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    I have to ask, OP: why is your username waffle_ss? Perhaps this is a PC overreaction on my part, but it makes me uncomfortable. (It’s close to Waffen-SS.) If that’s not intentional, then I apologize for bringing it up.

    On Moldbug… I don’t find myself much liking the guy, but on the same token, I’m unnerved by the rapidness of the reaction to him. I feel like people are overly focused on Mencius Moldbug and not the question that the organizers have to ask themselves, which is, “Does the presence of Curtis Yarvin make the venue less safe?” The rapid pull-out of conference sponsors seems to be an overreaction.

    It’s quite possible that Yarvin has written worse things than what I’ve read, but I haven’t encountered anything that’s made me believe he’s a danger to conference-goers. He also seems to be getting hit with guilt-by-association: many neoreactionaries (NRx) are racist, and he’s an NRx, ergo he’s racist.

    We don’t throw out the work of Wagner, Frege, or Ezra Pound even though their politics were disgusting. All of them were much more clearly racist and anti-democratic than Mr. Yarvin, at least by what I’ve seen.

    Also, as one who’s been “de-platformed” (not at a conference, but on Quora and Hacker News) as well as effectively fired (Google) for my political views (leftist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, leaning pro-union) I can’t really get up a good feeling when I see it happening to someone else, even if I find his politics to be repulsive.

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      When I was in middle or high school I played Counter-Strike with my friend; he went by pancake_nazi so I came up with waffle_ss to fit in with the Nazi breakfast theme. Very clever pun, I know. I’ve just been too lazy to think up anything else.

      For the record I hold both Nazi and NRx ideologies (well, what I’ve heard of NRx since I don’t have time to read Yarvin’s screeds) in very low regard.

      Anyway the name pun is an attempt at levity / poking fun of Nazism, not an endorsement. I do take my waffle-making seriously, though.

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        For the record I hold both Nazi and NRx ideologies […] in very low regard.

        Garden path sentence much?

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          Don’t worry. I’m not offended. It’s almost impossible to offend me. I just found it awkward to be replying to someone with that screen name, given the topic.

          Neoreaction is, indeed, an ugly philosophy. I find it intellectually interesting, just to scout “the other side”, but there’s only so much I can take before I get depressed. Also, many of his analyses are simplistic or flat-out incorrect. While Yarvin maintains that he isn’t racist, most of the people under the “NRx” tent are. And don’t get me started on so-called “HBD”, which is just nauseating.

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          On Moldbug… I don’t find myself much liking the guy, but on the same token, I’m unnerved by the rapidness of the reaction to him. I feel like people are overly focused on Mencius Moldbug and not the question that the organizers have to ask themselves, which is, “Does the presence of Curtis Yarvin make the venue less safe?” The rapid pull-out of conference sponsors seems to be an overreaction.

          Here’s a different approach, which explains this quite reasonably: LambdaConf made a lot of effort to contact organisations involving PoC, introducing diversity scholarships etc. to gain some fame. Then, suddenly, out of the blue, they decide to run a person which is clearly incompatible. These organisations cut their ties and oppose the project they supported. It’s all very unsurprising. You can’t shout “everyone is equal, please spread!” and then invite someone on the speakers list who wrote hundreds of thousands of words how he thinks people are fundamentally unequal by disposition and some should be slaves.

          I’d be far less aggravated if LambdaConf had just been a run-of-the-mill conference, but it tried to be the diverse conference in FP. Now it shows that they actually meant “libertarian”. Appropriating terms like “inclusive” or “diverse” for that is just a recipe for disaster.

          I don’t think the word “platform” gets us anywhere. I prefer “spaces” nowadays. LambdaConf chose to be a temporary, short space where anything goes unless it’s not physically violent. What they communicated was something different though. And that difference is biting them now, making sponsors jump off and people protest.

          Spaces that are larger and have longer time-spans obviously follow different rules. I would disagree with a ban of Yarvis from Hacker News. I’m not sure how I would feel as an employer, especially as my company does take public stances on diversity issues.

          Political issues are nasty and I can see arguments for both of the boundary. It is a boundary though and there will be conflicts around that. Still, I found the protest against LambdaConf appropriate and many people made the effort to also read the statements of LambdaConf critically and it is also okay to approach sponsors. People even opened up a competing conf. Especially if you hold libertarian views, these should be very valid forms of protest.

          Excluding people from spaces is something that should rarely be done, but something that will become an issue over time. Especially when people are fundamentally incompatible with others (what’s compatible or not for the organiser to decide). I’m moderating Bulletin Boards and running Meetups and Conferences for 15 years now and usually subscribe to “have the ban-hammer in the corner, but keep it visible” as an approach there. Erring on the side of not kicking people out is also important, but if you end up spending hours and hours writing high-level things of meager philosophical value, something is broken and you have probably fucked up. In my book, Moldbug though would be uninvitable after I contacted the first organisation supporting PoC (which often had actual slaves as ancestors) for support.

          I for one note that people suddenly feel like writing thousands of words about all these topics after the fact. It would have been nice if LambdaConf had, for example, spent the equal amount of time on writing on how to include disabled people, PoC and other marginalised groups. But, here’s the catch: even if this whole thing hadn’t happened, they wouldn’t have. And that’s a lot food for thought about how inclusive they really are.

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            Man all I want to do is see his talk on Urbit. I’m just glad I don’t have to goto an NRx rally to do so.

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              LambdaConf made a lot of effort to contact organisations involving PoC, introducing diversity scholarships etc. to gain some fame.

              The devil of it is, another reading is that those same groups were incredibly fickle.

              I hate to be cynical, but it seems that a reasonable conclusion for the majority would be to continue business as usual: if you do, nothing changes other than token kvetching online, and if you don’t you may well end up with a huge PR disaster on your hands.

              This whole debacle can be interpreted–in the souless business sense–as a big message that trying to include potentially sensitive groups can backfire tremendously.

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            So I guess I missed the drama here. Can anyone summarize what motivated this post? Something to do with LambdaConf inviting someone to speak?

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              This is in reference to the Curtis Yarvin previously banned from attending StrangeLoop [0].

              LambdaConf invites him after a month spent soliciting feedback from its community [1].

              Twitter goes crazy and activists begin calling for sponsors and speakers to drop out from LambdaConf. 6 of the 7 sponsors drop out.

              A number of opinions are had on both sides [2] [3].

              Finally Curtis responds by saying that he won’t be going as ‘moldbug’ and that his views have been misunderstood [4]. He also gets deep into discussing what he originally meant in one of the posts people found most offensive [5].

              LambdaConf upholds their original decision [6]:

              If a conference allows all peaceful people to attend and speak so long as they treat attendees exceedingly well, then guess what I think it’s going to select for? Wait for it… a diverse community of peaceful people who are willing to treat attendees exceedingly well, even when they strongly disagree with them!

              HaskellBook is the remaining sponsor and this is their reason why.

              [0] http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2015/06/curtis_yarvin_booted_from_strange_loop_it_s_a_big_big_problem.html

              [1] http://degoes.net/articles/lambdaconf-inclusion

              [2] https://twitter.com/seldo/status/714258138325626880

              [3] https://twitter.com/simon_penn_r/status/713956774122893313

              [4] https://medium.com/@curtis.yarvin/why-you-should-come-to-lambdaconf-anyway-35ff8cd4fb9d#.bskx6ny3y

              [5] https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/4bxf6f/im_curtis_yarvin_developer_of_urbit_ama/d1da212

              [6] http://degoes.net/articles/lambdaconf-controversy

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                There was a lengthy discussion on another thread.

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                  The length of that discussion is one of the reasons I strongly urge that news, especially this sort of event, should not be submitted to this site.

                  It tends to balloon up to fill available space, and consume lots of cycles as people try to ferret out the truth and convince one side or the other of something.

                  Basically, it’s pure noise against signal. :(

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                    You’ve said that before. At least in this specific case, I find it clear that people wanted to talk about that, and I can’t see any argument that they shouldn’t. The assessment that it’s noise is yours; I suspect everyone who upvoted anything in that thread considers it signal. I know I thought it was one of the most productive possible conversations on that topic, and was glad to encounter some new ideas in it.

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                      Out of curiosity, what new ideas did you get from it?

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                        The potential framing of the whole issue as a boycott rather than in terms of conduct is a really interesting thing, and a lot to chew on. Since that entire idea was new to me, there were several points and counterpoints about the ethics of boycotts in that fork of the discussion which were also new.

                        In addition, I found it worth thinking through the question that came up about what immediate inappropriate conduct might be expected from this particular speaker at this particular conference. I came to the conclusion that the bad effects I’m concerned about are larger-scale issues, orthogonal to what he does or doesn’t do while in attendance. In particular, my major concern is how his speaking affects the audience of the conference - who will stop going, and who will start going, and what conduct the newcomers might have that would reinforce the audience shift as a long-term effect. Codes of conduct are, in a sense, last-line tools for this kind of policy decision: important, but not the only important thing. I realized this as a result of pondering the sincere questions of other Lobsters users; I might have realized it through discussion elsewhere eventually, since this is topic I think about a lot, but it happened to be here.

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                          Ah, thank you for writing that up!

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                  People who have demanded that speaker selection is done in an anonymized fashion to not discriminate against minorities realized that it selected someone they would like to discriminate against.

                  After that these people tried everything to punish the organizers and bring the conference down.

                  http://i.imgur.com/LhI5pje.png

                  In the end, the conference is worse off, the speakers are worse off, the attendees are worse off, and the stupid ideology of that speaker is more well-known that ever. But hey, they made their point, and that seems to be everything they care about. “Improving society? Social progress? Shut up, we just want to share our collective, dignified outrage!”

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                    People who have demanded that speaker selection is done in an anonymized fashion to not discriminate against anyone realized that it selected someone they would like to discriminate against.

                    Speaker selection is always anonymous rating with following curation. It’s called anonymous for short, but it is still a decision process, not a random raffle.

                    The problem at hand is that the conference made a value statement when they announced the conference and chose a speaker directly opposing that statement. Some people supported that statement and promoted the conference are understandably upset.

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                      Speaker selection is always anonymous rating with following curation. It’s called anonymous for short, but it is still a decision process, not a random raffle.

                      Eh … you can’t have it both ways. Additionally, it was not done this way at the conference we are talking about if you bothered to read their description of the events.

                      My lesson from this debacle: I might just invite some controversial speaker to the next conference I’m organizing. Looking at the behavior of these “upset” people, I probably prefer having one person with completely abhorrent and despicable views at my conference rather than dealing with this mob in attendance.

                      Congrats to them for making the world a worse place!

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                        Eh … you can’t have it both ways. Additionally, it was not done this way at the conference we are talking about if you bothered to read their description of the events.

                        Sure you can. That’s what many conferences do, e.g. https://cfp.eurucamp.org/guide#the-selection-process (JSConf does that similarly and was the originator of that process). There is always the point where you de-anonymise proposals and that’s a point where you make a final decision. You are still the curator of that conference.

                        My lesson from this debacle: I might just invite some controversial speaker to the next conference I’m organizing. Looking at the behavior of these “upset” people, I probably prefer having one person with completely abhorrent and despicable views at my conference rather than dealing with this mob in attendance.

                        I described precisely what is at odds here: you cannot go around and rally support from many diversity projects just as LamdaConf did and then show them the middle-finger like that and expect them to not be upset.

                        Be my guest in running the most controversial conference under the sun - if you state so before. Also, don’t come crying if people oppose or don’t support - that’s perfectly within their right.

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                          Sure you can. That’s what many conferences do […]

                          This is so nonsensical that it doesn’t surprise me that mainly untyped languages seem to do this. /s

                          I described precisely what is at odds here: you cannot go around and rally support from many diversity projects just as LamdaConf did and then show them the middle-finger like that and expect them to not be upset.

                          From what I gather, the large majority of “diverse” people actually backed them. The upset crowd seemed to largely consist of people continually looking for reasons to be angry and offended about something. That’s exactly the crowd I prefer not to have in attendance.

                          I frankly find it deeply troubling that these people think that they have to tell minorities what to do and what to think. You know, maybe the minority is still a minority because many don’t like to be treated by these people as fragile, insecure creatures which can’t look after themselves?

                          This whole thing reminds me of the creeper card movement which devolved from “women are weak, fragile, helpless human beings confused by choice and communication, let’s make colored cards for them to communicate” to “OMG! Who didn’t agree with our brilliant idea with those cards?! Let’s go after people who disagree with our approach.” at one conference. (Then it turned out that most of the people who made fun of the cards were actually those infantilized by the creeper card organizers, not the intended receivers of these cards.)

                          Also, don’t come crying if people oppose or don’t support - that’s perfectly within their right.

                          Isn’t that the whole point?

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                            Sure you can. That’s what many conferences do […]

                            This is so nonsensical that it doesn’t surprise me that mainly untyped languages seem to do this. /s

                            I guess we can stop talking here, then. Way to be blatantly dismissive.

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                              I’m glad to you found a snippet (even if it was explicitly marked as non-serious) that gave you a reason to stop dealing with completely unrelated opinions you didn’t like!

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                                No, my point is that I don’t wish to engage with people that can’t bite their tongues for a second when it comes to low stabs. My time is limited and I wish to spend it on people that actually want to discuss.

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                                  Sure! Let’s all pretend you didn’t just run out of arguments here. :-)

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                                    I flagged this as incorrect because, frankly, you have no idea whether or not skade had additional arguments to make. Don’t be a jerk.

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                    Specifically “Mencius Moldbug” (real name Curtis Yarvin), who has a history of racist and antidemocratic writings and speech.

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                      Technically, one could argue that his arguments are racialist and not racist. He believes in “racial” differences in abilities but not in moral superiority. I still think he’s wrong, and I find his writing unpleasant, his conclusions errant, and his views (as far as I can discern them, and it’s not easy as it might seem) offensive.

                      I would argue that he probably is racist, because racism is a systemic illness and everyone has some racism in them. What’s important is understanding that racism is wrong, and fighting racist tendencies in oneself and others.

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                        Technically, bullshit.

                        Plessy vs Ferguson defended Jim Crow laws by saying separate is OK as long as it’s equal. You and I both know (and Brown v. Board of Education established) that separate is inherently unequal. Saying someone has different abilities (makes a better slave) because of their race but that’s OK because it’s morally equal, is no different. I dare you to go to a bar, walk up to the biggest guy there and say, “Your girl is a whore, but don’t be offended because I’m not making any judgement about the ‘moral superiority’ of whores.” (Do you see how offensive that is?)

                        This is a big problem in our industry: we don’t look up from the keyboard long enough to have social skills and nuanced thinking. We all too often operate in binary. For example, show me another industry where talented women quit and run away in horror at their treatment. We’re a massive embarrassment, as an industry, as a collective, as a whole.

                        Shame on the organizers of LambdaConf. Yarvin isn’t famous for his technical prowess, Urbit isn’t interesting; he’s famous for his hate speech which resonates with all-too-many of our pueril industry. Inviting him isn’t defending free speech, it’s telling a sick industry not to worry about curing itself, that it’s “racialist” – not racist, it’s telling it to put down the water because this house fire is just fine.

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                          Technically, bullshit.

                          The difference between racialism and racism is arguably academic, and perhaps I shouldn’t have brought the distinction up. I find both abhorrent. He holds views that are (in my view and presumably yours) incorrect, revolting, and downright depressing.

                          If he were running for political office and had a credible chance of winning, I’d spend every moment I have to defeat his candidacy.

                          This is a big problem in our industry: we don’t look up from the keyboard long enough to have social skills and nuanced thinking. We all too often operate in binary. For example, show me another industry where talented women quit and run away in horror at their treatment. We’re a massive embarrassment, as an industry, as a collective, as a whole.

                          I agree with absolutely everything that you have said in this paragraph. Every word. I know that it takes a lot of courage to point this out, and I thank you for having it.

                          On the other hand, I’ve been “de-platformed” for my own political views (leftist, anti-sexist, anti-racist, supportive of collective bargaining). I was erroneously [1] placed on a “suspected unionist” list while I worked at Google, and this has complicated future job searches, because if there’s one thing that technology executives can agree on, it’s hatred of anyone who’s shown any support for collective bargaining. Last September, Y Combinator extorted Quora into banning my account. So I’m sensitive to this sort of thing.

                          I absolutely fucking despise Moldbug’s ideology, but let’s talk about consistency. Many people in the Silicon Valley billionaire class hold the same views. They just don’t get caught expressing them. Curtis Yarvin is just a poorer Paul Buchheit. Yet I doubt that people would pull out of LambdaConf if Paul Buchheit were invited to attend.

                          it’s telling a sick industry not to worry about curing itself,

                          That is certainly not my position.

                          I doubt that I would ever attend Mr. Yarvin’s talk. I wouldn’t want to work with or for him. However, when I hear people calling for someone to be “de-platformed” when he is delivering a technical talk, it makes me nervous. De-platforming (and blacklisting, and undesirable publicity) happens all the time and it’s usually people on “our side” (leftists, anti-corporates, feminists) to whom it happens. Remember how much malicious garbage was said about Ellen Pao (in particular, about her work performance) for having the gall to challenge an obviously illegal termination?

                          Do we fix the industry by “de-platforming” one person, though? Or do we do it with much more sweeping changes, throughout the industry, that might finally give the individual technologist more safety and status? I’d rather focus energies on the latter.

                          Footnote [1]: I say “erroneously” because, while I support that cause, I don’t mix my politics and my job.

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                            Remember how much malicious garbage was said about Ellen Pao (in particular, about her work performance) for having the gall to challenge an obviously illegal termination?

                            And for anyone without sympathies to Ms. Pao–remember what they said about Eich?

                            This sort of muckraking hurts everyone in our industry, and the problem with mob justice is that a face in the crowd today could just as easily be on the pillory tomorrow.

                            We have to act civilized, even if we don’t see ourselves getting the same courtesy all the time.

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                            Speaking of generalizations, why assume the biggest guy in a bar is so quick to anger and prone to violence?

                            And if I understand the attempted analogy, wouldn’t “some whores are better than others” be more accurate? That seems less rage inducing, even in big guys.

                            Urbit isn’t interesting.

                            A number of people seem to disagree.

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                              I didn’t say the biggest guy would be quick to anger. I’m saying it because a normal person wouldn’t offend someone in a situation where that person can do them harm, and I said it to highlight the offensiveness of it. And you’re right, the analogy would work better if he had a Thai girlfriend and you told him, “They make better whores.”

                              About Urbit, I’ll give you that; a number of people find CSS3 interesting. I still think the organizers should be ashamed of themselves.

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                                Fair enough, though I find “argument with big guy” unconvincing in general. It does rely on a threat of implied violence. Might makes right?

                                Trial by combat also leads to some likely erroneous conclusions. There’s a few bars around here where saying “Snowden is a hero” will get you punched. Not sure what that says about the inherent offensiveness or correctness of the statement.

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                                  I’m saying it because a normal person wouldn’t offend someone in a situation where that person can do them harm,

                                  Have you never seen an argument at a bar? Or anywhere else?

                                  People are remarkably good at offending others under any circumstance.

                                  You are also backpedaling on the Urbit thing–at least have the spine to stick with your out-of-hand dismissal.

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                                    I’m not back-pedaling – you just missed the joke.

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                                Saying someone has different abilities (makes a better slave) because of their race but that’s OK because it’s morally equal, is no different.

                                Except that isn’t a statement of the argument being made. The argument made by the author was (as recapped in other thread with a minor clarifying point):

                                1. Humans naturally form patron-client (master/slave, lord/serf, boss/employee) relationships.
                                2. Some humans are better suited to slavery than others due to natural variance in phenotype. One may say the same about, say, metabolic requirements or fitting into a small space.
                                3. Different populations (colloquially, races) are expected to have different rates of natural variance and to have variance in different qualities. Presumably, this means some are better tempered (by 0) towards being subservient.
                                4. Spaniards and other slavers found that, because of 1 and 2, certain subgroups were better for enslavement than others.

                                Now, this is something that is probably false–because 0 is quite open for debate, and 3 is pure conjecture on something that could’ve been influenced by any number of things.

                                Make no mistake–Moldbug is probably wrong in his argument. However, that argument has nothing to do with the separate-but-equal tangent you are trying to introduce here.

                                How Moldbug is wrong, one might say, is a matter of nuance.

                                I dare you to go to a bar, walk up to the biggest guy there and say, “Your girl is a whore, but don’t be offended because I’m not making any judgement about the ‘moral superiority’ of whores.” (Do you see how offensive that is?)

                                This is, I suggest, a poor attempt at mimicing the structure of Moldbug’s argument. I racked my brain for a few minutes trying to figure out how to illustrate what a proper one would’ve been, and really the basic problem is that your formulation is just bad: it doesn’t show it’s logic, it supposes a specific character defect instead of a general principle (compare “is a whore” with perhaps the more Moldbugian “could have sex with multiple partners”), and brings in the whole moral superiority thing which didn’t really spring out from Moldbug’s article.

                                Again, nuance.

                                For example, show me another industry where talented women quit and run away in horror at their treatment.

                                Teaching. The military. Any form of waitressing. Tech hardly has some magical monopoly on misogyny–or on general maltreatment of good people.

                                Then again, talented women leave all industries for other reasons too, and it’s a little disingenuous to act like the only thing happening in our industry (partly because it ignores the progress a lot of us have fought hard for!) is the bashing of women until they depart.

                                Urbit isn’t interesting;

                                What drives you to make this claim? Why do you find it uninteresting?

                                Perhaps it is less interesting in immediate utility (or lack thereof) than a witchhunt, but it really does seem like an oddly interesting idea. Unless you are claiming it is uninteresting because you simply want to silence a minority you disagree with?

                                Inviting him isn’t defending free speech, it’s telling a sick industry not to worry about curing itself, that it’s “racialist” – not racist

                                There is a slight difference between racialist and racist, just as there is a difference between being a misanthrope and a misogynist/misandrist, between being an artificial inseminator and somebody who practices bestiality, or between being a clergyman or a con-artist. In those small differences, we find a great deal of meaning–some of us do, I suppose. They may seem similar, and may even do some of the same things, but the intent is different.

                                This is a big problem in our industry: we don’t look up from the keyboard long enough to have social skills and nuanced thinking.

                                You know, it’s times like this I kinda wish we had a downvote option for “internally inconsistent” or “unintentionally hypocritical”.

                                Your complaint about “We all too often operate in binary” is really a good point, and one that I wish your post helped promote instead of illustrating by counterexample.

                                ~

                                And yeah, we’re in a sick industry, for many reasons that people like michaelochurch have been slowly expanding upon. However, there is very little to gain from the sort of self-flagellation and uncritical outrage that posts like yours represent.

                                EDIT: Minor grammar fixes.

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                          I understand the stance taken by haskellbook but I can’t really put into words how much I reject the “I don’t like what he has to say but I’ll protect their right to say it!” crowd that they say they’re showing solidarity for. Providing platforms for fascists in your community doesn’t necessarily improve some kind of arbitrary measure of freedom you’re perceiving in that space, nor does it have measurable moral ground to stand on outside of the perceived freedom. Comparing no-platforming fascists to no-platforming people who not only don’t happen to have large bigoted followings but aren’t actively espousing obviously destructive action against minorities and the working class is ludicrous.

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                            but I can’t really put into words how much I reject the “I don’t like what he has to say but I’ll protect their right to say it!” crowd that they say they’re showing solidarity for.

                            We may not have been the people you were targeting with this sentiment, but that’s not our stance either and it’s not what Julie wrote in the post this thread is about.

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                              I think that you two did a better job of wording your concerns than I have, because as wide of a brush as saying that sentiment defines all the people the post talks about is disingenuous when it’s more a value held by segments of the crowd. I appreciate what you’re doing and I loved the post, sorry about the (sadly habitual) shitty/inflammatory wording I used that painted otherwise.

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                            Does this stance still hold, considering that the new Silver sponsor is a white-supremacist blog, http://status451.com/?