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Blizzard Suspends Professional Hearthstone Player for Hong Kong Comments (playhearthstone.com)
2525 points by hownottowrite 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 1126 comments



This is a very specific instance of a much more general problem.

A lot of private companies control exclusive access to something with a value that dwarfs what you pay for it. I pay nothing for access to Twitter; if I build a business or a social life on the platform, it becomes something I would pay thousands of dollars to prevent losing. I pay nothing for access to Facebook; the memories they store at this point in my life may be nearly priceless. I've paid a low triple digit sum for Blizzard games, yet the time and social investments I have made in those games make them a couple of orders of magnitude more valuable to me, now.

The problem is that since these companies control services so valuable to me, anyone who wishes to hurt me for any reason can do it through them. Since no one is paying them to defend me -- I'm certainly not -- they have no resources commensurate with the value of what they're defending.

The situation we're in now is one in which political thugs apply pressure to private companies to hurt individuals, in an attempt to chill free speech.

Free speech is expensive and valuable, and defending it from those who would wish to destroy it requires commensurate resources. We should not expect Blizzard to stand up to the Chinese government; that is the job of the Chinese people, of other goverments, of perhaps the whole world.

To my view, Blizzard is like a store clerk who gives up the store's money to a robber. It would be nice if he was a hero, but he's not equipped for it. Nobody is paying 7-11 to stand up to violent crime. The problem is too big and expensive to ask individuals to deal with. Society paying for police and courts is at least a response on the right scale.

The mechanisms we have for protecting individual rights are antiquaited, and need to be rethought to deal with the current situation. Perhaps a model like the unified response to patent trolls could work? I think, if we want free speech to exist in the current environment, it will have to be something that big.


Mostly playing devil's advocate here:

When the Constitution was written, free speech meant literally that, your ability to go to a public space and physically talk. No third party was involved as it is with any telecommunication technology. So the resources consumed in that speech were totally your own.

The only way to strictly have that equivalent in the telecommunications realm is for me to own every communication circuit between me and those who I want to communicate with.

So lets say I have 10 wires coming from my house to other houses, and someone I know has 10 other wires connected to a different set of houses, that I'm not directly connected to.

I can rely on my own self and build new wires (expensive) or I can work with this person to forward my communication (probably cheaper but he/she can view/hear my communication).

If I want to communicate with someone else beyond my network, then a third party is carrying my speech, and we're really no longer in realm of free speech. This third party has rights and should be able to refuse to carry my speech for the same rights and reasons as me, unless entered into a contract beforehand.

I think your real question is should corporations be treated as legal persons to the extent that they have the Constitutional right of speech.


>When the Constitution was written,

They never mentioned the constitution so I don't know why you are.

The idea, behind free speech and censorship, predate the constitution and the constitution is not the arbitrator of the ethical principles of free speech.


Ok, so fine, free speech predates the Constitution. Consider my reference to the Constitution an example, rather than the definition.

My argument is still that you are not performing speech in the sense meant by "Free Speech" when you utilize telecommunication services.

Free speech and compelling third parties with telecommunications infrastructure to carry any of your speech unaltered are separate concepts.

I am particularly interested in how you can, if possible, link the two without using egalitarian arguments if possible.

Most people defend free speech irrespective of the economic status of the speaker so I'm hoping you or someone can come up with something that is also similarly non-dependent on economic status.


it's inaccessible for somebody who is poor in montana to travel to new york city and speak on a soap box in central park.

Should that be an argument against new york having free speech because its not accessible to some people?

Your last sentence confuses me because it sounds like you are arguing that if it's possible for somebody to be too poor to use a platform then that platform should never have free speech, and i'm not sure how those two concepts link.

Anywho. The ideological and moral principles of free speech exist in tandem with other ideological and moral principles. I run a forum for a game server to an open source game (I also run the game and the game server, but that's besides the point). This forum has sections with various names and the section names all spell out what type of discussions that section is intended to hold

If somebody wants to post about how badly they hate how I run the site or the game server, and post it on the role playing and table top rpg board, it will get removed, as its off topic, and nobody in the community would care. If they instead post that in any one of 5 sections that it would be on topic for, and i remove it, as I technically have to right to do, I will have trampled on that posters free speech, and everybody has the right to tell me to fuck off for doing so.

What you are failing to understand is that the principle of free speech is akin to the principle of not being a dick, its enforced by society in the same fuzzy matter where conflicting interests are concerned


Yes, however could one connect free speech in the US to the Constitution? What a ridiculous statement!

People may have presented the concept before the US Constitution but it certainly didn't apply to many people legally (if any?) before then


> People may have presented the concept before the US Constitution but it certainly didn't apply to many people legally (if any?) before then

You may want to check out topics such as Freedom of religion, the Peace of Westphalia, or Ancient Greece.

I don't know what the eastern equivalents would be, but I suspect at various points in history that individual freedoms were won in China too. Maybe Confucius is a good starting point.


And how many people had freedom of speech in 1750.

Ha and try offending the emperor of China to his face in that era (or now) and let me how long you keep your head for.


Freedom of speech is not permanent. It has to continually be demanded, or it disappears. There will always be people trying to tell you what to do or say. If you don't decide for yourself, someone else will decide for you.

They never mentioned "legally" either, so why are you bringing that up?

It seems pretty strange to me that individuals with the right to free speech and the right to assemble and freely associate would lose those rights if they chose the form of a "corporation" as the manner of assembly and association. So I don't think the problem is that the law treats groups of people as legal entities with substantially similar rights to the individuals.

I would expect that crimes associated with speech (slander, defamation, fraudulent representations, incitement to violence, threats, etc) would be applicable to individuals and to corporations equally.

I would agree that the control that a handful (relative to all corporations) of online companies wield is something quite new (historically speaking) and our laws, regulations, and even legal principles are playing catchup. We may need some original thinking to help us evolve our legal systems to meet the challenge.


Bigger philosophical question for the US Stage: When a corporation kills someone through their negligence, why does the punishment differ so much from what happens when a physical person does the same?

Are corporations trying to pick and choose when they are treated like a person? Does that place them above people?


It is an interesting question.

1) I don't think "corporations" are picking and choosing, there is extensive legal history on this point.

2) Re: "kills someone through their negligence". I think you've abstracted too much for there to be a single answer. I gather you are talking about situations where no identifiable person lead to the death and so there is some sort of "collective" or "systemic" failure that "caused" the death. I think the particular facts matter in those cases and the result is a variety of punishments from fines, to external supervision and inspection, and even in some cases action against individuals that were connected to the faulty decision making. One size doesn't fit all in this case.


Regarding point 1, when was the last time an American corporation was put in jail?

The US first amendment is against Congress abridging the press as well as freedom of speech.

In addition, Milton's 1644 Areopagitica is meant to be an inspiration for the first amendment, and it is all about the need for freedom of the press.


> We should not expect Blizzard to stand up to the Chinese government; that is the job of the Chinese people, of other goverments, of perhaps the whole world.

Blizzard is an American company. They don't need to answer to China. They may choose to do so, just as consumers may choose not to play their games.


"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech"

The first amendment was written when it was much more difficult to abridge speech. You would have to trust hearsay and either remove someone from your property or have them face some consequence based on the word of somebody who heard you. Governments could punish you with crimes, but that was it.

Unless you were publishing work through somebody who owned a printing press, you were in complete control of the medium and delivery of your words and few people could restrict you and your words were soon forgotten.

Now most things that most people say go through a filter of several others infrastructure and they all can record what you say and limit what goes through.

We need active speech protections for platforms which act like the public square. The newspaper doesn't need to publish my whacky opinions, but Facebook needs to let me post as myself freely or change how it fundamentally operates from a space to talk to a publisher of selected material.


This puts Blizzard in too soft a light, as if they have no choice.

A better comparison is Blizzard being a store owner who sells cakes to everyone, when one day a Nazi comes in and says you can't sell cakes to that uppity black person who upset me or you'll never be able to sell cakes to Nazis again.

Blizzard then gets to decide which is more important, business with Nazis or standing up for a core set of values.

As may occur in this instance, the free market may decide if they're going to side with Nazis, Nazis get to be their only client.

At this point people are deciding how delicious they think Blizzard cakes are, and if they still want to eat them.


I would argue that Blizzard is much less a hapless store clerk and more an addict whose supply is in jeopardy. They like Chinese money more than free speech, plain and simple. They could choose to get clean (stop taking Chinese money), and protect the public interest, but they choose not to.

Thanks for this point of view. Very insightful and made me understand Blizzard perspective better.

>The problem is that since these companies control services so valuable to me, anyone who wishes to hurt me for any reason can do it through them. Since no one is paying them to defend me -- I'm certainly not -- they have no resources commensurate with the value of what they're defending.

I think that's beautiful, actually. Your ability to stay within this mini-society's good graces is entirely dependent on how you treat other people, and not on how much wealth you funnel in from the outside (to a degree).


Is it safe to say we're in the middle of the Software Wars? The headlines have been littered with stories like this lately. From major open source contributors taking down their projects, to Apple, Adobe, and Blizzard.

It's only a matter of time until it's a critical piece of software that can cripple a nation or beleaguer it's people.

If you're looking for positives, maybe this will finally force people to rethink digital ownership.


It's serendipitous all these events are happening now for me personally. I was recently burned by a piece of very useful and well crafted software (closed source). I did a fresh install on my machine and went to find their website which to my dismay had completely disappeared! I followed whatever breadcrumbs were left and found a whole thing had happened while I wasn't paying attention where the copyright for this software was now in complete limbo and noone who had recently purchased a license could redownload it.

This is allegedly where the software exists now.

https://audiofile.engineering/

Which contains absolutely no trace of the program Myriad Pro.

This is the discussion from kvr about it.

https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=525534

On the plus side I doubled down and learned SoX which I wrap up in some python now and it's fast, open source and others can develop on my efforts.


Same thing happened with Tridef. The company went under, didn't release a free version of the software, and now people who bought it legally have to resort to using a crack.


I've said it a few times, but it's worth repeating IMO: copyright is a deal, where a creator gets a time-limited monopoly in exchange for works entering the public domain.

If a company have arranged things so their work can't enter the public domain (eg DRM) then they should not get copyright protection, fundamentally it's wrong to get the benefit of copyright without giving up your work to the public domain.

This can be solved by a requirement to register an unhindered copy, whilst they're at it orphaned works should be made copyright free, IMO.


I'm glad to hear that others have the same opinion regarding software copyrights. I'd even go one step further and say that the source code must be included in that unhindered copy. Otherwise, the public's right to make derivative works from things in the public domain cannot be upheld.


The companies will say that they're still using parts of the old code in newer products covered by copyright, so this won't happen.

Besides, we'd have to have copyright periods on software of 3-5 years, 10 tops, for software copyright to even make sense. Not 70+, which is longer than any recognizable computer industry ever existed.


I am assuming that this would be part of a wider reform of copyright. For the case you mentioned, already under current copyright law, creation of a derivative work does not prevent a work from entering into the public domain (albeit after an unconscionably long period of time). To prevent such a argument being made after the fact, source code should be placed in escrow at the time of publication, with copyright protection given only after it has been verified that the provided source code can reproduce the binary being protected.

This arrangement would also protect the public good in cases where the original company has gone bankrupt, or where the source code would otherwise have been lost.


I’m all for reform. I’d prefer we drop the whole notion of copyright but if we can just get sane terms with real expiration I’m on board.

Is source code covered by copyright at all if it's never published? I thought that was the bare minimum.

If they never release the source code at all, I think we're just screwed, legally anyway. The DRM was attached to your binary or stream (or book), not the original source material. We may not like it, but I don't think it's copyright you have to worry about when it comes to closed source code.


Under current law, copyright applies to any creative work, regardless of publication status. This leads to abominations such as Disney's Vault, intentionally restricting access to a work that is part of the public consciousness.

In my ideal world, if the source code is not placed under escrow and tested to result in the distributed binary, then there would be no monopoly given to that binary. Anybody is allowed to copy it to the fullest extent that they are able to.


Proprieatary software are shortcuts, but infrastructure requires open source. That's the only durable software out there.


This is why whenever i think about buying software i check if they have a DRM-free version for Windows. 99% of the time this ensures i'll be able to use the software for years to come even if the company shuts down.


Also, I'm disappointed I missed the obvious "Softwars"


I'm not clear what software has to do with this. It's happening across all industries, here's a good roundup of a bunch of other examples:

https://dailycaller.com/2019/10/07/china-censorship-daryl-mo...

Is software special in this case somehow?


Because software has this weird status where you increasingly don't own a perpetual use right to the copy of the code you bought, and can have it revoked for reasons that have nothing to do with the purchase agreement. What if one day in the not too distant the electrical system on your car stopped working because an auto software update from that vendor (not the company that sold you the car perhaps) detected your name was on a DB of no-service-updates, and there was a critical big patched?


For a tangible example, imagine saying something pro-HK on an online multiplayer and losing access to your entire library of Xbox games.

From Microsoft's community guidelines:

"Under permanent suspension, the owner of the suspended profile forfeits all licenses for games and other content, Gold membership time, and Microsoft account balances."

And in 2019, saying things as asinine as "haha I banged ur mom" are enough to trigger such a suspension, despite the embracement of such an immature, tongue-in-cheek culture being tantamount to Microsoft's early success in the gaming industry.

My Steam games aren't much better off.


This is all great news for Sony and whatever physical medium the PS5 will use as a replacement for Blu-ray.

Or see yesterday's executive order putting sanctions on subset of Venezuelan population, followed by Adobe suspending accounts of everyone in that country. Think of entire occupations affected by this. What if tomorrow the tools for your job disappeared because some people on the other side of the world have a disagreement with your government?


If the current administration is serious about the trade war, sanctions, etc. against China (which seems the case), I have to imagine that someone has thought about what it would take to cut off China from the rest of the Internet.

Obviously the fallout from something like this would be incredible, and I'm not advocating for it, but... do we even have the technical capability to do something like this? With the Internet being designed to be resilient, what would it actually take to do this? Can it be done by electronic means rather than by cutting cables / bombing ingress points?

They're already quite isolated by the great firewall, but it seems like cutting off everything at once could still be a powerful splash of cold water to the face. It's certainly not going to happen piecemeal when most companies are this spineless.


The US could refuse to talk to them by adjusting the routes to their IP ranges, that's about it. Everyone else that wants to talk to China could still do it, provided they make sure their routes for Chinese IPs do not go trough the US (obviously hard to do for a number of American residents, or some countries). This would still be circumventable trough a VPN that brings packet outside of the denied routing area.

I just sold a video game disc for 3x what I paid for it because the company that made it went under, so it's no longer downloadable on any streaming service (XBL, PSN, Steam, etc)...

Legality-induced Digital Dark Ages. :-)


I wish local instances of SaaS were more common. As a consumer it doesn't fill me with glee that a company used cutting edge APIs and integrations that are hosted all over the place. It fills me with concern about their stability and I have to entirely forget about data security. Who knows where it ends up these days. Both physically and in administrative terms, on globally distributed servers and regarding which companies or countries have access to it.


No, this is about Chinese influence.


> It's only a matter of time until it's a critical piece of software that can cripple a nation or beleaguer it's people.

Hopefully this pushes more people to use open source software.


This is not limited to closed software. Remember the Chef developer who got all political and deleted his github. This is the new norm in software it appears.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/09/20/chef_roasted_for_ic...

Luckily it was something that could be easily remedied.


That doesn't seem like as big of a problem, because you, as the user of an open source library, can take steps to prevent such things from affecting you. Most places I've worked at have their own repos with copies of any maven/node/ruby/whatever dependencies used.

I agree 100% that we should boycott and sanction, however doubt there will be enough people who will, and enough people who care. And I don't blame most for not caring, there are more things to worry about than we have time available. Maybe 1% of hearthstone players will see your comment. Similarly, there are other entities which need to be sanctioned, which you and me won't find out about as it's outside of our areas of interest.

Which makes me believe we need some kind of trusted "morality authority", which would process information similar to this and make informed decisions who to boycott, how and when. Less informed would be able to make an impact without having to do research (which not everyone would do equally well)

Obviously this authority must operate with complete transparency, so that we could verify its decision process when required.

Any hostile actions against it must be treated as a crime against humanity?

Somehow it must be immune from corruption. Perhaps some mechanism to revoke user trust in case of wrongdoings.


>Which makes me believe we need some kind of trusted "morality authority", which would process information similar to this and make informed decisions who to boycott, how and when. Less informed would be able to make an impact without having to do research (which not everyone would do equally well)

You do realize how hilarious that is juxtaposed to the Chinese government, which is literally a 'morality authority,' right?


Everyone loves a "moral authority" so long as it represents their morals.

"trusted" is a key word. Parent poster's main flaw was in oursourcing critical thinking and the principal-agent problem.

"I agree 100% that we should boycott and sanction, however doubt there will be enough people who will, and enough people who care. And I don't blame most for not caring, there are more things to worry about than we have time available."

Wait, what? A boycott is not doing something. It takes no time, you just choose to do something different, and let people know why you made the choice. I stopped playing Hearthstone, and let people know why. Cake, no time. Same for NBA, which I love, so I hope they'll pull their head out, but again, no time involved here.

Boycotting is the easiest form of protest. Don't be...lazy?


No, boycotting something entails changing your lifestyle to avoid something. For hearthstone players, that means stop partaking in one of their hobbies.

You aren't boycotting something because you are quitting it, anyways.

Also, you're kinda doing the thing where you go "Ugh, it's so easy, c'mon people! I never even played Heartstone in my life. See? It's not that hard to quit over moral principals!"


I have over 500 hours in Hearthstone. I played it on Saturday. It was my main online game. I haven't played it since.

And yes, it's still an easy call. I was in Hong Kong for quite a bit when I was younger. It's a glorious place. Or was, I haven't been back. I don't approve of the Chinese government, nor the United States relationship with China. We've compromised our principals for economic gain (I'm American). Hong Kong should get to stay democratic if that's their choice.

Note I was specific about disapproval of the Chinese government. The Chinese people are an amazing group with a wonderful culture and I appreciate them immensely. But they are governed by communist goons.

And you're right, I'm not quitting Hearthstone. If they say something akin to what the NBA is saying now, I might consider playing again. For now, no.

edit: "say" for "stay" typo.


Wait, did I miss something? Isn't the NBA doing the same thing as Blizzard?


Not even close. The NBA did not ban a player in response to a comment, “Commissioner says league will continue to back Morey’s right to freedom of expression”. Activision / Blizzard on the other hand is actively suppressing speech.


It was a really good move for the NBA, they handled it extremely well, did not spur a controversy, just let the situation be and let fans decide themselves how they want to react to it, while also upholding American values in the process, a very classy move.

I feel that American values would not be falling all over themselves to claim the NBA is an apolitical organization. Or at least the American values I was raised with.

Well, kinda, they're being all wishy-washy about it:

https://www.nba.com/article/2019/10/08/nba-china-relationshi...

Not enough in my opinion.


I never said I'm not boycotting. All I'm saying is not enough people will even know to boycott


I'm glad to hear that. Speak up about your boycott. I have a cadre of friends who play Hearthstone, and they know why I stopped. Maybe I've now had .001% influence on them, and that'd be great.


meh, just play something else. Dota Underlords is better


I don't think it needs to be a moral authority, it can just be an index of well defined problems to lists of the top couple actors responsible for those problems.

Such an organization need not say that you should boycott anything (i.e. be a moral authority) but instead can say that IF you think that American companies participating in the Chinese censorship machine regarding Hong Kong is bad THEN boycotting companies X Y and Z would be effective. The morality comes from the users. In order to organize against a common nebulous baddie we need a mapping from nebulous baddies to actionable targets.

As much as I hate that everything needs to be a social network these days, this probably needs a social aspect--a place where you can post evidence that you cut the power to Company X's headquarters, or whatever, so you can check back occasionally and feel relevant when people attach metadata to your crime.

It would have to be careful to avoid being too specific to be liable for the actions of its users, while not being so vague that users can't use it to channel their frustration towards actions that actually do harm the entities identified. Alternatively, it could be specific as hell but hard to take down.

I guess what I'm proposing is something like Kickstarter, but for civil unrest.


HK protesters are doing exactly that. A list of yellow/blue (pro-democracy/pro-government) merchants and their locations on Google Maps: https://www.restart-hk.com/ShopList.html

If you click on a merchant on the Google Maps, it also shows you why that merchant is marked as such, with links to forum discussions/news about comments made by its owner. This map has 3.5mil views in less than 2 months of existence, in a city with 7.5mil population.

HK protesters are actively boycotting many pro-government merchants because such information is easy to find.


What you describe is something that holds itself out as a moral authority.

>Which makes me believe we need some kind of trusted "morality authority"

This seems to always be an invitation to corruption though. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and all that. So getting to "trusted" may be hard. In the US we have Brent Kavanaugh, and in China they have the CCP, and in some countries they have religious clerics... I can't think of an example where there is such a body that I would trust.


Brett I meant. Too late for edit.

> Which makes me believe we need some kind of trusted "morality authority", which would process information similar to this and make informed decisions who to boycott

Just sounds like cancel culture to me. And it has horrible results.


Cancel culture is about _using_ censorship to limit free speech, which blizzard purposefully participated in on behalf of China, so we want to stop that limiting and encourage free speech, or at least not immediately ban someone for a year and 0 their prize money.

One fights for censorship, the other fights for freedom. I uninstalled hearthstone, which is the last activision blizzard product I used.


Right, you cancelled Hearthstone from your life because you don't care for the actions of its creators. Not unlike, say, ceasing to watch a comedian because you don't like how they punch down, or ceasing to book rms for speaking engagements because he's too stressful to deal with.

Don't shy away from it; that's "cancel culture."

(Or, more accurately, "cancel culture" doesn't exist; it's just freedom of association in action ;) ).

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


> We don't have to argue with anybody. We don't have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don't need any bricks and bottles, we don't need any Molotov cocktails, we just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, God sent us by here, to say to you that you're not treating his children right. And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda – fair treatment, where God's children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.


This sounds way too close to the Ministry of Love from 1984.


We need an equivalent to Godwin's law for making parallels to Orwell's 1984. It's thrown around so much in internet debates these days that it loses all meaning IMO.

Besides it doesn't even really work here, the Ministry of Love is about torture and spreading fear throughout the population. If anything what the parent proposes would be closer to the Ministry of Truth but even that is a stretch. I think the soviet Goskomizdat might be a better comparison.


I chose an analogy that I felt would be reasonably familiar to most people and convey the reaction I wanted.

Is it the most appropriate of all possible analogies? No.

Is it contextually close enough? I thought so. A few people seem to agree.

If your contribution to the discussion is to critique the efficacy of my analogy, then I feel like you've missed the point a bit.


>Which makes me believe we need some kind of trusted "morality authority", which would process information similar to this and make informed decisions who to boycott, how and when. Less informed would be able to make an impact without having to do research (which not everyone would do equally well)

Isn't that effectively the government's job in a democracy? They're elected (directly or indirectly) to enact the will of the people. Unless you have a different scheme in mind for constituting this "moral authority".


Traditionally it was the established/predominant religion's job, not the government. It was hoped by many that religious institutions could act as a counterweight to the nobles, kings and politicians. Which is why the civil power structure tried (often successfully) to co-opt religion as well. Of course, religious institutions have their own issues in that it often becomes a parallel power structure on its own. Or go from reflecting cultural norms to shaping them.

The enlightenment and rise of humanism in the latter 1600's and 1700's attempted to shift this moral authority to "the people". And today, post-modernism attempts to put forth the notion that all morality is simply cultural context and relative. Which, while perhaps strictly true, is, IMO, pointless. Sort of like positing that we live in a simulation. Might be true, but so what? How does it matter?

Anyway, in today's world I don't think it's possible to have a widespread "trusted moral authority". Too many people seem to not realize the contradiction of saying on one hand that other cultures (and sub-cultures) should be respected while on the other hand decrying the utter horror of differing morals and ethics. Cultural differences are more than variations in language, cuisine, dress and music. Cultural differences are, at their roots, differing beliefs about what is right and wrong.


> And today, post-modernism attempts to put forth the notion that all morality is simply cultural context and relative. Which, while perhaps strictly true, is, IMO, pointless.

Kind of self-contradictory: the statement "it's all relative" is itself an absolute statement.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativism#Criticisms


Generally agreed upon definitions with respect to political systems/philosophies are a challenge, but I would respectfully disagree with the idea that the government is intended to be a trusted moral authority in a democracy (or a republic).

At least with respect to the US notion of limited governmental powers I think the goal was to keep the government from acquiring to much authority never mind something as all encompassing as "moral authority".


It should be the job of the government to follow and not lead here both from theie source of legitimacy and how abusable said position would be. Even if they follow there should fundamentally be constraints to protect the rights of the minority for otherwise it follows the "populist" demagog to mob rule to dictatorship progression.

A moral authority implies leadership - that others would trust and defer to for moral judgment.


We could call it a Supreme Court


At least the whole Hearthstone subreddit is ablaze about it, that's more than 1%


I'm concerned as to how you would justify such an institution


How were Labor Unions justified? I'm not saying they don't have issues, but the idea is similar.


This doesn't sound anything like a labor union


How about Consumer Union?


To which authority must I justify this and why are the reasons discussed here not sufficient?

Also fired both casters working on the event, even though they did not know what was going to be said: https://twitter.com/Slasher/status/1181443974420189185


From what I read the casters prompted and encouraged him to say it, hence why they were so quick to drop down out of frame. This is just what I have read, as I do not speak the language.


Through the lens of appeasement it makes complete sense


This might not be true though. I have heard that during the broadcast they had been supporting Hong Kong. Not saying this is the wrong thing to do though but just a fact.


If you've just heard it that does not make it a fact just yet.


All they did was ask him to say to slogan according to the people on reddit, something he was going to say regardless.


If you have a Blizzard account and want to cancel your account, you can do that here: https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/2659

What’s hilarious is that deletion of account might require government issued photo ID.

The last step for me to stop doing business with a bad actor is by giving up my privacy.


Devil's advocate here: They probably put this check in place due to the extremely high number of hacked Battle.net accounts.

Don't even need to play Devil's Advocate here.

I guarantee 100% that this is the exact reason. If they're truly deleting ALL your data, could you imagine the customer service nightmare if someone's account got hacked and the attacker could issue a request to delete the entire account with no method for recovery?


What's the point? Anyone can buy fake id scans for $50 at most, $20 if you aren't getting ripped off.

Blizzard obviously doesn't authenticate these IDs as that isn't really possible.

The fact that you can do essentially anything to a Battle.net account with just an ID scan is a huge vulnerability.


I tried deleting my account just now and was prompted with a screen asking for it. "Might" might well be an understatement.

I successfully deleted mine earlier today and did not have to present any sort of ID. "Might" stands.

They even want an ID copy when revoking the right to process personal data (GDPR). Screw them. Lets upload pictures of Winnie-the-Pooh instead.

Brilliant!

Just the link I was looking for. I haven't played in years anyway.

From https://www.pcgamer.com/blitzchung-removed-from-hearthstone-... a description of the incident :

> As Andy reported earlier today, Blitzchung did not back down after the sudden removal of the broadcast, during which he wore a gas mask and goggles before shouting "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!" Following the incident he released a statement elaborating on his stance, writing "I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it's my duty to say something about the issue."


Okay that explains it. I thought banning for 12 months was a little harsh for someone making a political statement once, but he knew what he was doing and doubled down on it.

Why does the fact that the person making a political statement knew that they were making a political statement make their banning okay?

There's a difference between accidentally and knowingly breaking a rule. Regardless of if you feel the rule is fair or right, knowingly breaking is more egregious, e.g. manslaughter is not as bad as first or second degree murder.

Knowing that you're doing something that is not in the interest of Blizzard or China and may bring you trouble is not the same thing as rule-breaking.

For example, I have a first amendment right to stand on the street and cry out "that store over there has awful working conditions," and I'm not breaking any rules, but I'm well aware that the store may well not let me in anymore.


More like you go in the middle of the street and say, America shouldn't support south american dictators, and as a result all ISPs refuse you provide you with internet service. They're private companies they have the right do to so but good luck navigating todays world with out it.

What a ridiculous comparison. The rule he broke here was literally "don't offend any portion of the public." The rule you're referring to is much more justifiable.

If the rules are ridiculous, then the reaction to them should be to dismantle the rules and disavow the rule-makers.


You are claiming that morality is irrelevant if there is a rule involved, and your action is substantially worse if you break a rule for a moral reason deliberately instead of accidentally?

Sometimes the moral choice is to break the rules.

Agreed. But you have to enforce the rules to make sure that people don't start breaking the rules over something trivial. The people making a moral choice to break the rules can live with a 12 month ban from the game.

It sounds like you agree with the measure. Is that the case?

I do. I don’t want sporting events, conventions, etc. to become platforms for advocacy about controversial politics.

I support non-disruptive actions like kneeling at an anthem, but advocacy about a political issue during a post-match interview streamed by the event organizer certainly crosses the line.


Crossing lines is the point of activism, we wouldn't have any of the rights we enjoy (and soon we might lose if we're not careful) in the west if not for people that systematically crossed lines and used high visibility occasions to make a point.

It might be worth checking this out:

https://theundefeated.com/features/mexico-city-olympics-prot...


Were rules already established in the terms of service that would prevent him from protesting against a country or supporting oppressed people? If it was during the broadcast, then cutting the broadcast is sufficient punishment.

Blitzchung is a true hero.

People should start boycotting western companies that perform this kind of humiliating bowing to China, Saudi Arabia, etc. Yet of course, most companies are doing that...


I thought Western companies had to pursue profits at all costs? China is a big juicy market.


I expect companies to do what’s morally right not merely maximize profits while doing anything that is legally acceptable. I expect leaders of companies to do what’s morally right while explaining to shareholders that if they disagree they can sell their shares or replace them. I have zero respect for a manager at Blizzard or the NBA who decides to try to pull what they did this week.

Except in many cases they are legally required to maximize profits, regardless of ethics, so long as their actions are strictly legal.

It is part of our moral duty to punish a company for ignoring public good rather than excuse it as what a company must do. That's because if a company is punished financially (say by boycott) for making immoral decisions then they must follow a more moral course to maximize their profit.

Personally I don't think this is enough especially as companies become more pervasive and the confusion of subsidiaries which make it next to impossible to boycott the largest offenders, but that is fixed in the political sphere rather than the economic one.

I'd even expect the 'correct' long term 'required' choice for blizzard is to ignore any blow back and focus on the Chinese market. Still in this case shareholder focus being all about current quarter profits might help as company leadership might be more focused on keeping the shareholders happy than serving long term profit.


I agree. My point is that holding companies liable to an ever-shifting window of public opinion about their actions is not as long-term a solution as addressing the parts of the system that encourage or require their behavior.

> I'd even expect the 'correct' long term 'required' choice for blizzard is to ignore any blow back and focus on the Chinese market.

So, the shareholders would be for practical purposes passive investors in what would become a defacto Chinese run company?


They don’t have to. There are companies that pursue positive impact, though few large or public ones at this time. Patagonia is a great example of a semi-large one.


Well the western world is an even juicier market for China.


They do, which is why we consumers have to resort to boycott. It's the only way to make bowing to china a poor financial decision

Interesting how an incidence in gaming garner more eye balls on the topic of Hong Kong politics than whole month combined. https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

Good for the people of Hong Kong.

The topic of Hong Kong didn't struck me as sensational/desperate as it deserves until a Hong Kong friend send me this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yXTHODE24Q Am moved by the clip, especially for the first 50s. It is english sub-ed. Would recommend anyone interested in the topic give it a look


> Interesting how an incidence in gaming garner more eye balls on the topic of Hong Kong politics than whole month combined.

That's crap. There's a Hong Kong-related story on the front page every couple days for a while now. Perhaps you didn't notice the pagination buttons at the bottom when sorting by date?

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...


The Taiwan Flag Emoji topic got a lot of attention too. I think that's a fair spread. Censorship, Unicode standards, and Blizzard is kind of the expected overlap of interest topics for Hacker News.


Right, general politics is not really in the wheelhouse for HN, but these two specific cases encroached on tech, which is why they got much more attention. Other acts of technological censorship from China also often reach the front page. I don't think there's anything nefarious, it's that those other topics aren't really relevant to HN.

We should all boycott Blizzard and the NBA.

After bnetd I boycotted Blizzard for years. The only tangible result was that I missed out on Warcraft 3. After the 1-click patent, I boycotted Amazon for years. They didn't appear to have missed my money.

I'm all for collective action, but I'm not sure if boycotts are reliable. I've seen companies respond to social pressures, but like net neutrality, when they can make money they just try again more subtilely, and that presumes the original pressure was successful.

I'm not saying we SHOULDN'T boycott Blizzard and the NBA...but do we have other options as well? Governmental action to be backing, companies with clear "good" positions we should promote, etc?

I don't have ideas, I just have a pile of bitterness and hopelessness, and issues like Hong Kong feel a lot more important than 1 click.


Boycotting is the ethical thing to do but it almost never works. What works? I guess the same things that worked for women and blacks - enough people willing to stick their necks out and organise politically.

Boycotts only work when a reasonable number of people can make an impact on the bottom line of a corporation. Corporations have grown so large that the size of the group necessary to make that kind of impact is as large as a large corporation. Viral social media witch hunts can have that kind of impact, so if you want to organize a boycott, you better hire a PR company.

> I'm all for collective action, but I'm not sure if boycotts are reliable.

Boycott the Hearthstone streamers. Without the pros to tell the punters what the meta is and what cards to buy, the game dies out.

While Blizzard won't notice a couple people leaving, streamers will notice even a couple of people telling them they are leaving their channel.


I feel like there are different levels here. The Bnetd thing was unfortunate, but still an exceptionally first-world problem. People being beaten to death in the streets may warrant a bit wider reaction.

The parent poster isn't claiming that certain issues are more or less pressing than others. Rather, we, as ordinary citizens, have zero control. Individual acts of protest are not working and do not change these companies' behaviors.

And my point was that this has a better chance of success because the cause is more widely understandable and sympathetic than a lawsuit over IP.

I realised the Emoji topic https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21182705 after posting my comments. Blizzard, emoji, Hong Kong, and in part NBA too[1], once again shows how unpredictable viral-ness can be.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21176976


Don’t forget the well placed South Park episode to pour more gas on the fire.

The emoji topic has nothing to do with Unicode standards and everything to do with Apple capitulating to China.

I don't understand why that YouTube video requires age verification. As far as I know that prevents it from being played to anyone not logged in, including embeds, and severely limits people from seeing it.

Social media flagging is censorship. More and more people are calling on videos to be flagged, taken down, etc — then we run into instances like this one where we wish the mechanism wasn't in place at all.

I hope HK brings to world back to a recognition of the important of free speech and that the world brings attention back to HK.


>I don't understand why that YouTube video requires age verification. As far as I know that prevents it from being played to anyone not logged in, including embeds, and severely limits people from seeing it.

Yep. Usually, they play when changing from

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yXTHODE24Q
to

  https://www.youtube.com/embed/0yXTHODE24Q
but not this.

But

  youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yXTHODE24Q
works. :D https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Youtube-dl

Thanks. It's really obnoxious that they make you sign-in to verify your age, rather than just enter your birth date like some other sites. Especially since AFAIK it's impossible to create a Google account these days without giving them your phone number (thus exposing your identity). For politically sensitive videos such as this, such restrictions seem like a particularly bad idea.

I'm pretty sure you can, but if you're creating a lot of the mat once they begin to require it.

I don't think you can. I tried creating a Google account anonymously once just to see if it was possible. A verified phone number was strictly required and they refused to let me use numbers from any of the anonymized online phone services I tried. Maybe they would have let me skip that step if I was connected over my home IP address rather than TOR, but doing it that way would have sort of defeated the purpose of not giving them my phone number in the first place (anonymity).

Or just add NSFW in front to bypass age verification

https://nsfwyoutube.com/watch?v=0yXTHODE24Q


I've used that for a few years no. You don't even need to enable JS for that domain.

I believe the age verification kicks in because there are scenes of violence in the video itself, not because of the topic.

I've often found easier to play that kind of videos, or most "unavailable/blocked in your country" straight from duckduckgo's results page. You can often just look the URL up: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwa...

I had no idea that that second video would have the effect on me that it did. I'm sitting in my office here crying.

Same. I've seen a few of the videos that are used in that video and some of those videos (in longer form) are very powerful too.

For example, that short clip of the blindfolded prisoners on the ground in handcuffs is a drone video that is believed to show religious prisoners being taken to "re-education" camps. Of course, the Hong Kong protesters fear they will also be subject to "re-education" when the Chinese state regains control of Hong Kong as this transition period winds down:

https://observers.france24.com/en/20190925-drone-video-shows...

Also, here is the longer version of the "give me liberty" speech that they used. May be NSFW (coarse language):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLY9BQsd_As


Same, the pain in the voices got to me.

> I am willing to die for this. Why? Because this is our home. Why won't you fight for your home? As simple as that. We are trying to do our best to fight for at least two or three decades. Do you see the students around here? When 2047 comes, they will all be slaves. When 2047 comes, the students will all become middle-aged, and they will all be slaves, we will all be slaves. If we don't fight now, we don't have another chance.

I can't help but think of the similar scene from LOTR:

> The power of the enemy is growing. Sauron will use his puppet Saruman to destroy the people of Rohan. Isengard has been unleashed. The Eye of Sauron now turns to Gondor, the last free kingdom of Men. His war on this country will come swiftly. He senses the Ring is close. The strength of the Ringbearer is failing. In his heart, Frodo begins to understand. The quest will claim his life. You know this... you have foreseen it. It is the risk we all took. In the gathering dark, the will of the Ring grows strong. It works hard now to find its way back into the hands of Men. Men, who are so easily seduced by its power. The young Captain of Gondor has but to extend his hands, take the Ring for his own and the world will fall. It is close now, so close to achieving its goal. For Sauron will have dominion of all life on this Earth, even unto the ending of the world. The time of the Elves is over. Do we leave Middle-earth to its fate? Do we let them stand alone?

It's fun to think about how this metaphorically applies to modern day planet earth. For example, "The Ring" could be, say, unrivaled permanent global superpower status, "China" could be Sauron, Hong Kong could be Middle Earth, and "the West" could be the elves. One significant difference however is that unlike the elves, we don't have a Valinor to flee to. And we might not have to wait until 2047 before we see this all unfold.

Now of course it's easy to chuckle at this as silly speculation and hyperbole, but really, is it literally not possible? Look at how quickly China has risen, and not only utterly unopposed by anyone, but aided by the West to the very, very best of their ability, with no end in sight (for the rise, or the aid).

But wait, am I implying that we should be fearful because Chinese people are bad, and I am simply demonstrating the fearful, small-minded thinking of your typical racist white person? This is indeed one possibility. Another simultaneous possibility is that what I actually fear is tyranny, except as a result of things I allude to in another comment (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21194097), many modern educated Western people seem to have become unable to think clearly about topics that have a racial component. Due to multiple decades of righteous and well-intentioned anti-racism indoctrination, hyper-reinforced over the last few years by various forms of propaganda and excessive public consumption of not-actually-consistent-with-objetive-reality social media content, our heuristics seem to have become hyperactive to the degree that we can no longer think rationally on certain topics. Most everyone can appreciate the risk of tyranny faced under the Nazis, and many seem able (if not enthusiastic!) to envision something similar returning under someone like Trump, but simply add a different color of skin into the equation and the ability to simply even envision such things not only disappears, but is replaced with an extremely passionate denial that such a thing is even possible!

This is the power of heuristics in the human mind, they can render us literally unable to think clearly, even highly intelligent people who have full knowledge of the existence of heuristics.

And I suppose for the above stated reasons it needs to be pointed out: these comments are largely of a speculative nature. I fully realize that LOTR is a movie, that we are not in fact elves, that China is not guaranteed to take over the world, if they do it does not necessarily have to be tyranny (I can even envision it could very well result in finally having worldwide peace and harmony), and so forth and so on. I am simply saying that reality is actually rather complex (as you might notice from a brief perusal of history), the ideas that each of us consume and hold in our brains are not always 100% accurate, and now and then things don't always trend towards improvement, as recent memes making the rounds would have us believe, based on "the facts". As history well demonstrates, occasionally there are times that it would have been prudent to manage risk, even if the risk happens to seems to partially correlate with race. The reality of reality is: despite what we're often lead to believe, anything can happen.


> an incidence in gaming garner more eye balls on the topic of Hong Kong politics than whole month combined

That's definitely not true. Hong Kong has been discussed a great deal here, and China even more. These are probably the most-discussed topics of the last month; if not, I can't think of what would be. Perhaps climate change.

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...


> hong kong comments > 10

Just as interesting are all the instances where stories gained dozens of upvotes but very few comments, because they disappeared from the front page within a few hours after rising to the first spot. It's very easy to see even from the outside, if you simply filter for stories that are ranked lower than other stories that have a lower score, are older, and have more comments. Try this on for size:

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

That even gets a few results of you increase the score to 100, e.g.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20304526

I remember seeing that just go poof back then. One moment it's at the top, then it quickly sinks, then it's on page 7824.

Just about any subject is discussed a great deal here, because "a great deal" is no hard qualifier at all. But I know few subjects so consistently suppressed and messed with here as Chinese totalitarianism. You could convince me otherwise with a database dump, by making votes and flags public, but not just with mere claims and saying you didn't notice anything. Maybe you didn't, but that really just proves you didn't notice it.


For sure, there are submissions on that topic at every level of points, comments, and front page time. It's that way for all the hottest topics; if we replace Hong Kong with climate change in your query the result is similar: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

The hottest topics are both the most discussed and the most "consistently suppressed", as you put it. That sounds like an oxymoron, but it's just what happens when you have 10x more submissions than front page slots. Frontpage space is the scarcest resource on HN: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que....

Because of this scarcity, everyone who feels strongly about a story feels that their story is being unfairly suppressed on HN, no matter how much coverage it's actually receiving relative to other topics. You seem to feel that Chinese political stories are being unfairly suppressed for who knows what reason—but there are at least as many users (probably many more) who feel that those stories are overrepresented and that HN is going downhill because of it. There's an email in the inbox right now saying so.

The actual moderation principles we use about all this are simple and have been the same for many years. Here they are: HN is a site for intellectual curiosity, so follow-up stories that don't add new information are mostly off topic, as are riler-uppers that don't gratify curiosity so much as stir up indignation and flamewar. When there have been a lot of stories about X lately, the bar for X stories gets raised; HN readers don't like it when the front page has a lot of stuff they've seen already. That's about it. The execution has a lot of subtleties, of course, but those principles fully explain what you're observing.


> Because of this scarcity, everyone who feels strongly about a story feels that their story is being unfairly suppressed on HN

Writing something to graph the course of stories over time was just something I did for fun, then I noticed that stuff. And again, I'm talking about stories that are ranked lower (and that can mean much lower, several pages lower) than stories that have a lower score, are older, and have more comments.

This story has over 2300 points and is at #32 after 14 hours, would you say that's normal?

Seeing this for a few months now, I did kinda pull back from other threads, at least from long comments on trivial subjects. I don't feel okay, at all, discussing harmless things while important things that intersect with the responsibility of the tech aren't able to be discussed freely. If you then read that as caring so strongly about China [sic], that doesn't mean I just dreamed all that. Or that I do care so much, for that matter: I just dig into things, swiftly and as thoroughly as I can, I've done this with dozens if not hundreds of subjects, and being German this is right up an alley which is way bigger and way more important than even the CCP, from my perspective.

It's not that other don't seem to get flagged by users, too. But for months, it was like clockwork when it came to the CCP. Whenever I saw something gain traction, I paid attention, and without fail, it sank.

> HN is a site for intellectual curiosity

And new software point releases, neat little CSS tricks, anything to do with money and making money, and so on. Including human rights, and the intersection with tech and/or games.


Sure, all those things intersect with intellectual curiosity, as well as writing advice and the life of Lord Byron and the Nobel prize in physics and lots of other topics that appeared on HN today. What isn't so good for intellectual curiosity is hammering on the same hot stories over and over again. One of our jobs as moderators is literally to moderate that, i.e. make it not so excessive.

It's human nature, or at least internet nature, that hot controversies and sensational stories get lots of upvotes relative to everything else. If you want to have a site for intellectual curiosity, you need a countervailing mechanism against that, or such stories will dominate the front page entirely. On HN, there are a number of such countervailing mechanisms—user flags, moderation downweights, and software penalties. When you see a story that seems like it has a low rank relative to its points, one or more of those is the reason why.

The Blizzard story was the top item on HN for its day (https://news.ycombinator.com/front?day=2019-10-08), so I don't think it was underrepresented. Moderators gave it the standard downweight for indignation that all such stories get, which didn't reduce its rank much. Once it had been on the front page for 15 hours, software added an additional standard downweight. That helps flush yesterday's major stories off the front page so that the next crop of stories can come up.


Labeling this as "an incidence of gaming" is a framing that misses the main conflict of the situation. This real incidence here is an American company practicing censorship on behalf of the CCP.

Here's a better search link: top stories this month mentioning HK: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=pastMonth&page=0&prefix=tr...

This one is the top story, but "Apple Hides Taiwan Flag in Hong Kong", "Hong Kong protest safety app banned from iOS store", "Protester shot in chest by live police round during Hong Kong protests", and others all got substantial attention.


Iraq needs some attention... Protests have been going on for a week now, 100+ protesters have been killed, thousands hurt.

Where can I follow these protests? r/HongKong is a great place to follow HK protests

there's also big protests in Haiti and Ecuador that are getting even less attention

That second video is really something. Wow.

A few comments refer to a second video, but the parent only has 1 video link. What are you referring to?

The second link in the comment. I made this mistake two in my comment.

> Interesting how an incidence in gaming garner more eye balls on the topic of Hong Kong politics than whole month combined.

That's not correct, if you search over the past month and sort by Most Popular. https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=pastMonth&page=0&prefix=tr... This story is #1, but #2 and #3 combined outstrip it by themselves.

And they're both also about American companies censoring themselves and their users on behalf of China. For better or worse, it's that in particular that gets HN's attention.


People generally only care about things they care about. I know far more hearthstone players than anything related to Hong Kong.

Thanks for sharing both links.

Sorry for not entirely related to the main thread, but since it seems there are many people in this thread knowledgable on what's going on in Hong Kong, I'd like to ask 2 questions. I'm not siding with CCP, but my issue is I'm not sure I can side with the protestors either. Because

1. Does the protestors representing the majority of citizens? If yes at this stage why the working class in Hong Kong hasn't started long term strike yet? I would imagine that the most effective non violence method of protesting by citizens would be stop working. That would for one stop the tax flow to the government.

2. Is it necessary for protestors to be violent against pro-China civilians/properties? I'm aware that the protestors have been subject to violence from both police and mobs alike, but fighting for democracy should be a higher cause than revenge? Aren't they fight for freedom of speech among others? Or it's just freedom for themselves and violence and totalitarianism for who else disagrees? [1]

Again I love freedom to the point I've spent many years fighting it for myself and helped a few people. I support Taiwan to be an independent country. But we all know many bad things have been committed under the name of freedom as well. Now I'm not sure if the Hong Kong protestors are fighting under the name of freedom to actually express their hatred toward mainlanders? Thanks for reading and hope my questions would not offend anyone. Just would like to understand the situation better.

Edit: some explanations on the downvotes would be nice.

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-GR88q8pIw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPYuGYLesx0 (the planting of CCP flag near the end is really distasteful for me)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NFb2chXt9k

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3031906.... (trashing trains while passengers still inside)

(Toby Guu is a Canadian software developer)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6Jgp7-tXfc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFwGqF3QlVc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcw7lcZA7SE


1) Stopping HK employee taxes flow, will stop China how? This is not really their concern

2) Peaceful protest and cleaning up after themselves would make many people very happy. They did this during the umbrella and occupy central protests: however many thousands of people protesting, but the streets were spotless. They were very polite at that time; but still increasingly cannot trust the government

For instance the extradition law that started this protest was declared dead multiple times, but we're still awaiting the government to actually do that -- maybe when they re-convene on the 16th it will be removed from the agenda?

I like your views about peaceful protest, but will it lead to the peaceful removal of democracy, expression, belief, etc? Any HKers in support of the government are looking forward to that peaceful life

--

On your links: The SCMP is a China owned news source, and it should be easy to find other videos of police shooting people with rubber bullets, etc??

My wife was just showing me a video of an undercover police officer trashing government property and threatening pepper spray when videoed -- I do appreciate your questions and approach though, and wish life was that simple

> Fighting under the name of freedom to actually express their hatred toward mainlanders?

Sorry you could feel that. I don't. We don't. We apologize


I asked some questions, rather than trying to convey some arguments, since I'm not expert in any way about Hong Kong situation. The only thing led me making this post is after watching the old lady video I felt it's important to introduce some other viewpoints to the discussion happening on HN, a website I visit daily and I appreciate the HN community. Other than that I don't have any stake in the game. You might watched the beginning of the second video and think I talk about clean up after pretesting? In that video protesters shined laser on that old lady.

I might not have expressed my question clearly. Thanks for bearing with me:

1. Let's say the whole city would like to obtain democracy as fast as they can, strike would be one of the most effective method for nonviolent resistance, no? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_resistance) I'm curious why this way of protesting has not been employed yet?

2. >My wife was just showing me a video of an undercover police officer trashing government property and threatening pepper spray when videoed --

I'm very aware of those police shenanigans. I'm also ok with violence against oppressive police/military. However, does this justify violence against not armed civilians with different opinions? If your answer is yes then it's fine. It would help me understand the perspective of westerners better.


It's good to ask those things. I can only answer for myself, which is maybe not a western view point, but anyway:

I assume almost everybody thinks shining lasers on the old lady is bad. I don't think violence against civilians is ever justified. However wrong though, it is probably never fully one-sided

The last video you linked ends with a 'civilian' having molotov cocktails thrown at him, and the author of the video uses this to discredit the protests..... But... that 'civilian' has a gun in his hand. He is an undercover officer, and those events happened shortly after police shot someone with a live round in the same area

The police have not pressed charges against mafia caught on camera beating people up, but they have recently arrested a pregnant woman for wearing a facemask*

I think the protesters have been more restrained, but they still definitely make mistakes. Sadly this doesn't get us out of the spiral of violence: to do that the gov and police would have to face loosing their jobs; and maybe just as hard is they would have to accept that the protesters' anger and vitriol as true

--

Nonviolent means were employed during the earlier umbrella revolution and occupy central. These didn't seem to work. But I agree that the anger, vitriol, and violence on all sides is creating another wall...

*facemasks are quite different in HK than the west. The SARS epidemic and close living quarters means people see them as essential to health and safety -- so the facemask ban is bordering on offensive in HK culture

-- Hope that helps. Years ago I was in a warzone where the people were undefended by their government. The church was preaching forgiveness to those who attacked them, and it was impressive to see how effective it was. But it was a very big cost


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me friend. I didn’t link any video with police. I know which video you were talking about but it’s not in my previous posts.

Regarding nonviolent, it’s great you read about umbrella revolution and occupy central. But again I think the precise reason those movements failed is because the working class didn’t strike. Many of our modern human rights, such as 40 hours working week, creation of unions, etc are created because workers bind together and strike and disrupted the production of goods. Without a committed working class’s support is exactly the reason previous Hong Kong peaceful movements didn’t work.

Again I’m ok with violence against any oppressive regime. For Hong Kong, I don’t think that alone with achieve freedom. Only when the working class stop paying taxes, stop providing services to the government and its allies, stop maintain the same old social structure, would the revolution has some hope of succeeding.


1. Any short or long-term strike action would hurt the protestors more than the government due to lack of food and welfare.

2. Violence against Pro government folk is bad. However there has also been a lot of documented instances of Pro government forces being dressed as protestors and sparking violence.

From what I've seen it all started remarkably peaceful and had since been escalated to a position where the government has free rein. Not something the protestors wanted.


1. Some non-vital sectors can go on strike without impacting food/welfare which has been done in the west for many times? Not every sector needs to be on strike at the same time?

2. I guess I was having too much hope that democracy fighters would hold onto their principles even when being enticed to use violence against civilians.


You seem to have deliberately missed the point

I wonder how far away the person with the laser pointer is from that lady in the second video - that pointer seems pretty powerful. With a 5mW class 3R laser you can damage someone's retina at 30-20m still with an accidental exposure, for typical collimation ~1mrad. If the spot is around 4cm in diameter and the laser is typically collimated (at 1mrad), they're about 40m away.

In the video at mark 01:16 https://youtu.be/0yXTHODE24Q?t=84 there is a quote about "non-believers". Does the chinese government have anything against atheists in their policies ? To my knowledge chinese government does not interfere in personal religious beliefs.

I interpreted "non believers" to be "not believing in the party" not "not believing in religion".

"the Chinese government doesn't interfere in personal religious beliefs" is quite the claim though, considering they literally have concentration camps full of Muslims.


> To my knowledge chinese government does not interfere in personal religious beliefs.

...

The Chinese government spent 1966 to 1976 violently destroying churches and holy sites of all religions and imprisoning, torturing, and killing priests and worshipers.

Since then they've officially embraced freedom of religion, especially traditional Chinese religion that emphasizes submission to authority, but in the last decade they've been "waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982," including "destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_China#People's_Rep...

EDIT: "Account created: 3 hours ago"


Yeah, it's not like they've been harvesting organs of Falun Gong members.

CCP is officially atheist.

It's a shame but I feel like the majority of gamers won't care. They'll either be ignorant of this or they'll just shrug and continue playing. I boycotted Activision and by proxy Blizzard when Activision acquired them a long time ago but their continuing success shows I'm part of an extremely tiny minority.


At this point it goes far beyond just gamers. From the NBA to Google, this effect is everywhere. To be explicit, the effect is U.S. firms letting China dictate what they do or do not care about on a global political scale.


> From the NBA to Google

You probably want to use a different example than Google here. Particularly since Google doesn't have a China presence because they refused to censor search results, and relationships there still appear to be less than solid to say the least. Your statement works with most U.S. firms, but very much doesn't at all for Google in particular.


Google tried censored search (including spyware search) and was fought off, and tried again and was fought off, and may try again.

Goog has research labs in SH and elsewhere.

And yet they still have no consumer products in China, and still redirect search to Hong Kong, and still do not participate in any censorship efforts.

This should be applauded and supported, since it's pretty much what people want others like Blizzard to do as well. Google is much closer to a gold standard to follow with their approach to China than they are to being lumped in with the NBA or Blizzard.


If merely hiring people in China is objectionable now, you have a really long list of companies to work through

If a game publisher can (whether directly or not) nuke the job of a journalist for a review and get away with it, I'm not surprised at all when a government does something along these lines.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/03/21/gaming-the-...


It happened with a journalist on a gun magazine as well. Lifelong second amendment supporter blacklisted for not spewing exactly the party line. This makes me wonder whether the whole right to bear arms things is AstroTurf at this point.


Businesses too: there has been massive hatred directed at Dick's Sporting Goods when it changed its arms sales mix in response to a large shooting last year [1]. Gun makers such as Springfield took heat for trying for stepping even a smidgen out of line [2] resulting in an abrupt volte-face.

[1] https://www.racked.com/2018/5/10/17339690/dicks-sporting-goo...

[2] https://gunstoday.com/why-is-everyone-boycotting-springfield...


Do you have more information on this?


The NRA has clearly converted to an arm Republican Party.

The GOA competes with the NRA because they find the NRA more pro-Republican than pro-gun

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

I'm not sure if there is a gun organization that promotes more nuanced theory of partially-limited gun rights but not just shilling for a party.


Gerstmann's firing was widely reported at the time, he immediately turned around and created an influential gaming website that's still successful today, and Kane and Lynch didn't do well. Not a great example.

If the Western governments could maybe grow a pair and call out how this is very unfair maybe something would happen.

I work for one of the largest news publishers in the Nordics, and we were criticized for letting the CCP take out a full page ad in our largest newspaper that essentially said "no need for the Western governments to get involved, this is an internal issue that is best handled by us". Our editor in chief of that paper responded with this:

"Now we have the moral high ground. Until the Swedish government can take out a full page ad in The Global Times criticizing the CCP we can use this as one of many examples of how China does not value freedom of speech, but we do."


There is unfortunately a gaping hole where United States leadership should be and I don’t feel the companies or countries that used to be able to “follow the leader” have figured how to deal with it.

Good on your paper for having the some fortitude.


> gaping hole where United States leadership should be

I've seen this exact wording a lot recently. Is this the new propaganda line everyone parrots? I must have missed the previous administration's strong stance on ANYTHING AT ALL dealing with international relations, besides killing people from the sky. When did the previous administration lead on anything and not just bow down (literally bowing) to international leaders.

Sorry, the gaping hole in leadership was filled with someone who cares about the USA.


> the gaping hole in leadership was filled with someone who cares about the USA

[citation needed], I wouldn't trust the guy with international business interests to actually have America's best interests at heart over his own if the two don't align.

No real dispute with your criticism of the previous leadership though.


How about the Iran Nuclear deal? Or is that a bad example?


Let’s not forget Marriot’s capitulation last year.



That one is more likely a case of "islands are not part of a country, because disconnected components are hard", like the US "lower 48"

Well, currently the Hearthstone and Blizzard discussion forums on Reddit are up in arms.

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/blizzard


/r/classicwow too. Just saw this post and let me start to cancel my account.

https://www.reddit.com/r/classicwow/comments/dez4yc/breaking...


Yup, I'm cancelling my wow sub over this and read about it first on Reddit.


Cancelled and just sad I only had 500 characters to rake them over the coals with.


Yep. It's not much, but I cancelled and was quite explicit on why.

r/blizzard is now locked down.


What? What is happening there?


The last message I saw before it was switched to private was a message from the moderators along the lines that r/blizzard is not the right place to discuss politics, and that they'll ban people who post politics there.


It's inconvenient for moderators of fora when the topic of the forum suddenly takes a political action, if they don't want politics discussed in their forum.

> I feel like the majority of gamers won't care

The simultaneity of the NBA and now Blizzard so publicly siding with Beijing may elevate this out of the realm of commercial issues (subject to boycotts) into a political one.


It should do. The West needs to decide whether it is going to stand for China being able to silence criticism of it in the West, or not.


Ironically, there's little the US government can do here without dragging things back towards the McCarthy era.

What would we have them do? Apply pressure to Activision/Blizzard to reverse the company's own internal policy on "keep politics out of the game stuff?" That's a pretty clear violation of freedom of speech, the press, and / or association, to tell a private company who they must endorse.

It's not unprecedented, but the precedents are very tightly bound (and often tied up in a justification based on use of very finite public resources, such as broadcast airwaves).


> What would we have them do?

We have laws prohibiting private actors from interfering with American foreign policy. And we have safe harbours for protected speech. Combining these two, narrowly, to apply to Hong Kong and Taiwan might thread the needle.

To get around First Amendment issues, it would have to be a law saying, in effect, private actors may not punish employees, contractors or members for expressing opinions connected to Hong Kong or Taiwan’s proto-democratic and democratic systems. (This would probably also require Congress recognise Taiwan’s sovereignty, which after Hong Kong looks necessary.)


Of course the first itself is largely hillariously unenforceable even a century ago because of global speech and the First Ammendment - which is a good thing.

I don't think that carve out would be constitutional unless it was even more broad. Say "personal capacity political advocacy is protected" so you could get fired for saying "<Company> supports Free Tibet" without proper permission/authority but "I, not speaking on behalf of <Company> support Free Tibet". Even that would open itself to damn uncomfortable side effects legally for a weatherman opening every broadcast with "I support the reestablishment of Rhodesia!" being protected as well.


> the first itself is largely hillariously unenforceable even a century ago because of global speech and the First Ammendment

The Logan Act [1] has been on the books since the 19th century, though it remains Constitutionally controversial.

Broadly speaking, however, there is difference between punishing certain views and expanding public-sphere protections around free speech. The latter is done e.g. with union-promotion laws, which restrict companies' abilities to suppress certain kinds of union-organizing speech. That precedent could certainly be extended to this issue.

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


"American foreign policy is we support Hong Kong against China" is something you'll be hard-pressed to find the US government in agreement on.

What would we have them do?

Amend the constitution to provide first-amendment rights to all individuals instead of just citizens, for example. Then you can go back to claiming the moral high ground.


I believe the First Amendment already protects the free speech of non-citizens. Do you have a specific case in mind that broke differently?

https://www.learnliberty.org/blog/t-he-constitutional-rights...


> Ironically, there's little the US government can do here without dragging things back towards the McCarthy era.

Concentration camps are evil, and so is using prisoners as living organ banks. Furthermore, China is run by competent people and has a large economy growing faster than the West. They are a bigger threat than Nazi Germany or the USSR were. China has a serious chance of dominating the world over a 20-30 year timescale.

I don't want that to happen. If McCarthyism is what it takes to stop it, so be it; I would prefer that over having my organs removed while I am still conscious.


> the NBA ... so publicly siding with Beijing

I must have missed something, because all the coverage I have seen is of Adam Silver publicly supporting Morey and Tsai. Additionally, the Nets cancelled a media event in Shanghai over this.



Silver says that is not an apology[1], and the message quoted reads more like a diplomatic version of "Sorry this upset you, but tough shit". I'm not sure where the author of that opinion column got the idea that the message was an apology.

[1] https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/10/8/20904593/nba-china-co...




What was it about Activision that caused you to boycott them?


It was the CEOs attitude towards gamers and his derogatory comments about them as well as the way Activision treats/treated its developers. There was a lot of controversy around these issues and after reading quite an in depth article about it around 10 years ago I've avoided buying anything developed or published by Acti-Blizzard.


Isn't that the guy who hates gamers? It wasn't difficult to figure out why people dislike him [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Kotick#Business_strategy...


Personally I've requested my account be deleted.


I have as well.


Nothing about the behavior of the average gamer, to date, should make any of us think they're going to lead the charge for much of any social change that involves distancing themselves from their favorite addic^Wgames.

It's really hard to tell the difference between what is genuinely offensive and what is not.

No easy answers. In this case, maybe there is a relatively simple rule: Supporting democracy must not in itself be regarded as offensive...


It is hard to tell, that is true. And that reality is exploited to silence opposition and control others.

That’s why language policing, hate speech laws, Twitter mobs, and bully-the-bully efforts are abominations. So really, the answer is easy: everyone has the right to offend, and has no right not to be offended. Your simple rule doesn’t go far enough.


Hate-speech laws exist because people are programmable.

Try and tell me your opinions are your own and the books and media you consume do not own some portion of them.

Hate-speech laws exist to prevent the programming of people to systematically hate and exterminate other people, a lesson that has been learned many times over in history.


If hate-speech laws exist to deal with people that are programmed, wouldn't it also follow that hate-speech laws might exist because programmed people want to control the speech of others?

It would go like this: hate speech is first yelling fire in a theater, then it's espousing bigotry, then it's holding the wrong opinions, until it's finally speaking ill of the Party. That's also a lesson that has been learned many times over in history.


We're all programmable, sure. And I think it's important for their to be competing voices such that we don't end up in the Party.

But some level of social cohesion is desirable, and I think starting at the level of 'not allowed to advocate for the rape and murder of peoples' is a reasonable step towards ensuring less people think that is viable.


And to attain that social cohesion, outlawing wrongthink is certainly a way. It is allowed to advocate doing harm to people, it's just that you have to be selective. You can't do it to protected classes, but unprotected groups are just fine, which is why I believe the moral case for hate speech laws typically falls flat. If it was about morals, it would target everybody equally. It doesn't, so it isn't.

That's not true at all. Maybe in America, I have no idea, but where I'm from its applied equally.

where I'm from its applied equally

Weren't you saying about people being programmable? Every society throughout history has struggled with administering justice equally. Every single one.


So we should stop trying?

The reality is both ends of the spectrum are undesirable. To move too far in either direction ends in murder and destruction.


I've found it to typically not be applied equally, neither in the US nor in Europe (which makes sense, since it's designed to protect marginalized groups). For a quick test, replace some words, i.e. "all X are ..." and make it "all Y are ...", switch minorities and majorities around - you'll be able to tell whether it's considered hate speech then. #YesAllXYZ

Can you provide me with an example?

Saying "It's ok to be white" is considered hate speech by many. Saying "It's ok to be black" is a statement of empowerment.

"Kill all men". There's plenty of generalizations, insults and derogatory statements against groups, it's just not a problem if those groups aren't perceived as oppressed. Change a word or two and voila: hate speech.

Can you provide me of an example where kill all men is not identified as hate speech?


This sounds too much like you moving the goal post along, and I've had those conversations before; I did not find them fruitful. Next up "can you provide a case number where 'kill all $foo' was classified as hate speech by a federal judge who's first name starts with an E".

You can google that sentence, you can read defenses of it and make up your mind. I'm not that passionate about changing a single opinion that I'm going to waste time chasing after your ever expanding requirements.


Why bother replying if you're not going to be charitable in my assumptions?

I had never heard of the term but I would certainly agree that it's hate speech. It seems to me that it was a twitter hashtag that some people thought was funny.

I don't agree with it but I also think that an equivalent hashtag #killallwomen would have an equally hard time being brought before a judge.


> Why bother replying if you're not going to be charitable in my assumptions?

I find it rude to simply turn around and walk away without saying why I chose to. I remembered previous conversations I had that went the same way and ended in me being dragged along and my time being wasted. Fool me once, shame on me etc etc. I apologize if that was not your intention.


Too far down that philosophical rabbit-hole you find "There's no such thing as good and evil," which is a philosophy a person can have but not one I'd want to see a country's government embrace as a core tenant. It'd be a pretty shitty place to live for anyone who doesn't have the money or power to enforce their will.

And too far down the other hole is the ambiguity of definitions and other postmodern gobbledygook that will eventually expand the umbrella of what we call 'hate speech' far beyond what we might both agree is reasonable. It's probably already happened.

That's an awful place to live as well.


The postmodern gobbleygook in this case is the notion that there are no bad opinions and all speech is valid.

And you can't successfully legislative bad opinions and the validity of speech. Because an opinion being bad or speech being valid isn't something the government should concern themselves with.

Remind me again why the US prosecutes ownership and transmission of child pornography?

Why not? There are time-tested slippery slopes in both directions here so the best approach is a cautious one where shades of grey are debated and disputed.

You should see Hate-Speech more like nuclear chain reaction and laws against that as neutron traps.

> ...people are programmable.

This particular cynicism justifies far too much. A liberal (as in liberty) society must trust the super-majority of its population to agree on and uphold its ethical foundations. Policing hate speech weakens one of those foundations no matter how you justify it, but if you justify it by saying "people are programmable and so can't be trusted to hear what hateful people have to say," it weakens it enormously.

A huge percentage of our speech is attempted "programming." Political debate, religious preaching, even mathematical models of the universe are attempts to get others to think about something a certain way. But it would be unethical to ban any of those things, because people aren't "programmable," they're suggestible.


> A huge percentage of our speech is attempted "programming."

I absolutely agree. I'm not saying ban hate speech because its programming -- I'm saying ban it because it's evil and effective.

It's morally reprehensible to defend the existence of advocating for racial superiority when we have witnessed hundreds of times where that leads to genocide.


I don't think that follows so clearly. We defend many rights that could lead to disaster. You could try to drum up a following to amend the constitution and make the country into whatever you wanted it to be, and you could do so legally. If you succeeded, it could be a total disaster. And yet somehow it's still right that we defend the right for you to do so.

> It's morally reprehensible to defend the existence of advocating for racial superiority...

This really is a slippery slope. Let's agree that it's morally reprehensible to advocate for racial superiority. Let's not argue that it's morally reprehensible to defend the right of somebody else to advocate for racial superiority. When we are faced with assailing what is supposed to be as close as possible to an unassailable right for pragmatic reasons, neither side of the argument is clearly moral or immoral. Or, rather, both sides are somewhat immoral. If we as a society come to the conclusion that hate speech is so dangerous that it is worth reducing the right to free speech to prevent it, then let's at least do so with a heavy heart. Political decisions that pit a great good against another great good are terrible. Don't make them more terrible by accusing those on either side of being morally reprehensible.


That's the rub with a free society. It's the same terrible people. If we foster hate speech, many people will eventually die. By allowing hate speech, you are allowing that outcome. Perhaps reprehensible is too strong of a word, but morally responsible certainly fits.

A small limitation on an 'unassailable' right (where is that status derived from?) is actually the solution that maximizes liberalism by limiting genocide.


> If we foster hate speech, many people will eventually die.

True, if we collectively foster it. Let's definitely not do that.

> where is that status derived from?

It's just agreed upon, or not. The extent to which free speech is unassailable is the extent to which free speech is unassailable. Every society has restricted it in some way or other; many (even western) societies have restricted it much too far, in my opinion. We can go as far as we choose.

Personally, I wish we wouldn't choose speech policing in the US at this point in time. The implications are far reaching. Policing something doesn't just affect the people who break the law, it affects anybody who could theoretically break it. Mechanisms to monitor and silence speech get another great justification. And the people doing the policing will of course err on the side of caution at times. Look at the recent stack overflow kerfuffle. Since intent is so difficult to judge, there is no way that the only thing hate speech laws are applied to will be speech with hateful intent. Some arguments in support of Israel are considered by some to be hate speech, as supporting the Hong Kong protests is by others. Both of those platforms are deeply offensive to a particular demographic. And the argument that these are just "bad applications" of the law is insufficient, because laws at their very best are applied badly sometimes, and at their worst applied badly _most_ of the time.

Saying that a limitation on this particular right for this particular reason "is actually the solution that maximizes liberalism by limiting genocide," is not a good argument. Genocide has some probability of occurring in a country with the policies in place today, and some other probability of occurring with different policies in place. If we just applied any policy that reduced the probability, there would be no freedoms at all. And even hundreds of examples in history don't work very well as evidence unless you can demonstrate an inverse correlation in history between the degree to which countries restricted hate speech and the extend to which they engaged in genocide, and I wouldn't be surprised if you found exactly the opposite.


Hate-speech laws are ridiculous. They only have their cheerleaders because some people hate Nazis more than they love what Nazis threatened to destroy. Never made sense to me.

> Hate-speech laws exist because people are programmable.

And some people would like to have us programmed with their opinion unchallenged, rather than have their view face opposing arguments in a fair and open debate.

Once you compromise on free speech for some views, it’s all a slippery down-hill slope from there.


Once you allow someone to advertise murder as a solution to a problem it's all down-hill from there.

And yet you personally contribute funds to your nation's military, I presume.

Who do we kill with that? Just who you say is okay? And we can't talk about it? Hmm, you know. I don't think I like this arrangement. It already seems like you don't like me.

This is entirely correct. As rhetorical advice, I recommend against calling things a "slippery slope". This causes alarm bells to ring in a pedant's mind, and they frantically search Wikipedia's catalog of Fallacious Reasoning for an appropriate article to copy-paste or internally justify downvoting you instead of authentically engaging with the argument.

Humans are emotional animals and many can be dominated by feelings, your answer assume they are entirely logical


Quite the contrary. You should assume that if you step out into the stream of general discourse, you will be offended by something. You will have feelings. Be ready.


[flagged]


They, as in, the aforementioned humans (humans, plural).

What is the problem?


The problem is that the parent didn't say We.

Oh, I misunderstood. For some reason I thought it was a complaint about singular they.

I don’t see the comment anymore though, so idk what led me to think that.


I’m gonna report to my ET boss that earth can be safely destroyed

> It's really hard to tell the difference between what is genuinely offensive and what is not.

You can't have both "Free Speech" and "You Can't Say Anything Offensive" at the same time, because there is too much overlap. So you have to choose. The US constitution is pretty clear that "Free Speech" is the higher principle.


"Free Speech only protects you from the government, not private companies who don't want to tolerate your hate on their platform"

I don't agree with this stance, but it is an oft-heard one defending companies who stifle speech (as long as the stifled speech was a far right Nazi website or anti-LGBT comments).

As we see, that stance is dangerous and extends to companies stifling politically inconvenient speech like "I support Hong Kong protesters".


It's a silly stance, even if one thinks private companies should be allowed censor who they want on their platform. It conflates "free speech" (which is a wide philosophical concept) with the "first amendment to the US constitution", which is just a particular law regulating the government of a specific country.


The reason we constrain the government the way we do is that Blitzchung is still perfectly free to go on his own blog, or out in the street, or to any media network willing to broadcast him and share his view, and the FBI won't lock him up.

It's a key distinction, and yes, the media still has the liberty to not broadcast is views (because the same liberty that lets them refrain from repeating "I support Hong Kong protesters" lets them refrain from repeating all manner of "Death to all X").

Is that gameable in a multinational world where some media companies are cross-oceanic superpowers? Sure. There are other media outlets that aren't that.

It's possible the solution to these speech issues is to aggressively enforce antitrust.


> The reason we constrain the government the way we do is that Blitzchung is still perfectly free to go on his own blog

...unless Cloudflare or Amazon or whomever is hosting his blog arrives at the same conclusion as Blizzard. I would argue free speech as a philosophy doesn't work unless corporations are on board.


They don't need to be on board; they just need to be competing. "It's possible the solution to these speech issues is to aggressively enforce antitrust."

Then your definition of Free Speech is something different from the one generally agreed upon and implemented in many constitutions.

You can look at it that way: If a private entity is prohibited from deleting user content, isn't that also an infringement of free speech? And at what level are they prohibited to filter such content? Are they allowed to require an account? Are they allowed to delete spam?

No "Right to Free Speech" can be enforced between private persons or entities. Nobody can be forced to listen to you, nobody can be prohibited from taking measures to not read or hear you, just because you claim a right to free speech.

Thus the only correct level to fight against this particular instance of private censorship is indeed the private domain, and that's mainly counter-speech.


We're free to protest the move, but I'd hardly say that Apple should be forced by anyone to actually change their stance. It's their choice where they want to stand on public opinion - much as it's our choice to boycott Apple products or protest that decision they've made.


> The US constitution is pretty clear that "Free Speech" is the higher principle.

No, the US Constitution doesn't even purport to set out social priorities outside of the relations between the government of the US and it's people.

You might believe that free speech is an important principle outside of that context, but (even if dead guys once wrote it in a document was a valid argument for a set of social priorities) the Constitution of the United States doesn't make that claim, and if you want to make it, you’ll have to make the argument yourself, not just rely on “the Constitution say so”.


> the Constitution of the United States doesn't make that claim > the US Constitution doesn't even purport to set out social priorities outside of the relations between the government of the US and it's people.

I disagree. The fact that the US Constitution deals with a specific relationship between government and individual is incidental to the implicit claim. The US society therein is governed (for whatever it's worth) by the "priorities" and principles within that constitution. This is what marks the confusion. I agree there is a legal distinction between the principles and law. The principles remain.


>It's really hard to tell the difference between what is genuinely offensive and what is not.

It's not hard to tell the difference actually. You know when you are offended quite obviously.

The hard part is knowing when other people are offended. This is why we can't have rules based on subjective experience.

I remember reading an article about how someone breaking your heart is a much more egregious crime than shoplifting. Yet, there is no law against breaking hearts.


I think perhaps the more important point is that one should not be prevented from voicing an offensive opinion. If you look very hard in an extremely boring place, e.g. a phone directory, you might just by chance perhaps find something that won't be offensive to anyone on this Earth. Outside of contrived scenarios, the moment we let "being offended" be the watermark of censoring ideas, we might as well pack up the idea of freedom altogether.

E.g. I don't agree with Trump's policies, I generally disagree on most topics with his voters, but I wholeheartedly support their right to voice their opinions. I want them to voice their opinions, even if sometimes they will result in rules that I dislike. I'm too terrified of the alternative where a certain group is not allowed to participate.

In an open society, there can and should be heated debates, sides that stand firm behind their beliefs and everyone should be prepared to fight (in debate) for what they deem important. Crucially however, no debate should be won by silencing the other side through decree.

It is easy to handwave this case away as fringe, but it is only fringe inasmuch as you only see the tip of an iceberg. As other posts have pointed out, this seemingly low impact act by Blizzard is actually a sign of a cultural collision.

Where the culture of open dispute and free expression of ideas is met with a closed and conformist culture of be silent or be silenced by force.

We must fight back against this problem every time it surfaces, because the moment we stop, we lose. Whenever it becomes normalized and accepted that corporations that arose from the support and foundations of a free society can turn on those principles whenever they deem profitable, we lose a bit of those freedoms.

If history is of any indication, freedoms once lost this way can only ever bought back by bloodshed.


I agree in principle, although in practice this is impossible to be preached. In China it's that political opinions aren't tolerated, especially anything that notes on the edge of separatism. In America it's the same, certain racial, gender chats are simply taboo, whether it's personal or national level. While there is no explicit governmental prosecution, you can be sure that you'll be punished in a way.

The idea is that in America such topics are prohibits because there is the idea of historical injustice and bringing everyone to a fair level for a "better society" (very well-intended). It is no different in China when political topics bring an uprising flux of emotion from within the Chinese people (also very well-intended in the context of Chinese legacy). There is no fundamental difference, only a difference in how the freedom of expression is backed by historical context and reigning ideology.


You confuse state prosecution with private consequences.

A right to Free Speech can only protect you from government sanctions. How other private parties react to your "taboo" opinions cannot be legislated.

And I'd like to break a lance for "political correctness" here. Hate speech and offensive language in general do make a public or private space uncomfortable for certain people. Not all of this can be avoided, but in the case of race and gender, those who feel offended can't really change their offendedness. And because those people are usually a minority, it is usually someone else who steps up to the task of defending such a space.

Unfortunately, an aggressive climate fueled by hate speech leads to worse consequences than offended feelings. So, in many cases, why not avoid offending people? And in many cases at issue, the main motivation of the offenders is the offending, not what they believe is the "truth".


I wish more people held your viewpoint. I agree wholeheartedly.


> It's really hard to tell the difference between what is genuinely offensive and what is not.

Calling for liberation of any territory is genuinely offensive to the government from which one is calling for it to be liberated, and to people who support that government (and often to those who support the territorial integrity of the relevant state event if they don't strongly support the government in question.)


In Venezuela both parts claim to be the democratic elected government.

What if the people actually prefer another form of government like monarchy?


Democracy is not the dictatorship of the majority.

The decision to abandon democracy can never be democratic or democratically legitimated.

In the example of Venezuela, both parties agree to the same constitution, though they interpret it differently.


> It's really hard to tell the difference between what is genuinely offensive and what is not.

That's because it's not up to the prankster or the offender or a third party to decide if one is suffering. It's up to the offended, mocked or bullied one who are the only ones knowing what they feel.

Of course, in the public political space, everybody tries to play the victim/innocent game to their advantage.


We can however be convinced, that certain offenses are indeed worthy of recognition. Racial slurs, for example. Sexual or sexist jokes in certain contexts.

Feeling offended because somebody criticized a state is harder to make stick.


I agree that for some culture or some communities or in some part of the world there are consensus around things.

Coincidentally I stumbled upon a comment on imgur today that went like this:

- canadian guy is in saskatoon, in a bar

- chinese guy at the counter

- chinese guy backs away from the counter with beverage

- bumps into canadian guy he didn't see

- canadian guy blurps 'woops, sorry'

- chinese guy 'YOU APOLOGIZE TO ALL OF CHINA'

- canadian guy thinks it's funny, laught it off

- mates from chinese guy laugh and pull him away

Then imgur commenters: "Yeah, some Chinese tourists/expats/students can be very sensitive about China".

Feeling offended because somebody criticized a state is harder to make stick.

All that to say that in some parts of the world personal identity can be tied real tight to national/territorial origin. And we all meet on the intertubes.


Source if anyone is interested https://imgur.com/gallery/nBUysFF/comment/1724607027 (NSFW, imgur of course)

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