This is what has kept our society well informed and critical thinking for a hundred years. It’s also allowed for different sides of things, because you can interpret things like socioeconomic statistics and facts differently and write about them as such, but you can’t make up things.
This died with Facebook, YouTube and the non-editorial entertainment “news” and as a result we have anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers and what not.
I have no idea how to regulate it though, but I think we need to do something.
If I were to say:
"2x as many white Americans were killed by police as black Americans in 2018."
This a true fact.
If I take note of the fact that black Americans only constitute 13% of the population, then I can say
"A black American is 2.3x as likely as a white American to be killed by police."
This is also a true fact.
So not only are facts capable of telling a narrative, but it gets much more complicated once you start introducing conclusions.
If you say "A black person is 2.3x as likely as a white person to be killed by police in America. American police are being racially discriminatory when killing civilians."
This is a fact and a conclusion, and most news consists of facts and conclusions. Both the fact and the conclusion serve a particular narrative, and that's an issue. The problem is that a news organization with a different set of objectives, or simply operating under a different framework, would be entirely capable of coming to an entirely different conclusion, or introduce entirely different facts alongside it.
"A black person is 2.3x as likely as a white person to be killed by police in America. However, despite making up only 13% of the population, black Americans committed 36% of homicides, with an overall much higher representation in violent crime across the board. Only 5% of police shootings are with an unarmed victim, with the rest resulting from an armed altercation."
In America, we understand that there is absolutely nothing more dangerous than an entity that feels entitled to control what is true. It might make things easier, and it might actually produce better results so long as the entity doing so is competent and benevolent, but nearly every structure in America is meant to serve as a bulwark for the cases in which the entity in power is precisely the sort that you do not want to be making those decisions. And to be frank, Europe should probably be more wary of that.
I just took a look at a long list of lies by your current President. It has nothing to do with facts like the ones you've stated above. These are simply lies. You can't argue that it's some interpretation, or just half of the picture or anything like that. It's simply a bunch of words phrased as a fact but they never happened.
I can't see anything good coming out of this for any country. It ruins the ability to have a real debate in a society, and I think it harmed America (not only of course) greatly.
And one last thing - yes, it probably shouldn't be one person from one political side that decides what's completely false and shouldn't be published (or perhaps better, be corrected), but I don't think it should be so impossibly complicated to create a system in which representatives from all sides can do this together. America already has structures like this implemented.
The most basic kind of truths are facts. We at least need to agree on those as best we can first. And then apply critical thinking on the the squishier stuff on top.
Except for that for a lot of "facts", according to Rousseau, we already have 4 truths: what you say, what I say, what we agree upon and what really happened.
So, while the pursuit of truth is important, I'd argue that respect towards each other even when we cannot agree is the most important thing.
"Iraq had WMDs in 2000s" != "I strongly believe Iraq had WMDs in 2000s" != "I find it plausible that Iraq might have had WMDs in 2000s" != "According to that UN report, Iraq had WMDs in 2000s" != "According to NYT, which quotes that UN report, Iraq had WMDs", etc.
A lot of problems are caused by people who say "X" when they should say "I strongly believe X", or "I think I read somewhere that X", or "I'm not sure, but I think X".
Once you've set the bar re: certainty for a particular discourse neighborhood, you can just make claims at that level thereafter without feeling dishonest. As long as you're sensitive to cases where others may have joined without enough context to know that you're out on a limb.
This is Circle of Competence applied. It's admitting what you know you don't know so you don't make mistakes by being overconfident.
So, for instance, if 'tptacek here says a factual statement about security (and there's no large thread contesting it), I'll treat it as gospel. But if he says he's unsure about it, or he read it somewhere, I know to attach less weight to it. I'll code in it my brain as "uncertain, but passed the sniff test of a relevant expert". Etc.
The same principle works in more mundane aspects of life. Whether a person believes something (and how much), or whether they're just reporting something they've read elsewhere, matters a lot for evaluating a factual statement independently.
You left out the last step,
!= Bush administration says Iraq had WMDs
Lying and misreporting are two different things.
What s different about autocrats is that they will unscrupulously plant evidence and kill everyone who knows
Here s an article about typical media strategies
Such countries will usually fabricate stories by implanting evidence or killing witnesses, not just by repeating them
I've only met a few people who are skeptics about the existence of facts--but I find that they're likely to be skeptics about other things too.
I think that if it's a position you arrive at via honest philosophical inquiry, it's not a hazard at all.
The position to be wary of is where you still believe in the truth, but are so beleaguered by the cacophony of voices claiming to know it that you're willing to accept that somebody else has access to it if it means that you get to just peacefully be on their side and don't have to bother sorting through it all anymore.
That is too say: claiming to know the truth is often a proxy for being too intellectually lazy to bother forming a good argument, and I think that nihilism is preferable.
How do you know?
Consider this case, hot off the presses. Yesterday Aaron Sorken wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg in the New York Times in which he stated the following:
"And right now, on your website, is an ad claiming that Joe Biden gave the Ukrainian attorney general a billion dollars not to investigate his son. Every square inch of that is a lie and it’s under your logo. That’s not defending free speech, Mark, that’s assaulting truth."
Really? Sorken knows for sure that Biden was not self-dealing? Joe was totally not thinking about his son's half million dollar no-show job with a corrupt Ukranian firm when he ordered the Ukranian government to fire the guy who was investigating it? Wow, that's a really amazing level of access to the truth!
No doubt Sorken has heard and completely believes the mainstream narrative: the prosecutor was himself corrupt and all right-thinking people wanted him removed. (Never mind it's entirely possible that this narrative is true, AND Biden was self-dealing.)
My point is not to convince anyone that Biden was self-dealing. My point is that Sorken is calling objectively false something that is clearly plausible.
This is how it goes. Most people are invested in narratives, and they are keen to suppress ideas that counter their preferred narrative. The idea that they will somehow draw clean lines between facts an interpretations has always been a foolish hope.
It seems to me that truth isn't so hard to find when one actually looks for it.
My theory is this is exactly the value proposition various news companies provide - they do it for you. "We give you the Abstract and the Conclusion".
If anything, that -hampers- critical thinking. It removes the need to apply logic and deduction to stuff that happens and just accept provided explanations of outcomes.
Would we trust a Scientist if they only explained background and results of their experiment, and didn't discuss the actual methodology and analysis of what they did and how they did it? How is that much different from being a Magician? Or saying, "Trust me, I know I'm right"?
The idea that one side tells lies, and the other only truth is part of the problem here.
>You can't argue that it's some interpretation, or just half of the picture or anything like that. It's simply a bunch of words phrased as a fact but they never happened.
"Russian collusion" appears to fit this description, yet I still read about it every day.
The entire political game is composed of stretching the facts to control the narrative. If you see it as one-sided, you're not paying attention.
> The idea that one side tells lies, and the other only truth is part of the problem here.
This is just an observation about your current president, there is no "other side" to it.
Your divisive thinking is the problem here. Someone said that Trump lies, they didn't say "Republicans lie and dems don't," but that was somehow your interpretation of the statement that Trump lies (which is true of any president, yet you and I both know in our heart of hearts that he lies more than anybody by an overwhelming margin).
That's what I assume, but you know what they say about assumptions.
Yes Trump tells a lot of lies, but I also think each side of the aisle tends to ignore their own hyperbole (or at least fail to appreciate when the other side is hearing “lies”)
And I don't know why is it, that majority of Americans are so accustomed to lying that they tolerate it from politicians. In Finland if politicians get caught with outright lying, it's career-ending if it's bad enough. Prime ministers have resigned over it, party leaders seen their polls slump. In US if Republicans are caught lying (Democrats too I guess to lesser extent), it's a simple distraction and meh from public. Their supporters don't simply care and I guess are not capable of criticizing their own party.
I've been recently thinking that what US has now isn't that far stretch from a single-party system since the parties in power don't really have to fear losing their support. There are no other options, so they can just pass the ball between each other, putting up a show and doing whatever since people can't really choose anything else. If your only option is picking between two assholes, which one you pick? And when the population doesn't know to demand change, what will happen? Nothing.
Yes there are advantages with two-party system, but what I see it has really rotted the political discussion and ideologies into two boxes that can't possibly overlap. In multi-party systems coalition governments can be bit sluggish but at least they offer people a real opportunity for change, and letting go of the old, obsolete power structures. For a country that is so keen on free-market and unrestricted competition, you are awfully restricted in your choice of political parties.
If 50% of the country believes something is a lie and 50% believe it’s mostly true, is it really a lie? The truth is most political “lies” are only considered lies by the opposite party.
And about lying, there are degrees of lying that can be established. The earth is not flat even though some believe it to be so, to state the opposite is untrue. On the other hand, sure you could say eg that Americans have obesity problem (compared to the rest of the world) or they are just normal weight as "only" 1/3 of the population is overweight. But which is a truth or a lie?
I think the problem is largely a cultural shift in politics where the issues have become secondary to the rhetorical war between the two opposite ideologies. It's not about establishing a truth in a sense than it's trying to beat the other party. Yet there is a consensus that can be established, honesty that could be had when stating facts and acknowledging their up and downsides. It's not just black and white wordplay.
Perhaps we should just get rid of the politicians, have our best scientists (preferably chosen at random from a pool of candidates) run the government and people would just vote on things that they wished to improve (immigration, job-safety, healthcare etc). All results would be evaluated afterwards and their effects measured with meticulous statistics. I know that it could be abused too, but even that would be better than what is the current situation in US government.
The reason? So he can be more influential on that 1% of issues he cares most about. If he doesn't get influence on that 1% (like we saw with Syria) then he breaks with Trump, because he has a bottom line: the set of issues he wants to influence. This is true for all politicians. They have a political calculus where they are willing to sacrifice legislation or points in certain areas for the sake of being able to affect legislation in most other areas. Functionally this means that politicians do things like accept big campaign donations in exchange for going easy on a certain sector. I believe most politicians want to do what they think is best for America, but that comes with a single constraint--that they're the ones accomplishing it. And that comes with a hefty cost.
I'm just spitballing here but... grandfather in all existing medical insurance contracts unless the individual chooses to terminate the contract. Let the insurance industry bank on the fact that the number of grandfathered contracts will only trend down over time.
Maybe it would hurt their profit margins, but how much hurt? Probably not enough hurt to knock down the industry is my guess.
From personal experience the issue we have with fake news is not caused by a president. It was the polarization from the 2016 election, which has resulted in people valuing the narrative over facts. Nothing was a clearer example to me personally when later that winter as I was participating in a conference located in Stockholm, which had a track title "Fake News", with an invited keynote speaker who was a previous board member of the wikipedia foundation. The keynote talk was made to present a narrative that media had failed to present information to the voting population about trumps scandals, and as evidence there was a image from a study showing survey result about what people knew about each candidate and their scandals. The conclusion was that if media had done their job then obviously the election would had ended correctly rather than electing Trump.
The numbers were extremely biased against Clinton and fitted the narrative so perfectly that I got a bit suspicious. Looking at the recording of the talk afterward I noticed that the evidence had a reference printed inside it. A moment later I had the paper itself, and what do I find above the image? The researcher explicitly saying that anyone reading it should not draw any comparable conclusions about the numbers as the survey operated during a period of 9 months. The researcher noted that if they had done a new short survey closer to the election date then the numbers would look very differently. It pretty obvious that people can not answer a survey with knowledge of scandals that occur in the future.
Fake news will continue as long we try to make facts fit a narrative, rather than first looking at the facts and then construct a theory about the world.
Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin are not leftist strongholds, where "infighting" might allow the Other to win, but people prefer the narrative that "Bernie Bros" ruined our beautiful democracy. Clinton got millions more votes, but it didn't matter. The Electoral College turning it doesn't fit the narrative they've been fed that people further to the left are responsible.
You're right about polarization though. Less than 100k votes wouldn't matter if the country wasn't divided right down the middle. Choosing the future of our country shouldn't be a matter of who can influence a coin toss more.
My very first check of that assertion has a fully "True" rating of 20%. And if you count the entire true spectrum it's 73%. And there is not a small sample size. I assume your statement is only regarding the current executive branch?
I also tried a spot check of the Congress, but my very first check also failed to meet your criteria. The problem with this is that it undermines your entire point. The executive branch has the most strained relationship with objective reality, and that stems from the demands of the current president. They're basically forced to lie for political reasons because the truth is too damaging.
Off the two democrats congressional Leaderships, Nancy Pelosi has 14% and Charles Schumer has 11% in the True category. This in contrast with the republicans that has 12%, 0%, 10% and 5% (trump).
Edit: I would appreciate if whoever is downvoting can please explain why they are doing so.
As a Canadian I 'preferred' Obama, who ran on the line "change you can believe in" -- but he led the US empire substantially the same as any previous... and so this "can believe in" line, it really expresses a truth. The substantial piece was not that America would change, but that you could _believe_ in the fact that it would change. Little actually changed in America, at least from a distance. And once people stopped believing in the change... one gets Trump.
Disgusting as he is, Trump really is "changing" America. And his lying is more transparent and blatant and crass, but also more theatrical and aggressive. It's weaponized.
I don't think I can agree with this. When dealing with one group who is using facts to push a narrative/conclusion you think is false, it can become quite easy to push back without outright lies. Once misleading facts have been introduced into a discussion, the level of civility drops. That opens the door for the further drop into outright lies. Especially if one side feels they are less versed in manipulating statistics.
I've spoken to many people who view lies of omission as being just as dishonest as outright lying, especially when done to manipulate someone (normally this involves when a child has lied to their parents and isn't related to anything political). As such, a lie of omission or selectively using facts has now introduced dishonesty into the conversation, making the other side feel like they are just using the standard that was already been set.
>It ruins the ability to have a real debate in a society, and I think it harmed America (not only of course) greatly.
I feel this occurs as soon as someone starts relying on presenting facts to push a certain narrative because it sends the message that it is now acceptable to have a dishonest conversation. At that point, any discussion changes into a matter of winning at any cost.
This is such blatant and obvious nonsense. You philosophize on basis of the assumption that central authorities ('government') by definition cannot be trusted, and we should therefore be wary of anything that reeks of centralized decision making.
That is a supremely American way of looking at the world.
Despite the good intentions behind the decentralization of power and the checks and balances that have been built into your system, you have ended up with a nation where the most powerful person has blatantly and publicly broken all the norms and all the rules, who regularly and repeatedly tells the most outrageous lies, and where a very large amount of people stand behind him nevertheless because of large scale & organized disinformation campaigns by the likes of (decentralized) propaganda entities like Fox News.
How does your system deal with that then? Not very well, it seems.
Wouldn't it be great if you would have a powerful centralized body that can say "Ehm, you guys keep on telling outrageous lies, we're going to forbid it and if you keep in doing it you'll be slapped with a fine that really hurts and your CEO might have to go to jail"?
What you don't seem to take into account in your comment is that centralized bodies can protect the weak from the powerful. If you only have decentralized entities, it's survival of the fittest – which is a nice way of saying that the weakest get eaten or die. I don't want to live in a society that has these values.
It's based in European, and more specifically, British Enlightenment thinking, the apotheosis of which (with regard to freedom of speech) is On Liberty by John Stuart Mill, an Englishman. To quote:
> THE TIME, it is to be hoped, is gone by, when any defence would be necessary of the "liberty of the press" as one of the securities against corrupt or tyrannical government. No argument, we may suppose, can now be needed, against permitting a legislature or an executive, not identified in interest with the people, to prescribe opinions to them, and determine what doctrines or what arguments they shall be allowed to hear. This aspect of the question, besides, has been so often and so triumphantly enforced by preceding writers, that it needs not be specially insisted on in this place.
It appears his hopes would bring disappointment were he still around.
 Chapter II: Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion https://www.bartleby.com/130/2.html
Edit: Fixing markup. If anyone knows of a document describing the markup rules, please let me know, it would save me an awful lot of edits ;-)
You're confused about the point your parent was making. Let me try to explain the context to you:
Top of thread: we think this way in Denmark (a country in Europe)
Reply: we think this way in America
Reply: "This is such blatant and obvious nonsense. ... That is a supremely American way of looking at the world."
Your parent: actually this way of thinking comes from Europe
Your parent is not saying this way of thinking is correct, only that your grandparent is silly to call this way of thinking "supremely American" and imply that it's inferior to European thinking.
Nope, that’s not how it works. People consistently keep retrying ideas for government and economics over and over because they get tempted by promises while ignoring history because “this time it’s different”.
It's a circular argument in the sense that because liberty and freedom are defined for the mainstream framework, any outside framework, in order to be accepted by adherents of the mainstream framework, must provide a vision compatible with the existing framework.
We're stuck in a hole in terms of what can be done outside academia in the real world.
In terms of a graphical model, voting is dependent on not only opinion but also motivation. Somebody that thinks you’re wrong is more motivated to downvote than someone who thinks you’re right - one has an ax to grind, one does not.
Though, you're right - I think a lack of reason given for disagreement itself can reveal something interesting - not only that they may not have a reason, but that they can't articulate the reason well enough. In real life we often don't voice disagreement for either of those reasons. In my view, HN is no different.
You are not supposed to downvote when disagreeing. You are also not supposed to complain here about mod votes. You should read HN netiquette and email them instead.
Btw, down voting based on disagreement happens on Reddit just as well. Reddit is a bunch of smaller, semi autonomous communities where quality differs. You could even say quality differs per HN thread.
Both pg and dang have expressed that on HN you really can downvote if you simply disagree.
>You are also not supposed to complain here about mod votes.
Although I was more annoyed at the time, I wasn't trying to complain, I really just wanted to know what problems people had with my post.
>down voting based on disagreement happens on Reddit just as well.
It happens, but at least it's against the etiquette of the site as set by the admins - various subs may have their policies, true.
I admit I didn't find either way at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html
I did find this:
> Please don't comment about the voting on comments. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading.
> Please don't submit comments saying that HN is turning into Reddit. It's a semi-noob illusion, as old as the hills.
The former obviously applied.
As for the latter, while you didn't comment about HN turning into Reddit, I'd say comparisons in general fit this rule.
> It happens, but at least it's against the etiquette of the site as set by the admins - various subs may have their policies, true.
AFAICT it happens rampantly, and far more than it does here. That is my very subjective experience, I'm sure everyone has their own, which is why such a discussion leads to no good. It isn't objective/unbiased, nor intellectual.
The fact that Mill wrote those words 200 years ago does not mean they are incorrect. We stick to the rules of Roman law in many aspects, although it was written pretty long time ago. Pythagoras formulated his theorem quite long ago too, yet we still learn it at school.
There are certain ideas that seems to be universal, that just make people lives better. People tend to challenge them and thanks to that we get goodies like Communism and Nazism.
It also does not mean they are correct or meaningful, at least not in every case they are applied or quoted...
> To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.
Not that their being smart, their ethnicity, nor their being alive or dead has any relevance to the content of their speech.
Aside from the obvious rebuttal already given by pointing out it's not American to think the press should be free, further "payload" was in the link provided. I'd encourage you to read, what is in my opinion and of many others, the greatest work on freedom of speech.
No. It wouldn’t. When that kind of power (arbiter of truth) is placed in a single point, that point will become the highly contested point of control. Eventually, inevitably, the body would end up turned to some ruthless power of the day, and would serve as the most phenomenal propaganda machine.
“The Ministry of Truth is pleased to announce that bootlace production is up a thousandfold this quarter, due to the heroic efforts of the King. You may now cheer.”
Total decentralisation is the only sane route - you build a bulwark out of billions of human minds, and you build inertia into your system such that emotional volatility led by events or propaganda efforts is smoothed out.
This is basically the concept of democracy and electoral cycles - group consensus on what reality is and how it should be responded to, with a temporal buffer (the election cycle length) to smooth out rash decisions.
Our systems need amendment to better smooth our inherent volatility, which has been provoked by our exponentially growing sphere of information - but this can’t come at the cost of handing control over something as fundamental as the idea of truth to some technocratic committee. That’s how you end up with gulags.
Further musing on temporal smoothing of volatile and labile humanity led me to recall the idea of Concents in Anathem - groups are sequestered away for a year, a decade, a century, or a millennium, and are allowed only at those intervals to interact with the outside world. This monkish dedication to record preservation minimises informatic drift within the group, and provides a continual negative feedback factor to the unstable curve of truth, thus preventing the rewrite of the past, and therefore the present and future.
A decentralized system is not controllable directly, but can only be as smart as the mean of the population. Also, it also has a mechanism of control - propaganda. It's not all that effective, because you can have competing groups countering one another, but the side effects of that are relevant here: people take sides and reason by soundbites, while facts and critical thought get crowded out. Which means the more competing propagandists you have, the dumber the system becomes, even if all propaganda attempts cancel each other out.
So, on one hand you have a system with a very good quality ceiling but easy to manipulate; on the other hand, you have a system more resistant to direct manipulation, but consequently with a much lower ceiling that that also goes monotonically down as attempts to manipulate the system increase. Or, in other words: good results with high risk of bad results, vs. consistently shitty results.
Can't we do better? Are we doomed to choose between only those two?
 - Assuming a normal distribution, by the central limit theorem. If that doesn't hold, things could get even worse.
They aren't guaranteed to be smart or just (sadly there probably isn't anything which qualifies) but they are are stable in a "not likely to piss off everyone into an insurrection" way.
Calm down. This isn’t productive to discussion.
> that have been built into your system, you have ended up with a nation where the most powerful person
For being the most powerful person, he doesn’t get much done and is in the process of potentially being impeached. Sounds like an argument in favor of the checks and balances and an argument in favor of less power being concentrated at the federal level in general.
> publicly broken all the norms and all the rules
Publicly broken “all the rules”, really? Methinks you’ve been drinking some koolaid.
> Wouldn't it be great if you would have a powerful centralized body that can say "Ehm, you guys keep on telling outrageous lies
Absolutely not. A ministry of truth that dictates what people say and answers only to politicians is about the worst and least imaginative solution to the problem.
> What you don't seem to take into account in your comment is that centralized bodies can protect the weak from the powerful. If you only have decentralized entities, it's survival of the fittest
False dichotomy. State-level governments in the US are very capable of handling many of the responsibilities that have amassed at the federal level.
If you think more centralization is better, why not have a single world government that decides what is true? The government choosing what is true is working pretty well for China, why don’t we just let them take over control?
Literally every government and civilization in the history of the world has eventually failed or been corrupted.
Given this inevitability, how is it not better that citizens have protections against a failing government abusing that power? Avoiding centralization of power is one such protection. This is not an "American perspective", it's a simple conclusion reached after looking at history.
It is better to let everyone speak and everyone to make their own decisions
Majority of the people simply trust the media they like or get used to. They usually assume news from these channels have been fact-checked or are trustworthy but we all know messages can be crafted in different ways.
In other words, the media can potentially/likely manipulate how people think and make decisions.
I think this is irrelevant. People will listen to what they like to hear or what matches what they already think. NOBODY is exempt from this, I dont care how smart you think you are.
I mean, just a few weeks ago ABC posted a video from a Kentucky range and claimed it was fighting in Syria. Is that simply horrible journalism, or a lie?
The side doesn't really matter, what matters is giving that power to government will lead to one side winning and entrenching themselves via said power. I believe it's better to let free citizens learn wrongly on their own than to pretend government can teach the so-called right things.
No. And i'm from Europe, the supreme "nanny state".
Have you ever considered the option that you might be the one who is disinformed? European media have a tendency to "group-think" and to extrapolate certain narratives to the extreme. For example, I observe that even reputable German news outlets like "Der Spiegel" put a negative spin on every single story about Trump. My guess would be that the Danish media is simiarly biased given your views. And apparently, your laws did not prevent that from happening.
SCOTUS is close to one of these centralized bodies you speak of, and they purposely only deal with cases that have gone through every other avenue. And even then, they are not trying to determine truth, but only fit the verdict within the existing body of law. I would prefer less decisions being decided in this manner.
In regards to whether or not it would be great if we had a powerful centralized body that could determine what constitute outrageous lies worthy of a fine, no, for the reasons I've already stated, I do not think that this would be a good thing. I have no problem with European and Asian countries granting their (very often highly competent) governments greater authorities than what is afforded to the US government, but I think it's supremely important that there remains at least one superpower fundamentally predicated on a mistrust of a central authority.
But it still has a negative effect on public discourse. It's like information pollution.
How would you deal with foreign media that violates the laws? You'd either have to permit them - which opens up the country to foreign meddling, since they can and have spread propaganda - or sanction/block them, like Russia and China (and Australia.)
Also, suppose despite your best efforts, Trump still gets into the White House. He's installed loyal yes-men in many departments already - if they defy him, they'll resign under pressure or be fired. He'd easily gut this Ministry of Truth and weaponize it to quash CNN/NYT or even climate scientists.
I'm quite on the left and not averse to regulation or centralization, but it's wishful thinking to assume this "powerful centralized body" is going to do the right thing.
See, for example, the use of corruption taskforces in many countries to purge political rivals or even honest bureaucrats who won't take your bribes. Corruption should be illegal, allegations should be investigated but things can go very wrong and these checks perverted against their intended function.
I don't see the problem with subjecting foreign media to the same or even stricter laws. Yes, it's difficult to enforce the law against foreign nations, especially your friends, so enforcement often doesn't happen. That doesn't mean that foreign meddling ought to be made legal, which would be a step backwards in view of laws like the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countering_Foreign_Propaganda_....
This should be basic assumption of the all laws. Remember early 20th century and legal takeovers of governments by warmongering maniacs in Europe?
It was legal, there was trust toward government. All it took was a single group to take over Germany and start WW2.
Even if no one will abuse the law currently, you have absolutely no guarantees(as democracy is popularity contest) that no one will try to abuse them in future.
>> That is a supremely American way of looking at the world.
Not really, it is very prevalent in Europe too - especially Eastern Europe which suffered under Russian communist occupation. Mostly because it was the case in those countries - the populace still remembers government actively working against people.
>> Despite the good intentions behind the decentralization of power and the checks and balances that have been built into your system, you have ended up with a nation where the most powerful person has blatantly and publicly broken all the norms and all the rules, who regularly and repeatedly tells the most outrageous lies, and where a very large amount of people stand behind him nevertheless because of large scale & organized disinformation campaigns by the likes of (decentralized) propaganda entities like Fox News.
>>> How does your system deal with that then? Not very well, it seems.
It works perfectly... for those in power. From citizens perspective it is a nightmare.
>> Wouldn't it be great if you would have a powerful centralized body that can say "Ehm, you guys keep on telling outrageous lies, we're going to forbid it and if you keep in doing it you'll be slapped with a fine that really hurts and your CEO might have to go to jail"?
What prevents this centralized body from making politically motivated decisions? If we go to the extremes we have examples in history - heresy trials, censors in communist Russia, and even current example - China.
One could argue for centralized body of such power in only a single case - system transition by force with benevolent ruler that will dissolve itself after transition.
Good Luck with that.
An established institutional culture of apolitical service, reinforced by respect for those who uphold it and consequences for those who violate it. The kind of thing that the U.S. still expects of its military, judiciary and public service, and the kind of thing that is corroded by political leaders showing contempt for it.
Finding the value of $Centralized_Power might take a while.
I'm not trying to be snarky, but in all honesty, how do you feel this is working out for the US at this very moment?
I don't think the free speech absolutism present in the US was ever meant to suggest that there isn't such thing as undesirable speech, but rather that the potential for tyranny under regulated speech is a danger well worth avoiding at any cost.
In addition to that, America is a country that works forwards from principles much more often than European nations, which very often work backwards from objectives. To frame the right to free speech in regards to whether or not it is "working out" is not a particularly American frame of reference. The principle that individuals should express themselves as they see fit, and that this is the foundation for a free and open society, is essentially square one.
Have any examples to back this up?
I dont even necessarily disagree with your original argument, but can we get away from the Europe vs America debate that always pops up on this board as if they can be compared in a reasonable way? Europe is made up of a bunch of independent countries alot of which have objectives and principles that conflict with other entities within Europe, let alone outside of it
European posters do this all the time in health care discussions.
It's a fact.
>Have any examples to back this up?
This is an example to backup the statement. The US starts from a strong principle of free speech. European countries generally don't value this as highly, and will censor speech if they feel it is necessary.
When I said "working out", I wasn't talking so much about which effects free speech is having (although that is a question well worth asking) but more about whether speech in the US really is as free as it was ~4 years go.
Could being attacked on twitter by the president for something you say not be construed as a very real retaliation by the administration and thus a curtailment of free speech?
No, someone talking to you in a public forum, even in a hostile fashion, is not a curtailment of free speech. It’s just free speech.
Free speech isn’t the right to not have your feelings hurt.
If Trump attacking people worked on Twitter, there wouldn’t be any democrats left in office at this point.
Great. We still have many of the rights others have been stripped of. We haven't faced any invasions or domestic warfare in over a century, we have the worlds strongest economy, etc etc. Best of all, we can say pretty much whatever we want and not go to jail for it.
In my honest opinion - every law should be made with assumption that in the future, or even now, an actor will exists that will abuse it to the utmost limits.
One of reasons i am vehemently against article 13 in Europe, or anti-hate speech laws(as those can be abused to basically turn into censorship laws - while doing absolutely nothing but hiding the symptoms of systematic problems).
"American jobs are being taken by illegal immigrants from Mexico."
Is this a lie? No. But is this disingenuous and misrepresenting much more significant contributors to job loss? Yes. Is it a lie then?
"Transgender women are women."
Is this a lie? Depends entirely on definitions and presuppositions.
Secondly, I think the more important takeaway is that the vast majority of the issues we're having in regards to political discourse have absolutely nothing to do with us not agreeing on facts. Neither side for most of the hard issues are relying on outright incorrect facts.
So not only do I not think that identifying outright lies is as simple and free from bias as you suggest it to be, I also think that the cases in which this could be universally agreed upon would contribute very little to the majority of serious political discussions happening today.
Both of which are believed by huge amounts of Americans.
You do if you want to make some kind of law about it. You are correct, there are plenty of instances where a story is blatantly false and could be taken care of by some kind of preventative action. But the distribution of possible lies is extremely long tailed. For every one of these instances, there are dozens where it is not entirely a lie, but not entirely the truth, or is biased, or a half-truth, or editorialized, or an extreme conclusion, etc. Libel and slander laws already exist, but are rarely invoked because of this reason. It is nigh impossible to create any kind of system or legislation that does more than what these laws already do, while also properly dealing with all of these edge cases.
I mean, even your examples could easily get around any kind of preventative measures by couching their language. Instead of "Obama was born in Kenya", it could be phrased "rumors have begun to circulate that Obama was in fact born in Kenya". The desired effect of planting this lie in people's minds is still successful, but with a few words there is now no way to create a framework that legally prevents people from spreading lies that way, that is also consistent and not overbearing.
“Pope endorses Donald trump” being the classic example
Not lying with statistics
“Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its prosecutor. The prosecutor said he was forced out for leading a corruption probe into Hunter Biden's company.”
another source, in this case the ny times, would be equally free to publish the statement:
“Vice President Biden was overseeing American policy toward Ukraine at the time, and he did push for the removal of the country’s top prosecutor, who was seen as corrupt or ineffectual by the United States and Western European governments. But there is no evidence he did so to benefit Hunter Biden or the oligarch who owns Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky.”
> The prosecutor said he was forced out for leading a corruption probe into Hunter Biden's company
> there is no evidence he did so to benefit Hunter Biden
It’s entirely fair to report what the prosecutor said provided it’s clearly attributed as it was here.
You’re free to draw your own conclusion that the prosecutor is possibly lying.
The problem is that it doesn't only matter that stated facts are correct; it matters also that people reading them interpret them correctly. Natural language is messy; people jump to conclusions also because often we do communicate intentionally by hiding meaning between the lines.
> It’s also allowed for different sides of things, because you can interpret things like socioeconomic statistics and facts differently and write about them as such, but you can’t make up things.
But maybe my English wasn’t good enough to carry it through.
I don’t think narratives are a problem as such. People are allowed different opinions in a free society. Our laws are there to prevent people from printing things that are outright false, but these laws are being circumvented on the modern media platforms because they apply to editiorial staff but not private citizens.
Which is a problem in a world where influencers have more viewers than news papers.
Obviously you can still manipulate real facts and tell a lie (like the classic photo cropping example): that should be prohibited as well.
Setting a baseline of limiting/banning provably false information is a good thing. Yes, it doesn't stop all forms manipulation of people towards any given agenda, but it certainly doesn't make it easier, and means things have to be at least slightly anchored to reality.
"Some people say [lie]." (Fox News favorite)
"According to some theories, [lie]"
"Doctor Ganz Rechts Rassenreinheit says [lie]"
The body consists of a board of all media agencies and they self-regulate their behaviour and adhere to their commonly agreed principles (e.g. if you get facts wrong, people can demand follow-ups with a correction etc).
In my eyes the US has a ideological perspective on many issues, that are basically "solved" in other democratic nations (with gun-law beeing the most shining example). I accept that you cannot directly apply solutions that work in one nation to another without reflecting the differences in culture and law, but it happens all too often that Americans claim something can't be solved, while it works perfectly fine somewhere else, without having sacrificed neither democracy nor freedom.
When it comes to media regulation, it is a question of law and enforcement. If you don't trust your own courts to objectively judge what accounts to a violation and what does not or is ambiguous (like in your examples), then you have a problem with your justice system beeing influenced by politics and the principle of the seperation of powers is broken.
Another thing is the choice of facts you decide to state. All media have a bias in what type of news they decide to cover. Usually they pick stories based on what their audience wants to hear. I don't think there's a solution, besides trying to be more critical about medias in general.
News outlets are then free to print articles containing opinions, studies and conclusions, but this are called editorials and not news articles, and by definition they do carry the opinion of the writer and his/her innate bias on the matter.
Even in this case, saying something false is different from interpreting the data or facts at hand. For example, you could write and publish an editorial examining the same statistics as before and come up with the conclusion that there might be a racial bias - some people might agree, some people might not, but it's still an opinion based on hard data and doesn't contain a lie. If you, however, started saying that it's all a plot orchestrated by the reptilians running society to make you think that there's a racial bias, that would indeed be a lie with no factual basis and should be punishable.
There are facets and sides to every story you tell, but reducing everything down to the point where you conflate news reporting, opinions and lies is, imho, stupid.
"start introducing conclusions".
So not just stating facts after all?
> This is a fact and a conclusion, and most news consists of facts and conclusions.
Journalists usually quote somebody else for the conclusion, they don't use themselves as a primary source. And if they're good they get multiple quotes from different people to give a view of the differing opinions.
Narrative with conclusion is challenging to deal with for large swathes of the population, myself included.
American understanding birthed a society that openly fosters fascism. It should only be used as an ironic example, not as some sort of highroad ethical argument.
However, banning political ads on Facebook does ban political ads on facebook, and banning lies does ban lies.
Tech is not some magical playground disconnected from reality. Time for SV to grow up and engage with society and politics - they’re not an “optional, inefficient” part of life.
All in all, though, I believe we have wide freedom of press and freedom of speech not unlike what they have in the rest of Europe and in reality not that different from what they have in the US. Yes, we do have a media liability law which makes the editor (or even the journalist or the publication) liable for defamation in the content and for publishing certain information about a person's private life. The effect is that Danish publications are forced to worry about defamation against persons or corporations, or groups of people such as certain statements regarding religions, ethnicity etc or about information regarding persons' private life.
But apart from what I describe above, newspapers can publish more or less whatever they want without fearing criminal or tort liability. They mostly have to fear ridicule. A Danish editor will not be held liable if his newspaper writes wrong facts about the unemployment rate, crime, business climate, taxes or just about anything else that is in the news.
I believe the answer to why Danish media still have a decent standard despite free online news and Google and Facebook getting the ad money, is found in the subsidies. Virtually all large media in Denmark are either public entities or private entities that are heavily subsidized. By far the largest Danish media is the national radio and TV station. All the large newspapers receive huge subsidies. They simply still have budgets to pay for journalism.
Here is a list of the recipients with amounts:
(Counter to the current worry, it seems to me that outright lies in mainstream publications are actually somewhat rare. When they happen they are generally corrected. Though there is a recent trend of rushing to publication to appease an overly emotive audience, getting things wrong, and then having to correct days later, after everyone's already been influenced. NYT especially.)
This used to be somewhat addressed in the US television segment by taking it even a step further, and requiring news shows to not only be truthful, but represent both sides of controversial issues. It was called the Fairness Doctrine , but it was revoked in 1985.
We have those laws in Poland too. They lie on front page and apologise with small font on the last page.
If you ask me, that‘s a good thing. If the stakes of an ad campaign with fake news or hate speech would be having to run a disproval campaign of the same size, on the same audience (if you are proven wrong) — I‘d be fine with it. Political ads weren‘t the problem. A complete and utter lack of regulation for the medium was.
Sigh, I wish news could work out in a level-headed, respectable manner like that.
Instead we have “news” reduced to opinions-of-the-day, fat middle fingers shoved in faces to rile up attention (figuratively speaking), and clever ways of turning current events into enticing blockbuster rollercoasters of reporting with crafty “news-scaping”.
(Not all news is like this, FWIW. When information has to be reluctantly peddled for a pittance, like news media is stuck with begrudgingly trying to get people to buy their holiday fruitcakes, then the etiquette of pride in truth gets tossed).
People are so gullible, and some would argue that if they fall for things like that, it's on them. In my opinion, Twitter is getting into a muddy situation with this: what is "political", what is "advertising"... and what is "paid", are all terms that could have different interpretation.
One could argue that Twitter may have just said "hey you, if this is illegal, send a court order and will take it down, otherwise everything stays", forcing governments to actually define what goes and what doesn't, instead of relying on for-profit companies to tell us what we can see and what we can't.
But that train departed so long ago.
Then there are opinion pieces - which by definition are opinion not facts.
I seriously have no good idea how to regulate that: international or national certifications are bound to be abused(lobbying in case of former, national interest in case of latter) and current system is absolutely dogshit.
Honestly it is because all news outlets optimize for one thing only - money - and money nowadays comes from one thing mostly: selling ads, or to be exact - selling access to serving ads to people with specific interests.
As long as selling ads en masse is the most profitable options the current system will exist. Clickbait/Yellow journalism will thrive as long as it's only purpose is to attract attention.
Secondly, there is no absolute, objective truth and there never will be.
The best we can do is to individually strive for telling the truth and hope for the best.
The actual matter is for controversial statements. I very much prefer those statements to be allowed, discussed, debunked if needed, than outright forbidden. In liberal democracies, the press is generally considered to be a needed counterpower (along with the establish executive, legislative and judicial powers of the state). Putting it under the control of the judicial power kind of weakens it.
Before Snowden we had some conspiracy theories that NSA is spying on everyone, but those who claimed that were ridiculed.
Before the communism fell the truth that Polish officers were murdered in Katyn forest by Soviets was considered a lie (official "truth" was that Germans did that) - this truth was so annoying that for a long time (until 1980ties) even Western countries official policy preferred lies only to maintain good relations with Soviet Union.
For a quite a long time (till 1960ies) people thought that this is a good idea to check if shoes fit using X-rays. The truth of that times was that X-rays used in that way are safe.
And I can go on like this for hours.
People lie, people make mistakes, people have shady interests and motivations, human knowledge is restricted. If we enforce official "truth" we never learn the truth. Maybe this will help to keep societies in peace (in the Orwellian way).
Communists tried that, luckily they failed. Chinese half Communism half Confucianism tries that now, we will see how it will end up.
During the rush to digital a section was launched “facts are sacred”
No it was “Comment is free”, that is what generated clicks and ad revenue
Why should it be treated any differently than other media?
What we need is a return of the Fairness Doctrine in the US (and something similar to the EU) and application of the policy to social media advertising and news outlets. It won't stop foreign psy-ops, but it will stop a lot of the internal-originating lies and deception.
Choosing to wait and observe is always a viable choice, to be considered alongside all forms of intervention.
I’m extremely interested in the idea that a society has incentivized both a robust free press and accountability to speak the truth...
If that is the case it seems like those lessons would be very useful to democracies the world over.
i assume this is sarcasm, as society has historically been mostly illiterate and unschooled.
right now is when we are the most informed in the history of humankind.
till then most people around the world didn't know how to read and write.
my own eastern european country had an illiteracy rate of 95% in 1920.
We also get politicians which the one who gets the most attention wins elections, because internet is an attention economy. It does not mean that getting as much attention as a possible for a politician means that you have good intentions. Never in our past have companies have had access to information which keeps us mentally hooked to their services. There need to be some kind of safety standards.
What if new science tells us that seeing certain types of news results in X condition, 20% of the time ?
Social networks are stuck.
Why doesn't the laws apply for Facebook? Ads are something they are profiting from, therefore implying involvement and thus
Has Facebook reached the point where they could be fined for simply hosting untrue content? They curate and don't show everything so the argument of being just a "market of ideas" rings untrue.
The problem is, who gets to define what's truthful and how do you quantify the bar for "truthfulness"? This is a deep philosophical question that doesn't really have a satisfactory solution at this point. Some cases are "obvious", but laws shouldn't be written with just the easy cases in mind.
> This died with Facebook, YouTube and the non-editorial entertainment “news” and as a result we have anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers and what not.
This is incorret. Anti-vaxxers and anti-vax protests have existed since the inception of vaccines back in the 1800s . Flat earthers for longer.
It's a convenient narrative that the internet somehow created these anti-science movements, or somehow spread them, but that's not really supported by facts. Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy arguably spread that message far more than people talking with each other on Facebook.
Are you literally blaming YouTube for flat earthers in Denmark?
The issue is that all regulators are human, and all humans have biases. No man is fit to play the censor.
Given the modern flat earthed movement was essentially grown on YouTube why wouldn't it effect people around the globe?
Is YouTube banned in Denmark?
> This is what has kept our society well informed and critical thinking for a hundred years.
What makes you think you are a well-informed and critical thinking society? Don't most danes think alike just like most saudis, chinese, russians, etc. Don't most danes think and believe whatever news/propaganda tell them to believe just like saudis, chinese, russians, etc?
And? Did the world end?
Do you realize that there was a time when it was "truth" that the earth was flat? Do you realize that there was a time when "pro-vaxxers" were ridiculed as much as anti-vaxxers are ridiculed now? If people like you were in power, we'd never have any progress.
I'm not an anti-vaxxer or a flat-earther. The easiest way to discredit them is with speech. More speech, not less. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. And free speech is the best antidote to falsehoods.
(1) The Danes who wrote those laws were elected by the citizens in a fair and open democracy.
(2) The enforcement (presumably) falls on their judicial system. One that is transparent, progressive and highly respected around the world.
(3) That Denmark has one of the lowest rates of corruption in the world.
(4) That Danes are free to pursue information elsewhere (as in the entire internet) if they don't like whats available locally.
But besides those things, you're right. It's just like the situation in Saudi Arabia, China and Russia. /s
It is much easier to construct a shared agreement on what is true in such an environment. That they are a democracy is less of an issue than the fact they all face a very similar environment and can probably agree with each other on what the truth is because they are all looking at the same thing.
Not really comforting to a slightly smaller minority that didn’t vote for them. A democracy is not a panacea and that’s why the US has the bill of rights to raise the bar on changes to fundamental rights.
> One that is transparent, progressive and highly respected around the world.
By whom? People in other countries don’t give two shits about judicial interpretations of laws in another country.
> That Denmark has one of the lowest rates of corruption in the world.
Corruption is orthogonal to government structure. Massively oppressive regimes can operate entirely inside their own laws and not be corrupt.
> That Danes are free to pursue information elsewhere (as in the entire internet) if they don't like whats available locally
Are they allowed to spread said information? If not, that’s not significantly better than the arrangement in China.
The extermination of the native americans were perpetrated by americans who were elected by citizens in a fair and open democracy.
You seems to have a naive understanding of democracy. People always forget that the nazis won elections. People forget that the greatest evils ( genocide, atomic bombings, etc ) were all perpetrated by democracies.
There is a reason why democracy is called tyranny of the mob.
2) Just because you say they are "transparent, progressive and highly respected around the world" is meaningless. There is nothing inherently good about being "progressive". Once again that is a naive understanding of progessiveness. There was a time when nazis, communists, etc were viewed as progressives. But most importantly, just because they are "competent" today doesn't mean they are eternally competent. You do realize governments, judiciaries, etc can change right?
3) That's because they are filthy rich due centuries of european colonization.
4) Are they?
> But besides those things, you're right. It's just like the situation in Saudi Arabia, China and Russia. /s
It is just like that. Do you know how I know? Saudi, chinese, russians, etc all "self-congratulatory" excuses for why they need censorship. Just like you did.
To you, denmark may be heaven on earth, but to me denmark is nothing but a nazi collabotor who got off easy after ww2. Also, if denmark is so saintly why are the inuits in greenland ( the land you stole from them ) doing so horribly?
First of all, I'm not Danish. I don't know why you assumed that.
Look, the OP simply said they have a system whereby proven falsehoods need to be corrected in the newspaper. That's all. They just have to correct mistakes that can be proven demonstrably false.
It seems perfectly reasonable, but don't take my word for it. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_in_Denmark -
> In 2004, 2005, and 2009 Denmark received a joint first place in the Worldwide Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders. Since 2011, Denmark has consistently been in the top-10 out of 179 countries in the index and it was fourth in 2016.
People in Denmark have literally risked their lives exercising freedom of the press. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyllands-Posten_Muhammad_carto...
For some bizarre reason you equated that record with the Saudis, Chinese, Russians and (most hilariously) with the Nazis. Your hyperbole is lazy and ill-informed.
And no, Denmark isn't perfect. No country is. I never claimed otherwise. So don't bother the straw men. The topic was freedom of speech and freedom of the press. A topic for which modern Denmark has an outstanding record.
This is a bad argument that ignores the concept in the GP post, that of intent, and instead addresses an unchallenged point that humans don’t know everything yet.
Yes, and Denmark too. Also, the United States has laws about lying in print as well, see for example libel laws.
Boris Nemtsov got shot in broad daylight in the centre of Moscow.
No, but people died needlessly.
We don't have any laws on the books in Russia that forbid newspapers from telling lies I am willing to bet neither does China or Saudi, because that's not needed for authoritarian censorship.
Boris Nemtsov got shot in broad daylight in the centre of Moscow. They don't need laws
What has been proven again and again is that bad information drives out good, because it's so, so much easier to write bad information. So you need to keep a tight lid on people who spread actual bad information. If not you might end up as the US, with a reality-tv star as president.
I would like a source on that. Dont take it personal, but I dont see how this is anything but tanky signaling to feel better about yourself. Here in Germany people were rather active in making sure the new far right party AFD wasnt given a platform. By now they are very close to being the strongest party in multiple states. All that deplatforming did there was giving them a quicker rise. You cant deplatform a large sections of society, you are only creating a stronger echo chamber for them by trying. And i have to remind you, the echo chamber only exists because we didnt want to talk to these people. Deplatforming attacks the people not the ideas behind them. Nothing good can (or ever did) come of that. On the contrary, it only strengthens the community under attack and gives them an enemy to connect over. The only reason its attractive again as a tactic is because its easier. Convincing people through a discussion is hard work. I am very much afraid of the day when people are no longer capable to have a discussion because they have forgotten how due to living in echo chambers their hole life. I dont have high hopes that large parts of the left still know how to convince people with arguments, which in turn doesnt give me high hopes for the future. So yes, pls dont fuck us all over I am really not interested in another Reichstagsbrand because people liked how they viewed them self when working on deplatforming.
Deplatforming makes it look like their is no logical or moral counter. It is not an explanation of why the ideas are bad. Platforming and debunking is reasonably likely to expose bad ideas as weak.
In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.
I worked on modding a political forum from its laissez fairs days to its current operating philosophy.
Bad speech regularly frowns out signal, and in times of crisis, will overwhelm the channel with emotion.
It’s easier to make vague funny one liners which reach the top of the page, drowning out that 8 page report on the telecom industry.
Bashing a political candidate? Channel crusher.
Once the channel is overtaken, crazier philosophies start opening up - nationalism, religious cleansing, minority targeting.
Start moderating to keep the demons away?
The banned users start forming their own sites and attacking you. Bread crumb arguments are spread to lead new users down a dark road and create more enemies.
Eventually what works is banning all known bad actors and mention of those sites.
We’ve also isolated them, so it’s obvious to anyone objective who goes to their corner of the world what their priorities are.
Because once they are isolated, they create their own boards - and on those boards the metastatis of arguments is obvious.
Clear calls for ethnic cleansing, “the minorities did it.” Etc. were rife.
And here’s the kicker - even the mods on that sub forum started banning users.
So when the actual nazis have to ban nazis, is it counted as a win for the model?
Since you brought it up, lets look at the topic of ethnic cleansing and how deplatforming would treat different people and what the result is. Say someone was never interested in politics or isnt that old and has some naivete left traveled to an area with extreme ethical or religious conflicts witnessing it first hand. An intimate view of decades old conflicts where parts of the civilian population are at each others throats and in some places even the threat of massacres is still very real if it werent for massive police or military presences. Take your pick from northern Ireland to some places in the Balkans to the variety of African conflicts with an unimaginable level of hate in some areas. Picture school children needing a police cordon on their way to school to escort them through screaming protesters because they have the wrong ethnicity or religious affiliation. Once people are personally affected or witness something they find atrocious they get motivated to think about it. How could the situation be improved? Talking with the people in the region he hears a specific mantra very often. As long as we still live door to door this conflict will continue. So the persons asks himself what could be possible solutions? The current situation is clearly intolerable to anyone with a sense of empathy. The person reads up on the conflict and its a decades or even century old issue. Quite alot was already tried, you can read books upon books of articles how the situation might be improved and about the numerous campaigns that were already completed. And still here we are today. So what were other regions that had the potential for ethnic conflicts but which are now resolved peacefully? A short look into the history books and you learn this was often achieved by deportations. You might not even have to look far, the formerly German provinces in Poland or Czechoslovakia dont have a any conflicts today, on the contrary. So apparently moving one of the groups is the solution. Sure this was often accompanied throughout history with atrocities, but back then horrible regimes and dictatorships were in power, now we have a properly functioning governments, those atrocities are a day of the past. Just horrible stories from the darkest days of humanity. We never had such a peaceful period in Europe and everyone knows we reached the end of history. So why not relocate one group and ensure permanent peace? So he asks, why dont we just deport every xyz in zyx?
My worry is, how many people on the left are still capable to explain to him why deportations and ethical cleansing are not just not a reasonable thing to do? Why his conclusion is wrong? Instead of just screaming Nazi and publicly shaming him? Could you? With deplatforming he is told that what he is talking about is called ethnic cleansings and he is a horrible Nazi for even mentioning such a thing. So he gets banned and has to look elsewhere for a solution to the problem he witnessed. He finds one of the isolated fringe boards. They are the only place to talk about it. While granted there are alot of Nazis, who cares, you find morons everywhere and they get banned on the platform as well, so he is obviously not in a Nazi board himself. He talks a while and finds some people who agree with him, who tell him that the mixing of inherently different groups is the core issue. He saw it himself after all. You just have to look as far as the Identitarian movement who put a lot of effort into discussion guidelines on how to convince people. Believe me if i tell you, they do know how to debate with someone, you cant cling to the cliche of the drunk skinhead.
That is of course a rather unbelievable story, who witnesses one of those conflicts after all? They are often shitty holiday destinations. But how many have had negative personal encounters with people who fit the role of a migrant or Muslim? The story is the same everywhere with every topic, we dont live in a perfect world and the far right is readily available with easy convenient answer for perceived or real problems. Are you still able to convince someone in a discussion about refugees and womens rights? And with convince I dont mean explaining someone why it is wrong to say something. What deplatforming is is peer pressure. You dont convince anyone with that. You just convince them that you have no answers yourself and to keep their mouth shut till an opportune time arrives. Before the internet that meant never being able to talk with anyone about that in your village or town because the neighbors might find out, with the exception of maybe a more extreme pub round. Your only real option was to look for a straight up Nazi Kameradschaft in the wider vicinity. That was a big step to take. Today they can easily look for more "reasonable" people or even join a major party. Deplatforming at its core leads to people getting targeted for what they say. The people get combated, the ideology behind it stays untouched. If we want any hope for the future that doesnt include a civil war or living in a fascist dictatorship we should look hard at switching that. Combating the ideology and convincing the people. Granted those debates are difficult and furthermore, a horrible past time. Most people dont want to talk about such atrocious things and dont want those discussion to happen in their living room. Just not having these discussions and excluding people who want to talk about it is much easier. Especially if you can feel good about yourself by going the easy way. The person vanishes from your view and becomes someone elses problem. Until they are all our problem.
You have a hypothesis, that deplatforming stops the spread of far right ideology. Thats a hypothesis we can easily test, we dont have to rely on your gut feeling how your policies affected the rest of the world around you. I think we can agree that we are just witnessing for the past few years an extreme rise of the far right across the globe. We are faced with openly far right parties which have made unbelievable rises in parliament and are in quite a few places on the way to becoming the strongest party and with that, will someday likely be the government. They already are the government in some places. Openly authoritarian politicians get elected and unthinkable thinks are happening like separating children of migrants from their parents and putting them in prison camps. And children dying due to lack of care in those facilities. I am sorry if i have to burst your bubble, but the current situation is a fucking emergency, the house is on fire and what we are currently doing is clearly not working. That leaves us with the question why deplatforming, exclusion and public shaming currently doesnt work? There are basically a few options as i see it (shamelessly stolen from a infamous German blog for people who are bored at work).
1) The strategy is valid and would work if it wasnt for those traitors in our midst who dont go along.
2) The strategy is valid and would work we just have to convince more people to join in.
3) The strategy is fundamentally broken and does not work.
4) The strategy is working, we just have to wait to see results.
If you see more options, please do share. I mean it. The situation is to damn severe for 4) we cant go on pretending like everything is fine and the situation being no different from combating the emergence of a Nazi youth club in small towns in the 80s or moderating a voluntary association in form of a board. If you have hopes for 1 or 2 i have to disappoint you. As an anti authoritarian myself let me tell you I sure as hell wont rally behind censorship. There is no authoritarian solution to the problems we face. While my view of the state of the world is granted horrible, I am sure i am not the only one who thinks this way. While the divide in the left between authoritarians and anti-authoritarians was not really a topic for the generation after the fall of the Soviet Union it is very real.
Your hypothesis On the other hand is worth following if you have substantiating facts that back it up.
Basically; your experience is interesting but it isn't clear it applies here. Moderating a forum is not the same as maintaining real social cohesion when people genuinely disagree with each other.
When you have a single specific mechanism that can be applied to “real world polities”, then perhaps this discussion could work.
Otherwise you are talking about a federation of forums and the state of the art when it comes to effective moderation models.
I also recommend volunteering as a mod in one of these forums.
It’s a great place to see what’s going on at the point where the rubber meets the road- grounding your future ideas in tested experience.
edit: Since we came to recommendations, I would suggest you actually talk to some Nazis to see what they are all about. Not some troll on a board but people who show up to a rally of a far right party. Ask their voterbase why they are there.
>Bashing a political candidate? Channel crusher.
I see this all the time on Reddit in subs like /r/politics and /r/news, sarcastic quips get thousands of upvotes and dominate the discussion with no room for any dissenting opinions. Makes it real hard to find out who's being genuine in their approach and who's towing the party line for upvotes. Reddit isn't great for discussion though.
I suppose my question is, what stops your forum from becoming an echo chamber? Are "vague funny one liners" and "Bashing a political candidate" considered bad speech even if they're not leading to crazier philosophies? Would the hundreds of one liners about Trump in /r/politics be considered bad speech? Where can I find genuine discourse?
Recognize that political speech is too valuable for political actors to leave to its own ends.
They will create tools and ways to influence it, and the internet allows for maximal influence and personalization.
I suggest an entirely more radical approach in future.
Make a prediction on a topic of your interest. Ask others to do so as well. Put it up in a public location. Set a time limit.
After the time limit see who’s prediction came true.
Talk through action and proof. Any idle political conversation represents a poisoned pool or a soon to be poisoned pool.
Right now maximize for threat awareness and not for open conversations, because the bad actors have the bigger guns.
> Eventually what works is banning all known bad actors and mention of those sites.
How do you reconcile these two? Because it seems like the first defeats the second.
Many people (me included) find this approach very unpalatable because of how inherently authoritarian it is. (Ironically, this suggestion often comes from the same people who are concerned by how underrepresented some groups are in the public discourse and how the voices of those groups are not heard, and want to artificially amplify those voices). If you have studied history of any repressive regime where dissenters were deprived of any conventional platform and were reduced to circulating their ideas in the underground, you might empathise.
It's absolutely fine not to take certain groups seriously. But it feels (to me) deeply unfair to undermine their very ability to speak.
Examples: Should climate change deniers be given the same space as actual science?
Should communists (to not only focus on far right) be invited to every serious talk about economy?
> Should ... be invited to every serious talk
Of course not; but "inviting to every X", or "giving the same space" is very different from disallowing X to share the same space (especially if said client change deniers or communists are prepared to have a conversation using roughly the same epistemological tools as actual scientists). There is no onus on platform providers to ensure that every opinion gets the same attention as others; my argument is that they merely let others be.
As far as challenges of the put your money where your mouth is kind, this one was pretty easy. So easy in fact, that you should take a moment to reflect on why you were so quick to get on a moral high-horse of burden of proof.
Was it though?
Let's break down what happened.
A: Claim X.
B: Can you support X? Claim not X.
C: Can you support not X. You should provide support for not X before asking for support of X.
Is it really reasonable to call out B for not providing support and not call out A for the same? B was the first to ask for sources, but A made the claim without sources. It also seems like if B only made the claim not X and didn't ask for sources, they would have been less likely to be called out themself.
So is asking people who ask for sources to provide sources really reasonable when we don't make the same request of people who are making claims without any sources? It seems to give a first move advantage and thus wouldn't be reasonable.
What we saw above was:
A: Claim X
B: Support X, I've observed Y.
C: Support Y too, please.
In this particular case, Y was arguably the inverse of X but it was nevertheless described as having been observed many times, but without any sources.
You would have to prove effectiveness. i.e. out of 100 anti-vaxers, 90% stopped believing in bullshit. If it works on 1 person out of a million, that's pretty useless.
But it is well known fact that piling on more information does not change entrenched belief, it has been subject of peer-reviewed research for decades.
I do not have to prove anything. As I have already said, the burden of proof lies with the person making the claim, i.e., not me.
Even as a child in primary school, I learned in science class that theories are rarely proven, because it is so easy to disprove a supposedly proven theory by providing counter-evidence.
This is all somewhat tautological anyway. If you don't believe that people ever change their mind when presented with better information, then why are you even bothering to comment? Isn't it futile?
Haha, quite possibly. I mean, even with the best will in the world, can you file commenting on HN under 'useful activity'?
This isn't necessarily true. I was listening to a podcast about conspiracy theories and how misinformation spreads (the name of which is failing me right now), and in one episode there were some scientists who were dealing with a particular subsegment of the conspiracy theory crowd who would make wild claims about their scientific field. Trying to blackball them or shut down their voice was often all that was required to add fuel to their fire because "obviously these scientists were trying to suppress them because they didn't want the truth getting out".
What ended up being much more effective was inviting some of the conspiracy theorists to speak at one of their scientific conferences. It ended up completely taking the air out of their claims, because none of them were willing to get up and try and defend their ludicrous theories against a bunch of trained experts.
Short of creating an iron grip on all interaction with information a la China, deplatforming people is temporary, as creating and finding a new platform is easy and simply leads to a more concentrated echo chamber for their ideology to fester in. Voat, Gab, Hatreon, 4chan, 8chan, etc. There will always be another platform that opens up in response to other platforms shutting them down. And soon instead of having the original fake news or hateful ideology in the public, you now have a distilled, more extreme version of it leaking into the public.
I don't know what the perfect solution is, but simply deplatforming people isn't going to be it. It will likely be something more like drowning out conspiratorial ideas with high volumes of truthful ones, rather than simply trying to cutoff the oxygen of the conspiracy theorists.
Evidence seems to suggest that the current attempted solutions are not working.
If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.
So they print blank pages?
"The Best Countries for Women is a perception-based ranking based on the responses of nearly 9,000 women who filled out surveys for the 2019 Best Countries rankings. The ranking is derived from a compilation of five equally weighted country attributes: care about human rights, gender equality, income equality, progress and safety."
Combined they make the statement that you can label yourself as non-feminist and still care about human rights, gender equality, income equality, progress and safety.
I'd love to see an example