Classifying Voice
October 10, 2016 10:10 PM   Subscribe

Freedom of speech in the digital age - "Speech that disseminates ideas is more valuable than speech whose purpose is to intimidate others."

also btw...
  • Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution - "How muggles and sociopaths invade and undermine creative subcultures; and how to stop them... Can't make omelettes without breaking some eggheads." (via)
  • Americans Believe Diversity is Our Strength - "Diversity can reduce trust and a society that combines distrust and a powerful central government threatens to oscillate between civil war and authoritarianism. Under limited government, however, a little distrust can not only be managed it's a positive. If America were more homogenous, for example, we would have abandoned freedom of speech and religion a long time ago. It's precisely because we can't agree on what to say that we let everyone say what they want."
  • Very Brief Musings on Democracy - "Democracy has never been an especially good way of choosing smart, technocratic leaders. Democracy has different excellences... Democracy's primary excellence is that it rules out the mirage of violent revolution as a chiliastic solution to current disappointments: the problem is not that the people are oppressed but rather that the people chose to be governed by the current group of clowns--and that is the problem that needs to be fixed."
posted by kliuless (26 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Very interesting article.
posted by davidmsc at 10:23 PM on October 10, 2016


Interesting post from Noahpinion. I would imagine this topic has been explored much more thoroughly from a legal perspective than an economic one, though.
posted by ropeladder at 12:04 AM on October 11, 2016


> many tech platforms are natural monopolies [...] each of these things has a strong global network effect

They are deliberately designed to be monopolies, for deliberate business reasons. When you justify Twitter kicking out assholes "because it's a private platform" you're also by extension supporting G+'s real names policy, or Facebook's right to censor the Phan Thi Kim Phuc photo.

Protocols, not platforms. (That ship has definitely sailed, but I can dream).
posted by Leon at 2:13 AM on October 11, 2016 [8 favorites]


That second link was chock full of unwarranted (in my opinion) specifics, but I think the general characterization of a subculture's lifecycle is fairly accurate. However, I disagree with the assertion that subcultures completely died out by the year 2000 (unless I'm misreading and the point is that things were different before then?).
posted by clorox at 2:40 AM on October 11, 2016


What is the unifying feature or theme of these articles?

This looks sort of like a dump of recent links. (In part because it looks sort of like a list of links that I liked and shared recently; apparently we read the same things.)

But I find it frustrating that these aren't mutually supporting pieces.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:39 AM on October 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Man has complaining about "freedom of speech" become a solid indicator an asshole is talking these days. Fucking nerds ruin everything.
posted by Artw at 5:41 AM on October 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


Interesting article.
posted by Bob Regular at 6:01 AM on October 11, 2016


That mops article is hilariously awful. What a piece of shit. It sounds like an amusing way to rephrase social theory, but is actually just a lame ass dude complaining he doesn't get laid enough.

He literally turns women into social currency, establishing their value as merely status symbols by virtue of their sexual desirability. What a fucking ass.
posted by shmegegge at 7:05 AM on October 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ugh, yes, I caught a definite gross sexism vibe from the MOPs article, too, and definite implications about what genders his envisioned creators and MOPs are. I also think that that guy's ideas about subcultural history totally ignore the norms and trajectory of several female dominated subcultures I have been part of, particularly that of media fandom.
posted by sciatrix at 7:36 AM on October 11, 2016


While there are implications, the author specifically chose not to include gender, which I find interesting.

Yeah, there is a skingy vibe, but my read was that has more to do with the kinds of subcultures the writer is talking about.

That said, it does sound like the author could stand an introduction into more female dominated subcultures.. I wonder what their read of it would be?
posted by jonnay at 8:26 AM on October 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


The other side of the story is that online harassment silences people as well, and giving an unrestricted floor to harassment amounts to ceeding editorial control to the loudest and most aggressive. It's a phenomenon that's been studied since the 1980s.

I've largely given up on open posting to unmoderated spaces like facebook, twitter, and tumblr because I don't want to be in the middle of someone's pseudonymous flamewar.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:47 AM on October 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Great post! Love the various analyses, having a fun time actually reading through them all! Wow.

Did anyone else find an interesting resonance in the second link (Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths) to Bartle's gamer taxonomy? I think it was the observation that sociopaths were (in some sense) needed to grow the sub-culture that reminded me of Bartle's observation that player-killers were required for a successful gaming social experience (if I'm remembering that correctly...)
posted by emmet at 10:03 AM on October 11, 2016


Subcultures were the main creative cultural force from roughly 1975 to 2000, when they stopped working.

Hmmm.
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on October 11, 2016


(It does not get better from there)
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on October 11, 2016


Because history, and the behavior of humanity, is cyclical in nature, I know that debates about freedom of speech have happened before, and will happen again (and hey, I hear those wacky Cylons have a plan!). But it makes it no less horrifying to watch now.

All ideas, all opinions, out into the sun for consideration, examination, debate, perusal. When you ban speech, you ban ideas, and when you ban ideas, you ban people. When you ban people, you drive them underground, where they just fester and become so much worse than before.

I like my lunatics in clear view, where I can argue with them, and point out to others just how insane they are. When we stop thinking about ideas -- no matter how repugnant we may find them -- our brains get lazy, and we become weak. But now, I can look at the crap the alt-right is spewing, and recommit my own critical thinking to fighting why their positions are just wrong.
posted by gsh at 10:28 AM on October 11, 2016


> Hmmm.

Music was better when I was in my twenties, too.
posted by Leon at 11:10 AM on October 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


All ideas, all opinions, out into the sun for consideration, examination, debate, perusal. When you ban speech, you ban ideas, and when you ban ideas, you ban people. When you ban people, you drive them underground, where they just fester and become so much worse than before.

The point of the piece wasn't that you ban people because of their ideas, but because of their actions. Or, it's about how you convey ideas. To stand by and let people be bullied out of conversations in the name of free speech actually has the effect of limiting speech. In fact, you could argue that a well-regulated civil environment for discussion would increase the diversity of opinion.
posted by touchstone033 at 11:33 AM on October 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've been wondering about throttling as a way to focus discussions. Say something once, it's honest. Say something once a day, you're committed.

Repeat something a dozen times an hour, while seeking out new strangers to say it at, and you're a crank.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:38 AM on October 11, 2016


The point of the piece wasn't that you ban people because of their ideas, but because of their actions. Or, it's about how you convey ideas. To stand by and let people be bullied out of conversations in the name of free speech actually has the effect of limiting speech. In fact, you could argue that a well-regulated civil environment for discussion would increase the diversity of opinion.

I've found the drift to 'free speech valuing as marker of out-group' rather creepy. This is I think a much better framing of the issue.

Free speech is fucking important, and you should be able to rigorously justify whenever you restrict it. That's a true thing, regardless of how repellent the person espousing it might be.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:30 PM on October 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I feel like there's two big conflicting factors. We have free speech as in speaking truth to power, and the ability to have places where people aren't intimidated via harassment which can kill communities and people's comfort speaking freely.

Free speech as in allowing speech is more the concern of governments and "neutral" platforms. Limiting speech to be constructive and safe is the concern of private groups.

Reddit and Twitter see themselves in the middle. Reddit straight up said they think they're a new type of government. They might see themselves as staunchly neutral, or maybe they're just cynically aiming to appeal to everyone so that they can draw as much ad revenue from people. Either way, they deliberately define a very small definition of harassment.

Of course, harassment without any attention from admins and moderators poisons the communities. They either segment into groups that try to stay hidden from harassers, or the harassers drive out people sick of synchronizing blocklists and pretending ignoring bullies makes them go away.
posted by MuppetNavy at 2:05 PM on October 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's like this: If your free speech activism is all about preserving edgelord bullshit/gamegate it probably isn't actually free speech activism.
posted by Artw at 3:04 PM on October 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's like this: If your free speech activism is all about preserving edgelord bullshit/gamegate it probably isn't actually free speech activism.

Free speech isn't free if it's only what you want to hear.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:11 PM on October 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm not convinced that free speech as invoked by internet trolls is consistent with the liberties envisioned by the First Amendment. A key clause of the First Amendment is Freedom of the Press, which at the time was a bar not only on criminal prosecution of publishers, but also a bar against coercion to publish against one's conscience.

Washington's views as expressed to Kahal Kadosh Yeshuat Israel are unambiguous on the notion that the Constitution does not sanction bigotry or persecution. In fact, what's suggested is a live-and-let-live pluralism: "May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid." (emphasis added) The suggestion that "free speech" extends beyond the ability to express one's opinion, to the exercise of mob harassment (which was a thing in the 18th century) delivered either to one's home or one's personal inbox and dashboard strikes me as very odd.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:42 PM on October 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Free speech isn't free if it's only what you want to hear.

Right. If you don't get to turn up at the party, scream over the top of everyone else and then take a crap in the corner then you've been silenced all your life.
posted by Artw at 9:03 PM on October 11, 2016


What is the unifying feature or theme of these articles?

sorry for not providing a through line; for me it's the idea that constitutional democracy cannot survive the 21st century if the politics of intimidation* is given free rein over the 'dissemination of ideas', particularly in a diverse, multicultural polity. maybe that's too obvious? this is water, to see what is in front of one's nose, etc.

---
*among other things, like money = speech or the stuff obama lists here: "there has been a degree of venom and viciousness and anger that has been unleashed in our national politics that is qualitatively different in at least our modern history. [Because] gerrymandering makes the incentive for most members of Congress to play to the extremes of their base rather than to the center. The Balkanization of the media means that nobody is having a single conversation with a single set of agreed-upon facts and assumptions the way you had as recently as the 90s. The influence of not just big money, but dark money. The collapse of party structures. The fact that most legislators now, most members of Congress, don't live here but travel back and forth..."
posted by kliuless at 5:41 AM on October 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


An interesting question posed in a medium post:
So why were we so hellbent on protesting the overarching funding of anti-LGBTQ+ foundations, but can’t seem to walk away from a platform (twitter) that monetizes the abuse of its users?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:32 AM on October 17, 2016


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