Daily reminder that 2019 Reddit would ban 2008 Reddit. by Bullet_Storm in WatchRedditDie

[–]BardFinn 3 insightful - 4 fun3 insightful - 3 fun4 insightful - 4 fun -  (0 children)

I spent three decades of Sundays studying white supremacists and Holocaust deniers (but I repeat myself)

My reading room had three walls of bookshelves filled with pamphlets, brochures, flyers, handouts, meeting minutes, law enforcement records liberated under FOIA, small-press books, videocassettes, CD's, audio cassettes, and hardbacks, put out by everyone from the KKK to Richard Spencer. I've written software to trace the evolution of their shitty anti-culture from post-Weimar Lutheranism in Western Europe and the propaganda forgeries of post-Czarist Russia to the discussion boards of Stormfront and Reddit.

The criteria I use for running a ban-bot against a subreddit is that the subreddit has to be clearly organised around a principle of violating one or more of the Reddit Content Policies.

Reddit has begun taking much more swift action against such subreddits when they're reported, and has overhauled their enforcement policies so that subreddits that are created or repurposed to re-create the purpose of a banned subreddit that violated the Content Policies, is itself classed as Ban Evasion, and those subreddits are shuttered promptly as well.

Other subreddits run a banbot because they reasonably believe that i.e. neoNazis aren't going to be able to treat African-American people with humanity and dignity.

I do use a tool that scrapes the activity in a variety of large hatred-oriented subreddits, and tags the user accounts (down to linking to the comment or post) --

So that I have a way to gauge the Ethos of someone's engagement in a subreddit thread.

According to Aristotle, there are three categories of ethos:

phronesis – useful skills & wisdom
arete – virtue, goodwill
eunoia – goodwill towards the audience

In a sense, ethos does not belong to the speaker but to the audience. Thus, it is the audience that determines whether a speaker is a high- or a low-ethos speaker.

Violations of ethos include:

The speaker has a direct interest in the outcome of the debate (e.g. a person pleading innocence of a crime);
The speaker has a vested interest or ulterior motive in the outcome of the debate;
The speaker has no expertise (e.g. a lawyer giving a speech on space flight is less convincing than an astronaut giving the same speech).

Tier 0 of the diagramme I linked earlier? That's all stuff that can be easily handled by AutoModerator -- it's all cliche's and tropes and stock phrases and slurs.

Tier 1? That's a little harder for AutoModerator to pick up; There are certain shibboleths that betray certain stock fallacies -- because many times, someone using the fallacy is just repeating some media personality who is selling them a pseudosalve for their psychic dysfunction, and they just blindly reuse it.

But a lot of times, fallacies are deeply integrated into someone's worldview, and they'll platform them in their own words.

That requires an assessment of their Ethos to do it.

Criticism of tone - Tier 2 - is also something that AutoModerator excels at, because a huge swath of the corpus of the Criticism of Tone is also Thought-Terminating Cliche's -- idioms used to label and dismiss. But, again -- people will integrate them and put them into their own words, and knowing that they come from a particular culture that exists specifically for the purpose of systematically reducing other human beings into labels and boxes to dismiss their concerns -- that's important.

(And yes, some of the audience is right now reflexively twitching towards "But YOU have a list of labels that YOU use to reflexively dismiss ..." -- I have a list of behaviours that typify the forms taken by a culture of belittling and disenfranchisement and violation of boundaries and consent.)

Tier 3, the Flat Contradiction or Assertion, is a time-waster -- it's just a slapping of the bell on the counter, demanding "One Argument, Please" -- and understanding whether someone will be going up if provided good-faith engagement, or descending down if given attention, is an important part of moderating a discussion. If someone is heavily involved in a culture that emphasises "Ignore their consent and rules, and offend them as much as possible until you're kicked out" -- then we go straight to the "you're kicked out" part.

/r/conspiracy is a deeply racist subreddit -- but also attracts a lot of people who want to argue with the racists and kooks therein, or who get sucked in by actual real concerns that are labelled "conspiracy theories" by one "authority" or another.

Earlier I mentioned Ethos -- so you should understand mine:

I'm a retired Computer Scientist; I have a Master's in English. I worked for a PR firm for a decade before I retired.

This? How people communicate and carry out community on the Internet? is literally my field of expertise.

I'm also a transgender woman.

So I'm seen by a significant section of the bad-faith users - the bigots - as some kind of "traitor" - because they believe that the things I know, the skills I have, the body I inhabit ... that these somehow belong, in some way, to them.

And they believe that of every other transgender person - that their bodies, and minds, and loyalties, and reproductive capabilities -- that these bigots have some authority to make a claim on them.

And they behave in a way that says that, if they can't control a thing, they destroy that thing.

And assuredly, they see us transgender people as "things" -- as tokens and objects and subhuman.

That attitude is endemic to the culture of /r/MGTOW, and of /r/KotakuInAction, and many other longstanding subreddits.

It's unconscionable to ask someone to just put up with the torrent of abuse, for the sake of the occasional pure-hearted soul who just was participating in a misguided fashion.

It's not my burden to fix people who believe they own me.

MDEgenerates being stupid as always by the-idiots114 in drama

[–]BardFinn 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

The person I'm describing?

You spend time online, you'll meet him a lot.

His name is Schrödinger's Douchebag.

(Borrowed Observation #3: Schrodinger's Douchebag defined by Sally Strange {not sure who first originated the term}: https://imgur.com/gallery/wEhXGrr )

A guy who says offensive things and decides whether he was joking based on the reaction of people around him.

Any website that lacks effective moderation and allows some level of anonymity will (to varying degrees) approximate 4Chan,

and be over-run with Schrödinger's Douchebag.

Now, when this type of person defends, for instance, rape jokes, by saying:

"All humour is inherently punching down because there must be a butt to every joke"

He hasn't thought about it

He assumes it's true because he figures … he's a smart guy, and whatever he assumes is probably right,

but he's unfazed if you prove otherwise,

there's no shortage of dodgy reasons he might be right, and you wrong;

he'll just pick another one.

What matters is the game continues.

The thing is, Bob, it's not that they're lying, it's that they just don't care.

I'll say that again for the cheap seats: When they make these kinds of arguments, They legitimately DO NOT CARE Whether the words coming out of their mouths are true.

If they cared, before they said something is true, they would look it up.

So it's kind of funny, right? How many of these folks self-identify as "rationalists".

I mean, typical rational thinking would say,

If I am presented with the truth, I will believe it. And, once I believe it, I will defend it in argument.

This? [Pictured: Engelbert stating "All humour is inherently punching down ...]

This is not that.

This is a different idea of "rationality" that views it not as a practice,

but as an innate quality one either possesses or lacks, like being Blonde, or Left-Handed.

"If I'm arguing it, I must believe it, because I'm A Rational Person; and, if I believe it (because I'm A Rational Person), it must be True."

You speak assuming you're right, and, should you take a new position, this telescopes out into a whole new set of beliefs, with barely a thought.

Stay focused on the argument, you won't even notice it's happening.

You might now conclude that The Internet Reactionary Believes in Nothing (Except Winning Arguments With Liberals)

and, like Newtonian Physics, if you assume this framing, you will get highly useful results.

If you enter conversation with Engelbert and Charlemagne believing They Do Not Mean What They Say, They Are Only Entertaining Notions, and on a long enough timeline they will eventually defend a position fundamentally incompatible with the one they defended earlier in the same argument?

you will navigate that conversation much more effectively.

But, like Newtonian Physics, this framing is lower-case-a-accurate, without being Capital-T-True.

In reality, Nihilism isn't that popular.

People will tell you, "I don't care about anything, I just like triggering the Libs",

but Why is it always Libs?

It is piss-easy (and also hilarious) to upset conservatives.

Why only go after the "SJW"s?

The simple answer is, well, if you upset a feminist, you might make her cry; if you upset a Nazi, he might stab you.

And that has a cooling effect.

But the more obvious answer is:

They actually agree with the racist MRA and TERF talking points they repeat,

But would rather not think about it.

So much of Conservative rhetoric is about maintaining ignorance of one's own beliefs.

To uphold the institution of imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy, while thinking you are none of those things.

Well, okay, knowing you're a capitalist, but thinking that's a good thing.

Most people have a baseline of fairly conventional kindergarten morality, and Conservatism often clashes with it.

You can rationalise these contradictions: "I'm not a bigot, I just believe in State's Rights"

But as American Conservatism gets more radical,

(pictured: Trump Rally where attendee is wearing T-Shirt emblazoned with the motto "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required", other attendees smiling and normalising this view)

It gets harder to square one's politics with what one assumes to be one's beliefs.

So you learn, when someone challenges you, to cycle through beliefs, until something sticks.

Just Play Your Hand, and Trust That You're Right.


in extreme cases

insist that you have no beliefs at all, you're just here to watch the world burn. But they're not.

They are willing participants in the burning of only certain parts.

They don't care what they believe, but they know what they hate, and they don't want to think about why they hate it.

On paper, they believe in Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Expression, but they also hang out in communities where Muslims and trans women are punching bags.

and, like a sixth grader who believes one thing in Sunday School and another thing in Biology class, they believe different things at different times.

This flexibility of belief is fertile ground for far-right recruitment.

I'd say the jury is out on whether Chan boards attract Far Right extremists, or are built to attract Far Right extremists,

but they're where extremists congregate and organise, because they're where extremists are tolerated, and where they blend in with the locals.

They learn the Lingua Franca of Performative Irony:

Say What You Mean in such a way that people who disagree, think you're kidding, and people who agree, think you're serious.

People who don't know what they believe, but clearly have some fascist leanings, don't need to be convinced of Nazi rhetoric.

They just need to be submerged in it, and encouraged to hate liberals.

They'll make their way to the Far Right, on their own.

Folks start using extremist rhetoric, because it "wins" arguments with "SJW"s — usually because that's the moment the "SJW" decides it's not fruitful (and possibly unsafe) talking to you.

And this creates the appearance that, if it keeps winning arguments, there must be something to it.

The Far Right literally has handbooks on how to do this.

Those who don't consciously embrace the ideology, who don't transition from participating to getting recruited, are still useful; They spread the rhetoric, they pad the numbers, and often participate in harassment and sometimes even violence.

There's a twisted elegance to all this.

Think about it: If you operate as though there is no truth, just competing opinions, and as though opinions aren't sincere, just tools to be picked up and dropped, depending on their utility, then what are you operating under? Self-interest. The Desire to Win.

You'll defend the Holocaust, just to feel smarter than someone. Superior.

Think how beautifully that maps onto the in-group / out-group mentality of dominance and bigotry.

And think how incompatible it is with liberal ideas of tolerance.

I think this is why we don't see a lot of these

"I'm just here to fuck shit up" types on the Left.

Don't get me wrong: The Left has gotten on some bullshit

[Pictured: march where two participants are carrying a banner that reads "911 was an inside job"]


(excepting politicians, whom you should assume never mean anything they say)

it's sincerely-believed bullshit.

We don't build identities around saying things just to piss people off.

The takeaway from all this is not only that you can't tell the difference between a bigot who doesn't know they're a bigot, and a bigot who knows but won't tell you

[Pictured: Engelbert and Charlemagne]

but that

there is no line dividing the two.

When some guy in the middle of a harassment campaign says the victims should be nicer to their harassers because that will "mend the rift", I don't know if he believes it.

But, in that moment,

he believes he believes it And that scares the shit out of me.

But if you're asking "How many of layers of irony he's on", as compared with the actual harassers, 9 times out of 10, It doesn't matter.