's view that societies should tolerate everything except intolerance.

This is incorrect. Popper does not say intolerance should not be permitted, he said that we should not extend unlimited tolerance, and he expands by saying that only intolerance that cannot be countered by rational debate should be impermissible. Clearly escalation to violence is a form of intolerance that cannot be countered by rational debate but it's not clear at all what else should fall under this criteria.

This is clearly a very different claim that does not support your narrative, and instead, shows how your view is just another form of intolerance that we should oppose.


I’m not familiar with Popper’s work, but I see that quote (“tolerate everything but intolerance”) used to rationalize intolerance toward perfectly tolerant individuals. Any evidence that the target is “intolerant” suffices, no matter how tenuous or contrived (“an intolerant person once said a good thing about <target> therefore <target> is intolerant). This seems similar to the concern you expressed about the GP’s philosophy. Did Popper lay out more stringent criteria for what constitutes “tolerance” and “intolerance”?


> societies should tolerate everything except intolerance

I disagree.

Societies are held together by common moral standards. Intolerance of anti-social/moral behaviour (compared to the accepted standard) should be accepted, even encouraged.

One of the reasons the US is falling apart at the seams is because of the 'as long as I want to do it, I should be allowed to" attitude. People don't care what others think.

An extreme (of sorts) is Japanese society... if you are out of line expect that you will hear about it immediately from many people and the negative consequences of bad behaviour can be very broad and long lasting.


That sort of intolerant social pressure also led to a famously high suicide rate and a culture of workaholism that led to a word for “death by working too much”

Antisocial behaviours included women going to work and homosexuality in the past btw


Which is why I called it 'extreme'.

I'm not advocating Japan's strict societal ideology, just pointing out that Western society's "intolerance is bad" (i.e. therefore I can give "zero fucks" about my bad behaviour) is also a problem.



Why should people tolerate things which they don't think it's in their interest to tolerate? If, for example, people believe it's harmful to their children to see people performing sexual acts in the street, why should they tolerate that behavior?


Are you aware of anyone in this thread, or of any major national movement, advocating for a tolerance-based right to perform sexual acts in public in front of children? Looking past the strange and extreme strawman you've propped up, the reasons for tolerance in society are multitudinous. It prevents misunderstanding, fear, and hatred from festering and potentially giving rise to violence.

As a simple thought experiment ask yourself the following question. How many individuals hailing from tolerant communities or organizations have you seen commit mass shootings? Contrast that to the number of individuals committing public violence who hold intolerance as a virtue. Public violence is a serious negative for everyone and its prevention should be reason enough to support tolerance as a basic tenet of societal health. The fact of the matter, no matter who might dislike it, is that modern societies are, for the most part, very diverse. Without tolerance for differences violence is a forgone conclusion in the modern world.


>Without tolerance for differences violence is a forgone conclusion in the modern world.

What makes you think that violence is not a foregone conclusion if you start prohibiting people from expressing their genuinely held political beliefs or advocating for what they see as their interests?


I encourage you to look twice at your question - I believe that, under close scrutiny, you will see that it contains its own answer.

No one is advocating for prohibiting people from peacefully expressing their genuinely-held political beliefs in ways that do not infringe on the rights of others in public (unless you want to count the multitudes of minority voters who are regularly removed from voting rolls by GOP lawmakers or subjected to onerous identification requirements and other intimidation tactics...). If a person's "genuinely-held political beliefs" involve racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., and if said person "genuinely believes" that the appropriate way to exert their opinion upon society is to discriminate against the people they hate or even inflict violence upon them, then they are crossing a line established by our societal norms and threatening the stability of society itself.

If a person's genuinely held political beliefs lead them to enact discrimination or violence upon others then they have placed themselves outside of society and are by definition not valid input sources for determining societal norms and laws.


>No one is advocating for prohibiting people from peacefully expressing their genuinely-held political beliefs in ways that do not infringe on the rights of others in public

OK, but some people are arguing for an expansion of some of those "rights of others" to include not being offended by political speech.

>If a person's "genuinely-held political beliefs" involve racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., and if said person "genuinely believes" that the appropriate way to exert their opinion upon society is to discriminate against the people they hate or even inflict violence upon them

I'm not talking about anyone actually discriminating against anyone or inflicting violence on them. I'm talking about people merely expressing their beliefs, which may include advocating for discrimination or the use of physical force.

>If a person's genuinely held political beliefs lead them to enact discrimination or violence upon others then they have placed themselves outside of society

Right, if they've broken the laws against such behavior, they've placed themselves outside of society. However, advocating for, for example, changing laws to allow such behavior is not currently against the law, and I don't think it should be.


Tolerance isn't the absence of rules, tolerance is leaving some space between what is undesirable and what is forbidden.

Which is why I don't understand why people think you can't be tolerant towards intolerance. There's plenty of room between what I think counts as intolerance and what I think should be forbidden by law.


Popper's quote is often quite misconstrued. Here it is, in context:

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal."

He is specifically framing the issue as one where an ideology goes outside of the realm of debate and on to violence. So for instance an ideology that says 'attack migrants' is obviously something that should be suppressed because these people have skipped the whole debate step and instead appointed themselves judge, jury, and executioner. But, by contrast, an ideology that argues for reasons why unchecked migration may be unhealthy for a society and lobbies for according change is something some may consider intolerant, but is quite obviously not what he was referring to. On the other hand, he would certainly have been opposed to Antifa which, though ostensibly fighting against intolerance, have once again appointed themselves judge, jury, and executioner and have 0 interest in debate or discussion or their views.


> On the other hand, he would certainly have been opposed to Antifa which, though ostensibly fighting against intolerance, have once again appointed themselves judge, jury, and executioner and have 0 interest in debate or discussion or their views.

With all due respect, "Antifa" in their use of the word is almost completely a straw man created by the extreme right to justify their insane and violent behavior. A couple people throwing milkshakes at intolerant political extremists in Portland doesn't equivocate to me with a group of people that are using stochastic terrorism tactics to murder hundreds of people. I sincerely doubt he would have made a both sides argument here with a weak resistance movement that hasn't even killed a single person yet. They're so nonviolent in comparison that the alt right has to create false information about their tactics (for example the "fast drying concrete in the milkshakes" lie that was completely false).


I don't think there is any respect in this reply.

> They're so nonviolent in comparison that the alt right has to create false information about their tactics (for example the "fast drying concrete in the milkshakes" lie that was completely false).

Literally it was a police officer who saw and reported "what looked like" quick drying concrete.

> lie that was completely false

There were people associated with antifa publicizing this.

> I sincerely doubt he would have made a both sides argument here with a weak resistance movement that hasn't even killed a single person yet.

There is no "both side" there is violent extremists, whether they agree or not between themselves is irrelevant.

> hasn't even killed a single person yet.

Is this seriously the threshold for political violence and abandoning political rationality? (And anyway after Tacoma it is not for a lack of trying).

Right now what I see is one side being allowed with mainstream opinion of defending political violence. Antifa is performing political violence. Throwing a milkshake is not self-defense, it is political violence. Alt-right extremism is also political violence. I only see despicable people in both groups. I see no reasons why one side faults should excuse the other.


By equating "milkshake throwing" with the violence of the alt-right (using guns to murder tens/hundreds of innocent civilians) you portray both sides as equal when one side has clearly done something that is much more morally reprehensible.

This form of "enlightened centrism" is insidious because while it claims to be "neutral" and "unbiased", in reality, it artificially gives a moral advantage to one side (in this case the alt-right). It also ignores that sometimes sacrifices are necessary for the greater good.

Do you disagree with either of the following two points?

1. Even if milkshake throwing is bad, it is objectively less bad than shooting innocent civilians.

2. The "political violence" committed by the left is much smaller compared to the political violence committed by the right.


Are you unaware that of the two mass shootings that occurred in the US yesterday, one of them was perpetrated by a self-described 'leftist, anime fan, and metalhead' that supported Antifa?


I literally see no reason to compare them. Not one.

To answer: 1. true 2. agree.

So What?

The only thing you are doing is painting a romantic ideal of antifa as freedom fighters, robin hoods of the people. Stop. They answer violence with violence.


For me, the crux of the matter is that people use Antifa to claim that both the left and the right engage in equal amounts of violence or that both are equally morally bad/good.

I was pointing out that this isn't the case since Antifa uses several orders of magnitude less violence than its right-wing counterparts. Thus, antifa cannot be used to justify the statement that "the left and right are morally equivalent".

I never painted antifa in a romantic light, my point about sacrifices being made for the greater good was in reference to policies that help minorities at the cost of harming the majority.


> For me, the crux of the matter is that people use Antifa to claim that both the left and the right engage in equal amounts of violence or that both are equally morally bad/good.

For me that's simply irrelevant, because how "bad" your enemy is doesn't give you any additional leeway. You can use violence to directly prevent greater violence, for example in self-defense. Throwing milk-shakes at someone achieves nothing. Even when a murderer is arrested, the cops don't get to spit at them while they wait for trial. It doesn't matter in the least how bad a person is. It's a red herring from the word go, due process and same rights for all is a very clear standard, and normalizing violating it because "others are worse", leaves us with nothing.


How conveniently you forget how Steve Scalise was shot, how Bike Lock Man cracked open an old man's skull(and got away with probation), and many other things. The neonazis have done shootings, but the far left attempted to assassinate a senator. Both are pretty bad.


Sooner or later I would seriously need a list of trustworthy citations for the plethora of cases of antifa violence.


> The neonazis have done shootings, but the far left attempted to assassinate a senator.

Gabby Giffords would like a word with you about assassination attempts from right wingers. Or is she only a representative?


I am saying both are violent, not that one's violence excuses the other or that they are perfect moral equivalents.


There is also the danger that if you keep equating Antifa with the right wing extremists shooting people you create a space on the ultra left for people who would do those things and I’m sure in any large movement those people are there.

It’s not like left wing groups haven’t done horrible things in decades past.

That said at the moment in the US it’s pretty clear that the body count (literal) is piling up on the right wing side.

Honestly if people could just stop shooting people for stupid reasons it would be awesome.

As an external observer it seems like the US is slowly sliding towards a worse state of affairs, the government seems unable to get it in hand, dangerous times.

Not much better over in the UK either, we have the ever present threat of the islamists, the border question in Northern Ireland hanging over everyone’s heads (I’m just old enough to to remember the IRA blowing up town centres on the mainland) and a group of people who are seriously pissed off brexit hasn’t happened yet, We already had a lovely MP shot to death by a right wing nut bag and there is a really ugly mood, people are really pissed off with the present state of affairs and another recession caused by economic fallout of brexit could light the touch paper.

I think there is a significant (though small) chance we’ll see troops on the streets peacekeeping over the next two years.


Side note: I find the dismissal of the milkshakes to be a very disingenuous tactic.

From a group that promotes the idea that speech can be violence, the act of throwing any sort of projectile at anyone should be classified as a violent act without qualification.

You could argue that those milkshakes are also a form of stochastic terrorism as it demonstrates that those politicians are vulnerable. So those with the desire can reach them with something other than a milkshake.

I don't want to hear about how milkshakes aren't violence.

I want to hear why that violence is acceptable. Because, deep down, according to your actions, you think that sometimes violence is necessary.


A couple people throwing milkshakes at intolerant political extremists in Portland...

How about Antifa putting the journalist Andy Ngo in the hospital? Or the professor who hit a guy in the head with a bike lock?

a weak resistance movement that hasn't even killed a single person yet.

Congressman Steve Scalise couldn't be reached for comment.


"Congressman Steve Scalise couldn't be reached for comment."

Steve Scalise is alive... I just googled his wikipedia page.[0]

[0]. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Scalise


He got shot, but not killed, so you are technically correct in stating that he is alive. I guess you totally defeated the parent commenter's point, good thing the shooters didn't have good aim, right?


I take the OP's original point to be that far-right ideological extremists have targeted, injured, and killed orders of magnitude more people than far-left ideological extremists during the last few years, which seems to me to be incontrovertible without resort to sophistry. Also, given that the larger context of this discussion is terrorist attacks rather than political confrontations that turned violent, it's relevant to ask "how many random bystanders have been killed when self-identified white supremacists opened fire on crowds vs. bystanders killed when self-identified 'antifa' have done so."


There's an interesting parallel here by Nassim Taleb, author of several books the most famous of which might be The Black Swan. In this article, a chapter from an in-progress book, he contends that the most intolerant faction will eventually come to dominate. In the article he's talking about extremist Muslims but it could just as easily be extremist Christians or extremist white nationalists.

https://medium.com/incerto/the-most-intolerant-wins-the-dict...


Indeed his example is Julian the Apostate


thank you so much for putting the Popper quote here. This is the first I have heard of it, but it sounds very reasonable.


Superficially, it does sound quite reasonable. The problem is that the quote itself is a call for people to abandon rational debate and use violence, not just against targets who have themselves eschewed debate for violence but against "any movement preaching intolerance". Whilst his justification is that those movements might themselves eschew debate for violence, he very specifically does not restrict this to movements which have done so or even threatened to do so.

So for instance, Poppler's paradox is easily used to justify violent intolerance of anyone who opposes unchecked immigration. Not only are they preaching intolerance, but people with very similar-sounding views are actually violently attacking immigrants so it's easy to justify the claim that those ones might as well.


The reason I offered Popper's entire quote is because while I do think many people use it as are you suggesting, his quote makes it quite clear that is not what he is suggesting. He is speaking of an intolerant view as one that is intolerant of alternative views. In other words a view that:

- refuses to debate or discuss its merits and values

- refuses to meaningfully consider or discuss alternatives

- responds to discussion with aggression

The book which includes his quote was published in 1945, Popper was of Jewish ancestry, and the book was speaking primarily about avoiding totalitarianism. His philosophy should be taken in that context. People are manipulating his quote to try to justify intolerance of anything except their own world view, but it is this exact sort of totalitarianism he was suggesting that may imperil an open and free society. In particular he also defined an open society as one "in which individuals are confronted with personal decisions" as opposed to a "magical or tribal or collectivist society."

Intolerance trends towards a closed society where you believe what you are supposed to believe, or face the consequences. Tolerance trends towards an open society where individuals may not agree, but are free to express themselves and challenge one another on any view or value.


I think the key mitigation is:

  >  "I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument"
But I understand your point. To that end, attacking illegal immigrants would be "intolerant". But what about advocating their arrest and deportation?


Then it turns into a game (game theory, not Risk) of whom defines "intolerance". And once duly defined, it is now verboten and removed from discussion and vernacular.

Hot button topics: capitalism, abortion, religion, right vs left, states rights

I think the founders had it better: govt can't censor speech, so the individuals and the public could decide. Just, the framers didn't imagine companies of such scope.


[flagged]


Is it your understanding that 100% of the followers of Islam are intolerant? There has never been a single person who identifies as Islamic who has been tolerant?


Please don't reply to egregious comments (a.k.a. please don't feed the trolls). This is in the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html. Instead, flag the comment by clicking on its timestamp to go to its page, then click 'flag' at the top. (There's a small karma threshold before flag links appear.)


My main issue with this line of reasoning is that it feels largely emotion driven. Even if communities with zero moderation do offer more likely spaces for extremist thoughts to develop and become action, I can't claim I've seen a broad academic consensus that sacrificing current free speech rights would actually solve or otherwise impact the problem in a meaningful way.

I don't think communities that turn a blind eye to hatespeech are wholly innocent, especially in light of how many threads downright enourage people thinking of taking violent action, but if we take a step back this doesn't seem wholly different from blaming violent video games for glamorizing gun violence or blaming rap music for gang culture. There's a reason that most people, including racists/bigots/etc. don't go on shooting sprees or run people over with cars. Handwaving the problem as a free speech issue ignores the long spans of time we weren't seeing these trends in spite of having the same rights to speech we have now. I don't know what the right answer is, but censorship affects everybody so it seems like it should be the last solution considered imo.


> but if we take a step back this doesn't seem wholly different from blaming violent video games for glamorizing gun violence or blaming rap music for gang culture.

One big difference is that generally video games don't claim that mexicans are trying in invade USA right now. They are violent, but they are not trying to convince you to take gun and kill real people. Unlike members of community we talk about right now, that have that political Goal and executed that political goal.

It is difference between Der Stürmer and Sherlock Holmes crime story. One of them claims to contain real stories. One of them is going out of its way to convince people to be violent while the other is going out of its way to be fun.

> There's a reason that most people, including racists/bigots/etc. don't go on shooting sprees or run people over with cars.

Yes. Most racists/bigots believe in own superiority, but do not actually believe Latinos are mortal threat that requires immediate action. You may believe they are dumber without perceiving them as acute threat or being so afraid.

That has to do with them not living exclusively in extremist bubble, but instead consuming different media.

And even those who do are in fact afraid to throw away their lives completely just like that.


Free speech isn't currently threatened here; providers are just exercising their freedom of association.

I also think waiting for "academic consensus" to act is not the neutral position it seems. Skepticism in the face of a pressing concern is not neutral, but instead acts to support the status quo. [1]

If we don't do something, more people will die. Possibly a lot more people. Academics have documented the dramatic rise in online radicalization. [2] Violent radicals themselves have described how online fora have pushed them towards extremism. So if you're going to argue a wait-and-see approach, I think you have to justify the bodies that will stack up in the meantime.

[1] https://twitter.com/jichikawa/status/1134323822096658433

[2] E.g., https://www.amazon.com/Alt-America-Rise-Radical-Right-Trump/... and the many resources it points to.


> Free speech isn't currently threatened here; providers are just exercising their freedom of association.

This is an empty argument. Literally it can be transposed as saying that not employing people of a certain race is just freedom of association.

I do not dispute your point, it is just that this specific claim is meaningless.


It's entirely meaningful. These people can still post whatever terrible garbage they want on their own privately hosted sites. The government is not intervening; neither is any other powerful group. It's just that some people don't want to host 8chan anymore given its body count.

Not employing people of a certain race is also freedom of association. But since freedom from racial discrimination is something we also value, sometimes that wins.


There are other ways to deal with this than censorship. Why are there not FBI agents in /pol/ on 8chan actively chasing up leads on people who are threatening violence? It seems actually useful that these people are willing to make these kind of plans in the public eye. Force them underground and behind encryption and it will be harder to monitor.

Does anyone know how law enforcement engages with places like 8chan?

Instead of curtailing free speech and pushing for censorship (which will have anti-humanitarian effects soon enough), why not enforce the laws already on the books and investigate people who threaten violence online?


Maybe there will be less monitoring. But with a lack of easily available places to congregate, the assholes will find it much more difficult to recruit, organize, and build their organization. This stagnates or reduces their membership numbers.

Also, it sends a great signal to anyone who might think of joining: that this ideology is so terrible that it's being chased off of the internet. That even the hands-off companies like Reddit and Cloudflare are rejecting it.

Sure, there will be a few who are attracted to it because it is so reviled, but many more will be repulsed. There's a reason why the hate groups did everything they could to be more appealing to the mainstream. Being forced back into the underground essentially means defeat.

As far as monitoring goes, I don't think it will make much of an impact. These are not difficult groups to infiltrate. Generally speaking, they're not the best and the brightest. Their opsec is poor. Activist groups have infiltrated many of them and have posted the discord transcripts. I'm sure the FBI, and other organizations, have gone even further than that.


The idea isn't to curtail people's freedom to assembly. It's to stop mass shootings. As much as you dislike it, people are free to organize and discuss whatever they want. They just aren't allowed to commit violence.


I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I was describing how de-platforming by private companies would weaken them while not making them substantially harder to monitor.

Of course, they still have their constitutional rights of speech and assembly. But without the signal boost provided by private companies, they'll be in a far weaker position.


>Sure, there will be a few who are attracted to it because it is so reviled, but many more will be repulsed. There's a reason why the hate groups did everything they could to be more appealing to the mainstream. Being forced back into the underground essentially means defeat.

This is correct, it's the very essence of the southern strategy. As Lee Atwater once said (censorship mine, dunno HN's policy about this type of language) [0]:

>You start out in 1954 by saying, "N-----, n-----, n-----." By 1968 you can't say "n-----" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "N-----, n-----."

If you join a forum and start saying "N-----, n-----, n-----", you'll probably get banned right away. But if you're talking about crime statistics and totally true stories that totally happened to you which just so happen to feature minorities as the antagonists, your dogwhistling might be allowed, and that can serve as a valuable recruiting tactic as people who don't realize it's a dogwhistle read "sources" you provide and fall down a racist rabbit hole. (Even if someone doesn't buy into these ideas right away, planting that seed can bear fruit someday - maybe they've been unsuccessful getting a job for awhile and are really frustrated, then they remember the links they were sent long ago, and suddenly it doesn't seem so unreasonable...)

[0]: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Southern_strategy#It.27s_about...


> Why are there not FBI agents in /pol/ on 8chan actively chasing up leads on people who are threatening violence? There are. And not only on 8chan.


>Why are there not FBI agents in /pol/ on 8chan actively chasing up leads on people who are threatening violence?

>https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D9OzsEqUYAACo4H.png:large


Because they're busy spreading Russian interference propaganda.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20201868 https://ceinquiry.wordpress.com/2019/06/17/fbi-8chan/


>Why are there not FBI agents in /pol/ on 8chan actively chasing up leads on people who are threatening violence?

They might be, or they might not be. They tend to keep their mouths shut during active investigations, if people found out the FBI was actively subpoenaing the site they might be inclined to stop giving them more evidence. (That is, the FBI could have developed a public-private honeypot partnership for all we know.)

And many times people aren't espousing direct, actionable threats. Talking about "international bankers" and "globalists" is protected speech, saying they control the world is protected speech, and saying something needs to be done about this is also protected speech - as long as they don't get specific (i.e. "we should fight back, let's meet up at <place> on <date/time>"), they can't do much about it. So you have people constantly agreeing about how "Zionists" are a threat to "the west" and that "something" needs to happen, egging on each others hate with various hoaxes, reactionary takes and praising Hitler, and finally someone snaps. Despite these people clearly being partially responsible for encouraging one of their members to violence, none of them will get in trouble because they never gave direct threats or incitements.


> Despite these people clearly being partially responsible for encouraging one of their members to violence, none of them will get in trouble because they never gave direct threats or incitements.

That's legal for very important reasons. People have a right to freedom of speech and the right to assembly. They don't have a right to commit murder. There's a huge leap from complaining about something to committing violence in real life. The latter is rightfully illegal and the former is rightfully legal (in the United States).


There's rumblings that FBI are hesitant to investigate Trump's base because it will affect their careers.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/fbi-faces-s...


Your argument effectively says: 'people are too stupid to be trusted with their freedom'.

I get that this is an unpopular opinion, but bad things will happen if people are to be free.


Back in the 90's I think ours was the popular opinion. It's gross to see it fade so fast.

I get companies taking a stand for who they accept as a customer. It makes me feel really icky when I see suggestions that the first amendment get even more asterisks next to it.


But smart enough to carry guns, eh?


Huh? The conversation is currently about speech, not guns.


[flagged]


Heh, is that supposed to shut this conversation down? Genocides get started, because people can express themselves freely? Really?


No, genocide happened because people believed that another group would do terrible things if given the opportunity. Not freedom, but the belief that others will misuse their freedom.


Who are those hypothetical people that would do those horrible things given the opportunity. I hate hypotheticals.


Hitler believed Jews were a cancer[1] to Germany and had to be stopped.

[1] AFAIK Hitler had a very living image of Germany as a singular ideological organical being and truly though of those he tried to eliminate as a dangerous infection.


Ahh, yes. US is the spitting image of a country ravaged by WW1, with its government in shambles and crushing reparations. The similarities just impossible to ignore.


No, they are not. The reasons behind the horrors of nazi germany where probably unique in many way. but not all genocides need to look the same.

It is significantly silly to say it cannot happen just because it cannot happen in the same way.

That said I believe a new genocide is impossible in the US in the coming year. This won't stop a violent escalation fo the rhetoric.


Great. We agree. If you believe it is impossible, why do you appear to be arguing for subverting US foundations?


I am not, I am arguing that the rhetoric "if we do not restrain their freedom bad things will happen" is dangerous and with dangerous precedents.


I agree. It is dangerous, but I also happen to think that attempting add asterisks to individual freedom runs counter to the spirit of this country. More than that, I believe that few dead bodies matter less than individual freedoms, as sad as those deaths are. We come at this argument from different perspectives.


#godwinslaw


To be fair the article is about banning a site in part to nazi influences.


Agreed.


>The concept of freedom of speech falls apart if universally reprehensible speech is allowed to be publicaly espoused without being firmly challenged.

There is no such thing as universally reprehensible speech and, frankly, this is a dangerous line of thought. What is and is not acceptable is fundamentally tied to localized social norms.

Further, there is plenty of challenge on these forums, in fact arguably more so than forums like Reddit, because their very nature is antagonistic and contrarian.

>Unchecked extremism compounded by more unchecked extremism inevitably leads to scenarios like the ones we’re witnessing more and more often.

Terrorism of all flavors existed long before the internet and it's frequency has waxed and waned over the years. The drivers of this very recent trend have far more behind them than simple incubation on forums - like the dismissal of legitimate concerns by demonizing, blanket epithets like "racist" and "xenophobic". The recent growth of populism cannot be explained by the tiny minority of posters on the chans.

While the extreme actions of these recent attacks are reprehensible, if you read these manifestos, they highlight genuine problems which are deliberately ignored by "left" leaning politicians and media, although because of today's growing polarization of society, the only discussions of such issues that surface publically are mixed heavily with extreme views and extreme solutions, and the average person begins to equate, say, immigration control, with extremist racism, which is neither rational nor good for society.


So the solution then, should be to socialize people in such a way that such views do get challenged.

The alternatives, where we have gatekeepers like Google and Facebook entirely deciding what is permissible speech, is too far to the other extreme.


>So the solution then, should be to socialize people in such a way that such views do get challenged.

Which is precisely the opposite of what these major corporate speech platforms are doing by creating filter bubbles and deplatforming wrong thinkers.

It's the same as sending small time/non violent criminals to prison to incubate with hardened violent criminals.

"We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured."

-MLK


I'm sorry, but are you really saying that Google and Facebook who have gunned no one down, is the counter-extreme to shooting folks up?


Of course you are misunderstanding the parent.

But to go with your interpretation: If you ask the victims of the Arab spring[1], fb is no better than 8chan. Also YouTube did a bad job in containing Islamic state propaganda early on [2].

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media_and_the_Arab_Sp...

[2] https://www.hsdl.org/c/what-does-isis-post-on-youtube/


You're assuming these people socialize at all.


they are on a forum, I would say that is a base enough.


Several of these extremist sites even forbid and censor attempts at calm, level-headed rebuttals to such hatred. They exist solely to propagate bigotry.

The dog and pony show from Google and Cloudflare of only stepping in after multiple mass shootings and tons of press coverage tells you all you really need to know about these companies' ethics. They react to sufficiently bad PR, not out of any set of principles, be they either freedom of speech (keeping these sites online) or reducing harm (deplatforming.)


Yes, it proves that they believe in ethical behavior and recognize that "deplatforming" is very dangerous because you never know when your message will fall out of favor. Only when it provably causes violence should action be taken against speech.


>Several of these extremist sites even forbid and censor attempts at calm, level-headed rebuttals to such hatred

I'm gonna need something citations on being "forbid" or "censor' when posting on these sites. Plenty of people get rebuttaled and turn opinion in threads all the time.


Example:

The_Donald, Reddit's Trump supporter forum bans any speech that is critical of Trump.


That's not fair. It's a fan subreddit, you need to be a supporter. You can go to /r/askThe_Donald if you want to have a debate.

As a conservative if I go to /r/politics, I'll get my head chewed off with talking points and downvoted to oblivion if I try to debate anything, noone wants to listen. /r/askThe_Donald is a great place to have debates though, I wonder if there's an equivalent sub to ask liberals questions.


>It's a fan subreddit, you need to be a supporter.

A fan subreddit might be ok, a subreddit that actively perpetuates violence and extremely large amounts of lies/false information is not ok. It would be ok if The_Donald was just a forum where people hyped up Donald Trump, but a lot of people post large amounts of false information that all the viewers soak up. I think that's really toxic.

"head chewed off with talking points" doesn't sound particularly bad (it even sounds like a form of debate!), certainly better than being banned for life in The_Donald.


T_D does not perpetuate violence. Post proof for such a serious claim. There's misinformation on both sides.

Yelling != debating. You can't have a serious debate if the other side isn't listening. Some subs ban conservatives, others just let their subscribers attack them.

Go pretend to be a conservative on Reddit and see how you're treated, it might give you perspective.

matchbok 8 days ago [flagged]

t_d posts conspiracy theories and violence on a daily basis.

Also, conservatives != donald. Real conservatives do not support donald trump, as he is not a conservative. Perhaps you are mistaken.


>bans any speech that is critical of Trump

Id challenge that statement on whether its truthful or not, but we are talking about 8chan and 4chan here and they dont have the same level of reporting that would you get you removed from a thread


What he said about The Donald is correct.

People occasionally ask about this in Ask The Donald, which is basically T_D’s “meta”, and the response from T_D regulars and mods is always the same: T_D exists solely for circle jerking.


Censorship rarely, if ever, solves anything. These companies are not crime-fighting services and will have no impact on criminal activity.


It doesn't solve it but it definitely helps in some cases: http://comp.social.gatech.edu/papers/cscw18-chand-hate.pdf

Because it doesn't have a 100% success rate doesn't mean it shouldn't be considered, otherwise we could use the same logic to dismiss basically any rule, law or regulation ever made.

Echo chambers are never a good thing, echo chambers built around hateful extremist ideologies are a lot worse. By forcing these people to get out of them some good can be achieved. Of course some of them will manage to regroup elsewhere but statistically a significant proportion will return to a more healthy lifestyle.


That report only says that Reddit banned some subreddits and so mitigated some speech, on reddit.com.

But Reddit is not the entire internet, and that ban perhaps directly fed into 8chan's rise. People do not disappear because a forum went offline, and tools to communicate are only getting better, faster and more resilient.


When users have to migrate, plenty don't bother to. Not every extremist visits sites specifically for extremist content. Many people pick up extremist ideas just because they're popular where they were already browsing, and the reverse can be true. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bjbp9d/do-social-media-ba... and https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/04/technology/alex-jones-inf... have examples of various media personalities (Milo, Alex Jones) that became much less popular once they were de-platformed from their main point of presence. Their fans and popularity could have followed them ... but mostly didn't.


Isn't that again just focusing on singular points instead of the whole picture? Who is popular now that Milo and Alex are less so? Has that been measured?

It seems highly dubious that all that attention completely disappeared instead of following other channels, which may be even more extreme. I can't find any study of this.


There's 0 negativity in this post and literally describes how a majority of 8chan's Pol board got a wave of user's same when people were getting banned on 4chan's /pol/ they just got routed to a different site.

These individuals dont disappear and it really doesnt take long to route to a new site. Fixing the udnerlying problem is a better idea than covering it with a band aid


Too bad this isn't censorship. This is a private company deciding it is unprofitable to do business with somebody.


If you don't like the word censorship, then replace it with "deplatforming" instead.

So to rephrase the original statement, deplatforming rarely solves anything.


It solves one thing though. It protects the business with the platform from getting their brand tarnished by whoever they kicked off. That alone is enough reason to allow a private business to kick somebody off their platform.

Surely you'd have an issue if the government showed up at a businesses office with guns and forced the owner (at gunpoint!) to allow a nazi hate site to continue to exist on their platform, eh? Cause that is what you are arguing for.


> Surely you'd have an issue if the government showed up at a businesses office with guns and forced the owner (at gunpoint!) to allow a nazi hate site to continue to exist on their platform.

Not the point, but even still what people are arguing against is mobs of internet users pressuring companies into political decisions.

Literally (as in figuratively) the people asking for banning the site are the one holding the owner at gunpoint asking for the termination of a business relationship.


Nobody is arguing that. The companies have a right to do what they want. We’re saying it will solve nothing.

The PR benefits you're claiming only exist because it placates the very same people that make such an outrage and call for corporate action in the first place.


There's evidence that deplatformining decreases extremists' reach and may curtail recruitment opportunities. It is an active area of research, but there is nothing to justify the position that "deplatforming rarely solves anything".

If we were to go the other direction, we can see how having a greater platform would be worse. E.g. if there were a blatantly neo-Nazi cable TV channel in everyone's home, we would expect many more people to end up watching neo-Nazi content and some of them to become radicalized. Propaganda requires a platform to be effective. It is thus not exactly surprising that you can make propaganda less effective by eliminating the reach of the platform.

If racists like those on 8chan can be pushed into the deepest corners of the dark web, where you have to use Tor to get to them or whatever, that's a win. Lots of people aren't going to bother, and thus will never run across them, and never have the opportunity to be radicalized by their propaganda/content.


My underlying point is that there is no singular "platform".

Technology is not standing still. Tor isn't necessary. We're seeing the rise of distributed, federated, encrypted, and anonymous networks that take little more than an app install or website link. They are only getting more hardened against these mitigation techniques and the approach of "just shut it down" will soon become an infeasible solution.


I think 8ch is something you already had to actively seek out. I've never come across a link to 8ch in the wild. I've only seen it in discussions of fringe extremist communities on the internet.

My concern with big companies deplatforming political extremists that weren't in the public eye is that it almost validates their "they don't want us saying XYZ because it's true" points. Not that their political shit has any basis in reality, but when impressionable people see that they actually are being squeezed out of the internet, it leads many of them to conclude that their other points are valid.

Right now, loads of extremists are taking to Discord and other private chats to discuss their points and recruit people. Inside those tight-knit private groups, there's no possibility of a random passerby to stop in and offer a dissenting view. They see their discussions as the absolute reality of the world. Pushing them deeper into those groups feels far more dangerous to me.


The fact that is not illegal does not make it not censorship. Some censorship is right and justified.


It is certainly not censorship at all. Calling it censorship muddies the waters and plays right into the hands of the people who want to push hate speech.


From Wikipedia:

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient".[2][3][4] Censorship can be conducted by a government,[5] private institutions, and corporations.

In this case as far as I can tell the server provider (not CF) was repulsed by the site content. I support that choice and the company ability to make it. Still it is censorship.

There is bad censorship and good censorship.


In fact, people were already talking about which sites to migrate to when 8ch was about to be shut down. It's very similar to the Southpark episode about Walmart. If you shut the platform down, another one will get big. It becomes a game of whack-a-mole and harder for the authorities to monitor. End users can migrate quickly., as there are no accounts and no authentication process.

All of that said, CF can choose to not do business with anyone, especially if that entity is causing legal grief for them and/or abusing the AUP [1] See section 2.7. Rather than censorship, I would call it PITA avoidance. I would not want to be the CDN for any of the chan sites.

[1] - https://www.cloudflare.com/terms/


What is a crime fighting service?

More specifically, what is a crime prevention service?


The police and various other government agencies working to keep citizens safe, and are blessed with the means, motivation and authority to do so.


If 8chan was recruiting people to join al queada in Syria, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. They're a terrorist recruitment site, full stop. Shut them down.


Many future radical islamists get into contact with radical islam through Google. They are a terrorist recuriotment site. Shut them doen.


To anyone who can understand Urdu or Hindi, it's trivially easy to find speeches of terrorist leaders on YouTube. Hundreds of thousands of people have watched instigating speeches of Masood Azhar, Ilyas Ghuman, Israr Ahmad, hundreds of thousands of "likes" on the videos, thousands of appreciative comments.


This is the truth. It's also why Twitter, Google et al censored radical Islamic content and worked with the government to identify extremists.

Put differently: this is why we can't have nice things


Pretty much. It's a problem anyone doing privacy conscious software is going to run into, if it works it will be used by people generally agreed to be morally detestable (eg: child abusers or human traffickers). In a similar vein I think people will need to in general get comfortable with the fact that some technology will be used by bad groups and it will make it harder for law enforcement to catch and stop people but the benefits for everyone else out weighs the downside.


Agreed. Though, I would also argue that fighting the communication tools and to an extent the hateful speech is a bit fighting the symptom of a larger problem.

I think we're bogged down debating the specific problem of hate speech, without discussing why it exists. Mental health, education, and poverty have a material impact on crime; do they also have material impacts on racism? I'd wager yes, but I don't know.

Purely fighting 8chan might be akin to fighting one symptom of a larger disease. I fear we're ignoring the causes.


> Pretty much. It's a problem anyone doing privacy conscious software is going to run into, if it works it will be used by people generally agreed to be morally detestable (eg: child abusers or human traffickers).

Exactly what was happening to mastodon before they made a rule for all sane instances to not federate with neo nazi instances


Which ones are the neo Nazi ones? I wasn't aware (on several open ActivityPub nodes) that there were enough that you could pluralize that.


There's a bunch of free-speech nodes, and the japanese ones.


yep. this is the whole concept of a double edged sword.


>In a similar vein I think people will need to in general get comfortable with the fact that some technology will be used by bad groups and it will make it harder for law enforcement to catch and stop people but the benefits for everyone else out weighs the downside...

Good luck with that.

I think we, as a society, may have been taken a bridge too far with the mass shootings. People are no longer interested in hearing about the "down side" of taking these guys out.

This should probably have been expected though, you swing the pendulum too far in one direction, it's naturally going to swing back in the other. Just kind of the nature of these things.


I mean, these aren't the first mass shootings, and they won't be the last.

Every time a mass shooting comes up, there's a big period of sorrow. What makes this mass shooting any different from the last few?

Last time, a bunch of children were murdered in their school. In fact, there's so many where children were murdered in their school, that you probably don't even know which one I'm talking about: Columbine, Newton, or Parkland.

The status quo is to do nothing about these events. That's the unfortunate truth about our current society. No laws will be pass, nothing in our society will change. We might make a new memorial and write up a new line on the (ever growing) list of mass shootings, but anyone who has been following the news for a few years has become numb to these events years ago.

-----------

So 4chan brings down the ban-hammer. That's why 8chan popped up at all. There will be another site where this filth will rot, and plan their next attacks. In the meanwhile, nothing will get done from a legal standpoint.

How long do you think it will be before "16chan" (or whatever replacement) pops up, or for 8chan to find a new host? I dunno, I give it about 2 months, tops. And I give it a few weeks before everyone forgets about this event, and is suddenly "surprised again" in the next mass shooting event.

We'll get the 1-month writeup, the 1-year anniversary, and then maybe the 5-year and 10-year anniversary as below-the fold newspaper stories to remember this day. But by then, there will be other issues that will make us (largely) forget about this shooting.


Personally, I believe the change is in what you can't see.

FBI counter-terrorism are not the people you want to get the attention of. And these guys just got the attention of federal law enforcement, counter-terrorism, intel and counter-intel in a single weekend.

I mean, you gotta be a special kind of stupid to mess up that badly.

If it makes you feel any better, yeah, I agree with you. These guys have no intention of making any new laws to come after these threats. My concern is more the fact that they probably have no intention of following any inconvenient laws in coming after those threats either.


> I mean, you gotta be a special kind of stupid to mess up that badly.

You underestimate the depths of depravity of these discussion boards. 8chan is (probably) already strongly monitored due to the proliferation of child porn throughout the site.

Its not that they've messed up recently. They've messed up repeatedly and consistently over the past years. Child porn, hate speech, the works. Its all there. FBI knows this, but they are only allowed to move in when the laws provide them the opportunity to move. They can't shut down the site, they can only monitor these anonymous posters (who are probably safe behind many layers of proxies) and maybe try to figure out the troll vs the serious ones.

------------

As I stated before: the laws have to change before the status quo changes. Its that simple. No one will support the FBI raiding private websites on free-speech grounds however, outside of specially select circumstances like child porn.

I mean, do you want to talk to white supremacists? Just go to Stormfront or Daily Stormer. Yeah, FBI probably actively monitors them too. There's an entire dark-net out there that the mainstream stays away from.

Or what, do you really expect the dark-net to just disappear because of one or two incidents? Daily Stormer was banned from Cloudflare a long time ago, they just found new hosts and carried on business as usual.

I'm glad Cloudflare is doing what they can to stop this filth. But Cloudflare is just a small part of the internet, and a real legal solution needs to be created if we really want to fight them. This is a bigger problem than Cloudflare can handle.


> 8chan is (probably) already strongly monitored due to the proliferation of child porn throughout the site.

ISPs/websites in the US are required to proactively report child abuse to NCMEC, so they don’t need to be “strongly monitored” unless of course they’re not complying.


Thank the Constitution that some of those "nice things" (freedom of speech, for example) are acknowledged as intrinsic rights and not granted to us by the government. So yes, we can have still them, because they cannot be taken away, only infringed upon, regardless of who is spoiling them.


The few always screw it up for the rest.


It's also inexpensive to cultivate or hire agent provocateurs to screw it up for the rest. Given the emotion of the situation & conversation, it's a low risk endeavor, as critical thinking is reduced in mass crisis scenarios.


I know this smells a bit too much like conspiracy bacon for many, but you have a valuable point here. At the end of the day, we're talking about an anonymous discussion forum accessible over Tor at the end of the day.

It's not just low risk, it's zero risk. There is literally not one single downside for a provocateur. The worst case scenario for them is that they fail.

That being said, this was not a case of a provocateur. The author went on a murder spree.


> but you have a valuable point here

Thank you. I appreciate the acknowledgement.

> That being said, this was not a case of a provocateur. The author went on a murder spree.

People don't just randomly go on murder sprees. I mentioned "cultivate" as somebody can be groomed or espouse a certain form of ethics & ideology that creates this behavior. This can be done with psychological manipulation, propaganda, etc. These manipulated (e.g. "brain-washed") individuals are far more effective at creating panic & division than recruited agent provocateurs, as it apparently places the blame at whatever group of people hold any philosophical position (reasonable or unreasonable) similar to the murderer.

While the manifesto mentioned politics, there have been people from different political persuasions that have committed acts of carnage including Dayton, OH or knife/truck attacks in the UK.

There's something(s) underlying this & it's more complicated, profound, philosophical, psychological, & (dare I say) spiritual than being "far-right" or "far-left" or "jihadist" or any hasty label that oversimplifies what is occurring.


'My opinion is that women's bodily autonomy is a fine ideal to strive for, but it relies on having a stable society with some minimum level of education (moral and philosophical too, not just the technical kind). It requires women who are able to fully parse the implications of what they are hearing to make sound and rational judgements on the rejection of a fetus or the embrace of it. It creates a moral duty for the people who are listening to not only reject, but to actively push back against abortions which are universally understood to be reprehensible.'

you either believe in rights or you don't.


Most pro-choice people do believe that education is important to women's (bodily) autonomy.

And abortions are not "universally understood to be reprehensible".

Only a minority of the country believes that abortion is universally reprehensible, and the rest draw various lines between "universally" and "never".

The country is very divided on the morality of abortion.

The country is not very divided on the morality of shooting up a WalMart.


>abortions are not "universally understood to be reprehensible".

Some abortions. Late term, say.


No.

Not even close.

20 ish percent believe abortion should be legal under all circumstances.

IDK what the approval rate is for shooting up WalMarts, but probably a lot closer to 0 than 20...


The American Constitution argues free speech is a human right, not granted to us by government, but by nature. Even if some all-seeing deity could build a more optimal society by restricting the free speech of some group, this would be a moral wrong because all humans have an inherent right to free speech.

Ultimately this isn't very relevant because right to free speech does not mean a right to web hosting infrastructure. But I agree with the Founders; regardless of whether it builds a more/less optimal society, government cannot and should not infringe upon our natural right to free speech. In particular, it protects us from jumping from your hypothesis (that unchecked free speech motivated a mass killing that would have not otherwise happened, which I give a 60-70% probability of being true) to an ironclad law forever removing some liberties from the citizenry.


>The American Constitution argues free speech is a human right, not granted to us by government, but by nature.

The American Constitution doesn't argue anything about free speech, define it or make claims about its origin, or even refer to is as a right, much less a "natural" right. It only declares that Congress (explicitly, and exclusively, meaning not even inclusive of any other governing body or private entities) shall not pass laws that abridge "the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble."


I don't understand. Are you suggesting that another branch of government is therefor able to restrict that freedom? That would fundamentally challenge the co-equality of the branches.

GP's point is that the constitution serves not to grant the freedom of speech, but to restrict the government from curtailing it.


>I don't understand. Are you suggesting that another branch of government is therefor able to restrict that freedom?

Yes, because that's what the constitution says, or rather because it doesn't say otherwise. All rights not granted the Federal government through the constitution devolve to the states, and further, to the people. The states and private enterprise are allowed to abridge the freedom of speech, just not the Federal government through Congress.

>GP's point is that the constitution serves not to grant the freedom of speech, but to restrict the government from curtailing it

GP's point was that the constitution made a philosophical argument about freedom of speech as a natural right that it does not, in fact, make. One can believe that freedom of speech is a natural right if one so chooses, but the only thing the constitution actually says about freedom of speech is that it's one of a list of freedoms Congress can't pass laws to abridge.


"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

source: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment


Yes... I just didn't feel that copying and pasting it in was necessary, as anyone can Google it.


What makes you say it's unchecked though? These are anonymous imageboards where ANYONE can say ANYTHING, there isn't anything stopping you from challenging them?

Part of me wonders if we should be taking better advantage of this opportunity to reach out the people posting. Mental illness is clearly in play, but can't we as a society do better? We should be reaching out to these people and at least trying to wrestle them back to sanity.

I think if anyone really believes shutting down a bunch of open forums will reduce the number of mass shootings they are delusional. This is a mental health issue AND a gun control issue and that's where we should focus efforts.


Have you tried to engage in that kind of discussion? These people use troll tactics. The first rule for them is to attack any attempt to ask for civil discussion.


Yeah they just downvote you into oblivion so no one can even read what you wrote. Oh wait...


I'm guessing your comment got downvotes because:

1. this is obviously not going to stop the actual issue; calling people delusional over a strawman is pretty disingenuous.

2. Clearly there's mental illness and lack of gun control at play. There are candidates who try to address this in their platform. There are media outlets mentioning/discussing this. People want free healthcare, i.e. free access to mental health resources.

3. Talking to these people over the course of hundreds of years hasn't helped, but you're welcome to stop by *chan and have a logical debate with them. These are people who think their race is being targeted and that their race & culture is being destroyed, so I'm excited to hear the results of your well-reasoned and perfectly-logical debates.

While you're having your debates, I'm sure people will be happy to have these extremists congregate on an easily-available website like 8chan (not applicable at the moment, obviously) and also hope they don't have to dodge bullets while they're celebrating garlic, trying to get groceries at walmart, or wherever the next shooter is gonna bring his toys next.


To me it's a lot like blaming the violence on video games, and I'm not even saying they aren't a cause, they just aren't the most important cause right now. This is not an unsolvable problem, we're just getting bogged down on the wrong things when we NEED to laser focus efforts on the biggest problems first. Rather than pat ourselves on the back for taking down what is basically just an open forum for communication we need to focus on bipartisan legislative measures to address mental healthcare deficiencies and at least make it a little harder for people to get a gun.

I don't get why it's so easy for "bad" people on the site to manipulate people into subscribing to these hateful ideologies but it's impossible for "good" people to pull them back out.

I strongly believe forcing them further underground will only result in more violence long term.


I agree entirely on addressing mental healthcare and gun control, but sadly neither of those is going to be possible for a while. This is an "easy" thing to do for now, like low hanging fruit, and it's hard to expect people not to go for it when it involves such tragedies.

It's easier to manipulate people into this than it is to get them out because making up facts is easier than correcting them. Look at how many people still believe the moon landing didn't happen. It's literally one of the easiest conspiracy theories to debunk. Debunking the flat Earth idea is also easy, but at least some of it requires a bit of math and logical thinking.

The racist ideas about crime in the US, rapes in Sweden/Europe, and immigration are harder to debunk. Not because I can link an article that debunks them, but because it's an entire cemented world view that keeps them from even looking at the article in the first place. My perspective on this is that a person with this world view has to spend time with the people of the race that they're against. And that you can't really do on an image forum.

To your other post, yes, I do concede that it has gotten better in a lot of ways. But it's my opinion that arguments aren't what made things better.


"My perspective on this is that a person with this world view has to spend time with the people of the race that they're against. And that you can't really do on an image forum."

This is a very good point. It's interesting because it could happen on an image forum but it would probably be hard to make it meaningful in the way that you describe (and that is so important).

I can't help but thinking the internet might at least be part of the solution though. So much opportunity for diverse groups to meet and interact.


The internet is the solution and the problem. I'm not sure how it works, exactly. It's easy for me to come on HN and see myself as interacting with great people from all over the world, but it somehow doesn't come off that way on Reddit, YouTube, or something anonymous like an image board.

I did spend time on image boards, like 7chan and 420chan, but from what I remember, they still felt isolating more than they made me feel connected. It's a weird dichotomy. I feel that way about Reddit, too, so it isn't just the anonymous aspect of image boards that makes it harder for me to feel connected.


> I don't get why it's so easy for "bad" people on the site to manipulate people into subscribing to these hateful ideologies but it's impossible for "good" people to pull them back out.

Society: Take responsibility for yourself, either accept your lot in life or affect change through self-improvement and the democratic process.

Degenerates: It's not your fault, it's XXX.


I think you're missing my point but maybe you can clarify. Do you think it's possible for a site like 8chan to radicalize someone or do you just see it as a site for people who are inherently degenerate to congregate? If it's the latter than maybe you're right, but my argument was targeted at people who believe the former.

It probably makes you feel better about yourself to label someone else a despicable degenerate and simultaneously scrub your hands of the problem and any possible attempt you could make towards a solution but it's not doing anything to make the world a better place.

There are powerful tools that have been used throughout history to dramatically change the world and change the types of people you would label as degenerates. We just have more work to do.

My assumption is that this is primarily a site for engineers who are highly effective practical problem solvers and I think we would all benefit if more people treated this like a solvable problem.


One other thing I think is critical:

"Talking to these people over the course of hundreds of years hasn't helped"

I think you have to concede that over the past couple hundred years race relations have improved significantly.


It's not like there are flag events a triggered user can reach for when nothing else satiates that urge to suppress


I don't understand this comment but would like to.


> We should be reaching out to these people and at least trying to wrestle them back to sanity.

If you believe that's what we should be doing, why aren't you doing that? There are people right here in this thread you could be reaching out to: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20617883


Reasoning with these people is like reasoning with flat earthers. You present all evidence and they will still flat out deny that Earth is a sphere. They are not driven by reasoning but their internal beliefs that they have already locked in as infallaible. They have already heard all the reasons you just laboriously articulated and put together. You are not giving them any new information. You are just wasting your time. Their goal of listening to you at all is to probe any possibility to convert you in to their little tribe and they happen to have all the time in the world, often being jobless.


If everyone's beliefs are unchangeable what is the danger of open forums for discussion? I think if you really want to combat this ideology it needs to be done with rational discussion instead of terminating the discussion. If we concede that many of these people were seduced by these ideologies on these sites and didn't initially hold these beliefs (which is one of the reasons these sites are considered so dangerous) don't we have to also concede that they could be swayed back.


These forums attracts unsuspecting vulnerable people and turns them into their cesspool member. Once you are cesspool member your beliefs cannot be altered. That’s the issue.


"Once you are cesspool member your beliefs cannot be altered."

Why? This is the crux of the problem. I don't believe that anyone who could be so easily swayed in one direction can't be swayed back. What am I missing here?


How do you know I'm not? Why would you expect to be more successful on hacker news than one of those open forums?


the current direction of these solutions really feels like the technological equivalent of 'solving' the homelessness crisis via hostile architecture. putting spikes on every bench and doorstep doesn't make anyone less homeless but it makes them less visible so you can feel less bad about it. turning the internet into an increasingly obfuscated series of walled gardens doesn't improve the wellbeing of anyone particularly at risk and if anything, gives ingroups and personality cults all the more power to thrive. but maybe the new york times wont tell you about some neckbearded loser who says nigger too much and therefor you've solved the only problem you actually care about. more and more i'm lead to believe that the compassion and empathy of the sensible majority is largely performative and on a fundamentally emotional level they just want heads to roll irrelative of any actual justice.


I think you are spot on, I also think you should watch your language in that people will use it is an excuse to ignore the painful truth of the very important point you are making:

"more and more i'm lead to believe that the compassion and empathy of the sensible majority is largely performative and on a fundamentally emotional level they just want heads to roll irrelative of any actual justice"


This seems like good use of AI that can auto respond with smart anti-hate speech blurbs. I am sure, someone would counter this by AI for hate speech. Ultimately these forums would be just dominated by different AIs fighting out each other so we can all go back to doing something useful.


Weimar Germany had really strong hate speech laws.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/copenhagen-speech-v...


> Moderate people are repulsed by such forums and the quantity of hate-speech they generate, which further compounds the negative feedback loop.

As a moderate I am not repulsed by the repulsive, I'm interested in understanding it, and I think all moderates are.

People have a fascination with what repulses us look at documentaries about murders, ww2 etc.

Todays problem is that moderates can not openly debate the extremists without themselves being labled as an extremist so their arguments can be dismissed, deplatformed and then used as justification for a personal attack.


"Unchecked extremism compounded by more unchecked extremism inevitably leads to scenarios like the ones we’re witnessing more and more often" exactly this. When you have a group of people that are on the extreme of society (think that's the polite way of phrasing that and covers all groups on the edge) and isolate them; Then you end up with them being contained in an echo bubble that amplifies their extremes and increase the odds of some other form of communicating with society that has cut them off in physical ways.

Having them there, and allowing such extremes to be questioned, and with that, kept in check. The whole recruit aspect is a mixed one, shut them down, then their words can not spread. But equally they can't be questioned and raises the mystik and that means anybody who is curious will be forced to engage in a phsyical meeting with such people, allowing them to be swayed more easily than somebody engaging with them online, open for all to show the errors.

I always thought it is better for such extremes to make themselves known in public, rather than hiding in the shadows. Makes it easier to keep track of them and their state of mind.

So however much I disagree a mindset, I'd rather have them in the open and kept in check.

What would the solution be. Well, sadly the web really does need some universal age content control that is imposed upon such extreme websites. After all, a young mind should be nurtured for rational debate and not indoctrinated into a fixed mindset. We should at least get that right upon the web now, whilst we can. With that, a safer control of such extreme content is maintained. When history has shown that pushing underground, has more negative outcomes than positive ones.

Digital prohibition is not the solution we want happening here.


They aren't being kept in check. 8chan was reportedly not well moderated.


Freedom of speech sucks because you're exposed to every asshat's opinion... but the alternative is worse.


Is the present alternative, where sites aren't allowed to keep existing (or, assuming they find a new host, "have to switch hosts a few times") after encouraging three ethnic massacres, really worse? Is that specific line really going too far?


Do you really want to give Trump the power to choose what is allowed to be said and what isn't?


He already has that power, and used it in signing FOSTA/SESTA. No use making slippery slope arguments when you're not at the top.


I'm talking about this specific line.

It's not like this is the first line to be painted about what's allowed on the internet. There are already lines drawn prohibiting hosting child porn and selling illegal drugs online. Neither of those lines caused us to slip down a slope to an overly-censored internet.


Medicinal CBD can get you arrested in places. While long ago, alcohol was also prohibited. Also, forbidding drugs was used to oppress African-Americans. None of these things seem to me good.

And we are already coming to a more censored internet. Sex work was forbidden with FOSTA. Many mainstream conservative opinions are censored. Opinions which Obama had when president are now considered hate speech and censored. There is more and more censorship.


This seems equivalent to an argument against the concept of laws in general: "Some good things were outlawed before, so we shouldn't have any laws at all". I don't think that's a good argument for complete lawlessness, and I don't think yours is a good argument for lawlessness on the internet.


If you can make your message visible to thousands of people or (tens of, hundreds of), instantly, for free, I don't think it's playing with the same rules anymore. It's a huge societal breakthrough. Freedom of speech was not an interesting idea before the printing press happened. The internet is another step beyond the printing press. It will require a lot of human thinking and debating before the internet is able to adapt and improve society like the printing press did.

China and Russia are often saying that western societies are vulnerable because freedom of speech, but it becomes true only if the internet exists.

I personally think that online hate will force society to work on the cause of hate, so in the end society will be more cautious about hateful ideologies, but we might also work on poverty, lack of education and mental illness which are often the cause of hate speech. The population will naturally become more aware of the implication of their extreme opinions, and learn to moderate their speech to let other answers happen.

In the end I think we're already benefiting a lot from the internet, it's just that the problems it create are more visible.

The problem is malignant anonymity and online trust. Once the internet is more focused on local problems, people will stop behaving like invisible ghosts and will be polite again.


> Moderate people are repulsed by such forums and the quantity of hate-speech they generate, which further compounds the negative feedback loop.

Lots of people are afraid of blood and spiders, but we still have doctors and exterminators.

Actually changing other people's opinions doesn't always look like having your friends Like your Facebook posts.


This is a bad analogy because that's not how free speech havens tend to work out in practice. What happens is you probably have a fairly normal crowd at first, then the racists, anti-semites, etc start stumbling in. Gradually, normal/moderate people leave, especially those who are members of the minority groups the newcomers hate. The local Overton window shifts as moderate voices disappear and dissent becomes more scarce, making the site even less appealing to normal people who stumble across it.

>Lots of people are afraid of blood and spiders

These are inevitable in life. But you can choose to use a forum that is full of flat-earthers, racists, etc or you can choose to go elsewhere and not have to deal with people harassing you for what you were born as or what you believe in.


>espouse their basest thoughts and feelings and receive gratification for it -all without challenge.

Yes, this is the problem. There is no challenge to their ideas and thoughts because the conversation/debate has been completely stigmatized that there's no other way to talk about it but anonymously on the far reaches of the internet. Soon it'll be on Tor instead and a terror network will truly form (because they've already gone "so far", why not go further?).

The El Paso mass shooting as well as the anonymous chan hatespeech is nothing but a result of a very poorly moderated debateenvironment in the western world.

Imagine if these young men had someone to talk to 4 years before they found *chan? Someone who listened and validated their thoughts and fears then, before they grew into these sorts of monsters.


This is a non issue.

The first amendment says "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech". It's a limit on government. CloudFlare has no duty to provide 8chan hosting, and their denial of services is very unlikely to be considered discrimination against a protected class.

System working as intended.


The entire point behind free-speech is that all opinions are allowed to be held and voiced without preconditions. It's not free if it only encompasses things you don't find morally reprehensible.


If it's "universally" reprehensible, then how would it possibly exist in such prevalence? How would it be that it was hardly reprehensible at all less than 100 years ago? What's reprehensible changes, which is why freedom of speech is necessary, because without it there's no way to fight what's reprehensible without compliance of authority figures or violent revolution.

The things you find reprehensible have existed long before 4chan or the 1st Amendment. Allowing a precedence for society to completely ostricize people at every conceivable level is a dark road to go down, especially today when there is no escape from technology. If we put an end to free speech, we may never get an ounce of it back.


Most of the basis for a free society breaks down when people lose basic morals.

Whether you choose to believe in God or not, many of the framers of our Constitution and those who penned the Declaration of Independence believed in the Supreme Judge of the World, the Creator etc. and based their morals upon that belief.

When those morals become less than the norm for society, many problems arise.


Interesting thoughts. My impression of the situation is that “freedom of ...” is colloquially internalized as “freedom from consequence.” If society had access to justice on the same terms, then I wonder if things like freedom of speech would be understood in the richer context of personal and societal responsibility.


I believe free speech is important but to keep things civil, it has to be open who the message is from. Anywhere anonym messages are allowed quickly deteriorates to *chan levels. We have all seen this in most online games and forums. Human nature is only good if there are some sort of reckoning.


I agree and its disheartening to see the amount of responses in opposition. There is a massive number of comments on this post compared to most social topics, or ANY topic for that matter, and a lot of them are arguing it's wrong or bad to have limits on such behavior. I would suspect many of those arguments are defensive in origin and disingenuous. But for those who aren't personally involved in those behaviors, who opposed limits and rules, I don't know how they imagine a total free for all could work. We need government, structure, rules for society to exist. Otherwise as has been shown when limits are removed, the worst people and of people will ruin it for everyone else. If you could count on people NOT to be terrible it would make all of this a lot easier. You cannot.


I should not be obligated to refute another person's speech. I thought silence was not consent. Right?

Furthermore, the chans are about as technologically receptive to challenging ideas as is possible:

Anyone can post from anywhere through any connection, without fear of harm or censorship.


I generally agree with your opinion about freedom of speech in meatspace. It's more or less been the status quo (at least ideally) in the US.

But TFA is about the Internet. And that's a very different thing. It's hugely unstable, and vulnerable to compromise by nation states and commercial interests.

So given that, I remain convinced that freedom of speech on the Internet depends fundamentally on technology that resists censorship. That's been the official US position regarding censorship in China etc. The US promotes Tor, and has also funded VPN services, such as Anonymizer. So I see no reason to carve exceptions.

Edit: spelling


> universally

That word doesn't mean what you think it means.

If it did, censorship wouldn't be relevant. The content you don't like isn't a naturally or accidentally occurring substance. Someone wanted it to exist.


You talkin bout God?


> Forums like 8chan and 4chan effectively incubate hate speech by providing a safe space

The simplest view is that these safe spaces mostly exist because some larger platforms have been turned into safe spaces. However, even on larger platforms, these types form insular groups that are effectively walled gardens within a larger ecosystem (see T_D). The mode of operation appears to be to rally behind safe spaces, then brigade larger platforms when something catches their attention. No real discussion, just bombarding text.

It's exceedingly difficult to have honest discussion with those of opposing views because people reward themselves with safe spaces and tend to expect them. Ideally, we could rely on rational discourse to assuage the extremism issue and inoculate. If we shout them down in a given arena, they'll scurry away but never disappear.

As I see it, it's a problem of scale. On smaller vbulletin forums you'll more likely see heated, but honest, debate there without any brigades nor bans (depending on modship). A rainbow of opinions. With platforms as large as reddit, censorship is holding all out shit shows at bay.


Conservatives have few places to gather. T_D grew large because a displaced group of people finally had a commonly known enough place to gather. T_D was constantly brigaded by other subreddits. Yes T_D members may comment in other subs, but that's there right as users of the site. To my knowledge there was no coordination of all users to brigade.

Liberals have nearly the entire internet as a safe-space. It's nice to have a community with similar views, especially political as people are always just looking for confirmation bias, not really willing to debate, so it's too toxic to try all the time.


> Yes T_D members may comment in other subs, but that's there right as users of the site.

That's not what a brigade is.


Did you read the next sentence?

> To my knowledge there was no coordination of all users to brigade.

I was in the Discord and an active member during the 2016 election. It was actually really civil, more-so than other political subs. Outsiders aren't as welcome as supporters, but try to be a Trump supporter in the /r/politics sub.


You claim T_D was brigaded, yet claim ignorance as to whether such a thing has sprouted from the conservative base which needn't explicitly come from T_D. That's more than strange unless you haven't really explored much else on the site.


There were constantly posts in subs (including defaults) that linked to T_D. Meanwhile, T_D mods did not allow linking to other major subs to prevent brigading. There was no coordination in T_D or any official channels. As an active users in the community I can say I never saw any brigading. I was an active user on Reddit overall before, during, and a bit after T_D. I quit fully a year ago.

tl;dr There was no brigading by T_D, Reddit just didn't like conservatives using their site. Post proof if you have it, otherwise I'll go with my experience with them.


"universally understood to be reprehensible" therein lies the problem, there is virtually nothing universally reprehensible across all cultures


>>Unchecked extremism compounded by more unchecked extremism inevitably leads to scenarios like the ones we’re witnessing more and more often.

IMO providers like cell phone, internet and all should be forced not to cut off service based on speech. Thanks to the same Amendment they have the right to choose who they associate with, and 8Chan has the right to broadcast abhorrent (but legal, at least in USA) views. If we allow them to ban 8chan next they'll move to ban even less controversial views as time goes by.

A middle ground would be to kinda force them not to ban sites based on content that is legal but controversial. If internet providers ban you for your views, do you exist? Internet providers are as essential as electricity these days. Can PSEG cut power to KKK's headquarters? I doubt it and no one would say that PSEG agrees with their views because they provide electricity to them in exchange for money. Freedom from slaves and women voting was controversial at one point...


A major problem IMHO is the conflation of "free speech" the government restriction with its roots in ancient Greece and early democracy with whatever else anyone wants it to mean; typically that people should be allowed to espouse whatever ideas they want without challenge because "free speech".


:s/without challenge/without censorship


I think there’s a grain of truth to this. However, I would ask a counter-question: by what standard do you define “morality”? Or “hate-speech”? Or “extremism”? What gives one person the right to define it and another to be held accountable to it?


To sum up your main hypothesis is that freedom of speech + internet communication leads to extremism. I don’t think that model fits very well to actual data. While it’s true that some nations struggling with extremism have both elements, there are also nations with both without issues, and nations without either internet or freedom of speech that still struggle with extremism.

I think it’s a very USA centric view, that’s focusing on effects rather than causes. It seems natural that everyone with any strongly held interests will take to the internet to talk about it. Be that extremist views or gardening. But gardening forums don’t cause gardeners.


> It requires people who are able to fully parse the implications of what they are hearing

Where you plan to get such people from? I'm pretty sure nobody is able to "fully parse" implications of anything, for detailed enough definition of "fully", because nobody knows everything now or in the future, and without this it's impossible to "fully" understand implications of anything. Most benign speech could, in certain circumstances, cause huge effects. You can tell an aspiring artist and a war veteran his paintings are mediocre, and he decides to go into politics instead and you've got next Adolf Hitler (yes, I know that's not what actually happened, it's just a theoretical example). Nobody can "fully" know anything.

> to actively push back against ideals which are universally understood to be reprehensible.

You must be under impression there are a lot of things that are universally understood to be something. What if I told you there aren't and people actually can disagree on pretty much anything?

> The concept of freedom of speech falls apart if universally reprehensible speech is allowed to be publicaly espoused without being firmly challenged.

No it does not. Somebody speaking something that you don't like does not mean freedom of speech failed, because preserving your personal tranquility and serving your personal preferences has never been a purpose of the freedom of speech. And there's no "universally" reprehensible speech - somebody would always find this speech not reprehensible. The only way you can have a workable definition is by massaging "universally" by excluding more and more people from consideration because their opinion is obviously stupid and doesn't matter - until you find yourself in a bubble that agrees with your opinions and define that as "universal".


Making sound and rational judgments requires diverse ideas being available. When large platforms censor free speech, it gets relegated to uncensored platforms which will necessarily comprise the groups eliminated from discourse.

Censorship is driven by pressure from the public against advertisers. If the public accepted free speech, platforms wouldn't censor, echo chambers would choke out, and the best ideas shine.

Bad ideas can only be challenged by tyranny and free discourse. Which would you rather have?


to put another way, my freedom to swing my fist ends where your nose starts.


Is this really about freedom of speech though? We toss that around a lot, but as a law or constitutional right free speech does not exist if your website is hosted on a private company's service.

But then, how does free speech apply to the internet? Unless you have servers in your closet, your site will always be hosted on someone else's servers, and even then it will be delivered through networks owned by private companies, etc...

Anyway, Cloudflare's blog post on this (which is really worth reading in full) is what made me think of this:

> We continue to feel incredibly uncomfortable about playing the role of content arbiter and do not plan to exercise it often. Some have wrongly speculated this is due to some conception of the United States' First Amendment. That is incorrect. First, we are a private company and not bound by the First Amendment. Second, the vast majority of our customers, and more than 50% of our revenue, comes from outside the United States where the First Amendment and similarly libertarian freedom of speech protections do not apply. The only relevance of the First Amendment in this case and others is that it allows us to choose who we do and do not do business with; it does not obligate us to do business with everyone. https://blog.cloudflare.com/terminating-service-for-8chan/


> It requires people who are able to fully parse the implications of what they are hearing to make sound and rational judgements on the rejection of an idea or the embrace of it.

This is the crux of liberal (classical, libertarian, and contemporary) ideology as a whole. The idea that if only people were enlightened we could have nice things. All in all, it is kind of useless, or utopian. You can't enlighten people, and merely giving them education doesn't do the trick on its own.

Liberalism (classical, libertarian, and contemporary) ignores material conditions as a base for which all things are formed, leaving it ill-equipped to handle any real issues. We can hem and haw all day about how "if only the plebs were enlightened" but nothing will change until we make real efforts to change people's material existence. It's easy to turn to fascism and extremism if you have literally nothing going for you in life.

I'm not excusing individuals actions, but don't try to solve a systemic problem with individualism if you want anything to actually change.


It's hardly "freedom of speech" when it's speech deliberately insinuated with propaganda meant to edify the impressionably ignorant towards ideologies which facilitate their propagators' greater authoritarian hold over the dominant discourse and, as such, over individual sovereignty and human autonomy--as is illuminated in these reports by Data and Society:

1. https://datasociety.net/output/media-manipulation-and-disinf... 2. https://datasociety.net/output/alternative-influence/


I don’t understand how inciting violence is acceptable free speech.

Isn’t that what 8chan did?


See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exce...

> The Supreme Court has held that "advocacy of the use of force" is unprotected when it is "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action" and is "likely to incite or produce such action".[2][3] In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan group for "advocating ... violence ... as a means of accomplishing political reform" because their statements at a rally did not express an immediate, or imminent intent, to do violence.[4] This decision overruled Schenck v. United States (1919), which held that a "clear and present danger" could justify a law limiting speech. The primary distinction is that the latter test does not criminalize "mere advocacy".[5]


> freedom of speech

duty of thinking prior


That's a nice theory. How does the fact that the FBIs own screenshots of the threads, submitted as evidence, show they posted the comments egging people on?


Free speech came about in the United States at a time of an unstable and uneducated society, who hardly were able to fully parse the implications, etc.


That's exactly what they did to us in communist Bulgaria. Forced education in the politically correct curriculum so that we can be "free" to follow the communist guidelines. And then it collapsed. Currently the western "liberalism" is going in the exactly same direction


Ok to make a lighter, not ok to make bombs.


I highly doubt there is more "hate-speech" on right wing 8chan than on left wing Twitter.

Also, users are driven to these sites from other social media where even moderate views are often considered "fascist" and can get you banned.


Isn't such a place a good Honeypot though?


Free speech does not apply in any of these cases. These are all privately owned platforms. The first Amendment protects the populace from the government policing speech.


How many times is this tr[oi]pe going to be blindly repeated before its promoters bother to look up the definition of free speech and find it's a more general concept than simply the first amendment to the US Constitution?

I suppose this misbelief is itself a demonstration that truth and justice do not necessarily prevail in open argument. Still, we are better off with many terrible ideas persisting than to further allow those in power to arbitrate truth.


Freedom of speech already existed when society at large was vastly less educated than today.


The problem with extremists is that they drive people who disagree with them away. I've been a fairly heavy user of 4chan for well over a decade now, and I even spent some time on 8chan. I like the anarchic, less ego-driven nature of anonymous image boards. You avoid most of the empty posturing from other social networks.

I even think that 8chan was a great idea on paper. It's basically 4chan with Reddit's ability to create sub-communities on a whim instead of having to beg the admins to create a new board. I created a few of those myself.

But then of course the fascists took over. Admittedly on 8chan is happened almost immediately but on 4chan it was more gradual. Now 8chan is (rightfully IMO) dead and frankly I wouldn't be too sad to see 4chan, or at least some of its more popular boards, go the same way. The /pol/ cancer spreads everywhere, the big boards are 50% shitposting and 50% hate speech. And not in a fun "let's make ironic memes about Hitler to push people's buttons" way but in a rather depressing "I seriously hate women and minorities" way.

The more moderate people gets driven away. Actually any sane people would be driven away from this terrible and constant negativity and all you have left are the zealots who feed on each other's extremism. It's not free speech, it's a circular feedback-loop of radicalization. I've genuinely read a (supposedly videogame related) thread yesterday on 4chan where somebody was trying somewhat successfully to appear moderate by saying "I support white nationalists but I don't think we should be killing brown people". How nice.

Note that Reddit isn't a whole lot better at handling this, they're just better at hiding it under the rug while posturing in their PR releases.


>that they drive people who disagree with them away.

/leftypol/ was more or less just active on 8ch as /pol/, you'd be hard pressed to find any groups more diametrically opposed than that. people also often fail to take into account that the userbase was at varying points self reported to be upwards of 60% lgbtq and presumptively far more neurodivergent than more mainstream platforms. also worth noting that practically every mass shooter that has been newsworthy had an abundance of typical social media accounts, so the dangerous subset of fascists you're so worried about are already present on all the so-called moderate platforms. so who is actually dissuaded by this course of action? certainly someone motivated enough to plan and inflict mass-death upon a group of innocent people isn't gonna be kept away from extremist content simply because they have to take 15 minutes to set up tor browser.


> But then of course the fascists took over.

Keep in mind that it's still mostly ironic.


I'm in the same boat as the parent poster in terms of time spent on 4chan and 8chan, and I honestly can't tell if you're being sarcastic. I understand the nature of irony on the chans, and that a lot of "-ist" comments are "kidding" (to varying degrees of success in terms of comedy and responsibility for the message one is putting out there), but:

1. To be so sure about the numbers seems presumptuous.

2. Does it matter?


I know several people who lurk and post on /pol/, and it is an ethnically diverse group from my perspective. I've heard this sentiment echoed by others.

Of course, if you live in a very white place, you probably can't tell either way, even if you know a lot of channers.

Maybe there are a lot of unironic black and native-mixed neo-nazis, but I'm not so sure myself.


Relavent XKCD https://xkcd.com/1357/


Not really relevant, though. If a private platform becomes a systemically important entity that can effectively shut down legitimate public discourse, that is a very dangerous situation. Once a platform is big enough, it essentially becomes government-like in it's ability to surpress speech, and the same rules should apply to it.


[flagged]


8chan being shut down because their server supplied stopped doing business with them isn't an issue of free speech. You're really arguing that the 1st amendment means businesses can't refuse a customer, and that's just silly.


The comment you're responding to said nothing about "1st amendment". You're the one that brought up that narrow codification of the wider concept of Free Speech.


Do you think there are any parallels between the bakers who wouldn't make a wedding cake for a gay customer and the company who won't host 8Chan?


These are bizarre and simplistic analogies to make. Are you really attributing >100 million people's deaths to a lack of free speech?


Even with the people having freer speech, state-run media in the US has incited the killing of orders of magnitude more human beings than have been killed by DIY nutjobs. The trend we're witnessing is really the democratization of media-incited violence.


I don't think Mao or Stalin were ever lacking free speech, and I don't think any of those killed ever voted to abolish it. Saying "look communism bad lots dead" doesn't universally work as an argument.


This isn't censorship though. It's private companies refusing to host something. Nobody has been arrested for speech and there are no laws prohibiting speech that isn't overtly and specifically threatening or otherwise violates the "fire in a crowded theater" test.


Imagine an alternate scenario. Say the major tech companies get fed up with Elizabeth Warren's calls to regulate them.

Facebook removes all her groups. Cloudflare shuts down her websites. Youtube removes her videos. Google only leaves anti-Elizabeth Warren search results up, etc. Basically a major presidential candidate is completely locked out of having any pretense on the Internet whatsoever.

How many people who hold the above position, would say "yeah, this is fine. These are just private companies choosing who they want to associate with. Free speech doesn't apply here."


I doubt people would say it was fine. But it would not be a violation of the First. Let's review the text:

Congress shall make no law...

Although I suppose you could argue that once you have a handful of congressmen in your pocket, the First should apply to you too?


I watch my political debates on public service. In my last election I never saw a political ad in social media (nor on TV). Are you saying newspapers and TV can't choose whose messages they peddle? I can't relate to the problem. Perhaps your argument is an argument for a stronger public service? Or some laws actually requiring politicians in certain races to be represented? I can't say I like the latter.

To answer your question more specifically: if Facebook is like a TV-channel, then they should be regulated like one: channels can broadcast what they want. If facebook is more like the TV medium then it's a different story. Then you can't have it arbitrarily cut access to certain interests. BUT in that case it's also probably "too big to have that responsibility in private hands" and something should perhaps be done about that (just like some banks may be "too big to fail" and as such can't be responsible for the economic damage they cause).


I would, as long as the companies fulfill their contracts. And I would also support anybody who in turn would not want to deal with these companies. Which is the check and balances why these companies are not doing that.


> And I would also support anybody who in turn would not want to deal with these companies.

That implies having feasible alternatives when there are none.

Also, it implies you are aware information being prefiltered for you. Even if Warren knew about it and talked about it, she would sound like a conspiracy nut.


> That implies having feasible alternatives when there are none.

No alternatives to Google or Twitter? What?

Just because you don't like the venue or the service in no way makes them "infeasible". Just because you can't as effectively promote your cause doesn't make them "infeasible". There are other search engines besides Google, and there are other social media platforms besides Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit.

Any suggestion that a private company should be forced to broadcast speech that it finds distasteful is a direct affront to the 1st amendment, full stop.

8chan being denied access to another company's resources is in no way a free speech issue. In reality, 8chan's ideas are losing in the "marketplace of ideas" and now we have people who suggest government intervention to give their points of view a leg up.


I do hope that next time when we have large protests looming, you are ok with allowing them only in a corn field in central Iowa, somewhere where they cannot make a significant impact.


The web is the new public square. Without access to hosting, there would be a de-facto 1st amendment violation, even if the courts would refuse to recognize that for what it is.

Perhaps you could argue humans aren't built for internet communications and so free speech doesn't apply to the internet. But Supreme Court precedent disagrees. You could make a similar case that free speech doesn't apply to anonymous speech, which would have meant all the anonymous pamphleteers during the American Revolution would have had more difficulty propagating their (violent, revolutionary) ideas.

I don't think hosting is a problem for 8chan, though. They can probably find some hosting service that would in theory respect their free speech, in the absence of a court order. However, the second they go online again without cloudflare's protection, they will quickly get attacked and the hoster will have to shut it down.

Which means we now have, effectively, mob-enforced denial of free speech.

Cloudflare is the great equalizer. But when Matthew Prince wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and decides to nuke one out of many, many objectionable sites because he can't or doesn't want to take the political heat of proxying for some site where users talk trash or post manifestos about violent acts (which are hardly ever acted upon), cloudflare's protection can vanish. Then you have to shut up, because if you don't you're vulnerable to attack by the digital mob.


I would say that there is a difference in principles on whether a site/platform is explicitly welcoming or not.

Twitter claims to be a public square, the WSJ does not.


So, essentially you are saying: Because we can't enforce the law against DDOSing -- because that's how the site gets blown away without CF -- we have to encroach on the right of association of CF.


"Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by a government, private institutions, and corporations."/wikipedia

It is censorship, even if it is private companies and nobody got arrested etc, censorship is surpressing undesired information


What if one day the government decides it wants to get in the business of offering ‘basic hosting’ for everyone. Would we say, well, no we can’t sensor that, that would be government censorship?

My point is I don’t think evaluating it on government/private business is very helpful in determining whether something should be allowed or not.


> Would we say, well, no we can’t sensor that, that would be government censorship?

... yes? We would say that.

That's exactly how we draw the line now. For example, nobody would demand a stadium offer naming rights to the KKK, but the state of Georgia had to allow that organization to "adopt a highway" under its charity-for-recognition program (https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/05/us/georgia-kkk-adopt-a-highwa...).

Ultimately, there is no uncontested free speech right in private conduct. If I am exercising a speech right to (say) rent a billboard for an advertisement, then the owner of that billboard is also exercising one if they give me a discount because I'm advertising kittens for adoption.

Once the government gets involved, however, it is often acting with the force of law. That is where we deem free speech rights to be sancrosanct.


Censorship is censorship whether it's done by a national government or not. You are conflating the First Amendment with (anti) censorship.


It is censorship, but there is nothing morally wrong with a private organization or person censoring speech on property they own. They have no obligation legally or morally to participate in speech they disagree with. The immoral act would be to force against their will a private organization or person to participate in speech with which they disagree.


Even restricted to the subset of what can be codified legally, you're wrong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pruneyard_Shopping_Center_v._R...

Once someone sets up their "private property" as a public forum, they're on the spectrum of operating as a de facto government. If there were ideological competition between reverse proxies like Cloudflare, the "private association" argument would have weight. But rather Cloudflare seems to be acting due to pressure from an concerted effort to implement censorship across every such business.


Another sort of immoral act is to rile up a mob on twitter to pressure a company to drop a client with PR threats.

No one argues against the right of a company not to host Nazi forums. But there is an ongoing trend were companies that wished to be apolitical are forced into political decision.


>Unchecked extremism compounded by more unchecked extremism inevitably leads to scenarios like the ones we’re witnessing more and more often.

sounds like blaming free speech when basically a child can get AR-15.


It's hard to discuss ideas that rely on words such as 'reprehensible'.

Freedom of speech is not some ideal in isolation. We don't have freedom of food and shelter. Without food and shelter, you die. If receiving food and shelter requires you to censor your speech, you don't have freedom of speech.

Almost nobody has freedom of speech, and it's not at all clear why anyone'd want it anyway. I honestly am not interested in most things people say - I want the freedom to be away from people's speech, if anything.

Freedom of speech seems to be some ideological distraction in American society - when in reality everyone's interested in freedom of food, shelter and being away from most other people's ability to influence their lives.


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