"I have to go now. My planet needs me."
July 20, 2016 7:05 AM   Subscribe

After Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones experienced racist harassment on Twitter, blogger Milo Yiannopoulous has been permanently banned from the site.
posted by Theta States (228 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Milo, who was at the RNC, learned the news just as his gathering entitled "Wake Up" was starting.
posted by Theta States at 7:07 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]




This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:10 AM on July 20, 2016 [41 favorites]


I wonder what Milo would have to say about this. Maybe this essay he wrote in 2012 will help:
So perhaps what’s needed now is a bolder form of censure after all, because the internet is not a universal human right. If people cannot be trusted to treat one another with respect, dignity and consideration, perhaps they deserve to have their online freedoms curtailed. For sure, the best we could ever hope for is a smattering of unpopular show trials. But if the internet, ubiquitous as it now is, proves too dangerous in the hands of the psychologically fragile, perhaps access to it ought to be restricted. We ban drunks from driving because they’re a danger to others. Isn’t it time we did the same to trolls?
-Milo Yiannopoulos
posted by griphus at 7:13 AM on July 20, 2016 [207 favorites]


That's the same guy? Did he have a stroke or something?
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:14 AM on July 20, 2016 [51 favorites]


Like, Twitter still has huge systemic issues (this new "verify everybody" thing they're trying to do is so so stupid) and he's just going to harass by proxy like he always has and Twitter only paid attention after somebody famous was targeted.

But I'm still dancing on that grave.
posted by kmz at 7:14 AM on July 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


The level of mental gymnastics these asshats do every day to justify their world has to be exhausting.

If only we could channel the InternetManBabies' energy to something useful.
posted by DigDoug at 7:15 AM on July 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


That's the same guy? Did he have a stroke or something?

No, he just discovered the alt-right grift trough.
posted by blucevalo at 7:16 AM on July 20, 2016 [40 favorites]


That's the same guy? Did he have a stroke or something?

Part of being a troll means being aware of what you're doing.
posted by beerperson at 7:18 AM on July 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Happy Dance... Doin' my Happy Dance...
posted by Navelgazer at 7:20 AM on July 20, 2016


I caught some of that yesterday, and it was beyond vile.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:20 AM on July 20, 2016


Sad that it took two years of sustained abuse and a call-out from a fucking movie star to win this largely symbolic victory, but I'll take it.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:22 AM on July 20, 2016 [24 favorites]


Milo Yiannopoulous has been permanently banned


posted by grouse at 7:23 AM on July 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


Twitter is still a business model driven by "engagement". A lot of us know what engagement feels like and it's no fun and games. For some people engagement is doxxing, death threats and horrific online abuse.

So until twitter figures out how to measure user experience and introduces a bit of friction (the mefi 5, is an example of friction) then twitter will continue to "engage" people in awful ways.

But yeah good riddance to a scourge.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:23 AM on July 20, 2016 [14 favorites]


solution to Twitter harassment:

1. permaban milo
2. permaban anyone who complains milo was banned

should work for 95% of it

posted by twist my arm at 7:24 AM on July 20, 2016 [58 favorites]


I love Twitter; it's my preferred social media outlet (besides the bajillions of cute cat pics I take on Instagram), but holy crap, is it terrible to be on it if you're a woman. It sucks somewhat if you're white, but if you're a woman of colour, it is an Almighty Shitpile. Seeing what feminists of colour deal with on the regular has made me rethink my concept of bravery.
posted by Kitteh at 7:24 AM on July 20, 2016 [20 favorites]


Also, here's a pile of Tiniest Violins for that asshole and his sad-ass followers/fans.
posted by Kitteh at 7:24 AM on July 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


From the National Post story:

Jones also reported controversial British journalist Milo Yiannopoulis to Twitter after he specifically directed his followers to target her.

...but his following tweet about "rejected by another black dude" doesn't look like an explicit call to arms to me. What am I missing?

(I generally find links to twitter shitfights incomprehensible, so believe me this is not some stealth defense of the asshole)
posted by Sauce Trough at 7:26 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Supposedly they are also opening up Verified Account status to a much wider band of people at the same time, and that might actually be the bigger news here.
posted by selfnoise at 7:27 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


After watching a lot of discussion on Twitter's failure to address harassment, I'm curious what folks think Twitter should, ideally be doing policy wise. In this particular case it seems to me they should be fully cooperating with a criminal harassment investigation, and banning this shit bag, but I wonder what site wide policies they should be thinking about.
posted by latkes at 7:27 AM on July 20, 2016


IRL Famous > Internet Famous
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:27 AM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


A temporary ban from Twitter? Would jail not be more appropriate for this sort of behaviour?

If you're looking for more positive news, the police where I live have just classified certain types of misogyny as a hate crime.
posted by pipeski at 7:28 AM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


...but his following tweet about "rejected by another black dude" doesn't look like an explicit call to arms to me. What am I missing?

There were other tweets, of course.
And Milo started posting pics of faked tweets that he had made.
posted by Theta States at 7:28 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


His response to being banned is truly classic right-wing butthurtiness. Like, textbook butthurt.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:28 AM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


A temporary ban from Twitter? Would jail not be more appropriate for this sort of behaviour?

Permanent ban from twitter.
posted by Theta States at 7:29 AM on July 20, 2016


I've always loved the alt-text on that classic XKCD: "I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express."
posted by kmz at 7:30 AM on July 20, 2016 [156 favorites]


Personally, a five year lock on his language-processing centers might be more productive for society.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:30 AM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Milo looks like the evil-universe version of Mark Ronson. I'm surprised Ronson hasn't sued him for being a douchebag.
posted by savetheclocktower at 7:33 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Griphus: I wonder what Milo would have to say about this. Maybe this essay he wrote in 2012 will help

The title? "The internet is turning us all into sociopaths"

The Card Cheat: That's the same guy? Did he have a stroke or something?

Nope, his essay turned out to be more true than he realized.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:36 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


(Ah, found the fake tweets. Fucking heinous stuff. What happens to ppl to make them so mean?)
posted by Sauce Trough at 7:37 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


A temporary ban from Twitter? Would jail not be more appropriate for this sort of behaviour?

Oh ho ho.

But yes.
posted by Artw at 7:38 AM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


After watching a lot of discussion on Twitter's failure to address harassment, I'm curious what folks think Twitter should, ideally be doing policy wise.

Personally, I think they need to be more aggressive against abusers. Again, look at the individual involved here - he's run a number of harassment campaigns against other people (mainly women) without raising an alarm. The only difference this time was his target was high profile enough that Twitter was forced to do something.

The problem is that many of these services haven't realized that not every user is worth keeping.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:38 AM on July 20, 2016 [22 favorites]


Sauce Trough: What happens to ppl to make them so mean?

Notoriety and "popularity" is a helluva drug.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:38 AM on July 20, 2016


After watching a lot of discussion on Twitter's failure to address harassment, I'm curious what folks think Twitter should, ideally be doing policy wise.

Algorithmicly detect the common swarming behavior of trolls and nip that shit in the bud every time it starts happening.
posted by Artw at 7:41 AM on July 20, 2016 [34 favorites]


It's a traffic analysis problem, basically. Some bright young dev should be able to come up with something during a hack day.
posted by Artw at 7:42 AM on July 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


> (Ah, found the fake tweets. Fucking heinous stuff. What happens to ppl to make them so mean?)

Everyone knows a person who occasionally acts like an asshole in order to prove a point. Imagine if, instead of “occasionally,” it was “all the time,” and the point being proved was dumb and trivial but was believed to be profound by the asshole. And then imagine he has 400,000 friends.
posted by savetheclocktower at 7:43 AM on July 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


NoxAeternum: The problem is that many of these services haven't realized that not every user is worth keeping.

Maybe more popular services should be like Instagram and randomly delete users, as a way to keep people on their toes, and add in some occasional spambot "raptures" to really thin the crowd.

Except Twitter is used for "crisis communication," so this would probably be a bad thing for some people.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:45 AM on July 20, 2016


Twitter's problem is simple to solve. But it is neither trivially cheap nor is it in alignment with user growth targets. So they do the minimum.

It's not a mystery: @jack and the leadership have decided that solving this problem is more trouble to them than letting it fester.
posted by chimaera at 7:45 AM on July 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Bear in mind that this was a PR response on Twitter's part, and shouldn't be interpreted a sign that they're developing a backbone, or a sense of responsibility, or any sort of moral fiber or basic human decency.
posted by mhoye at 7:47 AM on July 20, 2016 [45 favorites]


OK, this is going to be weird, so stick with me on this...but I seem to recall a while back some discussion about the rampant obesity in America being linked or connected in some way to a virus of sorts. In that same (totally weird but maybe plausible?) vein, perhaps there's a viral infection that is causing people to abandon rational discourse in favor of hyperbolic rhetoric/insults/general insanity & douche-bagery. Whackadoodles like this guy seem to be all over the place now, in numbers that seem too great to just be some kind of discovery effect (meaning...they were always there but thanks to The Internet we notice them more). I dunno. I need more coffee I think. (EDIT: spelling. I can't do it.)
posted by tehjoel at 7:47 AM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Twotter now letting everyone have blue checkmarks - except Milo, of course.
posted by Artw at 7:47 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


After watching a lot of discussion on Twitter's failure to address harassment, I'm curious what folks think Twitter should, ideally be doing policy wise.

I think the problem is structural. A tag-structured discourse format of many-to-many without curation or moderation regulated primarily by playing whack-a-mole with blocklists against astroturfed harassment mobs and sockpuppets strikes me now as a proven failure. Twitter is there. Tumblr inherits many of the same problems and is failing for many subjects.

There was some early discussion (recently revived) in the Computer-Mediated Communication realm about whether killfilles are sufficient for dealing with harassment, and it looks like killfilles (and their descendants) can't scale as quickly as harassment mobs. Perhaps machine learning can pick up the slack here, but it's an untested area.

At least for me, the solution is not to use that format.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:48 AM on July 20, 2016


Unfortunately a Free (him)* tag's been trending since last night, With lots of his supporters.

(*I refuse to even write the d-bag's name.)
posted by NorthernLite at 7:50 AM on July 20, 2016


If you have the blue checkmarks you can opt to only hear from other people with blue checkmarks*, so possibly they are moving to a more aggressively tiered model that coincidentally looks a lot like Facebook's real name policy. The value of armies of egg and anime avatar users may be in decline.

* which, I guess, was why Milo was so bereft at losing his.
posted by Artw at 7:51 AM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately a Free (him)* tag's been trending since last night, With lots of his supporters.

Posting with, like, all of their accounts.

Sadly Twitter is dumb enough they my mistake this for something real and let the shit back.
posted by Artw at 7:52 AM on July 20, 2016


Good riddance to bad rubbish.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:57 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


xkcd has this covered.
posted by episodic at 8:05 AM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Some of the harassment came in the form of look-alike parody accounts. So that's an issue that needs to be addressed.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:07 AM on July 20, 2016


About goddamn time someone was held accountable for spewing racist misogynist hateful words in a targeted fashion in order to harass someone.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:08 AM on July 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Has toxic online behavior (harassment, etc.) been on the rise, or just public awareness of it? Just a couple of years ago, it seemed like it was only discussed on the nerdy likes of MetaFilter – and now it's regular headline news, and the general less-nerdy public seems clued into the "Twitter is a cesspool of bigotry and harassment" meme.

Maybe it's partly the US election, which has drawn attention to the behavior of Trump and his alt-right henchmen on Twitter?

It seems to me that online toxicity feeds on itself in a feedback loop: people post noxious shit; services like Twitter / Facebook / Reddit / YouTube do nothing about it (to be fair, it's not an easy problem to solve satisfactorily – although they can and should do much more); others see people getting away with it, and feel validated and licensed to do the same; an informal subculture develops around it; finally it becomes normalized to the point that being reprehensible shithead is the norm for online discourse.

When the web was new, one of its most exciting aspects was the absence of gatekeepers. At last, anyone with something to say could have a voice, unfiltered and uncensored – no matter how unpopular or unconventional it might be, or how much the traditional power structures of media and culture might disapprove of it!

As it's turned out, that's also the web's biggest problem. We failed to realize that, when you give every random schmoe a public forum, a large portion of what they say will be fantastically ignorant and vile. None of us imagined just how much petty spite and barely constrained bigotry was out there (I didn't, anyway).

Maybe it will ultimately be for the good that we've finally turned over the rocks and exposed the vermin to daylight. At least we can no longer imagine that bigotry and grotesque entitlement are rare, fringe things. In the meantime, though, it makes the Internet an unpleasant, even dangerous place.

The problem is now evident to everyone. I really hope someone figures out a solution.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:08 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


[A few comments removed. If you're stumbling in having not read up to drop a hot take on free speech and a link to a "I haven't seen it but I'm still pretty sure it sucks" Ghostbusters review, you have just straight up gotten yourself lost on the way to anything resembling solid commenting.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:10 AM on July 20, 2016 [152 favorites]


Maybe I'm overly-cynical, but I think that what really got the troll perma-banned were the fake tweets. I mean, sure, disparaging Leslie Jones was disgusting, but using Twitter itself to misrepresent her sullied Twitter's name in a way that made a lawyer's eyebrows twitch, surely.

He blew it by leaving evidence that he himself had created the tweets in the form of a 'Delete' link on at least one of them.
posted by pwinn at 8:10 AM on July 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


They should have done this months ago.

We Hunted The Mammoth archived some of the tweets she received. They're horrifyingly racist and offensive.
posted by zarq at 8:12 AM on July 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Maybe I'm overly-cynical, but I think that what really got the troll perma-banned were the fake tweets.

Are you cynical enough?

I think that if the troll had made those fake tweets about Jane Random Feminist he would still be trolling today.
posted by Sauce Trough at 8:14 AM on July 20, 2016 [16 favorites]


I previously pointed out the article Meet The 9 People Helping Donald Trump Win The Internet (title in link, changed on the page) and commented "So. Much. Twitter. So much support for my belief that Twitter is as evil as Trump. Period." Of course, Milo Yunoloveme is on the list, under the subtitle "The Super-Villain". As long as any of the wastes of genetic material on that list are on Twitter, my position on the platform is unchanged. But then, by the standards they banned Yolo, why is @realDonaldTrump allowed to post?

when you give every random schmoe a public forum, a large portion of what they say will be fantastically ignorant and vile
The "fantastically ignorant and vile" are prolific in distributing their slime, because "having no filter" allows each one to produce 10X the content as people with minimal humanity. Also, they don't need "day jobs" because hate and evil is a very lucrative business model today, (See: YouTubers on that list)
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:15 AM on July 20, 2016


Anytime one of these "What do we do to punish trolls" discussions come up, I'm reminded on an old comedy bit by Louie Anderson, where he wished for a gun that killed people for only 15 minutes. That way you could shoot them, walk away, and when they later wake up they'd think "Gee, I must have been a real jerk just now".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 8:16 AM on July 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


For those interested in Ghostbusters we have an open thread and a fanfare thread.
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


As it's turned out, that's also the web's biggest problem. We failed to realize that, when you give every random schmoe a public forum, a large portion of what they say will be fantastically ignorant and vile. None of us imagined just how much petty spite and barely constrained bigotry was out there (I didn't, anyway).

It this a problem with the web, or a problem with society?

I'm all for private platforms like Twitter choosing to impose some basic decency standards in keeping with a better (online) society. Which is to say, pursuit of sociocultural change by depriving asshats like Milo of access to an influential and easily misused service like Twitter.

I'm less excited about fundamental changes in the law or the architecture of the Internet to better support prior restraints on speech or prevention of anonymous speech, at a basic level.

Especially when motivated by a desire to return to a studied ignorance of what people really think and and feel.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:19 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think that if the troll had made those fake tweets about Jane Random Feminist he would still be trolling today.

Oh, absolutely, 1000%. That's why am less than jubilant about this.
posted by Artw at 8:20 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm reminded on an old comedy bit by Louie Anderson, where he wished for a gun that killed people for only 15 minutes. That way you could shoot them, walk away, and when they later wake up they'd think "Gee, I must have been a real jerk just now".
Except if such a gun existed, when they wake up, they would ALL really think "Gee, somebody was a real jerk to ME just now".
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:21 AM on July 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


Are you cynical enough?

I think that if the troll had made those fake tweets about Jane Random Feminist he would still be trolling today.


Now imagine if this had been a targeted harassment of Chris Hemsworth, one that included doctored photos that showed him covered in semen, and doctored screenshots that appeared to show him tweeting hate speech. How long would it have taken twitter to ban some people then?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:27 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is Twitter finally waking up to, "Wait, we can just ban The Shitterati?" or am I going to see The Usual Suspects still online a month from now?
posted by Slackermagee at 8:29 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


> Has toxic online behavior (harassment, etc.) been on the rise, or just public awareness of it?

The latter, in combination with more people (and Serious Media Outlets, and law enforcement) finally taking it seriously, instead of brushing it all off with "Oh, it's just trolls, just ignore them" or "If you can't take the heat...". The toxic behavior is not new in the least.
posted by rtha at 8:30 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's a mentality out there that I associate with the political right. In any case where it's pointed out that they're being racist or misogynistic, their reaction is "Oh, you think THAT'S racist and misogynistic, watch me go full sociopath muthahumpas! Free Speech!" I don't know where it started, but I noticed it with Limbaugh and Colter. Their tactic is to drag everything to a new low, so the stuff we say is low looks legit.
posted by punchee at 8:30 AM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


""Wait, we can just ban The Shitterati?""

Well, I'm now off to make a Metatalk post about spotting great possible Metafilter account names in the wilderness of MF comments.
posted by I-baLL at 8:32 AM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]



Algorithmicly detect the common swarming behavior of trolls and nip that shit in the bud every time it starts happening.


I worry that such a script would also prevent us from piling on a corrupt, racist, megalomaniacal presidential candidate though.
posted by latkes at 8:34 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


>Yiannopoulos, who currently serves as Breitbart’s tech editor, has been hailed as a voice of the new “alt-right” movement

Is there something 'alt' about it? 'Cause this seems like the same bullshit as before.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:37 AM on July 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


I worry that such a script would also prevent us from piling on a corrupt, racist, megalomaniacal presidential candidate though.

Pretty sure you can do that without a coordinate campaign of @ing though.
posted by Artw at 8:40 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


...but his following tweet about "rejected by another black dude" doesn't look like an explicit call to arms to me. What am I missing?

It's worth knowing that Milo did a lot of " Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest"-style posts, knowing that his followers would respond as he expected, but that he could pretend to have said something entirely innocent.
posted by maxsparber at 8:43 AM on July 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


Is there something 'alt' about it? 'Cause this seems like the same bullshit as before.

The alt-right is on the whole much, much less dogwhistley and furtive about their embrace of fascist/nativist/etc. ideology. If anything, they've replaced the bullshit of mainstream conservatism with open and honest hatred.
posted by griphus at 8:43 AM on July 20, 2016 [19 favorites]


Is there something 'alt' about it? 'Cause this seems like the same bullshit as before.
When I first heard about the so-called alt-right, I was hoping/expecting that its adherents would reject some of the uglier, evangelical-based tenets of the current conservative/republican regime and bring the party back to Goldwater conservatism. (To be fair, I strongly disagree with many of the things Goldwater said and did, but he didn't hide his views behind evangelical Christianity.) Alas, that didn't happen.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:45 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


they've replaced the bullshit of mainstream conservatism with open and honest hatred
"meet the new boss, same as Ye Olde boss"
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:46 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


(Is it time for the Day 3 thread?)
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:47 AM on July 20, 2016


They seem more Trump crazy than Cruz crazy, but really it's all just bad.
posted by Artw at 8:47 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the "alt" basically means they drop any pretense of not being hateful racist sexist bigots.
posted by kmz at 8:47 AM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Twitter-based text machine learning is not difficult, but it's really not good. You regularly get accuracies of 60-80% (aka, not acceptable for scientific-notation tweets per day) and pretty bad false positive rates on the methods that are comparatively trivial to scale up in a cheap way (one-layered regressions, online things, etc etc).

There are text methods which have become better for this sort of task, but the real state-of-the-art is only unfortunately understandable and shippable by like O(10,000) people total and of those people maybe 1000-2000 could ship on a platform as big as Twitter. Those people are all, in practice, actually already at AmaGooAppSoftBook (+ Uber, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc) and getting paid like pro football players already.

Of course, there are to my knowledge some deep learning elements already shipped on the site, but probably not for individual tweet for asshole detection, to my knowledge. There is a ready source of unlabelled data, but not really good labelled data. And even then, the state of the art for simpler sentiment detections are not the best for deep systems.

The other factor is making the algorithm fast enough and good enough and less power-hungry enough to be really viable. Amazon and Apple and Google and Facebook solve this by making their own chip foundries and designing their own special chips: Alexa voice recognition, for instance, is literally baked into a specific chip. Google has the tensor processing unit. Twitter has no chip foundries.
posted by hleehowon at 8:48 AM on July 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


"meet the new boss, same as Ye Olde boss"

It's basically the KKK with cooler hats.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:48 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


They seem more Trump crazy than Cruz crazy, but really it's all just bad.

Who's crazier, Donnie the Jock or Teddie the Student Council President? Find out in the next installment of Uncanny Valley High.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:48 AM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


(Well, AmaGooSoftBook don't have foundries per se either, but they have multibillion-dollar hardware divisions Twitter can't match, which is the important bit)
posted by hleehowon at 8:49 AM on July 20, 2016


Yeah, the "alt" basically means they drop any pretense of not being hateful racist sexist bigots.

The tactics are different as well. The alt right is much less interested in traditional politicking than they are weaponizing the Internet against those they despise.
posted by maxsparber at 8:49 AM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Twitter-based text machine learning is not difficult, but it's really not good.

I'd mostly ignore the text in favour of the posting patterns, or use it as a secondary screen. Text alone is going to give you too many false positives/be too intensive.
posted by Artw at 8:50 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Now ban his 388,000 followers for a week and email them all saying to be careful about strangers on the Internet. Also we need some legislation to require all social media platforms to donate 5% of profits to some online harassment legal fund that will let victims sue people in real court for damages and also we need to pump up criminal prosecutions. "It's just a platform" is straight-up bullshit.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:52 AM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


a desire to return to a studied ignorance of what people really think and and feel

If you're a member of a marginalized group, you may need to have some of that studied ignorance just to get through your day.

I'm a relatively privileged white woman, and I honestly have found it harder dealing with random men since the Internet has destroyed my ability to pretend that for the most part they think of me as a fellow human being.
posted by praemunire at 8:54 AM on July 20, 2016 [39 favorites]




As someone who had to deal with a twitterstalker, reading this (and all the election tweets) has truly convinced me that the platform is useless and brings out the asshole in everyone.
posted by jonmc at 8:59 AM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Jones also reported controversial British journalist Milo Yiannopoulis to Twitter after he specifically directed his followers to target her.

"No brigading" is like freaking REDDIT rule #2, so the guy totes got what he was asking for.
posted by mikelieman at 8:59 AM on July 20, 2016


has truly convinced me that the platform is useless

Oh, it's true that the assholes come out in droves on Twitter, but then they always will no matter what (see: YouTube comments, most of Reddit, etc). But useless? Not at all. It's incredibly useful, necessary, and important for marginalized people who get to have a voice because most mainstream outlets aren't going to listen to them. This particularly applies to feminists of colour and the Black Lives Matter movement.
posted by Kitteh at 9:03 AM on July 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


>Yiannopoulos, who currently serves as Breitbart’s tech editor, has been hailed as a voice of the new “alt-right” movement

Is there something 'alt' about it? 'Cause this seems like the same bullshit as before.
The old-school right knew how to whistle - er, dogwhistle. The 'alt-right', isn't dog-whistling their racism, they're screaming it in all-caps.
posted by el io at 9:07 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Twitter isn't remotely useless. It's so useful that people who wouldnt tolerate one-tenth of the bullshit from any other platform grit their teeth and keep on using twitter.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:09 AM on July 20, 2016 [19 favorites]


well, it's never brought me anything but grief, so I'll just have to beg to differ.
posted by jonmc at 9:13 AM on July 20, 2016


Yes, it's a uniquely effective bullshit delivery device.

And it's used by marginalized people to give them the illusion of having a voice, but the only way to tell you have been noticed at all is when trolls like Milo Yolo start attacking you.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:15 AM on July 20, 2016


The official LGBT group in the Swedish conservative party invited him to Stockholm Pride next week, to talk about how it to be "gay, journalist, and Trump supporter".

Apparently they've changed their minds (article in Swedish), but he's still supposedly going to attend the "Jarva Pride" alternate festival, run by Swedish nationalists, where a bunch of racists concerned citizens proudly visit immigrant-heavy suburbs trying to provoke fights (iiuc, last year's version had maybe 20 attendees, five times as many demonstrators, Russia Today, and one arrest for racially motivated violence that may or may not have been related to the event).
posted by effbot at 9:17 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


If people are willing to publicly say racist and sexist shit online should their employers and/or schools be notified? It's not like all of these people are anonymous.
posted by gucci mane at 9:18 AM on July 20, 2016


Yes, it's a uniquely effective bullshit delivery device.

Deep. Well, I think we'll have to disagree on your cold hard reading of the facts you just made up or whatever. I'm not sure that reading is very useful here, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:19 AM on July 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


If all his supporters want to show solidarity with Milo, I think they should probably delete their accounts... y'know, for solidarity? That would really show Twitter.

I wonder if Twitter has thought of introducing some sort of bizzaro verified account; accounts that have been verified as abusive get a red check. You can only see or be seen by other users with red checks. Stick them all in an echo chamber and hopefully the reverberations will do... something to teach them all a lesson. Fuck it, who cares; we wouldn't need to deal with them anyway.

Ooh, I know, how about: You can't sign up for a twitter handle unless you sign your mum up too. Any tweets you send get sent to your mum for approval first. A few thick ears should cut out 90% of the bullshit.

In all seriousness, I read about the abuse Leslie Jones was getting last night and it made my heart hurt. This news is good news, but it's a plaster on an open fracture.
posted by trif at 9:20 AM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


If people are willing to publicly say racist and sexist shit online should their employers and/or schools be notified?

no
posted by edeezy at 9:20 AM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


no

Why not?
posted by maxsparber at 9:23 AM on July 20, 2016


Because vigilantism is bad even when directed at bad people.
posted by Mitheral at 9:24 AM on July 20, 2016 [20 favorites]


I think the proper authorities should definitely be notified, however. Sexism and racism should be dealt with in the proper channels.
posted by trif at 9:28 AM on July 20, 2016


Sexism and racism should be dealt with in the proper channels.

I'd agree with that if authorities actually took sexism and racism on social media seriously. But they don't.
posted by Kitteh at 9:29 AM on July 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


trif: I recall Chatous does that (cluster the assholes) for an Omegle-style chat theoretically without the cavalcade of dudes asking "a/s/l", it didn't work for them but who knows?
posted by hleehowon at 9:30 AM on July 20, 2016


Because vigilantism is bad even when directed at bad people.

Well, that's an absolutist position that strikes me as coming from an inherently privileged position, especially in identifying it as "vigilantism," which has a real-world meaning of somebody fighting crime without authorization that I don't think applies here.

Activists make use of all sorts of tactics in order to get results, especially when official channels do nothing, and contacting employers to report misbehavior is a tried-and-true one. I mean, perhaps if there were official channels that did anything I would feel differently, but the fact that people can engage in mass campaigns of sexist and racist harassment -- including threats -- and the police and online platforms do nothing makes me feel like we are given very few options in addressing it.

But there should be real-world consequences for online abuse, and if the only option we are given is to out the person engaging in the abuse, I don't see any issue with making use of that option.
posted by maxsparber at 9:31 AM on July 20, 2016 [23 favorites]


And even then public shaming might not do anything. I have seen women on Twitter @ dudes' workplaces with "Uh, yeah, your employee just tweeted this at me" with a retweet of the offending tweet. But you know what? They didn't go searching for their workplaces to doxx them; those assholes felt comfortable enough to tweet shit like that from their professional Twitter handles.
posted by Kitteh at 9:34 AM on July 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


If people are willing to publicly say racist and sexist shit online should their employers and/or schools be notified? It's not like all of these people are anonymous.

No.

Why? Whats worse than a racist with a job or in school... An racist that is hungry and jobless and is stopping his educational process.

There are some exceptions to this - if you are a public face or figure for an organization or perhaps an executive (which is a public facing position), that's different. Also, people that work in the media (which are all by definition public faces for their organization) or entertainment industry.

But largely, no, let the racists keep their jobs - we don't need them hungry and desperate and racist.
posted by el io at 9:37 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The "alt-right", as far as I've been able to tell, is basically what happens when GamerGate and racist subreddits decide to fancy themselves politically engaged. It's a grass-roots thing, not something that comes out of policy think-tanks or other official-ish bodies of influence. (Of course, one shouldn't put it past official-ish entities to exploit the alt-right's voting power and deniable-mouthpiece-by-proxy when it suits their needs. That's an enormous part of Trump's success, at least online. He realized, perhaps by accident, that there are millions of eligible, angry voters behind the 24/7 tsunami of online toxicity, just waiting to be activated – and if he could rile them enough to get them to the polls, he might just take over the GOP.)

It's a cocktail of toxic masculinity (recall the last time you saw the word "cuck" used without irony, and you've pretty much found the epicenter of it), conspiracy theories, blood-and-soil nationalism, and a rage-fueled backlash against a perceived threat to its participants' entitlement and privilege. They care little about evangelical Christianity or economic conservatism. They sometimes claim to care deeply about the Constitution, but only when it suits their purposes – in reality, many of them would be happy to discard any law or principle that gets in their way. (Witness Trump's promises to trample over US and international law, up to and including the commission of war crimes.)

It's white, straight, male identity politics, born as a reaction against the rise of LGBT rights, feminism, BLM, etc. and normalized by years of online toxicity. It's the author of every vile anti-SJW screed you've ever read on 4chan realizing that they have a vote – and, more frighteningly, that maybe you don't need a vote if you can get away with brute force.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:38 AM on July 20, 2016 [27 favorites]


No, it's worth talking about Twitter for a second.

Twitter's cultural cachet is MASSIVELY outsized, compared to the size of its active userbase. It's not much larger than Reddit.

But... Twitter is everywhere in the public consciousness. It's on the news. Every celebrity, politician, and #brand has an active presence. Influential people use it. Academic articles are written about it. The company is one of the darlings of Silicon Valley.

Twitter isn't popular because it has a lot of users. It doesn't.

Twitter is popular because we decided that it's important and relevant. We talk about it. A lot.

Twitter is also an absolute cesspool of abuse and harassment that the company is unwilling to do anything about. It's impossible to be a woman on Twitter without being forced to withstand a nearly-constant stream of harassment and threats. The fact that Milo's ban is even considered newsworthy speaks volumes.

We need to stop talking about Twitter as though it has a sense of legitimacy, because it's never done anything to earn that legitimacy. It's an online community that struggles to attract users, has absolutely no business plan, and is completely unwilling and unable to control abuse within its own walls. It's a niche community that's being overrun by fringe-right radicals.

We rarely talk about Reddit without mentioning its abuse problem. Why should Twitter get a free pass?
posted by schmod at 9:38 AM on July 20, 2016 [33 favorites]


Why? Whats worse than a racist with a job or in school... An racist that is hungry and jobless and is stopping his educational process.

By that logic, there should be no consequences at all. I mean, what's worse than a racist engaging in a campaign of terroristic abuse on Twitter? A racist who goes to jail for it, because who knows how bad a racist they will be when they get out of jail?

I'm sorry, but unless you can come up with actual alternative solutions, taking away the few that exist just seems like concern trolling.
posted by maxsparber at 9:40 AM on July 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


It's a problem that goes back to usenet and listservs, but the argument that we can't structure computer-mediated communication (CMC) in ways that reduce harassment really doesn't carry much weight because everything online has structure and harassment isn't protected speech. The million-dollar question is what kinds of structures do we want for productive debate and how do we implement them?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:40 AM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


'They care little about evangelical Christianity or economic conservatism.'

I've become convinced that the "Christian Right' doesn't actually give a shit about Christianity - it's just a branding for misogynists and racists. Their embrace of Trump convinced me of this - Trump can't even name a book in the bible or a verse, for crying out loud.

It's important for me to remember this as I encounter actual Christians, and I need to remind myself not to equate Christians with the "Christian Right", as they are two distinct entities.

/religion derail.
posted by el io at 9:42 AM on July 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


Some comedian I don't remember did a bit about how weird our celebrity culture had become.

He said something along the lines of "we had movie stars and screen idols in the 30s and 40s. But we didn't have people publicly stating things like "Carole Lombard? What a disgusting horrible loser c***su**ing b**ch! Humphrey Bogart? That Mo****f**ker is so goddamn ugly, go kill yourself Humphrey!!"

I thought it was an interesting illustration of our times.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:43 AM on July 20, 2016


Sorry, this is related to my personal idiom that "when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns - and it'll make it so much easier to identify the outlaws." If bigots and assholes lose their jobs for their hate speech, they will NOT all end up unemployable and homeless... they can get jobs with Trump, and Peter Theil and Carl's Jr. and thousands of other employers as bad as they are. You don't think Milo Yolo is going to lose his job at Breitbart, do you?
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:43 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


In that same (totally weird but maybe plausible?) vein, perhaps there's a viral infection that is causing people to abandon rational discourse in favor of hyperbolic rhetoric/insults/general insanity & douche-bagery.
Why is it easier to believe that there is a virus infecting people that makes them act like assholes than it is to believe that this kind of stuff has always been going on, but you just didn't notice it because it didn't directly impact you? The Internet is changing the speed and amount of information that you have about the world. This shit has always been going on, and it's always been toxic.

I'm a relatively privileged white woman, and I honestly have found it harder dealing with random men since the Internet has destroyed my ability to pretend that for the most part they think of me as a fellow human being.
Just wanted to quote this for truth; I can't favorite it enough. Once you see it, you can't ignore that it's there anymore. I spent most of my life treating this kind of shit--men treating me like garbage in all manners, in all contexts--as if it were me that was the problem. Taking up too much space, or using the wrong tone, or, or, or. I excused their behavior and blamed how they acted on myself. No longer: this is a systemic problem. I am not the only woman who experiences this, and I experience it on such a small scale, so minorly, because I am a "relatively privileged white woman." It's not just me, though. And it sure as shit is not a virus that causes this behavior.
posted by sockermom at 9:45 AM on July 20, 2016 [37 favorites]


But there should be real-world consequences for online abuse, and if the only option we are given is to out the person engaging in the abuse, I don't see any issue with making use of that option.

Sure there should be consequences, including banning from social media, but as far as outing people to schools or employers one place that discussion was had was the Social Autopsy debacle, where a whole lot of people who have been subjected to the most heinous abuse at the hands of anonymous trolls were opposed to outing them.
posted by edeezy at 9:51 AM on July 20, 2016


Why is it easier to believe that there is a virus infecting people that makes them act like assholes than it is to believe that this kind of stuff has always been going on, but you just didn't notice it because it didn't directly impact you? The Internet is changing the speed and amount of information that you have about the world. This shit has always been going on, and it's always been toxic.

QFMFT.

This is why I get fed up with people (and lbr, mostly dudes) who utilize "solutions" like "just don't use it," "don't feed the trolls," "report that abuse to authorities," etc. Awesome, it's rad you get to go through your life being treated like an actual human being 90% of the time, but we can't even get that. There is no platform safe for us. But you know what? We are gonna continue to use Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, whatever else, because the onus should not be on us to make the Internet safer.

Also, Twitter is legit, it is worth something--once again, so many voices of women of colour I would have NEVER known about otherwise because this is a white person's world---and it's telling that people that disdain it are people with a lot more privilege.
posted by Kitteh at 9:51 AM on July 20, 2016 [33 favorites]


He said something along the lines of "we had movie stars and screen idols in the 30s and 40s. But we didn't have people publicly stating things like "Carole Lombard? What a disgusting horrible loser c***su**ing b**ch! Humphrey Bogart? That Mo****f**ker is so goddamn ugly, go kill yourself Humphrey!!"

I thought it was an interesting illustration of our times.


This is ... almost entirely incorrect. Or, at least, maybe they weren't that vulgar, but it was just as bad when it got bad.
posted by griphus at 9:51 AM on July 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


I think volume throttling might be a useful thing to consider. Although I still repeat myself far more often than I'd like, I'm less convinced that repetition is good speech, and sending a hundred variations of "you suck" to a person over the course of a day almost certainly isn't.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:54 AM on July 20, 2016


a whole lot of people who have been subjected to the most heinous abuse at the hands of anonymous trolls were opposed to outing them.

Sure, and plenty were in favor. I'm not sure why we're picking sides; those who don't like it are free not to do it. Keep in mind, one of the things the harassers do is try to get their targets fired -- I've had it happen to me. So people who are engaging in real evil have no compunctions regarding it, while their victims are repeatedly given absolutely no resources for defending themselves.
posted by maxsparber at 9:54 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


xkcd has this covered.

I'm sympathetic to the general argument that "free speech" means "free from government interference", not "private entities owe you a platform and an audience", the other side of that is that in modernity, virtually all of our speech is mediated by privately-owned platforms.

We definitely need a way to mitigate the effects of toxic actors and toxic group dynamics, but the idea that we should be genuflecting to late-1700s language for guidance about how to salvage a just, democratic and participatory future out of our current context is laughable.
posted by mhoye at 9:55 AM on July 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


Anyway, I think the "outing harassers to employers" is getting deraily. I've stated my position, and, if it comes up in a thread where it's the subject, I'll defend it, but that hasn't happened here and so is a but orthogonal to this discussion.
posted by maxsparber at 9:57 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


You don't think Milo Yolo is going to lose his job at Breitbart, do you?

I don't know how that site is set up for its contributors, but if pageviews matter and one of his main ways of attracting attention to himself is gone, then... maybe?

Wishful thinking, I know, but I caught a Pikachu this morning so all glasses are half full.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:59 AM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


A lot of people don't need to be "outted" to their employers, these people will straight up advertise that information publicly on the same pages that they spout hatespeech. It's within an employer's interest to know that a person who is representing their company is also saying hateful things in public forums where their company name is right there. It's happened a lot before, there is no doxxing involved.
posted by gucci mane at 10:00 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oops, sorry maxsparber, didn't see your last comment. I can delete if this is deemed too derail-y :X
posted by gucci mane at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2016


I have to wonder why it was this event, the harassment of Leslie Jones, that got Twitter to finally give Milo the booting he long, long deserved.

I think I got it figured out. Leslie Jones is in a major Summer Blockbuster with a significant marketing and promotional budget behind it. Leslie Jones leaving Twitter over harassment has an impact on the promotional machinery behind the movie, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone at Columbia Pictures reached out to someone at Twitter and told them, point blank, "Do something about this, or we're pulling all our ad money from your platform."

Whether this actually happened or not, you can't deny that Leslie's rising star had a huge impact on Twitter's decision, when Milo's previous use of his Private Troll Army on people like Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, and Sarah Nyberg were casually ignored.

Whatever the reason, I'm glad Milo has, finally, gotten even the tiniest bit of comeuppance for his behavior.

But yeah, I don't doubt for one second that this was yet another token PR move on Twitter. They'll roll out a handful of half-baked features that will be as effective in dealing with harassment as single-ply toilet paper is against diarrhea, and then go back to pretending this isn't a problem until the next high-profile celebrity is forced off the platform.
posted by SansPoint at 10:11 AM on July 20, 2016 [21 favorites]


No no no no, they don't pretend it's not a problem, they nod sagely and say they have a lot to do. And then they keep doing nothing.
posted by fedward at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


fedward: Po-tay-to, po-tah-to
posted by SansPoint at 10:18 AM on July 20, 2016


I wouldn't be surprised if someone at Columbia Pictures reached out to someone at Twitter and told them, point blank, "Do something about this, or we're pulling all our ad money from your platform."

I'm pretty sure this is exactly what happened.
posted by maggiemaggie at 10:20 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Here's another way to solve the harassment problem: Let the harassed delete themselves.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:21 AM on July 20, 2016


Except Twitter is used for "crisis communication," so this would probably be a bad thing for some people.

What's meant by crisis communication here? If you've been banned for harrassment, the fact you could access Twitter previously suggests to me you could find some alternative form of notification of a crisis, no?
posted by Hoopo at 10:22 AM on July 20, 2016


oneswellfoop: No, that's not a solution.

1) Increasingly, opting-out of social media and a public Internet presence is going to obliterate any ability to build a career.
2) Deleting yourself does nothing to stop harassment once you've been doxed, once your nudes have been leaked, etc.
posted by SansPoint at 10:23 AM on July 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


You don't think Milo Yolo is going to lose his job at Breitbart, do you?

About 9 of 10 articles on their mainpage are about Milo or the peripheral fluff, so I doubt it.
posted by Theta States at 10:34 AM on July 20, 2016


Articles on Breitbart's MAIN PAGE right now:
  • Twitter, @Jack Allow Users to Call Black Breitbart Reporter ‘Coon’ — Repeatedly
  • …But Milo Banned Because Review Hurt Ghostbuster’s Feelings…
  • …Flashback: CEO Denies Twitter Censors Users…
  • …War! How Breitbart Editor Reacted to Ban…
  • …Read Epic Article That Triggered Twitter…
  • …Media Celebrates Black List…
  • …WATCH: Breitbart Busts ‘Daily Show’ Trying to Mock Gay Conservatives at Milo’s RNC Party
  • Hollywood Reporter: ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot to Haunt Sony
  • Watch: Breitbart News Livestream RNC (I assume Milo is involved)
  • Milo Banned, But Twitter Takes No Action As Calls For Cop-Killing Sweep Platform
  • Triggered: Ghostbusters Actress Begs Twitter to Ban Milo
  • Ghostbusters Opens To Empty Theaters
  • FLASHBACK: ‘Arabic Twitter’ Swarms Breitbart Editor Ahead of Orlando Speech
  • Twitter Lets Death Threats Stay Online — for Weeks!
  • Flashback: Murder of Cops Celebrated on Twitter…
  • …More Twitter Celebration of Cop Murder
  • Twitter Singles Out Milo For Censorship Over Iconic Nice Image
  • Pro-ISIS Group Uses Twitter to Threaten LAX, JFK, Heathrow
  • Twitter Creates Black Power Emoji…
  • …‘We Join The Voices Demanding Racial Justice’
  • Israel Looks to Crackdown on Twitter for Terror-Promoting Posts
  • ‘Shariah Is Light’ Twitter Account Tweeted ‘#TexasAttack’ Minutes Before Mohammad Art Contest Shooting
  • Milo Intros ‘Clinton Cash’ Graphic Novel at RNC
  • Watch: Milo Rallies With Trump Supporters In Cleveland
  • Triggered Leslie Jones Fans Call On Twitter To Suspend Breitbart Editor
  • WIRED: Milo Is Right-Wing ‘Troll King’
  • Vanity Fair On Milo: ‘The Crowd Loved It’
THEY MIGHT BE MAD RIGHT NOW

(then again, they always seem angry)
posted by Theta States at 10:41 AM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


'I'm sympathetic to the general argument that "free speech" means "free from government interference", not "private entities owe you a platform and an audience", the other side of that is that in modernity, virtually all of our speech is mediated by privately-owned platforms.'

That seems to imply that our speech has less reach than it has in the past - nothing could be further from the truth. 25 years ago the most reach an average citizen could get is by self-publishing (and then good luck finding that in a bookstore) or a letter to the editor (okay, usenet is a counterexample, but 10 years before that not so much).

If I have a million followers* on twitter and twitter bans me, I can go to another platform and my followers can find me there...

I would say that people around the planet have far more of a voice than they ever had in the history of the world, even with privately-owned platforms.

*Actual number of followers: 0.
posted by el io at 10:44 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Here's hoping all the Breitbart readers vote with their feet and leave Twitter in disgust.
posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on July 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


el io Also worth noting that free speech doesn't extend to harassment or incitement of harassment. Milo is allowed to say "Leslie Jones isn't funny," all he wants. He's not allowed to sic his 300,000+ troll army on Leslie Jones.
posted by SansPoint at 10:47 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's not that I want racists and sexists to be secure in their employment. Lord knows I'd laugh for a week straight if Milo got fired from his sinecure. But his tactics and his ability to organize an army are what separate him from your typical alt-right Twitter egg who shouts “cuck!” at anyone he feels vaguely threatened by. Those tactics are a large part of the problem, even when they're used by someone you like.

We have seen what happens to people who are targeted by online mobs. Some of them are awful people and deserve whatever happens to them. Some of them are just jerks who could probably use a karmic slap in the face. Some of them are actually innocent people, or are misidentified in a mob's desire to quickly find someone to blame.

This is the opposite of justice. It makes the scale of the punishment a factor of half a dozen things that have nothing to do with the seriousness of the offense, including which famous people got wind of it and whether anything similar happened that week.

Take a cue from BLM: all that energy? All those outraged people who want to do something? Get them to call a congressperson or show up to a city council meeting or attend a real-life protest. We try to effect our own punishments because institutions have failed us — let's spend our time making the institutions better. Law enforcement doesn't take online harassment seriously? Fix law enforcement.

It's harder than tweeting at someone's employer, but it's the only way to fix this problem that is sustainable in the long run. When institutions work correctly, they have a much longer attention span than the zeitgeist does.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:52 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Milo Intros ‘Clinton Cash’ Graphic Novel at RNC

that might be one of the most boring possible stories to tell in that format. Why would this need to be illustrated, other than so Republicans don't actually have to read a book without pictures in it now?
posted by Hoopo at 10:53 AM on July 20, 2016


(That said, I'm with Anita on this one.)
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:55 AM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


oneswellfoop: No, that's not a solution.

Sorry, I should have included a sarcasm tag (|] hamburger!

That sad story is how "Freedom of Speech" on the internet works today. Haters and trolls are free to spew. Victims are free to leave.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:59 AM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


oneswellfoop All is forgiven.
posted by SansPoint at 11:01 AM on July 20, 2016


Why is it easier to believe that there is a virus infecting people that makes them act like assholes than it is to believe that this kind of stuff has always been going on, but you just didn't notice it because it didn't directly impact you? The Internet is changing the speed and amount of information that you have about the world. This shit has always been going on, and it's always been toxic.

QFMFT.

The shit's so much worse now, though -- precisely because the speed and bandwidth of the internet spreads so much of it around so much faster.

And as a virus is exactly the right way to look at it.

Imagine some terrible infection that kills a person in a day. That bug's got 24 hours to jump to other people, and there's no way it's going to spread through the population unless it has some truly extraordinary means of transmission at its disposal.

And the thing about toxic racism and toxic misogyny is that they are toxic to the people who hold those views, and wreck their marriages, their families, their jobs, and their friendships, often in very short order -- but that's now much less of an impediment to the spread of these toxic ideas than it used to be because the internet spreads them around at a substantial fraction of the speed of light.

And that means there's almost no limit on how poisonous -- how virulent -- they can be, just so long as that virulence helps them jump from person to person.
posted by jamjam at 11:07 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The (or a) solution to hate mobs is vigilantism? I beg to differ.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:08 AM on July 20, 2016


Well, whatever "solution" we've had to date gave us Presidential Nominee Donald Trump, so I'm open to other ideas.

Publicizing the workplaces of trolls would allow for boycotts of hate-supporting businesses. I thought Carl's Jr.'s hate problem had ended when "Carl" died, but this week I learned the current CEO took the week off to be Trump Delegate. Which IS synonymous with Troll.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:16 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Does anyone have a link to Milo's tweet(s) about brigading Leslie Jones (screenshots, archived tweets, etc.) that got him banned?
posted by gyc at 11:17 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


gyc: We Hunted the Mammoth has a good summary, though I don't know if the pics of fake Leslie Jones tweets that he posted will show up anymore.
posted by SansPoint at 11:20 AM on July 20, 2016


And speaking of hate-supporting businesses, do you KNOW how much money Supertroll Peter Theil makes from Facebook? (Hint: a lot more than more than Trump's businesses)

Of course, MetaFilter has the best solution. Intelligent and compassionate moderation that keeps the trollery out. Imagine the jobs created if the rest of the internet did that!!!
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:21 AM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


We need to stop talking about Twitter as though it has a sense of legitimacy, because it's never done anything to earn that legitimacy.

Twitter is a powerful medium used by a lot of progressive groups. In particular, Black Lives Matter would likely not exist without it.

I use Twitter constantly as a sportswriter, which it is great for. Politics doesn't often come up, but when it does, it's 80-90% progressive.
posted by msalt at 11:36 AM on July 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


Fusion has a couple of screenshot of one of his faked tweets. Colour me shocked that a Breitbart editor would libel someone based on obviously fabricated evidence.
posted by papercrane at 11:37 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


And it's used by marginalized people to give them the illusion of having a voice, ...

This is pretty gross, I hope you'll reconsider your sentiment that you know better than all the people who are using Twitter effectively for organizing, even in the face of the platform's refusal to deal with harassment.
posted by invitapriore at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


Tolerance of harassment silences people just as much as the banhammer.

I'm willing to grant, as a hypothetical exercise in artistic liberty, that comparing Ms. Jones unfavorably to a gorilla, a dead gorilla, and comics wearing gorilla suits, along with photoshopping images to show her covered in semen can be theoretically at the edge of the penumbra of first amendment liberty. However addressing dozens of those images to her personal homepage, inbox, or dashboard clearly becomes harassment.

Another aspect of it is that the way these platforms are constructed, others can hijack other people's good name for their own axe grinding. I see that in both Ms. Jones and the link to Feminist Frequency above. While my own concerns in this area are trivial in comparison, the option of being able to choose who can respond and how strikes me as important. (I just got an imzy invite, we'll see how it goes.)
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:44 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was walking with my two young girls through my neighborhood park where four boys were passing one girl. As they met, one of the boys said "you're a fat fucking bitch" and kept walking. The girl turned and spoke loudly, "What did you say?" The boy turned around, walked back to the girl (with three friends right behind) and said loudly, "I said you're a fat fucking bitch," then turned and walked away again.

What do you do? Lots of options. (And yes, it does depends on the size of the gentlemen. And the age of your own children.)

I like Twitter. But I haven't been harassed. Yet. (I would just stop using it, or switch accounts. It's easy to be anonymous when you are a nobody. Cheers to nobodies!)

We need to stop talking about Twitter as though it has a sense of legitimacy

Legitimacy online comes at least in part from # of users and attention from those users. Twitter has strong power there. As does Facebook, of course, but not in the global open sense.

Having it being the chief mouthpiece for one of the two (both?) major presidential candidates also bestows some legitimacy.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:45 AM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Huh, the way I figure it, twitter being the chief mouthpiece for Trump reduces the platform's legitimacy, if anything.
posted by el io at 11:49 AM on July 20, 2016


xkcd has this covered.

It's a little more complicated than that I think but uh... if anybody had it coming it's Milo.
posted by atoxyl at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2016


Also, the "right" thing for LJ to have done here, I think, which is easy to say when it's not you, for self-care (and perhaps career?) purposes, would have been to ignore the harassment, or silently catalog and report it. Responding to that trash almost never helps. It only creates more attention.

I.e. "don't feed the trolls" is not a defense against abhorrent behavior, but it is one pretty good strategy for self-defense. If you reply to the trolls, they know you care, and they won't stop. If you act like you don't care, they will stop. We've all seen it. Is it cowardly? I dunno, but sometimes (most times?) it's better to say this twitterwar is not worth my sanity and block/ignore.

twitter being the chief mouthpiece for Trump reduces the platform's legitimacy, if anything.

and i would think that being one of the deciding technology factors of the 2016 campaign to elect the most powerful person in the world would increase it. we will have to agree to disagree!
posted by mrgrimm at 11:53 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fusion has a couple of screenshot of one of his faked tweets. Colour me shocked that a Breitbart editor would libel someone based on obviously fabricated evidence.

Ugh this is disgusting.
posted by gyc at 12:04 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the thing that scares me the most about this sort of social behavior is no one is talking about the root of what causes this sort of social behavior.

In my understanding, in the past, mobs tended to be something that began to arise when people felt the justice system was not functioning properly, and so groups would gather to mete out justice that the justice system was ignoring.

Obviously, no matter their political/social stripes, we have millions who feel disenfranchised, not just in America, but all over the world. I feel strongly that until modern governments "get their shit together" so to speak and actually begin listening to/understanding their constituents, and realizing that nobody in the world is really happy that those children working in sweat shops in Bangladesh (or wherever the fuck, I don't know, maybe New York even, not trying to slight any particular country) are suddenly making a dollar more per day than they did 20 years ago. That this is not a "rising tide that lifts all boats" but rather some rich wankers taking us all for a fucking ride, destroying the ability of people in the first world to live comfortably, and never honestly giving people in the third world a fucking chance to live comfortably, all the while "justice" seems to be something that can only be bought with oodles of money.

So, people start getting angry and making it known. When it comes to people of a more conservative stripe, I tend to always think that they're missing the point, organizing mobs against imaginary bogey-men while the people they love to prop up are the same people who are royally fucking them, but hey, I'm a leftist, and I'm not the smartest of the bunch, so I could be a wrong, angry wanker of my own type.

Anyway, after 40-50 years of this shit, the disaffected started lashing out online, and it has only grown simply because people continue to know that they can do it and effectively "get away with it" with mild to nonexistent repercussions.

The mobs are starting to break out from online and go into the real world.

So yeah, I think this whole issue has a fuckload less to do with whether or not twitter permanently bans a fucking asshat. Twitter isn't here to solve inequality, or make us feel safe in our own homes, or help us trust the cops, or trust any government institution that isn't set up to be bought by the wealthy and ignore anyone else. Twitter is part and parcel to capital buying out governance, whether we want to admit they're a part of it or not. They are, even if they're not trying to be.

Until real societal problems begin to get solved, until people universally feel like "justice is being served" and they don't feel the need to "take to twitter" or "take to the streets" this shit will keep getting worse, and you'll see more and more diverse groups taking part in similar tactics until all hell breaks loose.

Oh, Trump is officially the nominee?

Well guys, brace yourselves, because hell is being held back by a fucking piece of floss.

Banning this guy only gives every asshat who follows him more fuel to their fire that the world is against them and there is no such thing as "justice," further ingraining the desire to mete out social, vigilante justice for perceived slights. I have no fucking clue how to solve this problem. Like I said, my only solutions are categorically things that are not going to happen because our world leaders honestly don't give a fuck.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:05 PM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Also, the "right" thing for LJ to have done here, I think, which is easy to say when it's not you, for self-care (and perhaps career?) purposes, would have been to ignore the harassment, or silently catalog and report it. Responding to that trash almost never helps. It only creates more attention.

People like to say this a lot! But according to the many, many women who have been harassed online, this is not accurate, and it is not sufficient self-care, and it doesn't protect your career.

You are coming perilously close to victim blaming, here. For a lot of women experiencing this onslaught, remaining silent is merely becoming a passive victim, and remaining silent while reporting hate speech that is NEVER STOPPED no matter how much endless documentation and reporting you do? Not actually very helpful.

I think you'll find that for most women who have experienced this, the moment when they stop remaining silent is the moment where they stop feeling so powerless. Taking that step isn't about how the trolls will respond. It is about how the person suffering under an onslaught of abuse is trying to survive.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:12 PM on July 20, 2016 [52 favorites]


If you act like you don't care, they will stop.

You want a list of like 50 women who will disagree with this?
posted by griphus at 12:14 PM on July 20, 2016 [46 favorites]


> If you act like you don't care, they will stop. We've all seen it.

We have? I have seen people - women - ignore it and then they get rape threats and death threats and it just escalates if they have the temerity to continue (while ignoring the harassment) to do the thing that the harassers object to.
posted by rtha at 12:16 PM on July 20, 2016 [30 favorites]


* binder full of
posted by fedward at 12:16 PM on July 20, 2016


Also, the "right" thing for LJ to have done here, I think, which is easy to say when it's not you,

which is easy to say when it's not you,

which is easy to say when it's not you,

How 'bout we not drop a lukewarm, mansplainy take?
posted by qcubed at 12:17 PM on July 20, 2016 [26 favorites]


The fact that Milo became a figurehead of GamerGate despite, mere months before it erupted, tweeting that 'Few things are more embarassing than grown men getting over-excited about video games' and when talking about school shooter Elliot Rodger 'Rodger was a dorky weirdo for whom video game fantasy bled into reality. There's no meaningful sense in which he was was a misogynist' basically tells you all you need to know about the fortitude of his own actual beliefs and GamerGate's desire to be pandered to.
posted by PenDevil at 12:22 PM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


They do not stop if you ignore them. Please stop telling women online this amazingly UNTRUE thing.
posted by Kitteh at 12:22 PM on July 20, 2016 [37 favorites]


If you act like you don't care, they will stop.
That turns out not to be the case.
posted by dfan at 12:23 PM on July 20, 2016 [23 favorites]


mrgrimm: There are so many articles and documents showing that "ignoring them makes them go away" that I'm almost astonished to see someone proposing that as a serious solution nowadays.
posted by XtinaS at 12:25 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I.e. "don't feed the trolls" is not a defense against abhorrent behavior, but it is one pretty good strategy for self-defense. If you reply to the trolls, they know you care, and they won't stop. If you act like you don't care, they will stop.

This is a pretty reprehensible position to take, and I'm confident it's grounded in you having the idea that "trolling" is "one person being mean to somebody until they get bored."

"Trolling" on the internet is not that, and has not been that for a long, long time. What it means now is a number of prominent, high-follower-count people telling their many hundreds of thousands of followers to not only hound you into silence, but to goad each other, en masse, into each doing something worse and more disgusting than the last guy in the process.

In addition to being provably, demonstrably false, this also amounts to telling the victim to be silent, shut up and just take sort of abuse you've never seen at a scale you cannot begin to imagine.
posted by mhoye at 12:25 PM on July 20, 2016 [14 favorites]


To be less snarky: if there's literally one thing that Twitter has taught us as a, I don't know, civilization is that the old "just ignore the bully and he'll go away" routine does not work on the internet in a setting where anonymous accounts can be created one after another and abandoned just as quickly.

There is literally a forum dedicated to keeping track of people the anti-SJW (or whatever) crew doesn't like. They have enormous dossiers/dox on their victims and regularly update them and it becomes a vicious circle as they each drive up their enthusiasm to keep stalking and harassing people. And you can shut it down, sure, but it'll just pop back up.

There are no easy answers to this. None. Not "ban the harassers," not "stop paying attention to them," not "set Twitter on fire and salt the earth." Much like the time Amazon debuted those stupid buttons and everyone at once said "but what if you press it more than once! aha!" as if they just outsmarted a bunch of highly-paid engineers, your takes on What Harassed People Should Do are no more useful than and equally insulting as "maybe don't walk in dangerous neighborhoods at night!"
posted by griphus at 12:25 PM on July 20, 2016 [16 favorites]


(uh just a heads up for those on mobile: that's a link to the New York Magazine article on Kiwifarms, not Kiwifarms itself.)
posted by griphus at 12:26 PM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Twitter has gone down. I doubt that this is a coincidence.
posted by Major Clanger at 12:31 PM on July 20, 2016


Twitter still up for me.
posted by Artw at 12:41 PM on July 20, 2016


There is literally a forum dedicated to keeping track of people the anti-SJW (or whatever) crew doesn't like. They have enormous dossiers/dox on their victims and regularly update them and it becomes a vicious circle as they each drive up their enthusiasm to keep stalking and harassing people. And you can shut it down, sure, but it'll just pop back up.

One of the worst parts of social media is the development of entire sites and communities dedicated to stalking and maintaining a running narrative of people who disagree.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:41 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


How is Kiwifarms still running? I would think any ISP would shut that down because it violates their TOS.
posted by pxe2000 at 12:43 PM on July 20, 2016


"Don't feed the trolls" in an open medium such as twitter becomes "don't post at all." Anything you post can be picked up as something to debate (kindly speaking) or insult (realistically speaking). Having the wrong keyword or phrase show up in a search engine can be enough to start it off.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:46 PM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


It doesn't even need to be a search engine. Twitter (by way of Tweetdeck) has first-party support for keyword monitoring.
posted by griphus at 12:50 PM on July 20, 2016


Would really like to see more countries take the UK approach, where people can, and have, be prosecuted for abuse on twitter.
posted by Pink Frost at 12:50 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


So, I have a hare-brained scheme. I don't think I have either the moxie nor the connections to pull it off but here it is anyways. The idea is to circulate the following talking points among Milo's followers and the larger alt-right-o-sphere:
  1. Banning Milo is utterly unacceptable and we must punish Twitter.
  2. Twitter is a for-profit company, so the best way to punish them is to hit them where it hurts: their bottom line.
  3. And where does Twitter's bottom line come from? Advertisers. But what do advertisers actually pay for? Users.
  4. So, to truly punish Twitter, what we must do is delete our accounts in solidarity with Milo. Not just our mains but also any sockpuppets. The older the account (and the more followers) the better.
  5. We should synchronize the mass-deletion in the remaining days of July to have the biggest impact. Deletions in August will also help but the closer it can be associated to Milo's banning, the better.
  6. Also, do not create any new accounts. This will only undo the work of all the account deletions. If you must retain an account, then definitely do not tweet from it. That will only add to Twitter's engagement metrics.
  7. When Twitter sees how much we are costing them [ed note: haha], they will admit defeat and reinstate Milo.
posted by mhum at 12:51 PM on July 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


Leigh Alexander weighs in over at The Guardian: Twitter banning one man won’t undo his poisonous legacy
posted by Theta States at 12:55 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


To me it seems like Twitter has enormous value specifically to movements and activists. It is also a cesspool of mysoginist and racist harassment. TO make Twitter function best, we must both preserve it's utility to activists, and stop it's functionality to harassers (while also allowing for cat GIFs and whatnot).

To me, it does not feel intuitively clear how to both preserve it's strength as an organizing and communication tool and to get rid of it's functionality for harassers and abusers.

I think the live human moderation (in a wonderful world where that would happen) also has drawbacks after reading articles about the traumatic experience of what it's actually like to be a human moderator on sites like YouTube and Facebook.

Clearly, there should be criminal penalties for the types of harassing behaviors which are criminal in the "real world", and Twitter should cooperate with those investigations. But that's not enough... So, seriously, I am confused about what Twitter should do?

This is not an excuse: they pay engineers a lot of money to think about this stuff and they should be solving it (starting by hiring women and POC to be those engineers would obviously be an essential early step). But as a lay person, I can't think of a solution that makes clear sense to me. I personally don't want a world where I can be banned from a massively used platform because of who I follow, or where my behaviors outside of work are reported to my employer.
posted by latkes at 1:36 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


latkes: Because it is so difficult, nay impossible, to keep harassers and abusers off the platform, most online abuse prevention activists are more interested in taking steps to mitigate the degree to which abuse is experienced.

In the case of Twitter, this means specifically:
  • Ability to pre-emptively block new (< 6 months) users, users with high tweet volume and low follower counts, and the like
  • Ability to share blocklists (which exists, as a third-party hack)
  • Easier and faster blocking and reporting tools
  • And, you know, for Twitter to actually give a shit when it's not a celebrity on the line.
posted by SansPoint at 1:41 PM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


If there are "legitimate" activists who are primarily using the service to abuse other users, then they get removed as well. I don't see any conflict here? What people are asking Twitter to do is not to regulate speech but to regulate behaviour, and even that only for extreme cases where the behaviour exceeds the ability of users to mitigate the abuse themselves using tools built into the platform. (As it does for the kind of egg-swarming Milo's minions perform as their primary tactic.)
posted by tobascodagama at 2:20 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Twitter has been up all day. To most users, the exile of Milo is a non-story. Means nothing to them. Hardly something that would crash the site. Kim Kardashian releasing a video of Taylor Swift okaying lyrics in a Kanye song didn't do it. Some rando who looks like he came out of a Shadowrun campaign definitely won't.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:31 PM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]




Twitter has been up all day

Downrightnow.com would beg to differ (this chart will be valid only for the next day) but the outage was not complete and appears to have lasted only an hour.
posted by Major Clanger at 2:42 PM on July 20, 2016


Well, it was up for me! If the forces of terror want to circlejerk into a pile of Rush albums, sure, you brought down Twitter somewhere, I guess.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:45 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]




A bloo bloo bloo, Twitter took away my god-given right to be an asshole on Twitter, bloo bloo bla bloo
posted by Spatch at 3:02 PM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


MeFi's Own jscalzi has some thoughts.
I cannot favorite this enough. It's like jscalzi venting his anger was the primal scream that I needed. Still not enough, but a good start.
posted by Lord_Pall at 3:09 PM on July 20, 2016


Conservatives are so boring. Just a fucking sea of dads.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:12 PM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Twitter is a massively useful tool for mobilization of a lot of people rapidly. For a lot of people it's the center if their connection to current events especially if the MSM doesn't cover your area of interest.

Thus the rise of Black Twitter and BLM which essential use twitter as a message amplifier.

However there are some very smart trolls who have also figured out how to use twitter as an attack platform in a way that basically swarms targets with an insane amount if abuse in an attempt to make the platform unusable.

It's a cheap platform that some people have mastered and derived a lot of fame with.

Essentially though it's a transitory platform. They haven't scaled up fast enough and there are alternative platforms that could easily overtake them . The challenge will be whether someone else offers the benefits while also eliminating the drawbacks.
posted by vuron at 3:20 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The free market will surely create a new Twitter where this sort of behavior will be tolerated or even encouraged. We just need to wait for a bit...
posted by cell divide at 4:25 PM on July 20, 2016


Twitter's cultural cachet is MASSIVELY outsized, compared to the size of its active userbase. It's not much larger than Reddit

That's not true, as much as I'd love to believe it. Reddit has around 30 million registered users; Twitter has around 300 million. Canada : USA.

What's tripping you up, I think, is Reddit's iffy claim -- aimed at advertisers -- that it has "234 million unique users." Those are really unique visitors (meaning unique IP addresses, not unique people) per month. It is not the number of user accounts. That number -- albeit a year out of date -- is here. And keep in mind, that's not the number of active user accounts.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:32 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


(I do agree that Twitter's cultural cachet is massively outsized, however.)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:38 PM on July 20, 2016


I don't think it's even outsized in the culture-at-large, just journalists are super way into it for some reason I don't grasp. I don't willingly subject myself to CNN, but when I happen to see it, half the time it's telling me what people are tweeting like I can't go to twitter.com myself.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:04 PM on July 20, 2016


journalists are super way into it for some reason I don't grasp.
It's the 140 character limit. Requires minimal reading comprehension which is good for today's generation of 'journalist'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:16 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nah. It's easy filler, and an easy way to keep up with the Q scores.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:25 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not only does Twitter give you quick quotes of the perfect length for a print/web story, it's also a perfect medium to post links to your own articles.

For journalists it's an invaluable tool to stay on top of what everyone else is writing and to promote yourself, as well as a source of free instant quotes.
posted by msalt at 7:28 PM on July 20, 2016


It is the perfect medium for Donald Trump and when the history of this election year is written, IF Trump wins, Twitter will get part of the credit.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:51 PM on July 20, 2016


There's something odd about Yiannopoulous, a weird undertone of self-hatred or something?
posted by ovvl at 9:05 PM on July 20, 2016


Self-hatred? From a supposed Jewish (though I doubt, it he only brings up his supposed Jewish heritage when he's being accused of some bigotry) gay man who used to call himself Milo Wagner, wear an Iron Cross and pose with biographies of Hitler? Naaaaah.
posted by PenDevil at 11:36 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's about ethics in movie journalism.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 3:01 AM on July 21, 2016


He's Jewish inasmuch as he thinks it lets him off the hook for being antisemitic. Look, I'm part Welsh, but if I only brought it up to make sheep-fucking jokes, people could probably correctly intuit that I actually hated the Welsh.

He was raised Catholic and identifies as Catholic. Whether he can make use of the Law of Return isn't really relevant to the fact that all he ever seems to say about Jews is 100 percent consistent with what antisemites say.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a sheep to fuck.
posted by maxsparber at 4:39 AM on July 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


IF Trump wins, Twitter will get part of the credit burn in the cleansing fires along with the rest of us.

FTFY
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:41 AM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]




That Laurie Penny piece is great. Esquire, please pick this up!

Of note: Just as we set off, news breaks that Milo has been suspended from Twitter. A frenzy of jubilant activity: this is a huge win for Milo and his brand. He’ll be trending worldwide within the hour.
posted by latkes at 12:57 PM on July 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also from Penny's essay:
They ventriloquise the fear of millions into a scream of fire in the crowded theatre of modernity where all the doors are locked, and then they watch the stampede, and they smile for the cameras.
posted by Nelson at 1:04 PM on July 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


That Laurie Penny article is great. I can't turn away.
What surprises me about Roosh is that he seems to be a true believer. Unlike Milo, he appears to be—at least to some extent—convinced of the truth of what he’s saying. He is bitter and vindictive, convinced of his own victimhood as a self-made blogger who was never given his due by the mainstream media. He tells me that the reason I have a column is that I’m a useful idiot and all my readers have low IQs. I ask him if he’s negging me.

...

The key distinction, at this convention and among the petty demagogues here assembled, is between the attention hustlers—the pure troll howlers who play this grotesque game for its own sake and their own—and the true believers. Roosh is a true believer, and that puts him at a disadvantage.

Roosh means what he’s saying, but he’s still aware that he’s playing a game — the same game almost everyone in this crucible of A-list internet con-men is playing. It’s the game of turning raw rage into political currency, the unscrupulous whorebaggery of the troll gone pro. These are people who cashed in their limited principles to cheat at poker. Milo is the best player here. Like Trump, and like a lot of successful politicians in this postmodern circus, they channel their his own narcissism to give voice to the wordless shriek of those that neoliberalism left behind. They offer new win conditions for the humiliated masses. Welcome to the scream room. There’s a cheese plate.

...

Milo peddles a pageant of insincerity that is immediately legible to fellow Brits. Americans understand irony differently, and sometimes not at all. The crowd of excitable young and young-ish people gathered to hear him pontificate believe what he’s saying, even if he doesn’t. Which he doesn’t. And it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t mean it. It doesn’t matter that he’s secretly quite a sweet, vulnerable person who is gracious to those he considers friends. It doesn’t matter that somewhere in the rhinestone-rimmed hamster wheel of his mind is a conscience. It doesn’t matter because the harm he does is real.
posted by Theta States at 1:14 PM on July 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


The piece just makes me super uncomfortable, because it reads despite its protestations for all the world like one of those "who put the 'jizz' in journalism" pieces we all excoriated a few weeks ago. Like, I get it, because I'm pretty liberal and I like horrible fascist girls despite my better judgment, like if a woman loves Ayn Rand she's into me no question, but...the important thing really is that the harm he does is real, not that he's charming. That he's charming sort of doesn't belong in a story about a rabblerousing racist at all? I don't care that he's charming to a young white woman whose politics he thinks are a joke. How many black women think he's all adorbs and shit?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:02 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't quite know how to situate the 50 Shades sort of "That guy was a dangerous sociopath and against everything I stand for, and I'm really turned on" tack she (unfortunately?) chose to take throughout. If the goal was to make everything even more unsettling, it worked...
posted by naju at 5:45 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


How many black women think he's all adorbs and shit?

Are you a black woman? Do you know any?
posted by dmh at 6:12 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Um, what
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:15 PM on July 21, 2016


naju: ""That guy was a dangerous sociopath and against everything I stand for, and I'm really turned on" tack she (unfortunately?) chose to take throughout."

I seem to have missed that second part. Perhaps it was too subtle for me.
posted by RobotHero at 6:27 PM on July 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


That's the trope I picked up on in the writing throughout. I figured it was deliberate. I really liked the piece and shared it. That got under my skin though; probably I'm supposed to have that reaction.
posted by naju at 6:43 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


kittens: I think it is counterproductive to use an identity with a history of brutal oppression as a rhetorical device. I think it is a little reductive. It reads to me as an expression of your internalized notions of otherness; like a throwaway abstraction.
posted by dmh at 6:51 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nope. It's very specifically a reference to how the charming man himself got kicked off twitter because of his harassment of Leslie Jones. I do not believe for one moment that he would have been at all charming to Ms. Penny if she had not been a young white woman. Because he's a racist. This isn't a rhetorical device. He is a racist who is specifically known to be racist against black people. I'm not speaking in riddles. He uses hate speech against black people. So my point is, he is not charming. He was charming to the author, a white woman.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:00 PM on July 21, 2016 [8 favorites]


What's this about wikileaks supporting him now? I don't get it.
posted by _Synesthesia_ at 7:03 PM on July 21, 2016


Is Assange still running it? Then not really suprising.
posted by Artw at 7:21 PM on July 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


So my point is, he is not charming. He was charming to the author, a white woman.

I know you don't intend it but what you are saying reads to me as "Of course he would be charming to a white woman! They're beautiful and are valued by society!". I also think it is off that you would think your opinion on Milo's charms more valid than the opinion of the woman who actually knows him (and hates him for that matter).
posted by dmh at 7:33 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I had no idea they had an MRA/neorreactionary slant. How on earth did I miss that?
posted by _Synesthesia_ at 7:50 PM on July 21, 2016


Dmh, you can read whatever you like into what I wrote, but it's getting increasingly abstracted from what I did write, and I'm not going to do a thing where I have to defend myself against a viewpoint you imposed on me that is not mine.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:16 PM on July 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


I see no problem with acknowledging his charm. How many people meet charming individuals and give them a free pass because of it? The Medium article reminds us that charm shouldn't be the free pass it so routinely is.

Make no mistake, a black woman's experience of meeting this man might well (will definitely?) be very different. But for those people who he's charming and civil to and what not; they should realise what he is capable of beneath it. He and all the other charming alt-right psycopaths.
posted by trif at 4:59 AM on July 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think it matters that Penny mention his charm because, in part, the article tries to set up all the "human" and "positive" qualities of the pieces of shit it's about in order to say: "Literally none of this matters." Because one of Milo's appeals to his crowd is that he's hip and cool and young but also has Sensitivity, kind of like how behind Roosh V's rapey ways there's a part of him that's wounded and hurt and betrayed by society and who even gives a fuck if he's still a rapey shitbag?

I think I want to respond to literally everything in 2016 with Harry Frankfurt's "sincerity is bullshit"—that is, sincerity is a dodge from the sorts of moral questions that are sooo unhip these days but also sooo essential to society functioning and people maturing. Because if you decide that the hurt you inflict on people doesn't matter on account of your ideals or your feelings or your otherwise good traits, that's a dodge. You are avoiding owning up to the fact that you are a nasty piece of shit.

Moreover, refusing to acknowledge any positive qualities in nasty pieces of shit can be problematic, the same way that insisting politicians you don't like can never say anything good or that art that's fucked up is incapable of also being really moving and powerful. It trains people to assume that all things they respond positively to must be good. And people respond positively to all kinds of wretched nonsense. Saying a pick-up artist is attractive when he clearly is isn't telling anybody anything they don't already know, and it doesn't take away from "this man is a fucked-to-death pile of burning caca". That's the point. (Or a point, among many.)
posted by rorgy at 8:23 AM on July 22, 2016 [13 favorites]




On a different slant, I suppose by ignoring any 'qualities' it is easier to mentally segregate people. By making everything black and white we are making partisanship and bias easier to stomach.

If none of the peeps I disagree with have any redeeming qualities then I feel no guilt in labelling them as bad. Unfortunately I think it underpins a lot of our political rhetoric.

If we can acknowledge that a garbage fire like Milo has some positive qualities then maybe we can wise up to the insidious danger he (and people like him) represent
posted by trif at 9:13 AM on July 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


Being an empty shell that nethertheless is able to socially interact really isn't that much of a positive quality.
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on July 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Milo Yiannopoulos and the Gay Fascist Sophisticate
The point is not that this liberalism was therefore ‘illiberal.’ Rather, it’s that whatever its considerable flaws, this liberalism was in its heyday the ideology of a successful ruling class that was able to provide ever-increasing prosperity, individual autonomy, and social peace to the nations in which it ruled. Fascism is what came after, when the pointless massacre of the First World War, the economic devastation of the 1930s, and the persistent inability to resolve long-simmering social tensions discredited the European elite and its ideas. Reducing fascism to some vague idea of extreme conservatism, which in its American context essentially means angry old white people, misses the sense in which fascism prospered because it was something young, cool, transgressive, and new. For fascist intellectuals, at least, the liberal bourgeoisie was their enemy as much as were communists or Jews, and it was precisely because the bourgeois were old, self-righteous, and boring. Fascism was sexy and fun.
Because one of Milo's appeals to his crowd is that he's hip and cool and young but also has Sensitivity, kind of like how behind Roosh V's rapey ways there's a part of him that's wounded and hurt and betrayed by society and who even gives a fuck if he's still a rapey shitbag?
“If cats looked like frogs we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That's what people remember.” - Lords and Ladies
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:21 AM on July 25, 2016 [3 favorites]






One final shoutout to my thread's title.
posted by Theta States at 7:12 AM on August 11, 2016




« Older Only You Can Help Us   |   »Mr. Klein wants to keep control over bad stories... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments