Hacker Newsnew | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit | smsm42's comments login

"Illness" usually meant to be interpreted as deviation from norm. However, while definition of norm in some subjects can be relatively easy - e.g. it is a norm for people to have two eyes, two hands with five fingers on each, one head, one nose, etc. - for things as complex and varied as mental processes I'm not sure how you define what the norm is. Even specialists' views on the matter - like those who compile the DSM - seem to be changing with time, and you are obviously pretty unhappy with that change. So what is your definition which you consider to be better?


While in theory it is possible, in practice making it work smoothly over hundreds of content generation platforms and design templates would be much harder and marginal costs of adding ads to your site would increase significantly. It won't be "insert that piece of HTML code into your site" anymore.


That would probably get some regulators' attention pretty soon. And would create some serious reputation problems for those who have it - it's one thing reading WaPo article, another reading WaPo article where each paragraph could be an ad insert instead.


There's more problem with per-article payments than transaction costs. E.g., how I know if I want to pay for particular article - maybe it's a useless crap that isn't even worth my time, let alone money? I could pay _after_ reading, but then the publisher has no guarantee I would bother to, after all I've already got what I wanted.

You'd say "well, NYT is so good you would want to pay for _any_ article published there!" - but then why wouldn't I subscribe if I value them so much?


A hassle-free after-reading tipping jar would be welcome!

It could even say "If you liked this article, pay $0.nn and the next article you open on our site will be ads-free for you."


There were people of Jewish descent that served in Wehrmacht, including in pretty high positions[1]. The service also protected from some of the anti-Jewish abuse initially, and some people of Jewish descent both felt much more connection to German service (even after Nazis took over it) than their Jewish roots, and were too useful, so Goering was noted to say "I am deciding who is Jewish and who is not". Also there's the case of Werner Goldberg[2], a son of Jewish father and non-Jewish mother, who was lauded by Nazi press as the "Ideal German Soldier". Ironically, Goldberg's looks proved to be so irresistible that recently he was featured on the monument to the "Defenders of the Motherland" in Russia. [3]

So, in principle, there's nothing impossible for a person to be both of Jewish descent and a Nazi sympathizer. Stranger things have happened.

[1] http://www.jewishmag.com/158mag/hitler_jewish_soldiers/hitle...

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

[3] http://znak.com/tumen/news/2015-06-26/1041938.html


I am not saying its not impossible, but that unlikely things need strong backing (as of now, Wikipedia links to a single newspaper article on this matter).


If you're looking for fair discussion about free speech, the US education establishment is the last place you want to look. They are completely overrun by PC moral panic, and not only real dissent and vigorous discussion representing diverse points is not welcomed, be it about free speech or any other topic, even mild critique from the friendly side or discomfort with exposure to unsettling thoughts is intolerable. E.g. see: http://www.vox.com/2015/6/3/8706323/college-professor-afraid


As James Taranto likes to note, "some people" in journalism is a first person pronoun.

Or at least some people are saying so.


Depends on what you mean by "honest". I would probably trust him not to maliciously proclaim falsehood when it is obvious and known to him that it is false. But I wouldn't trust him not to "find a single piece of evidence and spin whatever narrative they want from it". In fact, there are documented instances where Tyson changed or invented quotes to fit his narrative, so that ship has sailed.

I'd trust somebody like Tyson the same way I trust Wikipedia - if the matter is factual and mostly uncontroversial (like how the steam engine works or what is the value of pi with certain precision and how one could calculate it) I'd have pretty high degree of trust. If the matter is a subject of controversy, you need to verify the references - or seek out the sources and proof if there is none, and then you need to consider how trustworthy those are too, without these the degree of trust would be "some people think that it is true".


I don't go to Reddit that much (practically never unless there's AmA with somebody I really interested of hearing from, which happens about once per 2-3 months), but isn't "the immaturity of the community and the loudness of its most extreme elements" kind of what the thing is for (not solely, but partially) and kind of how it got that big?

Of course, I'm in no way defending the idiots who post vile comments, but I think beyond these idiots there's a legit disagreement about limits of what is allowed, and the broadness of those limits was one of the major attractors to Reddit, or so I heard. Was is a wrong impression?

Also, why "racist"? I don't see anything racist in the petition.


> Because it protects the weak.

Nope. Because it protects everybody, regardless of how the state or the Powers That Be are classifying you - weak, strong, black, white, conservative, liberal, poor, rich, male, female, or neither, or both, any category and any classification - you get free speech. Everybody gets free speech. Once we start choosing - this guy deserves free speech, because he's "weak", but this guy is better shut up, because he's "strong" enough, it's no free speech, it's privilege of speaking for whoever you like.

Now, many people can't handle freedom - freedom means people can do things that you don't like. I mean, really don't like, I mean, things, that positively infuriate you so much you see a wall of red. I can appreciate that, and I can understand - not condone, not agree with, but understand - people that don't want free speech and other freedoms to be around for that reason. It's hard sometimes. But please - if you don't support free speech, don't call whatever privilege structure for avoiding crimespeech and crimethink - "free speech".

P.S. I hope everybody reading this is smart enough so that the above does not need a disclaimer "within the bounds of not using speech to commit actual crimes, such as ordering a hit on somebody", etc. But just in case it's not so, yeah, I know about that.


I can't figure out if you're merely objecting to the idea that it "protects the weak", or if you're trying to actually justify the position that free speech means you're allowed to harass people. Because that's what the banning was really about.

Free speech, at its core, really means the freedom to express any idea. That's pretty much it. It does not guarantee you a soapbox upon which to express the idea, and it does not mean that the community around you cannot react negatively to what you say. All it actually guarantees is that the government cannot restrict what you say. As long as you don't commit a crime. Which harassment is. People can and do get charged with harassment and related offenses, but nobody tries to claim that charging someone with harassment or a related offense is a violation of their free speech. They recognize that there are in fact limits to what you can do and say, which in general are when what you do and say starts violating the rights of other people.

But this is the internet, and on the internet, the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory[1] comes into play. Because it's the internet, people think that they're free to say whatever the hell they want, even if it very clearly amounts to harassment of other people. And that's just plain wrong. Reddit is absolutely correct to ban subs that are harassing people, and I wish they'd be even stricter about it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_Arcade#.22Greater_Intern...


I think you are confusing two (or more) meanings of the word "harassment" - unless you can provide an example of somebody convicted for saying something not nice about other person on the Internet, at least in the jurisdiction where freedom of speech is not completely dead yet (e.g. not New Zealand where they just killed it this month).

> which in general are when what you do and say starts violating the rights of other people.

Somebody saying something that you won't like does not violate your rights. You do not have a right to control what everybody else is saying and demand them saying only things that are pleasant to you.

> And that's just plain wrong

Being an asshole may be wrong. But if you want to ban people from being assholes, and in general from doing anything wrong (by your definition of "wrong", or anybody else's), please do not call it "freedom".

Of course, Reddit - or any private forum - has no obligation to maintain freedom of speech, and can impose any restrictions they like. I have no objection to it. I just have an objection to hijacking the term "freedom" to describe it. Find some other word, this one is already being used to describe something else.

> Reddit is absolutely correct to ban subs that are harassing people

I'm not sure I understand reddit enough, but how you can harass somebody with a sub if said person never visits the said sub? The mechanism of harassment is not clear to me here.


> I'm not sure I understand reddit enough, but how you can harass somebody with a sub if said person never visits the said sub?

You can't. The whole problem here was that those subs were not restricting themselves to posting within the sub. They were harassing people outside of the sub.

According to one of the Reddit admins[1], all of the banned subs had "numerous complaints that they were harassing people both on and off Reddit".

The problem here was not that they were saying mean things on the internet, as you seem to be claiming. The problem was that they were very legitimately harassing people outside of the subreddit. The people being harassed did not have to visit the sub in order to see it, and didn't even have to visit Reddit. And that's what makes it harassment, and what makes it against the rules of Reddit.

[1] ekjp, I think this was somewhere in the same thread where he posted https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/39bpam/remov...


>Reddit is absolutely correct to ban subs that are harassing people, and I wish they'd be even stricter about it.

You're never going to stop all online harassment by fighting fires like this. It'd take a paid army to monitor. Reddit had a free army taking care of that and they're slowly dismantling it.


But that's kind of the point. The subreddits that got banned are ones in which the moderators refused to take any action to stop the harassment That's why Reddit had to step in and deal with it.


Hmm, I read that there was no notice given. Either way, I agree with you that personally identifiable information should be forbidden and censored by mods, admins, and the community as general policy. I may have misunderstood your meaning. I read that you support blocking offensive speech.

I'm not convinced that removing/blocking the old content (as much as I did not think it was funny) is a good idea. It stokes a fire. Giving notice to the moderators, and then either replacing them, or closing submissions to that sub, and cleansing old data of personally identifiable information seems more appropriate. Under the current circumstances, it's really difficult for the community to verify that what was claimed happened actually happened: we're blocked from seeing it all. There could be more transparency, and I think that's what folks are clambering for. The firing of Victoria, santa, and the leukemia boy with no notice point to the same issue, and these were just the final straws that broke the camel's back for many people. Reddit still has an opportunity to be both an awesome community and a monetizable business. It just depends what steps are taken from here and if they're consistent with old policy, or if managers will really get introspective and work with the community to make some changes, even if they aren't the exact ones demanded in this petition. The way I read this saga is, each time something happens that demonstrates a lack of transparency or oversight in how the community operates, more people get upset: it is more evidence that the lack of communication was not a one-off mistake. Rather, it's habit and deeply ingrained.


Why go to great lengths to preserve content in a subreddit that was found to be in significant enough violation of the rules to warrant banning? There's nothing sacred about that content that demands it be preserved. And trying to preserve the subreddit itself such that people can still participate, while merely attempting to replace moderators, would not solve any problem. The toxic community that engaged in the harassment would still exist, and there's no good way for reddit admins to appoint new people as moderators anyway, because they didn't form the community in the first place.

> There could be more transparency, and I think that's what folks are clambering for.

In the case of the banned subreddits, there was actually plenty of transparency, and a plethora of various posts explaining what happened. But a lot of people spread a lot of FUD about (whether by accident or deliberately I don't know) and in general did their best to obscure the reason for the banning. It really feels like there's a bunch of users who are doing their absolute best to try and stoke up the fires and create a witch hunt, which is why you get a lot of this misinformation being spread around and a lot of discredited claims being repeated over and over again.

I do agree that the firing of Victoria was handled badly, mostly in that there was no notice given to the subreddits and moderators, and no plan in place for how to handle the AMAs that she had been responsible for. As for whether the act itself was justified, I have no idea, because we don't know why her employment was terminated. And we probably never will, unless she publicly states the reason herself.


> Why go to great lengths to preserve content?

I don't think it's great lengths. And why? Well, because you want your userbase to trust you and increased transparency helps that. I don't care about that sub but its complete removal lends credence to the FUD you mention, or at the very least leaves it as an open question. Many people don't trust Facebook, but it's irreplaceable. It's a great way to communicate with your friends and share photos, there's no easy way to migrate your contacts list to another system, plus user adoption of a new interface would be difficult, etc. Reddit doesn't have any of those leg-ups, and as you mention the users are more technologically able. The only thing going for it is the existing architecture and userbase, but as we've seen, given sufficient alternatives, users will move.

At the end of the day, EP said Reddit should not be a free speech platform, and that's something with which I'll never agree. If she had instead said, "We ARE a free speech platform, yet we also remove personally identifiable information and ban those who post it" then it would be an entirely different story. As it is, it looks like she's trying to enforce Europe's definition of free speech, which limits hate speech, and that brings more hate than it limits (see: Muslims trying to sue Charlie Hebdo, failing, and then killing them 7 years later). The scale is much different but the concept is the same.

> It really feels like there's a bunch of users who are doing their absolute best to try and stoke up the fires and create a witch hunt

That may be. I think there's an opportunity here for management to be proactive and more open about what direction they are taking the website. Right now I don't see that. "Wait six months, I'll give you useful tools" is not something I could say to my manager at work about my software architecture plan, and it's not something Reddit should be telling its users.

EDIT: > Why go to great lengths to preserve content?

Also, because this should not be a great effort. If it is, then you are admitting that the job of a moderator is difficult, and therefore they should be given more support. This is the realization reddit management is now making. I suspect the truth over what happened to FPH is both what Reddit Inc says and what the moderators say. Moderators say they have inefficient tools to tackle doxxing, and Reddit says moderators aren't doing a good enough job. Whose burden is that? The banning of FPH clearly demonstrated that admins felt it is the moderators' burden. The blackout showed the mods feel it is Reddit Inc's. I'll side with the mods as they are unpaid and don't need to do any of this. I personally don't need to see FPH, but I can see that Reddit Inc does not understand the needs or wants of its user base, inside or out of FPH.


> As it is, it looks like she's trying to enforce Europe's definition of free speech, which limits hate speech

You're still confusing the issue. Are you doing this deliberately or do you really not understand the difference between "we're censoring speech we don't like" versus "we're cracking down on people that are harassing other people"?

> I don't think it's great lengths. And why? Well, because you want your userbase to trust you and increased transparency helps that.

Ok, let me rephrase. Why preserve the content at all? The sub flagrantly violated the rules by harassing other people. Therefore it's banned. We all know what happens to a sub when it gets banned. I see no value whatsoever in trying to preserve the content of a sub like that.

> Moderators say they have inefficient tools to tackle doxxing, and Reddit says moderators aren't doing a good enough job. Whose burden is that? The banning of FPH clearly demonstrated that admins felt it is the moderators' burden.

The banning of FPH says absolutely nothing about whether the moderators' tools are sufficient to track doxxing. The issue was not that the moderators were incapable of doing their job with the tools provided. It's that the moderators refused to step in. The moderators of FPH and the other subs were willing participants in the harassment campaigns being waged by the subs. Hell, FPH put information about Imgur employees right in its sidebar as part of the harassment. And the only people that can do that are moderators.


I appreciate the spirited debate prior to this comment but your tone is now more harsh than I want to engage.

I understand you have a different viewpoint on this and I don't think either of us will convince the other. It's been real, have a good one.

PS. I'm not doing this to annoy you. I have given this subject a lot of thought over the years, and I genuinely believe everything I wrote to the letter. Maybe there is some miscommunication due to not being face to face but I tried my best to be as clear as possible.

Harassment is awful and I feel individuals do better at dealing with it than policies or enforcement. We do not need police to protect people's feelings as long as comments do not contain PII. The imgur photo is borderline as that came from their staff page anyway. Policing it covers the problem in the short term and does not expose the violators to other communities' reactions. Reddit is segmenting populations and reducing diversity, destroying the whole point of the site to begin with, which is a place where everyone, however you define them as good or bad, can come together to communicate. And this, because they fear that hatred will spread. That is the real FUD and it is coming from Reddit Inc


Totally agree.

Looks like this headline has been removed from the front page, despite being only 2 hours old and having a lot of votes. It's marked as "DEAD" on hckernews, whatever that means: https://archive.is/8RxuV

I can only imagine reddit investors (PG?) do not appreciate the heavy defense of free speech making its way into HN forums


The mods keep saying that they do not do stuff like that. If you search for user dang (who is a mod) you can probably find him saying that.

When a post is killed or dropped off the front page it is normally as a result of user flagging. I'm not a mod so I don't know, but I suspect that's what happened here. Many users flagged the article; it drops rank.

If anything HN works to avoid censoring these topics: mods often unban / unkill these types of articles. (Again, a search of dang's comments will probably find examples.)


While I haven't exactly conducted an in-depth study, dang seems to have a fairly even hand when it comes to moderation.

HN, after all, should be about building stuff, not the outrage du jour.


Outrage du jour?

Debating whether free speech should be upheld, and to what degree, on the biggest online forum that exists, is a pretty interesting topic to me and many others who upvoted the article. And I do think building a successful social network ought to be of interest to HN. While the topic may not satisfy everyone, it's a single extra headline on a page with 20 others and is easily ignored. Right now there is NOTHING about reddit on the front of HN, which is pretty odd given its origin as a YC project and the number of people interested in recent news about reddit.

This is exactly why I don't participate on HN often. If the mods want everyone to hold the same opinion, great, but don't expect much real growth or interesting discussion from that policy. Shutting down debate is childish


"The mods" probably haven't done anything to shut down discussion. The reason the reddit articles don't stay on the front page is probably a result of user flags (and the karma threshold for flagging is low so many people can flag articles).


Well, I will say they changed the title to be somewhat less damaging. It was "Over 100,000 call for the resignation of interim reddit CEO" - Now it reads as "Petition: Step down as CEO of Reddit Inc"


So people can "flag" in addition to downvoting? And too many flags can result in an auto-removal? I don't see the point of that. Flagging should send it to a moderator. If you want to automate removal of articles, voting should suffice, otherwise you're just giving more power to people who don't want to see some topic.

Regardless of how this topic was removed, I think it was an interesting discussion that was silenced prematurely, and that's too bad.



Applications are open for YC Winter 2016

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