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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The junk mail folder in your email mailbox is an example. It offers transparency.
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....
>Others argue that some types of speech — for example, pornography and hate speech — are so harmful that counterspeech alone is not an adequate response.
I agree with your point, without some way to structure, weigh, and amplify the signal; noise and polarization are more likely to win out.
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.
No, you're missing the phenomenon of gish galloping. 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"
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
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).
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.
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...
> 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?
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
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.
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
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.
/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?
The emotional blackmail of this movement will probably be its undoing.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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’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).
So by that logic it was wrong for Twitter to sensor the President’s tweet regarding using force to stop vandals destroying monuments.
Wait, wasn't this the whole theme of the song "We didn't start the fire"?
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.
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.
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."
THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING.
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.
Not only is "The only good Tory is a dead Tory" not a popular refrain at all , 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.
 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
I didn't/wouldn' claim we would hear it from left-leaning MPs.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
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
I haven't followed British politics much. The only thing I can find for your popular refrain is
Could you provide some sources?
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.
*US centric view only, don't know enough about European politics to have an informed opinion.
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...
> 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.
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?
Edit: it’s currently going direct to a login screen. That’s not normal.
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.
I am not surprised you a using a throwaway to defend 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.
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.
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!
> 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.
.. 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.
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.
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.
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^, 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.
^ 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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
It's nonstandard and confusing and shall always remain as such.
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.
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 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?
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."
There's plenty of right-leaning subreddits. What set The_Donald apart was how close it sailed to being outright cultishly crazy.
But beyond that I've seen lefty subs banned as well, for the same reasons regarding violence and etc.
Edit (since I can't reply): r/politics is American liberalism, which is centrist.
"Largest far-left frequently rule-breaking sub" is a more useful designation.
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.
* equal rights for all people independent
of ethnic origin, skin color, gender or
* 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
* collectivization of the means of production
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 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.
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.)
 “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.”
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.
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.
By the way, I'm not American and my birth certificate says I was born in USSR.
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".
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.
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).
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.
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.
This is my understanding at least.
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.
Do you have evidence for this, or is it just your gut feeling?
Users of The_Donald regularly got away with behavior that got other communities wiped off of Reddit entirely.
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 think he/she did. I think you just don't realize how transparent your attempt at emotional 'Framing' was.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Bunch of hypocrites.
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.)
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.
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.
You can join an instance with moderation policies that align with your ideals or even host your own instance.
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.
Modern day witch hunts. (I'm not defending gab, or promoting it) However, these guilt by association hunts are irritating.
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).
Regardless, it's embarrassing how careless the political-left, whatever you want to call them, carelessly use the terms nazi, racist, white supremacist, etc.
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(?)
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.
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.
Those users almost always head down the rabbit hole after a few posts....
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.
Kind of like how Bitcoin is decentralized but controlled by a handful of miners on China.
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.
It is our role to make sure that they never get sure enough of themselves that they press that button.
When discussing a decentralized version of reddit, it's not the same thing. Protocols are not the same as networks/systems.
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?
^ Sealioning: https://wondermark.com/1k62/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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).
I would argue that was what TD was until very recently.
I'm not sure the timing of non specific sub banning really means anything.
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).
That reads more like a general ideology of persicution you're describing that you think is true ... rather than anything about what I said.
As for “ideology of persecution”, that could apply to anyone citing examples of a double standard. At best it begs the question.
Like none one the cnn "news" stories on /world news aren't fake
I wasn't thinking of any of the major media outlets when I noted that.
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.
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.
I guess 3301 got things right with the Liber Primus.
This is just a random internet comment of course, so ymmv
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.
As they used to say in the 90s internet, "When you die on the internet you die in real life."
^ 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.
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.
Any platform with unpaid moderators tends to biased activism.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's like when the silent majority was anything but.
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.
He was forced out due to a 1000$ personal donation to a political group that was Christian/right leaning. Political speak: "Incompatible/Hostile views"
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
What happens when a large chunk of the community is like that and moderators are not keeping harassment down?
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.)
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.
Oh, and the plain spam. C1al1s spammers can fill your entire board if you let them.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Those were all 100% admin actions to censor, not moderator actions.
The admin has repeatedly been too scared to enforce their own rules, just doing half measures like that to pass the buck.
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...
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
there's plenty in this thread.
there's plenty on reddit.
there's plenty on twitter.
what are you talking about?
They did the same with chapo - so, it's really not just right wing 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)
> Facebook and Reddit are successful BECAUSE they are censorship machines.
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.
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.
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?
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.
That's an anticipated cost of removing hate.
Pretending it's all just honest disagreement is being naive.
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.
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
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).
I think that's basically what they've done.
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.
The Internet is rife with censorship. It just offends our first amendment sensibilities to call it that for some very specific categories.
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.
If you could live without advertisers then maybe it would work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
While this is probably true in most cases, given the Reddit CEO's history with the_donald, this doesn't seem like it applies in this particular case.
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.
(Not saying that's what's happening, just saying I disagree with the argument here)
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.
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?
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 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?
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.
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 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.
We did. They were called newsgroups and forums. Reddit is just 1000+ forums stuck together to build audience and make money.
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.
Of course this hands off approach would get you hate. That is price you have to pay. Worth it in my opinion.
r/The_Donald - they shut down
r/Fuckthealtright - open for business
And by open for business, I mean openly calling for killing conservatives.
Decentralization simply leads to the creation of echo-chambers, except with no one to keep the toxicity in check.
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?
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.
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.
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.