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>Is there a word for market based socialism? You know capitalism with hair cut upside (taxation) and a hard floor protected low side (poverty).

It's what holds in most European countries with a welfare state (and, to a lesser degree even in the US). It has been called various things, from "the third way", to "social democracy".

Though, in Europe (and also in the US), the "free market" guys, neo-liberals and financial interest have reigned supreme since the Thatcher/Reagan era, with the dire results we see today. Kind of like the US economy actually worsened after Clinton, despite him being more "socialist" (to the degree accepted by the american public).


Well, you would have to deploy serious code for projects with far-reaching financial consequences when things go wrong first...


People also sell buttons.


Link? I'm all out of buttons.


>This is such a stupid strategy. The right thing to do is to look at the root cause of all this. After all, there are lots of angry people all across the world that hate the Western world and want to hurt it, but most can't.

Put this way, it's even more stupid. It's as if people go about "hating the west" for no reason (or because their "religion tells them so", which is a Glenn Beck level argument).

A thing called colonialism did exist. Some hundred million people were killed in invasions and wars and while fighting for their freedom, and some 2 billion people were living under foreign occupation.

And then you had a thing called post-colonialism, that does exist. With hundreds of interventions and resource-grubbing all over the world. With so called "banana republics" set up. And with countries thousands of miles away of some areas, have the audacity to believe they have "strategic interests" in those areas, and that it gives them the right to intervene, get their resources for cheap, place puppet governments, etc. You know, like some country in the American continent controlling Philippines or killing people in Vietnam.

What sets the Arabs apart is their vast oil riches. Without that, they wouldn't have the money or power to do anything to the West.

Arabs, as in "arab states" could not care less about "doing anything to the west". What sets those people apart is indeed their vast oil riches, that had provoked unprecedented resource-grubbing, puppet government establishment and invasions western powers.

Does anyone imagine what a foreign power invading the US would mean to the US people, and under some BS pretext at that? But invading Iraq under the BS pretext of WMDs, wrecking the country in the process, killing hundreds of thousands, taking control of the oil and leaving them in a state of civil war by playing into the competing tribal and religious interests, is somehow "normal", because they are "arabs".

So, the people there have a lot of reasons to "blame the west". It's not like they have any spectacular resources, either. WWII era guns and ammo, and cheaply made stuff, while the "west" kills them with drones and 21st century military technology.

>The minute that crude oil loses its relevance to the Western world, the Arabs will just go back to what they were before - a bunch of desert nomads with no real power.

Actually they had a huge empire, including parts of Europe, even before the crude oil gained relevance.

The west managed to turn them to "a bunch of desert nomads with no real power" precisely when it wanted to get ahold of cheap labour and later the crude oil.


> A thing called colonialism did exist....

All that is true, but it doesn't change what America needs to do now to ensure it remains in control in the most efficient manner. Moreover, with domestic and renewable sources of energy, we wouldn't need to get involved in the Middle East, so they would benefit too.

> The west managed to turn them to "a bunch of desert nomads with no real power" precisely when it wanted to get ahold of cheap labour and later the crude oil.

Great civilizations rise and fill. Regardless of how they got there, that's where they'll be when the US leaves. My point is that their ability to attack the US will be neutralized the minute their cash flow stops.


>Why can't the article just come out and say what it means? Militant Islam scares the crap out of the West, and we're willing to pass laws and endure a certain level of self-censorship to avoid provoking violence out of these people.

No, it's not just that.

Western politically correct liberals, the kind of people that likes to hell-ban dissenting opinions on social issues on HN too, is all for self-censorship on lots of issues, even without involving the "scare of militant Islam".

People also get the equivalent of "hell-banned" from the media, or get fines and prison terms and such for non-PC talk that has nothing to do with muslims. If you count "hate speech" in that, a loosely defined term that can mean anything, it gets even worse.


Yes, because "free speech" is nice and all, but there are some opinions that you should not have, even on a liberal place like Hacker News.

One should not be allowed to divert from popular opinion (be it popular in society in general, in some conservative circle, or merely popular within the hip crowd), even if he is not being trollish and is providing arguments about it.

In issues where most HN people agree, you should not dissent, because we have already reached the absolute enlightenment and correct opinion on things such as "sexism". No need for discussion or argumentation any more on this front, except to agree with each other.

I propose we call those "hell-banning" provoking arguments, "thought crimes".

Which reminds me of the 3rd most popular article on HN today:

"Free speech is dying in the Western world. While most people still enjoy considerable freedom of expression, this right, once a near-absolute, has become less defined and less dependable for those espousing controversial social, political or religious views. The decline of free speech has come not from any single blow but rather from thousands of paper cuts of well-intentioned exceptions designed to maintain social harmony."


I hadn't communicated with uriel on Hacker News, so perhaps he had better behavior here, but part of the reason I avoided him was because of interactions with him on reddit. He was a really bright guy, and when discussing software he had a lot of valuable insight, but religion and politics got him behaving in ways that were destructive to communities. On reddit he would get belligerent to the point of being verbally abusive. Not just rude, but creepily vindictive and stalking. I can't say that that's why he got hell-banned here, but given how he acted elsewhere on the web, it may well be that he was banned over issues more serious than merely airing unpopular opinions.


Last time I checked, a significant part of the posters on suckess.org mailing list(s) have quite an aggressive communication style. People lurking on these mailing lists can eventually get over it, and eventually exchange interesting arguments between the flames; but it's clearly fully counter-productive outside of that place.


Hellbanning is necessary to keep the trolls out. The problem is, HN's hellbans are really clunky, especially given how pg practically invented spam filters. You'd think there'd be some kind of bayesian predictor on whether a poster is a troll, and modding them troll would simply increase the probability that their posts would be DOAd.


> Hellbanning is necessary to keep the trolls out.

No it is NOT.

You do understand what hellbanning is, right? It means hiding their posts from everyone but them. That's right, if you were hellbanned, you wouldn't know.

Read this:


Hellbanning, as opposed to regular banning, a warning system or suspensions, is counterproductive, a giant waste of people's time and frankly condescending towards the userbase.

There is nothing that hellbanning (the way it's doled out on HN) solves better than regular bans, suspensions or warnings. And there are a whole lot of things it makes worse.

To me the concept of hellbanning always seemed like a real nasty practical joke, something you'd specifically code as a one-off to temporarily trick your worst, most persistent long-time troll.

As you use it as a punishment method on everyone, it becomes less effective on actual trolls (compared to regular bans), because a determined troll knows its environment, and knows to occasionally check their account via other means to see if it's been hellbanned. So for that troll, a hellban differs none from a regular ban.

Regular users, however, since the mods are not infallible (instead, on HN they are for some ill-thought-out reason invisible and unaccountable), sometimes also get caught in this. Sometimes for little reasons, sometimes they did earn some punishment for ill intentions.

However when these are not full-time trolls, it becomes really sad to see how it wastes a lot of smart people's time. They can't see they're hellbanned, I've seen some of the poor sods keep on writing comments (that people who did not switch on "show dead" cannot see) for over a year. Some of those comments are really thoughtful, as well.

When I see such a case, I browse back in their comment history to see what infraction caused their hellban. Often I have to guess, what is their most downvoted comment from just before the time their comments turn grey. As I said, unaccountable. Yes it's usually something very stupid, something that deserves all the downvotes it can get, perhaps some of it might warrant a regular ban,

but I have NEVER seen ANY hellbanned user saying something so utterly reprehensible that it would warrant wasting someone's time for over a year that they spent writing comments on HN.

The other problem is, it doesn't even notify them that they did something wrong! It's not even a slap on the wrist, they don't notice! It's just stupid.

And in the mean time, a determined troll occasionally checks if they can still see their account's comments via a proxy, and if they cannot, they simply register a new account, just as if they were banned via a regular ban.


> It's just stupid.

Borderline unethical. It is an explicit and willfully applied passive-aggressive mechanism of dubious utility in response to 'perceived' attempts at trolling a forum.

Keep in mind the mechanism is designed to have a negative psychological impact on the subject and comes with a later date "haha" surprise date. I find it vile.

(Fully agree re. the waste of time, too.)


The parent's term "passive-aggressive" is spot on.

StackExchange is even worse.

If you only knew their banning practices. They have extremely thin skin. The anti-thesis of "Postal's Law".

When they ban, it's not a warning, it's permanent. One mistake and you are banned for infinity.

"Trolls" (a very subjective term) will never learn to behave as you want them to if you don't steer them toward better behavior. Banning them in knee-jerk like fashion does not steer them toward being better netizens or being more agreeable to your views.

If the thinking is "my forum, my rules" then when the rules become silly (and they often do), we need more forums, run by more reasonable people. This is nothing new. "Postal's Law" is one of those insightful ideas that has greater applicability than was intended (e.g., more than just the structure of packets) and it will continue to seem ahead of it's time, as censorship keeps rearing its ugly head.


> There is nothing that hellbanning (the way it's doled out on HN) solves better than regular bans, suspensions or warnings.

Sure there is: griefers.

The problem is that hellbanning is the only kind of discipline, and it gets handed out too easily. And you're (probably) right that this in turn makes it less effective against griefers than it could be. But it's still more effective than a regular ban.


Sorry I'm only familiar with the concept of griefers in online gaming. How does the phenomenon manifest on HN?


Griefer is just a troll - or perhaps a more extreme troll, one that will go substantially out of their way to evade a ban and continue being an asshole.

A hellban has its utility, but it cannot be the only method for censuring abusive users. It needs to only be applied in cases where the user is likely to try and continue to antagonize the community by dodging a regular ban, and sparingly.

The problem with hellbanning on HN is that everyone knows it's going on, and it's become such a big deal that it greatly reduces its effectiveness. As you said, if a troll suspects they're being hellbanned, they can easily just sign up for another account.

I'm of the opinion that hellbans are way too common on HN where in almost all cases a regular old suspension/ban would have sufficed.


Indeed... a few minutes after you turn on showdead you'll see that hellbanning is not used primarily for troll control. Trolls are people who post goatse links or overtly inflammatory opinions that they clearly don't even hold.

Instead, hellbanning on HN is used on people who disagree with someone who has the power to do something about it. It's used to dismiss people who stray outside the hive and fail to toe the party line... a party line that isn't even written down anywhere.

It's lame, and IMHO pg needs to reign in some of the more obvious moderation abuses.


If people like luriel are consistently being hellbanned for speaking their mind on some non-programming topic, I still want to read what they're saying about programming.

Everyone has some controversial viewpoints on _some_ topic. But that's not the point. I really don't care what programmers think about politics, religion, sexism or topics not related to computing. This guy had a refined taste for programming. Aesthetics. Plan 9, cat -v, suckless, Go. Not perfection, but sooooo much better than so much else.

The idea of hellbanning people who can actually think outside the box is troubling. Send them to some isolated, limited audience forum ("hell"?) if you wish. Just tell us where it is if we want to read it. Because I certainly do.


Amy Hoy and Thomas Ptacek strongly disagree with both the majority here and Paul Graham himself all the time, yet they aren't hellbanned. It's not just "straying outside the hive" or "failing to toe the party line" — much of the time, it's expressing offensive opinions (e.g. "women are inferior"), trying to shove your opinion down people's throats to the detriment of the site overall (e.g. losethos' weird Christian ramblings), or just being very rude about your unpopular opinion (e.g. "Apple is going to fail but you don't see it because you are Tim Cook's gay lover"). You might wish for people to be able to belligerently proclaim any offensive opinion they might hold, but this isn't your site or mine, and PG is within his rights doing what he thinks is necessary to keep the conversation quality at a high level.

This is not to say that the system is perfect. Many people get banned wrongly, and I think uriel was one of those. I do think a warning system would be better in many cases. But it seems to me that most hellbans are handed out to people who are indeed simply jerks.


The hellbanning "system" is causing more trouble that it's solving. It needs to go.


I think you're also conflating the practice of hellbanning with the system that HN currently implements, where people are hellbanned when a warning or time-out would be much more appropriate. They're two different things. Hellbanning is an effective deterrent, but of course any deterrent will be problematic when applied to the wrong people.


I've started making an effort to reach out to people who are obviously hellbanned and who subsequently make substantive comments; I think other people should do it too. A sibling comment next to [dead] ones might suffice, if we can make sure we only get one of those comments in each thread.

I don't personalize it or "blame" Graham for it; I understand why he started the practice. But he should stop now.


Right, which brings to question why hellban jerks instead of just regular-banning them.

Hellbans are designed to be undetected by the banned party, to prevent them from reating a cat and mouse situation where site operators constantly fight to keep the banned off the site (new accounts, new IPs, etc).

Very few of the people who are being banned from the site appear to be trolls - if they're just jerks, do they not deserve to be told that they are no longer welcome

Instead we've simply silenced these people without the courtesy of even telling them, and for what?


As you just said, it's to prevent the whack-a-mole game of impotently banning an endless stream of new accounts. Being a jerk is strongly correlated with not respecting bans — if they cared about your wishes in the first place, they wouldn't have acted so inconsiderate. If you ban a jerk, they make a new account and keep at it. If you hellban them, they tend to stay that way for a good long while.

I do think there should be a lesser level of punishment for people who aren't that incorrigible, but hellbanning jerks definitely has its place. It is the most effective countermeasure available.


> "Being a jerk is strongly correlated with not respecting bans"

Big citation needed on this. If anything, look at the namesake of this post - this is a guy who was banned for inflammatory views, but there is no indication that he was riling people up for the sake of it, and no indication that he would've become the incessant ban-dodger had he known he was banned.

I don't think the link between espousing inflammatory views and waging a troll-war on a community is really that obvious.

> "It is the most effective countermeasure available."

In the same way a nuclear missile is the most effective countermeasure available against annoying neighbors. Technically true, but complete and utter overkill. The problem here is that on HN so many people have been hellbanned, with such regularity, who show no inclination towards being a troll, that there is a site-wide consciousness for this sort of thing, making the hellban itself less effective. You need to reserve your strongest tools for the cases that truly demand it - popping off the internet forum equivalent of a nuclear missile at every turn simply makes it less effective when you do need it.


> Big citation needed on this.

Eh, honestly, just experience. I've served as moderator at a number of forums in my days and talked to moderators of other forums. If someone actually respected a permaban, it was a strong indicator that they weren't so bad after all, because the real jerks would just make a new account and continue. The defining quality of a jerk is that he doesn't care about other people's wishes, and that includes your wish that he go elsewhere.

> If anything, look at the namesake of this post - this is a guy who was banned for inflammatory views, but there is no indication that he was riling people up for the sake of it, and no indication that he would've become the incessant ban-dodger had he known he was banned.

And sure enough, I have already said many times now that I didn't think he was a good candiate for a hellban. Just because I think hellbans are a good tool doesn't mean I think everybody should be hellbanned. However, I will address one point that I think gets more to the heart of the issue:

> there is no indication that he was riling people up for the sake of it

It doesn't really matter if somebody is trolling or just an inconsiderate jerk. From the point of view of having a healthy community, I don't care why somebody is radioactively toxic — I just care that they stop doing it.

The reason Uriel was a bad hellban is that he wasn't incorrigibly toxic. But many people are just jerks, with 60% of their posts being pure nastiness, and they do need to go, and hellbans are the best way to accomplish it.


> there is no indication that he was riling people up for the sake of it, and no indication that he would've become the incessant ban-dodger had he known he was banned.

Point of order: he did discover he was banned, and he did dodge it.

(I have no problem with this, because he shouldn't have been banned, and because we long ago reached the point where it's perfectly reasonable for a user to trust their own judgement over that of a moderator.)


Why not discuss topics of ethics like "women are inferior"?

If these conclusions are oh so horribly wrong, then bringing them out 'in the sun' should make them self evident they are not true. And beyond that, people who make claims such as that usually have false premises in which that and other statements of fact are also just as incorrect.

The statement about people who baselessly insult (Mac-fag and ilk) we can do without in a community.


> Why not discuss topics of ethics like "women are inferior"?

> If these conclusions are oh so horribly wrong, then bringing them out 'in the sun' should make them self evident they are not true.

You might think that, but in practice they're just shouting matches that accomplish nothing but offense. Those discussions will not convince people who are committed to their views (who are the ones most likely to start a "women are inferior"-type thread), but they will drag down the quality of conversation and lead to (for example) more overall sexist speech on Hacker News. Even if you did convince someone (which you won't 99% of the time), there's an endless supply of other jerks to keep dragging the conversation down if you let them.

There are places to talk about absolutely anything that's on your mind in whatever manner you feel like. This isn't one of them. Hacker News has standards. Not every place has to be a perfect bastion of unfettered free speech. You'll also not get to stay in my apartment very long if you call my girlfriend a prostitute, even though that is also easily disproven.


Perhaps you're right. There are some topics best left for others to 'discuss'. For example, common topics like Nazis, Jews, Islam, abortion, inferior women, blacks.

However, these were not topics I had in mind for ethics or such. We deal with in this community the ethics and morality of business and commerce. Along side, we deal with programmers who can do great good or great harm. These are more controversial topics I think about.

  governments (US and others)
  filesharing technology
  laws intersecting commerce (AirBNB, UBER)
I think you're right. In cases of people acting like a 'shitcock', doing _something_ seems rational to keep the community in check. But stopping people who only want to interrupt the community is much different than those that take hard stances elsewhere.

As an example, I use GNU extensively and am a communist (used in sense of economic policy). I also have no issue in using pirated anything. That right there probably goes against 99% of the companies present.


It's a question of venue and audience. I don't want to have to discuss whether or not black are inferior every time I go to my local hangout to get a coffee.

I may choose to, and have chosen to debate whether or not blacks are inferior, but it's stressful and annoying. It's something better reserved for a certain frame of mind and known venue.

So, I assume that given some threshold of are-women-inferior discussions, many interesting women just stop showing up at your party. It's natural that certain topics are more sensitive (especially to people placed on the defensive), and that you don't just drop them like bombs in an unrelated conversation / venue.


Shit, I didn't know it was going on here until this thread.


>> Hellbanning is necessary to keep the trolls out.

> No it is NOT.

> You do understand what hellbanning is, right? It means hiding their posts from everyone but them. That's right, if you were hellbanned, you wouldn't know.

That is why it's the only effective measure against trolls. If you ban a troll the old-fashioned way, they can just make a new account. Hellbanning prevents or at least greatly delays this in most cases, making it a more effective countermeasure than pretty much anything else we can practically implement.


I've seen some of the poor sods keep on writing comments (that people who did not switch on "show dead" cannot see) for over a year.

I switched on "show dead" and immediately came across a guy who seems to be hellbanned 463 days ago and still is posting ... now I feel heartbroken. I can only imagine what he would feel ...


Free speech is something the government guarantees its citizens. It's not something every website on the internet owes you.


Your second sentence is true: Private censorship isn't the same as public censorship; you have no fundamental right to free speech in a context owned by someone else (private website, physical business, physical home, etc.).

But your first sentence needs adjustment: Free speech is something a government takes away from its citizens. It's a fundamental right held by everyone in the world. There are governments that fail to protect it, and of course many that actively violate it.


It irrationally aggravates me when people say this, but: This. Rights are inherent to people, not something granted to them by the whim of people with power.


You are correct. However, these days significant portions of our communications are carried, curated, and distributed only through corporations - to the point where many people rightly feel those corporations have at least as much effect on our life as the government, without being held to the same standards of course. Expecting only governments to honor rights such as free speech does feel a little anachronistic in a world that's increasingly controlled by powerful economic interests. Restricting the obligation to honor human rights to governments is starting to look like a giant loophole, a legislative bug emerging from a legacy system.

Though I do not share these concerns as far as message board moderation is concerned, I believe there is often a good reason why people tend to invoke free speech instinctively in these cases. The expectation is that basic rights are not so much special allowances patronizingly handed down from the government intended for an increasingly narrow context but should instead be understood as innate personhood rights enabling people to live a free and dignified life.


Yay. We label Uriel a troll and not Pando Daily or any other daily controversy generators.




Yes, and it's kind of true.

Achievements are only relative.


>I think the latter is a pretty damning point, given that reproducing is pretty important to the human condition.

Not according to 21th century hip ideology. You're insulting all LGBT guys by saying that.


Why am I insulting LGBT guys/gals? Everybody is free to choose, but it is still a fact that reproduction (or rather, having kids) is important for a lot of people. Even some LGBT people try to adopt children afaik.

Also without reproduction nobody would be here.


>Also without reproduction nobody would be here.

I know that, I was being sarcastic towards the attitude that sees things that formed the bases of society since ever was one, like reproduction, are viewed as "optional" or "sexist" nowadays, because we should be "above that".

Of course we only get to have the privilege of saving that (and still have a human population on the planet) due to overpopulation in other parts of the world, and we still get declining and aging population our own countries for that.

That's also why we get to have our LGBT privilege. In the large scheme of things, a mostly LGBT society would mean a dead society, because of no reproduction.


Why do you think LGBT can't reproduce? I know someone who is literally the spawn of a lesbian with a turkey baster.


>Why do you think LGBT can't reproduce?

Well, B (and maybe T's) can.

But LG cannot by definition, except if they momentarily act like non LG's by reproducing with other partners against their own sexual preferences.

And that if they _do_ have the will to reproduce, considering that in primates in nature it's a strictly heterosexual deal (and in fact, the male/female sexes were evolved as a means to that very end).

In addition, for several prominent LG thinkers, "gay marriage" and "having a baby" (surrogates, etc), is the losing proposition of adopting/mimicking the dominant paradigm. Essentially it's the opposite of feminism.


I don't have any interest in having kids, but I really don't think that wanting artificial insemination means that you're secretly heterosexual.

in nature it's a strictly heterosexual deal

It's actually quite natural for other orientations as well:


I can see this happening in nature if maybe both of the original parents got killed off or something. The presence of homo-penguins means that the offspring might get rescued and safely reared by the happy couple instead of perishing.


Sarcastic flamebaiting isn't appropriate for HN. Your previous post was problematic.


They can adopt. There are so many foster kids who need a good home. :(


This pedophile over there? He's playing in VERY HARD mode, and yet he made it to a congressman.

See where the analogy breaks down? Playing "hard mode" doesn't mean you're also doing something worthwhile.


>Who's going to write it? How about the writers for The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, The Wilson Quarterly, The Economist, The Paris Review, etc. I could fill up the length of a long-form article with names of publications that have long-form writing.

Aren't those guys already writing for those outlets?

Plus, I don't know much about the others, but the Atlantic went from a high quality outlet I've followed for decades, to a lower quality rag, after Bradley lost most of the stuff in 2005. It's online presence, now, is even more abysmal, for people who value good journalism and the old Atlantic.



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