Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

"My business interests are based on the availability of the wired and wireless Internet to everyone all over the world. Our firm has been active in working with the US government to make sure that continues to be the case in our country. We support net neutrality rules and oppose legislation such as COICA and the Internet Kill Switch."

Well said. Now would be a good time for Hacker News to re-examine its bias against discussion of civil liberties.

EDIT: downvoted! Are you (a) saying the Fred Wilson quote isn't useful or (b) saying civil liberties are such a poisonous topic that we can't even propose talking about them?

I wasn't among those who downvoted you, but here's my two cents:

1) I don't think the quote added anything new to the discussion. Nor was it a good summary of the article.

2) You asked a loaded question that implied a bias on the part of your listeners. You are deliberately creating a situation where discussion is impossible, since only one answer is "right". Why, then, would anyone want to engage with you?

Thanks for the feedback. On point #1, I wasn't trying to summarize, but thought it was pretty relevant that a superstar VC like Fred Wilson sees these civil liberties issues as affecting the companies he invests in. Entrepreneurs should be paying attention to stuff like this, and nobody else had mentioned it.

On #2, I'm not the one who created the situation. RiderOfGiraffes announced that he'd be downvoting anything TSA related and encouraged others too. 'tptacek (who's got the highest karma on HN) weighed in that the posts were "manifestly off topic". Paul changed the ranking algorithm to penalize TSA posts and commented that they were a "danger" because "if there's a road from hacking to politics, it's probably civil liberties." When I replied to his post, he didn't respond.

It seems to me like I want to engage in dialog and others don't. How does it look to you?

> only one answer is "right"

If you care about civil liberties, then I would love to hear why you see "we won't talk about civil liberties and will downvote anybody who does" as a good answer.

While I care a great deal about civil liberties, HN has a topic bias. The TSA situation, while touching on tech via backscatter x-ray, is really a purely political situation: there is opposition grounded either in medicine or general civil rights, but it does not specifically or unduly impact tech entrepreneurs. Shutting down all internet access is far more directly relevant to the web-centric startup world.

It was you who chose to lump in the anti-TSA moderation with this article and launch this thread into that debate based on that relationship - none of the 'site authorities' you mention have commented on this piece, and there has been substantial discussion of the situation in Egypt on HN in the past week. It seems to be fairly accepted that Internet censorship affects us all.

And as for your last point, again, HN has a stated topic bias. You might as well bring up the death penalty or gun control - of course they both affect everyone, and of course most people will have (likely very strong) opinions. That does not necessarily make HN a good place for the discussion.

To close with a question of my own: why are you so set on making this the place for all civil liberty discussions? Given the sizeable overlap of this community with Reddit these days and the clearly stated opposition to holding the debates here, why persist rather than just go there?

Agreed that HN has a stated topic bias. I'm suggesting changing it.

The TSA stuff very definitely affects tech entrepeneurs who have to travel as part of their business. So yes, especially given Paul's quote about the dangers of discussing civil liberties, I do see them as related.

> why are you so set on making this the place for all civil liberty discussions?

We'll only start to recover civil liberties in the US when enough people start doing something about it, so I discuss the topic wherever I hang out. Just as Slashdot used to be, HN's a great opportunity to reach a lot of people who believe in civil liberties but aren't currently engaged in the battle.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact