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Voat Is Shutting Down (voat.co)
363 points by xyzzy667 77 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 619 comments



Voat was founded as a neutral free-speech platform. After alt-right extremists were booted off reddit, they found a new home there. The site was bombarded by /pol/ chan culture, and after that nobody else of other political persuasions really wanted to join. Kind of like that "paradox of intolerance" meme. Free speech platforms usually end up becoming extremist platforms.

I remember going on voat a couple years ago and the front page was filled with anti-Semitic and white nationalist propaganda, and racial slurs were everywhere. Even non-political subverses had an alt-right tinge. It was truly the culture that dominated the site.


> Free speech platforms usually end up being extremist platforms.

...when the popular platforms stop being free speech platforms.

Reddit, in its earlier days, was never dominated by the Voat contingent. They were there, but they were far less extreme there than they were on Voat. And then whenever they would post rank inaccuracies, there were clearer-minded people to point out why they were wrong, in the same place where the same people could see it. Meanwhile in the 7% of cases when they actually had a legitimate point to make, they could make it, and the people who benefited from hearing it would actually hear it instead of continuing to be unawares and consequently continuing to be wrong about something.

But it doesn't work to have one popular platform which allows nearly everyone except for Those Deplorables and another that allows "everyone" but the only people with the incentive to move are the people being forcibly ejected from the popular one. Because witch hunts are bad, but if there is a place that owes its existence solely to a policy of not having witch hunts, it's going to be full of witches.

So the answer has to be to stop the witch hunts in the places where everybody else already is.


> So the answer has to be to stop the witch hunts in the places where everybody else already is.

Got to be honest, bro, I don't really care to sacrifice for "the good of society" or whatever. If you make a website where some dude is going to post anti-Semitic shit everywhere and someone else is going to have to politely explain that Jewish lizard people are not conspiring to elect a Black woman as President then sure, you can have it.

But that's not a sacrifice I want to make. I'll go to the website where I don't have to do that. And the website will come to me.

Like, I don't see you moving to the ghetto and putting your kids in shitty schools so that you can even things out. This ain't different. I don't like those people at the party, so I'm not gonna go if you invite them. So you pick: them or me?

Either choice is fine. Reddit picked me. Voat picked them. And we are where we are.


Yes, but there is some middle ground between antisemitism and following what mainstream loves the a given point of time. And right now if someone dares to stick outside mainstream views this is considered hate speech, anti-XXX, etc.

Can we discuss if overweight people should pay more for sits in a plane? Can we discuss if a trans male who identifies herself to be a woman should be allowed to take part in female sport competition (box, running)? I am afraid we no longer can discuss such "uncomfortable" topics because starting such discussion of Facebook or Twitter leads to being "flagged", shadow-banned, because this is hate speech or something-foby or hurts someone's feeling.

I see this as a problem as censorship is precisely what pushes people into bubbles that cannot communicate outside and that get more and more radical. You can't have liberal democracy in a bubble society, as there is no respect for opposite opinion, there is only pushing one's agenda as soon as a given bubble wins the election. Democracy becomes just a tirrany of those who managed to win election (which means those who has more money and who has better access to media).


> Can we discuss if overweight people should pay more for sits in a plane? Can we discuss if a trans male who identifies herself to be a woman should be allowed to take part in female sport competition (box, running)? I am afraid we no longer can discuss such "uncomfortable" topics

You can debate those things on reddit without being censored on a lots of subreddits. However, the reason these are such contentious topics is that 99% of the time they are aired it's either people using them to complain about SJW culture, or people trying to stir up shit.

The last 1% is people who legitimately care about these people and want to discuss their wellbeing and rights. But I'm putting that in to be generous, I don't think I'm ever seen these topics discussed in good faith.

You did not bring them up in good faith, for example, you just used obese and trans people to make a point. I have no reason to think you actually care about them or would ever engage in a conversation about their rights within our society.


> The last 1% is people who legitimately care about these people and want to discuss their wellbeing and rights. But I'm putting that in to be generous, I don't think I'm ever seen these topics discussed in good faith.

Or do your existing opinions mean you view all discussions on this topic as bad-faith, exactly as the parent comment describes?

> However, the reason these are such contentious topics is that 99% of the time they are aired it's either people using them to complain about SJW culture

Is that the cause of the alleged 'bubbelisation' of social media networks by "censorship", or is that actually caused by the supposed censorship?

PS: Not trying to imply anything, you still make a valid point.


> Or do your existing opinions mean you view all discussions on this topic as bad-faith, exactly as the parent comment describes?

Not likely. That in and of itself is a bad-faith claim frequently used by bigots to try and evade getting thrown out of a venue, by turning around the accusation onto those calling out bad behaviour. Unfortunately a lot of peope have taken this claim at face value, and have started repeating it.

The thing is, I have discussed these sorts of topics with people in good faith. The common factor is that those discussions were never in public venues, because someone who wants to discuss these topics in good faith realizes that they are sensitive and easily-abused.

On the other hand, every time I've seen someone "discuss" these topics in public, there were clearly identifiable signs of bad faith, independent from the topic itself. It usually doesn't take much prodding to make the mask come off, so to say.

Edit: For additional background, I'm mostly speaking with my "community moderator" hat on, here. I somewhat regularly get brought in to clean up mismoderated communities that have gotten completely out of hand, so over time I've learned how to identify bad-faith actors quickly, separately from opinions.


> Or do your existing opinions mean you view all discussions on this topic as bad-faith, exactly as the parent comment describes?

No, I'm quite clear about what would constitute a good faith argument. For example, regarding obese people on planes having to pay for extra seats, a good faith argument would involve genuine discussion about the impact on these people, whether it's prejudiced to do so, whether it's within the rights of the airlines to charge them extra, and so on.

A bad faith argument is where this topic is brought up as a strawman when the real topic of conversation is censorship or some such.

I'm fully aware that this entire comment thread, including my replies, constitutes a bad faith argument, BTW. We are not genuinely discussing the plight of obese people, we're just using their plight to further our own discussions.


"Complaining about SJW culture" could mean any of 50 things depending on who is saying it, and there's not enough context here to know what you're saying exactly, but I don't think complaining/debating it is a contentious thing. There is some absolutely bat-shit crazy stuff coming out of the extremist left. It's just not as overtly racist as the equally bat-shit crazy stuff coming out of the extremist right, and the Overton window being what it is it's not as heavily monitored/censored.

> You did not bring them up in good faith

Nobody talks about the airplane ticket thing if they care about the "wellbeing and rights" of morbidly obese people. But that doesn't detract from the facts of the point. Whether someone does or doesn't care about the wellbeing of some unnamed morbidly obese person is irrelevant to whether or not they're making a good point or argument.


The examples @piokoch made are very good.

Seats in planes were designed for average people. It means that myself, as an average person, have the right to be relatively comfortable in that chair. If an obese person sits next to me, I have nothing against them on a human level - but the fact that they use my space. They are not comfortable either (certainly physically and probably psychologically) so if we accept obese people in our society (which is the case), they should have special chairs in planes, similar to the situation for disabled people. They should not, objectively, pay more for them even if I think that in the vast majority of cases obesity is a choice (I am somehow overweight and do not think that this is anybody's else fault than mine). This is akin (at least in France where I live) to the fact that they will be medically treated with my money (same as the ones that smoke cigarettes will be treated for heart issues or pulmonary cancer).

Now, should someone who horribly stinks be allowed on the seat next to mine? No, because we do not accept stinkiness, as a society. It is completely arbitrarily, but this is how life is.

The example in sports is a good one too. I think that we should not test anybody for anything because a sportman today is not a normal being anyway. They are bred to be excellent in what they do. A volleyball player will not be able to participate in a 100 m sprint and have the slightest chance. So any idea of "natural" in sports is long gone (except for purely amateur).

In that light I have no idea how to deal with the women/men separation we have today. There probably not be any because a top woman volleyball player will be eons better than the amateur man volleyball player I am now. On the other hand they have no chance against a men team.

Sports at pro level is such a commercial entity that I even wonder if we should care.


Regarding the plane seats, the solution is that airlines provide larger seats for all passengers. The problem of obese passengers encroaching on fellow passengers "space" is because airlines have consistently reduced that "space" over the last 2 decades or more.

However, either obesity is a disability, in which case, perhaps the ADA or equivalent could be used to force airlines to provide accomodation, or it is not a protected class, in which case, airlines should force them to purchase two seats.

In sports, there are leagues and classes of competition that attempt to provide a "minimum platform" for teams to compete. That's why teams move up and down from the soccer premier leagues etc.

The problem/issue of trans-gendered individuals being on teams they don't "belong" to is going to be changed over the next decades given that genetic modifications and enhancements are likely to be available via CRISPR etc.

Drugs are banned in sport to avoid people using "artifical" enhancements to their innate trained abilities. If someone gets genetic modification to enhance, say, their muscles abilities to use energy, how are you going to police that?

Have everyone playing submit their genome for examination?


> Drugs are banned in sport to avoid people using "artifical" enhancements to their innate trained abilities. If someone gets genetic modification to enhance, say, their muscles abilities to use energy, how are you going to police that?

> Have everyone playing submit their genome for examination?

My point is is that it does not matter. What is current top competition sport is not natural anymore so I do not really care about whether they take drugs (illegal today, maybe legal tomorrow) or not. Or modify they genome.

Wasn't there a case of a (South African?) athlete who was asked for a sample of their DNA to check weather they were a man or a woman? (it was not that long time ago I think)


> What is current top competition sport is not natural anymore so I do not really care about whether they take drugs (illegal today, maybe legal tomorrow) or not. Or modify they genome.

Two things:

This is a minority viewpoint. I believe most sports fans and participants want sports to remain free of exogenous performance enhancing drugs.

The second: the situation you describe would disadvantage everyone who does not engage in maximizing their use of such PEDs, and the sport in question would rapidly be transformed from what it is now into something vastly different, as the people willing to ingest these modifications would quickly displace the ones that aren't, or don't embrace the practice as fully.

That may be fine for you, but it is a big change, and many people like it the way it is now.

Personally, I agree with you. There should probably be a drugs league in various sports where people get as insanely artificially enhanced as human bodies can support, I might even watch that despite my general aversion to sports just to see the extreme tech involved. But it's absolutely silly to equate that to what is happening today because "today's athletes are not natural". It's not the same thing at all.


There is a big risk of causing permanent damage and significantly reduced lifespans by creating drug league, which has its own ethical issues. It would create incentives for people to push naive children or newly-adult into taking many drugs that will destroy the rest of their lives.

Drug league could have people dying mid competition, as they took too many drugs that they had a heart attack when trying to go all out, and that would create so much backlash and vicarious trauma that it gets shut down hard. I think it's the main reason why it doesn't exist.


As long as everyone involved consents and isn't coerced, it sounds ethical and entertaining to me.

I imagine that many of the people who would participate are already taking these things (these are not the people competing professionally today). Perhaps mainstreaming it would incentivize more research into safety and sustainability around artificially pushing humans beyond their current physical limits.


> As long as everyone involved consents and isn't coerced, it sounds ethical and entertaining to me.

Given the extreme competitive and monetary pressure already involved in sports, as well as expectations of audience, I question how much we can talk about consent and lack of coercion. If a drug league would exist, players would be pressured to take part to the very limit of what's legal, health be damned - as they already are in regular leagues.


> Wasn't there a case of a (South African?) athlete who was asked for a sample of their DNA to check weather they were a man or a woman? (it was not that long time ago I think)

That's Caster Semenya.

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

Pertinent bit:

In April 2018, the IAAF announced new "differences of sex development" rules that required athletes with specific disorders of sex development, testosterone levels of 5 nmol/L and above, and certain androgen sensitivity to take medication to lower their testosterone levels, effective beginning 8 May 2019. Due to the narrow scope of the changes, which also apply to only those athletes competing in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m, many people thought the rule change was designed specifically to target Semenya.

On 19 June 2018, Semenya announced that she would legally challenge the IAAF rules. On 1 May 2019, the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected her challenge, paving the way for the new rules to come into effect on 8 May 2019. During the legal challenge by Semenya, the IAAF amended the regulations to exclude hyperandrogenism associated with the 46,XX karyotype and clarified that the disorders of sex development affected by the regulations are specific to the 46,XY karyotype. The legal case divided commentators such as Doriane Coleman, who testified for the IAAF, arguing that women's sport requires certain biological traits, from commentators such as Eric Vilain, who testified for Semenya, arguing that "sex is not defined by one particular parameter ... for many human reasons, it's so difficult to exclude women who've always lived their entire lives as women — to suddenly tell them 'you just don't belong here.'"

Semenya has appealed the decision to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland. On 3 June 2019, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court advised that they had "super-provisionally instructed the IAAF to suspend the application of the 'Eligibility Regulations for the Female Classification for athletes with differences of sex development' with respect to the claimant [Semenya]" until the court decides whether to issue an interlocutory injunction. On 30 July 2019, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court reversed its earlier ruling that had suspended the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision and the IAAF rules. For that reason, Semenya missed the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha in October 2019, while continuing her appeal.

In July 2019, Semenya said that the ongoing issue has "destroyed" her "mentally and physically".


Having everyone submit their genome for examination is absolutely where professional sports is ending up.


that's a great example

we currently ban steroids and most performance-enhancing substances in elite sports

Trans is the same thing, but on a genetic level. It alters the state of competition to give advantage to the new entrant. It follows that it would be banned on the same grounds under current rules.

Either we accept all modification in sports, or we dont


Your last sentence contains the kernel of a reality that much of the internet would rather we don’t notice: that we don’t have to care about most of the stupid shit we see on our screens every day.

We don’t need to engage in flame wars or virtue signaling or any of these asinine debates.

People got along with their lives just fine for thousands of years without feeling compelled to debate a stranger from hundreds of miles away for 10 minutes about theoreticals that scarcely affect their daily lives.

But the social media and advertising companies can’t have that. No, we as a society need to be juiced up on fear and hate 24/7 to keep the eyeballs moving and the profits flowing.

Fact is the world is full of shitty people and ya gotta pick your battles. In most cases, the winning move is not to play.


“People got along with their lives just fine for thousands of years without feeling compelled to debate a stranger from hundreds of miles away for 10 minutes about theoreticals that scarcely affect their daily lives.”

That’s debatable (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missionary). They even went out and tried to kill strangers hundreds of miles away (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war)

Many of those were in times when it took a serious commitment to even travel that far, let alone to wage war. It probably helped that staying put didn’t guarantee a quiet life, either.


You just made the GP's point, perfectly.


> The example in sports is a good one too. I think that we should not test anybody for anything because a sportman today is not a normal being anyway.

This would lead to a large number of injuries and overdoses because of the drug use. IIRC this was happening in soccer with heart attacks happening because of drugs.

The distinction between men and women teams is arbitrary but fairly sensible. If you didn't separate them then you'd have men at the top and women at the bottom, which does not fun make.

That said, I have no clue how to solve the transperson distinction in sports.


> This would lead to a large number of injuries and overdoses because of the drug use. IIRC this was happening in soccer with heart attacks happening because of drugs.

Yes, but this is a choice. We still like to imagine that sports must be "natural". There is nothing natural in how the top performers are bred (my wife was a national junior champion and in the very top of Europe and did not continue despite being invited to the national team - all the fun of sports is gone).

Since we accept that we breed people that do competitive sport I see no reason why not to give them all the opportunities. This includes taking risk with their health and life.

The only problem is that sport starts at 4 years old and there is a risk of parents who would be ready for anything for their children to be sport heroes.

My children did al lot of sports and they stopped after their black belt in karate because it was not fun anymore. They were not really interested by the competition so it did not matter. They love sport. I play volleyball in an amateur team that almost always loses. But the fun is incredible.

> The distinction between men and women teams is arbitrary but fairly sensible. If you didn't separate them then you'd have men at the top and women at the bottom, which does not fun make.

I know but since it looks like the gender is becoming a mater of choice, I do not know how this will be deal with.

I was thinking the same thing when I read somewhere that the "appartenance to a racial group" in the US is by choice as well. I wonder why some, say, white people do not assess themselves as "Afro-American" to make use of the positive discrimination for admission at universities (or whatever this is called in the US)


> Yes, but this is a choice.

When _some_ make this choice to be at the top, _all_ must make this choice to be at the top. At that point it's a roulette of who will dare take the most drugs and live to win.

> I see no reason why not to give them all the opportunities.

Some are way more harmful than others, and we should take that into account.

EDIT:

> I know but since it looks like the gender is becoming a mater of choice, I do not know how this will be deal with.

Apart from some radical groups thinking so, gender is not really becoming a choice.


> When _some_ make this choice to be at the top, _all_ must make this choice to be at the top. At that point it's a roulette of who will dare take the most drugs and live to win.

This is exactly what happens in sport today. Some made the choice to make it all of their life and train from dusk to dawn, eat some kind of protein powders that bring in the exact amount of nutriments etc.

The others must do the same to beat them.

I really see no difference between allowing to have a nutritionist, a personal coach, a bioengineer and access to all kind of legal substances that do not exist in nature and just let it go, grab some popcorn and see.

This is still a choice, a tough one, but a choice.

Then we will have these Roman-like competitions where some die and some survive (with the difference that they choose it knowingly) and the teams of people who instead of watching sport on TV will go to play an amateur match themselves.

I do not like competitive sport because it is made to look like something natural while it is not. The same way I do not care about boxers who get Parkinsons after repeated hits in their head or the ones who climb towers to make a selfie on the top and slip, I do not care about these who decided to modify their physiology to be the best at one specific precise action.

It ends with US universities "graduating" people who can barely write their name because they were good in basketball. The person who graduated in the same major as them and had to work (and get into the university in the first place) may not be happy. But there is money behind so who cares.


> I really see no difference between allowing to have a nutritionist, a personal coach, a bioengineer and access to all kind of legal substances that do not exist in nature and just let it go, grab some popcorn and see.

One of those has a high chance of directly killing you, the others don't, that's my point.


> Apart from some radical groups thinking so, gender is not really becoming a choice.

Transsexuality, non-binary etc. are facts. They are more or less legalized (it depends on the country) but I think that at some point it is not the genome that is going to decide but a personal choice.

I do not want to discuss whether this is good or bad, just the fact that quantitative biological data are not absolute measures anymore.


That's why it's time to stop talking about all of this as a bulk category. Different situations care about different aspect of sex/gender.

In sports, it isn't really relevant what a person thinks about themselves. Gender is used as a proxy for expected performance envelope - you don't want to mix people with radically different characteristics, because that would not make for fair competition. I'm guessing that eventually we'll stop talking about "men" and "women" teams, and figure out new terms that directly reference the relevant biological characteristics.


> Transsexuality, non-binary etc. are facts

Yes, facts, but not choices.


It’s interesting how different the perspectives are between actual athletes and some people who have just thought about the issues.


Do elaborate please.


> That said, I have no clue how to solve the transperson distinction in sports.

It doesn’t seem that hard: just create explicit performance classes instead of using gender as a proxy for a performance class. There’s already precedent for this in at least combat sports where competitors are separated into weight classes.


> ou did not bring them up in good faith, for example, you just used obese and trans people to make a point.

You are one of the people the gp is mentioning. Those two are excellent points. There are a lot of people who are uncomfortable with those topics but are open to discussing them. Then people like you come out of the woodwork and accuse them of some nonsensical uptight bullshit and crap on their legitimate questions. Your open hostility then further cements their oppositional opinions. Instead of progress towards understanding and accepting, they dig their heels in and stay hateful because you pretty much told them to fuck off.


We live in a world where google exists, hell where scihub exists. It's extremely suspicious to show up in a forum "asking questions" when these resources exist. Getting told to "fuck off" in this context is basically being told to RTFM. You can look in my comment history to find just how easy it was to compile some sources to discredit the idea that trans women in sports is some unknown taboo.

If we spent just a fraction of the effort making spaces safer for marginalized groups as we do debating bad faith actors the internet would be a much better place in my opinion.


I think the two questions being considered are largely a matter of public opinion. You can use something of sci hub etc to justify your opinion, or try to change someone’s mind (esp in this example with the trans athletes). But unless others have already held this discussion somewhere google won’t help you gauge what people think. (Obviously these particular topics have been done to death, but someone has to hold this discussion for the first time on a given platform).

I do actually agree that most people that most people making a fuss about these questions online are doing so in bad faith or “mostly bad faith”. But I still do think both questions are nuanced, and I think a lot of bystanders might benefit from intelligent responses to these questions from the progressive side, but maybe at some point it’s too exhausting.


The exhausting angle is real. I think there's some inheritant bad faith (even if unintentional) in asking sensitive questions to a forumn with no validations on identity or expertise. Your odds of finding someone that knows these things deeply that doesn't also have an emotional connection to them are relatively low (there aren't a lot of phds in sports medicine floating around HN for example). So instead it becomes up to someone directly effected to provide such responses and that's just a lot; save the sensitive questions for the experts or come with direct quotes from published sources.


Nobody said it’s an unknown taboo. The issue is that they have an incredible biological advantage. We should absolutely not focus on making social spaces “safer” (a misnomer, because regular adult conversations simply do not jeopardize safety), we should focus more on making people anti-fragile.


You confirmed the parent comment's position on the need to have a free speech platform by making the mistake of disqualifying other peoples opinion:

> I don't think I'm ever seen these topics discussed in good faith.


[flagged]


I highly doubt respectful conversations were taking place where phrases like "i don't want to sleep with a Frankenstein monster" was born.

So at least be honest about "LGBdroptheT" being transphobic, if you're going to cry homophobia.


Wish the rules were at-least equally applied. They aren't on reddit.


[flagged]


Trans folks in the LGBT movement were an inextricable part of the movement since day 1. Partly because distinctions at the time between gay men who did drag and trans women did not exist, but also partly because the overarching theme of the movement (and the hate it received) has been the sense of 'disgust' by mainstream society of its subversion of heteronormative values.

Many trans men and women lead the movement vocally when many gay men and women who could survive in the closet sat and waited.

But that's the thing, the good faith discussion happened so many times, and it has been litigated many times. For many of us, trans and non-binary folks gave us many of our rights, and they did not out of a sense of solidarity, but literally because they were fighting for the same thing (really, a revolution against gender norms and expectations).

As the gp said, however, this good faith conversation happens a few times (and has been litigated to death over and over, and continues to). But the domination in the "drop the T" movement is really dehumanizing language about trans people, accusing them of an agenda, brainwashing children, etc. It's really harmful, and it is things that gay, lesbian, and bi folks have been accused of already.


Okay well I’m a gay man and I like men with penises. Only recently does that make me a bigot. I think a vocal minority of the trans “movement” is really doing a lot of damage to themselves by trying to coerce sexual consent on a cultural level. Maybe people should be more comfortable with living and letting live. To me that is how I remember the LGBT movement pre-Twitter days.


It doesn’t make you a bigot. “You must be willing to sleep with people with any kind of genitals” is not a widespread belief system among transgender people and activists.

But referring to transgender people as “frankensteins monster” is bigoted.


> trying to coerce sexual consent on a cultural level.

Nobody is doing this, that's where the allegations of bad faith come from.


So, speech about fat or trans people must be limited to "caring about their rights"? If you can't say something nice then you're not allowed to say anything at all?


> Can we discuss if a trans male who identifies herself to be a woman should be allowed to take part in female sport competition (box, running)?

Trans woman; trans men would be competing in the male competitions, and seem to be invisible in the whole trans debate anyway. The problem with this is that it's almost entirely based on prejudice and people saying things that turn out not to be true, along with vague biological determinism. Hence the Caster Semenya debacle (not trans, intersex AFAB, but high natural testosterone).


The problem with this is that it's almost entirely based on prejudice and people saying things that turn out not to be true ... Caster Semenya [has] high natural testosterone

Caster Semenya has XY chromosomes and internal testes. Semenya has "high natural testosterone" as a result of having male anatomy and hormones. The specific regulation Semenya has been fighting is explicitly "limited to athletes with ’46 XY DSD’ – i.e. conditions where the affected individual has XY chromosomes."

The idea that testosterone confers physical advantages of strength/speed is not "vague biological determinism" it's one of the most basic facts of our existence. It the primary reason sex-segregated sports exist in the first place.

"To say that an XY human can’t compete in the women’s category of professional sports unless they lower their testosterone below 5 nmol/L — a figure that is still 7.5 times the value of the average woman competing at the 2011 and 2013 track and field World Championships and a figure that not a single healthy woman born with XX chromosomes, ovaries, and producing estrogen at puberty can reach — isn’t a huge human rights travesty. It’s a protection of women’s sports."

https://www.letsrun.com/news/2019/05/what-no-one-is-telling-...


Ignoring why the WSA chose 5nmol/L over something closer to the average cis woman's upper quartile (which is closer to 2 [45ng/dL as seen in [0]], not .6 as you're implying with the 7.5x figure), Im not sure what their reasoning is on that without more research.

Trans women don't tend to have testosterone levels that high anyway, and if they did their doctors would be worried about it. Obviously not a comprehensive study but, have the testosterone levels of a trans woman [0] (she's relatively normal, other than the fact she insists on debating strangers on the internet). That's ~.4 nmol/L (why sports and medicine use two different measures is also very confusing, unit conversion here [1]. Given the advantages testosterone gives in sports [3] I'd wager most women competing aren't hovering around the minimum levels (which is where most trans women are going to be by virtue of how anti-androgens work). Instead of unscientific blog spam, how about a study published by the National Collegiate Athletic Association [4].

Basically as the knowledge of the underlying science grows the idea of simple binary for fair sporting competition makes increasingly less sense, I wouldn't be surprised if elite institutions started to drift more toward "hormonal weight classes" (and so thinks these scientists [4])

[0] https://imgur.com/a/z9DR2cD

[1] http://unitslab.com/node/136

[2] https://sci-hub.tw/10.1210/er.2018-00020

[3] “[t]he available, albeit incomplete, evidence makes it highly likely that the sex difference in circulating testosterone of adults explains most, if not all, the sex differences in sporting performance.” https://sci-hub.tw/10.1210/er.2018-00020

[4]“[a]ny athletic advantages a transgender girl or woman arguably may have as a result of her prior testosterone levels dissipate after about one year of estrogen therapy.” https://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/NCLR_TransStudentAt...


Caster Semenya is not transgender and has not had testosterone blocking hormone therapy, which is what these regulations/debates are about.

I'd wager most women competing aren't hovering around the minimum levels (which is where most trans women are going to be by virtue of how anti-androgens work). Instead of unscientific blog spam

Again, Semenya is not transgender[1] and her T hormones are not hovering around the minimum levels, which is the entire reason for the ongoing debate. The "unscientific blog spam" was referencing the IAAF study of competing athletes[2]

not .6 as you're implying with the 7.5x figure ...

which indeed showed the average T level for 1332 female athletes was 0.67. 5 / 0.67 = 7.46

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2019/05/03...

[2] https://sci-hub.se/https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28673896/


So, first off, that number is not the average, it's the median. Quoting from Table2 "Data are presented as median (25th percentile–75th percentile]." The paper isn't on nonfree testosterone in general, but in the opening statement the implication is the tail is rather long "Among the 1332 female observations, 44 showed an fT concentration >29.4pmol/L.17 Twenty-four female athletes showed a T concentration >3.08nmol/L which has been calculated to represent the 99th percentile in a previous normative study in elite female athletes."

The performance advantages they measured, in the events inwhich there were any, are explicitly linked to fT not non free testosterone and even then aren't being presented as causative.

"Our study design cannot provide evidence for causality between androgen levels and athletic performance, but can indicate associations between androgen concentrations and athletic performance. Thus, we deliberately decided not to exclude performances achieved by females with biological hyperandrogenism and males with biological hypoandrogenism whatever the cause of their condition (oral contraceptives, polycystic ovaries syndrome, disorder of sex development, doping, overtraining). As a consequence, the calculated mean fT value in the present study is higher than the 8.06pmol/L median value previously reported in a similar female population."

They certainly don't appear to be arguing that hyperandrogenism in women should be a disqualifying condition. Especially in running events like the ones Semenya competed in since the performance gains appear most significantly in the throwing events.

"Our hypothesis is that ...androgens exert their ergogenic effects on some sportswomen through better visuospatial neural activation."


> trans men would be competing in the male competitions, and seem to be invisible in the whole trans debate anyway.

Something that was pointed out to me recently that I thought was quite insightful. The greater societal acceptance of trans men compared to trans women seems to parallel the greater societal acceptance of cis women presenting in a masculine way compared to cis men presenting in a feminine way.

Which leads to the interesting idea that the key to societal acceptance of trans women may be widening what is considered socially acceptable for cis men.


What? How about nobody cares about trans men in male competitions because they are at the bottom, so have no visibility because they don't make it to the big competitions where real money and fame is achieved?


I think (without endorsing this position), that it's because most people assume trans men would just compete in "female" competitions.

To me the truth of the matter is that this is a very complex issue with no simple answers. People altering their physiology through hormones obviously can give them advantages or disadvantages that others don't have. As can having different hormone mixes when growing or through puberty. As indeed can a myriad of other genetic factors.

I honestly can't think of a way to make this fair. Do you have any suggestions?


>Can we discuss if overweight people should pay more for sits in a plane? Can we discuss if a trans male who identifies herself to be a woman should be allowed to take part in female sport competition (box, running)?

Those discussions routinely take place on reddit.

Google is your friend, buddy.


If you search /r/unpopularopinion or /r/changemyview you’ll find plenty of examples of such topics being discussed.


I challenge you to do it. You'll instantly be shadowbanned by bots from multiple subreddits, people will actively seek out your posts and point out you're an extremist on unrelated topics (again, triggered by bots pointing you out), and people will use your post history against you in arguments unrelated to whatever you said in those posts.


What are you talking about? Here's a search on r/ChangeMyView for topic of trans people and sports[1].

There's more threads than I can count, and people who say that they think trans people should be segregated have their posts gilded multiple times[2]. That last example was from 3 months ago.

[1] https://old.reddit.com/r/changemyview/search?q=transgender+s...

[2] https://old.reddit.com/r/changemyview/comments/itsq7t/cmv_tr...


What challenge? The question of transgender people in sports comes up like three times per week at the top of change my view.


In case you want to see these discussions, this search shows multiple discussions of exactly this type over the last month:

https://www.reddit.com/r/changemyview/search?q=sports&restri...


All these are discussed over and over again - if you’re really after discussion go to r/changemyview do a search on your favorite topic an read until you find the argument you’d reward a delta to.

Unless you just want to vent.


There certainly is a middle ground and I agree it should be protected. In this case, though, the posters on Voat seem to be nowhere near the middle ground and instead wading around in the cesspool of racial hatred.


He's not saying they're part of the middle ground. He said extreme communities like Voat are the result of not allowing a middle ground and pushing people to one of the extremes.


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GP's is not claiming that overweight or transgender people are inhuman. That statement is exactly the type of extremist stance that is causing this debate in the first place.

Hell, they aren't even claiming that they are in favor of the points mentioned. Just that it's a bad idea for democratic society to shut down such discussion.


The problem with those discussions is that they tend to devolve in shouting matches.

Why is that? It's because this really is about people's feelings and sentiments on those topics. And those emotions range wildly from totally supportive to indifferent to deeply threatened.

While that's all completely valid, voicing your emotions unfiltered on the public Internet in front of an audience of anonymous millions comes with plenty of caveats. It's pretty much like standing up in a crowded, public town square and ranting unfiltered about how you feel personally in no uncertain terms. Or, more insidiously, taking on an appearance of reason and rationality, trying to hide an intention of eliciting an emotional response from others that validates your own feelings.

Many people don't take issue with the topic, they take issue with your behaviour. And they will show you their disapproval.

Free speech allows you to voice whatever is on your mind, but that doesn't force others to listen to you or give you a platform. Democracy doesn't imply that any and all behaviour is to be tolerated.

In real life, such behaviour is relegated to backroom clubs, shady bars and questionable small organizations. The Internet unavoidably hosts their digital equivalent. Moreover, as you can hide behind an anonymous handle on the Internet, move between different platforms fluidly, easily find a platform between thousands that will cater to you,... all of that from the comfort of your couch, really lowers the bar further.

The danger in all of this is when all of those digitally pent up negative emotions spill over in public life and starts affecting the very underpinnings that provide security and stability to each and every member society, regardless of who they are.


> It's because this really is about people's feelings and sentiments on those topics. And those emotions range wildly from totally supportive to indifferent to deeply threatened.

There's another dimension on top of even this. Nuance and shortcuts to commonly-held understanding, provided by body language and intonation, readily used in spoken discussion, are completely unavailable online. Typing out full, unspoken context for argument points takes far too long. So online discussions distill these deeply, deeply held feelings into a few sentences, which leads to oversimplification of one's own argument, and reductio ad absurdum of the other person's. So while "the internet" gives us this "wonderful" opportunity to discuss things that matter in an open and socialized way, it subtly channels such discussions into the most-hyperbolic form of "discussion" by nature of it being typed. Look no further than Twitter for the "best" example of this phenomenon. #SocialMediaIsDestroyingSociety


I find these types of strawman confusing.

It's obvious to anyone who reads them that it doesn't even slightly relate to what anyone here has said (not letting someone participate in sporting events where they have a biological advantage is not exactly calling them pigs) but people post them anyway.

Is there some sort of costly signalling of membership of some social group (woke group?) going on?


Simple, I like to be solidaristic and find the _need_ per se to discuss those topics antagonistic to solidarity. I'm not signalling my virtue, but then again, you're free to call my attitude whatever you want, it just demonstrates our values are entirely distinct.


Problem is you end up forming a link in people's minds between views like yours and strawmen, causing distrust of people like you which will damage your cause.


If you want to read current psychological research on this I'd suggest this paper. It explores the personality attributes of people who virtue signal and what they have to gain from it in current society, and why that wasn't the case before. The personality types are Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy - also referred to as the dark triad.

https://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Ok-...


Reddit has plenty of discussion about violently overthrowing, imprisoning or murdering anyone anyone who is currently "too rich" like Jeff Bezos. Strangely the American redditor seem unaware that the rest of the world might also claim their wealth.


This is a standard strawman. OP was _not_ suggesting that obese/trans people don't deserve to live.


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You do know that people are not required to take hormones to be considered transgender right?

It's not a medical state, it is a social one.


Trans people are required to be on hormones (and even maintain certain levels) to compete in elite sports. See WA and the Olympic committee's rules[0][1]

So yeah, not a transmedicalist, just we have existing frameworks for how to balance inclusion and fairness; there's no open question that needs debate around how trans people can compete in sports (unless you get all your cues from South Park i suppose). The only real debate is around what the levels should be and how to avoid retroactively excluding cis women with hyperandrogenism or related conditions.

Also just as an aside, like a lot of hypotheticals that get forced onto trans people, there isn't any evidence of this being an issue. Trans people just want to live their lives, medicinally transition if necessary, and exist as regular people. The number of people who both chose not to hormonally transition, and are competing in some kind of sporting event where that matters is small enough to be humanly addressed case by case (if there are any at all).

[0]https://www.worldathletics.org/news/press-release/questions-...

[1] https://stillmed.olympic.org/Documents/Commissions_PDFfiles/...


Excellent sources, thank you.


These comments always reek of hipocrasy. Try having a debate on the existence of God, the legitimacy of the church or even the right of gay people to exist somewhere in rural US, you often get threatened with violence (and I mean the actual physical kind) very quickly. But somehow it's the poor antisemists, or homophobes who complain about being "censored" in these discussions.

Two examples of the hipocrasy: John Safran knocking on doors to tell people about atheism in utah: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A1G8nJ2IFjA And here how Tucker Carlsson reacts to his interviewees challenging him and guess what he never aired it (/s censorship!) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6_nFI2Zb7qE


The idea that getting told to fuck off by random people is remotely comparable to getting banned from twitter or reddit is a great example of the desperation to point to some hypocrisy to distract from one's own lack of principles.


A more complete answer is that as platforms become more mainstream and get locked down, they crack down on all forms of transgression. This includes the forms we might come to view as a good thing in hindsight, and the ones we personally indulge in.

The balance is currently that sites like Reddit allow a broad range of content, and have so far not banned a wide enough range of topics to push a significant enough fraction of their userbase away. As Reddit becomes more and more censorious, it might move beyond just banning literal white supremacy, into banning discussion other socially transgressive things. These might include drugs, technology linked to piracy, gambling, pornography and sex work, and a lot of other vices that are both fascinating (from the outside) and enjoyable (from the inside).

Reddit did not make a single choice on what audience to go after. It has made, and will continue to make, such choices every day it operates, and chasing revenue will cause it to ban more and more topics. Eventually, newer and edgier platforms will be able to gain prominence with a userbase of less political and more entertaining transgressors.


This is not true. Reddit's political forums do not censor calls to violence against police for example (i.e. actual hate speech). At the same time they shut down the_donald while arguing that they threaten police (which is BS, since conservatives love the police).


I don't quite grok the ghetto analogy. The Jewish lizard people is totally absurd. There are other arguments less absurd. To know how to defend them you have to know they exist. It's bad because it's racism isn't all that effective at stamping it out.

In addition, putting all the rot in one place leads to the lizard people.


Of course no one individually wants to sacrifice for society. The point is that if everyone is willing to do it, everyone is better off. By making some sort of collective incentive to have a wider distribution of incomes in neighbourhoods and schools, everyone is better off.

The same is true if we want to moderate extremism. If you kick extremists off the mainstream platform, they become more extreme. It's a hard problem.


You pay for it one way or the other. People who don't feel heard radicalize and do things like commit street violence or mass killings.

>Like, I don't see you moving to the ghetto and putting your kids in shitty schools so that you can even things out.

I don't know about your schools, but around here the "magnet" schools with the high level law/math/science/etc programs are ALL in the bad schools. They do this to attract high performing students to poor performing schools. So if you want the benefit of the best public school education specifically geared towards your interest, you pay for it by going to a "bad" school.


> So you pick: them or me?

Don't you create polarization this way?


It just so happens that there are lots of people like me feeling "I want to see cat pics, talk about my Subaru, and about VR and ESP8266". There aren't that many feeling "I want to talk about fanged Jews forming shadowy cabals to suck the blood of gentle babies in the night". I'm okay with drawing a nice bright line in the sand, othering the latter, and having them go start communities where they rage that they can't meet people of the opposite sex.

That sort of polarization is desired. I don't want those guys inside my community. I want them outside. And if you're like "Okay, I think the Jews have fangs but they don't suck baby blood at night" then that's not a degree of moderation I'm interested to have in my community. Out you go. Or out I go. Quite happy to self select out of this community of yours where people want to discuss that.

Remember, I'm here for cat pics, not all that other angry shit. I'm okay with the poles being "normal people" and "weird angry dudes". Seems reasonable.


But it's not remotely like sending your children to a bad school. It's more like living in an actual city where the streets are lined with the guy from that change my view meme:

https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/steven-crowders-change-my-min...

You can just walk right past them. You are only subjected to them insofar as their existence is recognisable, but no more than you wish to engage. Personally, I'm happy to engage them more than you seem to be. We need look no further than the many accounts of ex klan members and other hate groups to see that exposure to the edges and outside of their bubbles are what causes the bubble to burst. Go and visit hyper left anarcho communist subreddits like breadtube and find endless first hand accounts of ex-redpillers in the comments saying the same. Minds are changed every day by debate on sites like reddit, as much as it's nice to play the cynic and claim otherwise.


Oh, you can live in that city if you want. It turns out the majority of us would just rather up sticks and move, until it's just you missionaries and your Klan / Nazi / Fascist broken people you're trying to fix.

I think it's all very noble and all that, but if someone invited me to a party and was all like "Oh yeah, man, and we're going to convert all these Klan dudes to be good people" I'm going to be like "Okay, you do that. I'm going to go to this other party where there are no Klan dudes and the most controversial topic is when we discuss whether we were better off under Wenger".


I mean, it's also not like a weird debate party either. To stretch more analogies, it's like a building hosting permanent parties for every group, and you can go to any of them you like. Just don't go to the nazi party party. Easy.


Oh yeah, that's actually what I like about the Internet. In general, communities stay isolated. The problem with the guys on Reddit is that they'd leak out. I'd be sitting there enjoying my photos of San Francisco when suddenly, out of nowhere, bam! "(((Chesa Boudin))), Jew Extraordinaire, son of Weather Underground Illuminati will stick you full of Israeli heroin and marry your daughter off to a homeless guy who kills police wives". Yeah, no thanks. Back in the box, you go, mate. Back. In. The. Box. Fortunately, Reddit goes after the big hives of these people, and when that's done they actually just go away to their own community, with blackjack and hookers, yelling all the way about free speech.

It turns out just discouraging them from having an SSO that lets them go to the other parties is enough to get them to leave you alone.


[flagged]


So I'm sure those original people went on to found some awesome new community, and us normies are stuck with some lame site that we're still happy with.

A win-win for everyone involved.


At the risk of making a reddit comment... "relevant nickname".


> post anti-Semitic shit everywhere and someone else is going to have to politely explain that Jewish lizard people are not conspiring to elect a Black woman as President

Your actual argument - yeah, sure. All for it. But it is a lot pretend people are anti-Semitic lizard conspiracy theorists if they aren't there to defend themselves. If Reddit wants a more ideologically aligned user-base good luck to them. But this exact scenario has played out many times through history - having a majority culture doesn't magically confer greater moral integrity, or intelligence.


Those days ended fast. I saw it happen. On my forum, that very question was asked, and it wasn’t a philosophical debate. It was an operational one - how do we balance free speech ideals vs actual forum evidence.

The framework that fits the evidence and the ideals was

1) we want a market place of ideas to function

2) there is content that easily dominates and sidelines all other ideas.

3) there are Maliciously engineered arguments that need complex rebuttals to Massive emotional payloads, which will never be accepted.

4) cat videos, pictures and memes will out perform everything else

We let things be for a long time. Very light touch approaches. It doesn’t work. The good ideas will become irrelevant before theY are even read, and that is long after bad ideas redefine reality.

The underlying nexus is that our ideals on free speech do not take into account human wetware bandwidth.

If reality must be perceived, and the perception system is flooded, then it doesn’t matter how good our science or reason is. The system is still blind.


Plus there is an asymmetry here. Wild “theories” and purposefully inflammatory content is easy to post, and also easy to believe for those that align with them ideologically. Countering them, especially to a degree that can be convincing, takes a lot more work. End result, a lot more of the former and less of the latter.


How come moderators don't fall for those 'theories'?

Or more precisely: Why is there a majority of people who upvote those theories but moderators can identify them as what they are and remove them? What has happened to moderators that they can handle the 'theories' that hasn't happened to regular forum members?

Whatever that is, can't this be handed out to new members before they are allowed to vote?


Moderators are there to ensure the community thrives, not to respond to 50 restatements a day of "COVID-19 is a hoax" by people "just asking questions".

Part of that is very much ensuring that the front page is not wall to wall conspiracy theories, and members don't have every thread inundated with the same junk.


So each time a post "just asking questions" is posted, close it with a link to the explanation of why the idea has already been debunked. Just like a Bugzilla dupe or a StackOverflow dupe.


For a long time, Reddit moderators did not have the tools to do this. Regardless, whenever bad-faith argumentation is removed, the person whose comment was removed paints the event as censorship which just backs up their conspiracy argument more


Now do this 1,000 times. Now 10,000 times. It is trivial to suck all the air out of a forum by repeatedly posting this.


Spam detection has been a feature of email clients for a long time. I'm sure even a rudimentary automated detection mechanism could prevent a significant portion of the dupes.


Is that not censorship then?


In order to have a good community, you need a form of censorship, whether through moderation, spam detection, voting systems, and so on. Otherwise, the community as a whole becomes a mess.


Somebody "just asking a question" is not being censored. Somebody "just asking a question" will be happy for the quick response.


(Good) moderators consider it their job to keep nonsense off their boards. They spend the commensurate time and effort to do so. Normal forum members aren't there for that.


Time and effort. The two things that cannot be handed out.


What makes you think mods don’t suffer ?

From the evidence of outsourced moderation, they started being influenced by conspiracy theories and suffering from PTSD


The thing is, simply repeating a common tract, belief, thought, or “fact” to refute and drown out “wild theories” is just as effortless.

There is a serious logical hazard in believing that any of this is asymmetrical.


I don't think it is effortless to refute. Wild theories are effortless to construct since they can be devote of facts, and variants are also effortless to create. Refuting requires gathering facts and evidence. Additionally presenting them in a way that's relatively easy to digest for the audience is also difficult.

Take the recent US election for example. Very effortless to claim fraud and stolen election; just a couple of tweets in fact. Debunking them rather more difficult. Then there are the more specific claims, such as:

- China and Venezuela worked together to do this - Voting machines flipped votes - There were vote dumps at midnight - Dead people voted for Biden

All very easy claims to make, all rather more difficult to debunk sufficiently. Then, when one is debunked, another one easily pops up. Don't get me wrong, I think it's well worth the effort and we should fight disinformation, but effort it does take.


People can just go ctrl+c the response someone else made on the subject.

Bookmark links and have your list of links publicly accessible.


And what do we do with a new variant that pops up? We've debunked dead people voting, now the claim is voting data is being sent to Germany for processing.


A low effort response like "Do you have firm evidence of this?"


I wish that was sufficient to counter disinformation.


A huge problem, which is the cause of this far more than "free speech" ever was, roots in these platforms optimizing for engagement. And then vacuous controversy maximizes engagement so you're really optimizing for controversy, which is a dumpster fire.

But separating the combatants doesn't just stop the algorithmically-promoted unintelligible flame wars. It stops the debate entirely. You lose the ability to even encounter the other tribe or have any idea what their views or concerns are.


> roots in these platforms optimizing for engagement.

I don't think so. This pattern has been observed, and has been a problem, since well before the modern eyeballs-and-engagement-obsessed era of the internet, and before ads were even present on forums at all. What you're describing makes it worse, but even in its absence there is a certain vocal subset of humanity for whom dominating a discussion is its own reward. As a forum grows eventually you will attract one of these people, and from that point on the discourse of the forum will be determined by Survival Of The Loudest.


The pattern existed, but it was never such a serious problem that so many people started using it to justify the current level of censorship and excommunication until after "maximize engagement" turned it up to eleven.


Oh no it really was. I moderated forums in the late 90s early 00s and it was a lot of work to keep things on topic. Back then of course being a moderator was seen as a thankless service to the community rather than some censoring devil.


Pragmatically speaking, that will happen anyway. I’m not gonna use any platform that allows me to encounter Nazis. Voilà: the debate is stopped entirely, even though the platform has done nothing to stop it.

And on that topic, do we really need to debate Nazis? Like, are we so committed to the idea of moral relativism that we can’t draw some lines? Because frankly, I have zero interest in debating with anyone whether or not my family and I should be gassed to death.


I agree with you, and so it seems that actually allowing completely free speech is not that great of an idea in the end - as if it is banned from a major platform they will form their micro-platforms where they will think they are more numerous, and that their ideas are accepted. So I do believe that Europe see it well, there should be a certain border of free speech


You don't have to debate anyone, debates are strictly voluntary.


Coming into contact with bad ideas is the risk we take to participate in any conversation.

Every time people forget, the outcome is some horrible event like genocide.


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Thanks, I hadn't run across that writeup, though well aware of the issue.

This was a little gem in that article, seemingly highly relevant now:

> However, Rawls qualifies this with the assertion that under extraordinary circumstances in which constitutional safeguards do not suffice to ensure the security of the tolerant and the institutions of liberty, tolerant society has a reasonable right of self-preservation against acts of intolerance that would limit the liberty of others under a just constitution, and this supersedes the principle of tolerance. This should be done, however, only to preserve equal liberty – i.e., the liberties of the intolerant should be limited only insofar as they demonstrably limit the liberties of others: "While an intolerant sect does not itself have title to complain of intolerance, its freedom should be restricted only when the tolerant sincerely and with reason believe that their own security and that of the institutions of liberty are in danger."


So that's the stance "the liberties of the intolerant should be limited only insofar as they demonstrably limit the liberties of others" most of the major social networks take and it falls short in that it's hard to draw that line. (also the ideas of constitutional safe guards applying to private entities is a whole other can of worms; id argue the speech the government can limit should be a subset of what any given private moderator might choose to)

Two examples: what im going to call the "im not touching you" type of harassment -- that is posting things clearly designed to hurt and wouldn't make sense in context unless designed for harassment. The platonic example here is the image macro that's the trans flag with the words "Your parents will burry you with the name they gave you". Cuel to the extreme, but doesn't technically call for violence against the given person, or the protected group at large so twitter and facebook, etc happily leave it up (and people wanting to be assholes hyper optimized pretty quick; ive seen the macro posted by multiple people in multiple places).

Second being the idea of stochastic terrorism. Painting a group as an unchecked evil means you don't have to tell anyone specifically they should commit violence, but, it's hard to be surprised if they come to that conclusion. See the shootings in Charleston or Christchurch.


The idea of stochastic terrorism covers all passionate political rhetoric. See the Reagan assasination attempt and the congressional baseball shooting.


> See the shootings in Charleston or Christchurch.

Don't forget about Cesar Sayoc's mail bomb campaign[1].

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


Maybe I should expand a bit more...

I think being scared of coming into contact with bad ideas (and tackling them) just stops people from understanding why they are bad ideas. E.g. if we create a cultural taboo long enough, I do believe people will stop caring if something is bad.

Just look at all the edgy teenagers who think Nazi stuff is funny -- because it's taboo and not talked about enough. Sure, teens will be teens.

But just enough people slip through the cracks and become radicalised in their little bubble, with nobody to deprogram them because of the taboo status. If everybody was still sharing the same space (i.e. popular platforms like reddit) then there's less polarization going on.


> I think being scared of coming into contact with bad ideas (and tackling them) just stops people from understanding why they are bad ideas.

You can learn about these topics in scholarly environments taught by actual experts who can provide you with real analysis. Refusing to have conversations with klan members does not prevent me from understanding and analyzing racism in america. In fact, I'm going to get a much better understanding by speaking to historians than klan members, since klan members aren't exactly incentivized to provide a dispassionate analysis of their ideology.

People aren't scared of coming into contact with bad ideas. People are frustrated with having to come into contact with propagandizing bigots who want to murder them.


> I’m not gonna use any platform that allows me to encounter Nazis

The main reason you think of your political opponents as nazis is because you haven't been interacting with them and talking to them.

"Nazi" as a label is pretty useless as there are dozens of beliefs that are associated with "Nazi" (normally used as a label for rejecting any of the core tenants of progressivism), most people called Nazis might agree with a watered down version of one of them and disagree with the rest (The amount of conflation going on is a bit ridiculous, someone who believes in using military power to acquire resources and someone who believes in a "traditional" gender roles and someone who thinks those with learning difficulties should be steralized and someone who thinks Jews have too much influence in media are all "Nazis" but will agree with eachother on nothing else).

Of course, because someone who voices one of the views will get ejected from their community and go to the community of rejects where other people who had a single "Nazi" belief are... they'll become radicalized and adopt some of the other "Nazi" views they would otherwise have opposed (though rarely all). :/


Is your thesis seriously that nazi does not exists?

And in fact quite a few of your examples in fact are part of that ideology.


"Nazism" in today's usage is a collection of ideas (many with some ressemblance to the ideas of 1940 Germany). The label "nazi" is applied to anyone who believes any of them.

The biggest reason why holding one of these ideas makes it likely you'll hold the others are the effects oulined above (people being pushed into the wotch community). So, in essence, the modern censorship environment created the modern Nazi. :D


And how do you explain the correlation in the past? Because the correlation of these ideas is not modern development, it was like that already during Nazi era - and when before it.


Not sure there was a correlation. What makes you think there was?

They were all pretty popular ideas though.


Let’s look at a sample of posts on the Voat front page as of right now:

- Where else can I say “Kill yourself, you glowing n+gg+rf+gg+t landwhale k+ke” without being banned? Voat is the only place I know of where I can do that.

- The Holocaust is a lie. It didn’t happen, but it should have,

- Voat will go away but its deep disgust of jews will forever remain in my heart.

Slurs not censored in the actual posts, obviously. So, you’ll forgive me for thinking Voat is full of literal Nazis.

Edit, censored with plus signs because asterisks were italicizing the text.


Makes sense. Lies spread faster than truth, and repetition legitimizes are fundamentally incompatible with the marketplace of ideas mindset.


Really? It took a huge mobilization of media manipulation fear mongering and gas lighting to get the American public to swallow the Weapons of Mass Destruction and/or Saddam did 9/11 lies. If people had been free to speak their minds (https://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/21/phil_donahue_on_his_2...) back then we wouldn't have been lead into that war like lemmings. Information is control. I trust the funny cat lady next door to not start a war with Iran more than I trust anyone on an editorial board of an American newspaper not to. Lies require censorship of truth to survive.

EDIT: added a reference. Keep in mind for every anti-war journalist fired for standing up to the official lies there were easily 100 who kept their heads down. Im not scared of flat earth lies. I'm scared of Iraq war or even worse, World War I levels of deception.


Other ways lies survive.

* By being easily digestible and easy to state while the the refutation requires a long form explanation.

* By spreading faster and being repeated more often than the truth preying on our innate bias toward things we’ve heard before.

* By being tied to an unrelated political ideology or issue of intellectual or moral superiority.

* By gaslighting where the authority of truth tellers are undermined.

* As a form of the Streisand effect where any attempt to discredit or silence lie tellers is parlayed into more evidence for its truth.

* When the belief in the truth imparts a material, social, or image cost to the would-be believer.


Its not just lies either, its honest mistakes that are novel and/or cause emotional reactions. The retweet button is a mistake amplifier

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146

People need to become aware just how bad most social media content that reaches them is.


> If people had been free to speak their minds back then

Are you under the impression that people weren't free to speak their minds "back then"? People did speak their minds, loudly and regularly. That didn't change the outcome.


Yes: there were marches of millions of people in all the major cities of the Western hemisphere against what were readily understood to be the lies of the Bush Administration rushing to war. Didn't matter. The invasion of Iraq happened, and millions stood dumbfounded, unable to understand how they could have failed when they clearly got their message out.


> If people had been free to speak their minds back then

What?

> Lies require censorship of truth to survive.

This is naive. People willfully believe lies if they support their worldview, even in the presence of truth.


> Lies require censorship of truth to survive.

No they don't. Lies spread faster than truth[1] and repetition legitimizes[2]. The marketplace of ideas is the just world fallacy for people who like to think a lot.

[1] https://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1114.8.full

[2] https://www.spring.org.uk/2010/12/the-illusion-of-truth.php


> The underlying nexus is that our ideals on free speech do not take into account human wetware bandwidth.

Really well said. I'll admit I lean on "wetware" in these convos too.

Free speech perhaps breaks down in net-centric reality. Social norms that worked in a 2D plane of existence are not guaranteed to continue working when physical space constraints start to break down -- when every human agent is networked to every other human agent, oh and also centers of massive compute resources (with operators who have their own agendas)


I would say it's even more basic than that. The "marketplace of ideas" paradigm only works when there is in fact positive incentives to sustain the marketplace. In a environment where it costs next to nothing to disseminate bad information for personal gain, there is no economic mechanism to stop people from doing it.

Even if we had unlimited bandwidth, it would be wasted in such a war of attrition.


Do you think charging for a forum account would change the outcome?

Would having people pay for a user account in order to be able to post on a forum reduce the amount of hate speech and related?


There is a reasonably well-known example of a large forum that charges users for account creation.

Something Awful has charged $10 for account creation for as long as i can remember.

While I do think it has kept away most low-effort trolls, there have certainly been deeply toxic attitudes and arguments still happened. Doxxing, organized harassment, racism and similar nastiness have certainly been issues with some regularity in most of the subforums.

The only reason why it has been kept down is a relatively large team of admins and moderators, and they have been far from infallible, there has been tons of drama in that regard, including at least one mod who literally doxxed other forums users to white supremacists.

On the whole though, the discussions there are a lot more civilized than on sites like Reddit. I think the small entry fee is part of it, but also thanks to an active moderation team and the standard policy being to put people in timeout first, instead of insta-banning for any offence.

Obviously there are differing views on how well it actually works, leading to various spin-off forums, with different policies and philosophies.


I wonder if you could do that kind of thing on a large scale. Require a small contribution, say $1 a year, and use the proceeds to hire a moderation team that was deliberately coached to allow controversial arguments but prevent malicious echo chambers from poisoning the entire ecosystem.

It would necessarily be a less profitable site than the competition, but that might not be a problem as long as it wasn't venture-funded.


There's one way to promote healthy discussion. Instead of just up and downvoting, you can give people the option to vote for "well argued" and "I agree" separately. I've seen a Finnish newspaper site use this.


No.

Here’s a thought experiment I’ve come up with to illustrate this: what happens tomorrow if we shut down all social media (to whatever level you define social media.)

This gets to the crux of the issue - the underlying reality of the speed of information broadcast/transmission and the social-informational structures that are constructed to absorb it.


We probably already have the means to develop tech to solve this, its just not in the interests of most SM platforms - and since they're proprietary you can't really make a 3rd party company to offer a filtering / "lens" solution either.


Metafilter did this, and I think was highly successful in terms of maintaining civility, but it’s no less an echo chamber.


Counteranecdote: I remember being on a forum for a good ten years while it had a free speech policy. It worked just fine as in practice social pressures and being shouted down kept any talk of "gas the jews" basically nonexistant.

Unfortunately, the forum moderation team became woke and started introducing rules ouutlawing types of speech they disagreed with. This ended up reinforcing a whole load of vicious cycles (conservatives self-censoring, conservatives being ejected, moderation drifting further left) and you ended up with a very nasty circle-jerk of endless posters trying to one-up eachother with the latest scandal about how Evil their enemies were. Surprisingly, it didn't just kill discussion of left vs right on social issues, it killed basically all discussion of non-culture war political topics as well, drowned out by the purity spiral circlejerk.


> The underlying nexus is that our ideals on free speech do not take into account human wetware bandwidth.

Damn, this is such a good metaphore, I had to think a lot about it.

For my browser [1] I wanted to introduce a fact gathering and linking system, and build it in a way that bias of authors (and publishers) can be guessed when they release a new article.

My theory is that Rationalism will never be anything that can exist, because it is the opposite of human nature (or say, the founding idea of our society).

The underlying issue is that emotions cause a lot of people to get irrational due to them not being able to differ a potentially dangerous situation with a potentially (equally) good one.

I think that most (if not all) of fake news websites were shared because of only a couple of reasons:

1) Humans like to get reinforced in their own perception more than they like to get disagreed with.

2) Articles in these type of publishing mediums appeal to emotions rather than to facts, hence the reason for why they use pictures, videos and other recordings as "evidence" even when they had totally nothing to do with it.

3) Humans are lazy. This is by far the most important point. If it is easy to comply with an emotional statement, and hard to gather evidence to disprove it; the emotional statement will always win.

4) Humans confuse disagreement with punishment. As a kid you get taught that there are negative effects when you disagree with society, or your mum/dad or other authoritarian figures. Rather than to punish kids when they are wrong we should encourage the gathering of evidence, and let them form an argument for both sides.

5) Humans are beings that forget. That is why media for the masses reuses pictures of a situation that happened years ago as "proof" for something clickbaity. Most people won't remember it if it was a situation that had a boring outcome, but they certainly will remember it when it had a negative emotional effect on themselves.

6) Depression is a huge hole where nobody without external support can come out, due to how our thinking nature works. Similar to 5) our brain is wired to remember negative punishments more than positive reinforcements, and that is why we tend to get depressive more likely than we tend to get optimistic...which in turn plays in the cards of fake news because the bad obvious enemy could do some serious bad thing to us.

But yeah, these are just my two cents. Due to my browser I thought a lot about this and came to the conclusion that irrational hate speech is worse an enemy than someone might think on first sight.

[1] https://github.com/tholian-network/stealth


> Rationalism will never be anything that can exist

This insight helps me understand why I am so frustrated with political forums. Thank you.

But being an analytic, how can this be improved? And are some societies/countries/governments better at doing so? Is it easier in a more homogeneous society?


I think the issue is one of scale. Having non-perfect free-speech is fine on your usual forum site, and somewhat has to be used to ensure quality. While, at the absolutely massive scale that Reddit and other social media giants are at, they (in my view) should essentially have very little to no say in what content appears upon the site. Now, individual moderators for subreddits could be more stringent due to being sub-communities (and thus smaller).

This would allow high quality moderation that lets communities focus on topics without as much worry about free-speech issues. Essentially allowing the classic, 'Go build your own social media' be actually possible since the communities that may not like your content are sufficiently small.


This sounds good until you realize that we're dealing with literal-not-figurative fascists here. The world has figured out how to deal with a Nazi. I've linked this elsewhere in the thread, but it is worth understanding the lessons of this story deeply: https://twitter.com/IamRageSparkle/status/128089153745134387...

Say you're something anodyne, like /r/RomanHistory or something (I don't know if that's real). For obvious reasons, that is a topic that Western fascists really like; they're gonna come by, even if their "fascist hat" isn't on right that second. But that train's never late, that fascist hat goes on eventually. And the first fascist might be polite. So might his friends. And maybe you see a few off-color jokes that maybe you, as a slightly-but-not-heavily-invested mod, slap down--but those jokes are the way that they start to find each other. And meanwhile, as things grow? What often happens is that one of their more buttoned-up types ends up on your moderation team, because hey, they're Respected By The Community (and this happens in person, too, when it comes to groups and political entities; this is a very common foot-in-the-door tactic). And then it just grows from there. Maybe you've got the spine to "ruin everything" by kicking them out at this point, by cutting out the rot, but that's going to hurt and hmm, maybe it's best to just go along and get along, especially because any time you try to act against it, you've got those folks who pipe up about how Nazis should have freedom of speech too, even if you don't like their ideas...

...and now you have a fascist community.

"Strong moderation"--the bartender in that story telling the first fascist to get the hell out--is not something that can be even remotely taken for granted. You must insulate your systems against fascism because it is a hack of the system. The instinctual emotional attack it employs on a liberal order requires so much more work to stop than it does to continue that anywhere it can take root, it can strangle everything else. This is real, and this is what those coded "free speech ideals" are being weaponized to protect while it grows.


This is wrong on so many levels. You are encouraging witch hunts based on fear and paranoia. Moderation is about maintaining order, not slapping down baddies. You could argue that one leads to the other, but it's the difference in mindset that allows for effective moderation without the need for all that negativity.


> Moderation is about maintaining order, not slapping down baddies.

That's the same thing.

I have several friends who are professors of medieval history. For various reasons, fascists are really interested in medieval european history and like to attend conferences as "independent scholars". They pass out propaganda and harass scholars who have the gall to do things like discuss women in medieval europe or any form of cultural transmission between europe and the islamic world. The solution has been to rip this stuff out. You can't have "order" in the conference where people are able to share actual scholarly work while free of harassment without "slapping down the fascists".


>That's the same thing

I disagree. You can enforce behavioral restrictions without reducing it to us vs them. It is about order and maintaining good relations. In the case of people disrupting your conference, you can have them removed for their behavior without resorting to name calling and framing it like you're "fighting fascists". It's like policing. If you reduce it to "catching bad guys", you won't get good police.


Why is it always an expectation that people handle fascists with kid gloves?

Some racist asking questions at a panel about wild shit they read online is a waste of conference time. 20 racists asking questions at a panel about wild shit they read online ruins entire conferences. You need to nip that in the bud.


I assume you know this and the question was rhetorical, but in this case, you're being told to handle white supremacists with kid gloves because you're talking to a white supremacist. (Check the username, check his commentary history, he's just Another One Of Those.)

Occasionally they have useful idiots carving out their elbow room, but the heartening thing about 2020--maybe the only thing--is that there are ever fewer useful idiots, and instead rhetorical positions like this have to be taken up by folks who just don't hide their "power levels" the way they would need to for adequate opsec.


>(Check the username, check his commentary history, he's just Another One Of Those.)

Wow. You are so off the mark I don't even know what to say. It's this kind of thinking that divides the world. It is paranoid us vs them garbage.


My dude.

I read your posts.

They speak for themselves.


Apparently not, since you are wrong. You are paranoid "my dude".


Moderation is a mash up of several roles- I expect it to expand over time. One of those roles IS slapping baddies.

You are on the forum so long you figure out who is a repeat offender and who are the coordinates groups


I moderate one fairly active and one very in-active discussion groups.

The actual work is very similar, only varying in quantity.

On both groups, there are regulars, regulars with known triggers, casuals who might become regulars, and flamers. The regulars with specific triggers can be progressively discouraged.

The flamers must be stopped hard, or else they dominate conversation for days or weeks, making everyone else unhappy. You can give them a second chance, but not a third.


So this is an idea we should apply, then? We have to worry about Stalinists as well as Nazis though, because Stalin killed more people than Hitler. So anyone espousing Soviet ideas like socialized medicine should be excommunicated as well, shouldn't they?

But you can put a lot of harm down to the excesses of capitalism too. We could eject anyone expressing sympathies for that Adam Smith fellow as well.

Or maybe this is rapidly getting out of hand.


Political systems not tethered to the murder of millions present arguments for socialized medicine that are legitimate and in good faith.

No political system presents an argument for white supremacy that is legitimate and in good faith.

I hope this elaboration of the obvious is helpful.


> So anyone espousing Soviet ideas like socialized medicine should be excommunicated as well

That's a Soviet idea? It seems national health insurance was first conceived in Imperial Germany[0] (which the Weimar Republic, then the Nazis continued), then adopted in Britain, then Imperial Russia (which presumably the Soviets continued). Get your facts straight.

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_health_care#History


Who is talking about where an idea originated? Many of these ideas predate written language. Nazis didn't invent racism either, are you trying to say that racism isn't a Nazi idea? The context is clearly that it's an idea associated with them.


> The context is clearly that it's an idea associated with them.

Is it? Says who? The Soviets did a great many things. It doesn't mean all of them are "Soviet things". Nationalized healthcare predates the Soviets, still exists in nearly all capitalist countries in one form or another, and is viewed largely positively in each of those countries.

The Soviets had a powerful military and infamous police force. When you say "Soviet Russia" the average person will think "Red Army" and "KGB" before nationalized healthcare. Going by your logic are the military and police "socialist ideas"? They use government money to provide an equal level of service to all inhabitants of the nation - namely protecting and safeguarding them. Police and military obviously predate socialism/communism but the Soviets were renowned for them, so that makes them socialist ideas, right?

Comparing racism in Nazism - a core central tenet, and one that's actively harmful, to nationalized healthcare in communism - an incidental feature, mostly positive, and also found in nearly every capitalist country, is a strawman.


See that's the problem. It takes a hugely asymmetrical effort to counter obvious bullshit than to spew it.


> Nationalized healthcare predates the Soviets

Where? In most of the Western countries that have it, it post-dates WWII, and corresponds to the replacement of capitalism in the relatively pure sense with the modern mixed economy, which is arguably more Marxist than the USSR and other “Communist” regimes based on Leninism and it's descendants.


Just a few comments up, Imperial Germany is mentioned (pre-dating the Weihmar Republic and the Nazi Regime).


Nazism isn’t just any philosophy that has harmed people though, it’s a philosophy based on the innate premise of harming people. There is a major difference between arguing for something that the other side believe will cause harm, and arguing for something that’s primary goal is to cause harm.

Or, put another way, saying its rapidly getting out of hand because you make assumptions about what else could be banned is the slippery slope fallacy. Saying what exactly constitutes unacceptable speech on a given platform just needs to be specifically defined.


The original claim was that you have to preemptively eject anyone with even a weakly implied fascist sympathy because otherwise you'll soon be overrun with actual Nazis. No sense of irony in claiming that a counterargument is the slippery slope fallacy?

And the point I'm making isn't that you would eject all communists and capitalists in practice, it's that you would have to do so in a consistent application of that principle. It's a reductio ad absurdum. You can take anything and find a tenuous connection from there to something terrible, so arguing that we have to ban the anything because allowing it would enable an influx of people connected to the something terrible is ridiculous. Applied as a consistent principle it would require you to ban everything.


I am wary of continuing to feed the troll, but you understand that there's a difference of kind between a communist and a Stalinist, yes? Tankies can and should be bopped on sight, too. There is a crucial difference, in that they are not generally actively attempting to subvert the liberal order--they are disorganized and, tbh, generally not really capable of doing so--but they don't belong in decent company either.


Can you give some specifics of #3 just for color? I'm not interested in debating or trolling at all. I'm just curious what people say that does this. Is it just people cheering for Trump or something?


While it doesn't address the "massive emotional payload" bit, Russell's Teapot is the canonical example of an argument that's easy to make and almost impossible to categorically disprove, despite being factually inaccurate. Now imagine that but about a topic people have strong opinions on, and you get something that requires so much preamble to disprove that those who believe it aren't willing to hear the rebuttal.

Basically, you just make something up entirely. If you say that 100,000,000 Americans are killed every year in skiing accidents, that's easy to disprove. But if you post a clip of someone getting punched from an obscure 1970s sitcom that only aired in Hungary and then claim it happened at a restaurant in Denver, that's going to be a lot more difficult to disprove even if the claim is extremely dubious unless you're lucky enough to know the original context.

Some of the more common examples of this in recent times include faked tweet screenshots (mildly difficult to disprove as Twitter's search isn't very useful, and the liar can just say "oh they deleted it"), anecdotes about meeting a celebrity and them doing something unacceptable (basically impossible to disprove unless the meeting DID happen but the incident didn't and eyewitnesses can vouch - see also: the Gritty incident), and videos being used to smear a group despite none of the people involved actually being from that group (reverse video search is extremely difficult, and that relies on it being something previously published rather than recorded explicitly for misinformation campaigns).


I believe this is called the "Gish Gallop". The idea being that I can come up with many, many more questions that are hypothetical, but that require more energy to answer than they take to ask. Often times the person will combine this with a carefully worded question that has to be unwound by the counter-debater.

Like, "Knowing that this will cost working class Americans jobs, why do you want X?"

Well... X doesn't cost jobs, X might even create jobs. But now I have to explain that. And if I slow down for even one second, you have an opening to fire off another question or paint me as somehow waffling.


> Like, "Knowing that this will cost working class Americans jobs, why do you want X?"

A good politician would never answer that question. Instead they would answer a different question that they already had a good answer to. “I think the important thing to remember here is...”

This tactic works just as well online. Never directly answer a question you don’t like. Always stay on message.

By the time you finish your answer the listener should have already forgotten the question.


Thing is--you are assuming that both sides want to exercise rhetoric.

The weakness, and it is a weakness, of the generally liberal discussion participant is that they very often want to discuss what a thing is and what it means. Wonkishness is a positive trait in discussing policy, but it means that rhetoric, no matter how openly disingenuous, has to be addressed; the consequences (or the inanity) have to be dissected, that's part of why they are there.

Incidentally, this is what leads to the current state of affairs--the side that is unmoored from any pretense of reality can say whatever the hell they want and will put the other side into knots.

It isn't clever, and it is frustrating because your advice is good, but it is real.


I find this inappropriate. Politicians are engaged in political messaging - so it makes sense there - but online, we're engaged in conversation. What you're describing is good at putting a message across - but I don't want to have conversations with people who are simply broadcasting a message in my general direction. It's a form of bad faith communication, same as the weighted question.

These days, I'd probably just not respond to bad faith communication, but I've historically enjoyed being horrible. Unlike a politician, you don't have to preserve your own credibility in the eyes of onlookers, so you can just be awful if you want.


I don't think this is a good tactic when you have an audience that is even halfway awake. when I see this happen on a topic I'm not very familiar with, my first reaction is to think it was an incisive question that OP realized they did not have a good response to.

I find that there is usually a fairly small number of "gotcha" questions that come up over and over for a particular topic. the "trans people in competitive sports" question in this thread is a good example. what makes these types of questions rhetorically effective is that they're usually at least half-rooted in truth. in my experience it's more effective to recognize the likely gotchas and have a response ready, or better yet, preempt it entirely. at the very least, you should explain why you're not answering the question, lest it appear that you are the one arguing in bad faith. you have to keep in mind that you're not just trying to convince your interlocutor but also your audience.


Not the OP, but as an example:

Take a flat earther argument that's explanations within explanations within explanations to cover whatever "what about x?" type of questions you have.

Change "flat earther" to whatever conspiracy theory/controversial topic of the day, and there you go.


How to build a strawman 101.


Tones of statements fall under that header. It can be Trump supporters tallking about election fraud, nazis talking about "race based IQ distributions" or transphobes talking about "bathroom predators"; there's no shortage of these kind of bad faith low effort "arguements". There are mountains of high quality sources you can use to argue against the claims but it takes many times the work than just showing up to "just ask questions" as bigots are want to do.

Having a 0 tolerance policy for these kinds of people makes your space safer for maginalized communities and ends up with better debates/discussions over all since, as i alluded to, these arguments aren't actually in good faith or rooted in any sort of data.


No interest in wading into the specifics of these topics obviously. But, it occurs to me that deciding which topics are troll topics and which ones aren’t confers a lot of power.

I have actually seen people banned from communities when coming armed with pretty detailed data and thorough argumentation. I wonder if there’s a principled way to separate low-effort trolls from those simply willing to argue the unpopular side of a controversial topic.


I don't moderate anything anymore, but I generally have an n strikes policy when debating with someone.

If I spend [not insignificant amount of time/mental energy] with you just to disprove something inane, and you do that to me n times, I won't argue with you anymore, even if the n+1th time happens to not be completely baseless. At that point it's either explicitly on purpose, or implicitly linked with a bias that makes them susceptible to bullshit that confirms said bias.

I don't know if there's any ab initio way of knowing if someone's spouting nonsense on purpose or not, so character patterns are hard to scale. But that's why moderation online is harder and faster than in real life, because you don't have a 1on1 interaction in the same way. It's up to netizens to behave and think before speaking.


You have to always remember it comes down to scale. The fact that making the claims is always less work than debunking them already has the balance of power way off into the claimant end. So anyone moderating anything is going to turn to heuristics; you can see which topics tend to attract people acting in bad faith and at the very least have extra standards on. I'll go back to trans people since Ive personally got the most experience debunking bigotry in that arena, what are the odds that some random user on an unrelated forum has independently researched something that's going to completely flip established science on its head? It's fairly low, and allowing argument just creates a false debate. To use examples I would hope get everyone on board, think flat earthers. There's no version of that discussion that doesn't end with "here are all the data suggesting a round earth + things you can literally do yourself with a bit of math and a car" vs "that's just what the <insert boogieman that's a thin metaphor for marginalized group> want you to think". Since you know how it ends, just ban it to start.

Hell you can see the consequences of not holding a firm line on these sorts of things in this thread. There are people literally "just asking questions" about "men in women's sports" as an example of the "terrible reddit censorship"; as if it's not transparently obvious what they're doing.

So you have to ask yourself, even if you could reliably id anyone who wanted to argue in good faith (i'd argue this is considerably harder than you'd think though that's more of a gut feeling /shrug), if their goals are "convince the world that <race, gender, nationality, sexuality> is causing harm" what is the value of giving that a platform even if you're willing to expend the emotional energy to debunk it (over and over and over and over because even if you have some kind of metric, your users don't and if allowed someone always feeds the trolls).


There is a principled way I'd think, but very few minds remain anymore that haven't been corrupted by incompatible heuristics.


Your examples are very revealing of a larger problem.

Not only are these viewpoints, which you claim can only be argued in bad faith, supported by empirical evidence, but the people who dare to support them publicly are risking social and financial ruin. If "unsafe" and "marginalized" do not describe their situation, then the words have no meaning.

As a minority from one of the groups at the unflattering end of the crime rate distributions, it is my lived experience that the type of censorship you are advocating for is what makes me feel unsafe.

Inconvenient empirical truths about my community can not be discussed in the sort of polite and caring settings where the seeds of real solutions that don't ignore reality could germinate.

Instead, they can only be discussed in rude and hateful settings.


> Reddit, in its earlier days, was never dominated by the Voat contingent.

One of Reddit's most visited subreddits in the early days, between 2007 and 2011, was one dedicated to sharing suggestive pictures of minors[1]. It was chosen as "subreddit of the year" in 2008 and the subreddit was the second most searched term on Reddit[2].

There was definitely a core of users with questionable characters on Reddit for whom "free speech" meant sharing extremist, or at least perverse, content. The Reddit CEO even issued a "memo on free speech" to address the situation[1].

[1] https://venturebeat.com/2012/10/17/reddit-ceo-issues-interna...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversial_Reddit_communiti...


Looking at the second link just makes me nostalgic for the heyday of reddit drama. So many shitty subreddits on there I forgot all about.


Those weren't the early days; Condé Nast owned it and you could make your own subreddits by then. Early on it was very science, tech, and liberal. Mysogynistic, but not alt-right/hate content like Voat.


Then the question is whether it's better to allow people with unsavory views a minority platform on mainstream sites where they'll try to convert others, or force them to their own niche echo chambers that will inevitably be extremely toxic.

It's basically a tradeoff between visibility to the public and density of toxic content.


> niche echo chambers

Letting every sub have it’s own moderators with nearly free-reign is a big part of the problem.


Not density, Absorbablity.

Even 1 headline, as outlandish as it may be, if it is read it can influence a user.

Crucially there are some ideas/content that will just get through filters, no matter how thin it’s presence.


I think part of the issue is that the average age of Reddit users plummeted. It was in the high 20s, but I've seen some research that puts it in the high teens these days / early 20s.

That has a huge impact on the quality of conversations.


And politics have infected every single discussion. Nowadays it's cool to be partisans, decades ago a teenager talking about politics would be dismissed with a "get a hobby, nerd."

It is an absolute disgrace how it's become normal. Or that mine is an unpopular opinion nowadays.


> decades ago a teenager talking about politics would be dismissed with a "get a hobby, nerd."

I was a teenager three decades ago.

1. No one would ever say “get a hobby, nerd” (“get a life...”, OTOH)

2. No one would say that about teens talking about politics, which non-nerd teenagers did commonly. They would say it about talking about computer code, though.

> It is an absolute disgrace how it's become normal

Why?

> Or that mine is an unpopular opinion nowadays.

The continuous political vigilance widely acknowledged to be necessary to prevent liberal democracy from devolving into tyranny is incompatible with the political disengagement you seem to prefer, so I think would be not at all a disgrace if your opinion were unpopular.

Though lamenting political engagement isn't particularly unpopular (but, amusingly enough since it often is overtly tied to complaints about partisanship, seems particularly popular among partisans of the right.)


> The continuous political vigilance widely acknowledged to be necessary to prevent liberal democracy from devolving into tyranny is incompatible with the political disengagement you seem to prefer, so I think would be not at all a disgrace if your opinion were unpopular.

That is if you believe that politics have infected all corners of the Internet because there's a "struggle to prevent democracy from devolving into tyranny", paraphrased from your quote.

In my opinion it is the other way around: politics are everywhere nowadays, and it's perfectly fine and encouraged that teenagers participate and radicalise further toward one side, people whose critical mind are still under development. Add a sprinkle of bipartisan politics, so it's often a matter of black and white, and the amplifying power of social media, and that's the perfect recipe towards tyranny, bigotry, entrenchment and moving further and further from the centre.

I said this on other threads and I'll repeat: until not very long ago at all, politics was a game for rich, old people. It still is, but these days you're shamed if you're not actively involved in it.

I'm from Europe, while this attitude has started to affect over here as well, it's come from the English-speaking world (two famous bipartisan democracies, which are very overrepresented on the Internet) yet people are always quick to point out "The internet/world has always been so politicised." No it wasn't, in my experience.


I am not the original commentor but would like to address :

> > It is an absolute disgrace how it's become normal > Why?

I have seen where almost ALL discussions lead to judgement based on politics and that takes away from the core discussion point. What is the point of having separate subs then?

For example take this link (https://www.reddit.com/r/soccer/comments/khlnyz/ronaldinho_o...), this was the top post on the subreddit when I saw it last night, the top-most comment is not about well wishes for his mother OR about how he thought about Covid OR whether or not he denied covid but rather the fact that he is "right-wing". Now I understand how bad it is but that is not the point of the sub. And that has become the norm , at least on reddit, which if not a disgrace, at least leaves a bad taste.

I've seen people take time to go through your profile and dig out one comment and then label you, just one. That feels like a disgrace.


> I've seen people take time to go through your profile and dig out one comment and then label you, just one. That feels like a disgrace.

Eh, depends on the comment. I recently saw a particularly erroneous comment about COVID-19, so I checked the poster's comment history to see whether it was worth trying to engage them in good faith, or just post a dry correction for others to see. I then saw this comment posted earlier that day:

> I don’t know if it’s blacks in general that are just retarded or if it’s balcks coupled with the history of slavery that makes them so useless and violent, either way I think this country would be VASTLY better off without them.

...I think it's pretty fair to label them based off of that one comment. For content that abhorrent, any number of occurrences above zero is enough to tell what kind of person a user is.


> ...I think it's pretty fair to label them based off of that one comment. For content that abhorrent, any number of occurrences above zero is enough to tell what kind of person a user is.

Whilst I agree that the comment you refer to is absolutely abhorrent and should be treated as such, I also strongly believe that people have the capacity to change and that we as a society should be pushing for that change.

If that comment was from a number of years ago, any number of things could have happened to change that persons view of the world and the people in it.

If you have someone who's so misinformed that they hold these horrendous views then casting them aside forever is, in my view, the opposite of what we should be doing.

In the physical world we tend to put people in to the 'correctional' system (whether it works as a correctional system is very much up for debate), but in the virtual world, we just censor them and let them go away and reinforce their views with each other in their own space.

We'll never get a better society if we don't challenge the nasty parts of it and work out why people go down that path and, critically, forgive them if they change.


Where did you find that comment? My googling is failing me...

Also, that comment is interesting because the actual things stated (higher violence, worse economic output, net burden on the state) are literally true and uncontroversial but the way they are phrased and the mere fact they are brought up at all tells an unpleasant story.

Unless of course the commentator is just ignorant or uncaring about such implications (e.g. an edgelord).


> Where did you find that comment? My googling is failing me...

The comment in question was posted on /r/allmyopinions.


Yeah I mean sure, see, my personal POV is the world isnt binary and there are always, always edge cases. The thing you said seems more of an edge case where one comment is sufficient. But this has to be the exceptional cases, not the norm (however, it is not a norm for reddit users, surely is for celebrities / well known figures)


you forget reddit is a constantly living thing. Check the thread again. You have to scroll way down to see any negative notions. Its clearly just noise.


> The continuous political vigilance widely acknowledged to be necessary to prevent liberal democracy from devolving into tyranny is incompatible with the political disengagement you seem to prefer

This is backwards. The tyranny is caused by the vigilance.


> The tyranny is caused by the vigilance.

Not of those interested in liberty, but, sure of the vigilance of would by tyrants when met with the apathy of those who prefer liberty.

“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” —John Philpot Curran


It's a disgrace that people have taken to discussing politics in a democratic-republic?


I generally hear this sentiment from those who are self proclaimed “centrists” and are relatively unaffected by politics. It’s a little sad how many people think political discussion shouldn’t take place in democratic countries.


There's a difference between discussion and the five-minute hate where people recite a list of manufactured transgressions.

Most people who say we should discuss politics more seem to mean that we should affirm the local viewpoint.


Reddit stopped caring about political manipulation by organised bots and paid shills since before the 2016 election. In fact, PACs openly admitted to the practices during the election.

Reddit absolutely doesn't care, they'd rather bombard you with ads and tracking garbage and pretend they're a viable platform through half-assed initiatives.


Kind of ironic that anti politics discussions seems to derail every HN thread these days.


I don't understand. Why is it a disgrace that teenagers talk about politics, or are allowed to do so without being insulted?


I think they were saying that the coolness of partisanship is what's disgraceful.


Idk what you define as being cool but here's Tom Morello destroying a guitar in front of a Nazi Lives Don't Matter screen. https://twitter.com/TerranSocialist/status/13409250499944243...


> ...when the popular platforms stop being free speech platforms.

No, this always happens, any time you get more than two people in one room together. Eventually, intolerable assholes drive either everyone else away, or they get driven away.

Meanwhile, people who aren't bothered by that particular intolerable asshole shrug their shoulders, and ask 'What's the big deal?', and 'Can't we all just be rational robots who get along?', and 'This is purely an intellectual conversation, the outcome of which has absolutely no material bearing on my life, why are people getting so worked up over this?'


>Reddit, in its earlier days, was never dominated by the Voat contingent

It has less to do with fReE sPeEcH and more to do with reddit being a niche platform for nerds in the early days (and as far as 2008).

>They were there, but they were far less extreme there than they were on Voat.

Until reddit became mainstream. Then the front page got taken over by /r/The_Donald crowd. There is a reason that subrredit is no more.

>And then whenever they would post rank inaccuracies, there were clearer-minded people to point out why they were wrong, in the same place where the same people could see it.

And there flowed rivers of milk and honey.... Wait, no, you'd get banned from /r/The_Donald faster than you can blink after you post something that didn't align. And it wasn't even the worst subreddit.

>Meanwhile in the 7% of cases when they actually had a legitimate point to make, they could make it, and the people who benefited from hearing it would actually hear it instead of continuing to be unawares and consequently continuing to be wrong about something.

Cry me a river about losing the educational value neo-nazis provide. You don't eat an apple that's 93% rotten, you throw it into the compost pile. This post shows that the compost pile couldn't even sustain itself.

>But it doesn't work to have one popular platform which allows nearly everyone except for Those Deplorables

To the contrary, the platform that works for these "deplorables" (your words) doesn't work for literally everyone else.

As a proof, we see this very post. Nobody is interested in having these people around.

Reddit wasn't a popular platform when it started out. It gained a huge amount of users because Digg messed up. If kicking the Voat contingent out were a mistake, Voat would bethe new reddit (it has the same features platform-wise, after all).

>Because witch hunts are bad...

Straw man argument. These people were kicked out for their hostile and toxic behavior, not for their ideas.

Kicking out people who poop in public places is not a "witch hunt", because it's not based on identity, but on bad behavior.

There are plenty of alt-right and neo-nazis on reddit still. They are just behaving a little better.

And again, I'm sorry, but I have little interest in attending venues where throwing poop around is OK. This post is an indication that I am in the majority.


Any sufficiently large forum will eventually attract edgelord types from 4chan or wherever. Even if your rose-tinted view of early days Reddit is true, which I very much doubt, you still have to plan what to do once the trolls show up.


>So the answer has to be to stop the witch hunts in the places where everybody else already is.

No, the system is working as it should. If a platform is so full of fringe extremists that the vast majority of people want to have nothing to do with, then they have to bear the commercial and social consequences of that.

Your right to free speech doesn't take priority over my right to have nothing to do with it. Go find your own little patch of land to shout your opinions from.

Free speech doesn't mean you have to right to make me hear you. It just means that government is not allowed to restrict it (for the fear of political suppression). That's it.


I just have to say I strongly disagree, and I've been on the internet for a while (multiple decades).

The only reason reddit wasn't overrun by asshats even before more subreddits were banned were due to moderation. The same has been true for all forums and BBS:es since the beginning of time.

Truth and sensibility doesn't win out. The loudest voices with the least filtered speech does, because the least amount of filter produces the most amount of output.

With risk of making too broad of a generalization, everything dies without moderation.


> And then whenever they would post rank inaccuracies, there were clearer-minded people to point out why they were wrong, in the same place where the same people could see it.

I don't think this works on reddit either, since subreddit moderators can simply delete such comments.


It's the moderators on Reddit that are much of the problem.

There are organised subreddits (/r/AHS) that seek to get certain subreddits not in agreement with the latest SJW ideology banned. They do this by posting illegal / banned content themselves in the subreddit, then mass reporting it.

They also do this at a user level, including targeting mods of any subreddit they disagree with. If they get the mods of a subreddit banned, they can take it over with their own friendly mods - easily done as there are clearly Reddit employees with an activist agenda who will help them out.

Once they've done that they're free to stifle debate, ban any users who speak out against their point of view and generally create a culture of fear.

This is why all the womens issues, feminist & lesbian subreddits have trans (i.e. male) moderators. And why entire communities of women have left reddit forever.


The problems on reddit started the second it became commercially successful. First came paid promotions, then came the propaganda. Too much of the "free speech" was totally insincere attempts at manipulation.


What time frame are you talking here?


I don't really recall the whole timeline. But it wasn't long after the Digg debacle that reddit started getting gamed by content farms leveraging popular accounts. Then the process got more and more refined and professional as it also became more lucrative.


What would a witch hunt free reddit look like?


Voat.


> Meanwhile in the 7% of cases when they actually had a legitimate point to make, they could make it

Reddit bans posts and accounts, but cannot ban individuals. If you have something useful to say you can make a non troll account for it.


> Reddit, in its earlier days, was never dominated by the Voat contingent.

Reddit never had free speech as a key attracting point. People came to reddit not because it was free speech, but because there was good conversations and content there.

Reddit's early "free speech attitude" came about mostly because they had a staff of 4 people who spend all their time trying to keep the site from crashing as it scaled. It was a stance of convenience which they kept as long as possible.

Vote explictly advertised it as a "free speech alternative to reddit". Free speech was it's number one advertising point. It's really not surprising it instantly attracted the wrong type of users and drove away everyone else.


I recall a clear period of time when at least some of the people running Reddit seemed very proud of how they didn't take down or ban subreddits that many people thought were inappropriate, offensive, or harmful. Unfortunately, since Aaron Swartz was the only sometime-Reddit leader I knew, I can't immediately point to other people from Reddit leadership who were explicit about this (as Aaron certainly was).

I believe there was a rough Reddit equivalent to Twitter executives' famous "the free speech wing of the free speech party" statement, but I can't cite one and I may be letting my memories of Aaron's views get projected onto his colleagues.


One person's witch hunt is another's "defense of tolerance". There's definitely a line where free speech runs into ideas and positions that are not compatible with free speech, e.g. how can you have a reasoned discussion with a Nazi if they believe certain groups are literally subhuman, and you happen to be part of (or even have normal human empathy for) one of those groups.

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


> how can you have a reasoned discussion with a Nazi if they believe certain groups are literally subhuman, and you happen to be part of (or even have normal human empathy for) one of those groups.

Well...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daryl_Davis

I've had interesting discussions about whether or not people like me should be allowed to vote or breed and whether people like me not existing would make the world a more peaceful place.


Daryl Davis doesn't scale. Everybody likes to point at him but there is a reason why he is a unique case. Especially since it would be trivial for fascists to monopolize his time by just claiming to be open to discussion while actually not being interested in changing their views. This is why Davis holds his conversations in private. When done in public, his approach is exploitable to create a seemingly legitimate channel to spread fascist propaganda.


Its not that free speech platforms are destined to fail, its anonymity. You're not responsible for your words. That's why these fail.

Notice I use my real name here on this website. Not a pseudonym. Whatever I say here, I would say to you in front of your face. Same as I do on Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and the other areas I post. I've always used my real name. I'll always use my real name.

We don't require anyone to take responsibility for what they say, so they say anything they want. Combine with this an entire zeitgeist of people who feel disconnected and alone, and its a recipe for attention-seeking behavior.

And on the converse, sometimes its taken too far, with people losing their jobs for things that clearly meant in jest (Justine Sacco) or for clumsily worded communication. Call-out culture needs to die. SJW culture needs to die. One-up culture needs to die. We have to start giving people the benefit of the doubt.


"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." -Cardinal Richelieu, c. 1600 (attributed to, anyway)

Given the political climate we're in and the complete intolerance to anything but the most milquetoast pablum in Silicon Valley these days, it's a brave or foolish person who posts anything online under their real name these days.


Seriously, all risk and no reward.


This may have been true at one time, but in the age of Youtube videos and live broadcasts being a popular vehicle for all of the above, I don't think folks care anymore about anonymity.

It's a toxic race for attention and engagement to either a.) generate revenue, b.) acquire some taste of "fame", or c.) both. Being anonymous plays a role in some corners of the internet, but the ones that are contributing the most to the cultures you mention above don't depend on anonymity. They're being perpetuated and propped up by very knowable online identities, and I highly doubt the folks doing the propping think they're safely anonymous.


Anonymity plays a big role in supporting the public figures who "represent" toxic ideas. Since those anonymous supporters might at best amplify the message or at worst do raids to their public figure's enemies.


"Taking responsibility for what you say" often equals being attacked or ostracized for deviating from the Correct Opinion. Anonymity is often required for freedom of expression.

Give a person a mask and he'll tell you the truth, and all that.


> Give a person a mask and he'll tell you the truth

Rather, give a person a mask and they'll tell you whatever will most further their own goals, be it truth or falsehood. If only the complete absence of accountability were sufficient to ensure truth.


Still better than a forced smile and repetition of harmless trivialities.

Bluntness may not be likeable, but you can often learn something useful from it, even if it feels offensive.


Except that bluntness is not useful truth in opposition to pleasant lie.

Majority of times it is euphemism for "insulting by making untrue statements, literally lying to get back at someone, exaggerate to vent own negative emotions".


Even if bluntness only equals useful truth for a minority of times, it is still worth it.

Truth is a rare and important commodity, much like gold is. You would not throw away a mineral that has "only" a few per cent gold as useless, only because non-gold forms the bulk of it.


Nah, there are plenty of truthful things around.

My point is, being jerk should not be equated with truth and people who are not jerks pretty often don't lie.


It should not be equated to truth, no.

My point is, the most valuable insights regarding myself and my behavior came from people who were willing to be blunt with me. I would be a worse person today if I never heard some of the observations that made me swallow hard and even get angry.


I think most people aren't rational actors and have a tendency to tell the truth (out of habit and yo reduce cognitive dissonance if nothing else)


I used to use my real name, until my boss told me my HN comments showed up in his Cortana results when all he wanted to do was search for my email address in his personal contact list. A decent person will feel at least a little bit like a creep searching for someones name on Google to dig up personal details about them, but when all that info just comes along with their email address, it just doesn't sit right. My boss even felt compelled to tell me it happened, not because he saw anything bad, but because he felt like a creep just getting the info like that. Then I started thinking about all the Windows users in the business world that might get the same results under the same conditions, and I just don't need everyone I interact with, across the country, knowing, for example, I'm an atheist before they send me a request to add a new question to a web form.


Agree, we simulated the real world communities but left out the safeguards that real world communities have against bad behaviour. All turned in a simulation where you can do whatever you want without consequences to you but with consequences to others. It's bizarre.


> SJW culture needs to die.

Having this attached to your name may cost you a job one day.


> you being encouraged to use your real name? Again, the question of whether anonymity emboldens trolls is not the force of that article, it isn't about their behavior, it is about yours.

> "But merely 'branding anonymity as bad' isn't going to stop the cyberbullying misogynists." You are correct, which is why the spokesperson for this crisis is Amanda Hess. No one is trying to stop cyberbullies, there's no point, they don't shop and no one wants to look at them. Hess has entirely misunderstood what the medium wants. The whole game is to get women-- not the cyberbullies, not criminals, but the consumers-- to voluntarily give up all of their privacy, while paying lip service to privacy at home-- knowing full well women that women will pay money not to have the kind of privacy they have at home. Voluntarily exposing yourself makes you a targetable consumer and targetable consumable. Is it worth it?

https://web.archive.org/web/20200420063821/https://thelastps...


I don't think its only anonymity, distance plays a big role too. There are virtually no consequences to disrespecting and/or harassing somone in some far away jursidiction.


Actually as far as anyone else is concerned you're still using a pseudonym. We can't verify your real name nor do we actually know it since you use an abbreviation.


Some of the worst material is published in newspapers under a byline and a photo. Editorial demanding the murder of refugees, that kind of thing.


4chan though


100% nodding


There were corners of it that were decent in terms of content and tone. Particularly v/justgrowit which was about gardening. But yeah, for every polite person in some isolated corner there were 50 screaming about politics on the front page.

But that wasn't the problem with Voat. The problem with Voat was the terrible code making the site non-functional.

You literally couldn't submit a URL which had a tilda in it. A tilda, ~, like at the start of every college account website URL everywhere. And it wasn't just tilda, it was a whole set of characters. And the devs, never, ever fixed it despite months then years of occasional notifications.


> But yeah, for every polite person in some isolated corner there were 50 screaming about politics on the front page.

The problem with Voat wasn't that some people were "talking politics" on the front page. The problem was that the vast majority where anti-semites, racists, and otherwise horrible. That's beyond "talking politics" in any decent sense of the phrase.


I visited once out of curiosity, and was just shocked to see how overtly racist people were. It wasn't just "immigrants should stay in their countries" (which I was expecting), it was full on "I don't see why I shouldn't be able to kill me a n*gger if I feel like it" speech (censorship mine). Truly disgusting.


Same. It was so on-the-nose I wasn't entirely convinced that everything I was reading was authentic. Obviously that type of person exists but some of the conversations seemed performative.


A lot of it probably started out as performative, but later became sincere -- either as users on the site became further radicalized, or as the site became a magnet for users who actually believed the awful things they were saying.


When I first moved to my current home I installed a big wood stove in the basement to help keep the home warm. Over the next few years I learned a lot empirically about how fire works.

One of the more interesting lessons was how important it is to use the radiant heat from a burning piece of wood to build and sustain heat in other pieces of wood. It works a bit like fuel rods in a fission reaction. When you keep the logs separate they will burn, but not vigorously. But if you bring two glowing logs close together, you can see them mutually heat each other and drive up the rate of combustion.

I think something like that happens with these concentrated communities.


That's a really striking analogy.


This is when i tend to apply Popehat's law of goats.

The Rule of Goats: even if you say you're only fucking goats ironically, you're still a goatfucker


It's hard to say, but it does seem like the pathway from edgelord to actual nazi is disturbingly short and straight. Even if a lot of that content wasn't authentic, there is a non-trivial chance that they'll come to believe it eventually.


“Ironic nazis” aren’t a thing, they’re just nazis. The original nazis used “irony” and “edgelord” recruiting tactics in the same way that the modern neo-nazi does, with the same intents and purposes. There’s no difference in the tactics, just like there’s no difference in the contingent of concerned free-speech absolutists convinced that we need to listen to their “jokes” and take them in stride as they advance their radicalization campaigns. The “irony” is important, because it allows their recruits to performatively voice their hatred in a safe manner, much like a child riding a bike with training wheels. The goal of radicalization is to move them away from the irony, but keep the hatred.

https://www.thewrap.com/daily-stormer-founder-ironic-nazis-a...


Edgelords get rejected by all the non-nazis.


It's only an act for so long. If it ever was an act.


The default advice for Reddit is "just unsubscribe from all the defaults because they're full of toxic assholes" so I don't see why the same measure wouldn't apply to Voat or 4Chan.


There's the toxicity on Reddit on one hand, and then there's the "Hitler was right", casual usage of racial slurs, and insinuations that "jews are trying to stifle Voat" on the other hand.

In the linked post you'll see references to "Angel", an anonymous individual that was funding Voat up until - apparently - March of this year. The comments refer to this individual, in a negative light, surrounded by both three parenthesis and the star of David.

In other words, the level of toxicity is on a completely different level.


I don't see anyone referring to angel with the star of david in the comments. I think the author of the post was simply using angel to refer to their angel investor that kept the platform funded.


Reddit attacks people if they don't have just the right amount of left leaning beliefs for the occasion.

4Chan basically requires you to prefix and postfix all your nouns with certain slurs.

People are mostly the same all over so I assume like 90% of the stupid crap you see on Voat or anywhere else is just people trying to virtue signal to each other and they don't honestly believe that garbage (even HN has its own brand of this) and only a minority of users honestly believe what they type. People are very good at fitting in.

Sure, it looks bad if Reddit is your frame of reference but if 4Chan is your frame of reference then it's just the same old layer of garbage on top of whatever content you're actually there for.


I used to lurk 4chan regularly (granted, not /pol/), and the amount of viciousness and toxicity on voat.co still seems high in comparison IMO.

The way 4chan uses suffixes like "f*g" (which is mostly jocular/memey, even if in bad taste) is not the same as the kind of outright hate speech you'll find all over voat. Voat might be more comparable with /pol/ in particular.


What about 8chan? The culture of idolizing white mass murderers has produced several who have posted their manifestos shortly before going on killing sprees, and the 8chan culture is largely the same as voat and 4chan.


It sounds like you only started visiting voat pretty late. I mostly hung around from when it was still WhoaVerse till the big exodus from reddit when politics took over in 2015/16. That's the lifecycle of these things. They're great at the start then they either gentrify or are overloaded by unpleasant fellows escaping gentrification elsewhere.


Antiracism is not "gentrification".


But banning entire subreddits because they share links to good deals on firearms and accessories is. That's because it doesn't have to do with ethics, morality, or even politeness. It's how controversial it is and if it will hurt ad profits. Gentrification in this context is making a site palatable to brands and advertisers.

Once they take large amounts of investment money they have to begin producing a return on it. From that point on users are the product and the brands are the real users.


Neither is cleaning up graffiti or opening coffee shops. Gentrification is a second-order effect of 'cleaning up' a community.


When the hardcore believers from /r/The_Donald moved to Voat, I was happy that it was still possible for anyone to read what they were saying. Similar to a honeypot or sting operation, we are probably worse off when they scatter back to the shadows.


> we are probably worse off when they scatter back to the shadows.

We aren't, because unlike a criminal conspiracy, political ideas are viral. They don't spread well in the shadows. Like with an epidemic, if you even slightly lower the r factor, those ideas lose much of their power.

If you keep them in the light, if you normalize them, they spread like wildfire - as we have seen over the past few years.


I’m fairly sure both honeypots and sting operations were carried out on voat.


All in all, these people think as hard as us that they are right, that they are the better people, that they have the better ideologies. I just can't fathom it. I'm convinced at this point that the only way to think about it is to understand that the IQ average of that group must be pretty low.


I imagine that when you think yourself better than "them", you're thinking about mask-refusers, literal nazis, and (((dog whistlers))). And when they think of "you" they think of antifa druggies living in a park and burning down stores. We can't really demonize someone if they aren't a bit radical so we have to focus on the radicals.

What I'm trying to say is that the idiots you see probably are dumb enough to think they're geniuses, but there's a huge invisible support base (on all sides) of non-radicals who are fairly rational. And I think experience is the biggest difference between the groups. If you've seen a neighboring store burned you feel one way, if you've seen a neighbor threatened you feel another. The problem then is sharing experiences honestly so we can construct a mutual view of reality and then discuss the same issues.


EQ, not IQ. So much of right-wing politics is predicated in lacking empathy for others.


Or both in the case of places like The_Donald and voat, there's very little intelligent discussion going on and the enemy is always the "elites". The elites aren't the 1%, they're experts like doctors and people with enough education to move to big cities.


I think it's both, it's not just an empathy thing because they do have empathy: but only for their family, their neighbors of colors, etc. It's more selective sure, but it's still empathy.


I've seen conservatives say they feel (have empathy) for the women in Jacob Blake's life, and the children, but not for Jacob himself. Or at least not since he became an adult and chose to perpetuate the cycle.

I think it's more complex than that all (or even most) republicans are racist.


The hardcore believers from /r/The_Donald are on thedonald.win now. The place is as full of anti-semitism, racism and misogyny as you'd expect. It's a good place for a laugh every now and then, if you can stomach the hate.


It'll get worse.

Being on reddit anchored them to a wider community and gave them rules to abide by. This meant the true nastiness wasn't on display only hinted at. People drawn in by the memes from wider reddit weren't immediately repelled by the kind of nastiness that's on display in thedonald.win.

Now they're on their own platform they have no anchor and no real rules, they'll "muh free speech" themselves to destruction.


How did they take the election loss?


They haven't.


Well seeing that even r/conservative still thinks Trump won and the democrats stole the election, I'm sure you can figure out the answer.


I thought Voat was based on reddit's code, but apparently it's a asp.net application?

https://github.com/voat/voat

https://github.com/reddit-archive/reddit


Not really a reply to the whole tech debt bit, but the ~ symbol is called a tilde in English. I suspect spelling it with an a at the end comes from another language?


No, the symbol is called a tilde in Spanish, where it's part of the writing system. It's unused in English and therefore doesn't really have a name, but people who have learned Spanish may call it a tilde. If you were studying Greek, you'd call it a "circumflex". (Or, if you were Greek, you'd call it a "perispomene".)

Spelling it as "tilda" just reflects the fact that a reduced vowel in English may be spelled in any number of different ways (and "e" is particularly unlikely); we can assume that superkuh is more familiar with the word orally than in writing.


I think it's fair to say that, even though it's not part of the English writing system, "tilde" is the standard name of the mark in English now when English-speakers who are familiar with it want to discuss it:

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

This includes lots of detailed discussion of the mark under the name "tilde", including names of Unicode characters that include this term. Wiktionary also views it as an English noun borrowed from Spanish.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tilde#English


> Wiktionary also views it as an English noun borrowed from Spanish.

Sure, but it's not live in the same way that most words are. It doesn't refer to anything in an English speaker's normal experience; you could easily go your whole life without ever using the word.


It's very much live. It's the name of the symbol. It's sometimes used as a symbol to mean 'approximately', as in "~100 BC". It's used in IT as a symbol for a home folder on Unix-based systems and for pattern matching in other languages.

Regardless of the symbol's function in different domains, the symbol's name remains 'tilde'.

Maybe you don't use the word much but that really has nothing to do with the price of fish.


The tilde is used in mathematics, logic, and computer science, and in those contexts the word in English that's commonly used for it is "tilde".

The word is in conventional English dictionaries, like Oxford, Cambridge, and Merriam-Webster. As those sources will tell you, it's also used to describe the mark "used when writing some languages".

As such, the idea that it's somehow not a word in English is just silly.


> It's unused in English and therefore doesn't really have a name

No, it definitely has a name. Tilde. Heck, it's even the name used for the ~ symbol in Unicode, which famously names all characters with upper-cased English words. Just because it's not used in English orthography doesn't mean that there isn't a name for it, even if it's merely a borrowing.

> If you were studying Greek, you'd call it a "circumflex".

I suppose I would. Somewhat off-topic, though.

> Spelling it as "tilda" just reflects the fact that a reduced vowel in English may be spelled in any number of different ways (and "e" is particularly unlikely)

Or, as GP explained, they just misspelt it.

Responding to a later comment:

> you could easily go your whole life without ever using the word

That doesn't invalidate the word's existence in the language.


Hah, oops. I don't know what I was thinking. The only time I see "tilda" is in the famous actor's name. English is my first language.


I really don't think the problem with Voat was tech debt. I think it was humanity debt.


> But yeah, for every polite person in some isolated corner there were 50 screaming about politics on the front page.

I checked the front page, and they're still screaming, with only difference between now and 2016 being the lack of pro-Trump screams. Good riddance, but the total perceived amount of screaming did not change much for me.


> It was truly the culture that dominated the site.

Voat is proof that we are not yet deserving of free speech.

I find beauty in the principle of FoS: we would never have e.g. legalized same-sex marriages without it - and this is why we need it for future ethical advancements, possibly (as one hypothetical example), the right to die/destiny. Advancement of the moral zeitgeist is impossible without it.

The utter impossibility of it in practice is unavoidable. There are few more willing to violate the rights of others than those who demand the right to speech.


>Voat is proof that we are not yet deserving of free speech

It's not the we the people are not deserving of free speech, it's the idea the right to 'free speech' supersedes other rights and should go unchecked at the expense of others that undermines the concept for so many. Besides, it wasn't free speech or lack thereof that's causing Voat to fold. Apparently no one wanted to pay to hear what they had to say. Everyone has a right to free speech but everyone else has an equal right not to listen to it if they don't want to.


>'free speech' supersedes other rights and should go unchecked at the expense of others

Curious about this, what right does anti-Semite/racism rhetoric removes from others? How can words affect your rights as a person?


Constant dehumanization of people does not eventually lead to physical violence?

someone somewhere must believe that they should do something about these bad people.

your argument at best is in bad faith


>your argument at best is in bad faith

I disagree (although this was a question more than an argument)

>Constant dehumanization of people does not eventually lead to physical violence?

What it might lead to is irrelevant, the act of speech does not impede anything and a lot of things have the potential to lead to violence, yet legalizing it is arbitrary at best


I would say that the right to human dignity is being impinged upon by most of the *phobic types of discourse.

[edit] A citation: https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.asp...


This is a good point, but in my understanding of dignity was more of a physical "no slave" than a mental "respect." I'm having trouble finding a good definition of that.

Edit: i also understood the basic rights to be a property of the system rather than the actions of people; e.g. you should be free whatever people think of you; right to happiness whatever enemies you have, etc. If words can deprive you of dignity, then it seems as though the system is not giving you the feeling of safety in your rights that you should be expecting. This seems like a more logical application of the rights; since you cannot force respect out of others but can force the system to honor its promises.


It is a property of the system in as much as the system supports the individual in keeping its right. Think in terms of property and theft, and what system does to people stealing. I agree it's not a foolproof comparison, but I think the same principles apply.

On the other hand the problem is not about "thinking" hateful things (and there is a distinction about hateful and respectful that you seem to gloss over) but saying those things with the specific intention of lowering a person's (or group of persons) sense of self and dignity.


> the act of speech does not impede anything

It absolutely does. It leads to a climate of fear for those affected by it, especially once it becomes widespread.


If it becomes widespread; freedom of speech is irrelevent because the executive power bows down to populism.

I agree with words being able to elicit strong emotional response in people, but I disagree that this should serve as a basis for legislation. I do not think it is a strong enough basis to risk affecting the spread of ideas and discourse.


I think your parent stated it pretty well. You can say whatever you want, if you are willing to pay the bills. In this case, nobody wanted to pay to listen.


> How can words affect your rights as a person?

Remember the holocaust


>Remember the holocaust

I'd posit the words weren't the things affecting people, but whatever actions they took


By the time holocaust was going on, it was too late.


Are you saying without free speech it wouldn't have happened?


"We enter the Reichstag to arm ourselves with democracy’s weapons. If democracy is foolish enough to give us free railway passes and salaries, that is its problem... We are coming neither as friends or neutrals. We come as enemies! As the wolf attacks the sheep, so come we."

-- Joseph Goebbels, 1928


There is no honest way to get from the exchange above to your comment.

In any case, it would not happened without people would defend them each time they could, who would made up what may opponents said just to make opponents sound bad, who pretended that nazi are not danger, that nazi are just little misguided young men meaning well or just trolls.


[flagged]


>You can either: believe people are inherently evil and will support genocide at the first opportunity; or people can be influenced by pointed words from a group intent on manipulating them.

It is also possible this was a prevailing thought, or that the environment was encouraging of such thoughts, in that nation at that time; that something caused division, and that the nazi used this as a way to assert power and spearhead their ideology.

To think people can just tell you to participate in a genocide and everyone will follow is not recognizing the agency of human beings. The WW2 was a dramatic period that had a lot of factors, but having restrictions on free speech is unlikely to be one that would or even did matter much.

Edit: plus, the restrictions on free speech are executed and decided by the oligarchy, and when the nazism was its most vicious it had little reason to restrict that kind of speech. The idea that free speech restriction help in preventing propaganda is wrong; it prevents only some subset of propaganda which does not further the elite, which imo is worse than not restricting it at all. And even then, free speech restrictions cannot stop the spread of ideas and prejudice, whatever they are.


> It is also possible this was a prevailing thought, or that the environment was encouraging of such thoughts, in that nation at that time; that something caused division, and that the nazi used this as a way to assert power and spearhead their ideology.

Doesn't this exactly confirm the original claim that words do lead to actions and therefore affect people's rights?


Words have the potential to affect action, that is their main purpose. But actions are not caused by words but influenced by them, which imo is a big difference


> Voat is proof that we are not yet deserving of free speech.

Try and avoid generalizing from one example. Free speech forums worked pretty well from 1995 to 2010.


Linked post references red pilling and 4chan, celebrates being hated by people, talks about how great their terrible user base is, and mentions Christian shit multiple times.

Gives me the impression that it was always intended to be populated by the types of people that populate it.


Sometimes hate speech must be limited in order for a greater freedom of speech to thrive.

My heart goes out to the founder of voat, I'm sure his heart was in the right place when he founded the site. But perhaps he did not anticipate it to organically evolve into a haven for alt-right extremism.

Perhaps this will serve as a lesson to many future platform providers.


For someone who has a bit of context: is this supposed to be real or tongue in cheek? It sounds like mental illness to me but maybe I'm just incredibly out of touch with the reality of the average voat user.

> I will lay Voat upon the cross on December 25th 2020 at 12 noon PST. I have chosen Christmas as the day to do so in honor of the only True thing you will find in this world and that is Jesus Christ, the son of God, and the only way to the Father. I chose 12 noon in honor of the twelve disciples who spread the message of salvation to the world.


nothing bad about that. are you just annoyed jesus was mentioned?


I'm not annoyed, I just wonder if it looks somewhat normal in other countries/cultures. It does not feel inappropriate, just completely coming out of nowhere.

It's like having a regular interaction like "hey, at what time do we meet up?" "at 10:20, because 2010 is the year justin bieber relased his first big hit and justing bieber is the best artist I have loved in my life, he is the best among all." The way I read it it's out of place to the point where it sounds creepy/makes me wonder about the mental state of the person making that connection.


As a "born again christian" it came outta left field. I had no idea voat had anything to do with Christ. It's probably why they had the hottest girls there. It was gods gift to them.


This is something that's quite fascinating to me. The unfettered access to social platforms with few limitations on speech and content today, and available to such a large audience, would be unimaginable 70 years ago. Society and individuals are evermore connected to each other en masse than they ever have been in the past. An individual's discomfort now stems from everyone suddenly being aware of everyone else's opinion and now has to face it and interpret it. It would be next to impossible for someone 70 years ago to be able to collect that information at scale so readily, also making it far easier to ignore. Now all I have to do today is scroll through someone's SOCIAL_NETWORK profile to find out or to experience it.

It begs an interesting question to me whether society is more "stable" with this strife of being hyperconnected, or less stable. The past was filled with far more silos of in-person clubs representing political ideals, making it hard for the common person to recognize their existence, at least to the extent of hearing about its minute details and ideals. There was also a great filter of the powerful individuals controlling the means of communication to limit the content that reached every single person.

Despite the real acts or false claims of suppression, it is interesting that there was never a previous time in the past where each individual was more empowered to be heard than today.


That's sort of the question isn't it. Is it that there are so few of these neutral grounds that they collect the people unwelcome anywhere else, or that those ideas out-compete everything else unless there's a finger on the scale?

Personally I think it's a hybrid. Extremism and outrage are memetically advantaged in all circumstances but the specific atmosphere is what chooses the flavor prevalent in a particular community. Voat was formed by far-right elements and so that became the culture.


The alt-right needs to go somewhere to leave the rest of us alone. No matter what they will blame liberals for the loss of Voat and other sites. When you have no censorship it is like the Wild West and the biggest guns rule.

Back when I worked as a CO-SYSOP for a College run BBS I had to delete posts that had cuss words in them or were hateful or porno. They had to keep the subboards clean because we had 13 year olds on there downloading info about the college and playing Tradewars, Stock Market, Food Fite, etc. One of the people I censored was Larry Kite, an alt-right troll. Who got mad and claimed he was going to the computer lab to meet the SYSOP and see his boyish face. My supervisor had a beard and met Mr. Kite and explained to him it was not personal we do that to everyone. Especially on networked subs where they have rules against it.


> The alt-right needs to go somewhere to leave the rest of us alone.

Hmm, I wonder why the political divide has grown to become such a huge problem in the US...


Same with parler. It's now totally dominated by weenieheads.


Well, the front page has literally "Holocaust didn't happen" plastered on it right now (crime in many EU countries) ...

Not really going to miss this one. "Neutral" and "free-speech" have unfortunately become euphemisms for a license to spew hate that wouldn't be allowed elsewhere (i.e "censored").


> Voat was founded as a neutral free-speech platform.

I was optimistic about Voat as I was about Parler: Reddit/Twitter, but without the left-wing censorship. But I found the same reality you did: the only people who bothered to migrate were complete lunatics.


paradox of tolerance is just a meme and not even a very good one.

8chan, which was usually coded in the media as the most extreme platform managed to be host to both /pol/, /leftypol/, a myriad of queer & lgbt boards and /christian/ as well as boards for other religious denominations and multiple competing sects of gamergate and, of course the q boomers. at one point of polling, /v/ was something like 60% lgbt. on zeronet and the webring you see a similar plurality of views and usecases. there have been hundreds if not thousands of imageboard clones over the years with even less moderation than voat if for no other reason than incompetence. fatchan and chen2 were hardly festering havens of white nationalism. there is far more that leads to a website's culture than speech policies and administrator doctrine, the outright user revolts of SomethingAwful and Neogaf stand as a testament to this. this whole idea that free speech is a one way road to the fourth reich simply does not hold when weighed against the facts, especially considering that the 'sensible' platforms like facebook have been used as the rallying grounds for actual genocide and the livestreaming of murders & kidnappings.


Yeah, it also annoys me when people assume that all of 4chan and 8chan is /pol/. 4chan has plenty of blue boards like /sci/, /g/, and /tg/ that are relatively decent if you can tolerate shitposting, trolling, and bants. When people write racist stuff, a common response is that they should go back to their "containment board". 8chan used to let users create their own boards, and there were plenty of inoffensive ones. On the other hand, I do think 8chan's /pol/ was just so terrible that it made 8chan overall a definite net-negative for humanity. Even the site's original founder has disavowed it at this point. I also agree with you that mainstream sites like Facebook have their own problems.

But still, whenever I see free speech platforms, they tend to attract a majority of far-right users. I think it's because they're the ones who most often get banned from mainstream platforms and need to find alternatives.


As opposed to Reddit where every subreddit aside from those dedicated to alt-right topics has a left-leaning tinge. Every platform has biases. It's just that Reddit chose to ban a specific group, so it's logical that group alone would dominate alternatives.


Reddit banned demonstrably fabricated extremist content. It just so happens the political party most associated with it continued to eat it up.

/r/conservative is a gated community only for people they agree with. Reddit perfectly allows them to exist in their own created hypocritical bubble, along with lots of other subreddits.


Eh, reddit is a big place. The subreddits I subscribe to have zero politics; I never found that on voat...


There's a lot of subreddits that should be zero politics, where people are being banned because they're members of other subreddits, or they aren't even members, but posted in those other subreddits.

You can find about a post a week in /r/WatchRedditDie of someone who posted an anti-Trump response to another person in a Donald Trump-friendly subreddit and they end up banned from other subreddits like /r/OffMyChest... for the crime of disagreeing with a Trump supporter, in a Trump subreddit. The very act of even associating, even in an antagonistic way, with a Trump supporter is ban worthy?

Every moderator whose ever done that should be immediately stripped of all power and banned at the IP level.

If Reddit admins weren't absolute cowards now, they would do it, but the site is sufficiently corporatized now.


I'm not entirely sure I understand this point. Even if I were to concede the point that all of Reddit has a left-leaning (in a US sense of the word) tinge, is that at all comparable to the right-leaning tinge of Voat?

Is advocating for e.g. defunding the police, medicare for all, and free college comparable to saying immigrants should be shot on the border, that the holocaust simultaneously didn't happen and wasn't effective enough, and that racial minorities should be hanged?

Even if you vehemently disagree with the three examples of left-leaning policies I used as an example, and any other examples I could've used, surely you can recognize that they are fundamentally different to the stuff that permeated every crevice of Voat? Saying Reddit and Voat both have a tinge completely ignores any context and nuance.

EDIT:

There's an example I'd like to bring. It's from a thread on the frontpage called "Voat, I could use a little life advice". It's from a person that is having trouble paying their bills, and can't do much doordash driving because they refuse to wear a mask. The most upvoted response is this:

> "Was a really good programmer for years". Good, not many people are and it's a skill that's good for decades. n* * * * * * can't fake coding skills like they do everything else

Another upvoted response from the thread says this:

> Why don’t we create funds for fellow nationalists like the n* * * * * * and the ki* * *? Somewhere to pool resources to lift white brothers in need.

Mind you, this is from the front page of both the AskReddit-equivalent and the global front page. And this is on a question that wasn't about anyone but the original poster and their money trouble.


I think it's very problematic to conflate "right wing" with "racist". There's nothing inherently right or left wing about being racist, and I suspect you'd find many racists who support government healthcare and strong social safety nets.


Society has a left-leaning tinge. Especially society in the age range that reddit caters to. There's no grand conspiracy. Right politics are wildly unpopular with young to middle-age people.


(Responding to now defunct comment claiming that conservatism is correlated to age because of life experience blah blah)

Age here is a proxy for wealth, of course.


I can't respond to AntiImperialis2 directly anymore, so I'll leave this here...

I don't think that because Boomers and (a lot of ?)GenX tended to grow more conservative as they got older proves it's 'the natural order'.. Millennials are approaching 40 now and the liberal ones I know are still very liberal..

I'd argue that Truman getting elected in 1948 meant that there were a lot 'progressive' older folks back then. Especially since there was a more conservative "Dixiecrat" on the ballot as well.

So growing old and becoming conservative may not necessarily go hand in hand...


Telling someone they will more conservative as they get older is a great in innoculation against that event occurring.


People don't get more conservative as they get older, they get more conservative when they have more to lose. It just so happens that as people get older they tend to get houses, families, long-term careers, etc, which tilts them towards preserving the status quo in amber so as not to threaten what they have.

And if, hypothetically, a generation were to grow up and find themselves unable to afford a home of their own, unable to afford a family, and unable to land a career, they will find themselves with very little to lose and very little incentive to preserve the status quo, regardless of their age.


Wrong. As they get older the Overton window shifts beneath them.


People get more conservative as they get older because they realize things cost money, how hard they have to work to earn it, and how bad the government is at spending it for them. I'd say modern day conservativism is more akin to individualism - don't let others spend money for you because you spend your money more wisely, and if you don't it's your fault. I think you'll find most young people don't even make the correlation that everything governments spend costs money and that money comes from their own pockets. They usually consider the government to have infinite money and have barely stopped being taken care of by their parents or still are. You even see cities like Detroit going bankrupt because, no, governments don't have infinite money. You do have to pick and choose what to spend it on and you can't get everything that just sounds nice.


Let me put it this way. Young people see their elders espouse these views. They associate conservative ideas with being patronizing. This actively pushes them away from conservative ideology. This occurs whether or not the views themselves are correct. Change people's minds by being less patronizing not more.


This is not only incredibly patronizing, but also just false.


Modern conservatives loves to spend taxpayer money right up until they are out of office. Not a peep about the budget deficits the past 4 years, but now suddenly it matters again.


Perhaps...

I've also read it cyclic, with the pendulum swinging from very conservative to very liberal every couple of generations ?


The “people get more conservative as they get older” idea is somewhat of a myth. My family and family friends who were free love hippies in the 1960s and 1970s are Trump haters on Facebook today.

To give some more solid data than people in my circle of friends: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_United_States_presidentia... This is the demographics for the 1984 election, the one where Reagan wiped Mondale out. Among 18-24 year voters, 39% voted for Mondale (liberal/D); 61% voted for Reagan (conservative/R).

Now, let’s fast forward to 2004, which is the first election where young people were more liberal than older generations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_United_States_presidentia... Here, among 19-29 year old voters, it was 54% Kerry (D), 45% Bush (R). It was also the last election where a Republican won the national popular vote.

This year, with 18-24 year old voters, it was 65% Biden, 31% Trump: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_United_States_presidentia...

Point being, our youth and our society are a good deal more liberal than they were 15 or 25 years ago.


All that shows to me is youth is liberal, which no one was denying? I'd be happy for enough for the general population to be more liberal leaning, but I can't say I'm seeing evidence of it outside of urban areas ?


The youth in the 1984 Reagan-Mondale election was not liberal (nor were they liberal in 1988, nor that much liberal than voters in general in 1992, etc.), so youth being liberal is not a function of one’s age as much as it’s a function of the generation one has been born in to.


first you talk about "our youth and our society are a good deal more liberal than they were 15 or 25 years ago.". Which you show as having gone from 54% D to 65% D ?? Which I would guess is fairly liberal. Then you go back roughly 40 years to say "The youth in the 1984 Reagan-Mondale election was not liberal".

And the generational thing is what I brought up originally. Boomers and some GenX don't necessarily 'point the way' that every generation will age.


I think the primary factor is that the society itself becomes more progressive, so definitions of "progressive/conservative" change. Sixty years ago, segregated schools were supported by mainstream conservatives, and same-sex marriage would have been considered a radical leftist agenda. An "ordinary" young person from 1960s, growing old without changing their opinions, would seem hopelessly out of touch today.


I would have assumed that as well, but it seems a lot of 'social norms' I thought had changed, really haven't..from racism, to sexism, to hate crimes..It really seems we've evolved very little from 100 years ago.


That's true. Younger people seem to lean left. As they grow older, a lot of them start to lean conservative.

My hypothesis is that when they are young and underdeveloped, they have incomplete understanding of the world, are prone to believing in unrealistic utopian ideas, and hence are easy to manipulate. No wonder, the leftists want the voting age to be lowered even further.

As they grow older and wiser, they see it for what it is.

The younger conservatives are explained by the fact that some kids who grow up in conservative households don't fall for the same manipulation and older liberals are explained by the fact that some people are more reluctant to change, mostly because they weave their personalities around their identities in early adulthood. Some is of course explained by influence of peers (i.e. people adopt a political view to fit in) and hence location... but I think this covers it all.

I know I will get downvoted for this which is fine but I'd like to know your hypothesis for the same population leaning conservative as they age is... if it's not too much trouble.


[Citation needed]

Please compare https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_United_States_presidentia... and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_United_States_presidentia...

Observe: The 1984 youth voted conservative. The 2004 youth voted liberal. And, oh, the 2020 youth voted even more liberal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_United_States_presidentia...


I don't see this. There is right-wing content hitting front-page reddit constantly, and a lot of the most popular sub-reddits like "change my view" are just soap-boxes for right-wing talking points.


>I don't see this. There is right-wing content hitting front-page reddit constantly

front page as in "/r/all", or your front page? At least on /r/all there isn't much "right wing content", aside from some posts from /r/greentext and /r/PoliticalCompassMemes.


I don't have an account. Your claims of a left-wing bias on reddit are also anecdotal.


>Your claims of a left-wing bias on reddit are also anecdotal.

Feel free to provide evidence to the contrary. As of right now all the posts on /r/all not right leaning.


> As of right now all the posts on /r/all not right leaning.

That's a pretty funny way to say "all but one or two posts out of 25 are not related to politics at all". Unless you consider things like wearing masks political.


>That's a pretty funny way to say "all but one or two posts out of 25 are not related to politics at all".

That's not wrong, but it also has nothing to do with my previous comments, which were only talking political lean, not the presence/absence of politics.


Whether you accept a small inconvenience to save other people's lives is pretty political, yeah.


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