Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Reddit shuts down subreddits including r/The_Donald and r/ChapoTrapHouse (washingtonpost.com)
795 points by catacombs 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 850 comments





Worth taking note that in today's climate, you really cannot win when you are in a position to moderate important things that a lot of people use.

There is constantly tremendous pressure on you to perform opposing actions, and even making no decision at all will cause you significant mental stress and harassment, regardles of what the issue is.

You have to pick who you want to cave to, and to what extent, and no matter how good of a job you try to do, a lot of people will really really hate you.

This is even more apparent when you see that Reddit has been taking action against a lot more subreddits recently, some of which are listed in the article, and many of which clearly have little to do with the president. The attitude of some of these communities may be abhorrent, but they are still communities, and people do not react well to their communities being deleted, whether a company had the legal authority to, or was justified in doing so, or not.

It's very tough and I wish that we didn't have to go through these things to begin with, and could have more federated and decentralized platforms, or at least more client-side filtering inside of centralization curation. I can always dream.


Would something decentralized help?

I don't think people want that. The_Donald involved a lot of spreading their message / fake news sites / spamming across other subs and etc.

Do people want to be on a platform where other folks on the same platform are targeting their community with dishonest and often bigoted content?

I'm also not sure how much The_Donald was as a community. The sheer volume of users at its height seemed to involve a huge amount of brand new accounts you never saw again / never posted again (except when they show up as a group again), and etc. Or those without brand new accounts show up and post strange dishonest lead in type posts that sort of try to lead folks down a bigoted path ... that you can blatantly see in their post history.

So you'd be in your other community and one day they all show up and down votes and the vitriol begins... it was no mystery that this happened, it was spoken of openly in The_Donald for a time.

Who wants to deal with that?


> The_Donald involved a lot of spreading their message / fake news sites / spamming across other subs and etc.

Yea, I gotta say, having to previously deal with r/The_Donald brigades on another large subreddit was incredibly annoying and depressing.

Can't speak to spreading fake news, but massive influxes of r/The_Donald users spamming truly vile stuff in an ostensibly non-political sub really sucked (as a moderator, to clean up).

The only thing that works imo is fairly strict moderation, or extremely niche/small communities. Everything else just gets swamped by toxicity. Decentralized vs centralized isn't really the right dimension to look at I think.

And as soon as your small community grows... the trolls come a-knocking.


Gotta respect the iron fist of /r/askhistorians. Probably the best sub on reddit.

The iron fist is a double edged sword in some senses.

Although reddit acted as a free speech haven for a long time, it was only overall, and not ever in major specific communities. True free speech is valued because it fosters debate, and allows bad speech to be rebutted by more speech. A marketplace of ideas, and maybe more importantly, the counterspeech doctrine, are incredibly important principals in justifying the existence of free speech. Fiefdoms more often than not were echo chambers, where to see a response to bad speech, a person would have to know where else to venture. By creating filter bubbles, tribes, echo chambers, reddit was not an exemplar of a free speech haven, but instead a collection of lopsided megaphones pointed in opposite directions, strewn across a hard to navigate map.

Strong moderation is what allows communities with strict quality guidelines to function, but also amplifies division.

And on the topic of history, a part of me finds it unfortunate that this banning will make historical, sociological, and psychological analysis of trends, thoughts of the times, past bad behavior etc much harder. It's no what.cd or house of wisdom or library of alexandria loss, but it is still a historical record loss of a huge event that happened. I may not have personally liked The_Donald but it was quite the experience, as a fish out of water, to go look at how other people think, communicate, and reason. The culture that developed there will continue to exist, but the ease with which one could passively observe it, and learn lessons from it is greatly diminished. Another double edged sword.


> True free speech is valued because it fosters debate, and allows bad speech to be rebutted by more speech

Sure, but in practice this is what true free speech on reddit for a large sub looks like before moderation

* 3 knee jerk replies

* 10 pieces of spam asking you to buy their bit/altcoin or click on their affiliate links

* 5 people who are hurling vile insults at you for whatever reason

* 8 more people who are hurling vile insults at each other, and just happen to be in your comment chain for some reason

* 1 reasonable, well thought out response

* 2 people who are lost and looking for a different sub

* 1 person replying half a year later after everyone's gone

Something in that ratio

With no moderation at all, you're lost in a sea of spam, scams, and insults. And because of the extremely poor SNR, your reasonable replies dry up and just leave.

I agree not everyone has to go the r/askhistorians route of completely iron fist, but you can't actually run a communication forum with millions or tens of millions of subscribers without a lot of automated and manual moderation. True free speech ends up being no speech because everyone got scammed or insulted and just decides to leave to go somewhere smaller. (edit: trying to untangle my confusing sentence)

It might work for smaller communities. It does not scale.


As moderator of a top-100 subreddit: this is SO incredibly accurate. You must be another moderator of one of the big subreddits. 90% of my work is nuking flamewars, spammers, trolls, and low-effort meme replies.

Without automation and human moderators to clean up, it's basically impossible to have a free exchange of ideas or any good discussion. Free speech disappears into the noise.

The idea of free speech is great and was a big step forward in an era where government oppression was a primary fear. But in the Internet Age, I think Civil Discourse is a better goal to aim for.


One of the original ideas was with the up and down arrows, the good content rises to the top. The problem with heavy handed moderators is that they are often biased and many get on a power trip.

For a sufficiently large sub there is no time for power tripping. Only an endless queue of spam and vitirol

This, more or less. Even if someone wanted to powertrip like crazy they literally wouldn't be able to do much. Delete 100 comments? Wait 15 minutes and another 100 will replace them.

People assume "mod powertripping" too quickly. The reality is that most of the moderation is accomplished via automation, primarily Automoderator rules on Reddit. The volume is far to high to manage by hand -- it varies by community and month but it's around 75%+ automated for us.

Automation makes mistakes. A LOT. Sometimes a person catches them and overrides the bot, often they don't.

There are some communities that abuse the automation to enforce bias, of course. For example, /r/news appears to be auto-censoring things about coronavirus or that might be perceived as negative for Trump (ex: the Russian bounties scandal). But this is much rarer than people think -- with the exception of bans, most of the "mod abuse" is simply bots screwing up.


It would be interesting to see an implementation that lets you view but not interact with removed content. click the spam tag to see all the spam, grayed out. in some cases it might be helpful to know what not to say, or that something has already been said and removed. /r/askhistorians would probably be a place where marking something as removed but visible would not be as at risk of propagating urban legend or bad history. hopefully that community would know what they are getting when they peak beneath the curtain.

On reddit you can do that natively for a whole thread by locking, but for individual comment chains you can only do it with mod bots.

You can individually lock comments now (new as of a year ago?), but in practice it is incredibly painful/time consuming to do so for a whole subthread of comments. Eventual consistency also sucks there. Easier to nuke the whole thread and remove it from view.

At no point did I intend to or hint at advocating for a lack of moderation. Moderation can be other things besides how it currently exists.

Any commenting system is going to need some way to value signal from noise, and popularity by itself isnt enough.

What I did say, was that moderation, as it stands now, has blowback, which includes but is not limited to creating and reinforcing refined groupthinks.


Sure that's fair, though I don't know what else you mean by "true free speech"

There are middle grounds between completely opaque censorship and unfettered yelling.

The junk mail folder in your email mailbox is an example. It offers transparency.


Yup; give everyone an equally sized soapbox and people will take advantage of it. Imagine a town square full of people all trying to make themselves heard, with a nontrivial percentage just there to make noises, groups that start chanting / singing and lighting smoke bombs, etc.

> True free speech is valued because it fosters debate, and allows bad speech to be rebutted by more speech.

Is that really a thing on the internet though?

It seems like the unmoderated free speech havens on the internet are bubbles themselves and I'm not sure there's much real debate going on there....


>Some observers argue that the counterspeech principle makes a better ideal than a reality, primarily because some people or groups in society possess far more power than do others. For example, proponents of critical race theory contend that minorities often are denied access to the marketplace of ideas to counter harmful speech.

>Others argue that some types of speech — for example, pornography and hate speech — are so harmful that counterspeech alone is not an adequate response.

https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/940/counterspee...

I agree with your point, without some way to structure, weigh, and amplify the signal; noise and polarization are more likely to win out.

https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2019/02/the-illusion-of-a...

The final result still leaves me conflicted, in a baby with the bathwater sense. Plenty of the speech in the sub was merely speech I disagreed with, and censoring it all is nowhere close to a least restrictive means way to erase hate. Moments like spez editing a users comment are now erased from the record, for the moment at least archived elsewhere.

If a politician ever wanted to go back, look at the pain of others, and use what they learned to bridge divides, to be able to speak to the others, they are now denied this resource for research. That probably bothers me more than the structure of reddit being quasi-free-speech-incompatible. ChapoTrapHouse isnt somewhere I ever went, but from a communication sense, I now feel a missed opportunity to learn how to read their language, and understand or recognize it if I heard it.

Between Reddit, Youtube, Twitch, and India; today itself might eventually be regarded as a historical day, where both public servants and private enterprise stood up and said enough, albeit for different reasons.


> True free speech is valued because it fosters debate, and allows bad speech to be rebutted by more speech. A marketplace of ideas, and maybe more importantly, the counterspeech doctrine, are incredibly important principals in justifying the existence of free speech.

No, you're missing the phenomenon of gish galloping[1]. Toxicity will overwhelm the community because it takes no effort to spew disgusting nonsense and spam while it takes significant effort to rebut it. The mythical "marketplace of ideas" only exists in presence of moderation, whether somewhat decentralized like HN or like the iron fist of places like r/AskHistorians. A literal free marketplace of ideas is a cesspool.

"A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes"

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


I'm not arguing against moderation.

Half way down I said "Strong moderation is what allows communities with strict quality guidelines to function.". Quality could mean very different things to The_Donald and AskHistorians


The loss of what.cd still saddens me every time I see it mentioned.

In case you didn't know, redacted.ch replaced it and probably has all of the same torrents.

I know about red. Unfortunately their tracker economy is way too hard for me to compete with my asymmetric adsl home connection( 0.5mbps uplink) and I'm not going to spend money for pirating. I do however have other private sources of music( including various ftp servers utilized by the known unknowns), p2p networks, soulseek etc.

>allows bad speech to be rebutted by more speech That might work where people are physically speaking, and only have one voice, can only shout so loud, and the time taken to speak is equivalent to the time taken to listen. But in a digital medium, on voice can be amplified infinitely in volume and ..volume, at little cost of time to the speaker

Yea wow, I don't moderate r/askhistorians but rather a different sub, and we sometimes pride ourselves on keeping this relatively clean. But then I stumble across r/askhistorians again and remember that no, no we don't have things under control by comparison.

We can barely keep a lid on the vitriol and toxicity, and some of the more blatantly false/scammy advice. r/askhistorians is a whole 'nother level.

Sometimes I honestly wish hackernews was run more like r/askhistorians. Too many people here on hn talk a lot of shit on stuff they don't really know much about beyond a cursory understanding (I'm probably guilty myself).


> Sometimes I honestly wish hackernews was run more like r/askhistorians.

I don't. The moderation and voting/karma system on HN is much better than anything seen on Reddit. People have stupid opinions everywhere in life, but this is one of a few rare havens where it's incredibly easy to find deep and interesting conversation. Reddit ain't it.


You should spend some time on r/askhistorians then, because it's very much unlike the rest of reddit. It's not perfect of course, but...

I see more blatantly false armchair comments here at the top of threads loudly proclaiming something that is not correct than I do in r/askhistorians.

I can only tell when it's a topic that I'm actually expert in, so I don't know for sure. But, Gell Mann amnesia...


What do they do well that can be transferred without basically asking the mods to do more work? Isn't it just a manpower thing? Or do they have a way of verifying expertise etc so you know you're getting answers from experts without having to moderate each comment?

> What do they do well that can be transferred without basically asking the mods to do more work?

Nothing

> Isn't it just a manpower thing?

Yes

> Or do they have a way of verifying expertise etc so you know you're getting answers from experts without having to moderate each comment?

Well ok yeah I think they can vet expertise beforehand and then have a smaller list of approved posters, but most of the stuff I suspect just gets sent into the moderation queue requiring more humanpower to deal with.

That's why I say "I wish" heh, it's non practical here


> Too many people here on hn talk a lot of shit on stuff they don't really know much about beyond a cursory understanding

Amen, amen!


Yeah, you're right. HN should allow participation only from people with at least 2 years of education in a Computer Science program.

The sound of folks bemoaning getting moderated there is music to my hears.

No people, we want someone who KNOWS, not just saw something on the Discovery Channel this one time ... it's such a refreshing change from the magical internet experts that come and go.


I respect the iron fist of /r/askhistorians but it has the feel of being impossible to contribute.

This is by design but horribly off putting even if you read all the rules.

It feels way worse than wikipedia or Stack Overflow inner circle.

For example a few years ago there was a question about Hitler underestimating Soviet tank production. I submitted a link to HistoryChannel Youtube audio of the famous Hitler-Mannerheim talk of June 4th of 1942. I included even the exact second where Hitler talks about Soviet tank production.

Well, my comment which was 3rd or 4th level down got [deleted]. Why did I even bother?

I had a lengthy discussion with the askhistorians moderator on what the problem was.

* It was not Hitler since the question was about him. * It was not the fact that this was about as close to primary source as possible. * The problem apparently was that I did not provide enough context. We are talking about providing a primary source in a comment 3 levels down.

This leads to a horrible ratio of questions/accepted answers.

You would think that with only few historians being able to navigate the requirements the answers would be of the highest quality.

When it comes to recent history it certainly does not feel like it.

Another example: There was a question on Soviet black markets in 1980s The sole accepted answer referenced one pitiful official Soviet source and that was it. It was a lazy answer.

Since all I had was a wealth of anecdata I could not contribute which was fine but the feeling of incomplete answer really nagged me.

So you end up feeling like https://xkcd.com/386/ but unable to do anything.

The problem is this, if the official r/askhistorians answer is so obviously(to a biased participant in a recent event) incomplete for recent history how can we trust askhistorians for history where you have no knowledge?

It leads to a form of Gell-Mann effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Gell-Mann_amnesia_effect


Isn’t /r/politics completely one sided fake news to prop up the democrats???

No. I think there are two separate camps within the Democrats, with very little overlap. Progressives on the far left, and centrists. Think Sanders vs. Biden, for example. And /r/politics is completely dedicated to propping up the progressives.

To be fair, I don't think it's filled with fake news. It's filled completely with progressive-biased, one sided interpretation of actual news events.


I'm not sure why this is downvoted. As an European I always found r/politics to be on the other side of funny US politics (dem and libtard and whatnot) and I also found it a bit disrespectful that it was just for US news. I get the whole "we were here first" thing but reddit is a bigger platform than that

I think calling it fake news is going too far. They are incredibly partisan though, but many refuse to admit it. They also bring a lot of their ideas elsewhere.

>Isn’t /r/politics completely one sided fake news to prop up the democrats???

/r/politics is how I imagine the "Two Minutes Hate" from 1984. A complete circle-jerk that has infested many of the main subreddits. /r/pics, /r/nextfuckinglevel, /r/publicfreakout are rather outposts of /r/politics these days. No wonder, when a small clique of politically aligned mods controls the major subreddits.

Even /r/askhistorians joined the blackout in support of 'Black Lives Matter'. What's neutral about that?


Damn, I can't believe they took a non-neutral stance on extrajudicial murder of black people. Crazy stuff.

There are an endless number of causes one could "black out" for. But they just so happened to black out for the one with a pressure campaign and mob backing, that has intertwined itself with American national political ambitions?

The emotional blackmail of this movement will probably be its undoing.


Imagine feeling "emotionally blackmailed" into not supporting extrajudicial murder...

It is easy to support that stance. Or even perhaps just stopping extrajudicial murder by police as a whole.

Go look at the official BLM list of goals - they are advocating to abolish the police, end capitalism, abolish the western nuclear family & several other far left, badly thought out, unsupportable concepts.

Worse still, the same campaign has spread to the UK, unfiltered and unchanged, despite the fact that we have almost zero people killed by police outside of terrorist attacks, our police don't carry guns, and due to our government's austerity policies, they're woefully underfunded.


As a moderator in a smaller technical subreddit myself, I mostly agree with that assessment.

The best subs I've seen usually have small communities and/or strict enforcement of the community rules (doesn't always need to be through moderator action!).

Unmoderated or otherwise weakly managed communities just don't scale. They never retain any quality if you try anyway. The noise will always dominate.

With no way to set expectations that the vast majority of the audience understands (see least common denominator), expectations which they agree with and which you can meet, you'll get endless conflicts.

Strict moderation like in /r/netsec and /r/askhistory works when done well and consistently by competent mods. It preserves good discussions and gives people and incentive to maintain high quality in their submissions since that's a requirement to even be seen in the first place.

Smaller forums with tight healthy communities often don't need much moderation (usually niche communities with no significant controversies), and can often self regulate by typical social means (just telling people to behave).

All the best contributors are usually driven by some kind of intrinsic motivation, often an interest in the topic at hand and a wish to share their knowledge. If the forum is by far too flooded with low quality content for that to be seen, they will lose motivation to contribute, and as a consequence the signal to noise ratio falls. You're more likely to incentivize new competent contributors to join if the contributions from your existing competent contributors are among the most prominent submissions in your forum.

-----

As for centralized vs decentralized, I see decentralization of forums as a form of an escape hatch when the quality of a forum degrades. The ability to cleanly fork a forum and walk away to a new location with new rules, like in software projects, provides a motivation to work hard to maintain unity in the forum, or else the mods will have nothing left to be modded, and likewise for other prominent members whose bad behavior contributes to division.


> I'm also not sure how much The_Donald was as a community.

It was very clearly a real community, as you can see evidence from the fact that they migrated to thedonald.win when Reddit made it clear that they wouldn't be treated fairly.

> So you'd be in your other community and one day they all show up and down votes and the vitriol begins... it was no mystery that this happened, it was spoken of openly in The_Donald for a time.

> Who wants to deal with that?

And yet Reddit happily ignores vote brigading and other negative externalities from any subreddit that toes their party line, so it seems bizarre to single T_D out. And as far as I know that wasn't the reason Reddit gave, rather they said something about supporting violence which in my opinion was a pretty clear "we're fishing for a made up reason that lets us boot you guys"


Well, if you had any doubt about the character of TD and what it has become at its new home, just cruise around it. It’s full of conspiracy theories, misogyny, racism, and outright calls to violence. It is a common sentiment there that the only good Democrat is a dead one. These “edgy” takes receive many upvotes.

Eh, I've seen almost all of those things on the front page of Reddit, too.

Just recently, on the front page of reddit, I've seen a headline saying to cut off a cop's dick because he tasered someone (I believe it said 'take his badge and his manhood'), ACAB types have been threatening to kill cops, Reddit has doxxed the wrong people for major crimes, etc.

It's particularly ironic because the original justification for the quarantine (which was then edited) was for threatening violence against cops, specifically due to wanting to protect some lawmakers who fled from a vote on cap & trade from arrest.

Looking back, that really seems inconsistent with the number of front page ACAB posts threatening violence I've seen on the front page this month. I mean, either it's okay to threaten violence or not, pick one.

Then again, maybe they did, because they edited that out of the quarantine reason for r/T_D.


"Take his badge and gun" is the typical expression.

That person replaced gun with manhood implying that the person's manhood is derived from them power-tripping with weapons.

Threatening violence IN RESPONSE to violence is a far cry from INSTIGATING violence against peace.

One is defending yourself against bullying by standing up to it with comparable force. The other is bullying.

Is there nothing people like you won't "both side"?


> That person replaced gun with manhood implying that the person's manhood is derived from them power-tripping with weapons.

That’s quite the convenient stretch. Pretty impressive how some people are amazing at reading subtext where non exists as long as it plays into their narrative.

> Threatening violence IN RESPONSE to violence is a far cry from INSTIGATING violence against peace.

I mean... police going after law makers isn’t exactly peaceful. But again, whatever fits your narrative is true and everything else is fakenews(TM).


> Threatening violence IN RESPONSE to violence is a far cry from INSTIGATING violence against peace.

So by that logic it was wrong for Twitter to sensor the President’s tweet regarding using force to stop vandals destroying monuments.


Well, but those rioters were protesting police violence, who get called to deal with people who react violently to their presence due to the history of other police reacting violently to other people they were arresting acting violently who...

Wait, wasn't this the whole theme of the song "We didn't start the fire"?


1) The president was threatening physical harm to people who were destroying non-living objects. Violence and destruction are not the same thing.

2) An exceedingly large proportion of those statues were erected during exceedingly specific historical political climates, which generally feature the following:

>Having been well after the events or the deaths of the figures commemorated >During periods of economic decline or uncertainty >Following periods agitation for civil rights, particularly by black Americans, and the subsequent spasm of anti-black violence or political jostling

In other words, those monuments tend to represent oblique commemoration of racist violence, and seem to threaten future violence by their presence. Taking them down is not instigation, it's a response.

I mean, even without this context, how can one argue that the dismantling of an extant object is instigation? Its original erection would be the first act, courting a response of either general respect (it stays up) or general disdain/shame (it's taken down) over the course of its existence.


> 1) The president was threatening physical harm to people who were destroying non-living objects. Violence and destruction are not the same thing.

They don’t have to be the same thing. It’s illegal activity and we shouldn’t have to wait for a person to be physically injured to stop a mob of maniacs.

> 2) An exceedingly large proportion of those statues were erected during exceedingly specific historical political climates, which generally feature the following:

It doesn’t matter if it’s a statue of Krusty the Clown. You can’t destroy public or private property just because you feel it shouldn’t exist.

This is why we have police. To enforce the rules that we as a society have agreed to live by.

The alternative is a bunch of vigilantes beating the rioters. I can assure you that nobody wants that.

> In other words, those monuments tend to represent oblique commemoration of racist violence, and seem to threaten future violence by their presence. Taking them down is not instigation, it's a response. I mean, even without this context, how can one argue that the dismantling of an extant object is instigation? Its original erection would be the first act, courting a response of either general respect (it stays up) or general disdain/shame (it's taken down) over the course of its existence.

Then get public opinion to agree with you and have the city, State, or Federal government to get rid of them. Your misguided feelings, no matter how strong, do not supersede all others just because they’re not yelling loudly.


People have been trying to get the City, State, and federal government to acknowledge system racism for CENTURIES.

It doesn't work.

Protests and destruction may work.

You are showing that you are more committed to order than to justice, because it benefits you.

"First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season."


Why are conservatives so hell bent on equating violence against inanimate objects (property, monuments) with violence against other humans?

THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING.


Many people depend on their businesses to provide for their livelihoods. They may be put on the streets if their business is burnt down during a riot. Will you be there to help them pay to rebuild or to help them rehome themselves?

In this case I think manhood means his gun, not his junk, but maybe I'm just getting old.

> It is a common sentiment there that the only good Democrat is a dead one.

A similar sentiment is commonly expressed by far left individuals and groups on Twitter, Facebook and other mediums.

"the only good Tory is a dead Tory" has been the popular refrain for decades.

It's depressing these sentiments are carelessly amplified and approved by so many.

Edit: Apparently this has caused a stir. I encourage others to not read into this comment anything but disdain for the kind of discourse where "the one good BLANK is a dead BLANK" is accepted.


They're not.

Not only is "The only good Tory is a dead Tory" not a popular refrain at all [1], but a quick search for "The only good Republican is a dead Republican" returns a lot of hits for the "[...] dead Democrat" quote and almost none for the search phrase.

These attempts at false equivalence reliably appear in these situations, and there's reliably nothing to back them up.

The difference is the right is trying very hard to move the Overton Window and make "[...] dead Democrat" an acceptable mainstream sentiment suitable for national news.

[1] You certainly won't hear it from any left-leaning MPs or in Labour constituency meetings. And if that weren't true, recordings would be all over the media.


Republicans use "Democrat" as a swear word. Democrats more commonly resort to epithets to describe their opponents.

Relevant Google autocomplete for "the only good ...":

The only good cop is a dead one

The only good pig is a dead pig

The only good fascist is a very dead fascist

Nothing there referring to liberals/progressives/Democrats.

I also gave it "the only good c..." to see if it would give up "conservative" and it gave "christian" instead, so there's that.


for what it's worth "The only good fascist is a very dead fascist" is the title of a song by Propagandhi

Google autocomplete is not as reliable as you think it is. There have bbeen been many articles and complaints about the algorithm it uses to autocomplete, but one thing is clear - it is not mostly based on the popularity of what other users have typed.

A quick note: Anti christian sentiment is very much not a left wing stance. Quite the contrary, I’m more like to find crap like that in libertarian circles. The left wing are often the ones jumping in to defend religious tolerance.

About the dead cops and dead fascists... sure I’ll admit to that. However that is very much not the same. Fascism is an ideology that is a direct threat to a large number of people’s livelyhoods. To declare militant intentions against such an ideology of hate is a matter of self defense. The same applies to cops (albeit to a lesser extent).


> Quite the contrary, I’m more like to find crap like that in libertarian circles.

Libertarians with philosophical disagreements with Christians are perfectly entitled to them. "Libertarians" who murder Christians are, by definition, not actually libertarians. See also non-aggression principle etc.

Also of note, libertarians are not "left" or "right" -- see that political compass thing they're always using -- because "left" is economic restraints with social freedom while "right" is economic freedom with social restraints and libertarian is both economic and social freedom.

Christianity is quite pro-social restraint, which is adverse to both the left and libertarians, but the libertarian position is something like "you can believe whatever you want but don't pass any laws forcing it on others." Which, of course, becomes a conflict if the Christians want to pass laws forcing it on others. But ask a Democrat what they think about a law prohibiting contraception.

> Fascism is an ideology that is a direct threat to a large number of people’s livelyhoods.

There is another thread in here about how there aren't that many real communists in the US and the people who get described as such aren't literally communists. You could easily say the same thing about fascists.

Opposing fascism is very different than opposing "fascism" while defining it as anything to the right of Bill Clinton.


Libertarianism literally started on the very far left - an anarcho-communist named Joseph Dejacque. Right libertarianism is about a century younger, and the main distinction is view on property rights, which left libertarians tend to see as oppressive government overreach. (Dejacque enthusiastically supported Proudhons famous 'property is theft')

Left libertarianism and right libertarianism agree on nearly everything. It's not like "left" and "right" which are effectively polar opposites.

Right libertarianism has an antitrust problem -- if the state establishes corporations and enforces property rights then corporations can become powerful enough to be de facto governments. Left libertarianism solves it by deleting property rights, which of course has its own drawbacks.

A middle ground that might work is to allow humans to own property but not corporations, because the largest accumulations of capital have always taken corporate form.

Obviously the non-purist can also solve it by having government-enforced antitrust laws.


> You certainly won't hear it from any left-leaning MPs or in Labour constituency meetings. And if that weren't true, recordings would be all over the media.

I didn't/wouldn' claim we would hear it from left-leaning MPs.


> a quick search for "The only good Republican is a dead Republican" returns a lot of hits for the "[...] dead Democrat" quote and almost none for the search phrase

This is muddled by one particular incident with a video Trump posted. Searching the "democrats" phrase in quotes gives 160,000 results. Searching it with -trump -president gives only 4,000 results, and even then some (maybe most) of those results still seem to be about the incident (but spelling his name as "Dump" for example).

In my experience edgy calls for violence are indeed more common from the right than from the left, but this is a bad way to try to measure it.


The overwhelming majority of terrorism in the United States is committed by right wing extremists.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/homegrown-...

The anti-gun, peace-loving left may not be the most polite online, but they emphatically are not as violent. Not by a long shot.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is either uninformed or lying through their teeth to push an agenda.


[flagged]


Cops.

I see someone isn’t a fan of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement.

What’s your evidence that left wing violence exceeds right wing?

By the by, a lot of the “left wing” violence recently was caused by right wing militia “boogaloo” people.

https://www.salon.com/2020/06/17/far-right-boogaloo-boy-kill...


> I see someone isn’t a fan of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement.

Organizations change.

In the same way that just because the democratic party has a horribly racist history doesn’t make the current party horribly racist.

> By the by, a lot of the “left wing” violence recently was caused by right wing militia “boogaloo” people.

The “boogaloo” are a conspiracy theory.

Which is more believable:

1) A far-left wing group that has been around for decades and part of many violent protests across Europe and has branches in the US is involved in another set of left wing violent protests.

Or

2) A right wing group that nobody has heard of and doesn’t seem to be associated with any of the exisiting far-right movements has deeply infiltrated left wing protests and is causing trouble.

Since I’m partial to conspiracy theories (2) might be possible if it’s actually the feds.


I guess the far right activists on trial for the murders of both the law enforcement and security personnel killed during the protests can try the 'actually we don't exist: it was the left or the Feds' defence but I'm not sure it'll work out for them...

I was referring to the language used in the press during the civil rights era, which referred to the protests led by MLK as “riots” as well.

I posted a link to a reputable news source. The right wing militias are well known, and the “boogaloo” has been well documented.

You have presented no evidence whatsoever.

Who is the far left wing group you speak of? These folks? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-fascism

I’m on their side, 100%. You?


> which referred to the protests led by MLK as “riots” as well.

Were there riots along with the protests? Because there are now.

> I posted a link to a reputable news source. The right wing militias are well known, and the “boogaloo” has been well documented.

Can you show me a reputable news source with an exposé on them before 2019? I can for example with other far right groups like the proud boys.

> I’m on their side, 100%. You?

I’m not on Antifas side - I don’t condone political violence.


A salon.com piece isn't exactly a credible source. Salon.com is an extremely biased leftist online medium.

There is also no organic 'Boogaloo movement'. The general consensus inside right wing circles (chans & discord) is that the MSM here attempts to create a bogeyman out of thin air to explain away the intrinsic violence of the racial BLM movement and these revolutionary 'Antifa' types. exercising the cognitive dissonance of "violence is the language of the unheard" and "all violence is a right-wing militia 'false-flag' attack".

The overwhelming opinion (inside those right wing circles) is that it isn't necessary to do anything at all, for the Marxist Left is shooting their own knee by showing their true face through wanton violence, riots and the excesses of 'cancel-culture' witch-hunts, for which deplatforming is the 'dog-whistle'

The credo is:

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." — Napoleon Bonaparte


""the only good Tory is a dead Tory" has been the popular refrain for decades."

I haven't followed British politics much. The only thing I can find for your popular refrain is

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-sussex-47853588

Could you provide some sources?


Sure, here are some DDG results. You'll find the phrase used in various contexts.

- https://www.facebook.com/theonlygoodtoryisadeadtory/

- https://old.reddit.com/r/northernireland/comments/e9dlk8/a_g...

- https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/sep/04/my-husb...

- https://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/news/bath-news/bath-man-unde...

- https://twitter.com/killallt0ries

- http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=1190

I have to say, I'm saddened that bringing this up has caused such a fuss and has caused others to make assumptions on my position. That these sentiments are common is not a new development but it is depressing.


The difference* of course is that none of those people have real political power, Democrats are not trying to appease them. The far left aren't the force behind a Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. Those on r/the_donald are Trump's base, the one's that he tries to appease.

*US centric view only, don't know enough about European politics to have an informed opinion.


The fact that Biden still hasn’t picked a VP is pretty good proof that you’re wrong.

This isn’t even about picking a political side. Being racist, misogynist, or calling to violence is not an opinion, it’s even downright illegal in some countries. There are plenty of subreddits on the political spectrum for example on economic theories, socialistic or capitalistic, or the pro/limiting immigration. But the line is clear with hateful content.

Of course it's not about picking political sides. I certainly did not intend to do so, if that's the impression you have taken. The sentiment is universally contemptible.

[flagged]


On principle yes. But I don't know where you live where this is commonplace, do you really see that in your daily life in the real world? There are misandrist feminists, but look further than Twitter drama, most feminists in real life are pretty compassionate with men. For example the concept of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxic_masculinity despite what you may think is mostly about psychological distress and suffering on men. Same with anti-racists activists, it's mostly about compassion for other human beings in real life, anti-white racism is a fringe thing.


Is there a real discernible difference between that and efforts on politics to label trump a rapist. Both are false allegations that haven’t been proven. At least this t_d post is very clearly fake/satire. While the stuff that gets up voted on /r/politics tries very hard to take itself seriously even as they push lies.

Folks like to drawn in people with discussions about how some views aren't allowed on reddit and tales of political persecution ... but that there is a good example of a lot of TD's content.

It wasn't a place that was about conservative views, or a political party or politician ... it was mostly just fear, hate, and lies.

And for a place with lots of defenders crying out over censorship, any wiff of a differing opinion in their sub was met with a ban...


Have you ever been to any of Reddit subs?

It isn’t perfect. Most major subs uphold a reasonable measure of decorum. It’s a big place, I am sure you can find examples of everything you see on TD.win. The point is Reddit is trying to enforce its rules and maintain reasonable standards (IMO)

> Reddit is trying to enforce its rules and maintain reasonable standards

From Reddit:

https://www.reddithelp.com/en/categories/rules-reporting/acc...

> Marginalized or vulnerable groups include, but are not limited to, groups based on their actual and perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or disability. These include victims of a major violent event and their families.

> While the rule on hate protects such groups, it does not protect all groups or all forms of identity. For example, the rule does not protect groups of people who are in the majority or who promote such attacks of hate.


Just visited the site. Looks like you need to go through capticha/cloudflair wait and then you have to create an account. I never got that far.

But you went through all of that and verified your email. Now you are reporting it is full of [insert trending bad words]. Are you part of that community? A reporter?

Were there any upvotes on comments you approved of?


I have never created an account. As far as I know you don’t have to. I am very curious. I like to peek in and see where the most extreme Trump supporters are at these days. It’s not pleasant and I tolerate it in small doses only, but I think it is important to understand them, even if I strongly disagree.

Edit: it’s currently going direct to a login screen. That’s not normal.


I made an account on thedonald.win today, just to try and understand what other people's opinions are. You don't need an email ID for signing up, so it's pretty easy. That being said, yes, quite a few people in the community are toxic. However, I don't see any activity that would cause them to be removed from Reddit altogether.

Keep lookin. There are plenty of occasions where there will be posts and memes with a lot of upvotes that have things that would get you banned from most any other site: calls to violence, outright support for white supremacy, etc. They are cleaning things up some lately, but it’s all still there. It’s abundantly clear to me, at least, why they got banned.

T_D was chock full of calls for violence since its early days. In particular, I remember looking one day and seeing its whole front page covered in posts glorifying Pinochet for the way he treated his domestic enemies. The mods quite clearly had no good faith interest in keeping this kind of content out, only stepping in (except to ban users going against the narrative) when they were threatened from above.

I am mystified by how often I see the opinion that "T_D did nothing wrong". Speaking as someone who also finds the far-left spaces on Reddit frightening and repugnant, there is no question that T_D was among the worst of the lot and had the most mainstream reach, which makes it a fine target for responsible moderation efforts. If you want to question why Reddit doesn't follow their content policies to the letter in perfectly even-handed moderation across all users and subreddits, that's fine, but the claim that T_D didn't have a serious penchant for calling for and glorifying violence kind of makes it difficult to take that question seriously coming from you.


Similar to how leftists promoted the "punch a nazi in the face" meme'. They will of course be the ones defining who is a "nazi".

The one that scares me a lot more is how many people I've seen promoting another Reign of Terror (e.g. we should bring back the guillotine) with no hint of sarcasm. I can only wonder just how serious they are and if they realize just how unpleasant that period was for the French (not just the rich and powerful).

I mean, the punch a nazi in the face meme was spawned by a self defined nazi being punched in the face.

I am not surprised you a using a throwaway to defend this.


People have the right to free speech - which means the _government_ can not tell them what they cannot say. It doesn't mean they can exercise that right free of consequences from society or businesses.

Your slippery slope arguments won't go very far when there are Literal Actual Nazis out there making comments about Jews, flying swastikas, and heiling Donald.

I feel like my comment is fairly explicit about it being fair to question how Reddit's banhammer has or has not come down against other communities, so I fail to see the relevance of this whataboutism. The point is that T_D has loudly and repeatedly glorified and called for violence, so if someone claims otherwise then the conversation really ought to end there. Adherence to outright falsehoods precludes one's ability to meaningfully participate in any nuanced discussion.

Nazi is pretty well defined, as are incel, redpill, boogaloo bois, etc. If you are part of one of those clubs and decide to exercise your right to free speech (which is your right), suffering the consequences should be expected. Consequences may include social sanctions and violent reactions. People react to speech. That's natural.

Orwell coined the term "doublethink" to describe two contradictory concepts held simultaneously. Something like this:

>Consequences may include social sanctions and violent reactions.

>exercise your right to free speech (which is your right)

Orwell wasn't describing an ideal or inevitable way of thinking, but the result of brainwashing.

Now. When people say that free speech only applies to government restrictions, they're talking strictly in the context of U.S. laws and the First Amendment. Surely we should never consider the possibility that freedom of expression is a concept that predates the United States by centuries and which could possibly live in a grander moral context.


> Orwell coined the term "doublethink" to describe two contradictory concepts held simultaneously. Something like this: > >Consequences may include social sanctions and violent reactions. > >exercise your right to free speech (which is your right)

This is a false assessment. The fundamental government-blind right to speech does not include a right to group inclusion. There's nothing contradictory about you having the right to speak while other people also have the right to sanction you for spreading hateful (or in this case sophistrous) bullshit. After all, social sanctions are also a form of speech.

This comes up in all kinds of ways. It's not contradictory to have moral rules against violence while also allowing self defense or group defense. It's not contradictory to have moral rules against stealing while also allowing recovery of stolen property or government redistribution of wealth as a requirement for participation in the benefits of society. And it's not contradictory to have moral rules in favor of speech and against hate while also allowing the community to punch a nazi in the face for being a nazi.


>And it's not contradictory to have moral rules in favor of speech and against hate while also allowing the community to punch a nazi in the face for being a nazi.

There it is again. Yes, it absolutely is contradictory to proclaim that you support freedom of expression while threatening to punch someone in the face when you disagree with their ideas!


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

> Less well known [than other paradoxes Popper discusses] is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.—In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most 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.

Emphasis mine, obviously. For the most part, political extremists in America don't seem to be at the "fists and pistols" point—at least, they generally are not actively committing violence—but they have certainly denounced rational argument by their conduct and the rhetorical strategies they employ. A liberal society needs an active and healthy immune system to prevent pockets of radical illiberalism from growing unchecked.

I'm not necessarily in favor of punching "Nazis" in the face yet, if they haven't started the violence first, but Nazism is toxic and so is the inclination to treat all opinions as equally valid. Such opinions should certainly not be allowed by e.g. any responsible operator of a social media platform.


It's tricky. I'm not a fan of Nazism myself, not least because I wouldn't survive very long if they succeeded. Punching them in the face is the least of what I would need to do to survive.

.. but what stops me from calling you a Nazi if I personally don't like you? You can take a few steps away. Someone can say something, and a response can be, "the logic of this argument is Nazism." I've seen this argued (badly). Now are we in scope yet?

And if someone wears a red tie (or a MAGA hat), does that then bring them in that sphere? And if so, if that represents the views of, I don't know, 40% of the population, is it wise to censor that? I mean, is it even practical, morality aside?

Let's add them to the list. OK, we get the red hats. Now, someone says something that support police? OK, good, we found more Nazis. OK, now, someone criticizes feminism ... etc. etc.

The circle of verbal hygiene slowly expands, and it comes for you eventually.


I definitely agree that it's tricky, and I don't think "Nazis" are the only threat we face today. Anybody whose approach to discourse is to shout down ideas rather than engage with them in good faith or just ignore them and walk away is suspect, IMO.

For instance, after 2020 so far I'm definitely at the point where I have serious doubts about the judgment of any Trump supporter or even any Republican voter, but if they try to have a real conversation with me it's not like I'm going to start yelling and throwing punches. On the other hand, if they're driving around outside a hospital screaming at nurses and threatening them, I'd be more in favor of "sanctions" against that person because I think that sort of conduct goes beyond mere expression. The right seems to delight in conflating violence and threat with free expression.

Illiberalism seems to be winning, unfortunately. The purity spiral crap on the left is just as upsetting to me as the right's zeal for ignorance, even if I don't think it's doing nearly as much damage right now.


> Illiberalism seems to be winning, unfortunately. The purity spiral crap on the left is just as upsetting to me as the right's zeal for ignorance, even if I don't think it's doing nearly as much damage right now.

That's why I'm terrified and why I want to support freedom of expression. Because if we start classifying ideas as "problematic" and shutting people out, then what is remaining to iron out differences? You can say a chess match (that might be interesting), but the truth is it'll be a shoving match or a gunfight.

I see a rise of an illiberal mob from both right and left, and they share in common the idea that the other side is completely irreconcilable. But it's not. They also agree that somehow the other side's ideas are dangerous (the ideas themselves). It just feels that way because social media -- back on topic here since we are on a Silicon Valley news site -- exacerbates these differences.

This is to me the biggest reason that I support freedom of expression. Because "stamping out ideas" doesn't exist. It's a fiction. You don't "defeat racism" or "defeat Nazism" by shutting down media. Ideas are behind these things, and the ideas are held by humans. Humans continue to want to express those ideas. Those humans will go elsewhere, and they continue to exist.

Even worse. People are going to vote for whoever they want to vote for, and the ballot is secret, so they don't have to tell you. So why not just foster an environment where everyone can express their ideas and there are no Problematic ideas? First you get to see what a lot of people think, in their own words and not in the words of those that agree with you. Second, there's a chance, even if it's a low one, of challenging those ideas with your own ideas.

Spamming, doxxing and violent threats aren't considered freedom of expression by almost anyone, and are rarely defended on moral grounds. I'm talking purely about ideas.


I mostly don't disagree with you, but I think it's precisely the "illiberal mob[s]" you describe that are most threatening to open discourse. You may not be able to destroy ideas, but you can sure make it difficult for them to flourish.

An example from the left, this time: a year or two ago, an Asian woman (Amelie Wen Zhao is her name, IIRC) wrote a YA novel whose premise involved a) a completely imaginary society based more on an Asian cultural background than anything else, and b) human enslavement. She was attacked by a disgusting social media mob hailing from the YA "community", who used both covert (backchannels/"whispernet") and overt (calling her a racist on Twitter and whipping up a controversy, apparently without actually having read her book) means of attack, justified because (according to them) slavery as a topic/theme in literature is reserved for black authors. These attacks were so violent in their extremism that at the time I swore up and down they were mostly "Russian bots", and I still don't know.

Anyway, I'm not black, nor Asian^[1], but this just seems crazy to me. She did initially delay the publication of her book and could easily have canceled it entirely. This is what I mean by shouting down ideas. I (an amateur novelist) see a lot of forum posts from new writers asking what they can and cannot write about, worried about exactly what happened to Zhao—how many great stories have gone untold because of this insanity?

I think this effect manifests a bit differently on the conservative side—they simply refuse to acknowledge the truth or directly address arguments, and this codes as strength to people who share their ethic. I mean, I think extremists on the left do this too, but I feel like righties are more comfortable with this aspect of their nature, less concerned with virtue signaling and more with active expression of antisocial values (e.g. "rolling coal" on cyclists is funny, ha ha).

So, again, I do think we mostly agree. But how would you suggest we foster an environment where these illiberal mobs don't have power, without censoring/censuring them and their speech somehow? This seems really important, because by their nature these groups seem to be the most interested in gathering and holding on to power over the discourse.

^[1] I capitalize 'Asian' because it's derived from the name of a continent. I doubt I'll ever capitalize 'white', because why would I? and I'm not on board with 'Black' yet either, just from a linguistic point of view. I mean no disrespect by it, and I'd love to hear arguments as to why I should drop that capital B in there, because I'm sure this is going to get me in trouble more and more going forward. But so far (and yes, I've done some reading) I'm not convinced.


[flagged]


> I don't want to iron out differences with a person who thinks that jews, queers, women, people with dark skin, poor people, or any other category that isn't defined entirely by hatred of the other are less than. I think I'd rather throw that person into the ocean.

So try to throw them in the ocean. At least you're honest. But please, please don't say that you support freedom of expression. What you say, if you want to be honest, is, I support physically stopping these individuals. I want to stamp out these individuals. Not the ideas, the people. Be honest and say those things out loud. "I want to eliminate the evil people."

Of course, a rational person might respond and say, "Wait a second, who decides that this person said that <blank> are less than?" What if someone is interpreting it that way, only. The controversy is playing out at this very moment all over the place. We're accusing people who are saying ambiguous, or sometimes nuanced things. Sometimes you can go back and say, wait a second, I don't think this is what this person was trying to say at all. Other times you can say, I don't think, for example, JK Rowling was correct, but I don't think what she said was remotely hate speech at all.

>You absolutely do by shutting them down at every turn, because those ideas don't spawn en masse on their own. Those ideas are spread, and they only spread because people with libertarian "every voice is sacred" positions don't immediately stamp them out.

That's why, as a Left person who clings to classical Western ideals of liberty, I consider that your position is extreme and scary, and to be fought against in any way humanly possible. Sentences like that reek of a dangerous totalitarian impulse. "The end justifies the means."

> Let's see. So on one side you have people who are willing to get violent because they want within their lifetimes for everyone to have healthcare and a roof over their head and food to eat and equal pay and to not have to worry about nazis and they're angry that some people actively obstruct liberty, equality, and fraternity...and on the other side you have rampant ethnic, gender, or economic bigotry including real actual nazis...and your answer is "both sides". I mean...ok...that's one perspective.

I appreciate your honesty.

My only response is, I think you should read about Revolution and its excesses. I've just finished A Tale of Two Cities. It's about the Guillotine. There are many such tragic tales, and sane people don't want them repeated. No moral high ground is a justification for tyranny.

I feel your perspective is an invitation for tyranny.


> Be honest and say those things out loud. "I want to eliminate the evil people."

I would eliminate people who publicly espouse the domination of me and/or people I care about for the crime of being black/jewish/queer/women/caring/etc, not because of anything about them intrinsically, not, say, for being white, though they mostly are, but for being the kind of person who espouses the domination of me and/or people I care about for our color/genitals/love. You trying to equalize the sides of that is extremely...telling.


> if they haven't started the violence first

You mean physical violence. Physical violence is not the only kind of violence. It seems common for people in the "nazis get to talk too" camp to forget or ignore that.


Not that I think it matters at this point in the discussion, but I did not intend for the scope of my language to be restricted to physical violence.

Sorry, that first sentence should have been a question.

What other types of violence are there?

> What other types of violence are there?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_abuse for starters.

https://www.who.int/violenceprevention/approach/definition/e... - "This typology distinguishes four modes in which violence may be inflicted: physical; sexual; and psychological attack; and deprivation."


That is a nonstandard and confusing use of the term.

It's because it's an ideological cudgel. It's non-standard, strange to the vast majority, and feels extremely dangerous to those who are versed in history. If words are violence... the sky is the limit in terms of restrictions to speech.

It's nonstandard and confusing and shall always remain as such.


If you think it's confusing, then the best I can say is that you have a _lot_ of reading to catch up on. But here is at least a very abbreviated primer on terminology to help alleviate your confusion https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2652990/

No thanks, I'll just stick with the normal definitions of words rather than do "a _lot_ of reading" to learn what the latest ideological contortions are.

To wit: the Freedom of Association enshrined in the first amendment includes the right to tell someone else to fuck right off.

Telling someone to fuck off is fine. If we're talking about Reddit and some group that goes around spamming other subreddits, that's a different topic than the "punch a Nazi in the face" meme that repeats itself among the Orwellian types who see no problem.

Threatening someone by punching them in the face or social ostracism (which can range from discomfort to job loss) is a restriction of freedom of expression. That today people can talk about that casually while in the same breath saying that they support freedom of expression is deeply disturbing. "You don't HAVE to hand over your money to me right now. But, hey, there might be consequences..." - no one would argue that this coercion and a robbery. But "If you say the wrong thing there might be consequences in your job or life" is somehow getting a free pass.


> that's a different topic than the "punch a Nazi in the face" meme that repeats itself among the Orwellian types who see no problem

Yes it is, indeed. I'd be quite OK with banning subreddits because of repeated use of memes about punching nazis with reference to Trump supporters.

Which subreddits, specifically, did you have in mind? Can you provide links?


I guess you have never been to /r/news then?

I read it daily. Mods are quite effective at removing content like that. Do you have counterexamples?

>so it seems bizarre to single T_D out

I don't consider myself required to provide an overview of all the subs on a platform if I'm talking about group's actions and why that would be undesirable in the context of an moderated platform.

More specific to reddit:

When it came to TD they spoke of it openly and clearly on their own sub for a time, it was no mystery, same goes for calls for violence, racism, and etc.

I certainly saw users from TD claim that anything they saw as voting going differently than they wanted as brigading... the plot line of them being perpetual victims on reddit and in life was consistent and applied to everything.

Back to my point, who wants to be exposed to that kind of behavior when you're looking for a community to interact with?


> they migrated to thedonald.win

An individual can migrate a forum without any assistance. Not denying that The_Donald was a community, just saying that the migration of content is not evidence of the extent to which something is a community.

> And yet Reddit happily ignores vote brigading and other negative externalities from any subreddit that toes their party line, so it seems bizarre to single T_D out.

Except T_D literally was not singled out. CTH was also banned, along with approximately 2000 subreddits.

> "we're fishing for a made up reason that lets us boot you guys"

Reddit has listed "communities that promote hate" as a reason to ban subreddits for at least 5 years. Not sure how this is "fishing for a made up reason."


[dead]


It appears that you are advocating for censorship then. If you think all this /r/politics stuff is contemptible, would you agree that banning T_D was good, even if it was, as you assert, a biased measure?

I think these statements are ignored because the authors seem inept and this behavior is expected.

> from any subreddit that toes their party line

There's plenty of right-leaning subreddits. What set The_Donald apart was how close it sailed to being outright cultishly crazy.


How many left-leaning subreddits were banned? There're several toxic commie subs with a lot of hatred thrown around, but nobody seems to care. r/politics was default for ages and it wasn't exactly a welcoming place.

I don't have numbers for right vs left... I'm not sure those numbers matter unless somehow we measured how many 'should' be banned.

But beyond that I've seen lefty subs banned as well, for the same reasons regarding violence and etc.


A subreddit that keeps track of banned subreddits: https://www.reddit.com/r/reclassified/

They did get banned too. chapotraphouse was a large left leaning sub that has been banned.

ChapoTrapHouse, which was the largest left wing sub.

Edit (since I can't reply): r/politics is American liberalism, which is centrist.


/r/Politics is centrism? Wow. If that's centrism, that I'll continue working to ensure a #Trump2020Landslide! These arrows will move even further to the right:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9b/Presiden...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_United_States_presidentia...


"Largest left wing sub" is probably too broad a term when /r/politics exists.

"Largest far-left frequently rule-breaking sub" is a more useful designation.


We need some sort of logic behind words and meaning. To call /r/politics or CNN etc left wing is too much. I don’t have an exact argument on hand. It just feels so wrong to subvert the expectation of a word or phrase this much to casually call stuff like this left wing.

As op said: “ Edit (since I can't reply): r/politics is American liberalism, which is centrist.”

I don’t care about being that specific. Just don’t call it left wing.

Your bias is really showing in your second paragraph. So it’s not about rule breaking repeatedly like many subreddits including I bet /r/politics? There’s a certain frequency with which it has to occur? I Highly doubt that guideline has been followed consistently.


[flagged]


Are any of these not deleted posts?

Very little of this is either left wing or centrist, nor is it representative of the generally majority of views expressed on the sub.

Chapo Traphouse was banned. Do the numbers matter exactly? This one huge ban negates the point you were presumably trying to make.

You must have forgotten what article you're commenting on. See the title at least.

r/Chapotraphouse which is mentioned in the title was left leaning. On the ither hand many other right wing subreddits were not deleted. Hard to see how people make this a partisan issue.

r/antifa

Zero.

Chapo Trap House is left leaning

I find it wierd what some Americans consider to be communist. A communist is not somebody who advocates for

  * equal rights for all people independent
    of ethnic origin, skin color, gender or
    religion
  * public transit
  * universal access to health care
  * affordable higher education
  * affordable housing
  * or even wealth redistribution via taxes,
    for example via welfare or a guaranteed
    minimum income
A Communist is somebody who advocates for

  * collectivization of the means of production
I'm not quite sure there are many actual Communists in the US.

That's the end state that Marxists believe will obtain (though Marx would have thought advocating for things like that odd). However, in practice, communists often support social changes that facilitate a state of affairs that is favorable to communism. They often employ the aid of unwitting supporters which is why most people who support these causes will flatly deny that they are communists because they aren't, at least not totally or consciously. (Note that when I say "communism" I am using the meaning it has been typically given in practice which is synonymous with "state socialism".) Gramsci, Rudtke, and Marcuse advocated this approach.

For example, many groups that advocate the dissolution of the nuclear family or sexual revolution have a communist origin. Why? Because it is an act of social engineering that aims to strengthen the power of the state by isolating individuals and creating a dependence on the state in various ways (the promotion of sexual license and various depravities also takes the old Augustinian[0] observation and turns it on its head, using such things to blind and enslave the populace). There is historical precedent for this as well in places like the Soviet Union. Pavlik Morozov comes to mind[1].

A great timely example is BLM. If you visit the BLM website and read their mission statement, it reads like something straight out of a Marxist handbook. This is no accident. The founders of BLM are indeed committed Marxists (they've been open about it) and routinely celebrate Marxist criminals like Assata Shakur who is wanted by the FBI. BLM is hardly the only organization that does this. It suffices to note the influence Saul Alinsky has had on many on the left including many prominent people on the left. The community organizing tactics outlined in books like "Rules for Radicals" are nothing more than revolutionary tactics that are used to transfer power to oneself.

(Incidentally, much of what we're seeing is class conflict masquerading as racial conflict.)

[0] “Thus, a good man, though a slave, is free; but a wicked man, though a king, is a slave. For he serves, not one man alone, but what is worse, as many masters as he has vices.”

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


> For example, many groups that advocate the dissolution of the nuclear family or sexual revolution have a communist origin

There is some history to that and I think this criticism was directed at family structures in Germany and other countries around the start of the last century. People today probably could not imagine anymore, but children at the time would have never even thought about disagreeing with their parents. They had complete authority. My grandmother didn't talk much about the time, but as she grow older, she often described the situation of her growing up.

So the critique was very warranted at the time and certainly for quite a while after the war until the sexual revolution. These structures don't exist anymore today aside from a irrelevant periphery, but the talking points remained the same. A revolution won't come anymore since the goals were already reached.

Doesn't mean there cannot be additional empty promises.


Such kids-seniors relation is not a requirement of nuclear family structure at all. Somehow people managed to keep nuclear families intact with very wide range of intra-generational attitudes.

A lot of critique of nuclear family is talking specifically about family where kids are raised by parents and how that is unfair to kids who weren't so lucky with good parents. In the early soviet union, some of more radical revolutionaries wanted to just put all kids into foster homes to ensure a fair start for everybody. And prevent non-state-mandated ideas from finding a way from parents to kids. Intra-generational legacy is a touchy topic as well.


I agree. I tried to make the point that they are shooting beyond reason. Just that at the time the criticism was valid. It is literally a circle jerk that somehow survived. The state cannot have guardianship of kids beyond their fundamental rights and basic education. But only to a degree for the latter with consent from parents. Everyone arguing beyond that is completely crazy in my opinion.

It's been a while since I visited r/politics or r/latestagecapitalism, but both of those (used to?) have plenty of calls for collectivization, permanent revolution etc.

By the way, I'm not American and my birth certificate says I was born in USSR.


I'm not quite sure there are many actual Communists in the US.

Even if there are any (and there probably is, given the number of people in America), more importantly, they certainly hold zero political power and have no sway in any but tiny, niche political discussion.

These days, "Communist" is more likely to used by a conservative commentator in bad faith when trying to lazily vilify their opponent (communism has a bad rep in mainstream American politics since the cold war) than to actually refer to a bona fide communist. See also: "socialist".


This seems to be a thing in this forum as well - the highest-rated sibling comment to yours is one who attacks black lives matter as Communist in a sort of pseudo-intelectual way.

And a white supremacist is not someone who advocates for bringing jobs back home, or enforcing immigration law. But people still feel free to call Trump racist because of those policies.

The reason is that people view him as having ulteriour motives beyond his stated ones.

Everyone is for affordable housing, so being in favour of that has no political bearing. But there are different proposed solutions to that. Putting a wealth cap of $10 million is a very communist-like solution, and I don't think it's unfair to describe the subs were those views are predominant as socialist or communist leaning.


Retweeting a video that says "white power" is something racists do, though, so you might need a better example.

Using that analogy, putting a wealth cap on people is something communists do, so therefore they are communists.

> a white supremacist is not someone who advocates for bringing jobs back home, or enforcing immigration law. But people still feel free to call Trump racist because of those policies.

And his multiple criminal/civil findings of guilt for discrimination against black people and minorities in his real estate businesses?

I'm going to take a guess that _that_ may be why people call racist, not because he "advocates for bringing jobs back home" (while happily continuing to move / keep his own production in China and Asia).


Although I disagree (yes the view that his immigration policy is fundamentally rooted in fear of brown people is common) I'm not trying to make it about Trump, or to argue pro or against him per se.

I'm trying to say that the person I responded to is basically strawmaning. No one says that giving affordable housing is necessarily communist. But instead the particular solutions are.

Conservatives want affordable housing too--they just think that other solutions are better.

It's a common argumentative fallacy. If you don't support my solution, you must be against the problem.

If it's fair game to say that Trump's immigration policy has ulterior motives (basically he doesn't want brown people in the country) I think it's fair (maybe not true, but fair game) to say that people who want to tax wealth are communist or communist leaning.


Who wanted a $10M wealth cap? How would that even work? How widespread was that belief in any popular sub?

I think it was fairly popular. I saw people arguing for it (you don't need more than $20 million dollars, so it should go to the public)

This is actually a popular view in wider reddit.

Of course this is all anecdotal. Of course I can't give you any numbers, just gut feeling I got there.


Part of the communist ideology is they mix up equality of outcome and equality of opportunity. If you optimise for the former, you end up with everyone being just as poor as one another, hence the link.

This is my understanding at least.


There are none.

The people throwing around "Communist" in public are conservatives rallying around a mythical memory of the TV version of America circa 1960, before "they" came and ruined everything.

The "they" may be: hippies, liberals, new dealers, big government advocates, black people, women, etc.

Remember the core demographic watching TV and listening to radio is old and getting older. "Communist" evoked "Soviet Union" (aka the main enemy), and that association sticks. The problem is that the demographic that gives a hoot about the Soviets is aging out, so now we're stuck with the next generation, who tends to be more explicitly focused on contemporary grievances.


>And yet Reddit happily ignores vote brigading and other negative externalities from any subreddit that toes their party line, so it seems bizarre to single T_D out

Do you have evidence for this, or is it just your gut feeling?


I am a member of several non-conservative political and non-political groups that were banned because of the bad behavior of members of those subreddits.

Users of The_Donald regularly got away with behavior that got other communities wiped off of Reddit entirely.


A counterpoint to the post: wasn't r/ShitRedditSays, a subreddit that repeatedly brigaded threads that had racist/bigoted comments, one of the first prominent subreddits to get in trouble for brigading?

What do you mean “get in trouble”? It still exists and doesn’t seem limited in any way...

I think the anti-brigading rules were put in place because of them.

SRS being tolerated.

r/AHS staged a massive public brigading campaign in 2018 to get as many right-wing subreddits banned as possible.

> r/AHS staged a massive public brigading campaign in 2018 to get many HATE subreddits banned.

FTFY.


So much of what the right says is perceived as hate by the left.

So much of what the left says is perceived as hate by the right.

Remember this every now and again when you're correcting others, because you might be wrong.


I didn't make the argument/correction that you think I made.

>I didn't make the argument/correction that you think I made.

I think he/she did. I think you just don't realize how transparent your attempt at emotional 'Framing'[1] was.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_effect_(psychology)


They migrated a long time ago, and the sub itself was all but abandoned. Reddit's ban today is the equivalent of them saying "You can't quit, you're fired!". It would be hilarious if it wasn't so damn predictable and depressing.

> Reddit's ban today is the equivalent of them saying "You can't quit, you're fired!".

This implies the Reddit ban is directed toward TD specifically, which it’s not. This is Reddit taking a long-term stance on what type of content they want on their platform. To sit here and downplay its importance is a predictable talking point and just as depressing.


> This is Reddit taking a long-term stance on what type of content they want on their platform.

It's hard to take that "long-term stance" seriously when they basically make policies up as they go along. Now they're telling us that they want to make the site free of hate against identifiable groups - except if that group is in the majority, then the policy doesn't apply and it's 100% okay to whip up hate against them! Yay nihilists and misanthropes, I guess? Isn't that a bit ludicrous?


Sorry for this bad English of mine, but the_donald room was a sewer and it is very well documented by now. Society does not have to allow the voices of racism or racists, hating of women, or other antisocial behavior. Already racists do not go jail, women hating does not go to jail, hating gays does not go to jail, but there is no other obligation for tolerating it.

You're imagining some reality and it's very strange. Take a look here and you won't see any of the delusional things you're describing:

https://thedonald.win/


> And yet Reddit happily ignores vote brigading and other negative externalities from any subreddit that toes their party line

Which subreddits do you think they should have banned, specifically? What is the "party line", exactly, that these subreddits "toed" to get themselves out of enforcement?

Look, I mean obviously Reddit's moderation isn't always going to be fair. Moderation never is. It can't be. Nonetheless T_D spent four years as a cesspool before they pulled the plug. I mean really, did you read it? If anything, they were protected by virtue of being a policical fan group of the POTUS.


People that think there is some "party line" at Reddit should look into the founders' political views.

To put it in perspective, spez is a right-wing libertarian who fought to keep r/Jailbait alive because it was the most visited subreddit at the time, despite it being a subreddit for posting suggestive pictures of minors.


They didn't single T_D out. It was one of 200 subs banned in today's wave, many of them for similar transgressions. And t_d survived several ban waves before.

Technically 2000 subs, 200 established "communities."

I'm having a hard time believing this comment was made in good faith. There is nothing made up about T_D, they were blatantly vote manipulating and planting posts in other subs. This has been well known for a while and reddit has done everything in their hand to let the sub exist while trying to make it abide by the platform's rules.

The constantly see right wing people complaining about some massive number of left-wing subs that are breaking the rules but I've never ever seen any actual proof of that. Care to provide some links? Meanwhile I have seen T_D doing it consistently for years and the amount of leeway reddit has given them has been huge. The only left-wing sub that I can think of was chapotraphouse and that's gone now as well.


The reason given was "supporting violence against police". They changed it later to "supporting violence" when they realised that T_D was a teddy bear compared to the left-wing forums who were outright calling for police extermination by all means possible.

Bunch of hypocrites.


"Would something decentralized help?"

Not directly; I'm increasingly thinking centralization is not the problem.

The problem is size.

The intersection of "things that everyone agrees are acceptable" goes to zero as the size of the community increases, and while communities have strong selection effects that prevent them from being anything like "a uniformly random selection of people slammed together", regression to the mean means that you get there as size goes into the tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions.

I don't think there's a solution, because no matter what technical tools you put into place, you can't get around the fact the people don't agree about what's acceptable.

What we need is a diaspora back into a community structure where HN would be just about the largest sort of community out there, instead of still a relatively small one. Decentralized tools could help with that, but if "decentralization" just ends up building "decentralized" communities trying to contain a million people in the "same place" you'll just get the same problems again. It's kinda orthogonal. "Reddit, but once a community hits 10,000 people it becomes progressively harder to join" would quite possibly work fine, for instance. (I envision something like an exponentially-growing waiting list delay, such that getting to even 11,000 users would be difficult.)

Obviously, legislating some sort of limit here is virtually impossible. Somehow the technical structures need to support it and afford communities in the hundreds to low thousands, but somehow make it inconvenient to grow beyond that. Or afford more complicated structures where membership is not a binary status. (A social graph would work, if it wasn't being run by an entity that desires to aggregate people together more to more effectively advertise at them. Or more accurately, a set of graphs.)


I would put it as "the problem is society" essentially as opposed to size per se. I personally doubt that what is essentially a forcibly sharded technical approach akin to what MMOs did to deal with larger loads and content saturation would be useful. Content depends upon O(n) users subdividing it would reduce the utility and make it lose out and worse breed a new tribalism. Combine that with side channels and I am skeptical it would get better.

It doesn't have to be a "forcible shard". In fact I think that's not terribly effective and there's better ways to do it. Weblogs did it fairly well, way back when.

Also, don't forget that you don't belong to one community; it's not like you log in one day and get assigned to your immutable chunk of the internet. You wander around the read versions of various communities, pick a couple of communities you invest it, pick several more to half-follow, get tired of the abuse in one and switch to another, meet someone in real life who encourages you to join another community, and so on.

Basically, the sort of "tribalism" that you'd encounter is whatever "tribalism" you associate with HN, because the structure I describe already half-exists, scrounging around the remnants from reddit and Facebook in tens of thousands of forums and active blogs and other such things. I don't think it produces any more or less "tribalism" than you get from anything else.


I feel like reddit tried doing just this. You see this quite clearly when you visit niche subreddits. The problem is that the large subreddits have a larger impact on the direction the site takes. They make demands of the admins and they spread their culture to adjacent subreddits. The barrier between two subreddits is likely lower than two websites.

I agree, but I think that size and the speed by which information spreads makes social media what it is.

Social media is like being in a room with thousands, possibly millions, of people. If you have a gathering of this many people in real life it's entirely possible for the crowds to go out of control and for them to turn into a mob. This mob then gets worse through one-upmanship.

Subdividing these groups might breed new tribalism, but it'll make it less likely for a situation to spiral out of control. It takes more time for information to pass the barrier between communities. You also won't get as many people engaging in group-think, because your in-group isn't as large.


IMHO decentralization (via federated protocols) is the most viable option here. Taking Mastodon (https://joinmastodon.org/) as an example, people are able to connect globally with each other, but you also have a moderation framework that allows for true decentralized control over content.

You can join an instance with moderation policies that align with your ideals or even host your own instance.


In addition, mastodon, and even the protocol, has a lot in place to mitigate targeted harassment by a community.

Individual Instance blocks, where a user can block an entire instance are in place. Instance blocks on your instance, where an admin blocks another instance for all the users of that instance. And, community driven, blacklists where an admin can copy paste from.

Even more interesting, is that some instances block any instance that in themselves don't block another instance. In practice, this means that if you don't block Gab, there are a lot of instances that don't want to talk to you.

This works. This gives people the freedom to pick and choose or to move somewhere where they have more or less freedom to listen to others.


> if you don't block Gab, there are a lot of instances that don't want to talk to you.

Modern day witch hunts. (I'm not defending gab, or promoting it) However, these guilt by association hunts are irritating.


That is one way of looking at it. But it really depends on the intention behind such a block.

The other way to look at it, just as valid, is for an admin to protect her(or his) "citizens", the people on her instance.

If you intended an instance to be a safe-haven, you don't want people being able to raise mobs to harass people on your instance. Hence, you want to block instances that allow such behaviour.

But, you also want to avoid accidental "retweets" (boosts), replies and whatnot to reach your instance. So you want a thick layer of insulation: not just blocking one "bad" instance, but blocking the instances that interact with that "bad" instance as well. There are probably technical means to get such an insulation, but neither Activity-Pub nor mastodon has these in place. So being liberal in blocks is a pragmatic means to keep your instance a really safe and happy place.

(Do note that you might not need such a safe place -I don't- but people with trauma's, insecurities, issues, or just a wish for a safe and happy place might. And it being federated allows for admins to create such a place. A place where you can be a furry-amongst furries, or a victim amongst a supporting community).


Sometimes drastic actions like this is the only way to maintain high quality

You mean calling all conservatives and Republicans racists, Nazis and fascists doesn't make sense?

Gab is a legit nazi/white-supremacist site. You trying to twist it to an attack on republicans/conservatives is laughable, unless you think that they are somehow synonymous.

I'll admit I don't know anything about Gab, but I'm not picking up "nazi/white supremacist site" from their storefront.

https://gab.com/

Regardless, it's embarrassing how careless the political-left, whatever you want to call them, carelessly use the terms nazi, racist, white supremacist, etc.


Who does the moderation? Some really messed up stuff gets uploaded to basically every social media platform [0] and I sure as hell do not want to deal with that.

[0] https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/25/18229714/cognizant-facebo...


It’s server admins’ responsibility, so if it’s run by individuals the admin bans when he has time, if it’s run by a company then it’s done at company expense, and if moderation standards of two instances conflict then either operator takes it as offense and blacklist the other one.

My understanding of Mastodon federation is that the Europe/American instances generally play along, some alt-rights oriented are cut off, and then there is group of predominantly Japanese instances running incompatible legal ideology on completely incompatible language so European admins generally reject those as horrible dark corners of internet(?)


> I'm also not sure how much The_Donald was as a community. The sheer volume of users at its height seemed to involve a huge amount of brand new accounts you never saw again / never posted again (except when they show up as a group again), and etc. Or those without brand new accounts show up and post strange dishonest lead in type posts that sort of try to lead folks down a bigoted path ... that you can blatantly see in their post history.

This is very much a side note, but I do wonder what sorts of things would be enabled with more visibility into this kind of information. For example, average and median ages of all accounts in a thread or subthread. Per-user visualizations of posting histories (time of day, subreddit, etc). Information that would enable automated correlation (by time or subject) of posts from different accounts. Stuff like that. I'm sure they must have something internally that does at least some of the above.


For general web forums, I would personally like to see personal SSL certificates required to create an account. That would at least weed out people creating multiple accounts. As for cases where anonymity is required, there could be other information that balances out missing info on the certificate. For example one field would be how much they paid for the cert (assuming the CA has variable pricing). So someone could for example pay $20 for an anonymous certificate (just a certificate number and pseudonym, possibly an anonymous email), yet it would be cost prohibitive to get unlimited number of certs to create fake accounts.

Also, along with personal SSL certs, it would be nice to have a system to keep track of a person's reputation score across multiple forums.


As soon as those metrics are exposed though, people will start hacking them by purchasing older accounts, etc.

..which seems like it would make it more expensive to achieve the same level of credibility via such 'fake' accounts. Seems like an improvement to me.

A less common, but I'm seeing more frequent tacit are user accounts where they delete their posts after X time so the account looks like it has been around, but you've no idea where / what was posted.

Those users almost always head down the rabbit hole after a few posts....


You can try something pushshift.io

It should be difficult to get in or at least have some reputation system built-in like StackOverflow. Proof that you behave and have valuable opinions. It is quite bad if thousands of bots can be made easily and post spam, fakenews and manipulations.

> Do people want to be on a platform where other folks on the same platform are targeting their community with dishonest and often bigoted content?

What's wrong with a decentralized "platform" that works like the web?

Anybody, right now, can submit some bigoted trolling to HN. It'll get flagged and killed in ten seconds. And then people don't much bother because there's no advantage in immediate failure.

You can have a "platform" that shares formats and protocols and supports shared links but has independently-moderated subsections, and then the contents of each one is reflected in how it's moderated.


Anything decentralized will create a vacuum of power to be filled by rational actors.

Kind of like how Bitcoin is decentralized but controlled by a handful of miners on China.


Is email controlled by Google and Yahoo?

No, only by Google.

Email is not controlled by Google. There is myriad of other big players in the field, plus you can get an email server on your own domain up and running in ~ 5 minutes

Email is controlled through gmail in the same way as webdesign is controlled by SEO directed towards google search. People need to access the users on the google platform, and google sets the terms for that.

That is, if you want your email to work you got to play by the rules dictated by google or a very large portion of all email will go away into a black hole.


If Google will start blocking random non-spammy domains from exchanging mail with Gmail users, it not end well for Google and their mail platform.

I imagine that Google is waiting with bated breath for the day when their user base is large enough that they could get away with this, and are sitting, all day every day, with their finger hovering over the button.

It is our role to make sure that they never get sure enough of themselves that they press that button.


e-mail is a communication standard, not a network/system.

You are trying to say it doesn't fit the 'anything decentralised' criteria?

The email standard is the same as only accepting letters mailed using letterhead formatted in Arial font.

When discussing a decentralized version of reddit, it's not the same thing. Protocols are not the same as networks/systems.


That's nonsense. Anything decentralised uses a certain set of rules how independent entities interact with each other. Such rules form a protocol. For example, XMPP is one such protocol. One can build reddit-like or Facebook-like service using xmpp, which will work across multiple independent servers. (In fact, that's what we are going to do, unless we run out of funds first)

> So you'd be in your other community and one day

I don't think so? So if TD was a mastodon community, many others would blacklist their content, but unless members of TD go and make accounts elsewhere that'd be the extent of it, no?


No, they send 'envoys' to other social media sites to argue with and harass those who speak up against them anywhere on the Internet. Think "flash mob" crossed with "sealioning^", and look to Gamergate for being first to that particular line. For example, there's a lot of green accounts posting comments here about where to find their new community.

^ Sealioning: https://wondermark.com/1k62/


That's honestly one of the Big Questions™ about stuff like Mastodon; is how resilient it is against that sort of behaviour.

On a lot of levels, it seems to be designed to allow multiple groups to share blacklists, so that if a given target is a bad actor anywhere, as long as other groups trust the group they initially burned, word is allowed to get around and close the door in their face before they even say a word somewhere else.

That's really the sign of our times when it comes to internet communities - almost all communities have this "innocent until proven guilty" stance for random strangers. Having been a moderator before on at least one internet community, it's almost like you're a police detective "building a case". You don't just get a whiff of "gee, this person's probably acting in bad faith, let's just ban them" - you have to gradually build up a strong dossier of sorts proving that they're genuinely bad, otherwise (at least in the old-school communities I grew up in) it reflects extremely poorly on you.

But because of this, they're susceptible to all sorts of really rudimentary social hack vectors, some almost feeling as silly as "the same guy coming back five minutes later wearing a Groucho Marx mask and a slightly altered name - and fooling everyone".

-----------

I feel like that's really the novel thing about Mastodon et al - being able to ditch these social norms lets people unload a whole raft of scorched earth tools - like pre-emptive IP bans that follow people around and are in place before they even arrive.

They're dangerous tools - we could easily make ourselves susceptible to attacks where trolls get people kicked out of their own communities by impersonating them elsewhere, but it feels like the pendulum's been swung way to far in the "gentle and understanding" direction for decades, now.


How is Mastodon able to defend against abusive single-message throwaway accounts registered by a distributed swarm of malicious human beings?

My stalker of 20 years has been registering a new account every time they contact me for 20 years, specifically to abuse the “your first message is trusted and delivered” approach, with every social platform they’ve stalked me on. If my stalker has known how to do this for decades, then clearly these forum folks know how to as well.

By my read, Mastodon is vulnerable to this distressing and threatening behavior as long as each account is treated as a throwaway, even if it’s banned as soon as it’s caught. This allows the flash mob of abusers to sign up for a mass of Mastodon accounts, send a single threatening abusive message from each to one recipient, and then throw away the accounts and start over. They would succeed in their targeted harassment goal, while Mastodon would - as it defaults to “allow untrusted third parties to contact anyone” - continue acting as a delivery platform for abuse that cannot be stopped.

If I’ve misunderstood and there is some aspect of Mastodon that protects against anonymous users being treated as innocent long enough to deliver an abusive message, that would be invaluable to know.


I believe they mean other communities in the sense of "other subreddits", although I can't speak for them.

Maybe? But we're in a subthread about decentralized solutions, so I feel like it makes sense.

> Would something decentralized help?

The most important thing to realise is: This is ONLY happening because the internet is now centralised.

Put aside Trump. Put aside politics. Put away US culture wars, and all other mass politics. It does not matter who is banned or why. Understand that what is happening now is the INEVITABLE result of an internet concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

We have less websites. More natural tech monopolies. More points of failure: host, DNS, DDos protection, CAs. As any or all of these become centralised, website and communities are placed under the inevitable threat of censorship. Yesterday it was about copyright, today it is about politics, some day it will probably be about creed or race. When you give unaccountable power to the few, they will use it as they see fit.

This couldn't happen in a decentralised web, with more sites, players, hosts, more places for communities and discussion, more places to go if the site-owner turns sour.

We had a web 20 years ago where everyone from a Nazi to a transvestite from transsexual Transylvania could have their own place on the web which no-one else could take from them. We have lost that. Now several people can take your place on the web away. A small number of centralised gatekeepers control what is allowed to stay online.


Fake news for us, but not to those who were part of it. It wasn't fake news at all. They are going to group again somewhere else.

The member might see this as action to silence. This could make them even more angry and isolated. Reddit meanwhile will be a unreliable source of information to them.


Reddit should be considered an unreliable source of information to everyone.

They already build a clone of their reddit forum a long time ago.

They correctly saw that, in the run-up to the election, all the big leftist tech companies would assert themselves and silence conservatives in an effort to "prevent the next Trump situation" as Google's Jen Gennai put it last May when she thought she was talking to a fellow "diversity advocate".

How's this different from email? Management of server reputation, spam filters, etc.

One and gone spam servers are frequent and are dealt with through putting low trust in new servers and using heuristics to flag behavior that look abusive.


> I don't think people want that. The_Donald involved a lot of spreading their message / fake news sites / spamming across other subs and etc.

> Do people want to be on a platform where other folks on the same platform are targeting their community with dishonest and often bigoted content?

No, but I think people want equal, consistent, and predictable enforcement. Notably, lots of other communities are allowed to exist despite having much more and more overt bigotry including celebrations of political violence and even concerted attempts to slander people and get them fired or harassed. The difference is the groups they target and the transparently BS justifications for targeting them ("well actually, racism doesn't mean 'hating a person or group because of their race'" or something like that).


>lots of other communities are allowed to exist despite having much more and more overt bigotry including celebrations of political violence

I would argue that was what TD was until very recently.


Maybe. Those other ones aren't banned though while TD was. Combined with the fact that their new rules explicitly allow for harassment of majority identity groups, I'd say this isn't a good move.

TD wasn't either until just now ... maybe those 'others' will be tomorrow?

I'm not sure the timing of non specific sub banning really means anything.


That's the point. Other communities are worse than TD and go reprimanded. And it's not just communities like TD; people are canceled, terminated, etc for completely not racist offenses such as "making an OK symbol by accident" or "standing next to a woman who wrongly suggested a minority person was vandalizing a store" or "citing a prominent Black academic's research on nonviolent-vs-violent protests" or "publishing an interview wherein a Black man says that he wishes there was more concern for crime problems in predominately Black communities", or "publishing an op ed from a US senator that expresses a viewpoint shared by more than 50% of the US public", or etc. Meanwhile people can go on years-long racist tirades on Twitter and be promoted into the NYT or say things like "literally all members of $RACE are irredeemably evil" in a book and hit the top of the Amazon and NYT best-sellers list and get diversity consulting gigs all over the country. There aren't words to describe how far beyond parody these double standards have become.

EDIT: That's a lot of downvotes. I'd be really interested to hear what specifically people disagree with. Do you contest my assertion that a double standard exists? Or maybe you don't agree with my negative characterization of TD? Or do you contest that the implication that double standards (in general or this one in particular) is morally wrong? Let's talk about it (leave the downvotes by all means, but let's have a productive discussion).


Honestly it's hard to figure out what even you're saying.

That reads more like a general ideology of persicution you're describing that you think is true ... rather than anything about what I said.


I said that TD was reprimanded for doing things that were at worst on par with other groups. You said “that sounds like TD up until recently”. I said “That’s the point” and went into more detail about my original claim (namely that the double standard targets not only conservatives but all but the most extreme leftists).

As for “ideology of persecution”, that could apply to anyone citing examples of a double standard. At best it begs the question.


>The_Donald involved a lot of spreading their message / fake news sites

Like none one the cnn "news" stories on /world news aren't fake


I mean websites / twitter accounts that put out actual fake news as a matter of process.

I wasn't thinking of any of the major media outlets when I noted that.


> Would something decentralized help?

I've been thinking about this a bit lately, and I don't see how. People are going to game the system, and decentralization just means they can play the game for longer, or in all new ways.

How do you establish a pattern of bad behavior by a person if that data is balkanized across a hundred independent nodes? They can feel out the line between ban-worthy and nuisance and if they happen to overstep a little bit a few times, they can still annoy 90% of the userbase. You have to have centralized moderation information and infrastructure.

People who don't want to be moderated, therefore, don't want this kind of decentralized system, and the maintainers would be fools to offer it. What they want is their own system, but someone else to do the work. An open-source Reddit engine, perhaps. When they discover how expensive it is to run, especially with people acting up, then a few of them may become self-aware.


Not just hate you, but stalk, threaten and harass you.

There are some people where even just saying-- as a moderator-- "Hey, can you chill out and at lease pretend to treat other posters with some respect" will trigger a full on war against you.

There aren't many people like this, but it only takes a few because even a single obsessed person can spew a lot of hate.


Ive had this happen in real life trying to moderate arguments. Some people just want to fight, and if you draw their fire, they'll fight you.

It's really too bad that there are no scalable "proof of intellectual work" protocols for human interactions.

I guess 3301 got things right with the Liber Primus.


Isn't this pretty much what "elites" are for?

I think they tend to be fashion critics more than anything else.

I think don't expect intelectual work to work on reddit is very scalable for a start, or any faceless interface. There's a reason sciences still hold conferences, which should appear rather uneconomic if internet was a viable competitor. It was never meant to be thst, but many people seem to think so, effectively isolating themselves and becoming detached from reality.

This is just a random internet comment of course, so ymmv


Many people are very scared to publicly support him.

Tolerance and respect does not extend to Christians or conservatives.

Was joking that a new method of insurance fraud is to simply put a Trump bumper sticker on your car and wait for someone to torch it.


[flagged]


It actually isn't always possible to log out and walk away. Sometimes people find out where you live and go there, or find out where you work and contact your employer.

As they used to say in the 90s internet, "When you die on the internet you die in real life."


The internet is a huge part of many of our lives, especially with the quarantine. I think we should be more hesitant before deciding on "harassment victims should just stay out of it" as a general solution to harassment. For some reason we rarely consider that a legitimate solution to harassment in physical locations; if a stalker shows up to you whenever you go to any park in your city, people generally agree that the solution isn't to say that you specifically should just stay out of parks.

Yes - and? If those bad actors are screaming down every meaningful discussion in the forum you moderate (and supposedly care about), all the people you'd want to stick around will leave. If moderators would care little enough about the community that they log out and walk away, the wouldn't be moderators.

You realize that people will look through 20 years of post history, triangulate every piece of information you've ever mistakenly let loose that you haven't thought about in a decade, and use that information to harass you outside of the internet, right?

My first high school crush has been doing this continuously for 20 years^, in case anyone things this is a made-up story. Stalking behaviors are not rational, and they do not care that 20 years have passed. Stalkers do not care that you walked away.

^ They don't seem to realize that after the wave of 28 death threats in an evening 15 years ago (in writing, I still have them for the cops), I'm simply not going to communicate with them ever again, unless it's to their local constabulary to deliver a restraining order. I half expect they'll show up here to reply to my comment with a green account and go on yet another thousand-word crazy monologue rant about how they are entitled to my friendship after 20 years of never-ending harassment. We'll see.


This resonates with my experience moderating a local facebook group.

I get attacked and threatened by racist instigators and BLM supporters alike because people feel that any moderation against them is solidarity with the other side. I point to the group rules violated and they still assume bias on my part. I AM biased (in favor of BLM) but still get treated like crap when I'm doing my best to moderate fairly, for free, in my spare time, for the benefit of the people treating me like crap.


This is exactly why moderators ultimately quit and are replaced by activists with no interest in balanced speech.

Any platform with unpaid moderators tends to biased activism.


Also paid moderators can't be trusted to moderate without bias. Supporting the ability for Trump-friendly speach (as long as it's relevant and civil) may get you bluelisted+defunded by advertisers who get harassed.

See also "the long march through the institutions."

Users won't allow for (use) decentralized platforms until there is a good way to censor them. Once that happens, what would be the point of switching.

Facebook and Reddit are successful BECAUSE they are censorship machines. Facebook spends far more man hours on "curating" content compared to engineering.

Same with Reddit. Add up all the "moderation" time spent removing negative or controversial posts and I bet much more time is spent on content compared to programming the site.

You are not wrong, but even if a perfect decentralized clone existed tomorrow you'd only get young men and programmers to use it, the average TicTok users wants to see beautiful people doing stupid things, they don't care how it happens.


Actually, that's not quite true. Reddit's first wave of popularity came from a lack of censorship. There was a decryption code posted on a news story on Digg that allowed one to decrypt a bluray. Digg got a cease and desist, took it down, and people started protesting on Digg posting the code everywhere. During this time was the first wave where people started jumping from Digg to Reddit because of the lack of censorship.

The lack of censorship was so bad Reddit used to have a lot of child porn on it and Reddit fought the US gov on it stating it shouldn't have to censor content.

I suspect The_Donald has been shut down primarily due to a lack of moderators. This causes drama to get escalated outside of the sub and the Reddit admins do not want to deal with it. Reddit is still very much anti censorship.


> Reddit is still very much anti censorship. //

That doesn't appear to be true.

Something like r/watchpeopledie, they don't have to censor, and it seems contained. I wouldn't want to visit it, not more than once, it may not be healthy in general, but taking it down seems to be "just" censorship?

Other than pornography they seem to have markedly cleaned up and taken a much more advertising friendly focus; seems much less to have the dingy back alleys it once did (but maybe that's a biased view).

Haven't they closed subreddits to quash some radical conservative talk?

Are you part of the Reddit administration?

Rightly or wrongly there appears to have been a lot of censorship over the last couple of years.


>Something like r/watchpeopledie, they don't have to censor, and it seems contained. I wouldn't want to visit it, not more than once, it may not be healthy in general, but taking it down seems to be "just" censorship?

I can say for me personally after spending some time on that subreddit that I am far more cautious and safe in everything I do. I always look out for falling objects, wear helmets and safety gear when appropriate, drive even more defensively etc. The sub opened my eyes to the dangers of planet Earth, all the ways it tries to kill us, and I don't think I'm alone on this.


> Reddit is still very much anti censorship.

This is just not true. They are very transparently trying to kick off users/communities that they don't "like".

For example basically any subreddit associated with the "alt right", except I believe /r/DebateTheAltRight or whatever it's called.

It's very simple:

(1) Identify community that you don't like, generally due to association with anti-leftist political views

(2) Find an instance of a threat of violence, regardless of context (i.e. the threat coming from someone who isn't a "real" community member)

(3) Use (2) to have a justified reason for "quarantining" the community, which is just the first step in a long, slow death-squeeze. From my understanding, those at /r/The_Donald saw the obvious writing on the wall and thus migrated to the donald.win quite some time ago.


The sense of persecution and victim-hood I hear from the right seems rather at odds with how damn successful they seem to be at the moment.

It's like when the silent majority was anything but.


This is difficult because there are different definitions of 'right' as well as different environments.

They can be successful at the ballot box nationally but still be persecuted.

Remember that Brendan Eich was forced out of Mozilla for his views.

To be a professor in University of California one has to pass a political litmus test.

So yea I do think there is persecution.


> Remember that Brendan Eich was forced out of Mozilla for his views.

He was forced out due to a 1000$ personal donation to a political group that was Christian/right leaning. Political speak: "Incompatible/Hostile views"


I seem to recall there was slightly more to it than that. I don't have the time or inclination to get drawn into this now but I didn't want an incomplete summary to stand unchallenged.

That is about it. That, and that given the opportunity to apologise for it, he didn't.

He immediately lost the respect and trust of most mozillians and a lot of the public, which itself made him unfit for the role. I don't know if you can really say he was forced out; you don't keep a CEO around when nobody in a company of hundreds of employees trusts them.


> That is about it. That, and that given the opportunity to apologise for it, he didn't.

It was personal funds right? Why should he apologize? Should you apologize for buying something from a competitor? Who do you apologize to for making a private transaction with your own money?

> He immediately lost the respect and trust of most mozillians and a lot of the public, which itself made him unfit for the role.

He did? Was he unable to perform his job? They uncovered this after the deed was done. Was that faith lost while they didn't know about it? If you asked Firefox users right now: how many people would even be able to tell you about this situation?

> I don't know if you can really say he was forced out; you don't keep a CEO around when nobody in a company of hundreds of employees trusts them.

Did the employees get polled on this? (My bet is no)


Dude/dudette, you're barking up the wrong tree, I didn't care about Eich then and I don't care about him now. I'm just confirming the post YOU wrote above, so quit it with this weird tone.

Also, your expectations of a CEO of a corporation as large as Mozilla are out of whack. If Pinchai, Bezos, Satella, Musk etc were publicly put on the spot for personal views that were antithetical to their respective corporations and lost the trust of their employees and the public, they'd either apologize or lose their job. Weird hill to die on.


But that's exactly what I mean when I say political persecution.

If his political views cause him to lose the respect of his employees, and losing the respect of his employees causes him to be unfit, then his political views caused him to be unfit.


he donated in support of prop 8 in california (banning same sex marriage)

I'm not sure if you're agreeing or disagreeing with me. But the fact that that's considered a hostile view is precisely the kind of persecution that I mean.

I don't think they're especially successful right now.

Their President is barely holding on to majority support in Texas and is losing every purple state. He seems powerless to appease his law&order base by stopping the riots and indicting their leaders as he wants to do. Their Supreme Court justices keep ruling against them (another bid to chip away at Roe v Wade knocked down just this morning). Their online presences keep getting canceled (Twitch ban against Trump just this morning). The New York Times has decided that publishing a right-wing essay by a Senator, with which the majority of the party agrees, is a fireable offense.

Their right-wing legislature failed to repeal ObamaCare. The right-leaning Supreme Court prevented Trump from canceling DACA. Although the courts didn't explicitly prevent Trump Wall construction, they did the next best thing: allow it to get tangled up in litigation, injunctions, and counter-injunctions for 4 years, thereby preventing substantial progress.

Lots of people have lost their jobs for criticizing BLM, whereas criticizing the right is practically obligatory. I see a lot of rhetoric, and very little success.


> Lots of people have lost their jobs for criticizing BLM

I think you'd need to cite cases where it was for objective criticism of BLM, and not associated/ tangential calls for violence, and/or hate speech.



Quoting some of the extreme examples:

> 3/ Gordon Klein, a professor at UCLA, has been placed on leave after he refused to cancel a final exam following George Floyd's death

> 23/ David Shore, a 28-year-old data scientist, has been fired for tweeting an article by a biracial Princeton African-American studies scholar suggesting that rioting is politically counterproductive.

> 32/ Tiffany Riley, the headmistress of a high school in Windsor, Vermont, has been forced to take "administrative leave" after writing a Facebook post in which she said, “Just because I don’t walk around with a BLM sign should not mean I am a racist.”

> 37/ Emmanuel Cafferty, a Hispanic truck driver, has been fired after a fellow driver put a picture of his arm hanging out of his truck window on Twitter and claimed it was the white power symbol. A BLM protest was taking place nearby.


> Find an instance of a threat of violence, regardless of context

Doesn't the fact that finding instances of violent rhetoric among alt-right posters, regardless of context, sorta make the case that maybe this is an endemic problem and not a purely political suppression?

There are a lot of really hateful people among that group, in ways that just aren't true for other politically aligned communities.

I mean, the Dirtbag Left folks have their assholes too (note that the Chapo sub was banned too), but they're comparatively rare, notable in isolation, generally have names associated with them, and (really importantly) tend to be shamed and controlled from within their own communities.

The alt right is a bunch of assholes, plus a bunch of people who make a habit of tolerating assholes. That's a toxic combination if you're Reddit.


> Doesn't the fact that finding instances of violent rhetoric among alt-right posters, regardless of context, sorta make the case that maybe this is an endemic problem and not a purely political suppression?

No? Because in an anonymous online forum anyone can just hop in and drop a “... kill em all!” message and whoops, there goes your forum. It’s impossible to prevent, at best you can only react to it. You are completely at the mercy of admins as to whether or not they believe such content is “inherent” to your community, and surprise surprise, they do.


If someone dropped a message like that they'd get banned.

What happens when a large chunk of the community is like that and moderators are not keeping harassment down?


Except, again, this doesn't happen on other large left-leaning forums at Reddit. When was the last time /r/twoxchromosomes brigaded the voting at /r/news to attack an inconvenient story? When was the last time a mod on /r/relationships was banned for hate speech?

[flagged]


Which BLM-related subreddit needs to be banned, and for which content? Can you link to it?

I believe in a free and open internet.

> They are very transparently trying to kick off users/communities that they don't "like".

They are now. But what we are saying is that reddit didn't used to be like this.

Reddit used to be much less moderated, and much more in favor of free speech, almost to a ridiculous degree.

They used to allow a subreddit called jailbait, for gods sake.

Things are very different now, obviously.


Reddit has banned left leaning subs too, so there is probably something more there than first meets the eyes.

I think it'll be a good thing, Reddit and most Silicon Valley companies hostile to free speech are going to decline as competition as alternatives that truly appreciate the constitution of the country they operate in are born.

I actually like how Reddit moderates for the most part, they do keep things relatively "clean", but they are also thoroughly corrupt politically, horrendously biased in favor of anything left wing and beyond reform. Outside of a few minor subs, I don't "browse" reddit anymore at all. Everyone fair and honest who visits /r/politics or /r/worldnews knows by now they're being lied to, constantly and without relent, so only one type of reader still goes there willingly.


I think it's not super useful to generalize things down to being about censorship in the abstract. It can be true without contradiction that many people are against censorship in defense of DRM, and are for censorship targeted at keeping droves of hateful comments out.

> Users won't allow for (use) decentralized platforms until there is a good way to censor them. Once that happens, what would be the point of switching.

You could imagine a world where there's multiple apps that access the same decentralized platform, where the censoring happens at the application level. So if your favorite community gets banned in one app, if you want, you could switch to a different app. Not a perfect example, but it would be like how if Google Chrome decided to block somerandomcommunityexample.com you could just switch to Firefox.


Usenet and killfiles.

In the olden days (when NNTP was a more popular protocol), almost anyone could post almost anything to almost any group. There was moderation, but mostly in more focused groups or announcement-centric groups where replies were not expected. To moderate, you, yourself, added people and subjects to your own kill file. This meant that the platform was mostly free of censorship, but the participants could choose to engage or not with trolls or charged topics. If they chose to disengage, they simply wouldn't see it. Like going on /. and setting a filter level of 5 for viewable comments.


I like it! Every community could have their own "domain" and you could choose, at any time, which ones to visit and which to ignore and there would be a search engine to help find new communities for you.

(All jokes aside, I really love your idea of having different apps act like lenses or filters which give you different views of the same underlying ecosystem. That's the kind of conceptual novelty that's in short supply right now.)


The issue right now is that most content is presented over and communication conducted over HTTP interfaces without clear APIs. This makes writing independent applications to access this content or communicate via these channels challenging (though not at all impossible).

What would be really great is to go back to communicating via open protocols (and I don't mean a bespoke protocol over the open protocol that is HTTP). This lets people use whatever tools they want to participate. Like we have with email, Usenet and IRC.

EDIT: I initially wrote about content presentation over HTTP, that wasn't what I meant so I modified it. Specifically I'm talking about forums (like this one, Reddit, or any of the other popular gathering grounds) that are interfaced with via HTTP. They've taken over a large chunk of our person-to-person communication. Simple sites (like this one) are easy to interact with via a custom application. But Reddit, Facebook, and others are harder to use via anything but their primary site or their own application.


The likely outcome of that is that any app that didn't some communities would itself be banned from the Google and Apple app stores.

Imagine? Isn't that how mastodon works today?

And how would a community deal with being brigaded by another, often larger community?

Wouldn't each community have their own userbase? So brigaders would need to make new accounts to execute the attack. Maybe a hill/gate could be introduced for new accounts to rate-limit the influx?

Indeed. The average user, especially women, does not enjoy having their boundaries pushed by an escalation of shocking (but not illegal!) and pornographic (but not illegal!) images, which you will get if you don't have moderation, and even a bit if you do. As proven by Slashdot twenty years ago.

Oh, and the plain spam. C1al1s spammers can fill your entire board if you let them.


> The average user, especially women,

It consistently amazes me that people deny the possibility that women enjoy pornography. On the contrary, a large amount, possibly even the majority, of pornography on reddit is posted and created by women. Some of them do so to make money, but a lot do it simply because they enjoy it.

Many women enjoy (for lack of a better word) gore, horror, and shock content too.

> does not enjoy having their boundaries pushed

Again to the contrary, the majority of people, especially young people, actively seek to have their boundaries pushed to one degree or another.


Having seen countless female gore/porn artists on social networking I’m not so sure how important of a problem it is... especially the porn part

Consent is important here.

Logged in just to thank you for your comment (which is 100% correct). So few people understand the role & importance of consent and your comment is appreciated.

Thank you!


There are many many people. As such, the fact that many people like something does not imply that the typical person doesn’t dislike that thing.

It already exists. It's called Gab and it's growing incredibly fast.

Facebook and Reddit are successful because it allows for the users to be social with people they know/recognize.

Spam removal is the biggest element of reddit and FB. Unwanted content detracts from the original goal. (Also moderating in it's self does kill a community if done badly)


> Same with Reddit. Add up all the "moderation" time spent removing negative or controversial posts and I bet much more time is spent on content compared to programming the site.

Well, but there is easy solution to this. Just do it in the exact same way the reddit does it, which is to have individual fiafdom communities that have self appointed moderators in charge of their own communities.

So, if a user doesn't like a certain community, with a certain moderation policy, they can stop reading that one, and instead go to a different community with a better policy.


Reddit particularly used to be a free speech platform where anything could go and then used network effects to gain dominance. Now that they have dominance they now implement censorship of right wing views comments. This is true for Facebooks deboosting capabilities.

The reddit administration honestly does very little active moderation. It's a shocker that they actually enforced their rules in the title.

Almost all censorship is moderation. And that's "decentralized" and not part of the company itself.

Honestly, Reddit would be better if they started laying down the law.


Reddit removed The_Donald from showing up in All, changed their search algorithm, and changed the number of active users showing up on T_D (they screwed up and you could see the true number on their ad buy portal).

Those were all 100% admin actions to censor, not moderator actions.


And T_D should be banned years ago for blatant doxxing, brigading, and threats of violence, all clear violations of Reddit's rules.

The admin has repeatedly been too scared to enforce their own rules, just doing half measures like that to pass the buck.


I'm not seeing "school vouchers" or "individual responsibility", classical pillars of Conservative values, being censored.

I am seeing a ton of censoring of racist and hateful comments, both openly so and dog whistles. So unless you're claiming that right-wing values are inherently racist or hateful...


You aren't seeing that content censored, because that content has been censored, and its posters vilified so completely, for so long, that it has disappeared.

There are virtually zero republicans or conservatives on any social media site -- they know they aren't welcome, so they don't engage very much.

You don't see them being censored because, at this point, they self-censor.

Who wants to be doxxed and have their employer harassed into firing them just for trying to have a calm conversation with people who want to murder them anyway


i see them literally all the time.

there's plenty in this thread.

there's plenty on reddit.

there's plenty on twitter.

what are you talking about?


> Now that they have dominance they now implement censorship of right wing views comments.

They did the same with chapo - so, it's really not just right wing views...


Those platforms don't lack on identitarian division and push of extremist views

There might be a slight point that those platforms end up being more of a right wing echo-chamber more than a left-wing one because of some factors. But the bias is on what's in there, not on the platform

That being said, nothing was lost of value with the shutting down of T_D (ok, maybe it would be a prime source of information on manipulative state actors, but they can work on what they have already)


> Users won't allow for (use) decentralized platforms until there is a good way to censor them.

> Facebook and Reddit are successful BECAUSE they are censorship machines.

Citations needed.


>Worth taking note that in today's climate, you really cannot win when you are in a position to moderate important things that a lot of people use.

You kind of can, though. Sure, group X hates group Y and wants the admins to ban them. Group Y hates group X and wants the admins to ban them. The smart play would have been to be neutral and set out an explicit set of rules everyone has to follow.

Reddit instead did it the worst possible way imaginable. They laid out no clear rules, banned thousands of subs for vague "hate" reasons that you can't define, much less verify, and drastically reduced the scale and appeal of their site.

If you think group X will now be happy and stop complaining now that group Y has been banned, I think that's naive. The admins will still be pressured, but the goalposts will just be moved to ever more extremes until Reddit's such a niche echo-chamber that it appeals to too few people to remain financially viable.


Social media companies should not be in this position where they are the arbiter of what is offensive/explicit/hate speech vs acceptable free speech. Despite what they state, they will ALWAYS make the decision that generates more profits or power.

There really needs to be effective legislation given the importance of free speech for democracy. Unfortunately government agencies are so politically charged that I trust them with enforcement even less than social media companies.


> You have to pick who you want to cave to

Why does the narrative have to be about "caving" to someone instead of weighing principles against each other and taking the action which protects what's most important?


I don't think the "caving" framing was about how the decision maker thinks about it, more about how one side or another sees it as "caving".

Life is full of dilemmas like that where it's not possible to make everyone happy, but content moderation is full of dilemmas where, no matter what you choose, a few very unhappy ones will hound you to the ends of the earth.


> a lot of people will really really hate you.

That's an anticipated cost of removing hate.


It is, but it's also a cost for not removing hate, and also just for having a slightly different opinion on what constitutes hate than some of your users. When you have a billion users, there's going to be a lot of them that disagree with you on things.

Yes and reasonable people understand this and don't need censorship. Who would hate a platform for not removing people for just honestly disagreeing and talking? Inciting violence and cheating the system is a different story and the obvious edge of free speech

The problem is "honest disagreement and talking" isn't. One person's honest disagreement is inciting violence, and with coded signals and dogwhistles, it's not a subject that everyone will agree on. Things that are clearly on one side or there other of the line aren't in question. It's more subtle stuff that can be argued either way, eg "When the looting starts, the shooting starts", where it gets more contentious.

Pretending it's all just honest disagreement is being naive.


> Who would hate a platform for not removing people for just honestly disagreeing and talking?

A lot of people. And if your goal is quantity, not quality, those people are important, because they are who the investors give you money to build a site for.


> could have more federated and decentralized platforms

I would absolutely not going to a platform with no moderation. The quality of the content will be abysmal.

Honestly, r/D or something like that should just go to host its own website/forum, it shouldn't be Reddit's problem to begin with. Their presence brings toxic attention/traffic that is hard to monetize anyway


>The quality of the content will be abysmal.

Granted I haven't been there in years but the content on the chans isn't much worse than Reddit once you've been there long enough that your brain stops registering the "nig" prefix and "fag" postfix they slap on every other word. Any place that is open to cross-polination from internet riff-raff from other niches is going to devolve toward a very low lowest common denominator (which is why HN is mostly unscathed).


> Honestly, r/D or something like that should just go to host its own website/forum, it shouldn't be Reddit's problem to begin with.

I think that's basically what they've done.


The best solution is not to cave to anyone. It's to come out, say what you think is best, then tell anyone who disagrees to either take it or leave the platform.

If enough companies, groups and individuals do that, this sort of pressure will stop, since people will learn it doesn't work. Most people won't stop using a platform over this stuff anyway.


In order to do that you have to go the Silk Road route, and try to host the site untraceably, paying for the server in Bitcoin, with the server hosted in a country with a no-extradition policy but has fast Internet. Otherwise for the platform to exist on the "regular" Internet, with servers and server admin living in a country with laws, the platform has to start policing content - banning the sale of drugs, weapons, and murder-for-hire, along with censoring other material - porn, gore, child pornography, copyright infringing material, files that are covered under ITAR.

The Internet is rife with censorship. It just offends our first amendment sensibilities to call it that for some very specific categories.


I wish it were that easy, but the things that keep people from shouting extremely distasteful but legal speech on every street corner of busy intersections don't really work for the internet, at least not yet. I suspect the only way to get a truly free and open honest platforms, is by removing anonymity and forcing users to categorize/tag their speech and then use punitive measures if they don't tag correctly.

Say you have a native feature where anonymous users or anyone will not see (by default) certain types of content by tags. The community might vote on which tags to require users to "opt in" to view. The only way to be banned might be, assuming legal speech in the first place, would be if someone posts content that fits within a community agreed upon tag, but the user fails to tag it.

I haven't given this a ton of thought, but I would love to see something like this tried.


This is basically how booru image boards work.

The problem is the advertisers who have your proverbial nuts in their hands.

If you could live without advertisers then maybe it would work.


If you replace platform by country, this logic doesn't work though.

I run a video game clan with a fairly active discord channel -- the stance I've taken is: there are no rules beyond:

1. nothing illegal (includes cheating at games) 2. no racism / homophobia / transphobia 3. no harassing other members 4. everyone has different beliefs and come from different parts of the world -- if you are offended, ask the offender to stop, otherwise see a mod

so far there are around 50 people in the chat and almost no issues even though we have members who are rep/dem/other, religions ranging from Christian to Satanist, and we regularly post political and religious memes and such.

I don't know how but thus far we've had no real issues.


The how is simple - 50 people on a semi-private system is a totally different league than Reddit, with millions of users and public. Similar to your 4-rules stance, Reddit has Reddiquette and Content Policy and for the most part, people obey the policy. It's at the fringes where there are problems. It's not the one Satanist that's the issue, it's when there are large groups of members in the Church of Satan who don't get along with members of the Satanic Temple who don't get along with fringe Scientologists. (Because mainstream Scientology wasn't kooky enough for them.) And then trying to force them to split a pie that's not big enough for everyone to have a slice.

50 people is 48 more members than are in my video game clan, so I can admire the community building. The problem space changes drastically when scaling up though.


> It's not the one Satanist that's the issue

The one Satanist(cos) is me, so that's definitely not the problem ;)

edit: I agree that scaling might end up being an issue. Some other clans are run with much stricter rules and it seems to work well for them (one I know of is run like a paramilitary organization and has thousands of members). I wanted to experiment by going in the opposite direction and letting people be who they are and just cut loose at the end of the day.


> includes cheating at games

That's not illegal. It's just not permissible on the services that run the games. Also, it used to be a thing in video gaming. (Game genie) For some reason, we've given up to video game companies who try to dictate how people should enjoy a product that they purchase.


It's not about game companies. The companies actually don't care that much, they have sold the game, and spent our money already. If they ever react is just because of the pressure from gamers.

Also, it is not about cheating in your single player game. No one really cares about that. Want to enable god mode and insta-kill every baddie? Go for it.

Cheaters in online competitions simply ruin the game for other players. Cheaters destroy online gaming communities.

So of course, in online gaming communities, cheating is seen as one of the worst offences someone can commit.


It might not be illegal by laws of the land, but its illegal in our world and we will instantly kick + permanently ban any member who is caught cheating. We take it as seriously as any illegal activity (as defined by law of the land).

In a small group your social relationship with every other person matters, as you're going to be seeing them again, and you're also more familiar with them as a person. It's kind of like being rude to someone living in a small town vs a city. In the town being rude to someone might follow you for years, whereas you'll probably never see someone you're rude to in a city ever again.

> I don't know how but thus far we've had no real issues.

Because you only have 50 users, which is nothing. It’s the same reason communism is such an appealing idea, in very small communities it works but doesn’t scale up to nation-sized ones.


fifty is exactly 50 more than nothing, but I understand the point you are attempting to make.

Anyway, we'll keep doing our thing. Like I tell everyone, we're 50% video games, 50% 4chan. If you can't deal with it, you don't have to play with us.

edit: also to clarify, we're gamers, not "users". its a gaming collective, these are not my customers. Its very strange for me to see this group referred to as "users".


The_Donald was censored and taken over by reddit moderators for "threats made against police". It was laughable considering the extraordinarily explicit explicit threats made against the police in other more popular reddit forums. Equal rules were not applied.

If reddit was consistent in their application of rules, it would be nice. But we all know that is not the case. Some are more equal than others.


> Worth taking note that in today's climate, you really cannot win when you are in a position to moderate important things that a lot of people use.

While this is probably true in most cases, given the Reddit CEO's history with the_donald[1], this doesn't seem like it applies in this particular case.

___

1. https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/23/reddit-huffman-trump/


It’s funny, what I see is not politics but simple market effects. The truth is that most people value some level of moderation. Surprise! A cesspool of trolls does not provide for an inviting community.

I find it hilarious that we have congresspeople whining about being “censored” on the very platform they claim is censoring them. I would think the first step of a competent censor would be to censor complaints of censorship itself.


Eh, I'm not so sure about that. If you want to censor and you don't have an ironclad mandate to go nuts, you need veneer of plausible deniability. "How are we censoring people? If we were censoring, would our first step be to censor complaints of censorship itself?"

(Not saying that's what's happening, just saying I disagree with the argument here)


If you make enemies regardless of what position you take, you are free to take your own position without guilt or additional consequence. Moderators should take positions based on what they personally believe moderation should be (or those deciding the rules for moderators should do so). Just because their position may align with the interests of a particular group does not mean they are caving to that group.

There is a right way to do this which minimizes the issues, but it's counter-intuitive: reflect the negative aspects of The_Donald.

It's called "closed loop hypocrisy" and the theory is that all negativity or opposition is inherently hypocritical (given we are all very similar in the end). But being hypocritical does not mean opposition is bad, if anything the issue is long loop hypocrisy where someone pretends to be righteous when really it's just hypocrisy with extra steps.

Most people solve problems with long loop hypocrisy and those who support them can easily choose to overlook the hypocrisy by focusing on the convoluted steps and rhetoric in between. Meanwhile, it's obvious to those being attacked just how hypocritical they are.

In contrast, closed loop hypocrisy is about applying the form of negativity to itself. It seems kind of dumb, but that's the point: to show how dumb X form of negativity is directly to X form of negativity.

It's a form of inception and it's hard to pull off, but there is a better way.


"closed loop hypocrisy" sounds intriguing and is exactly the kind of counter-intuitive idea I'm drawn to.

I'm not sure I entirely follow your explanation and Google is not bringing up much. Do you have a link to a longer explanation of some kind?


I do not. It's a theory a friend and I philosophized about for a while in college, but nothing published.

If you'd like to check our work though, play with proving/disproving the following:

1. All negativity/opposition is inherently hypocritical

2. Negativity/opposition is necessary

3. Your opposition will always focus more on your negative differences than your negative similarities

4. Focusing on similarities is the only way to truly resolve conflict.


I'm sitting here thanking God for people like you because what you've just described sounds IDEAL.

I firmly believe the best way to resolve all this is not censorship but by shining that light as brightly as possible.

I wonder what a workable version of this looks like?


I have some hazy concepts around it. I suspect very humble inception.

Something like having the other person think they're better than you for having less of their flaws than you do. Sort of a reverse psychology type of thing, but with more potential for doing harm.

To be able to do it, one would have to first heal their ego I think. Be able to look like a jackass and not let it get to their head.


There's a metaphysical "law" that holds that when there's some quality in the other person that ticks you off especially, if you search yourself you'll find that it's a quality you also have, don't like about yourself, and are unaware of.

On a phone so can't type at length but I actually agree with you on some of this.

the only reason they are centralized at all is to make a profit, so it’s the profit motive which is causing them to hoover up and own all this content and thereby being vulnerable to the risk

The fundamental problem here is that people discover things that make them angry. Platforms need to figure out how to prevent that, how to let open-minded people discover others who think differently, while keeping crybullies in a comfortable bubble.

For reddit, part of the problem is that everyone who isn't logged in sees the same frontpage, which means they see posts from these controversial subreddits and get angry. They should make it possible to subscribe to or block subreddits without making an account.


> we [..] could have more federated and decentralized platforms, or at least more client-side filtering inside of centralization curation

We should start a center to discuss and curate these ideas, a place where we could get together and define what it means to achieve decentralization.

We could call it something snappy and semantic like, say, the Center for Decentralization.


> "...I wish that we...could have more federated and decentralized platforms"

We did. They were called newsgroups and forums. Reddit is just 1000+ forums stuck together to build audience and make money.


I think a lack of geographical diversity is coming back to bite tech companies. For better or for worse conservatives believe they are not fairly treated by tech companies. The fact that most US tech companies are on the coasts which happen to be fairly liberal further feeds into this us-vs-them tribal arguments. Curbing divisiveness and helping bring people together has never been more important, I hope we find a way out of the current quagmire collectively as a society.

The whole cancelling of the opposition is the reason why those who do it, become their own echo-chamber and will continue to find every. single. thought-criminal. and suffocate them in livelihood, privacy and financial healthiness.

Twitter has been the ground digital war of the liberal-left and (some of the far-left) over the conservative right and (some of the actual far-right) and the right-wingers retreated to their own chambers with the former have Twitter under its control. As soon as 'the right' we're told to 'create their own platform' which they have done many times, cancellation was always the goal from those from the left.

Having echo-chambers creates one-sided discussions but unfortunately they are left with no choice given that cancellation is inevitable where-ever they go. If both sides are yelling, screeching and howling at each other they're both not listening to one another which is nothing like a reasonable debate.


If they had not caved to calls for banning, they would have less problems. The ambitions to ban more subs won't subside anytime soon.

Of course this hands off approach would get you hate. That is price you have to pay. Worth it in my opinion.


As the head mod of a subreddit this really resonates with me.

Almost like being a police officer?

You can win if you apply rules equally, but you have to be willing to stand up for your platform and not cave to a small group of people.

r/The_Donald - they shut down r/Fuckthealtright - open for business

And by open for business, I mean openly calling for killing conservatives.


>> I wish that we didn't have to go through these things to begin with, and could have more federated and decentralized platforms

Decentralization simply leads to the creation of echo-chambers, except with no one to keep the toxicity in check.


I believe that different communities might have different definitions of "toxicity". I don't think global moderation solves this problem.

>>I believe that different communities might have different definitions of "toxicity"

Sure. The problem is that despite the decentralized nature of those communities, they still don't exist in a vacuum. Their various beliefs and behaviors (that the community itself may not consider toxic) inevitably leak out and cause problems for society at large.

The incel community, for example, worships Elliott Rodgers, the guy who went on an insane shooting rampage because sorority girls wouldn't have sex with him. How long until another Rodgers appears? Why should we allow such breeding grounds to exist?


Some leftist communities worship Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot and others, whose actions led to murder of tens of millions of people. Why should we allow any of them to exist?

So, why moderate a public forum?

Why should platform owners decide what's right and what's wrong? If something is legal then why should we censor it just because it may seem hateful to someone, or somebody feels offended? So what if a post offends somebody? They can deal with it like an adult. Ignore the trolls, and discuss if there is a discussion, offending or not.

If people want a safe private place with no intruders, then they can create a closed/invite-only group and moderate it themselves.


“ Why should platform owners decide what's right and what's wrong”

Because they made the platform. In some light, it’s the same logic that allows businesses to refuse service, or homeowners to defend their property.


There is a certain amount of irony here, due to this comment's presence on as heavily moderated a forum as this.

>There is a certain amount of irony here, due to this comment's presence on as heavily moderated a forum as this.

The difference is that on HN the political content (so far) remains contained to a few articles every now and then, plus you can still read 'flagged' comments. Even if I have a strong political opinion I prefer HN in this curated way.

On Reddit on the other hand every major subreddit gets politicized eventually (/r/pics, /r/news), on-topic discussions being derailed to shout about Trump, calling people "Nazis" and the mods will rather ban or delete the posts that call the activists out or which cite 'inconvenient' facts. Complete threads get nuked in the most intransparent ways which can be seen using third-party tools like https://snew.notabug.io Inside the major subreddit only one side (the 'Left' side) of the political spectrum is allowed to voice their opinions even if those were off-topic in the first place.


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

Search: