China should not be able to control society outside of its own walls, yet they have blatantly influenced the behavior of our biggest mass media companies for years.
To be fair, they've done an outstanding job of it. They fund a huge number of film productions. They've bought out our cinema chains and gaming companies. All the while we never once see China portrayed as an enemy.
Games are not permitted to promote LGBT acceptance. Films sometimes bend backwards to include China as a strong and moral ally. These aren't just one-sided impacts of the Great Firewall - China is directly altering the media we create domestically. They're changing the world narrative to enhance their reputation and take power from their enemies. They'll happily fund films that are critical of American history (and even if that's justified, it's terribly one-sided).
And now what was once simply a chilling effect on what types of media could be created has now manifested as proactive enforcement of China's will. How long will it be before China can force westerners it disagrees with out of their jobs? We never imagined something like Blizzard's treatment of Blitzchung would be possible, yet now we're beginning to see how deep China's political tentacles reach.
We have to stop this.
Tax companies doing business in China.
Disincentivize this blatant attack on of our freedom of speech. Don't let China change our cultural zeitgeist.
Tax any and all domestic profits coming from China. Heavily.
I agree with most of what you say, but as a Dane who grew up watching Hollywood movies portraying America, it’s also a little funny for this particular part, to be happening to America.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be manipulated into liking a free society than a dictatorship, but I’m sure you follow where I’m going with this comment.
That's not really comparable because those are American movies. Is America preventing Europeans from making movies that portray America negatively?
If China makes its own movies where they are the heroes, that's fine, but they shouldn't be able to prevent anyone outside China from making movies where they are portrayed negatively.
This is in direct comparison to what China tacitly enforces. Good luck try to show the Chinese as the bad guys, much less the the government itself.
So no - I don't follow where you are going.
What would you do if there are no actual profits?
And China has been involved in all sorts of questionable financing schemes with recent Hollywood films.
There may be enclaves of people who are paying attention that ridicule China as the authoritarian travesty that it is... but Western pop culture, big business, and our government kowtow to China and its whims.
The first amendment protects people’s rights to shill for China in exchange for $$$. That’s what freedom of speech actually means.
What? I never suggested this.
> The first amendment protects people’s rights to shill for China in exchange for $$$. That’s what freedom of speech actually means.
Right. And China discovered this fitness gradient.
Luckily we can use taxes on negative externalities to adjust for the damage that is being done.
I'm suggesting that we tax all business activities in China because China has shown themselves to be an enemy of the West and of democracy. They pose an existential threat to both and we should begin taking additional measures to protect and secure our interests.
I'm not saying we tax pro-China messages or force companies to produce anti-Chinese sentiment. Don't reframe this as a free speech argument.
China has a demand for western media, and they cede small amounts of control when they let our messaging and culture reach them. By economically disincentivizing the creation of specialized media that is custom-tailored for consumption by the Chinese market, they are left with true and unfettered western culture. A culture that flies in the face of fascist narratives.
No one goes out of their way to create pro-Chinese media if there isn't something in it for them.
> Disincentivize this blatant attack on of our freedom of speech.
I'll quote you right here since you keep insisting you're not talking about free speech.
> Games are not permitted to promote LGBT acceptance.
I see lots of games that have LGBT characters. Isn't that what the Gamer Gaters keep whining about? That companies keep "virtue signaling" by pandering to minority groups?
But China isn't the only regressive society in the world. Corporations also sometimes avoid overtly endorsing progressive perspectives to avoid offending domestic conservatives. Should we also tax business activity in Alabama so companies aren't afraid to make LGBT-friendly games to cater to red states? The government isn't in the business of deciding which speech should be discouraged and which should be encouraged.
> China should not be able to control society outside of its own walls.
If you choose not to consume certain pieces of foreign media because you disagree with its philosophy or some other part of it are you also violating their country's sovereignty? E.g. if you decide not to read Harry Potter because the British slang confuses you, are you committing an unethical act by unduly pressuring British publishers to produce more America-friendly content?
> They are left with true and unfettered western culture. A culture that flies in the face of fascist narratives.
So much to unpack here
It’s companies that want access to China that are making these choices. It’s why foreign companies are afraid to deal with Cuba, Venezuela, or Iran.
How do you argue against it? It's a hypothetical event that hasn't occurred. You get to feel smug with your point and no one can actually disprove it.
I generally find people that are so aggressive with their passive announcement of political values aren't the type of people I want to associate with, but I'm not going to say someone wearing a MAGA hat should be banned from playing Overwatch. It wouldn't even occur to me as something to suggest.
The Chinese government has zero respect for free speech and as they gain more power outside China we're watching our own freedom of speech disappear.
So in this instance, people who support free speech and people who just oppose China are aligned.
Well if you think we should antagonize china for offending our freedoms, then we should be culling the nsa, fbi, and other 3 letter agencies that violate our constitutional right to privacy.
The US gov't and the chinese gov't are two faces on the same coin. The difference is the chinese gov't does what the US gov't does in the open.
Horrific tragedies have occurred in the US, like Kent State. But we know the truth about Kent State. We know the number of victims. It and similar events are included in our history textbooks. I know they are - that's how I learned about them! Tiananmen Square, we don't know the truth about. We don't know how many victims there were. The estimates range from hundreds to tens of thousands. And it certainly isn't included in history textbooks in China. It's likely one of the most fatal protest crackdowns in human history, but it is censored completely in the country where it occurred.
We're just descending into whatabout-ism at this point. The US has done plenty of horrific stuff. It shouldn't. We should be upset that it has. But that doesn't absolve China, and I don't think it's clear that they're even actually on similar footing.
The US government routinely practices Extraterritorial jurisdiction.
Anyone living abroad who was born in the US, currently holds US citizenship, or was at one point a "US person" to the IRS has to deal with financial institutions refusing to do business with them because of FACTA. 
The US has also been known pressure American companies to disclose data held abroad on foreign citizens. 
Recently the wife of a US diplomat killed a UK citizen in a road accident and fled back to the US while claiming diplomatic immunity. 
Yes, these examples are not of the US state entities or US corporations overtly using their financial interests to influence corporate policy abroad, but the US is hardly a model citizen when it comes to this claim.
I'd like to see more of every country (US, UK, China, Russia, etc) stop trying to "control society outside of its own walls" but this trend seems unlikely to change any time soon.
How do you handle potentially thousands of attendees, at your organization's biggest annual event, turning it into a platform for political protest agaisnt your biggest growing market?
There's three possible events:
BlizzCon is canceled. Extremely unlikely but possible.
Blizzard attempts to control the narrative during the con by policing the floors to extinguish any mention of china or Hong Kong. Stripping those who do of their con membership. Leading to more negative reactions from domestic users.
Blizzard does nothing. Thousands of videos and photos flood the web of blizzcon of what looks like a sanctioned public protests by the company. China responds by blocking all Blizzard products in their country.
This is a very awkward situation for blizzard, one they have ultimately created, no real way they will win.
But hey, these days many people want companies to stick their nose into everyone's business, police "bad speech", create comfortable "spaces", enforce conduct and so on. Well, you reap what you sow. Any mechanism that is created to do all this "activism" will inevitably be subverted by something like CPC to enforce their interests upon everyone else.
They stuck their feet into this arena, and are now realizing that making political statement can affect their revenue in both directions.
Much like how tons of companies seem to jump on the LGBT logo type stuff, I suspect this kind of pro-LGBT sentiment is driven by people within the company who genuinely mean it and then it's up to the company to:
(a) embrace their suggestions in the name of boosting employee morale and involvement
(b) say no to sidestep potential political implications and potentially unsettle workplace morale
The company fundamentally does not give a flying f*ck about the issue at hand, but it manages to work its way up along a chain of individuals who either do believe in the motives or are unwilling to be the one to say no until it actually gets put out officially. If there ever was a "there's big money in this stuff" thought, I seriously doubt it was a significant motivator as the person thinking that cynically would doubtless be aware of international considerations too.
I'm not trying to defend companies here at all, to be clear. I struggle to believe any company that isn't taking extremely proactive steps at the risk of their bottom line don't actually care about anything on an ethical level.
Companies do not have ethics, morals, etc. Only individual people have those. The film also talks about how any group of people tend to lose their humanity because in any group, it is easy to fall back on "someone else made the decision", "it's someone else's problem", "I didn't have the final say-so on this", etc.
IMO we too often have given companies attributes and rights of individuals that they don't deserve because they don't behave like individuals, and are incapable of having things like morals.
But how is that related to Blizzard sponsoring (paying for casters, production and using their branding) content where random individuals make their own political statements (imho: presented in questionable ways)?
Is "not supporting individuals to hijack your platform for their own agenda" now immediately the same as "explicitly aligning yourself with the opposite political position"?
That feels like the "If you're against censorship you support child porn" argument? "If you don't want any random political statements then you are explicitly against the specific political point that a random guy chanted" does seem weird.
Context #1: there has been a years-long trend for Western entertainment media (movies, games) to cater to the Chinese market. This ranges from voluntary censorship that seems odd in the West (no skeletons?) to more sensitive topics like sexuality.
Specifically, last year Blizzard disappointed fans by announcing a mobile Diablo game that no one really asked for and that many felt is squarely aimed at the Chinese market.
Context #2: the trade war and Hong Kong protests have brought a lot of attention to China in general. The Hong Kong protests seem to be particularly popular with younger people online.
Context #3: Blizzard's reaction seemed particularly swift and heavy-handed, giving the impression that it was more about not offending China than about discouraging political statements on streams. Blizzard's announcement on Chinese social media supported this impression, and their delayed and lukewarm non-apology statement in the US didn't do much to change that perception.
Further, Blizzard's support for LGBTQ suggests that it's not just about political statements on the stream, but the content of the statements is important. Put another way: would Blizzard's response be the same if the unauthorized statement was pro-LGBTQ rather than pro-HK? There is no way to know for sure, but if the answer is "no" that means Blizzard is indirectly picking sides.
Combine all that and Blizzard put themselves in an impossible situation with no good way forward.
My personal opinion: it probably was about China, it probably was a decision made locally further down the corporate ladder, and US HQ is now stuck with something they can't fix.
I .. take your word for it. I'm not sure what the "no skeletons?" references and I'd argue that sexuality is already a pretty weird thing if you - say - take the US and Europe (during the 2006 soccer championship US visitors got an "informational leaflet" that - among other things - said something along the lines of "On tv back home? Gore is fine, sex is bad. Here? Expect less gore, more nudity"). But again, without said context and without catching your references I .. can't really disagree.
> Context #2: the trade war and Hong Kong protests have brought a lot of attention to China in general. The Hong Kong protests seem to be particularly popular with younger people online.
Not sure how that's related to HK per se, but I agree that this was on the news a lot (I'm.. using a Huawei phone myself).
> Context #3: Blizzard's reaction seemed particularly swift and heavy-handed
Fair enough, that's true.
> Further, Blizzard's support for LGBTQ suggests that it's not just about political statements on the stream
I .. don't get this. What does LGBTQ have to do with .. anything? How does the fact that BLIZZARD can make public statements one way or another on BLIZZARD streams or elsewhere have anything to do with private unrelated individuals making their own loaded statements on BLIZZARD streams?
> Combine all that and Blizzard put themselves in an impossible situation with no good way forward.
I guess there's no debating this: They're in a bad spot and I don't know what they could/should do.
> My personal opinion: it probably was about China
I don't even disagree with this, I'm not thaaat naive. I assume it was mostly about China. My problem is that I still think that the guy was out of line and should be banned/punished for hijacking the event.
Pro-gamers often lament the fact that they aren't considered "athletes" in the general public, that people like to say things like "eSports aren't real sports" etc.
But in this case I feel this professional Hearthstone gamer got treated like an athlete - just not in the way he probably would've liked: If you're representing your sport, if you're on camera/in public, then you're not a private person and keep your private agenda to yourself. Otherwise there will be consequences for your career and your club/league/whatever association is relevant might remind you of that in fines/bans.
But note that what actually happened is much worse than a minor punishment: full ban for a year, confiscation of prize money that had previously been won, firing both the (Taiwanese!) interviewers for a crime that was extremely close to just being unavoidably in the wrong place at the wrong time, having the company representing Blizzard in China issuing an apology about defending China's "national pride".. it feels like a set of consequences that were likely dictated by China, or at least planned explicitly to try to please them.
You can object to a specific punishment without objecting to the idea of giving a punishment, and I think that's what's been happening here.
I do think punishing the player itself, even in the original 12 months / 10k way before they relented, was .. acceptable? Linking to my earlier comparison with professional athletes: You can lose your title, be fined and be banned for behaving improperly. Which I think was the case here, completely ignoring what he was advocating.
You're bringing up good points about the rest of the disaster though. Unless they were secretly in on this (and all coverage I saw makes that highly unlikely), the casters are complete bystanders and not responsible in the slightest¹.
I won't weasel around and say "It wasn't _Blizzard_ directly who apologized" or stuff like that. The apology is - in my opinion - the worst part in all of this and the single part I find a little disgusting.
Ban/Fine the guy? Yup. Fire casters: That's stupid. Apologize to China: Ewww..
I guess what made me burn my karma in this thread is that so far I've seen a lot of discussions focus on "Freedom of Speech" (not applicable on a private platform, not a global/unified concept anyway) and actually .. supporting the gamer.
Player vs Blizzard: Both fucked this up. The former intentionally², the latter incompetently. I don't see why Blizzard alone gets the hate and is painted as the bad guy.
① One might mayyyybe wonder if the production team could've cut to a commercial, but again.. no use blaming other people.
② I've never watched that player myself, but I extend him the courtesy to believe that he knew he was doing something stupid/risky way in advance
> Linking to my earlier comparison with professional athletes: You can lose your title, be fined and be banned for behaving improperly.
This wasn't improper behavior that affected the result of the athletic event, though. Is it true that people are getting year long bans from their sport just for behaving improperly? Like, isn't Nick Kyrgios' on-court tennis behavior worse than this and yet he's still at events? I think as an athlete you have to be doping -- actually affecting event results -- to get this severe a punishment.
Another reason to be more lenient is that while Blitzchung knew some trouble would come, this was an unprecedented situation and the amount of trouble wasn't predictable by him.
1) Strictly because Blizzard did not want unauthorized political statements on its video game stream - perfectly understandable, or
2) Partly because Blizzard feared retaliation from China, and acted more harshly than it normally would.
We can't know for sure from the outside, but context suggests 2 is more likely.
This is where the LGBTQ thing comes in. It's not central to the controversy but it is one small piece of the puzzle. It's an instance, in the past, where Blizzard has calculated it is worth it to take a public stance on a non-gaming related topic.
Now we would not normally expect Blizzard, out of nowhere, to take a public stance on the HK protests. But Blitzchung has forced them to consider the issue internally at least. We now know they have calculated, unlike LGBTQ, that it is not worth it to take any public stance on HK even though it might be the only way to disprove 2) and repair PR damage at home. Their silence doesn't prove anything but it is one more clue.
Also, regarding skeletons:
It's a silly example, and I don't have a big issue with localized versions of games or movies customized for local norms. But it becomes interesting when US content starts to self-censor at home to avoid losing money in the Chinese market. For years American entertainment has been some of the most effective propaganda globally, now American citizens are indirectly starting to be exposed to Chinese propaganda (by avoiding content or topics) in American entertainment. It's only tangential to the Blizzard situation but I think it's part of why it struck such a nerve.
This is why I find this mess so fascinating - it goes far beyond just the statement on the stream and it ties together so many different threads into a perfect storm for Blizzard.
Can't it be .. both? And if we at least somewhat agree that this had to have consequences, why .. does it matter?
> For years American entertainment has been some of the most effective propaganda globally, now American citizens are indirectly starting to be exposed to Chinese propaganda (by avoiding content or topics) in American entertainment.
I'm not trying to be infuriating, but that seems something very American to worry about. As you write, American propaganda is huge worldwide (personally I cringe at - random examples - Independence Day speeches or Captain America). In addition, I don't quite understand how that is "propaganda" in the first place. Video games already tried to "censor" themselves before, to get around various gore acceptance level before for example. That's .. hardly propaganda. And if you build some erotic novel game that purposely avoids showing pubes and genitals to reach the Japanese market .. then I don't see censorship here either.
Now, I obviously don't deny that there IS censorship in general and around HK/TW specifically - I just feel the examples/comparisons aren't applicable?
> This is why I find this mess so fascinating
It certainly is interesting to observe, I agree.
This might be where our views diverge. If you don’t think it matters whether a US company punished a Hong Kong national, in Taiwan, for political speech in support of democracy out of fear of potentially offending China, then I don’t think we’ll find much common ground.
>that seems very American to worry about
It is, and that’s the whole point. If this were a French company punishing a Romanian caster for potentially offending the Bulgarian government, no one would care (other than mild confusion, probably).
This is one very small battle in a global struggle between the US, where democracy and political speech are supposed to be sacred, and China, where they are supposed to be taboo. Blizzard brilliantly got themselves caught right in the middle.
By the way - I’m not American either, I’m watching this from the sidelines just like you.
There is a big difference between "not supporting" a political rant, which could be accomplished by turning off his mic and what Blizzard chose to do.
Blizzard creates art/items/events specifically catering to LGBTQ, with the concept that in modern western countries this is not a controversial stance but the only decent stance.
Then, at an event, a tournament winner is given a chance to speak and calls for democracy and freedom in Hong Kong.
Blizzard's response to this is ban him, take his prize away, ban the tournament casters for some reason (who did nothing at all, AFAIK).
The takeaway people get from these actions is "Blizzard projects the image that they care about social issues, but in reality they will shut you down hard if those issues cost them a penny."
This  is the entire, in context, video of the controversy in question. Unfortunately I've yet to find a complete translated transcript so I am left on relying on potentially unreliable online translations. From what I've read the casters say 'Go ahead and say those 8 words and we'll wrap up here. There's nothing else to talk about. Let's lower our heads.' He then screams 'Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time.' Guess that's 8 words in [presumably?] Cantonese. This was done while wearing a gas mask. The tournament casters then laugh and clap.
This is actually the thing that most frustrates me about so many issues. How can people justify forming opinions on these things without seeing everything in context? Why isn't this entire video, alongside a professional translation, a part of every story on the topic? Of course providing in context video gets downvoted, because it makes the issues look less black and white. But that to me is the clearest example of idiocracy. We should not seek to create Hollywood villains and heroes in nuanced issues. We should consider these issues as they are, which invariably tend to be a million shades of gray as opposed to black and white.
 - https://youtu.be/KyxO0Ea1_kM?t=2152
Why would it matter if three people were involved in the political speech rather than just one?
There's no guarantee in life that everything is shades of gray. Sometimes people really are evil. They're not Hollywood villains - Hollywood can't sell the level of evil some people actually are. Go read about the Falun Gong and organ harvesting.
Seriously: that cis, straight, unkinky people actually use the term LGBTQ+, are alive to the challenges that this group of people face every.single.day and are prepared to stand up and be counted is somehow a “progressive left” hobby or “political identity” rather than genuine human empathy and expression of civic values shows how little some people can even conceptualize the inner lives of others.
Blizzard has released a series of comics delving into the backstories of the characters in the game. Feel free to play spot the difference with which comics got released in various locales:
Edit: The tl;dr is that one of the comics doesn't exist in Russia or mainland China. Funnily enough, it looks like their CDN actually has a zh-cn version of the missing comic which is distinct from the zh-tw one (I don't know much about the chinese language but I'm assuming it's Simplified vs Traditional characters? Some of the onomatopoeia are translated differently too)
This is just the ISO language code for "Chinese as used in Taiwan".
Which it then uses (in parallel to the "official" state government) to invest in projects and consolidate its own economic and political power?
Just spitballing though. It's certainly not as bad as Russia or China, but it's not an entirely unfounded inclusion on that list.
like I have no clue how you can relate these two. we aren't just talking about public backlash, we are talking about the threat that a government can harm your operations in their country for speech. this is so different.
I don't think they created it per-say. I think they, and probably most of the executives in the industry, missed just how much a powder-keg chinese censorship is, and how political doing live international (or even national) sporting events can get. Everyone in the west is pissed at blizzard for cowing to China. China is obviously in the wrong here, because they're the ones threatening to kick Blizzard out of China unless Blizzard does what they say.
This is a risk that no matter how Blizzard execs managed it, if China pushes that lever all of their profits turn to zero. I think now any company should start to think twice about the risks of operating in China. I think ultimately this will fizzle out, unless the players don't stop protesting, at which point they'll have to stop broadcasting to China, and probably stop operating there.
The rules that govern the economy aren't optimized to create equity or equality. They're optimized to push companies to maximize profit and minimize scarcity.
Without proper regulation, the companies that optimize for profit will scale much faster than the companies that optimize for ethics or equality. Consumer pressure is somewhat effective in the short term, but it never lasts.
This simply isn't true and I wish people would stop repeating it.
> "modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not do so."
That's the system we have.
They could win everywhere but China, by explicitly choosing to withdraw their products from China.
I'm pretty sure Blizzard calculated this.
Westerner here. No, I don't want ANY political agenda in game streams. If Blizzard hosts people shouting "Free HK", "Liberate Tibet", "Support Palestine" then I'm going to tune out and don't buy their shit. If the next Dota2 stream I'm watching randomly is interrupted by one team reenacting a school shooting to then shout "restrict gun laws, down with the NRA" then I'll close the window and buy less Blizzard stuff.
This just Does Not Belong There. YMMV, but I really, really don't want to see this kind of content in gaming streams and would be turned OFF by it. China is unrelated at this point.
A similar comparison would be if Saudi Arabia had Blizzard ban someone for saying "Don't execute rape victims."
Is that so? I could imagine a huuuge amount of political statements that are illegal in my home country, Germany. Since I was raised there these rules are ingrained in me: "Free Speech" is not a thing (if we compare it to the US) and - that's the important part - I don't DISAGREE with that.
> "Free HK" isn't a particularly complex political statement
Is it not? I truly, honestly, don't know how complex that is in the end, compared to - say - supporting Texas leving the US, Bavaria leaving Germany, Basque leaving Spain (note I'm not comparing these countries with China at all, I'm just wondering if a separation argument can be simple)
> and it is over a topic which Westerners think is unfairly suppressed.
I wasn't aware of that
> A similar comparison would be if Saudi Arabia had Blizzard ban someone for saying "Don't execute rape victims."
The HK protestors aren't attempting to secede in any real quantity. It is not on their list of demands. They want a free Hong Kong, but it being part of China is perfectly acceptable as long as they have that freedom.
>Westerner here. No, I don't want ANY political agenda in game streams.
Perhaps you should, so you can be more informed on a position before posting opinions such as this. As evidenced by the above, you don't actually know what this protest is about, yet are trying to create comparisons that will mislead others that are uninformed.
I was going to write out a lengthier response about what the similarities actually are between the two, but you provided a zero effort response, so I guess I can too:
Nonsense. I live in Singapore, have friends and coworkers in HK. This subject comes up on a near daily basis. On my Twitter feed I especially follow @Pinboard for a perspective on this, every day.
Basically you failed to read my sentence, THEN became condescending. I am aware of what lead to the protests, how the protests look like, I'm exposed to pro and contra opinions every day. Am I an expert? Certainly not. But I care and do think I'm largely aware of the events. I just effing don't want - you even quoted it, although you missed the point - ANY political agenda in game streams. Note the word "game" in there?
At no point have I shown any sort of disinterest in the situation in HK (or political situations anywhere), I merely expressed my strong preference to not cram them forcefully and unsupported into any game stream.
(I don't believe that there's any way to make a comparison about Saudi/Rape victims, but my "No" was certainly low effort. So was your reply above, honestly)
(Addendum while rereading before hitting reply: It seems you also believe that I think HK wants to leave China. While there is a minority that argues for that, I am aware that this isn't part of their demands. My comparisons were made based on the GPs "Free HK" - which my English parser equals with "Liberate HK" not "For a (more) free HK". Even if we only talk about giving regions substantially more authority/liberties, my argument still stands: It was that "Free HK" is actually quite a complex thing as far as I'm concerned)
Well I am sorry for the people who live in that country.
> compared to - say - supporting Texas leaving the US
I don't think many people would care if someone playing a video game said "Free Texas!". I certainly wouldn't. Go ahead and do that.
And this, Hacker News, is why it's hard to argue on English platforms / on mostly American sites.
This poster, in a single reply, just showed extreme arrogance, perceived superiority and complete unawareness of cultural differences - because obviously anything other than what the US constitution says is inferior and needs to be pitied.
Fortunately many dictatorships are foreign and don't understand the subtleties of Western society. (ironic since the Chinese do hire white people for appearances)
Probably also why I'm seriously turned off by musicians with political agenda, like Roger Waters.
They were at the wrong place in the wrong time, managing to fan some pretty bad flames and accidentally became a symbol people on the non-extreme ends of both political isles can agree with: the disingenuous corporation putting money above your freedom / others' human rights.
All I suspect is, with each atrocity during the protests, Blizzard's name is going to come up in peoples' minds, even more so than other brands that messed up. It'll be interesting to follow this.
If they blocked Winnie the poo, imagine what they gonna do with Blizzard chars. Soon they will have no more original characters to release on China.
Currently r/AskReddit is still relatively free, HN is also mostly free.
Both Reddit and HN are blocked in China.
Being able to be apolitical is a luxury and a privilege. Some people are not afforded this, and have to be political to attempt to protect their way of life. That there is nothing in your life that forces you to try and affect a change means that you are lucky.
The same cries of "Subject X shouldn't be political!" have been around since the days of slavery, civil rights, and suffrage. I expect they go back even further. Transgender people are murdered at appalling rates today - should a transgender person not talk about the fact that they are in significantly more danger than a non-trans individual purely so that someone else doesn't have to read or hear about it?
When you're dealing with real human beings, that entails a lot of baggage. Asking for all of that to be dropped at the door for your benefit is unreasonable.
How do you figure they created it?
Yeah, that's putting profit at risk, 100%. That's precisely why it's so important that western audiences tell these companies that they'll loose western business if they capitulate—it has to be made the economic least-bad option to stand up to China for it to be common.
They created the situation by capitulating. Yeah, it turns out morals are at odds with profits. Who'd have guessed.
Does it? It seems like China replicates products that are inconvenient to get otherwise.
They did this in order to try and maintain access to Chinese markets, probably assuming that the US market wouldn't care.
If someone is to cut him off and not let it happen, it's the job of the production crew. The job of the casters is to try to keep things entertaining and on the rails when the camera's live on them. It's not fair to punish casters for improvising a response.
Nah that's wrong. Have you watched the live feed video?
Here's a translation of what was said by the casters.
So many mistruths being spread and believed as facts, it's sad really.
I'm saying that the casters didn't know before the interview started that Blitzchung would wear a gas mask to it.
You're saying that during the interview they encouraged him. That's true. But a caster doesn't have many other options at that point, their main job is to keep things genial and entertaining. They are not the production team, who could have cut away from the interview at any time -- even before the casters started responding. The blame goes to production.
Blitzchung got a worse punishment than people who got caught cheating at Blizzard games. I think that says a lot about where their priorities are.
Based on past events (even Blizzard's own presentations at Blizzcon) it's already clear that the rule against offending people is being selectively enforced.
Edit: And I'm presuming it's being selectively enforced based on who is offended by a statement.
This is a very generous (towards Blizzard) interpretation. The rules weren't "no politics". The rules were a generic "don't piss us off or do anything we may find objectionable", basically.
Per the Verge, 'The rule in question forbids players from doing anything that “brings [them] into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages [Blizzard’s] image.”'
It's designed to be arbitrary, because if you were to strictly enforce it anyone would violate it simply by existing nowadays.
It included we will defend the honor of the nation, making it clear exactly what he did wrong.
If blizzard thinks that they said something wrong, then the burden is on blizzard to correct the matter.
Really? Like...that's a thing you honestly can imagine?
What we can say is that the operator of Blizzard games in China, Net Ease, while posting about this incident under a Blizzard branded account, said that they would protect and defend the pride of China. Blizzard has not distanced themselves from this statement, "clarified" it, or done anything whatsoever to indicate that this stance is not the truth.
When someone you have authorized to represent you is making a statement in your name, it will be taken as being endorsed, unless you state otherwise.
Saying they created this situation is a little like blaming a casualty of war for living in the country they were born in. China exists and it's a large country with growing power that has fundamental cultural differences with the West and always has.
There may be better and worse ways to respond, but we have to recognize that everyone is, to some extent, just a bit player on a world stage where many other forces are in play. Not everything that happens in our lives is a thing we directly caused.
It's common to take it for granted when the existing world stage benefits us and wonder where we went wrong when it shafts us. Both views are only partial explanations at best.
Regardless of what is going on there politically currently, they are a growing economic power. That makes them the proverbial 800 pound gorilla that people are increasingly afraid of pissing off for fear of financial consequences. They have one seventh of the world's population. It's a huge market that simply cannot be ignored.
True, if your motive is profit above all else.
Otherwise, it is quite simple to ignore China's demands. Create the products, services, etc. that you want to create. If people in China buy them, fine. If China says they'll buy them if only you do Thing X, if you do not morally agree with Thing X, simply do not do it.
There are near limitless numbers of businesses that are economically viable without catering to China's demands.
You can be a peacenik conscientious objector who refuses to take sides in the war and still get caught in the crossfire while minding your own business and trying your hardest to stay out of the fray.
also, this is not the first time the gaming community went against a company. and tbh i am not sure some young ones don't know or care much about politics of what's happening in the east. one of their own got sacked. that's all that matters.
so yes, they probably shouldn't have banned that player.
If they had just played it off as the players speech, and nothing to do with them at all, it is by no means clear any significant blowback would have stuck to Blizzard.
The NBA issue is very different because the original tweet was from the general manager of a team with close Chinese ties. It's like if a Blizzard exec had expressed pro-human rights sentiments in an interview.
Obviously we'll never know now, but Blizzard did so much to increase the perceived importance of the event beyond where it would naturally have been (eg, their statement on an official account saying they would always "resolutely safeguard [China's] national dignity"). Once you've framed it in those terns, it's hard to back down. Were there really no alternatives though?
Elise Zhang has not taken any sort of public position on the Hong Kong protests at all. Someone living in China and celebrating their national holiday while stating they love their homeland is not the same thing as taking a position on every policy and action of said country.
I celebrate July 4th and love America. That does not mean that I believe that America can do no wrong, or that I believe we are on the right end of every decision. I have taken to the streets and protested the actions of our leadership - does this disqualify me from loving America and celebrating it for the good parts?
For example, create a replica of their Lady Liberty and put it on the roof of the conference center or nearby hotel:
Or recreate "FREE HK" in neon lights and display somewhere prominent near Blizzcon:
Basically, ping them back, let them know the outside world is getting their message and supporting them.
True, but also be prepared to be searched. If security can't legally search people, given the size of the event, they will very likely have police to patrol and do random checks "in case of terrorism", so hide your HK shirts, signs etc. because they would almost surely be confiscated for "inciting violence".
If Blizzard fears any negative demonstration, they'll probably use every means for painting those supporting HK protests as violent disruptors and have police arresting them.
Edit: You can be banned from airlines since they are privately owned, but not airports since they are publicly owned.
You can also watch Winnie the Pooh cartoons on Chinese streaming services.
It's a total no-win for them now.
(Queue morbid curiosity.)
The worst part to me is that many (often older) loan words have anglicized pronunciation, while other loan words keep their original pronunciation.
> chief, chef, cape, capo, caput and head (French (twice), Latin via French, Italian, Latin, and Germanic, all from the same Indo-European word *ka(u)put "head")
Fire some people, make hongkong-protestor-Mei a skin , declare "we screwed up" in big letters, at that point the press this has generated for them would probably be a net win in the non-PRC market.
 end of this video https://old.reddit.com/r/Overwatch/comments/dibrb0/overwatch...
Why on earth would Blizzard feel
compelled to exit the Chinese market right now (which would definitely tank the stock price)?
Most normal corporations would be way too scared of exactly this kind of backlash to so brazenly crack down on behalf of a totalitarian state.
2. He talked to the media about this as much as possible. 18 minute interview with ESPN: https://www.espn.com/blog/san-francisco-49ers/post/_/id/1895...
3. And he launched an entire campaign around it https://www.knowyourrightscamp.com/
I'm sure Blizzard will spend some extra time and resources on the entrance visitations this year so that no one brings anything dangerous with them (or rotten tomatoes), but they will never be able to stop speech or 20 people getting in just to chant Hong Kong. That will be heard until they're carried away and it will dampen the mood over the entire Blizzcon. They have no way to win other than to forcefully remove them, which looks bad too.
So there's no way to win for Blizzard on this one IF anything happens, but they brought it onto themselves and I have a hard time feeling sympathy towards anyone who have such a heavy handed approach to protests for democratic rights and an upheld juridical system. Yes, politics don't belong in a gaming stream but a reprimand towards everyone involved and a cut stream ought to have been enough here.
I'm sure there's some language in the legalese of the ticket already where they can do this "at their discretion".
Organizing public protests on public property near the venue is likely sufficient to encourage this outcome.
It's been a really, really wild ride seeing lefty twitter and righty twitter hold hands and agree that Blizzard did the wrong thing. (Though for different reasons.)
how are these relevant to the subject at hand, particularly the second issue? it comes across like fnords
Don't read that thread and expect to learn much or gain insight, save for the fact that Blizzard really messed up here.
It should be easy to quote a tweet where he celebrates the harassment of female game developers, instead of making people take your word for it.
Also what do you think is more relevant? your "Gamergate petty bullshit" or the fact that Mark Kern is Taiwanese national and grew up in Hong Kong himself? And had a significant role at Blizzard?
What Mark Kern thinks about Gamergate is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand, but you people can't help it. Personal attacks are all you know to discredit others.
but you people can't help it
Personal attacks are all you know
No idea if he legit supports democracy in Hong Kong, but his HK tweets:
* Show primary evidence of Netease (Blizzard China) directly contradicting Blizzard’s US press release
* Cite where in the Hearthstone rules Blizzard illegitimately chose warrant for their action (the rules prohibit making Blizzard look bad in the public eye, not unknowingly disgruntling Chinese investors)
* Give context to dispel any benefit of the doubt for Blizzard and how its execs operate
Perhaps the man is an axe murderer... useful context, but at the end of the day there’s (for better or worse) useful substance in his message
I've been a loyal customer over the years, but I have a long memory. Refuse to delete my account if you will, it will never be used again.
Changing characters to scrub them of LGBT characteristics that are illegal in another country is cowardly and should have caused a much bigger outrage than it did.
Banning players for supporting pro-democracy movements outside the game and retroactively seizing their winnings is horrific. Nothing about their rules says they had to do this, it was entirely at their discretion. The chinese government didn't even threaten them over it. They chose to make an example of Blitzchung within minutes of his statement. They went above and beyond to endear themselves to the CCP. If they want to win their reputation back, heads need to roll, and if that means the loss of the chinese market, too bad.
Overtly. But this is a clear example of what is meant when people talk about the 'soft influence' which China seeks to develop. At the crude end of the scale, you have indoctrinated CCP people spreading out globally occupied in various positions able to exert leverage favorable to the party. At the more subtle end you have boards mindful of impacting their bottom line if they lose access to a large market.
What we're seeing here could be coming from either of those ends of the soft influence playbook. But no matter what, it's a clear example of the power of the approach, and how confounding it can become to resist it's effect.
We need our governments to do something about this. If Chinese companies want to do business here, we need our own businesses treated with the same ruleset in their country. We wouldn’t ban a Chinese corporation for a minor executive’s political speech. We have laws against it. (The first amendment protects non-citizens as well as citizens.)
China has been enjoying our markets but hasn’t been willing to extend the favor fully. We need a new trade agreement that demands equal treatment, or we should pull out of China and do business with friendlier countries instead.
What Blizzard art and media was subject to Chinese influence?
Your looking at removal of blood and skeletons mostly.
Similar changes have been made in other video games. For example this  story shows a reversal after player backlash to such censorship.
Call me paranoid as this point is anecdotal (and quite likely confirmation bias) but I've noticed a tendency for new AAA games to have a focus on enemies and combatants that don't have this issue. e.g. robots that don't bleed or dissolve away effects for enemies rather than leaving dead bodies. These are all things that have appeared in games before such efforts but it's certainly what I'd be advising if I was in charge of making games marketable in China without appearing to compromise 'realism' (we all know realistic aliens turn to glitter on defeat) or artistic vision.
That's more important than a game.
Maybe put financial pressure on China by not buying things made in China? Nah that's too inconvenient for the keyboard(Made in China) warriors.
1) It's given Nintendo a platform on which to distance themselves from Blizzard. The announcement from Nintendo explicitly notes that it's Blizzard who canceled the event.
2) It's reminded everyone that the Switch port of Overwatch is a thing, meaning that everyone from investors to people on both side of the HK issue will be watching its performance.
3) It's a lost opportunity for marketing for Blizzard. It's now pure cost, with the voice actors still needing to get paid for their time.
4) Attendance was limited, so this cancellation will create ill-will for Blizzard among those players who had obtained slots to attend.
I think Blizzard has definitely lost their special place in most of their hardcore fans. The market has become global but so have the conflicts and whether they like it or not, sometimes they will be forced to pick a side.
Every corporation and business person is watching this to see which hurts their bottom line less, suppressing free speech globally, or angering China.
As consumers, we must make sure that they get the message loud and clear that suppressing free speech globally on behalf of China is going to hurt their bottom line far more than China will.
Otherwise, we will live in a world where China controls what discourse goes on in the world by controlling the corporations.
Remember when The Daily Stormer got kicked off CloudFlare and a whole host of other platforms, to the point that no one would take their business and they were effectively censored? The average take on that seemed to be a mix of "Free speech doesn't apply to private companies" and "If you don't like it, build your own CDN/DNS/Paypal/certificate authority etc"
So what's the difference with this? Again, I agree completely with the concerns here, but what happened to TDS and a lot of other fringe sites was even more blatant and serious: They were de facto banned from the internet, whereas this is all over...a video game.
Did everyone come to the conclusion that corporations are powerful enough to effectively snuff out free speech since that happened, or is it different because this is China, or...?
They seem pretty comparable to me.
Because I was not a right-wing neo-nazi.
Wonder where this goes this time.
It's not hypocritical for someone to believe that Cloudflare should kick nazis off their service and at the same time believe Blizzard should stand up to China.
Human beings are capable of exercising nuance and understanding complex topics. I don't want to generally go around punching or kicking people, but if I'm cornered and someone is trying to do harm to me, I'm going to fight back. It's the context around such actiona that defines whether or not it was just.
In a democratic society, the people voices are heard.
In a dictatorship, only the small elite that controls the government's voice is heard.
It was a post-game interview on a Blizzard event in a Blizzard broadcast. How is that different from "a private company not wanting to host <content>" ? The player had supported HK freedom on his Twitter in the past, yet was allowed to play in the tournament. Gaming events have not been places for sharing political ideas, like social media is.
The situation is entirely driven by Blizzard, for fear of their potential revenue stream out of China.
This is in contrast to the NBA scenario, where China did speak out against the NBA, and later began to cancel contracts.
That they chose to toe the party line on their own, without prompting from the Chinese government, with swift and overwhelming penalties on the player and shoutcasters doesn't exactly speak well for Blizzard.
If I demonstrate to you that I'm going to shoot your legs if you don't tell me I'm pretty by doing so to people around you, and then I walk up to you and you tell me I'm pretty, would it be accurate to say you chose to tell me I'm pretty all on your own, totally unprompted? Can I say that you chose on your own merely for a potential future in walking? Hey, you won't be killed by the loss of your legs.
Why would China treat the (comparatively huge and influential) NBA one way, and (comparatively tiny) Blizzard another?
Activision Blizzard is in no risk of going bankrupt even if they lose the entire Chinese market.
We've seen this all before with the "terrorist" label, the "communist" label in Hollywood blacklists, various Puritan attempts at censorship for sex, films, music, etc.
I wished I believed this much in our centralize opaque institutions to create these red lines consistently, reliably, and fairly. Which is amusing because much of the people pushing for this the hardest are often the same people who would never hand over such power in almost any other scenario.
The only reliable outcome, that we've seen repeatedly over and over in history is that once you start expanding censorship beyond just the obviously bad-guys (spam, violence, etc) and start wadding into the grey areas of speech is that:
a) context and intention, which are critical in day-to-day discourse, are increasing ignored as the system scales and the scope increases
b) the line will only keep expanding into a broader and broader group ("you did it for x, why not y?!!")
c) false positives dramatically increase
d) due process is only afforded in rare situations where the individual is already famous/powerful and can stir up enough controversy forcing the gatekeepers to actually consider it carefully
Everything goes great at the beginning as you sweep up the low hanging fruit. It's the long run where this 'solution' really gets tested - which is the phase we're now entering on many platforms.
The difference is content. I hate the tendency to fall back to arguments about free speech when that is not the point. Yes, of course everyone should be able to express views individually, but that doesn't mean I don't care about the content of what is being said. That doesn't mean everyone is entitled to the ability to ram that message down everyone's throat through every possible route.
Yeah, companies have a right to self-censor, and consumers have a right to punish them for that.
Hell yes I support CloudFlare kicking off neo-nazis, hell no I don't support Blizzard silencing HK protestors. No hypocrisy because what is being said matters.
What you're saying isn't free speech at all; it's supporting the right to express speech you agree with and being ok with views you don't being taken down. In particular, free speech isn't "the point" to you.
As for compelling companies to do business with people they don't want to, we crossed that line long ago, they can't refuse service to people on the ground of race, sex, etc. Are you in favor of getting rid of anti-discrimination laws?
That's not true, the list of protected classes includes religion, gender, familial status and veteran status. All things which people have control over.
But the point is we've already stomped all over any "right" a business has to deny service to someone. Instead of defending this right and the new age of corporate fascism that comes with it, why not go for something fully universal and remove a tool for CCP manipulation at the same time?
Gender identity doesn't seem to be consciously changeable. Some people's gender may be different from their biological sex, but the identity itself is pretty deeply rooted.
Familial and veteran status are also not changeable i.e. if you already have children or are a veteran, you can't go back and change that fact. Even though people have some degree of control over having a family in the first place or serving/not serving, because they have been used as a dimension of discrimination in the past, they've been lumped in as a protected characteristic. There's also nothing bad about having a family or serving/not serving - in contrast to discrimination over a criminal record (legal in many places AFAIK), which like familial & veteran status also can't be changed and which people also have some degree of control over.
Familial status is changeable: you can marry, have children, divorce, give children up for adoption, and be widowed. All of which change family status. Actually, even aging of children changes family status, since the age of children is itself a factor relating to the family that is covered by protections against family-status discrimination.
> discrimination over a criminal record ... which ... also can't be changed
Criminal record can legally be changed in both directions, though neither is under the full and exclusive control of the possessor of the record (though they certainly have an influence, in both directions)—new convictions, expungements, and pardons are all real things.
Coercing someone into doing that under pain of discrimination is pretty cruel though.
> though neither is under the full and exclusive control of the possessor of the record
That's why I said not entirely in one's control. I'm aware pardons, expungements exist.
Now consider how that applies to a white supremacist, the also have have a deeply held faith in their beliefs (as with most fringe groups), probably more so than most than most religious people. And their beliefs are often equally abhorrent. Why is it OK to discriminate against people that think the white race is superior but not to discriminate against people that think they're gods chosen people? What do we do when a religion thinks it's OK to discriminate against gay people?
> Gender identity doesn't seem to be consciously changeable. Some people's gender may be different from their biological sex, but the identity itself is pretty deeply rooted.
Some people switch based on mood, making it not an inherent characteristic:
> Genderfluid people often express a desire to remain flexible about their gender identity rather than committing to a single definition. They may fluctuate between differing gender expressions over their lifetime, or express multiple aspects of various gender markers at the same time. They may at times identify as bigender - shifting between masculine and feminine; or as trigender - shifting between these and a third gender. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-binary_gender
And as a social construct it can change based on societal expectations and roles.
> There's also nothing bad about having a family or serving/not serving - in contrast to discrimination over a criminal record (legal in many places AFAIK)
On the military I disagree, there is something bad about being a willing participant in wars of aggression and I'd much rather be able to discriminate against them then I would a stoner that landed in jail.
So instead of arguing about grey areas of what is an inherent trait and what is changeable along with how to handle conflicts between protected classes that themselves discriminate, let's make it illegal for companies to discriminate against individuals/organisations entirely?
What does that even mean though? You can't discriminate against anyone for any reason whatsoever? What if they have terrible hygiene? Insult everyone around them? A company can't discriminate against candidates who don't have the requisite job skills? They can't fire someone who subtly undermines or plots or otherwise plays politics? Isn't that anti-meritocracy?
Protected classes are (mostly) "what someone is" - that's why they're "protected". The stuff I listed above is "what someone does" and depending on context it's totally valid to use it as a reason for discrimination.
> Now consider how that applies to a white supremacist
White supremacy isn't a religion.
> Why is it OK to discriminate against people that think the white race is superior
How did anyone find out that this person is a white supremacist though? They probably said or did something, right? Seems like discrimination due to actions, not beliefs, to me. As a businessperson would you trust an employee who openly proclaims such beliefs to treat all their co-workers or your customers with equal respect? At the very least, I'd question their judgement in other matters, because they fell for such an idiotic and backward ideology and then talked about it. As a citizen, would you trust a government official who espoused such views to treat everyone they deal with equally?
> not to discriminate against people that think they're gods chosen people?
Because it's a religious belief (I understand that's a tautology - "it's illegal because it's illegal"). Nevertheless if your employee goes beyond belief into action - discriminates against a colleague or customer - you have grounds to fire them.
> What do we do when a religion thinks it's OK to discriminate against gay people?
Side with the party being discriminated against in that case. It's also not OK for a gay person to discriminate against someone based on religion.
> Some people switch based on mood
Not at all. Some people have different gender identities at different times. That's still part of their gender identity. Calling it "based on mood" makes it seem capricious and arbitrary. But if it was really so then wouldn't they choose not to do it so they could fit into what society generally expects - being cisgendered. Most people want a hassle-free life and don't want to be discriminated against.
> And as a social construct it can change based on societal expectations and roles.
This is a meaningless statement. "I'm female/genderfluid but I'm expected to act male in my society due to my body so I'll do that to fit in." is pretty oppressive. That same person may be able to live their true identity in a more free society. Voila gender changed due to "societal expectations", but the fault really was of society. It wasn't the individual's choice to hide their identity in the more repressive society.
> a willing participant in wars of aggression
People join the military out of a sense of patriotism, to get an education, to escape poverty, or travel and see the world. They don't decide to start wars of aggression, the politicians do that. It's also bad national policy (in terms of self-preservation) to allow discrimination based on veteran status, because that will discourage people from serving in future. Regardless of one's feelings about individual conflicts, most nations today can't do without a military and you have to treat service members well after they have served.
There's gender expression, and there's gender identity.
The people that use that phrase to 100% include gender identity are pretty much all anti-trans bigots. I do take it up with them when the opportunity arises, but if you're going to say the same things then you're part of the problem. You can't say something and be blameless because you heard it from someone else.
> that identify as gender fluid or making up the alphabet soup of modern genders
Maybe some of them are going too hard on the need to categorize everything, but they're still not choosing that underlying nature.
Free speech - for people you agree with. Well, I'm glad we sorted out that mess.
Hell yes I support civil forfeiture with no due process. There's no way it will be ever done to innocent people.
Hell yes I support the executive branch getting more and more power. There's no way someone terrible would ever be the President and use that power.
Hell yes I support corporations policing free speech. They are on our side! There's no way it will ever be done to me or people I like.
do you get the idea?
Am I a fucking terrorist sympathizer if I speak out against torture and extrajudicial indefinite detention? No. I don't give a shit about them, but whatever I support done to them might be done to me.
Am I a fucking Nazi sympathizer if I speak out against abuse of power by unaccountable private entities? No. I don't give a shit about them, but whatever I support done to them might be done to me.
Beyond the government? It's just not that simple. The solution is compelled speech? If I run a company, I have to broadcast people calling for my death, for example?
Should Blizzard be forced to allow anyone to say anything on their show? What if someone starts promoting a competing product? How do you deal with who is allowed to demand airtime on their particular thing? What proportion of exposure are given bits of speech given?
I'm not saying there aren't issues with companies having control over speech—this case is absolutely an example of that—but you are pretending that compelling companies to allow any speech is simple.
How would it possibly work if I couldn't be fired for insulting a customer at work, or telling them to shop at a rival instead. How would it work if news networks were required to broadcast my rant about whatever I want? Do I have to associate with the neo-nazi who wants me dead because I can't apply consequences for their speech?
I agree that this case is an example of unjust consequences of speech, and I think Blizzard did the wrong thing. It is not the same as being arrested and convicted for it, and it's not that simple.
People are free to associate and do business with whoever they want to and that is all part of the marketplace of ideas. Blizzard is choosing to get into bed with the Chinese government and cloudfare chose to get out of business with nazis and their customers get to decide how to react that. Right now it seems to be going poorly for blizzard and well for cloudflare.
When you go against the mainstream American stance to curry favor with an authoritarian regime that is also a current political enemy, well, that's kind of kicking the hornet's nest.
By this standard, Cloudflare's censorship of TDS is far less defensible that Blizzard's censorship of blitzchung. Saying that speech within the mainstream should be allowed and speech outside the mainstream should not be allowed is a violation of this tenet. If you support freedom of speech, you should support TDS's right to speak as strongly as blitzchung's.
Apparently not, considering how many US companies have decided that this is kind of talk is forbidden.
Were this the 1950s during the Red Scare, people would have said the same thing, except the thing that would have been "far, far outside the American political mainstream" would've been Communists, leftists, pro-unionists, and other members of the political left. You know, the political wing you are a part of.
Want to reconsider your opinion? It's not as if a swing to the right couldn't happen again as the past few years of elections have shown.
Further than nazis?
There is literally no space on the internet that is public. There are only private spaces on the internet. And the internet is pivotal to modern communication.
It's very, very hard to craft a statement that has any meaning that offends nobody.
I believe that the ability to have free speech is important to the US; important enough to be codified into law.
As such I believe that companies who provide communication platforms, that are based on the morals of the US (or more practically who use US resources while conducting their business), should honor free speech.
If they don't - if they only honor convenient speech - genuine and open public discourse will disappear.
“if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”
Killing “the jews” silences discussion and debate.
I’d definitely advocate reading Popper’s own words instead of the potentially ambiguous wikipedia summary.
You spout relentless apologia for Chinese government actions; for instance, you were arguing with me in the other thread about whether the pressure focused on the NBA/Rockets was Chinese government action. Silver has now confirmed that it was.
recent subthread on this topic: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21229775
Also who gets to define who is intolerant? Chinese government will surely say that the Hong Kong protesters are intolerant. Does it make it okay to censor them?
I completely agree that opposing views that can be argued against rationally should always be allowed. But we were talking about literal nazis who advocate (and act upon) VIOLENT intolerance.
I don't think there's a hypocrisy here. Private company removes someone from their platform because of a position they've taken that the company disagrees with, and members of the public react in line with their own values.
In the example of Cloudflare & TDS, members of the public that disagree with TDS generally support Cloudflare. Those that support TDS or take a stricter view of the private sector's duty to facilitate free speech criticize Cloudflare.
In the example of Blizzard & BC, members of the public that disagree with BC generally support Blizzard. Those that support BC or take a stricter view of the private sector's duty to facilitate free speech criticize Blizzard.
The difference is the portion of the public agreeing or disagreeing in each case. Which is not hypocracy because TDS and BC do not espouse the same views.
This is fairly simple and not particularly radical, through anti-discrimination laws we already force companies to do business with individuals regardless of whether they want to, it just makes it universal.
Would it be correct to boycott CloudFlare for deplatforming the Daily Stormer? No, because there's nothing wrong with deplatforming Nazis, there was nothing morally reprehensible in Cloudflare's actions.
Would it be correct to boycott Blizzard for severely over-reacting to a pro Hong Kong political act on one of their streams? Yes, because apologizing to a monstrous, despotic regime by throwing tournament players and casters under the bus for supporting Hong Kong is morally atrocious. (As Brian Kibler and other professional casters have pointed out, some generic slap-on-the-wrist would probably have been appropriate, in line with what they would have done if someone took their victory speech to talk about impeaching/not impeaching Donald Trump or something).
This has nothing to do with free speech. I don't care about Blitzcheung or the casters' individual right to political speech on a Blizzard Twitch stream (it doesn't exist). I care about Blizzard's actions, and what they say about the willingness of the company to harm others to protect business interests in a despotic regime during a very important moment in global history.
I'm kind of confused about why you're confused, honestly. It's not very difficult to parse out very obvious essential differences between the two scenarios.
To be slightly hyperbolic, it's impossible to say something of substance that doesn't offend someone. If all we're allowed to say is that which doesn't offend anyone, then nothing of substance can be said.
You do not, should not, and will never have a "right" to "free speech" in media that are privately owned and managed by others. You have a right to not have a government censor your speech. The federal government cannot compell you to remove an editorial from your blog criticizing the government. They may not compell your isp to bar traffic to that blog. Insofar as the ISP is a government mandated oligopoly, it's reasonable to argue that they may not block access to your ip. Must a blogging website provide you hosting? No. You never had such a "right" and you never will. You can argue that they have a duty to provide you equitable and fair service, but we rarely use duties in western political philosophy (an example would be Australia compelling citizens to vote).
Private citizens may or may not publish your material on their media at their discretion. You have zero right to any of their bandwidth, resources, or otherwise, again, in general. Furthermore you shouldn't, because that would in fact be tantamount to governmenr infringement of the freedom of speech of those private citizens.
The internet is pivotal to modern communications, yet it is effectively entirely private. If the citizens and their representatives felt strongly enough to create common carrier laws for telegraphs (see a sibling comment for more details), why should we feel differently about speech that travels over channels designed and built for communication across internet?
> governmenr infringement of the freedom of speech of those private citizens
Those "private citizens" are actually corporations making billions of dollars in profit to provide us, in part, with communication channels on their platforms.
You don't have a right to free speech on the comment section of my blog, or my twitch chat stream, or my discord channel. Those platforms enable me to moderate that content. If they lacked that feature, it wouldn't support or undermine anyone's rights, mine or yours.
How property rights for those resources convey corresponding constitutional rights of users (or other government imposed requirements, see for example insurance and healthcare) is something that is continually in tension and requires constant litigation.
As distinct, say, from the twitch chat feed on my speedrunning channel.
The first telegraph network banned journalists who reported bad things against the telegraph company. They manipulated stock prices and influenced elections. That is why common carriage laws were made, which required communications platforms to provide neutral service to everyone.
I'm sure that you would have been there, bravely defending the coal barons right to shut down journalists trying to report on union organizing, because they are a private corporation and they can do whatever they want on their property and not answer to anyone. You would have screamed "muh freeze peach" at journalists trying to report about labor abuses. Because they are not entitled to use the private telegraph network.
Of course the line between ubiquitous large platform and government is blurry. That is why communications companies over a certain side must be forced to platform everyone, and can only be permitted to ban them when they have met certain criteria.
In general though, yes, you have no right to have a particular editorial published in the new york times on your behalf. What the press deigns to publish is protected. You're also free to start your own paper, or blog, or whatever.
NO, you really aren't free to do that.
If every means of communication is in private hands, and access is denied to you, then you effectively have no free speech.
I am really depressed by the radical libertarian corporatism here on HN.
If an oil company brought all the land around your house, and put up a wall on all sides, and refused to let you leave, I feel like people here would defend that. Because you are not entitled to be on other people's private property or what ever. And it was your fault for living in the center of the land they brought, and no freedom from consequences.
And the first mediums of mass communication were 100% private, so to reiterate what I said before, everyone should be cool with them systematically excluding people they consider to be "nazis". To them, union organizers and journalists are a dangerous threat to public order...
Shut up journalist, you are not entitled to use their private telegraphs that were subsidized by the government. You were banned because of your hateful speech against our corporation. No freedom from consequences, loser. Go whine about muh freeze peach elsewhere.
The post you replied to said that those things would have to carry you. What are you even ranting about at this point?
> If every means of communication is in private hands, and access is denied to you, then you effectively have no free speech.
Which is a theoretical risk only. But I'd say the answer is that you can buy whatever size internet connection you want and then host it yourself, in the exceptionally unlikely situation that no data center in a thousand miles will rent you space.
(This would require 'common carrier' rules to be broadened very slightly, I'm aware things aren't perfect.)
That's exactly what this discussion is about - you're not free to start a blog. Running any form of web site on the internet requires the support of multiple private companies, which can and do shut sites down at their whims.
I doubt ISPs would easily cut someone's home internet off. Is there precedent for that?
2. Some ISPs (possibly overlapping 1. or not) explicitly disallow hosting of any service on their Internet plans that they categorize for home use in their Terms of Service.
Access to some blog-hosting SaSS is another issue entirely.
I'm content to provide my own stack from the server up. There is no realistic scenario where I can be deplatformed from purchasing hardware sufficient to host a blog.
But really, by your logic, they have no right to report on union organizing, because it's a private company and they should be allowed to cover up human rights abuses, because the first amendment does not protect it, or something.
You're really getting the power dynamic wrong here, carelessly swapping between powerful institutional actors and individual actors as though they were interchangeable and pretending I made a value judgement about a strawman you constructed. My point is that the issue is complicated and deserves more care. The ideologues claiming to champion a distorted, unbounded "free speech" flatten every issue and refuse to engage with the complexities of harm.
They employ a technique that allows them to lazily wave away every piece of evidence we have about what is necessary to foster healthy, constructive, inclusive communities online and offline.
It's worth remembering that at that point in time, the anti-union faction was strong and brutally violent.
The issue you're grappling with is something that has no clear cut answer, namely: the question of whether doxxing is ever appropriate, and which major publications still face intense heat over.
We in the modern US simply do not have a frame of reference for how brutal these activities were. Being outed as a union contributor in many cases was equivalent to a death sentence. A small excerpt from when a union activity was "doxxed" to the union busters:
More than 200 vigilantes or "citizen deputies", under the ostensible authority of Snohomish County Sheriff McRae, met in order to repel the "anarchists." As the Verona drew into the dock, and someone on board threw a line over a bollard, McRae stepped forward and called out "Boys, who's your leader?" The IWW men laughed and jeered, replying "We're all leaders," and they started to swing out the gang plank. McRae drew his pistol, told them he was the sheriff, he was enforcing the law, and they couldn't land here. There was a silence, then a Wobbly came up to the front and yelled out "the hell we can't."
Just then a single shot rang out, followed by about ten minutes of intense gunfire. Most of it came from the vigilantes on the dock, but some fire came from the Verona, although the majority of the passengers were unarmed. Whether the first shot came from boat or dock was never determined. Passengers aboard the Verona rushed to the opposite side of the ship, nearly capsizing the vessel. The ship's rail broke as a result and a number of passengers were ejected into the water, some drowned as a result but how many is not known, or whether persons who'd been shot also went overboard. Over 175 bullets pierced the pilot house alone, and the captain of the Verona, Chance Wiman, was only able to avoid being shot by ducking behind the ship's safe.
Yes, it was wrong of CloudFlare to do that, and if I could choose a competitor I would.
And you would change your mind if someone accuses you of being a "nazi" and your account is immediately terminated. And yes it could happen to you. In this day and age anyone can be called a Nazi. Left leaning Jewish professors are getting called Nazis and assaulted and deplatformed. If it can happen to Jordan Peterson, it can happen to anyone.
So when it comes to the point, corporations have decided that they can arbitrarily deny service to whoever they please, for political reasons.
So I don't want to hear any of you complain about what Blizzard is doing. You should support Blizzard, because "freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences". Any Hearthstone player that insults China should have any company they do business with drop them. Because these are just the consequences of being hateful. From the point of view of a lot of Chinese people, supporting Hong Kong makes you an imperialist hateful biggoted sino-phobic "nazi" of sorts.
The modern neo-nazi movement subverts mechanisms for questioning and checking power, even going as far as subverting the brand power of "free speech" to mean their speech and only their speech, in order to accumulate power around themselves and their interests. It is tragic that we can't have conversations about imperial powers suppressing independence movements without connoting that those principles protect speech suppressing and threatening minority groups.
And I doubt the cancelled subscriptions and closed accounts will have a significant long term impact. Especially since they mitigated account deletions by only allowing manual deletion requests with a submitted id; due to very conveniently timed and curiously persistent technical difficulties...
These public outrage storms quickly subside and people go back to playing the games.
It's curios to me though how so many companies completely bend the knee to China, even though Chinese only have a small amount of stock or revenue percentage.
I guess the market potential is just too great. And of course for companies like Apple they are at the mercy of Chinese supply chains.
If they keep cancelling events, if Blizzcon crashes and burns, if sales go way down, the stock will suffer.
If American corporations banded together to stand up to China the way they claim to care so gosh darn much about LGBTQ+ rights, they could send a powerful signal that some values are higher than profits. But who wants to be first?
It would take very little effort by protestors to destroy Blizzard's plans that they've been working on for years. The straw that breaks the camel's back could be that at an official Blizzard event, someone drops a banner that says: 光復香港 時代革命.
Even if the deal does not go through, it would severely harm Blizzard's leverage.
This hit is a pure hit against Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch marketing, and it’s brought the Switch port into the light of day. Sales of the Switch port will be watched closely by both sides.
It’s a crisis created by the political movement to force every company to take a political stance on every issue, and to force companies to not associate with political out-group members. I’m sure it feels really good when you’re in the in-group, but quite obviously gets people really worked up when it doesn’t come down on their side.
Blizzard took explicit action and chose a side.
None of this would have ever been a problem if there wasn’t an enormous political movement to force these politics into every corner of society. Now you simply have a situation where a lot of the same people who were proponents of this practice are unhappy, simply because they’ve found themselves in the out-group.
Politics aside, just doing business in China and the security sacrifices made to do so is, to me, an outsized business risk and a risk that I wish my company would not take. I'm sure many others feel the same. The short term profits aren't worth the long term repercussions. My employer doesn't agree, but I still want to go on record with them saying so.
All of a sudden, millions of people who are quite happy to be fence-sitters about all sorts of injustices across the world (Many of them in their own countries) have decided to draw the line on China and Hong Kong.
According to them, anyone who does not explicitly support pro-HK politics is an enemy, and must be punished accordingly. (Even if what they want is a no politics policy.)
This is, of course, the same sort of 'with us or against us' behaviour, that those same fence-sitters criticized when it came to other injustices...
Yea right. a) China has a huge market and b) most people don't really care. Go to /r/hearthstone or /r/wow and browse by new. People don't care.
Across all the blizzard subs except maybe /r/blizzard it's almost business as usual.
And reddit in general was up in arms about this.
For two days.
>Many of the blizzard related subreddits are staffed by mods that remove posts about China. And when you post something in /r/wow you see a big "no politics" banner. Not seeing that many posts about this there means nothing about how the players feel.
Activity level is pretty much the same.
I'm sorry, but this is just the latest outrage target and in two weeks it will be something new entirely.
EA doesn't seem to have suffered.
Semi-political outrage can not destroy a gaming company (not until politicians carry on). Each year there are new 10-year old kids going into stores/the first time onto Steam and buy something flashy they want to play. And in countries like Germany a third of the population plays games. Those buyers are not unified politically nor culturally.
But: If the opinion that a company does harm to gamers or people in general becomes prevalent, that's a huge danger for the company in the long run. It dampens its success, how their marketing is received, what they can do and what they can say. They lose access to the core group. Stuff like this is important enough.
Right now nothing should be taken at face value, nobody should be taking their feelings from someone else's reddit comment. Not that I'm holding my breath.
It may be a huge potential market but it's not a huge portion of current revenues. All of APAC (which is not just China) is only 12% of the total.
That the event was not done in Russia and China, and that Tracer has a different sexual orientation in those countries, is quite telling.
The only difference is that the LGBTQ+ political statement had the effect of boosting their revenue, whereas the HK statement may have the opposite effect.
The inappropriateness of Blitzschung's actions does not excuse Blizzard far less acceptable reaction.
This time around China is looking to become the largest market and if we let it to become one before China sheds its "communism with Chinese characteristics", it will crush the West.
( In another part forming relationships with China was also in part about putting a wedge between China and the USSR. Which may have been more productive but doesn’t explain the normal relationship since 1990.)
There has been a lot of handwringing over China becoming the new global super power but what we seem to have instead is a repeat of North Korea but on much greater scale.
If China can shed Communism and compete with the West as a free society, then more power to it. It might hurt American pride a bit, but the U.K. seems to have managed...
Except for that Brexit conundrum.
It's a crisis for speech by entities that are seeking to make millions of dollars in China.
Those corporations were never in the business of defending free speech in the first place. If you were expecting them to, I would suggest finding better role models.
This is not a problem for anyone who does not care about selling out to the Chinese market.
It's a crisis for speech by customers of those companies, who must make clear that they are just as capable of punishing those companies as the Chinese government.