The thing is, both sides are right. However, neither side ever talks about trying to take any steps to mitigate the negatives of their position.
I am anti-censorship, but I think that people on our side can't just ignore the damage misinformation is causing our society right now. We also can't just rely on the old adage that "the truth will win out in the end". Free speech advocates like to believe that is a truism, but the evidence keeps showing us that that isn't true. There is nothing inevitable about the truth, and lies have many advantages that can often prevent the truth from winning.
So what do we do? I am much more interested in talking about steps we can take to mitigate and prevent misinformation while preserving free speech.
Just because censorship isn't a good option doesn't mean we should just throw up our hands and allow misinformation to win the day. The truth needs allies, and allies with a strategy.
The other side of this, that most people don't like to discuss is that people are also free to believe misinformation and lies. It's hard, but that is actually part of the human condition.
I feel like every platform that is focused on absolute free speech always ends up filled with racists and the like... that can’t be a coincidence.
I also don't think that line of though implies that everyone is a racist. The previous comment just implies that racists will seek out these platforms because it is the only platform that will accept them. Not that everyone who seeks these out are racists. Just enough racist and shitty people who got kicked out of the larger platforms will slowly fill up these free speech platform
Personally, I'd rather know and see what we're up against.
How do you even categorize misinformation when western societies have decided that there is no such thing as truth?
Our crisis is far, far, deeper than what information can be published online. We are in the midst of an epistemological cataclysm.
I don’t think there is a lot of radical strategy needed here - just a lot of hard work and vigilance.
When you see misinformation, take the effort to call it out, and hope that your civility and reasonableness win over the silent audience.
Easier said than done when dealing with echo-chamber communities, but those communities have to spill out into your own world at some point, and I guess that’s the point to tackle it.
The problem is the flow of all this goes something like.
1) A friend of hers posts something factually incorrect about COVID or lockdowns.
2) My wife posts a carefully worded and cited response.
3) Four or five people react with laugh or angry emojis.
4) someone weighs in and tells my wife how stupid and dumb she is, and how she is completely wrong. They often say this in a very nasty way.
5) She responds in a firm but not rude way that she believes they are wrong. She cites sources.
6) This person never responds again, and drops off.
7) A new person weighs in, generally rudely, making ad hominem attacks about her weight or whatever else they can.
8) She argues with them as well, never personally attacking them. She focuses on facts and statistics.
9) Over the course of hours she starts to accumulate likes and a significant number of people thumbs up her responses despite not saying anything.
I don’t know how she manages it, honestly. I can’t argue like this at all, it’s completely draining. She likes to think that because the threads are so active that hundreds of people are watching and she’s helping to change minds to think more rationally. But it’s hard to know for sure, and I don’t think most people have the psychological wherewithal that she has to deal with how abrasive and rude all these people are to her.
> 3) Four or five people react with laugh or angry emojis.
> 4) someone weighs in and tells my wife how stupid and dumb she is, and how she is completely wrong. They often say this in a very nasty way.
> 5) She responds in a firm but not rude way that she believes they are wrong. She cites sources.
> 6) This person never responds again, and drops off.
Happens to me as well in other forums.
I have decided I'm not doing it for those people, but rather for those who would otherwise read the post, see it was uncontested and think "therefore it must be true".
Why do you think I have the time to check my friend's post for disinformation? Yes I can be skeptical of it but sometimes it's hard to decipher that especially when it may confirm to your own biases.
I quit my tech job and went into construction. Only in hindsight has it been glaringly obvious how egocentric tech workers are. High paid, wielding incredible power, and the praise from their managers/peers just reinforces delusions.
Try doing a hard days work in a skilled trade such as woodworking, electrical, or HVAC. Now that's humbling. It also exposes you to many different people and types of thinking, which IMO, promotes healthy self perspective. Echoing here even on HN just amplifies the dilemma.
Some things cannot be perfect due to prior imperfect work. For example if a room isn't square, or something isn't level, you build your new work to match previous errors or your work looks out of place.
I walk onto a jobsite and there are some unspoken rules. Learning these rules is part of the fun. At the end of the day it's just a bunch of people trying to get something done.
Working in trade also helps you accept the principle of "good enough". You should always try your best, never give up, but accept things aren't perfect. What you see as imperfect will likely never be noticed by the property owner.
Dealing with the customer has some quirks too. If you run a bundle of cat6 that looks like laminar flow then you will blow their socks off. They assume everything else is perfect. Meanwhile you could have wrapped cat6 around a/c ducts 10 times in the attic and they will never know.
Knowing where to put your effort is an art.
New generations come and go. Nobody is born with pre-existing notions of what is right or not, including free speech. It's not a surprise that some values are replaced with others on a per generation basis.
The only people worthy of wielding power are those that are humble enough to know they can't be trusted with it.
You're misunderstanding the argument. The argument isn't that they don't like the content. The argument is that it's a net-negative to society, and possibly an extreme-negative.
I think the problem is that - in the west at least - we have fairly good free speech, and the governments do not routinely go around censoring discussion etc (obviously this is not true everywhere and varies from place to place).
So this means that people who want to say something can say something using the usual means/technologies. They do not generally need to resort to anything special to avoid censorship or consequences.
As a result, a large proportion of the people who do end up using the uncensorable/untraceable tech are the worst of society doing outright illegal stuff. Drug dealers, kiddie fidlers, murders, organised crime, terrorists etc.
I love the idea of decentralised web tech etc, but I do not want to spend my time facilitating the scum of society to break the laws in my country. I also don't want to host their decentralised content on my machines or waste my bandwidth transmitting their uncensorable porn etc.
Of course I realise that there are places in the world where there are not as many freedoms as I enjoy and people might genuinely need to use such technology to avoid oppression. I guess I am just selfish.
Tl;Dr - you can support free speech without supporting illegal activity.
Good tech content and discussion without the censorship.
It crosses into censorship when removing alternate ideas even if the ideas are well sourced and logical and presented in a respectful manner.
Be sure not to confuse the two.
These are clear differences.
4chan let's anything go except, I believe, pedophilia, including personal attacks and comments with no point. Very little moderation.
Hacker News will actively remove posts that are counter to prevailing narrative even if well sourced and presented respectfully. So bordering on Censorship.
So something in between the two would be great.
Moderation is just to prevent spam and personal attacks and things that have no connection to the conversation.
Censorship is manipulating the conversation by removing ideas that go against the conversation even if they are relevant, well sourced, and respectfully presented.
Be sure not to get the two confused.
This has not happened: https://www.usgovernmentspending.com/education_spending
This is just not true: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d19/tables/dt19_236.55.a.... One might call it "misinformation".
For the expense, where is the value? My kids' online curriculums are a nightmare. They're expected to keep track of arbitrary assignments across a litany of broken "apps" without any sort of cohesion. One of them is taking chemistry-- online!
And naturally, we need to redefine the way we teach things like basic math for every generation. Forced obsolescence rears its ugly head here too. My parents could never figure out my math homework. I can't figure out my own kids'. Thankfully we have Pearson's successive suites of books and erratic ActiveX plugins to show us what the ancients haven't.
Government spending should not be considered an indicator of progress.
it's hard for me find them particularly threatening to democracy when really they're just a different partisan stripe of the burnouts who would tell you to 'just watch zeitgeist maaaaaaaaaan' in the early 2000s.
The content changes enough individuals that there is aggregate effect on larger scale social dynamics which impacts all facets of society. Unregulated free speech with wide reach over global media platforms is not standard human interaction. It is unnatural. It is new medium dyamamic with different messaging potential. Online censorship is not about limiting free speech, it's calibrating / optimizing the new medium for specific messaging goals. Right now it's money and eyes, maybe a more sensible one is political serenity. It doesn't have to be Chinese great firewall level of suppression, but more and more are realizing it can't be next to nothing.
I don't think it isn't either, there could very well be a combination of factors like proper media and civil literacy that enables a society that could operate with unlimited speech. All I _feel_ is the status quo now is not working. Many feel the same way. It's not a hard why, it's a slowing growing consensus that does not feel misplaced. Information and ideas spreading faster than word of mouth and walking speed shapes society through each successive technological mediation that enables faster and broader transmission. Free speech in person with your peers is not the same as free speech online. Hence medium is the message. If the medium is the problem, than tweak it.
>I find it disturbing that people have stopped supporting free speech when they stopped liking its content.
I think the issue is the current system seems to be pushing content people would usually avoid. My position is _edit: not_ pro-censorship, it's pro-moderation / curation / or suppression if we're being less charitable.
>I refuse the premise that we tech workers know best and therefore must protect the fragile little minds of everyone else.
I don't think it's the tech workers job to decide how to protect, but to implement protection based on what's good for mental health and not dark patterns for monetization. There's studies on the effects of social media out there, people are fragile. Current social media feels like it exist in pre traffic regulation and seat-belt era of safety. Not just for users, but for society.