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Linking to hate.
October 29, 2002 6:05 AM   Subscribe

Linking to hate. Do links to hate-filled websites help to promote hatred or do they help to combat hate by exposing these sites to broader scrutiny? How does Google fit into the picture? (No direct links to hate groups)
posted by joemaller (13 comments total)

 
Links are to older articles surrounding a 1999-2000 debate between Roger Ebert and David Goldman, founder of Hatewatch (now Tolerance.org), but the issue hasn't exactly gone away.

Several comments in this MetaTalk thread seems to take the 'hide from ugliness' angle, which I'm not sure is the most productive.
posted by joemaller at 6:09 AM on October 29, 2002


If you're discussing a hate site on the Web, I think it's a disservice to your audience not to link to it and let them view the site and draw their own conclusions about what you have written. In Rebecca Blood's proposed Code of Ethics for webloggers, item 2 is "If material exists online, link to it when you reference it."
posted by rcade at 6:20 AM on October 29, 2002


I botched the google link, here it is again:
Society > Issues > Race-Ethnic-Religious Relations > Hate
posted by joemaller at 6:36 AM on October 29, 2002


"If material exists online, link to it when you reference it."

Isn't "reference" a noun? Shouldn't that be "when you refer to it"?
posted by oissubke at 7:21 AM on October 29, 2002


If you're discussing a hate site on the Web, I think it's a disservice to your audience not to link to it and let them view the site and draw their own conclusions about what you have written.

I couldn't agree more. Ignorance is always a bad place from which to debate a point. Those who argue that exposing hate-sites to public scrutiny will somehow "promote" them are assuming that the public will naturally be aligned with philosophies of hate, which I think is both wrong and insulting. And if the majority of people did respond positively to such sites, it's not our job to shield them from them like fragile children.
posted by rushmc at 7:29 AM on October 29, 2002


oh, my virgin eyes.
posted by quonsar at 7:50 AM on October 29, 2002


oissubke: dictionary.com is your friend.

(Actually I prefer m-w.com, except for the fact that you can't link directly to entries. In any case, both dictionaries agree that reference can be used as a verb.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:58 AM on October 29, 2002


Dictionary.com is the online dictionary for people who don't know any better. You can link directly to Merriam-Webster entries like this.
posted by jjg at 8:43 AM on October 29, 2002


I'll keep that in mind, but how do I link directly to definition 3, reference as a verb, on m-w.com?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:24 AM on October 29, 2002


M-W lists "reference" as a verb because people misuse it as such. "Reference" is a noun. "Refer" is the verb. Just like "defer" and "deference".

Both dictionary.com and m-w.com are terrible references. They routinely list common misuses of English as if they were normal definitions. They're fine if you want to look up what the teeming masses say, but they're not very good for descriptions of "correct" English.
posted by oissubke at 3:32 PM on October 30, 2002


"Militia" has two meanings according to M-W...
posted by oissubke at 9:14 AM PST on September 30

Both dictionary.com and m-w.com are terrible references.
posted by oissubke at 3:32 PM PST on October 30

Hell, it's so confusing when you have these experts on the English language disagreeing with one another....

posted by fold_and_mutilate at 5:09 PM on October 30, 2002


Ha! Nice catch, f&m.

Both dictionary.com and m-w.com are terrible references. They routinely list common misuses of English as if they were normal definitions. They're fine if you want to look up what the teeming masses say, but they're not very good for descriptions of "correct" English.

This exhibits a profound misunderstanding of what a dictionary is and of how language works (not to mention a profound anti-democratic sentiment: "the teeming masses" indeed!). M-W lists "reference" as a verb because people use it as such; the way people use words is how those words are used. Isn't that obvious? Because you happen to think a word should be used a certain way, you are right and everyone who uses it differently is wrong? The dictionary is not there to back up your elitist prejudices, it is there to record how the language is used. It's too bad if you don't like the results, but if I have to accept the outcome of the last election, you have to accept the vox populi with regard to "reference." Fair is fair.
posted by languagehat at 5:54 PM on October 30, 2002


I know what the difference is, but if I say "nucular" instead of "nuclear", "ain't" instead of "is not", "infer" instead of "imply", or "reference" instead of "refer", the general conception is that I am improperly using the language.

Descriptive dictionaries are a vital tool for anyone interested in how language is used, how it evolves, etc. However, that doesn't mean one should rely on one of those dictionaries to demonstrate what is "correct" English.

The idealistic notion that language is defined by the masses, etc., is fine and good -- unless you're writing documents on which a multinational corporation's reputation is judged (which I do), writing an English paper, or simply trying to sound like a halfway educated person.

Whether we like it or not, there is a language called English that has generally accepted rules. You're perfectly free to bend or break those rules as you see fit, but by doing so you risk looking as if it were because of a lack of knowledge rather than a conscious decision. If using "reference" makes some people think you're uneducated or at least unsophisticated in language matters, then it would behoove you to use the actual verb form ("refer"), which according to the arbitrary rules forced upon you by the Man (trying to get you down!) is the "correct" form.

If you're curious about language usage and evolution, use the M-W. If you're going to look up whether something is "correct" English, use an Oxford or something.

It's too bad if you don't like the results, but if I have to accept the outcome of the last election, you have to accept the vox populi with regard to "reference." Fair is fair.

You am just jealosing because I are so mucher smartly then everiwon els.
posted by oissubke at 12:25 PM on November 1, 2002


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