We all need to stand up to the trolls. Many people in tech claim to have come from backgrounds where they felt marginalized and mistreated. We owe it to people in the field, and to ourselves, to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and to stand up to those who do not. That needs to be as much a part of our culture in tech as our emphases on openness, hacking, and collaboration.
wow; that was an amazing article, full of good stuff.
i think leaving twitter is a great choice; it’s quite a ridiculous place.
it is true that implicit support of trolls is pretty widespread and should somehow stop.
this 2013 post makes the same point in great detail: http://jasonlefkowitz.net/2013/02/i-kind-of-hate-twitter/
it examines twitter through the lens of “the medium is the message”. relevant quote:
Given Twitter’s success, it’s hard to argue with any of these choices from a business perspective. But from a McLuhanite perspective, in terms of designing a medium for discussion, these choices are disastrous. They all drive the user in the same direction — away from nuance and towards sharp messages that drive up the user’s “score.”
You can mark a quote by starting a paragraph with “>”, like in an email:
> some quote
This is a beautiful analysis.
The article: “Twitter, for all its good, is a hate amplifier.”
I have never had a Twitter account and only occasionally scan tweets I hear about elsewhere. The character-limited format in fact seems like it would lead to just what is described here and elsewhere - escalating personal accusations and simplistic reasoning. And I can’t actually see evidence that Twitter actually any good in the larger scheme of things. The best I’ve heard of the medium is it allows messages to come out slightly more quickly, which ultimately seems like an at best neutral quality rather than a real point in its favor.
I have a hard time seeing “all the good”, or any good whatsoever for that matter, in Twitter. It explicitly, as a design goal, prevents meaningful communication. It’s a more explicit exaltation of the trivial than society has ever before seen. The only “good” I can see is that there’s some really funny novelty accounts on it, which is about the worst justification for the existence of a webservice it’s possible to imagine.
In fairness, it has uses as a crowdsourced notification system. E.g. our train system in Melbourne is unreliable in hot weather (in Australia, who’d have expected that?)
Many people keep a close eye on the #metrotrains hashtag to know what’s going on, and post updates themselves as they observe problems. The official @metrotrains has a deservedly poor reputation through often failing to tell anyone what’s going on until after the fact, and then often lying about the extent of problems (possibly through ignorance or poor communication between their social media folks and their staff on the ground).
Definitely the best bit is reading the spoof accounts, though, like @fakemetrotrains. It’s even funnier when people mistake them for the real @metrotrains.
What can I do to actually make this a better situation, besides identify and try to help correct bias where I spot them? Join a social network where you have to pay/get invited to participate? Download/start using one of those Twitter apps where you share block lists with followers/following?
I believe that the best thing to do to combat bullying is to be friendly.
weev’s response: https://weev.livejournal.com/409913.html
in case anyone comes here and isn’t familiar with weev, this should provide a nice level of background: http://www.donotlink.com/bvbu
Did he actually write this? If so, how can anyone possibly look at him as a “good” person?
Yes and I have absolutely no idea.
weev was the victim of a combination of overzealous prosecution and a bad law; he should never have been charged, and the law in question should be repealed.
I suspect what’s happening is that people are seeing the bad thing that happened, and assuming that it happened to a good person. That makes for a better narrative, too - it’s easier to shout “free weev!” than “free weev even though he’s an asshole!”
This is actually a common problem. As Rand observed, “In the transition to statism, every infringement of human rights has begun with a given right’s least attractive practitioners”.
this reads much like the original article predicts (thanks for posting it though, good to see the other viewpoint.)
i am pleasantly surprised and impressed that this is being upvoted and discussed on lobsters, rather than being downvoted or flamed as “off-topic” or “not real tech stuff”. it did not make the hackernews front page, for instance.
As a thought experiment… What if the internet were completely regulated, like driving:
1) There would be "rules of the road" for the internet.
2) You'd need a license to go on the internet.
3) There would be "cops" and you could get a ticket or even be arrested for things you wrote, (akin to DUI, speeding, dangerous driving, ...).
Would the internet be a better place? Would the crap in the article still happen?
fwiw this happens already on forums. so you can imagine what it would be like by just imaging your whole world to be the forum.
i.e. twitter is a place with rules like this. i guess the “problem” is that they aren’t really enforced well enough, and the community accepts it as “okay”; which is kind of the point of the article - community acceptance of this kind of behaviour.
I buy that.
Some problems have no solutions. It would be a bummer if this were one of those.
i think as she says, it just really requires the community to show that this isn’t acceptable behaviour. it does happen on other forums; it really depends on how it is moderated. i think this just maybe asks us to consider if some type of moderation is good (it likely is.)
it just really requires the community to show that this isn’t acceptable behaviour
Which is what “laws” are – the community deciding what is acceptable. Real-world laws are different from “rules” and “guidelines” on forums because they are backed up by courts, jail time, and fines.
The reason society has all that stuff is that some people just need a stick, instead of a carrot, to learn how to behave the way society wants.
As with most articles written from a single point of view, I’m having trouble discerning what really happened here.
On the one hand, we’re asked to believe that Kathy issued no DMCA takedowns due to lack of evidence. Fair enough. I believe her.
On the other hand, we’re asked to believe that Andrew doxxed Kathy without any evidence provided. (Newsflash: I’ve “admitted” to plenty of things over the years to get a guy into bed, that doesn’t mean that I actually did any of them.)
Obviously, Kathy has faced some very difficult times, and for that I certainly feel for her, but the addition of logical fallacies peppered about in this post make it a little tough to chew.
She directly addresses this in the post: even if weev wasn’t the one who doxxed her, he very clearly endorsed the doxxing. We need to speak out against people endorsing that behavior, just as much as we need to speak out against the perpetrators.
Over a candlelit dinner of tuna sashimi, Weev asked if I would attribute his comments to Memphis Two, the handle he used to troll Kathy Sierra, a blogger. Inspired by her touchy response to online commenters, Weev said he “dropped docs” on Sierra, posting a fabricated narrative of her career alongside her real Social Security number and address. This was part of a larger trolling campaign against Sierra, one that culminated in death threats. Weev says he has access to hundreds of thousands of Social Security numbers. About a month later, he sent me mine.
Now can we please get back to not doubting the victim, especially where, you know, evidence is published in a major newspaper? I’ve seen quite enough of your posts regarding women and LGBT people here already; it’s leaving an acid taste in my mouth.
Clearly: journeysquid is an obnoxious misogynist, and equally clearly, weev either doxxed her or strongly endorsed it, which are roughly morally equivalent. You’re correct on those points.
But: “not doubting the victim” can be a fallacious approach. One should maintain a healthy skepticism about any claim, in any field; whether or not the claimant may in fact be the victim of something terrible. Terms like “not doubting the victim” can be, and sometimes are, used to shut down critical discussion in much the same way as terms like “warmist” and “denier” in the field of climate change.
out of interest, what logical fallacies made it hard for you to read?