Wil Wheaton decides he’s done with social media.
August 30, 2018 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Wil Wheaton writes about why he left Twitter, and why he’s leaving social media altogether.

“I’m done with social media. Maybe I just don’t fit into whatever the social media world is. I mean, the people who are all over the various Mastodon instances made it really clear that I wasn’t welcome there (with a handful of notable, joyful, exceptions, mostly related to my first baby steps into painting), and it seems as if I was just unwelcome because … I’m me? I guess? Like, I know that I’m not a transphobe, but holy shit that lie just won’t die, and right now as I am writing this, someone at Mastodon is telling me that I am, because people said so, and I should apologize to them. I mean, how am I supposed to respond to that, when it happens over and over and over again? ‘You’ve been lied to about me. Please give me a chance’ just doesn’t seem like a viable way forward with people who are, for whatever reason, very, very angry.”
posted by mrbeefy (286 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
At the end of the day, I’m lucky and privileged as fuck. I can sign off from a website (or multiple websites), and go live my life with my amazing family and our dogs.

Plus the longer he's on social media, the weirder it is that he's still not really come up with anything to say about his bestie Chris Hardwick.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:15 AM on August 30, 2018 [52 favorites]


Wil Wheaton has a listening problem.

When you among other things distribute and popularize a blocklist made by and for TERFs you don't get to say "Like, I know that I’m not a transphobe," sorry buddy. When you say you're going to make a comment about your very close friend Chris Hardwick's problems with abusive misogyny and then just wait it out until he gets his job back and a redemption tour in the press you don't just get to say "for whatever reason" as to why people are angry.
posted by griphus at 8:17 AM on August 30, 2018 [52 favorites]


Regarding the blocklist, the explanation Wheaton offers in the post:

During GamerGate, I was dogpiled and mobbed and brigaded and attacked by thousands of accounts. I started using a blocklist that was supposed to help stop that. I did not know that the blocklist I signed up for also had a lot of trans women on it. When I found out, I did everything I could to remove those women from the list I shared. When there were still innocents on the list, I stopped sharing the list entirely. Despite this, a mob has decided that I’m anti-trans.

Whether or not one finds this explanation acceptable or believeable is worthy of debate.
posted by mrbeefy at 8:24 AM on August 30, 2018 [14 favorites]


His dog matches the rug, or vice versa.

I hate these big goodbyes. Just stop talking, it's okay.
posted by theora55 at 8:27 AM on August 30, 2018 [11 favorites]


Couldn't he just use Mastodon (or even Twitter) under a pseudonym? If he gave up his minor internet celebrity, he would get to talk about cats or whatever just like anybody else.
posted by jcreigh at 8:29 AM on August 30, 2018 [34 favorites]


I think, whatever his failings, he is not obligated to stand up in public as an Acceptable Target for the outpouring of outrage. In fact, I think that outpouring of outrage is bad for everyone who participates in it, regardless of the target.

I bailed on social media myself, earlier this year, and I don't miss it. I read a curated Tumblr feed and I have about five Slacks with different, also very curated collections of people, and that's been better for me than anything Twitter or Facebook ever did.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:31 AM on August 30, 2018 [81 favorites]


I liked Wil's Social Media presence when he was being consistent to his stated ideals (basically of not being a dick, and of calling out the most egregious dicks on whatever platform), but yes, since his buddy, Chris Hardwick, got accused of abuse, Wil was apparently unable to say or do anything substantive - it was like Wil was waiting for it to blow over so he could resume his normal mode of positive shit stirring.

I guess I get feeling like loyalty trumps principles. It would be hard for me, too, to call out friends, or at the very least inquire about and examine accusations against them. But then, most of my friends now really aren't the kinds of people I could at all imagine doing abusive shit or even being accused of it. And all of my friends know to their bones that if they did, I would come asking.
posted by kalessin at 8:31 AM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


You know that whatever platform you're posting on has poisoned your brain when you think people care enough about you posting there that they'll need your dramatic sign off essay for closure.
posted by stinkfoot at 8:36 AM on August 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


I seem to have missed this. Is the Star Trek brat guy in the same uncircle of Fake-Goth damnatio memoriae as the priest sitcom guy?
posted by acb at 8:36 AM on August 30, 2018


Given the tone of this thread, seems like he made the right decision.
posted by gwint at 8:38 AM on August 30, 2018 [157 favorites]


Good for him. Social media was a mistake.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:39 AM on August 30, 2018 [18 favorites]


If Wil Wheaton violates Wheaton’s Law, is the law invalidated for everyone else?
posted by NerdtoriousBIG at 8:44 AM on August 30, 2018


Wil wasn’t going round Twitter deliberately spreading anti-trans talking points & mainlining Terf rhetoric, so no: he's nothing like Graham LInehan.
posted by pharm at 8:45 AM on August 30, 2018 [15 favorites]


Is the Star Trek brat guy in the same uncircle of Fake-Goth damnatio memoriae as the priest sitcom guy?

Oh god no. Wil Wheaton has made a series of progressively bad decisions about how to represent himself online including fighting at times he really should have just backed down and walked away like he is now. Graham Linehan has straight-up allied himself with the British Industrial TERF Complex, become seriously unhinged in the meanwhile, and now does little more than post awful transphobic shit constantly and unceasingly. Wheaton's big dramatic flameout might be a bit much but he hasn't done or even tried to do half the damage Linehan is dead-set on doing.
posted by griphus at 8:46 AM on August 30, 2018 [25 favorites]


ctrl-f Hardwick 0/0

🤔
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:46 AM on August 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


I read twitter but wouldn't dare post on it. But it's so toxic, everyone waiting for an opportunity to misinterpret and join in on the next mob rule. As Wil says, he has far better things to do but what about people with less options that are looking for support or are vulnerable yet then get labelled a terf etc (amazing how many radical feminists there are, I never knew!).
Not sure what the answer is, I follow interesting people on there (tech, law, media mostly) but they all end up getting dragged into whatever the drama of the day is. I'm sure there's a pithy saying about negativity spreading much quicker than the good.
posted by JonB at 8:46 AM on August 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'm really not a Wheaton stan, but I think it's ever more worth asking whether the way we are approaching problems now means that very minor people who have committed relatively modest offenses but who happen to be perceived as "reachable" socially end up absorbing way more anger, opprobrium, and outrage than truly powerful people and institutions doing truly evil things. It's very easy to yell at Wil Wheaton, and it feels good to make snide remarks about him here. What are you doing to Mike Pence or Jeff Sessions? (Yes, I know some people are committed to a wide spectrum of actions on this or other important issues, but that is not most people.)

This is not an argument for impunity for people because they're not that important, or an argument that relatively minor offenses "don't count." But there is a real structural problem here if we are ending up directing our aggression, however justified, far more at people who are relatively close to our own positions and/or have committed relatively minor offenses than the people and institutions who are out there wreaking huge harm at a large scale. Not because then the former will "have an excuse" to turn on us or whatever, but because the energy we have to deploy is not infinite, and our audience's willingness to accept aggression as justified is actually fairly limited.
posted by praemunire at 8:46 AM on August 30, 2018 [160 favorites]


I (don't) love how Wil himself seems to be presenting his experience of adversity in social media, and how some of his defenders tend to do so as well, as equivalent to those who have far less privilege, influence, and position in our society, and who've experience far greater, and more harmful adversity. That's not a good look.
posted by kalessin at 8:48 AM on August 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Whether or not one finds this explanation acceptable or believeable is worthy of debate.

One of the first big high-profile block list creators came under scrutiny for having a lot of trans people on it. This is a known GG-relatd controversy, so it's pretty easy to believe him on this one. Link to article about the block list controversy.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:50 AM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


I totally missed the block list thing (but his explanation would probably have been fine). His silence regarding Hardwick was enough for me. Fuck that guy.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:52 AM on August 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


What are you doing to Mike Pence or Jeff Sessions?

If we're strictly talking about Twitter, a big part of is that people like Wheaton read actually their mentions and interact with people while accounts like Pence and Sessions (and just about every major politician) are impersonal and on top of that have their accounts set (behind the scenes, never to be acknowledged officially) to time-out anyone who tweets at them with even a hint of aggression.
posted by griphus at 8:52 AM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


HA HA HA oh man is he gonna seriously fucking pretend that he didn't leave twitter specifically because he didn't want to have to admit that his BFF is a disgusting fucking rapist? What a piece of shit.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:54 AM on August 30, 2018 [38 favorites]


it feels good to make snide remarks about him here

you bet it feels good to make snide remarks about a guy who supports chris rapist hardwick
posted by poffin boffin at 8:55 AM on August 30, 2018 [28 favorites]


If we're strictly talking about Twitter, a big part of is that people like Wheaton read actually their mentions and interact with people while accounts like Pence and Sessions (and just about every major politician) are impersonal and on top of that have their accounts set (behind the scenes, never to be acknowledged officially) to time-out anyone who tweets at them with even a hint of aggression.

True, but (a) I don't think we should be talking strictly about Twitter and (b) this means that you're just hitting whoever's closest to you, like an infuriated toddler. This is neither politically savvy nor particularly morally respectable.

That's not a good look.

Unquestionably, no one seems to have developed a gracious way to make this kind of post. There's always a tone-deafness.
posted by praemunire at 8:56 AM on August 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


Unquestionably, no one seems to have developed a gracious way to make this kind of post. There's always a tone-deafness.

It's almost like it would be better not to say anything or make any grand statement as one moved on to greener pastures.
posted by kalessin at 8:57 AM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


you bet it feels good to make snide remarks about a guy who supports chris rapist hardwick

I think he is completely in the wrong not to say something about Hardwick. Completely. But when I start drawing up my list of People and Institutions Most Sustaining and Supporting U.S. Rape Culture, Wheaton is a flyspeck of a footnote on about page 23.
posted by praemunire at 8:58 AM on August 30, 2018 [49 favorites]


Wil Wheaton has left Mastodon after facing pressure and hostility from both the community and the staff. Yesterday, Wheaton got bofa’d. A bofa is an adolescent prank named after its most popular iteration, bofa. The prank works like this; you drop bofa into seemingly innocuous conversation, and when they ask what is bofa, you say bofa deez nuts. Vulgarity aside, bofa is a common prank on celebrities and commoners alike.

Wheaton did not take the prank well, and immediately reported the user, a trans woman, for the prank. A brief muting by one of mastodon’s instances led to a greater discussion about pranking celebrities, especially celebrities who are being pranked for a troubling history with problematic comments and behaviors.
I must be missing something because this sounds like reporting someone for Rickrolling you.
posted by jeather at 8:58 AM on August 30, 2018 [43 favorites]


Greg: wil wheaton go walk into a Brush Master brand chipper/shredder

Jeff Sessions, smiling evilly at my misstep: not very politically savvy, Greg!

Greg: ah! shit! fuck!!!!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:59 AM on August 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


HA HA HA oh man is he gonna seriously fucking pretend that he didn't leave twitter specifically because he didn't want to have to admit that his BFF is a disgusting fucking rapist? What a piece of shit.

By the way, it may interest you to know that this is the exact same sentiment I'm seeing expressed by the handful of conservative geeks I follow.

Chris Hardwick is a piece of shit. Wheaton is a hypocrite. Do we have no capacity to distinguish?
posted by praemunire at 9:01 AM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


I just can't believe that he fell for bofa
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:02 AM on August 30, 2018 [21 favorites]


I mean if you're going to hold yourself up as a moral exemplar and be loud-mouthed about it, don't be surprised when you get dogpiled for not upholding it when you don't uphold it.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:03 AM on August 30, 2018 [18 favorites]


yeah reporting that trans woman for that minor joke is the thinnest of thin skin bullshit.

At the end of the day, Wheaton did a shitty thing on Twitter with the blocklist and apologized / tried to explain it which was like, fine, that's a fairly reasonable explanation given the gamergate stuff. Then he failed to say shit about his rapist best friend while still trying to be the whole Woke Ally Wheaton thing.

Sooooo he left Twitter and came to Mastodon, and apparently expected that he would be entitled to a warm welcome. So much so that he can't take even that minor bullshit and escalated things immediately which provoked an immune response from a whole lot of people that are not inclined to give him an inch which is pretty goddamn reasonable all things considered. And then does this whole dramatic signoff crap.

He's acting like an entitled manchild and it's gross and disappointing. Hope he does actually leave the social media and go for a walk. I like my Woke Allies to not be silent on their best friend being a rapist.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:04 AM on August 30, 2018 [33 favorites]


Greg: wil wheaton go walk into a Brush Master brand chipper/shredder

Jeff Sessions, smiling evilly at my misstep: not very politically savvy, Greg!

Greg: ah! shit! fuck!!!!


I didn't think it needed spelling out in such small words, but I am not interested in a perfect score in theoretical political savviness as much as I am interested in the harmful effect such dynamics can have on our own communities and political movements. Being somewhat involved in fandom, I maybe see this in its crudest form, as implemented by dimwitted seventeen-year-olds, but they have done meaningful harm.
posted by praemunire at 9:05 AM on August 30, 2018 [12 favorites]


By the way, it may interest you to know that this is the exact same sentiment I'm seeing expressed by the handful of conservative geeks I follow.

oh no i'd better support him now i guess! too bad, rape victims, looks like you go under the bus bc star trek
posted by poffin boffin at 9:07 AM on August 30, 2018 [26 favorites]


I'm admittedly not familiar with the situation, but after doing some quick googling, I wasn't able to find an instance of when Wheaton defended or excused Hardwick's behavior after the allegations came out. Were they deleted? Or are people specifically saying "fuck that guy" because he didn't issue an official statement of some kind?
posted by gwint at 9:07 AM on August 30, 2018 [17 favorites]


A lot of people are on Mastodon to get away from celebrities and users with large cult followings.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:08 AM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


Do we have no capacity to distinguish?

This boils down to a similar-looking dynamic to what I'm pushing back against. Wheaton is encountering nowhere near the same adversity as Hardwick, so yes, we do have the capacity to distinguish.

The pushback I'm providing here is related to the comparisons that folks who tend to defend Wheaton do: comparing, somehow, Wheaton's suffering and psychic trauma to the victims of, say, his buddy Hardwick, or other people with far less advantage to Wheaton getting harassed off of Twitter, like, e.g. Kelly Marie Tran (for those who don't know who she is, she played Rose Tico in The Last Jedi).

Wheaton did not suffer/is not suffering as much. So obviously, yes, we do have the capacity to distinguish. But also some of our distinguishing is completely unjust.
posted by kalessin at 9:09 AM on August 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


A lot of people have decided that, yes, distinguishing a piece of shit from his friends that refuse to do anything about him being a piece of shit is useless in the grand scheme of things. This is largely because said friends are only encouraging a status quo or worsening of the grand scheme of things, as it is in this case. Accusing someone who is (for instance) a survivor of sexual assault/abuse of being "politically savvy nor particularly morally respectable" for not really caring to distinguish between a rapist and his friends who make a lot of noise about rape culture but then refuse to do even the bare minimum when it matters to them just feels like petty contrarianism.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:09 AM on August 30, 2018 [12 favorites]


He Tweeted that it was a difficult situation for him, since Hardwick is his best friend, and that he would have more to say later, and then he just... didn't say anything else.
posted by sarcasticah at 9:09 AM on August 30, 2018 [12 favorites]


His silence about Hardwick's behavior wouldn't bother me so much if he hadn't portrayed himself as a super ally of women. The silence made it clear to me that he's an "ally" only when it's easy, and folds as soon as it becomes uncomfortable for him. (His wife was pretty vocal in claiming that Chloe Dyktra is a liar who wanted revenge on her ex, which made me lose respect for her super fast.)
posted by sarcasticah at 9:13 AM on August 30, 2018 [20 favorites]


It seems people have reasons to be angry with him, and he has always been a sort of magnet for online abuse. It sort of saddens me to see the responses on this thread, of all places. I'll just post here that over the years he has said a lot of things about mental illness that have been helpful to me. I'd say I'm sad to see him leave Twitter but I left that shithole more than a year ago.
posted by simra at 9:14 AM on August 30, 2018 [29 favorites]


Wil Wheaton uses his celebrity to push his public platform and vice versa, and calls himself a huge ally -- and I'll bet has used it to support Hardwick and vice versa -- so yeah, he has a responsibility greater than John Q Public who finds out his also non-famous friend did something shitty.
posted by jeather at 9:14 AM on August 30, 2018 [20 favorites]


Re: Wil and Hardwick, as someone who's had to cut ties with a close friend because I learned they were a shitty human being, it's really hard to do so. And the closer you are to a person who turns out to be shitty, the harder it is to make that cut. To do so, and do so publicly is even harder, no matter who you are. This is human psychology, and is the source of so many things that look like (and often _are_) absolutely vile behavior.
posted by SansPoint at 9:16 AM on August 30, 2018 [63 favorites]


just doesn’t seem like a viable way forward with people who are, for whatever reason, very, very angry.”

people are definitely very, very angry. Many of them no doubt righteously so. But as I've related elsewhere, a therapist friend of recently said to me when I asked her, how's work? "The problem with righteous anger is it has a tendency to nail the wrong target." And then she had another drink.
posted by philip-random at 9:18 AM on August 30, 2018 [45 favorites]


he has a responsibility greater than John Q Public who finds out his also non-famous friend did something shitty

Um, why? Don't we each individually have a responsibility to positively influence the people around us? I don't see how my responsibilities are any less than his.
posted by simra at 9:25 AM on August 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Have none of you ever befriended a person, loved a person, or been related to a person you later found out is a piece of shit (I mean, aside from the way literally every human being is garbage unworthy of the breaths they steal from the universe)? Seems kind of weird to hate on someone for no publicly shitting on someone with whom they are close on some level. It seems like folks even here are mad at him for simply that, not that he is defending Chris Hardwick or justifying anything, just that he isn't putting on the right show of hate towards his (ex?)friend. Even just expecting someone to cease being friends with someone the instant they find out they're shittier-than-average seems like itself a shitty attitude. Also seems unnecessary since there are evidently other reasons for people to hate on Wheaton.

"Wil Wheaton uses his celebrity to push his public platform and vice versa, and calls himself a huge ally -- and I'll bet has used it to support Hardwick and vice versa -- so yeah, he has a responsibility greater than John Q Public who finds out his also non-famous friend did something shitty."

This is also a good point, though. With voice and audience amplification there is a higher burden of responsibility.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:26 AM on August 30, 2018 [33 favorites]


it's really hard to do so

He didn't need to cut ties. He just should have said something.

If he's willing to walk the walk, Wil could be a great example of how to rehabilitate broken men through friendship. Make a statement about how he's going to stand by Hardwick as a friend, and take on the responsibility to hold Hardwick accountable for becoming a better man. Express his understanding that it's a long process, and that he wishes people to respect that process and give them some privacy and time to work on things.

A good friend is one who can look at a friend who fucked up and say, "dude, you fucked up." But also, "dude, do you want help in not fucking up again?"

We're talking so much about men returning to fame after fucking up, and well, Wil should have been a part of that conversation since he has so many opinions. He could have worked with his bud, rather than dodging the issue.
posted by explosion at 9:26 AM on August 30, 2018 [29 favorites]


He could have worked with his bud, rather than dodging the issue.

Serious question: how do we know he hasn't?
posted by restless_nomad at 9:27 AM on August 30, 2018 [58 favorites]


I don't follow celebrity social media, and today is the first I've even heard of Chris Hardwick, or heard of these blocklists. So I'm not going to offer thirdhand opinion about any of that based on this discussion.

But in general I don't think it's somehow being melodramatic to make an "I'm leaving social media and here's why" post. There are people I follow who have simply disappeared from their online presence, leaving me to wonder what happened to them. A couple of them had been known to talk about their struggles with depression, past suicide attempts etc. so that was rather alarming. Even without that factor, I'd rather have the "social media is making my life worse" post than sudden radio silence.
posted by Foosnark at 9:28 AM on August 30, 2018 [47 favorites]


We can't know for sure, but it's been a couple months since the Hardwick stuff broke, right? Wil could have made at least a short statement as I've suggested above, no?

His silence, whether intentional or not, is speaking volumes.
posted by explosion at 9:29 AM on August 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


well, it has to take place on the internet for all of us to see and judge and react to with hot takes, or else it doesn't count.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:29 AM on August 30, 2018 [83 favorites]


I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel weird about being mad at people in public via social media etc. I was nodding my head when restless nomad wrote " outpouring of outrage is bad for everyone who participates in it, regardless of the target."

I don’t think it’s as much a matter of whose shittiness is more crucial to attack (per praemunire), but rather if one’s own emotional/attentional energy could be lavished on something that addresses said shittiness.

When I was a young activist, I did my share of protesting racist media representations of Asian Americans, but I was itchy to find other ways to channel my anger at A&F’s racist tshirts, etc. Even if A&F or ABC or whoever apologized for their racist design/tv show, it didn't feel like much of a win. When I fell in with a bunch of community arts organizers/filmmakers/muralists, I figured out that supporting good work by (still imperfect but) way better people and organizations was a much more nourishing and community-strengthening activity for me. I need anger as fuel, but I feel diminished when I direct it primarily at people who did bad things, and I feel expansively hopeful when using anger to work on structural/cultural change (however small, I mean, holding an open mic night is not going to immediately dismantle the perpetual foreigner stereotype of Asian Americans).

Earlier this year, I spent a few days reading the Get Off My Internet forums and even though I mostly agree with the commenters on the ridiculous #sponsored #inspo b.s. that lifestyle influencers have made into aesthetic internet muzak, I couldn’t figure out why I felt so dissatisfied. I appreciate that people are holding influencers accountable (like don’t publish a foraging cookbook with recipes that are poisonous or highly likely to induce discomfort) and I understand that we need to make sure people with large followings aren’t just spewing nonsense and bile out into the universe. I guess I just feel weird that it's so easy to be and stay mad at public figures in public forums. A new iteration of 21st century emotional labor in a sense?
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:29 AM on August 30, 2018 [27 favorites]


Even just expecting someone to cease being friends with someone the instant they find out they're shittier-than-average seems like itself a shitty attitude.

The allegations were made in June, almost five months ago. Most people gave him space after his initial"shocked" tweet. And he hasn't done shit in the meantime, instead deciding to focus his time and energy in this respect on whining,l.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:30 AM on August 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


The allegations were made in June, almost five months ago.

I know things these days are weird and stressful and the time dilation is so, so real, but June was only 2 months ago.
posted by explosion at 9:32 AM on August 30, 2018 [120 favorites]


Even saying something about someone you're close to can be hard. It's a normal reaction to circle up the wagons and defend someone you care about. And, yes, in cases like these, silence is defense. I am not arguing otherwise.

We're all drawing conclusions from incomplete data. We don't actually know Wil's intent was when joining Mastodon, what Wil has or has not done in private with regards to Hardwick, or all sorts of things. Wherever you land on this, I think it's at least important to acknowledge that we're not able to look inside the man's head and fully understand his motivations.
posted by SansPoint at 9:34 AM on August 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


Thanks for the context sarcasticah. Like simra, I mostly know Wheaton via his outspokenness about his struggles with mental illness. Given the context of the situation, things make a little more sense to me. It is very easy to imagine someone with depression and general anxiety disorder becoming paralyzed when confronted with the terrible situation of having your best friend turn out to be a monster. And I can see how people would be disappointed that he didn't speak out given his desire to be an ally. I still don't see how his (non)actions warrant "fuck that guy forever"
posted by gwint at 9:35 AM on August 30, 2018 [31 favorites]


as someone who's had to cut ties with a close friend because I learned they were a shitty human being, it's really hard to do so

i was gonna just eyeroll at you and say "yeah maybe for YOU" but it's true, really, i do think it's a lot harder for men to do that than it is for women, mostly because in general women's default setting wrt cishet male friends is often tempered with caution from a lifetime of disappointing experience.

it is very easy for me to cut ties with people who support rapists. it's like the easiest thing in the world, because i have so many other friends who don't support rapists. and i do wonder if that's not also an issue for men, the concern that if they take a look at their overall male friend group and say "i will no longer be friends with men who support rape culture" that there might not be anyone left, which is absolutely a depressing and isolating thing to feel.

but really no matter how difficult it is for men to do this, it is never going to be as difficult as it is for the women in their friends circle to watch them continue to support rapists and abusers, either openly or through inaction.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:36 AM on August 30, 2018 [55 favorites]


John Q Public doesn't have to use his non-existent platform to say anything, Wil Wheaton does, because he uses his platform to promote his friends and say how awesome an ally he is. That's different from the responsibility people have to talk to their friends in person. I get it's hard! Lots of things are hard.
posted by jeather at 9:36 AM on August 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


I know things these days are weird and stressful and the time dilation is so, so real, but June was only 2 months ago.

Yeah, I mathed wrong. Still doesn't change the fact that it's been waaaaay more than enough time.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:39 AM on August 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


poffin boffin: I don't know if it's a gender thing, but it's certainly an in-group/out-group thing. It's the same behavior that leads to the Wall Of Silence when a tight-knit group defends the malicious actors in it. You see it in everything from the Catholic Church, to police departments, to board rooms, and to the classical music world with the James Levine scandals. When someone is in the in-group with you, you defend them from the out-group threat. It's what humans do. If having the metacognition to go "Woah, wait, why am I defending this" wasn't difficult for a number of reasons, we'd see it happen more often. Yes, sometimes it's fear of reprisal for going against the in-group, but it's also the natural reaction of being in the in-group.
posted by SansPoint at 9:43 AM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


I think it's ever more worth asking whether the way we are approaching problems now means that very minor people who have committed relatively modest offenses but who happen to be perceived as "reachable" socially end up absorbing way more anger, opprobrium, and outrage than truly powerful people and institutions doing truly evil things.

I don't know anything about this latest Wheaton contretemps because I've never been all that interested in him, but it's probably worth pointing out that the level of harassment trans people and trans women in particular (AFAICT) are getting on social media these days seems to be just off the fucking charts. So it wouldn't suprise me to learn that Wheaton got blowback that he might've felt seemed disproportional to whatever offense because lots of people are angry and scared and fed up. I don't know enough about any of this to adjudicate anything, but that's part of the background here.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:43 AM on August 30, 2018 [21 favorites]


The day someone with enormous privilege uses it in their hour of desperate need to do something useful and kind to make the world better, rather than stomping away in a huff, is the day I'll give a shit about them.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:45 AM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


It was disappointing as someone who is new to and enthusiastic about mastodon to see how Wheaton got kicked off of his instance.

The admin was deluged with frivolous reports and kicked Wheaton off to make the problem go away. (Reasonably so, he was just some rando running an instance and no doubt had no time for that).

The reactions I've seen in my tiny little corner of mastadonia include things like "good riddance, you damn CELEBRITY, using your FAME and MONEY to ruin Mastodon like you ruined Twitter" and "how dare a celebrity come onto this platform and just sign up for an account like anybody else, thereby burdening the admin, any reasonable celebrity should have run his own server" -- mind you this is like the *first* "celebrity" to hit Mastodon, so there was literally no precedent to know what to do.

I don't know much about the Hardiwick/blocklist thing that motivated all of it but the way it went down in the Fediverse just depressed me.
posted by edheil at 9:47 AM on August 30, 2018 [20 favorites]


If we're being honest I'm extremely cool with Celebs not being let into certain instances strictly on the basis of their Celebrity. And I say that being fully aware it's easy to make such a statement when we're talking about a straight cis dude who is among other things getting into prolonged fights with the trans community and it will be much harder to say it so cleanly when it's basically anyone else getting kicked out ostensibly for being a Celeb but like you said it's a brave new world out there and no one really knows what they're doing yet.

The officially-built-in social stratification of twitter and the lopsided (and frequently arbitrarily punitive) treatment of the strata on Twitter went a big way toward making it a hellscape by creating a caste of users who could do basically anything they wanted to (including lead charges of GamerGaters, AltRighters and the like) effectively without consequence. Wanting to keep that dynamic out of what everyone is hoping is their new or second home is a reasonable priority. Actually effectuating that priority is where it's going to get hairy, unfortunately.
posted by griphus at 9:57 AM on August 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


To paraphrase the Specials: “If you have a rapist for a friend, now's the time for the friendship to end.”

So long, Wheaton; don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Give our regards to Glinner and Quinn Norton and such.
posted by acb at 9:58 AM on August 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


I've been on Mastodon for over a year, off and on, and you know what? Running an instance is a pain in the ass. It costs you money, it costs you time, it costs you emotional labour. Some people are nice about it, a few people will donate, but by and large it's thankless work. The circumstances around person X causing a great deal of trouble for a volunteer admin team resulting in person X being chivvied out the door are just not too important (though they may be unfortunate), especially when person X has effectively infinite resources to mitigate his impact on the volunteers.

It's like what if Obama decided to drink coffee every day in the same soup kitchen. It would be pretty great for maybe a few days -- publicity for soup kitchens, that's good stuff -- but then, you know what, they'd ask him to move on, because all the ongoing hassle of dealing with a celebrity is just getting in the way of serving food to homeless people.

Or, you know, someone driving a Class A motor home (that's a bus) into a campground that was designed for tents. And getting all huffy about some pushback. Dude, build your own fucken campground.

As far as I'm concerned the worst thing about it is that roughly 80% of conversations on Mastodon at this time are centred around this guy's handling of a situation he caused by being like a travelling black hole flying through and disrupting a relatively quiet solar system. He's gone, and everything's still trying to recover from his mass effect.

Gah.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:59 AM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


Yeah, this confirms some of my suspicions about Mastadon. I don't need "LiveJournal Community Bullshit version 2.0", so I'm going to stay well away from this.
posted by happyroach at 9:59 AM on August 30, 2018 [25 favorites]


Serious question: how do we know he hasn't?

Because he hasn't mentioned it anywhere in his soul-searching, it hasn't gotten out. He hasn't let the information leak. There is no outward indication that he has. No one's mentioned it. It's not something we universally teach each other to do or cultivate in each other (unless we're in activist communities), so the default assumption, which is reasonable, is that he hasn't. But sure, it could turn out that he has.

As an activist myself, who has gotten into trouble for assuming people will give me the benefit of the doubt, I have to say that performative or narrative work does many actions simultaneously and well, and I think, on balance, does good more effectively. Because it shows you're investing the time, energy, and reputation in it. Because performance of doing the right thing makes cognitive space in the community, culture, society, and in individual audience members to do more of that. Because it sets a good example.

Doing it privately, secretly, sure, it may make a difference for you and your friend, but that's pretty much where it necessarily stops.
posted by kalessin at 10:01 AM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]



One of the first big high-profile block list creators came under scrutiny for having a lot of trans people on it. This is a known GG-relatd controversy, so it's pretty easy to believe him on this one. Link to article about the block list controversy.


Yesterday was the first I heard of this, and I spent last night clearing that blocklist from my twitter account.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:02 AM on August 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


I have to say that performative or narrative work does many actions simultaneously and well, and I think, on balance, does good more effectively.

Ok, fair. I don't agree, but I can see how you'd get there.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:04 AM on August 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Era of Bad Faith.

Hate to sound like a cynic, but I think we're going to have to get used to it. I expect it will get a lot worse before it gets better.
posted by tclark at 10:12 AM on August 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Here's the thing: yes, it does suck when people are mad at you on social media, but if you are a straight cis white dude who also claims to be an ally, and if the people getting mad at you are marginalized people who see valid reasons to be mad, it is really important to take a step back and self-reflect. It is doubly important not to just leave in a huff, because (a) that means you aren't listening and (b) you have now created a narrative of "oh those mean trans people drove me off!", which is not a great look.

On preview:

The Era of Bad Faith.

Uh... I don't follow. Since the complaints against Wheaton are part of #MeToo, do you mean that the MeToo movement is bad faith? You seem to be claiming that your cynicism makes you distrust women and trans people. Maybe you should add further context before tersely handwaving away their concerns? Ironically, I have a hard time reading your comment as a good faith comment.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 10:25 AM on August 30, 2018 [13 favorites]


People are angry, and angry people can be smokestacks of negativity. That vitriol becomes the air that everyone else breathes. It becomes normalized, to be angry all the time, to wield it on a hair-trigger, to just vent and vent and vent. In the most toxic communities, it starts to serve an in-group signifier, where you are actually rewarded or ostracized based on your appropriate performance of anger. Maybe being angry is a reasonable reaction to the world we live in, but I think it's worth asking whether the world on the whole is made better or worse by it. Whether there might be more productive things to do with one's sense of helplessness and disgust than castigating strangers online.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:25 AM on August 30, 2018 [52 favorites]


There's really two types of social media. The type I used is basically a way for me to share with my network things I find interesting and to connect with people who have compatible interests. Wheaton uses social media like its mass media with a talk back channel.

He's used it for massive self promotion and an insane amount of personal gain. Being upset that this channel doesn't work for him is fine. It's like working in an industry that's shifted and left you behind. But its also a very different thing for him to quit it than me. I guarantee he still has some private channels that he uses to interact with people like the way I use it.

I wish all of these public personas would be a bit more nuanced about what this means for them. When you're using it to sell your brand for 2 million people, its just different. And honestly, we don't owe him an apology that he can't effectively advertise to us any more.
posted by lownote at 10:28 AM on August 30, 2018 [12 favorites]


Couldn't he just use Mastodon (or even Twitter) under a pseudonym? If he gave up his minor internet celebrity, he would get to talk about cats or whatever just like anybody else.

"I would like to announce that from now on I am using Mastodon and Twitter quietly under a pseudonym. Please don't try to guess who is me."
posted by straight at 10:30 AM on August 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


He'll be back.
posted by bondcliff at 10:40 AM on August 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


nthing poffin boffin a thousand times

it is unpleasant to cut off rapists and stalkers! it is also v unpleasant to realize the men in your life care much more about their friendships with rapists and stalkers than their friendships with you.

gently places Wil Wheaton in the trash bin with nearly all the guys I knew in undergrad, goes to wash hands
posted by bagel at 11:02 AM on August 30, 2018 [19 favorites]


With regard to Randi Harper's block list and accusations of Transphobia against her and Wil Wheaton, all of that comes from Randi's _very_ stupid decision to sic GamerGate people against a trans woman who had taken over a Twitter account used by the (also very stupid) Social Autopsy service. I'm with Katherine Quinn, who notes that Randi is far from a TERF, but did make a _huge_, trust-breaking mistake that ended up harming a lot of trans people. For whatever intent Randi had, it ended up being an excuse for GG to resume open season on trans people.

And unless you were deep in GamerGate stuff at the time, it would be _very _ easy to not notice this, or at least be fuzzy on the details. For what it's worth, I still used the old gguatoblocker list, from before Randi switched to her personal list. I might remove it and switch to NaziBlocker instead, if I can think of it tonight. Since I'm 98% off Twitter anyway, I'm not sure it would make any difference.
posted by SansPoint at 11:07 AM on August 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


Couldn't he just use Mastodon (or even Twitter) under a pseudonym? If he gave up his minor internet celebrity, he would get to talk about cats or whatever just like anybody else.

It is an open secret that most (if not all) celebrities these days have non-public accounts on most social media sites that aren't tied to or identifiable with their public-facing identities (for privacy reasons both for themselves and their friends and family). Richard William Wheaton III almost certainly has a Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and suchlike (under different names) that aren't tied to "Wil Wheaton, blue-check Internet celebrity".

So the short answer is "Sure he could -- and, in fact, he probably already does", but much of Wil Wheaton's life (public and private) is tied up in being "Wil Wheaton, blue-check Internet celebrity", so it's not the same for him as would be for one of us to just switch to another MeFi user name.
posted by Etrigan at 11:20 AM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Because of MetaFilter's civility conventions, I cannot meaningfully express my dissent to the idea that I am (or that other folks criticizing Wheaton's withdrawal announcement) merely angry. You're damn tootin' I'm angry. I'm fucking furious. Because Wheaton protecting Hardwick is absolutely par for the course. It represents centuries of abuse and neglect systematically destroying minorities and people of color in order to exploit and profit from underprivileged labor. In comparison, Wheaton's leaving social media because he got his feelings hurt.
posted by kalessin at 11:30 AM on August 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


[Ok, enough. We are not calling for anyone's death here, period. We'll make allowances for the occasional unfortunate cliche but it quickly becomes an escalation Metafilter can't and won't handle. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:30 AM on August 30, 2018 [24 favorites]


Is there any evidence of Wil protecting Hardwick at all? I am disappointed he never spoke out, but I don't recall any instance of him saying anything at all.
posted by ChrisR at 11:33 AM on August 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Wil Wheaton's frank, brave speech about his depression and anxiety This is really the only thing I know about Wil Wheaton and that he has served this consitutency with grace and commitment--just can't comment on the other issues--Courtesy of BoingBoing
posted by rmhsinc at 11:34 AM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


Protecting by omission is rather like lying by omission.
posted by kalessin at 11:35 AM on August 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


If you're a man who calls yourself a feminist but it's too hard to call out a rapist because y'all game together (and he has Hearst money backing him), then stop calling yourself a feminist.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:35 AM on August 30, 2018 [21 favorites]


What about the mental health of rape victims? How is he serving that part of the constituency?
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:36 AM on August 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


Silence can be considered acceptance, even defense, and Wil has been silent on Hardwick. I have made my views clear on where I stand in regard to the Wil/Hardwick situation, and I would really appreciate it if he said something.
posted by SansPoint at 11:38 AM on August 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


if you participate in terfy shit but don't consider yourself a terf, you'd better apologize for participating in terfy shit and IN THAT APOLOGY you'd better use the word "terf" and say that terfs need to get punched in the face (in whatever sugarcoated language is appropriate for your level of celebrity).

has randi harper done that? has wil wheaton done that?

the reason this is important is because there is an expectation that being trans friendly is a level 99 advanced liberal cuck skill and that presumption— upheld by your otherwise liberal darlings— has the net effect of excusing transphobia. if you do not explicitly say "oh i read about this and terfs are pieces of shit" then you have not done right by me.

it's not much to ask, but nobody does it.

(rewritten to fit mefi conventions)
posted by the list of suspects is just you at 11:39 AM on August 30, 2018 [19 favorites]


I think if nothing else, Wil Wheaton shows why celebrities employ publicists and agents--because running your own public persona, much like representing yourself in a court of law, is a bad idea with so many possible pitfalls that it's an excellent idea to pay someone a lot of money to draw you a map.
posted by Automocar at 11:40 AM on August 30, 2018 [16 favorites]


Serious question: how do we know he hasn't?

Well, again, his wife has been very, very vocal on her own Twitter feed, calling Chloe Dykstra a liar, and accusing her of just trying to get revenge on her ex. I don't think it's much of a stretch to assume that Wil feels the same way, especially given his silence.
posted by sarcasticah at 11:41 AM on August 30, 2018 [11 favorites]


Yeah, that encapsulates the whole problem with making this sort of interaction performative. Instead of being an interpersonal thing involving specific people, it becomes a referendum on entire classes of people, and doesn't allow for any nuance or, for example, spouses disagreeing with one another. It's mind-reading, it's not healthy, and good God I can't blame a soul for deciding it's not how they want to live their lives.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:43 AM on August 30, 2018 [25 favorites]


has randi harper done that?

I don't have the time to claw through her Twitter archive, but she has commented on MeFi in that vein.
posted by SansPoint at 11:43 AM on August 30, 2018


This kind of pushback, personally attacking an accuser, instead of, for instance, measuredly saying, "Hey, we hear some accusations about our friend X, and we're looking into it." is kind of telling and difficult for other people to make sense of, with respect to making the whole conflict completely personal. It's not feminist, even if you believe that Dykstra is a manipulator, because it doesn't allow anyone to be fair about anything, and it doesn't promote justice. Preventing people from even being able to look into a conflict and independently verify facts is the opposite of justice.

There can be no performance here except in hyperbole.
posted by kalessin at 11:45 AM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


he has served this consitutency with grace and commitment

Except for people with anxiety and depression who have been sexually abused or assaulted, and especially people with anxiety and depression because of it.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:46 AM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


it's already performative, though, as we are literally in a thread discussing his dramatic public announcement that he is leaving social media, taking his toys and going home foREVER!
posted by poffin boffin at 11:46 AM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


It was obvious from go that the plan to get Hardwick out of trouble was to have all the women around him talk about how wonderful he is and what a crazy bitch Chloe is (using terms like that, great mental health representation) and for all the men surrounding him to keep quiet. To act like it's mind reading to notice that is frankly insulting.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:47 AM on August 30, 2018 [19 favorites]


I read twitter but wouldn't dare post on it. But it's so toxic, everyone waiting for an opportunity to misinterpret and join in on the next mob rule.

The secret is to stay very anonymous, follow mostly local news and city councilors, only let a few friends follow you, and post mostly about cats. Just about everything personal that I share on twitter is in shorthand/code, so only my friends would understand.

Don't respond to strangers - just 'tsk-tsk' if bad, or read their tweets outloud to your SO if funny.

also follow aquaria - they post beautiful marine images.
posted by jb at 11:49 AM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yes! The fact that this whole conversation has become a public performance is not a thing I think helps anyone. I haven't followed it (see above, re: not on Twitter anymore) but I very much doubt this is doing anything for Chloe Dykstra's physical or mental health, it's not likely to make the subject of accusations feel anything but defensive and put-upon even if the accusations are true and I am supremely unconvinced that it leads to anything like restorative justice. (And in fact, a quick google makes it seem like Dykstra herself has very much distanced herself from anything proceeding from her initial essay, which did not actually name names.)
posted by restless_nomad at 11:55 AM on August 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


Yeah, like you say, you're just uninformed about what has been going and and what is going on. That's ok, but you're not going to be brought up to speed on a quick Google. She doesn't name names or talk about it directly because the fan bases of Wheaton/Hardwick are AWFUL and neither do a damn thing to reign them in ever. I had to lock my account down for a while recently because they turned their roving eye towards me.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:58 AM on August 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


I... think you just proved my point?
posted by restless_nomad at 11:59 AM on August 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


No? She's still actively talking about it and not distancing herself.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:00 PM on August 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


My point being, that turning an issue like this into a public, internet-based team war is not helping anyone or anything.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:01 PM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


And besides, the "public performance" of everyone around Hardwick is exactly why he suffered no real consequences. If Wheaton is going to call people out and demand we listen to accusers right up until the point it hits his front door, if he engages in that public performance in every single other way - to not do it when it matters, to so suddenly change how he communicates, that's fucked up - and to many people can only be read as explicit support.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:02 PM on August 30, 2018 [13 favorites]


Oh well, then I guess just going back to shutting up and letting famous men keep raping people and getting to put their goofy smile on TV is all we can do. I mean, why talk about anything ever?
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:04 PM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


Wheaton knows full well that anything he might say about Hardwick is going to be parsed, dissected, and analyzed to a fare-thee-well and will never, never, never, never, be absolutely exactly to the letter what someone(s) believes/demands he should say, and they're damned well going to make sure he burns in hell about it. It's just a bottomless rabbit hole of hate that he's better off simply not jumping into.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:04 PM on August 30, 2018 [27 favorites]


right, but he's fine with jumping into the hole when he feels he personally has been wronged, when HIS feelings have been hurt.

also i just said "lol he'd rather flounce than denounce" aloud to myself and it was hilarious so now you all have to hear it too
posted by poffin boffin at 12:08 PM on August 30, 2018 [36 favorites]


My point being, that turning an issue like this into a public, internet-based team war is not helping anyone or anything.

And yet, that's exactly what Hardwick and his friends and his employers and his fans and his enablers did. Not responding in kind isn't elevating the conversation, it's letting Chloe Dykstra be slimed and ignored. It's telling the next Chloe Dykstra that she won't matter either.

So maybe it does help someone or something to fight the war that someone else started.
posted by Etrigan at 12:19 PM on August 30, 2018 [19 favorites]


Ok, let me try one more time, using more words, because I think I'm not getting my point across, but then I'm done and I'll go back to just modding.

The current crop of social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr) all promote a certain kind of fast, context-free, volume-driven discourse. (They each have their own quirks, but that is a different essay.) That discourse is really good for certain kinds of conversations, like quick dissemination of links, funny riffs/anecdote collections, low-stakes broadcast communication, etc. But it is very, very bad at nuance, at managing conversations between high-popularity and low-popularity people, and it has turned out to be *extraordinarily* good at certain kinds of mobbing behavior. It's also unmoderated and unmoderatable in our current capitalist system. (The number of man-hours it would take to make Twitter alone come within earshot of what I'd consider "moderated" would employ a good-sized town.)

On the one hand, I don't know if any other communications setup would have given #MeToo the momentum it got. That is a good thing! It made a pattern of systemic abuse visible to enough people fast enough that the usual PR damage control didn't have a hope in hell of containing it. But you may have noticed that #MeToo didn't fucking touch industries like, for example, video games, or, less obviously, finance. Because part of that momentum was that a broad base of people knew the names and work of the people being accused and were able to feel personally connected to the issue, when they might not otherwise have been. And Hollywood has been less affected by organized alt-right mobbing.

So #MeToo did a lot of good. It started a national conversation that we desperately need to have. It dislodged some powerful abusers from their positions of invulnerability. But I think that it doesn't scale very well. I think social media is not actually a good way to prosecute individual offenses. Nuance gets lost, the mobs mobilize and do a *tremendous* amount of collateral damage, and it just feeds a whole lot of escalated anger that again, I think is bad for everyone involved, including the righteously angry.

Do I have a better solution? Sigh. No, not really. But I think this one has a distressing tendency to do more damage to the people who least deserve it, and to the people who think they're doing good, than it does justice. And the more outrage generated on Twitter, the more advertising revenue the site gets, and that chaps my hide, for reasons all y'all can probably guess.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:19 PM on August 30, 2018 [51 favorites]


But you may have noticed that #MeToo didn't fucking touch industries like, for example, video games, or, less obviously, finance.

#MeToo is a due diligence issue now
Advisers are adding guarantees to certain merger agreements in light of the sexual misconduct scandals that have enveloped the producer Harvey Weinstein and other high-profile businessmen -- ones that legally vouch for the behavior of a company’s leadership.

The development is a concrete example of how business is trying to adapt to the #MeToo era, at least in terms of legal liability. … In some cases, buyers have even negotiated the right to claw back some of the money they paid if subsequent revelations of inappropriate behavior damage the business.
Critiques of performativity lost all meaning for me when I realized that all actions taken or words spoken where someone could observe them are in some sense "performative," and so even calling out something as "performative" it itself "performative" and thus subject to the same critique. It's performing turtles all the way down.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:23 PM on August 30, 2018 [21 favorites]


Hey, that's great! Hadn't seen that. (It is a very good example of a non-social-media strategy for combatting sexual harassment!)
posted by restless_nomad at 12:25 PM on August 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


This thread made me sad along multiple vectors.
posted by Kwine at 12:30 PM on August 30, 2018 [18 favorites]


I’m not happy with that “flounce.” It’s a word with a load of shitty associations, and seeing it used by someone I respect in the MetaFilter community is depressing and dispiriting.

And I think it’s symptomatic of the Era of the Super Hot Take where we throw ripostes back and forth as quick as we can until someone loses an eye, and it’s not always the person we aimed at.

Today I Learned that Wheaton has been involved in shitty behaviors that betray the public persona he’s profited from. What I haven’t learned is why we shouldn’t burn Social Media to the ground. I feel like it’s been implicated n like 90% of the awful stuff that’s happened in the last few years.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:33 PM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


Yeah, but WW has a blog. He could write a post on his blog about Hardwick, with LOTS of nuance, and post about it on twitter.
posted by bibliogrrl at 12:33 PM on August 30, 2018 [15 favorites]


Not only does WW have a blog but he's enough of a celebrity that he could probably arrange other ways of communicating that aren't accessible by most of us that would provide him with much greater opportunity for both exposure to the nuance of his words and meaning.
posted by kalessin at 12:37 PM on August 30, 2018 [12 favorites]


ok can i say he'd rather abort than support bc it was literally only amusing to me for the stupid rhyme
posted by poffin boffin at 12:39 PM on August 30, 2018 [17 favorites]


He reported someone for a "deez nuts" post? I would have replied with a blasé "Har, har" and moved on.

Honestly, at this point Deez Nuts is stale humor, like a whoopie cushion, and it almost makes me laugh out of nostalgia, or my appreciation for Dad Jokes.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:47 PM on August 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


I feel like a lot of what's going on is a consequence of the dissolution between the public and the private. Social media promotes this dissolution, and I think a lot of people were even excited by what it might mean. It turns out though that the difference between private and public more than just one of scale.

The logic of how we conduct ourselves interpersonally is different from how we conduct ourselves within society. The former involves trading off between empathy and loyalty, whereas the latter involves trading off between... this is harder to say, but maybe law and representation? That is, the trade-off between respecting the law, and the necessity to transform it due a lack of fairness? Another way to say it might be that it is the difference between people as individuals, and people as citizens.

In any case, these two spheres are easy to distinguish in physical space, where the former is immediate, and the latter is abstract. But when we push these two spheres together into the abstract-physical online world, we lose the nuance, and important discussions devolve into people yelling past each other. This gets even worse when bad actors deliberately manipulate this problem to ruin... well, pretty much everything, it turns out.
posted by Alex404 at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]



Hmm, did I miss the part where Wil Wheaton and Chris Hardwick were married and had a child together?


No, you missed the part where wil wheaton explicitly said he would respond to this.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 12:55 PM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


And yet, here we are discussing this issue on a social media site.

One of the growing pains is that Wheaton became the test case that triggered policy changes on multiple instances, and not smaller-scale pile-ons that happened previously.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:59 PM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


So just to try one more time and then I'll let it go - however someone feels about "performative" whatever, Wil Wheaton has always been on board for it. It's how he's engaged with the internet from go. His reactions to topics are done in his style and has been for a long time now, to the point that you can pick out a piece of his blogging or even tweeting even if he's not named. The main link of the thread is him doing that thing he does. But then suddenly, a few weeks ago, he acted completely out of character for how he's presented himself - at a moment when his voice as a male feminist would have done the most good (for people who think good can be done that way, which he obviously does). It's hugely disappointing and not really related to twitter or #MeToo at all except by proximity.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:59 PM on August 30, 2018 [23 favorites]


[Oh sweet Odin we're not relitigating the fucking election here. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:59 PM on August 30, 2018 [57 favorites]


GenderNullPointerException: And as the Fediverse grows, it's going to get more famous people joining it. IIRC, the first celebrity to join was William Shatner, who ended up becoming the butt of a joke because he and his buddy, tech journalist Lance Ulanoff couldn't find each other. Shatner left not long after (and good riddance.)

Wil was the first moderately big name Fediverse member. There's going to be more, though maybe not for a while. The community and its moderators on various instances need to be prepared for what this will mean. Even if they don't bring their entire following, having even a minor celebrity on an instance is going to result in a shift in the dynamics of the community. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when, and hopefully the next time will end better for everyone. The policy changes that came from this are a start (and yes, those policies should have existed when ordinary users were dogpiled off, not after a famous person was), but there's a lot more that will have to happen to make it work.
posted by SansPoint at 1:07 PM on August 30, 2018


Wouldn't it be better if celebs just ran their own personal instances?
posted by pharm at 1:09 PM on August 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Just like every cop that I have ever met has a friends and family list for whom they willingly look the other way, every internet community has a mostly unspoken list of people for whom the same transgressions are treated entirely differently.

There is definitely a dynamic where the performance of people we like are massaged by circumstance into acceptability, whereas those we don't get the full James 2:10 treatment. This isn't new to the age of #MeToo, but it's definitely a perennial human trait that's finding present conditions amenable.
posted by AdamCSnider at 1:10 PM on August 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


pharm: Maybe. I'm very hesitant to say anyone should have to self-host anything. It's a time and energy suck, even for people who have time, money, and support staff. If it were as easy to spin up a Masto instance as it were to sign up for a Facebook Page, perhaps.
posted by SansPoint at 1:14 PM on August 30, 2018


y'all making Mastodon sound like Twitter and IRC made a terrible baby together
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:18 PM on August 30, 2018 [30 favorites]


I think that "static" blogs without comment systems should make a comeback, for those of us who really don't want to deal with moderation or pile-ons. (And I'm not famous or internet famous.)

But the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth, and one of the things masto needs to figure out is how to scale moderation with their population.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 1:19 PM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


Sounds like a startup idea: setting up and running up bespoke mastodon instances for celebs.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:19 PM on August 30, 2018


I wonder if this means we no longer get to see the adventures of his wife and her special travel haaaaaaaaat?

(Their Instagram feeds are/were really good)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:24 PM on August 30, 2018


The thing that gets me with this is, there's a lot of individual points which (taken in isolation as if nothing else happened) might be excusable. But when combined, they add up pretty starkly. Like, as far as the timeline as I've seen it goes:

• Wheaton subscribes to a blocklist which claims to just block Gators, but also includes a disproportionate number of trans people who the creator has a grudge about; unsubs when this is pointed out.
Fair enough, a lot of people got caught up by that, said list creator even targeted some Mefites with this and directed the howling mob at them, he unsubbed when all this got revealed.
• Everything about Hardwick comes out, Wheaton is staggered and says he'll make a proper statement when he's had time to process. (Everybody else has covered this better anyhow)
Fair enough on wanting to take a moment, I could see wanting to compose oneself
• Time passes. People get agitated, because this is kinda vital as far as "Are you a decent person? Are you not? Are you stalling because you aren't but don't want to reveal that?" goes.

• Rumblings keep getting larger, Wheaton talks about moving to Mastodon. Goes to CounterSocial, the non-federated instance run by Noted Patriot Hacker TheJester which makes a lot of noise about protecting its inhabitants from anybody who remotely hints at being from anywhere but North America and Europe and also that not-deadnaming Chelsea Manning & other trans people is leading to the Downfall of Western Civilization. (Dude's a real piece of work)
Which... not great, but again, in isolation I could see someone getting snowed by the "We protect against bots and hackers" ad copy and not thinking too deeply about the transphobic/xenophobic parts. Not great, but there's a plausible line there.
• Wheaton moves off CounterSocial (whether it was the broken federation or the admin being terrible, unclear) and into one of the bigger instances.

• Mastodon's got a lot of LGBT people compared to the general social media populace. It's kinda been broadcasted as a bit of a safer haven. Wheaton arrives and people go "Hasn't he been weirdly dickish to people in the past?". And they go "Yeah, you aren't going to pillow-fort up here, if you're one of us your celebrity doesn't mean you can avoid being kept to account". Not hyper-aggressively here, but a bit more raw than Wheaton was used to in his Verified Twitter bubble.
• Wheaton starts flooding the admins with reports. An example: "I don't like jumping to conclusions but I've been browsing for at least a good twenty minutes trying to figure out whether this dude is some sort of smart alec or not... Handing over the case to you Admin folks, good luck. 🙏
• The admins, definitely not paid to deal with this shit, start removing him from their server connections.
• He gets bofa'd (Think the old modern "updog") by a trans woman, and really leans on an admin of his home server to suspend her. People aren't happy. People start putting two and two together and realize
"Wait, he's only been reporting gay & trans people. ... oh. The fuck?"

And then once that last reveal comes up, people started piling into him. And here we are.

There's a whole lot of points where he could have turned things around. But after a certain point, he kept digging. He isn't as mega-TERFy as Graham Linehan, but it's still enough at this point for me to go "The fuck, dude?".
posted by CrystalDave at 1:38 PM on August 30, 2018 [43 favorites]


Only thing I would add to your timeline (which is pretty great!) is that he then goes on to write a long sanctimonious blog post painting himself as the Self-Aware Aggrieved who was treated so bad and is taking his ball and going home.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:45 PM on August 30, 2018 [11 favorites]


it's really telling that people are bemoaning the end of social media because of this nonsense. As a trans femme who left facebook two years ago and has since migrated from one shitty transphobic and/or racist platform to another, this feels like a new beginning for me. bofa.lol has given me renewed hope. i don't expect it to be perfect, but it's one of the handful of general communities i've found that explicitly take a stand against terfs (respectability politics be damned). i'm cautiously optimistic, because this is exactly how Mastodon was designed to work :)
posted by the list of suspects is just you at 1:46 PM on August 30, 2018 [16 favorites]


Well, again, his wife has been very, very vocal on her own Twitter feed, calling Chloe Dykstra a liar, and accusing her of just trying to get revenge on her ex.

Oh daaaang I didn't know that. Dammit, Wheatons.....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:57 PM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


"Wait, he's only been reporting gay & trans people. ... oh. The fuck?"

Not to exactly defend him, but it's sort of putting the cart before the horse. He entered a space with a much higher LGBTQ population. The folks who said "uh, we're not sure about this guy" and were predisposed to distrust him were largely LGBTQ, and the folks who pre-emptively trolled him were largely LGBTQ.

I'm not saying that it's okay; he really needs to understand the toxic fanbase that follows in his wake, and that his words carry more weight than others' at times. But unless it's clear that he was being trolled by a large variety of folks and pointedly only reporting the LGBTQ folks, I'm not gonna call that a strike against him.

Really, this is starting to look a lot more like a dude needing to take a breather from being a public persona. He's digging himself in deeper, and every move he makes is just digging further down, and he needs to just stop digging for a while and survey the situation and what he actually wants from life. It's just like, "dude, you're not a persecuted nerd anymore, you're on the 'dominant' side of culture and you need to readjust your mode of interaction."
posted by explosion at 2:01 PM on August 30, 2018 [31 favorites]


explosion: Really, this is starting to look a lot more like a dude needing to take a breather from being a public persona. He's digging himself in deeper, and every move he makes is just digging further down, and he needs to just stop digging for a while and survey the situation and what he actually wants from life. It's just like, "dude, you're not a persecuted nerd anymore, you're on the 'dominant' side of culture and you need to readjust your mode of interaction."

This, I think, is the situation succinctly.
posted by SansPoint at 2:07 PM on August 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Oh thank god someone brought up Counter.Social so I can link to their FAQ in which they really really need to firmly explain that they’re not racist or xenophobic or nationalistic actually, it just appears that way to the untrained eye.

(to be clear I totally agree that this was just another in an escalating series of extremely smooth moves on Wheaton’s part not some sort of big reveal about his politics)
posted by griphus at 2:09 PM on August 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


Smart. Social media feels inevitably toxic.
posted by No One Ever Does at 2:17 PM on August 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


As a Masto admin, I have a bunch of complex thoughts about this that involve stuff like reports of a lot of the hate coming from people on an instance with the dubious name of "bofa.lol", my own feelings that I have really enjoyed a calmer, quieter social network free of the whims of Twitter Influencers, and my own desire to help keep my corner of the People's Glorious Social Network a chill place.

Ultimately it just comes down to this:

Eternal September has come to Mastodon and I'm really not sure I'm looking forwards to this ride.
posted by egypturnash at 2:38 PM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


y'all making Mastodon sound like Twitter and IRC made a terrible baby together

This is definitely not an entirely incorrect comparison.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:47 PM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


Yes, I think a lot of problems arise when someone who was in a more subaltern group rises to power. You see it a lot in comedians and musicians, for instance, who can't understand why attitudes that were understandable when they were some broke kid sticking it to the Man become repellent in people who have houses in Bel-Air.

Accusing someone who is (for instance) a survivor of sexual assault/abuse of being "politically savvy nor particularly morally respectable" for not really caring to distinguish between a rapist and his friends who make a lot of noise about rape culture but then refuse to do even the bare minimum when it matters to them just feels like petty contrarianism.

I was going to say some other things in response to your comment, but then I hit this. If you have been unable to work out on your own, and no one has ever explained to you, that using someone else's survivor status to bolster their opinions over that of an unknown third party is effectively coercing that third party to either disclose their own status or drop out of the conversation and is therefore not supportive of survivors, let today be the day that happens.
posted by praemunire at 3:57 PM on August 30, 2018 [16 favorites]


And, I mean, as of an hour ago Wil was still posting to his Facebook page (my husband read a post to me literally while I was reading this thread) so his whole "I'm leaving social media because it's terrible" should come with a very large grain of salt, because I don't think he has staff posting to his page for him.
posted by sarcasticah at 5:24 PM on August 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Also I would just like to note that running a Mastodon instance and having to worry about all of this kind of shit is giving me a new appreciation for the job MeFi's admins do keeping this place largely free of bullshit.
posted by egypturnash at 5:31 PM on August 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


And yet, here we are discussing this issue on a social media site.

MetaFilter isn't a social media site.

I never got into following whatever Wil Wheaton has done after TNG, other than to know he's out there saying stuff and has talked about depression. But I can't say I disagree with him about leaving Twitter.

I look at Twitter sometimes just to see what certain people are saying on it, but it almost always feels like I just wasted whatever time I spent looking at it. The people who are on there retweeting political things all the time seem to be stuck in a vortex of hell, and would almost certainly be better off without it.
posted by wondermouse at 5:45 PM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


  • "Re: Wil and Hardwick, as someone who's had to cut ties with a close friend because I learned they were a shitty human being, it's really hard to do so. And the closer you are to a person who turns out to be shitty, the harder it is to make that cut. "
  • "Seems kind of weird to hate on someone for no publicly shitting on someone with whom they are close on some level. It seems like folks even here are mad at him for simply that, not that he is defending Chris Hardwick or justifying anything, just that he isn't putting on the right show of hate towards his (ex?)friend."
  • "Serious question: how do we know he hasn't?"

  • "Wheaton knows full well that anything he might say about Hardwick is going to be parsed, dissected, and analyzed to a fare-thee-well and will never, never, never, never, be absolutely exactly to the letter what someone(s) believes/demands he should say, and they're damned well going to make sure he burns in hell about it. It's just a bottomless rabbit hole of hate that he's better off simply not jumping into."


  • Yeah, all of this. We really do not know what the hell is going on here, unless you infer that Wil and his wife have the exact same thoughts on this, which they may not for all I know. We don't know if Chris and Wil have fought about this, if they're having silent treatment going on, or if they are playing foosball together. We just don't know. And as the last comment said, it's going to be a fucking shitstorm if he says anything, so maybe that's why he has not. But again, we do not know. No matter what Wil says or doesn't say he's gonna be wrong anyway and get this kind of shitty response from everyone.

    Do I wish he'd publicly cut him off? Sure, but I wasn't friends with Chris and I don't know what the guy was like to be friends with so I have no skin in that game. I haven't found out that one of my friends did anything this terrible so I don't know what that's like to cope with either.

    Anyway, I'm reserving judgment until we have more information on that beyond what his wife said.

    What I haven’t learned is why we shouldn’t burn Social Media to the ground. I feel like it’s been implicated n like 90% of the awful stuff that’s happened in the last few years.

    THIS.
    posted by jenfullmoon at 6:00 PM on August 30, 2018 [17 favorites]


    I see social media as the, if you will forgive me, medium for communication.

    From my perspective as a deeply intersectional person, with a number of minority statuses, but also with a lot of passing privilege if I try very hard to appear, and act, safe, it seems to me that people have gotten nastier, more provincial, their community more byzantine and balkanized. I think if we got rid of or refused to participate in social media, we'd find a way to be as pernicious and petty as we always have been.

    And yes, I tie the performance, overall, of nastiness in part to the systematic defensiveness that our culture acts out between individuals to main the status quo, and maintain the privilege of the privileged.

    It's always felt like, to me, the lashing back that the majority does to the minorities, in order to keep us in our place. Also note that despite huge adversity, trolling, doxxing, swatting, etc., social media has in a way finally given a lot of minorities the space and freedom of expression that we have been starving for. It strikes me, then, as a privileged position to take about abolishing social media.

    Maybe we could intentionally try, instead, to clean the shit up first?
    posted by kalessin at 6:09 PM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


    MetaFilter isn't a social media site.

    It is by any reasonable definition of its structural features. Otherwise we're just playing calvinball where CMC isn't really CMC or is CMC only if you dislike it.
    posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:09 PM on August 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


    At stake behind that statement are some serious questions about the role of community norms within CMC going back to the first discussions of harassment and trolling in the 1980s. The community here has had growing pains, including moments where management has been less than ideal and members of key groups chose to bail. This is difficult stuff and you don't get to wash your hands of your own participation in that difficulty by making a special pleading that this is some magically different case.
    posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:25 PM on August 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


    > jeather:
    "Wil Wheaton uses his celebrity to push his public platform and vice versa, and calls himself a huge ally -- and I'll bet has used it to support Hardwick and vice versa -- so yeah, he has a responsibility greater than John Q Public who finds out his also non-famous friend did something shitty."

    With a great follower count comes great responsibility.
    posted by Samizdata at 6:54 PM on August 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


    Maybe we could intentionally try, instead, to clean the shit up first?

    Who's we? Am I being asked to partner with the people described here:

    And these people seem to have an idea of me in their head that doesn’t fit with the idea of myself that I have in my head. It’s honestly caused me to rethink a lot of stuff. Like, am I really the terrible person they say I am? I don’t think I am, but I’m doing my best to listen, and when I say, “please stop yelling at me and let’s have a conversation that I can grow from” I get yelled at for “tone policing”

    Why would I want to partner with them in any venture? And why would I want to partner with people who think this is a just way to engage with someone, no matter how problematic their recent behavior? It's a fair bet I'll eventually do something they'll consider problematic in the future, because I'm imperfect- is that how I'll get treated when I make a mistake? No thank you.
    posted by eustacescrubb at 6:55 PM on August 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


    > explosion:
    "We can't know for sure, but it's been a couple months since the Hardwick stuff broke, right? Wil could have made at least a short statement as I've suggested above, no?

    His silence, whether intentional or not, is speaking volumes."


    Or just actually said something like "I really don't want to talk about this. There are details you don't know."
    posted by Samizdata at 6:57 PM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


    It is by any reasonable definition of its structural features. Otherwise we're just playing calvinball where CMC isn't really CMC or is CMC only if you dislike it.

    I get what you're saying, but there's something different about threaded message boards and "community weblogs" and what social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are doing. Whenever you get a bunch of people together discussing stuff you're going to have issues, but on Twitter and Facebook it's like they wring the absolute worst out of people who in most other situations would probably behave more sensibly. It's the mob mentality, how fast the conversation moves and spreads beyond the immediate parties involved and can get distorted beyond recognition, and then how much attention it gets from the outside world.

    When I read about what Wil Wheaton did or didn't do and why people are so angry at him, it just stresses me out. Sure, to an extent he got himself into this position. But no matter what he says, somebody is going to want him punished for it because we're all human and we all fuck up or say the wrong thing (or don't say something we should have said) sooner or later if given enough opportunities.

    Everyone has to be so careful about what they say on the internet that I am really hesitant to punish anyone for not saying something on the internet, even if they said at an earlier time they would say something about it eventually.
    posted by wondermouse at 7:17 PM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


    I think if we got rid of or refused to participate in social media, we'd find a way to be as pernicious and petty as we always have been.

    I agree, but social media makes it much, much faster to ruin someone's life. It literally wasn't as easy to get the entire world to hate you and ruin your ability to be safe and have a job if you were just having a spat on some message board vs. finding out your life is ruined due to Twitter.

    Also note that despite huge adversity, trolling, doxxing, swatting, etc., social media has in a way finally given a lot of minorities the space and freedom of expression that we have been starving for.

    Yeah, and then you get trolled, doxxed and swatted because you're expressing yourself in a public space.

    I miss the old Internet, and I'm gonna go leave this thread and get drunk now.
    posted by jenfullmoon at 7:18 PM on August 30, 2018 [18 favorites]


    What I'm saying about burning down social media is: Don't burn it down. People are using it.

    I understand the impulse to shoot the messenger, but a lot of minorities are finally finding voice and community on social media.
    posted by kalessin at 7:19 PM on August 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


    > GenderNullPointerException:
    "And yet, here we are discussing this issue on a social media site."

    I'm going to call that out for laziness. Where else would WE discuss this issue that couldn't be classed as a social media site?
    posted by Samizdata at 7:23 PM on August 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


    Clean that shit up?

    The old sense of grace some people had, of ease, of being clean as long as you yourself weren't secretly horrible, well if it existed, it's gone.

    Nobody is clean. There is no way of getting clean.

    I'm reminded of a horrible nightmare I had, but it's probably too graphically messed up to get into detail. Have no mouth and must scream stuff really.

    Suffice to say, everyone was filthy and trapped in an endless cycle of more toxic filth.

    Anyway, I'm thinking about restorative justice, because I want something better then that. Has anyone asked the people who have been harmed by Wil Wheaton's actions what they want?
    posted by gryftir at 7:34 PM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


    I get what you're saying, but there's something different about threaded message boards and "community weblogs" and what social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are doing. Whenever you get a bunch of people together discussing stuff you're going to have issues, but on Twitter and Facebook it's like they wring the absolute worst out of people who in most other situations would probably behave more sensibly. It's the mob mentality, how fast the conversation moves and spreads beyond the immediate parties involved and can get distorted beyond recognition, and then how much attention it gets from the outside world.

    All of that has happened here, and can happen again. In fact, we have a moderator note in this thread preventing it from happening again. Other sites using similar structural formats have self-destructed because of the kinds of drama which almost ruined metafilter (arguably did for the people who left, or who refuse to look inside some topics). "Burn it down," just passes the buck on learning from what makes the spaces you participate in mostly work (or not if that's the case.)
    posted by GenderNullPointerException at 7:35 PM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


    The ways to get clean are generally some sort of data revolution, or, barring that, we all take responsibility for our corners, maybe enact a little formal, official, policy and procedure, and everyone plays by the same rules, not make little kingdoms we lord our own rules over, not go pouty when things don't go our way. It's ugly in that all governance is ugly, and compromise is when no one gets exactly what they want/fantasize they'll get. But it also works. Countless collectives, and democracies (the non-oligarch, non-kleptocrat, non-plutocracies anyway), and other organizations larger than 150 people have proven that this model of governance is and can be stable.

    Unfortunately, one of the many problems that Twitter and Facebook have is that @jack and Zuckerburg are both tyrants, and rich, and white, and supremacist, and privileged. So despite what their marketing and PR and legal wings say, their supremacy still enacts itself in the way their companies work, and their processes do not support fair enforcement of their policies.

    If you want to burn anything down, burn THAT down. You have my full permission to burn down favoritism and unjust enforcement of ostensibly fair policies.
    posted by kalessin at 7:47 PM on August 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


    The mistake social media companies made was when they decided to take the white-guy road of allowing all manner of speech under the guise of some sort of freedom and absence of censorship, and therefore allowing, and allowing the encouragement of, extremism, radicalizing of groups, and abuse.

    There have been tons of discussion sites and chat rooms that existed before Facebook and Twitter which flat-out did not allow that behavior. There still are tons that don’t allow that behavior. There’s nothing preventing Facebook and Twitter and Reddit from banning that shit starting an hour from now if they wanted. They just don’t want to, because their employees are white guys who have a naive idea of what the freedom of speech is, and/or a real bias against people who aren’t their immediate peers.
    posted by Autumnheart at 7:54 PM on August 30, 2018 [13 favorites]


    I don't have much to say about Wil Wheaton, but I do about Twitter. I carefully curate my feed. Makes it easy to avoid the toxic stuff. It's just not that hard.
    posted by lhauser at 8:06 PM on August 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


    "social media has in a way finally given a lot of minorities the space and freedom of expression that we have been starving for. It strikes me, then, as a privileged position to take about abolishing social media."

    and

    "What I'm saying about burning down social media is: Don't burn it down. People are using it."

    THIS.

    I now live across the continent from where I used to live because of social media (that is, I chose to move because of people and experiences that happened via social media. A positive step, not moving to get away from something). My life was changed radically for the better because of social media. I came back to the creativity and art that was once a vital part of my life -- because of the group of people I became part of through social media. People are using it to make their lives better. At least, many of us are. If it isn't working for you, that's a shame, but stop trying to kill it for the rest of us.

    When I see people talking about burning it all down I don't think things will be better because of it. I think that people like me are going to be more isolated. And this is absolutely terrifying.

    (I'm not a "minority" in the obvious senses but I am in several social senses. And social media has given me a home and a family that I didn't have in the same way before. Going back to the way it was before that... I can't even bear the thought.)

    Don't burn it down. We are using it. There has to be a way to fix it instead.
    posted by litlnemo at 10:02 PM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


    Yeah, all of this. We really do not know what the hell is going on here, unless you infer that Wil and his wife have the exact same thoughts on this, which they may not for all I know. We don't know if Chris and Wil have fought about this, if they're having silent treatment going on, or if they are playing foosball together. We just don't know. And as the last comment said, it's going to be a fucking shitstorm if he says anything, so maybe that's why he has not. But again, we do not know. No matter what Wil says or doesn't say he's gonna be wrong anyway and get this kind of shitty response from everyone.

    One of the major inherent realities of social media is that in order to be "responsible" citizens, we feel the need to talk about and advocate for things that we have very little first-hand knowledge of. It's just the nature of the interent. We make decisions based on images and words that come together in bits and bites. I'm not sure we are making knowledge claims that are always justified and responsible, as we're too far removed with the impression of immediacy. But we feel the need to try, because the bits and bites are all that we have. To me it's a statement about how "unreal" the world of the internet is, not that we have a responsibility to make large pronouncements based on very insufficient evidence.

    The saying used to be that you can't make everyone happy and that always used to be a fine thing to internalize. Online the saying should be you can't make every mob happy. I'm not sure that Wil is in a position that he's required to take hits for someone else's shitty decisions, no matter what the issue is. I do think, however, that he has responsibilities to his community and the people that he knows more directly, and those things don't have to be public because people want it to be.

    The argument is that there is a "greater social good" that he is required to step up to is specious, as it assumes that interent arguments and pronouncements work like they should and create social good. Everyone else working out the world's issues on the internet with informatoin that is filtered through (always suspect) social media doesn't create an obligation for others to do so. For that matter, a good case can be made that trying to figure out what to do about social issues via the internet might just not be a good way to go about the world's issues at the end of the day, and insisting that people have to simply means that we've been tricked into thinking that the internet gives us real information most of the time upon which to order our lives and our emotional output.

    It's okay for anyone to decide to keep issues for family and friends private off the internet -- especially issues that have been forced upon them -- even if they've been public about things in the past. I'm actually pretty surprised that in a world in which we are so concerned with people being harassed for no reason online, we encourage people to consider it a social responsibility to put themselves out there at all to be a martyr for any cause, especially if they haven't done anything themselves.
    posted by SpacemanStix at 10:24 PM on August 30, 2018 [19 favorites]


    "Critiques of performativity lost all meaning for me when I realized that all actions taken or words spoken where someone could observe them are in some sense "performative," and so even calling out something as "performative" it itself "performative" and thus subject to the same critique. It's performing turtles all the way down."

    No, that's the same mistake people make when they complain about cultural relativism or post-modernism destroying the truth. You acknowledge that this is all in some sense performative, then go on to talk about how it's performed, why it's performed, etc.
    posted by klangklangston at 12:22 AM on August 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


    I don't have much to say about Wil Wheaton, but I do about Twitter. I carefully curate my feed. Makes it easy to avoid the toxic stuff. It's just not that hard.

    You must use Twitter as a passive reader, then. If you reply to the wrong celebrity, or even to a friend using certain words, the creeps come out quickly.

    You can lock it way down, but then you lose some of the features that allow you to interact with and meet the cool people that Twitter's supposed to be about.

    And honestly, if a site requires "careful curation," that puts a pretty high bar to entry for the casual user.
    posted by explosion at 4:43 AM on August 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


    I hear what people are saying about social media allowing a dispersed group of people who have felt voiceless to connect and feel like part of a community.

    That same feature, though, allows any such group to thus organize, not just oppressed minorities - we have social media to thank for the alt-right and President Trump. It was on social media that Trump found his voice as a racist propogandist (remember Birtherism?) and via social media that the alt-right organized.
    I'm not so sure that's a good trade-off, personally.
    posted by eustacescrubb at 5:03 AM on August 31, 2018 [9 favorites]


    As capitalism creeps toward no-office workspaces, contract work, globalization, and collaboration via online work systems, a lot of us don't have a choice but to talk about how we handle these difficult problems. Systems like Facebook (originally built for a gated and small(er)-audience) and Twitter have their origins in systems designed for academic collaboration.
    posted by GenderNullPointerException at 5:25 AM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


    I've learned a lot on twitter by following a lot of black activists and writers, especially black women. I know the platform allows incredible abuse, and I don't think anyone owes me an education on twitter. But, there is a lot of value there. I don't know if the problems are resolvable as long as white men who are sympathetic to white supremacists are running the place. But, it's not as simple as, "it's trash, burn it all down."
    posted by Mavri at 5:44 AM on August 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


    Used to be if a white person wanted to work for racial justice, they had to stare down dogs and fire hoses standing arm in arm with black activists. Now you can just hit RT and feel all the righteousness without any of the danger!
    posted by tobascodagama at 5:55 AM on August 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


    And social media has given me a home and a family that I didn't have in the same way before. Going back to the way it was before that... I can't even bear the thought.)

    Well, I lost my online "community" and "family" because of the rise of social media, so. Everyone went to Facebook and Twitter, those aren't safe and snuggly places to be because they are SO popular and everyone can harass you at the slightest provocation, so. Here is about the one place I can still hang out (for now) safely, because here has a large enough population to maintain and won't disappear because of "go to our Facebook page!" and has mods. But it's pretty huge and I can't say I've made individual friends or a little clique or whatever here in the same way I used to either. But that's okay because I just don't feel like it's safe to "connect" any more online anyway.

    There have been tons of discussion sites and chat rooms that existed before Facebook and Twitter which flat-out did not allow that behavior. There still are tons that don’t allow that behavior.

    See, this is what I am referring to. There were ways to connect with "your community" and people secretly like you all over the world before social media, where it frankly was not that unsafe and crazy because it wasn't EVERYWHERE and it wasn't so easy to spread shit. I know 90% of those options are dead now because "it's so easy" to do social media, but the option did exist for things not to be this terrible.

    But we will never, ever lose social media or go back now. You are not under threat to lose your "community" and people "just like you" all over the world you could not meet otherwise. The only way we are ever ever losing social media is if we lose the Internet entirely. So never fear, no matter how much I wish it could all burn down, you will always have your safe, snuggly Facebook and Twitter communities. Until they turn on you, anyway, so good luck there.

    Is it fixable? I doubt it, since those in charge really have no interest in cracking down on viciousness and it's gotten way too big to do so anyway even if they wanted to. But you do you!
    posted by jenfullmoon at 6:26 AM on August 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


    People were talking about online rape roleplay and harassment back in 1993 . And in the 1980s feminists were already talking about why men dominated academic listservs.
    posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:45 AM on August 31, 2018 [6 favorites]


    You must use Twitter as a passive reader, then. If you reply to the wrong celebrity, or even to a friend using certain words, the creeps come out quickly.

    I'll be the first to agree that there are so many things wrong with twitter as a medium, a product, and a concept—to the degree that it even seems like the attitude toward any twitter user who doesn't already loathe it is "do you even twitter, bro?"—but I am also someone who's learned an immense amount by reading people write about life experiences radically different from my own. And I do occasionally reply to people and I have even occasionally tweeted angrily at people and after eight years I've never encountered anything that really frightened me.

    That may be because I don't generally follow "celebrities" or involve myself in their dramas, generally feel that it's better to cheer on the people I like than to attack the people I dislike, don't try to have lengthy, nuanced arguments with anyone on any topic there, stay pseudonymous, and block early and block often. Obviously, not everyone can or wants to do all of these things, especially people who are there to promote their work or their causes; and equally obviously, people—or prose!—marked as femme or queer or non-white or high-profile, are all subject to harassment despite any of this. Not really trying to make a case for twitter here, merely trying to describe how I've managed to profit from it.
    posted by octobersurprise at 7:24 AM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


    Even MetaFilter turns on one if one is not entirely compliant to community and mod expectations. Even the LGBTQ in Tech Slack (which has a CoC and far more assertive, bordering on aggressive moderators) has split and turned (on some) and changed over the short space of a year or two.

    Again I don't think that problem is one solely associated with social media. I think that problem (of context, culture, and community changing) is associated with society and community.
    posted by kalessin at 7:31 AM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


    I think the essence of "social media" as opposed to forums like MetaFilter, is (1) the ability for other people to easily take what you say and spread it to other groups of people who can then easily respond to you in the same context that you said it, and (2) some people having a much larger audience than others, so that the scale of a discussion can abruptly change.

    Something I say on MetaFilter could "go viral" if it's shared on a social media site like Facebook or Twitter or YouTube, but for MetaFilter itself to be a social media site in that sense, you'd have to have some mechanism for taking this comment and putting it in front of MeFites who aren't reading this thread that you know would get upset about it and come in here and start arguing with me. And MetaFilter would also have to have some mechanism by which popular MeFites were much more likely to have their comments read by more people than unpopular ones so that the number of comments in the thread could abruptly change by several orders of magnitude whenever a popular MeFite made a comment.
    posted by straight at 7:31 AM on August 31, 2018 [9 favorites]


    But, it's not as simple as, "it's trash, burn it all down."

    probably more akin to driving before speed limits became a thing.

    Again I don't think that problem is one solely associated with social media. I think that problem (of context, culture, and community changing) is associated with society and community.

    Every medium can't help but cause some form of cultural mutation. I don't think social media changes humans per say, just amplifies certain aspects of humanity. Others have said it way better than me in this thread, but one of those amplifications seems directly connected with mob behavior. Social media seems to pitch us into that realm without our being aware of it. Which I suspect is the definition of mob behavior. Nobody says, hey let's go join that mob over there, tear some people to pieces ...

    As per the driving analogy above, I'd liken it to zooming along in your car, enjoying the ride, pushing the speed limit because why not? It's a blast. Except suddenly you're in a right hand band with a deceptive radius and holy shit, you're out of control, you're headed for the ditch and there's not a damned thing you can do about it.

    We need speed limits, we need speed bumps, we need other calming procedures ...
    posted by philip-random at 8:21 AM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


    So what would be a good sleeping policeman of Twitter or of Facebook?
    posted by kalessin at 8:24 AM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


    I'd also like to just pause and tie back to the post, here. One thing Wheaton could do, instead of stomping off and taking his followers with him is galvanize himself and his followers to actually come up with and implement (or insist on implementing) approaches to making social media a better thing to use/interact with. It wouldn't take having to say shit about Hardwick, but it would be something. Yes, he'd get criticism, welcome to the "Global Village", but it would be something.
    posted by kalessin at 8:28 AM on August 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


    So what would be a good sleeping policeman of Twitter or of Facebook?

    good question, and not really in my area of expertise to offer an answer ... but maybe something to do with the technology noting a sudden uptick in activity on someone's account (or just a single post) and immediately putting the brakes on -- forcing it toward some kind of review. It would slow things down. It would directly result in fewer things going viral ... without first being somehow filtered, reviewed (by or by what, I don't know). It would make things less free, but the current freedom seems to really be hurting people ...
    posted by philip-random at 8:31 AM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


    Someone on one of my Mastodon instances asked if anyone had records of the harassment Wil got and all anyone could find was this. I guess the bofa never got screencapped.
    posted by Karmakaze at 8:44 AM on August 31, 2018


    I don't think social media changes humans per say, just amplifies certain aspects of humanity. Others have said it way better than me in this thread, but one of those amplifications seems directly connected with mob behavior.

    FWIW, I think it's worth keeping in mind that an indeterminate number of "social media mobs" are, in fact, not a "mob" of individuals, but targeted, designed, attacks, either by bots or by people, basically, running bot-like accounts (the social media version of a drone, I guess). That doesn't change anything from the perspective of the people being harassed, but it might change how we should conceptualize social media's effect on the behavior of people.
    posted by octobersurprise at 8:50 AM on August 31, 2018 [11 favorites]


    Yes, I think that the design of twitter is spectacularly stupid, since it's a space where the only topography is a set of retofitted hacks. But on the other hand, the leading site with clearly delineated boundaries right now is reddit, which has its own modes of failure. So we can't really say that putting people into silos is sufficient either. (And as I noted, many of these problems were observed on listservs, at a smaller population scale but equally painful and with arguably greater impact for the people who were on the wrong end of aggression.) As I said, making an exception for here as opposed to everywhere else that needs to be "burnt down" erases the reality that norms here are the product of really hard work, which has, at times, failed for some people and groups.

    At any rate, what excites me about mastodon (as someone who was an early CMC adopter back in the late 80s, whatever branding you wish to slap on that) is that it's possible to build communities and community covenants through independent hosting. My ideal future for social media would involve the creation of small centers, communities, congregations, pods, cooperatives, gatherings, and salons. This would entail a rejection of the network effects that twitter and facebook depend on.

    Most of those would likely fail, but so do many offline gatherings over time. I just had to shutter an offline monthly meetup because no one else showed up, and with family obligations I'm not going to be able to reserve empty rooms for the next couple months.
    posted by GenderNullPointerException at 8:51 AM on August 31, 2018 [3 favorites]




    If someone on my instance said that to someone else, celebrity or not, I would tell her to cool it, apologize, and warn her that she’s gonna have to find a new instance if she does that kind of thing again. Assuming someone reported it of course, I can’t and wouldn’t read everything said by everyone on my instance.

    Sadly she is on bofa.lol, a “haven for shitposting birdsite refugees”, whose admin has decided that this sort of thing is fine. Yesterday the leader of the Mastodon project posted that he and the folks who help him run Mastodon.social have decided to silence that instance (it still runs just fine, but Mastodon.social users won’t see any content from it) and folks on that instance have been using their accounts on other instances to run around trying to tack rumors off of Kiwifarms to a few people. It’s been a big damn mess.

    I feel like how Mastodon as a whole handles this will be important; this is the first big incursion of troll culture I’ve seen on Masto. We’ve gotten used to that being associated with the “alt-right” in recent years but that’s new; the urge to pick someone, designate them as Bad, and hound them off the Internet transcends political affiliation, as do people willing to profit off of providing a haven for that behavior.
    posted by egypturnash at 9:24 AM on August 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


    the charivari are always with us, and have always been with us, and are generally annoying as fuck
    posted by halation at 9:37 AM on August 31, 2018


    the urge to pick someone, designate them as Bad, and hound them

    f***ing high school never ends


    ... or maybe I should say middle school
    posted by philip-random at 9:41 AM on August 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


    yeah I'm not gonna fault anyone for reporting a comment in which they get called a "little bitch"
    posted by prize bull octorok at 9:41 AM on August 31, 2018 [18 favorites]


    For me, the salient point was that Wheaton promised to say something substantive, and then somehow that slipped his mind, or he changed his mind, and eventually decided Social Media was the problem. Not the, you know, communications platform.
    posted by kalessin at 10:09 AM on August 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


    This is the bofa, or rather, EIDma

    Aren't these the people who were angry with Wheaton for supposedly supporting misogyny by not publicly denouncing his friend who stands accused of sexual assault? But they're toally okay with deploying misogyny when it suits their purposes. Okay.

    I don't think social media changes humans per say, just amplifies certain aspects of humanity.

    I think I disagree with this for the same reason I disagree that it's the whiteness of social CEOs that's the root of the problem here, and also the same reason I think the metaphor of cars prior to government regulation is not a good metaphor, and also why I disagree that Metafilter counts as a social media site: because the business model of social media is, by conscious strategy, addiction: "Drawing on behavioral psychology research, many technology platforms actively condition user behavior, designing (and refining) products to be intentionally habit-forming," said an invite obtained by Axios."

    Addiction does change people, and changing the way humans interact, socialize and think is a primary goal of these companies. These companies actively foreground bad/disturbing news and posts with the goal of making people unhappy and encouraging unhealthy arguments because that keeps people coming back to the site.
    I'm pretty sure this would continue happen even if the white neo-liberals running the companies were replaced by neo-liberals of color. They might be more quick to ban alt-right Nazi types, but they would not alter the primary functionality and architecture of the software to encourage civil, humane behavior or really discourage "fake news" because that'd be a threat to the buisiness model. You've probably noticed now after the 2016 election/Brexit vote, that Facebook and Twitter periodically post press releases that detail vague, unprovable accounts of them preventing fake news bots from doing this or that - they're pretending to do something about a problem they can't truly solve without completely alterting the way they do business.
    Say we we able to ban all the Nazis. With the Nazis gone, and no obvious enemies to target, the left-leaning populations would turn on each other, which is exactly what happened in the case of Wheaton. Finding themselves in a space with no enemies, they created one, because that's what the software encourages them to do. They picked their target well, because Wheaton made some problematic choices and clearly needs to, as someone mentioned above, step back and reflect and not engage, but their goal, as evidenced by their strategy, was never to do anything other than harass Wheaton. The purpose of a system is what it does.

    Because Metafilter doesn't stand to profit by continuous "engagement" (which is actually discourged here - see all the instances of mods telling people to take a break from a thread) Metafilter's mods have the exact opposite mission - their goal is to discourage behaviors like grandstanding, ax-grinding, personal attack, sea-lioning, derailing. I imagine if a MeFi member interacted with someone the way that Auntifa interacted with Wheaton on Mastodon, thier comments would get deleted and they'd get a private warning at a minimum. They might get banned without Wheaton having to make a complaint.

    A more apt regulatory metaphor would be heroin, which is regulated, forcing the market for it underground (federated?) where regulation is impossible. The "fix" for substance addicton turns out to be a combination of lifelong therapy/12-step groups and improving the living conditions of the populations most at-risk for addiction : living wages, healthcare, mental healthcare, increased standard of living, equal education opportunities. So, barring a socialist worker's paradise, I'm not sure social media is any more fixable than opioid addiction.
    posted by eustacescrubb at 10:20 AM on August 31, 2018 [9 favorites]


    For me, the salient point was that Wheaton promised to say something substantive, and then somehow that slipped his mind, or he changed his mind

    He is totally allowed to change his mind; and does not owe it to anyone to explain why he changed his mind, especially in a context where it's already been demonstrated that whatever he says will be used against him. He has, as it were, the right to remain silent.
    posted by eustacescrubb at 10:23 AM on August 31, 2018 [13 favorites]


    This is the bofa, or rather, EIDma

    Aren't these the people who were angry with Wheaton for supposedly supporting misogyny by not publicly denouncing his friend who stands accused of sexual assault? But they're toally okay with deploying misogyny when it suits their purposes.


    I am interested in how you believe the woman who memed the man was deploying misogyny.
    posted by Etrigan at 10:33 AM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


    And also the right to flounce, yes.

    But they're toally okay with deploying misogyny when it suits their purposes. Okay.

    Speaking as a theorist, writer, activist, etc. I would encourage you to be careful about equating the use of (the b-word) with misogyny. It's kind of essentialist and also ignores the asymmetry of power around the use of the term. A minority within the community of folks who are often called (the b-word) inverting the power relationship with the word and using it on someone not normally subject to it is rather a complex situation where standard rules may not apply.
    posted by kalessin at 10:34 AM on August 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


    "Bitch" is a gendered slur that is inherently misogynist. This is a thing that, from a moderation perspective, is absolutely clear. That kind of language supports other misogynist behavior, makes women feel uncomfortable in a space, and is something that would get deleted/warned/quite possibly banned if it were deployed in that way here.
    posted by restless_nomad at 10:36 AM on August 31, 2018 [26 favorites]


    We will have to disagree about that, kalessin and Etrigan. It's clear in the exchange that calling Wheaton a "pussy" and a "little bitch" is meant as an insult, which requires the buy-in that there's something bad about pussies, or bitches, or littleness, else it fails to function as an insult. Operating on the premise that pussies are inherently bad, bitches are bad, and larger stature is somehow better is mysogynisyt and ableist, and your use of "theory" here to defend the bad behavior of Antifa in that moment, combined with the fact that you believe Wheaton deserved the harassment becasuse he didn't want to explain hmself to a hostile mob makes it hard not to interpret your use of theory here as partisan loyalty.
    posted by eustacescrubb at 10:39 AM on August 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


    Yesterday the leader of the Mastodon project posted that he and the folks who help him run Mastodon.social have decided to silence that instance (it still runs just fine, but Mastodon.social users won’t see any content from it) and folks on that instance have been using their accounts on other instances to run around trying to tack rumors off of Kiwifarms to a few people.

    The source of a huge number of problems with Mastodon moderation is that the federation mechanics were designed with the assumption that every instance should be allowed to federate with every other instance by default. On some level, this is still better than Twitter/Facebook, because bad actors will naturally gravitate together on instances that tolerate their bullshit, allowing instance admins to eliminate a whole bunch of them at once when troll/shitpost instances are discovered.

    Simply flipping the relationship so that federation would be more of a whitelist operation than a blacklist operation would dramatically improve the state of affairs.

    But that would inhibit growth, though, which Gargron has a huge bug up his ass about even though focussing on growth over safety and community-building is exactly the kind of thing that drove most Mastodon users off Twitter to begin with.
    posted by tobascodagama at 10:40 AM on August 31, 2018 [9 favorites]


    I don't use the b-word or other similar words because I don't feel like they're mine to use. And I don't encourage others to either, because I don't feel like they're mine to use. But I do think there are issues with civilizing dialogue that elide centuries of oppression, and decades of supremacy-supporting enculturation and microaggressions and don't give underprivileged people room within which to express totally valid and understandable values of extreme rage that remain relevant to discussion.
    posted by kalessin at 10:42 AM on August 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


    It's clear in the exchange that calling Wheaton a "pussy"

    Perhaps you should read that exchange again, because that didn't happen.

    ...makes it hard not to interpet your use of theory here as partisan loyalty.

    It must be difficult, being the only person who's being perfectly rational and not at all taking their own "partisan loyalty" into account.
    posted by Etrigan at 10:43 AM on August 31, 2018 [6 favorites]


    Perhaps you should read that exchange again, because that didn't happen.

    Seriously? In this exchange, Antifa says: "It's when you EIDma pussy you little bitch".

    The lengths people are doing to to defend the obviouslty bad behavior of Wheaton's harassers, combined with the intense degree of accountability they expect from him makes me incredibly sad. It's nothing more than a double standard.

    And I never said I didnt have partisan loyalty; I'm sure I do. Nor did I claim, anyhwere, "perfect rationality." I don't appreciate you putting words in my mouth, but see how quickly the exact logic used against Wheaton is now being used here.
    posted by eustacescrubb at 10:47 AM on August 31, 2018 [9 favorites]


    He is totally allowed to change his mind; and does not owe it to anyone to explain why he changed his mind, especially in a context where it's already been demonstrated that whatever he says will be used against him. He has, as it were, the right to remain silent.

    Absolutely. And no one, I believe, thinks he is or should be legally compelled to say a thing. But he doesn't have the right to do this with no criticism, or no fallout to his public persona.

    Seriously? In this exchange, Antifa says: "It's when you EIDma pussy you little bitch".

    She said "Eat my pussy, you little bitch". He's being called a bitch, not a pussy.
    posted by jeather at 10:49 AM on August 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


    Thanks for clarfiying that jeather - like Wheaton, I didn't understand "EIDma".
    posted by eustacescrubb at 10:50 AM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


    Y'all do see that parts of this thread are a perfect meta-example of some of the challenges of online conversations? I think a core problem is we aren't within eyesight (and smelling distance) of our fellow conversation participants in online settings of any sort (email, txt, as well as the various flavors of 'social' media). It is harder (although of course not impossible) to yell at someone who is within arms length rather than at the other end of a keyboard/screen/tubes connection.
    posted by PhineasGage at 11:01 AM on August 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


    oh hey it's those miserable arguments about how insulting people is actually cool and fine and important Because Theory
    they definitely weren't problematic and divisive and derailing during my graduate school experience and i sure am excited and thrilled that they've made their way into broader everyday human discourse, unmoored from the tendril-thin justifications that bounded them at all in any form of actual theoretical context
    posted by halation at 11:13 AM on August 31, 2018 [14 favorites]


    Absolutely. And no one, I believe, thinks he is or should be legally compelled to say a thing. But he doesn't have the right to do this with no criticism, or no fallout to his public persona.

    It would be good, I think, if the standard was that it's okay to opt not to wade into any particular internet controversy you're not directly involved in, no explanation required, even if you're reversing a previous assurance that you'd be weighing in with your very important take at some point. No individual's personal opinion matters all that much, and humans were probably not designed to have their off-the-cuff communications made part of an eternal globally-accessible public record. I know we can't actually burn down the social networks, but maybe, if we're lucky, the era of the extremely-online influencer can come to an end.
    posted by prize bull octorok at 11:15 AM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


    (this is just a quick apology to Etrigan and kalessin - in my post where I address them by name I do the very thing I berated Etrigan for doing - putting words in their mouths. Neither of them explicity said Wheaton deserved harassment. That tells me I'm composing posts in haste, so I'm going to self-mod and take a step back from the thread, as well as offer apologies to both of them for doing that.)
    posted by eustacescrubb at 11:21 AM on August 31, 2018 [12 favorites]


    eustacescrubb: What you're doing here is confusing business model and policy with structure. Which is a NIMBYism that does absolutely nothing for addressing why harassment has been a problem for social media for about 40 years now, while twitter and public Facebook have been around for 12. In my prior life, I published work regarding trolling on boards with no business model. That was about a decade before facebook, and cited work about the same stuff happening on academic and game systems. The issues of how some features contribute to compulsive engagement was also a topic for discussion then.

    And all of that was on the table when Metafilter adopted some of the key engagement features associated with grinding here, such a favorites and personalized watchlists. Those are baked right into this site's structure.

    Metafilter's mods have the exact opposite mission - their goal is to discourage behaviors like grandstanding, ax-grinding, personal attack, sea-lioning, derailing.

    They do that now because of historic failures to nip those behaviours quickly in topics that became deeply toxic. (And they still sometimes fail.) But that's a matter of site culture and policy. It's not because metafilter as an asynchronous single-thread internet medium is magically different from any other asynchronous single-thread internet medium. It's because people here went through the politics of developing community norms. And yes, those conversations were often ugly and painful. Some people were kicked, some people left, some people changed how they engaged in frustration, and some people took vacations. And now we have a site where a half-dozen trans people leave in frustration in a single week, and many people don't post on some topics because they got dogpiled or they don't want to participate in trash-fire discussions that have been smoldering since the last election.

    Note the point here isn't to indict metafilter as a bad site. It's substantially less evil than most because of the work you cited. It's to point out that you don't get the smug privilege of ignoring the problems with the social media platforms you're grandstanding on while the rest of us are trying to make structurally similar systems work to help people work and learn.
    posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:47 AM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


    Seriously? In this exchange, Antifa says: "It's when you EIDma pussy you little bitch".

    Written language is tricky.

    I first parsed this as "I'd ma pussy" which makes no sense, based on how 'ei' in German often is read as a long i.

    Then there's also "Eid", which is the Arabic word for many Islamic feasts, pronounced 'eed', and then it suddenly makes more sense: "Eedma pussy" or "Eat my pussy".

    I realize that bit above reads a lot like just some, I dunno, bikeshedding? But one thing I'm coming to conclude, more and more, is that the way people interact and use social media to drag people is not how I want to see the world. I'm more or less on the same page as Kat Blaque:
    Alright, this is going to be a really unpopular thing to say but I think it's a bit screwy to judge people based on tweets that they've made over a year ago, hell, even a few months ago.

    ...

    I was an internet edgelord who said mean shit to people and did mean things, but I'm not who I was 10 years ago, 5 years ago or even 3 months ago. I don't think pretending that people don't change and don't learn is reasonable. I don't think it's fair.

    I am really tired of a call out culture that is more invested in being the best person to drag someone for something they said 5 years ago so you can get the most retweets and reblogs. It's kinda sick, it's super performative and ignores that no one is born with pure politics.
    I've had to learn so much to be the person I am today and it would really be shitty if someone thought something I did 6 years ago reflected my work or who I am today. It's not a reasonable position. It's not a realistic position.

    ...

    My position is, largely, drag people for the shit they said today. If you see someone with a racist tweet from a year ago, see if their positions have changed. If their actions have changed. If how they see the world has changed.
    I was very uncomfortable with what went down with James Gunn. Even more so with Sarah Jeong. This Wil Wheaton business is just the latest.

    But even with the "drag people for the shit they say today" thing, it's clear that it's very easy to read way too much into what other people do--look at how painfully awkward and aggressive the discussion about "EIDma" got over the span of two or three posts, and this is on a strongly moderated site. I think on balance, I'm still okay with "drag people for the shit they say today", but it feels like it's become a lot more like gladitorial combat?

    I'm not saying I'm innocent in all of this, either. I know there are some topics where I still go from zero to Defcon 0 in no time, but it's something I'm trying to move away from. And because I'm trying to move away from that, I feel like in a lot of cases, it's to more or less go stealth and interact as little as possible on the larger social networks, or minimize the surface area with the outside world as much as possible.

    And it's gotten to the point where I feel like how internet culture has developed has had a silencing effect on someone like me--I don't want to put myself in the firing line of harassment by bigots, but I also definitely don't want to feel like I'm getting piled on by people who I'm largely aligned with. It's not like I really have anything valuable to say or contribute most of the time, but why say anything if I can so easily be misread?

    I'm not going to defend Wil Wheaton here. I wasn't defending James Gunn in a previous thread. But I'm pretty convinced that the old quote about the nail that sticks up will get hammered down is holding quite true--and I am not as privileged as those two. I know I've said some questionable things in the past, and some of them are saved online, some in the old MeFi account I have. I'm just glad nobody was recording me back around the turn of the century.

    EIDbe fucked.
    posted by anem0ne at 11:56 AM on August 31, 2018 [15 favorites]


    it's clear that it's very easy to read way too much into what other people do

    I know I've written stuff very differently in the past, to boot, about this very thing, about how shadows of people are all we see so that's what we use to decide how we feel about people.

    I still think that's true. I just don't know if shadows are enough to get angry about anymore, as opposed to avoidance.
    posted by anem0ne at 11:58 AM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


    And especially when we're talking about a system where the majority of instances are volunteer-funded and run, making the distinction based on business model doesn't make a lot of sense.
    posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:02 PM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


    Seriously? In this exchange, Antifa says: "It's when you EIDma pussy you little bitch".

    Written language is tricky.

    I first parsed this as "I'd ma pussy" which makes no sense, based on how 'ei' in German often is read as a long i.


    My friends, it is supposed to sound like "eat my pussy."

    In the same way ligma and sugma are jokes about licking and sucking.

    Anyhow, this person was not calling Wil Wheaton a pussy. She was calling her pussy a pussy.
    posted by to sir with millipedes at 12:03 PM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


    In re-reading today what I wrote last night (well, it was probably morning but I hadn't gone to sleep yet), I want to apologize for something. I said "If it isn't working for you, that's a shame, but stop trying to kill it for the rest of us." The latter part of that I still mean, but I think when I said "that's a shame" that implies belittling or minimizing the effects that some people have felt. I did not in any way intend to do that! But I wrote it quickly and it came out as dismissive when I did not mean that at all. I apologize for that and will try to be more careful.

    I do understand the pain that people have had to deal with -- I've seen some friendship-killing, community-breaking flame wars and harassment over the decades in multiple online communities, from BBSes to Usenet to mailing lists to LiveJournal and onward... and it's true that social media can massively amplify the pain of those situations. I would never intentionally dismiss what people have gone through.

    (My family and I got harassment up to and including death threats on Usenet (well, technically altnet) at one point and I never even knew why for sure -- the theory is that it was because I gave a student in one of my classes a failing grade. I don't want to give the asshole any joy of knowing how that affected us so I will leave it at that. I will say that the harassment went on for years. It might still be for all I know, but I don't check in to Usenet anymore.)

    -----

    "Well, I lost my online 'community' and 'family' because of the rise of social media, so. Everyone went to Facebook and Twitter, those aren't safe and snuggly places to be because they are SO popular and everyone can harass you at the slightest provocation, so."

    FWIW, much of the community and family I've found via FB have been in groups. Their posts are not visible to non-members. We also have private groups on FB for people like our old Usenet friends, BBS friends, etc. Those communities still exist, but they have a different platform -- and one that works better at keeping us connected than mailing lists and such did during the intervening years before the rise of FB.

    "But we will never, ever lose social media or go back now. You are not under threat to lose your 'community' and people 'just like you' all over the world you could not meet otherwise. The only way we are ever ever losing social media is if we lose the Internet entirely. So never fear, no matter how much I wish it could all burn down, you will always have your safe, snuggly Facebook and Twitter communities. Until they turn on you, anyway, so good luck there. (...) But you do you!"

    Please don't dismiss our concerns this way. (The scare quotes around "community," etc.) I apologize that I phrased what I said poorly and probably looked like I was dismissing yours. I understand that it is hurtful. But no matter who our community is, it is real and important to all of us. I am sorry you lost yours. I know from experience on- and offline how much that hurts.

    ---

    Re "EIDma" -- I read that as E L Dma. So I was really confused.
    posted by litlnemo at 12:05 PM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


    My friends, it is supposed to sound like "eat my pussy."

    i mean, i make that very point in the next sentence.

    but this is what i mean--you snipped a bit of what i wrote and devoid of that context, it's really easy for me to suddenly think you're trying to explain to me a joke i already get.

    so how should i read that reply? is it to me? is it to the greater audience? if it's to me, should i take it as condescending mansplaining and get irritated? should i take it as well-meaning but misguided? should i ignore it and assume it was to everyone else in the thread?

    what would another reader who skims over my wall of text think? perhaps that i am a humorless harridan who can't read? or that i'm just not good at figuring out jokes?
    posted by anem0ne at 12:11 PM on August 31, 2018 [6 favorites]


    She was calling her pussy a pussy.

    She was also calling Wheaton a "little bitch", though, which is also a gendered insult. I think it's weird that the discussion just slid on past that in favour of some hair-splitting.

    (Also, her username is "Auntifa", not "Antifa".)
    posted by tobascodagama at 12:20 PM on August 31, 2018 [13 favorites]


    oh hey it's those miserable arguments about how insulting people is actually cool and fine and important Because Theory

    Nope. I'm saying that tone policing and civility arguments are shitty because they completely ignore all the bullshit, provocative things our society does, and that people moving in harmony with the supremacy do to underprivileged people by the minute.

    I'm saying that an analysis of using the b-word that completely ignores all those thousands of micro- and macro-aggressions and treats an undeprivileged person using the b-word as equivalent to her oppressor is maybe not the most respectful, or indeed helpful, analysis of the situation.

    I'm not saying that anyone should feel free to use the b-word as long as they've got a whit of lack of privilege, and I'm not saying people should deploy the b-word or any other epithet whenever they're angry. I'm just saying it's unfair to ignore all the context in order to get one's point in, and use a kneejerk response to the employment of the b-word to deflect any other meaningful conversation. Dismissiveness is a very useful rhetorical tool but it doesn't belong in what we are characterizing as meaningful conversation.
    posted by kalessin at 12:45 PM on August 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


    The substantial difference between a dumb "bofa" prank and a similarly structured joke that ends with an explicitly hostile, gendered insult stands. Early discussion in this thread was colored by the assumption that Wil was acting like a thin-skinned prig reporting somebody for snaring him in an old and ridiculous internet joke, but that really isn't what happened.
    posted by prize bull octorok at 12:55 PM on August 31, 2018 [12 favorites]


    "bofa deez nuts" is also a gendered insult (in that nuts are generally only possessed by dudes - for certain values of dudes). I know plenty of folks (off MetaFilter) who'd be as or more offended by "bofa deez nuts" as they would be by "little (b-word)." But MetaFilter isn't the utopian queer, trans, nonbinary, activists' haven that I hang out in, so the standards are different here (context matters!). But I disagree with these standards. I don't think use of the b-word can be objectively separated from who's deploying the epithet and how/why.
    posted by kalessin at 12:58 PM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


    I'm not saying that anyone should feel free to use the b-word as long as they've got a whit of lack of privilege, and I'm not saying people should deploy the b-word or any other epithet whenever they're angry.

    I apologise for dashing off a sloppy response that suggested you were, because that is unfair. But oh, if I had a nickel for every time I *have* seen that argument deployed, I'd have enough money to start my own social network / private island commune to replace the online communities and in-person communities that said arguments have torn apart and destroyed on me. A whole lot of people do misapply theory for self-interested ends. I have no reason to defend Wheaton, but I see no way to justify the 'joke' that is under consideration here.
    posted by halation at 1:00 PM on August 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


    He could have hired one of the numerous (ok maybe 10) POC, women, NB, or trans (I'll just use URM as a short hand for this) Mastodon admins to help him have a better Mastodon experience. A lot of these people subsist on Patreons so they could use the money. And they are literally experts at dealing with trolling. Most of them have already "defederated" with bofa.lol, the instance where a lot of WilW hate came from. When you defederate with an instance, it means your instance no longer interacts with it (can follow, see in timelines, reply, etc).

    The bofa.lol folks have been harassing URM Mastodon users for awhile and no one really cared until they started going after WilW. The bofa.lol admin, who is a man, has brutally gone after the admins of these URM communities for the act of defederation too.

    That said most of these URM instances blocked WillW because his narrative unfortunately attracted a lot of the other type of trolls - the kind who think white men are the real oppressed group in society. Also a lot of the trans people most active in the Mastodon communities were harmed by WillW's blocklist. There are definitely ways to make this a little more right like telling people to unblock the affected users.
    posted by melissam at 1:00 PM on August 31, 2018 [11 favorites]


    > eustacescrubb:
    "He is totally allowed to change his mind; and does not owe it to anyone to explain why he changed his mind, especially in a context where it's already been demonstrated that whatever he says will be used against him. He has, as it were, the right to remain silent."

    That's fine. But when you take the Fifth, you have to SAY you are taking the Fifth. Not just sit there silently. And that's how people see it, especially when you have positioned yourself as a "good person" who is engaged with their fans. Otherwise, it's just an insult to say nothing and drive on like nothing happened, because, as I see it, you are basically telling those fans they mean nothing to you as people, just as a revenue/ego-stroke source.

    As far as I am concerned, and stated earlier, I, for one, would have been happy with him saying "I don't know everything, and don't want to speak to this." Not just going silent on the topic.
    posted by Samizdata at 1:41 PM on August 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


    > kalessin:
    "Speaking as a theorist, writer, activist, etc. I would encourage you to be careful about equating the use of (the b-word) with misogyny. It's kind of essentialist and also ignores the asymmetry of power around the use of the term. A minority within the community of folks who are often called (the b-word) inverting the power relationship with the word and using it on someone not normally subject to it is rather a complex situation where standard rules may not apply."

    I just found it easier to erase that term as a label from my vocabulary. It's too loaded nowadays.
    posted by Samizdata at 1:42 PM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


    > Etrigan:
    "It's clear in the exchange that calling Wheaton a "pussy"

    Perhaps you should read that exchange again, because that didn't happen.

    ...makes it hard not to interpet your use of theory here as partisan loyalty.


    It must be difficult, being the only person who's being perfectly rational and not at all taking their own "partisan loyalty" into account."


    Mods? Can we force a nick change here? They NEVER rhyme!
    posted by Samizdata at 1:45 PM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


    And a large chunk of my annoyance with equating "social media" with the handful of services that get the most clicks is it's an obvious techbro dick move to slap a new skin on old design ideas, create a buzzphrase, and sell it as something new. So if your overgrown and under-featured chat room with an SMS portal is now "social media," well, so were all the chat systems that twitter imitated.
    posted by GenderNullPointerException at 2:50 PM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


    I'm moving my online brand back to Neopets
    posted by melissam at 3:07 PM on August 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


    Things that I have learned:

    1) Social Media are a mistake.
    2) Celebrities (especially extremely minor ones) are a mistake.
    3) Wil Wheaton probably isn't a TERF but definitely is a massive jackass.
    4) Harassment campaigns are bad even when they target jackasses.
    posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:19 PM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


    Ugh. This is going to be one of those threads that, 5 or 10 years from now, people will link to as an example of how toxic and mean Metafilter could be.

    I don't know if Wil Wheaton is really a jackass or not. But nothing that he has actually done or not done means he deserves to be hounded off a web site via coordinated harassment or brigading. That people find this acceptable, or maybe even something close to mandatory, doesn't bode well.
    posted by jjwiseman at 5:21 PM on August 31, 2018 [32 favorites]


    Indeed, jjwiseman has it right. Piling on Wil Weaton because he has’t gone as far a people would hope (or he suggested) regarding what the accusations toward his friend is shameful, pathetic. Who are the bullies now?
    posted by haiku warrior at 6:07 PM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


    As far as I am concerned, and stated earlier, I, for one, would have been happy with him saying "I don't know everything, and don't want to speak to this." Not just going silent on the topic.

    Maybe he will one day? I mean, he's still out there being a person. He is not actually on trial and there's no timeline for him to come out and say anything about anything. It just sounds like the guy needs some breathing room after going through what sounds like a lot of stress.
    posted by wondermouse at 6:25 PM on August 31, 2018


    It sounds like maybe no one in this thread has read the comments section on his post (which... yeah, you probably made the right choice) but since so many people have mentioned it, he did actually post a comment about the Chris Hardwick thing today.
    posted by wondermouse at 6:42 PM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


    I mean, I get it, he set himself out there as a geek role model, but that doesn't mean he's required to never make mistakes, it doesn't mean he's required to publicly talk about a very personal and traumatic event, and it doesn't mean he has to answer for the shitty things that his wife has said.

    I'm not defending his behavior or his attitude, as you may note I already called him a jackass, but no one has been able to produce evidence that he deserved to be run out on a rail like he was. If you don't approve of someone on social media, go ahead and block them. It's easy. Block their fans too, if you must. There are tools available to help you not waste your life debating the relative worth of minor internet celebrities.

    People frothing and shouting "Shut up Wesley" and repeatedly dunking on him and calling him names until he quits has been way more damaging than anything that could have happened if he and his milquetoast proclamations had been ignored. The whole situation speaks to the bullshit mentality that especially surrounds approachable minor internet celebrities where fans demand performances from them and turn feral if they resist.
    posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:44 PM on August 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


    he did actually post a comment about the Chris Hardwick thing today.

    And for those who don't click links, here's what he said:

    Oh, there’s lots of reasons people don’t like me. I’m sure that not feeding them what they want about Chris is one of those reasons. I’ve spoken directly with Chris and people who are close to both of us, and regardless of how I personally and privately feel about the allegations against him, I’ve made a choice not to say anything publicly, because, quite frankly (and I know you don’t want to hear this) I don’t owe anyone anything, no matter how loudly and persistently they demand it.

    If someone has decided that they are owed my public comment on this, or anything else, and will hate on me because I’m not giving it to them, that’s entirely their choice and their right. It is also my choice and my right to not engage with or respond to random people on the Internet.

    posted by philip-random at 6:48 PM on August 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


    Which, ok, but he said he was going to give a public comment, and then crickets. No, the world is not owed your comment, but when you've said you're going to give it, especially when you've positioned yourself as an ally, it would have been nice to say you've changed your mind instead of going silent on the issue.

    I really do have empathy for his mental health situation, but when it comes to being an ally, he does more talking than walking.
    posted by Ruki at 7:00 PM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


    Which, ok, but he said he was going to give a public comment, and then crickets.

    I mean... So what? I can just really easily imagine someone changing their mind on that given how he's been treated and it being a difficult situation to navigate for lots of reasons.
    posted by jjwiseman at 7:18 PM on August 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


    i get to decide whether or not to like people who are friends with rapists, and you don't actually get to dictate my choices on that matter, or suggest that i am somehow a "bully" for not liking people who are friends with rapists.

    in fact, literally no one on earth gets to tell women how to feel about men who are friends with rapists. i'm sorry that your unbelievably privileged white male fave has made a problematic choice in his personal life, but doubling down on telling women who have been extremely open about their history of abuse from men just like chris fucking rapist hardwick that THEY are actually the bad people now, shameful and pathetic, the REAL bullies, is not the fucking solution.
    posted by poffin boffin at 7:31 PM on August 31, 2018 [24 favorites]


    So why not ask him in a respectful, understanding manner, “Are you still planning to comment? Many would like to know your thoughts.” And so what if he doesn’t? It’s hard for me to imagine that the people doing the piling on here haven’t sometimes said they would do something and not followed through any number of reasons, including possibly emotional trauma or conflicting feelings.

    I’m not a religious person, but “Judge not less ye be judged,” and “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone” seem like good ways to approach the failings of the sort that Wil Wheaton might have.
    posted by haiku warrior at 7:33 PM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


    wow, jesus AND a tone argument. if only you'd slipped in something about women being "hysterical" i could've won the toaster oven.
    posted by poffin boffin at 7:43 PM on August 31, 2018 [20 favorites]


    but no one has been able to produce evidence that he deserved to be run out on a rail like he was.
    important context for this is that on Twitter
    @wilwheaton
    had made a massively popular blocktogether list he aggressively promoted as “blocking the most abusive scum twitter” but he would put people on it for like, making Star Trek references at him. (Continued...)
    twitter, mastodon

    I don't, and can't, vouch for this.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:52 PM on August 31, 2018


    My comments were not directed at anyone in particular. (My comment appeared right after yours, poffin boffin, because I’m typing on my mobile, and took five minutes to write. It was actually a response to an earlier comment, and so apologies if it seemed aimed at you.)

    No one has to like Wil Wheaton. No one has to like his choices in his friends. But I do think that the vitriol directed at him is unjustified, unproductive, and unfair. The massive pile on for what seems to me to be a minor sin of omission amounts to bullying in my opinion. (Victims can be bullies, too, by the way—think Asia Argento.)

    Departing the thread for the evening.
    posted by haiku warrior at 8:12 PM on August 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


    I mean, I guess I could have asked, but while I was giving him space to process, he retweeted Lydia Hearst throwing some shade and that really told me all I needed to know about his allyship. I was concerned for his mental health when the Hardwick stuff came out (though obviously more concerned for CD) and he has been subjected to a lot of internet abuse prior to this. None of that excuses the fact that he really let me down as a woman and former fan, and I'm totally allowed to feel that way.
    posted by Ruki at 8:24 PM on August 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


    I have to say, most of what I know of "Wil Wheaton" I learned from reading the relevant threads here on metafilter. Which is to say "he" seems to be entirely a creation made whole cloth out of social media, in fact going back all the way back to the days of alt.ensign.wesley.die.die.die. So I'm not sure exactly what declaring that "I'm quitting all social media" means in this context. It seems "no social media" sorta kinda means "no Wil Wheaton."

    Or am I just looking at this from a very odd angle?
    posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 8:44 PM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


    Or am I just looking at this from a very odd angle?

    anyway you look at Wil Wheaton, it's an odd angle. Famous pretty much his whole life, at first for stuff he achieved as a child, eventually just for being who he was (whoever that was) surfing the convoluted currents of the ever evolving interwebs ...

    It seems "no social media" sorta kinda means "no Wil Wheaton."

    Maybe he'll get back into acting ...
    posted by philip-random at 9:58 PM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


    I asked, politely, and persistently, if Wheaton on Twitter intended to eventually make a statement. Either he didn't see my questions (or his assistants, if any, didn't), or he ignored them. It's impossible to tell. Though I suspect my tweets may have either been manually or automatically filtered somehow.

    It's also clear that folks are bouncing off my arguments against tone policing and seeing it as if I'm somehow promoting pile-ons against Wheaton. I am emphatically not. I'm just saying that if the argument is made solely against Wheaton's critics (who almost always have less privilege, wealth, power, and access than he does, and who are often minorities) that they're being mean or inappropriate by using inappropriate language, that that criticism is unjust and unfair because in context, it makes sense that Wheaton's critics, by way of their intersectionality, are likely to be less empowered, and likely also more easily frustrated and enraged in that interaction. (Because of micro- and macroaggressions they're always enduring.)

    This is a crux of modern social justice theory: that because of the normalizing and regulating influence of the supremacy, people's contexts and experiences can influence their ability to be civil, and that to the extent possible, we might try to factor that in when trying to evaluate arguments and rhetoric. The tendency for folks to move in harmony with the supremacy and to deploy tone arguments and decry lack of civility is demonstrably not moving us forward with respect to seeking justice and equity.

    But I am emphatically not saying Wheaton "deserves it", nor am I encouraging anyone to use any particularly offensive language or terminology in any hostile way. Why would I do that if I'm seeking equity and justice?
    posted by kalessin at 10:03 PM on August 31, 2018 [16 favorites]


    Thank you, kalessin, for this wonderfully clear description of your thoughts and the larger views that guide them. It's a great summary I will bookmark and refer back to in future conversations about the broad topics raised in this thread.

    I think some of the participants in this thread are pushing back on some of the most critical comments about Wheaton out of a belief that equity and justice (the goals and broad definitions of which I really do think pretty much everyone here agrees about), is a topic not meaningfully or effectively addressed by publicly excoriating a mid-level celebrity who has a longstanding personal relationship with (and therefore complicated views about) someone else who has been accused of specific abusive behavior.
    posted by PhineasGage at 10:26 PM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


    Seeing this thread and the Louis CK thread right next to each other in my Recent Actjvity makes it crystal clear how many of us are really scared that someone we’re close to is going to be accused of something horrible and it might result in our own suffering a fraction of what the victim had to go through.
    posted by Etrigan at 5:27 AM on September 1, 2018 [13 favorites]


    > haiku warrior:
    "Indeed, jjwiseman has it right. Piling on Wil Weaton because he has’t gone as far a people would hope (or he suggested) regarding what the accusations toward his friend is shameful, pathetic. Who are the bullies now?"

    I really don't think it is a bullying issue. I think it is, of sorts, a false advertising issue with no legal recourse. Not going to lie, I was a big fan of Wil's if you look at the amount of times I have cited Wheaton's Law as one of the rules I try to live by. I feel somewhat betrayed by his handling of this ("I am a good guy and an ally." "Oh, my friend is accused of doing something bad? I will give a statement on this later!" Later: crickets.) All he had to do was not make what appeared to me as a PR based move and just decline to speak. But STATE you are declining to speak as you don't know all the facts. That's all. Or just tell me you are uncomfortable on that topic. Realize that what you say has consequences and don't strike out in anger or frustration when those consequences land.

    I also think part of the frustration about this situation is because a watchword, a keystone, of the abusive culture is silence. People being threatened, paid off, or scared off to stay silent. While the abusers, their facilitators and fixers are all about keeping things on the down low. So, this silent treatment is like having this ground in people's faces and smells all the worse for it. #MeToo is all about breaking through this wall of silence. If you want to say you support it, you can't just loop back to the same behavior you claim to be against without people getting angry.
    posted by Samizdata at 6:15 AM on September 1, 2018 [10 favorites]


    > wondermouse:
    "It sounds like maybe no one in this thread has read the comments section on his post (which... yeah, you probably made the right choice) but since so many people have mentioned it, he did actually post a comment about the Chris Hardwick thing today."

    I had not seen that. That was all I wanted. For him to take a position that wasn't a gaping maw of silence. He chose his stance and that was all I thought was needed.
    posted by Samizdata at 6:17 AM on September 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


    I asked, politely, and persistently, if Wheaton on Twitter intended to eventually make a statement. Either he didn't see my questions (or his assistants, if any, didn't), or he ignored them. It's impossible to tell. Though I suspect my tweets may have either been manually or automatically filtered somehow.

    I think this brings us back to the point of how poor a forum Twitter is for any kind of serious discussion. Twitter is horrible. I know a lot of people still like it and value it, but I'm talking about the whole Twitterverse and how much of a twisted mess it really is.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't know Wheaton personally, right? So to him, you're just a random internet person. He doesn't know you, or what your intent really is, or if he'll say something in response that you or somebody else will like or hate that will cause whatever fury is out there to spin out in some crazy direction and again come back at him x1,000,000.

    And in the meantime, while you're making your persistent, public Tweets to him, he's got a bunch of other random internet people shouting at him from all sides. I honestly can't imagine not tuning all of that out (or literally blocking all of it). Do you ever click on a celebrity's or famous politician's tweet to see the replies? I can't imagine wanting to reply to any of that stuff.

    Twitter is not the place. You might ask, "Then where is the place?" in which case I might say there has never really a place for this kind of general interaction between the mass public and a specific celebrity. Many celebrities, even relatively minor ones, eventually get to this point, where they decide it's safer to just not directly engage at all unless in a controlled situation.
    posted by wondermouse at 6:32 AM on September 1, 2018 [13 favorites]


    One of my breakthroughs with social media was the realisation that whoever I might reply to, no matter how obscure, would probably also be fielding replies from many other people as well on anything they wrote, most of which I wouldn't be seeing. And this applies even for the relative nobodies. You tend to get either no replies or twenty, because if ever you write anything reply-worthy, it's going to also be amplified out to an audience exponentially greater than the one it started with, an that audience is going to start replying as well.

    So even with an innocent thing like replying to a joke with your own joke turns into borderline harassment just via amplification, because it's not one person replying to a joke with a joke, it's twenty people all replying to a joke with their own joke. And another ten people replying to the joke in earnest because they didn't understand it was a joke. And another ten people replying to the joke to get into a fight with you about the joke or because they just don't like you and see the joke as an excuse.

    This is everybody. This is what happens to literally every person on social media. The entire mode of interaction is broken even before you inject celebrities and Nazis into the mix.
    posted by tobascodagama at 7:23 AM on September 1, 2018 [16 favorites]


    This situation is a minor instance, especially compared to the vicious abuse directed at many other celebs on social media, but this absolutely is on the spectrum of bullying. How else can one describe "persistently" tweeting at someone you don't know personally, and the much more heated reactions from many more people on Twitter and Mastodon. Saying Wheaton is guilty of "false advertising" -- with a group of self-appointed individuals as arbiter and enforcer -- becomes just a euphemism for "bullying."

    I didn't know who Wheaton OR Hardwick were before reading this thread. I have contempt for Hardwick's behavior from what I have now read. And I am neither gainsaying nor disrespecting the painful personal experiences some participants on this thread have alluded to, nor the righteous, justified anger they (and others) feel about abusive behavior.

    But groups of people harassing someone on a public or semi-public forum like Twitter or Mastodon for not taking a public stand on someone else's behavior does nothing to advance social justice nor even exact retribution on the actual offender. "You owe me a public statement" is bullying.
    posted by PhineasGage at 8:49 AM on September 1, 2018 [11 favorites]


    METAFILTER: broken even before you inject celebrities and Nazis into the mix.
    posted by philip-random at 8:54 AM on September 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


    Given that my statements in this thread are getting seriously nitpicked, and I'm in a position of endless clarifying, I'm gonna nope out and hope that what I've said stands without further clarification.
    posted by kalessin at 9:10 AM on September 1, 2018 [6 favorites]


    makes it crystal clear how many of us are really scared that someone we’re close to is going to be accused of something horrible and it might result in our own suffering a fraction of what the victim had to go through.

    in my case, it would be seeing someone I know reasonably well be accused of a bunch of horrible stuff, watching their whole world (and tangentially, an entire community) get torn to shreds mainly via shitstorms that started on Twitter, and then, after various investigations, it becoming rather clear that said individual was only guilty of the most minor of the allegations (ie: what they did was entirely legal and, based on copious written evidence, consensual). So yeah, let's just say I've learned to be extremely careful about any "breaking story" that seems to have a social media dimension, and what doesn't this days?
    posted by philip-random at 9:18 AM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


    a lot of emotional/mental abuse looks "entirely legal" and "consensual".

    doesn't make it not abuse and consensual, nor does it absolve the abuser if they can hide behind polite fiction.
    posted by anem0ne at 9:45 AM on September 1, 2018 [11 favorites]


    nor does it make it "minor"
    posted by anem0ne at 9:47 AM on September 1, 2018 [6 favorites]


    Wow thank god someone is willing to stand up for the guy who was forced off of one show that he does for six entire weeks.

    Hold the door, kalessin.
    posted by Etrigan at 9:57 AM on September 1, 2018 [14 favorites]


    The only thing the "investigations" showed is that Hearst money still spends.

    watching their whole world (and tangentially, an entire community) get torn to shreds
    It's almost hilarious, if it weren't so typical, how much you overstate the harm to Hardwick and his disgusting community and understate the abuse he committed.
    posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:16 AM on September 1, 2018 [12 favorites]


    [Couple comments deleted. Let's back it up a little in here. If people want to object to social media pile-ons that's fine but let's do it without downplaying whether abuse is bad, for pity's sake, and without invoking other hot-button subjects (like suicide of unrelated people) to make tangential points. And at the same time, let's not make the thread about other Mefites personally.]
    posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:56 AM on September 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


    All, if I started the thread down a bad path, I'm sorry. No offense intended to Etrigan or anyone here, and certainly no intention of downplaying abuse.

    Lobster Mitten please MeMail me for re-education if I need or deserve it! I'm really heading out now for a few hours.

    Thanks, everyone.
    posted by haiku warrior at 11:22 AM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


    My Mastodon timeline was 50% about Wil Wheaton when I closed my account. This kind of outrage cycle is exactly why I no longer use Twitter (I'm keeping my locked account as a placeholder because it's my real name). The only social media I have is Facebook, and my measly 35 friends are 100% people I see IRL at least semi-regularly.

    Without reading a bunch of thinkpieces, I'm sure he's wrong about Hardwick and the transphobic blocklists. Maybe he kicks puppies too. And I agree that men should speak out against rapists and so forth. I have little sympathy for Wheaton's experience of public shaming.

    But reading 1000 angry posts is not a good use of my time, and tomorrow it will be some other celebrity who said or did some shithead thing. Social media used to be fun. Mastodon was fun for a few weeks but I was unable to keep up with blocking and muting and filtering words. People are gonna people, so even without Nazis it's becoming just as angry, and frequently at relatively minor targets. I realize people can be outraged about more than one thing at a time, but why should I give a fuck what some minor celebrity does when there are plenty of things literally ruining people's lives?
    posted by AFABulous at 12:20 PM on September 1, 2018 [12 favorites]


    The bofa.lol instance is still harassing the admin of my instance (a woman) for blocking them. I wish this got even 1% of the attention the WilW situation did. I dunno I'm having serious second thoughts about it being a less abuse-prone platform than Twitter. But I also watched much worse happen on Twitter yesterday when alt right mobs went after Ruby Hamad and Sonia Gupta.

    More and more I spend my internet time in "walled gardens" like private FB groups and Slacks. And I know "walled gardens" are considered bad by the open internet folks but you gotta remember why people build them.
    posted by melissam at 3:20 PM on September 1, 2018 [7 favorites]


    You know what might be nice? A Mastodon instance that only allows cheerful comments.
    posted by Pronoiac at 9:09 PM on September 1, 2018


    The bofa.lol instance is still harassing the admin of my instance (a woman) for blocking them

    Can I read about this somewhere?
    posted by the list of suspects is just you at 3:27 AM on September 2, 2018


    My Mastodon instance has had 0% about Wil Wheaton except for one person asking "What's this thing that's going on? I heard there was some drama but I haven't seen any?" There is a little on my timeline about the bofa.lol harassment.
    posted by tofu_crouton at 11:39 AM on September 2, 2018


    But reading 1000 angry posts is not a good use of my time, and tomorrow it will be some other celebrity who said or did some shithead thing.

    That seems to be the most accurate summary of this whole controversy that I've read so far.
    posted by theorique at 2:56 PM on September 2, 2018 [3 favorites]


    Can I read about this somewhere?

    Probably not, too niche.

    Our admin blocked bofa for "shitposting" because not everyone enjoys jokes like, well I won't repeat them here but they are tasteless to say the least. Other instances run by URMs followed suit. Bofa's admin found out about it and tried to circumvent the block to talk to our admin about it- their initial entreaty was about being a "good neighbor". Then when we continued to block Bofa they got nasty. They posted screenshots of our admin calling her a "reactionary" among other unpleasant things, which opened us up to more harassment. They also posted hateful stuff about other instance admins who'd blocked them- some of this stuff was from a notorious alt right website.

    The amazing thing is our instance isn't even that big, and the bofa admin could have just been like "OK these folks don't want to hear our dirtbag left shitposting, that's ok, not everyone is obligated to federate with us" instead of dragging the admins who blocked him.

    This overlapped a bit with the biggest instance Mastodon.social "silencing" bofa due to the WillW stuff. The bofa admin was a bit nicer about this- probably because dragging the team at Mastodon.social has more serious consequences.

    I don't want to post the names of the people involved or the instances because I worry it would open her up to more harassment. She's already received multiple threats about it. It's easy enough to find though.

    It goes with a larger problem on Mastodon which is a significant number of users are techie men who have an ideology that blocking and moderation is a form of "censorship." I left Mastodon.social myself after being harassed by one of these men.
    posted by melissam at 4:01 PM on September 2, 2018 [12 favorites]


    After reading this thread, and the links, I remain somewhat unconvinced that Mr. Wheaton deserves to inspire this level of discourse.
    posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 10:12 PM on September 2, 2018


    After reading this thread, I’m sure I don’t want to join Mastodon, and I’m no longer sure about MeFi.

    WW doesn’t owe anyone a comment on CH, even if he suggested earlier he would. Continuing to point to that post and the lack of follow up feels like weird entitlement and like you think you can use rules lawyer tactics on actual humans.

    Wheaton’s online life has included more shit than most folks. I don’t blame him for pulling back.
    posted by uberchet at 5:48 PM on September 3, 2018 [12 favorites]


    Yesterday, Anne Wheaton posted a Twitter thread about the Wheaton's experiences with harassment online and in real life.
    posted by and for no one at 8:38 PM on September 3, 2018 [6 favorites]


    Obviously WW shouldn't get a total pass for because of his past experiences with online abuse, but he owes online randoms absolutely nothing, no matter what he said he would or wouldn't do. Oh, and GamerGate is the shitty gift that just keeps on giving isn't it?
    posted by pharm at 1:06 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


    Also, for all the people trying to call out WW for the Hardwick stuff, this past history of abuse is probably explanation enough for why everything you've said has been dropped in the box marked "online abuse I'm going to ignore".

    How is a (minor) celeb like this supposed to tell the difference between a horde of randoms trying to call them out & the 100s of individual accounts created by some schizophrenic who has decided that they are the source of all evil in the world? Mix in GamerGate shitheads & a bunch of trolls (whether "dirtbag left" or "alt-right", who cares) just in it for the lulz & it's obviously impossible to tell the well intentioned from all the rest, so "ignore" becomes the only sane response.

    Celebrity is a curse: If you're lucky it brings enough wealth to insulate you from the worst effects, but there's no guarantee of that.
    posted by pharm at 1:14 AM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


    the latest meme on bofa is "fuck white people" because someone on mastodon.social was kicked for posting this phrase (because I guess one of the mastodon.social mods believes in the white race?). So the user created an account on bofa and posted what happened, their toot gained popularity until eugen* eventually suspended the mod and reversed their decision. if you can't tell the difference between this and gamergate or the alt-right, then i don't know what to tell you

    * aka gargron, admin of .social, mastodon dev
    posted by the list of suspects is just you at 4:59 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


    No. WW being a celebrity isn’t the point. His silence after all his ally posturing is the point. And while I do I have sympathy for the harassment he’s suffered though the years. after reading AW’s thread, in which she speaks of unfounded accusations and social media lies, I can’t help but think of the vicious abuse directed towards CD by the “Hardwick is innocent” dudebros. It was vile.

    tl;dr As a celebrity, WW owes us nothing, but as a feminist ally, he showed women that we can’t rely on him when it matters the most.
    posted by Ruki at 8:28 AM on September 4, 2018 [14 favorites]


    Ah, I see, this is fundamentally about whether or not swears and insults are good praxis.
    posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 10:15 AM on September 4, 2018


    but as a feminist ally, he showed women that we can’t rely on him when it matters the most.

    or maybe he's concluded via too many hard knocks that the medium in question isn't up to the complexity of the communication required if the desire is for any kind of functional reconciliation. It's a broken system and he's opting out.
    posted by philip-random at 11:12 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


    Opting out as soon as it's personal, which shows that he's only an ally when it's easy, which is not the kind of male feminist ally I can trust.
    posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2018 [9 favorites]


    Today's Dinosaur Comics seems apropos to several ongoing social media threads, but this is the one I'm gonna post it in.
    posted by tobascodagama at 11:40 AM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


    We actually don't know that he opted out. We only know that he chose not to share his level of (who knows how much) participation with an arguably broken system that is not a safe space for anyone, really, by any stretch of the imagination. I cannot fault anyone for these days for deciding not to use social media for any reason at all, due to the guaranteed high number of bad actors.
    posted by SpacemanStix at 11:46 AM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


    Ok, I do fault him. As he's always been extremely open, and damning to rape apologists, before. Suddenly something is different. And it seems pretty obvious what that is. Twitter didn't get toxic a couple weeks ago.

    I fundamentally don't trust male allies and it's reasons like this. When push comes to shove, they don't show up. They keep abusers close to them, they suddenly have nothing to say, it's suddenly too complicated. If you haven't lived through a lifetime as an abuse survivor of seeing disappointing "feminist" men standing by when it gets difficult (aka when they actually have something to lose) it might seem perfectly logical for him to pull back now. He's just added to my incredibly long list of "feminist" men who do it for show, adulation, and to get that moral feeling in their own belly, not to actually help women or reduce abuse in the world.
    posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:23 PM on September 4, 2018 [10 favorites]


    No. WW being a celebrity isn’t the point. His silence after all his ally posturing is the point. And while I do I have sympathy for the harassment he’s suffered though the years. after reading AW’s thread, in which she speaks of unfounded accusations and social media lies, I can’t help but think of the vicious abuse directed towards CD by the “Hardwick is innocent” dudebros. It was vile.

    Yep. And the end of the thread by AW in which she says "if you see something, say something" is apparently said completely without irony, which is just rich.
    posted by lazaruslong at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2018


    Oh, and is it true that his first action on mastadon was name search himself (and a Star Trek quote) and then report anyone who he saw who said anything negative about him? That is not behavior which will reward him or Anne with less harassment in their lives.
    posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:41 PM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


    AW has made it clear several times already on her Twitter that she thinks CD is a liar. WW has too, via passive retweeting of Lydia Hearst. He didn’t totally opt out. He made a choice. He chose to stay silent and drop breadcrumbs for the bros. And you know, part of the reason why I had trusted him as an ally was because of the online abuse he faces. Because of all people, I thought he would understand what it’s like to be a woman on the internet. Harassment, stalking, death threats. Just swap out the “shut up, Wesley” for rape threats. I’m not even mad. As mentioned above, it’s an incredibly long list. I’m more disappointed in myself for actually believing that he really was an ally.
    posted by Ruki at 12:57 PM on September 4, 2018 [12 favorites]


    I cannot fault anyone for these days for deciding not to use social media for any reason at all
    Much as I understand this (there's a lot that's broken around different social-media patterns), I can't actually agree, in this case. Specifically because what WW did was place himself as 'trustworthy, one of the good ones'. And when you're in a socially-privileged position (and not even in the 'mind your privilege' sense, very literally in the "You're saying you should be able to operate at a higher trust level" sense),

    you lose the ability to use those sorts of "Hey, I need to step back for myself" boltholes without cost.

    For multiple reasons, but first/least off because you're basically going "Yeah, that trust I sought to earn? You can't trust that I'll put that first. Sorry, I need to look out for myself." And once you've done that (and you may feel you need to make that call), as INESTBHT! notes far more eloquently, you can't be trusted not to do that again. If principles/looking out for communities you're seeking to support are something that you can shrug off when they're inconvenient to you, they aren't deeply held (regardless of what one says).
    And there's a miles-long and centuries-deep past pattern of that happening, where it's all well and good to seek trust until there's personal discomfort and then people retreat with little more than a "Well, I meant well, but if you treat allies like this you'll never have success in your goals!"
    posted by CrystalDave at 1:23 PM on September 4, 2018 [5 favorites]


    I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today!: That can't be true, as Mastodon does not have full text search. This is a deliberate decision for just that reason, to prevent people searching terms and using it as an avenue for abuse.

    One can search by hashtags, but I can't imagine #wilwheaton was anywhere close to a popular tag on Mastodon before any of this blew up.
    posted by SansPoint at 1:47 PM on September 4, 2018


    Maybe I'm confusing his bullying use of blocklists on twitter with what I was reading about mastadon, sorry for the mix up.
    posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:59 PM on September 4, 2018


    "his bullying use of blocklists on twitter". I didn't do a ton of research, so maybe I'm missing something--is there info beyond what's been posted in this thread so far that would be evidence for something commonly understood as "bullying"? I mean, there's even a mefite in this thread who was using that same blocklist until reading this thread.
    posted by jjwiseman at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


    The main thread I've seen on the effects of Wheaton's blocklist use.

    Summary as presented:
    • Wheaton picks up a (questionable) blocklist, promotes it to get other people to use his blocklist
    • Wheaton blocks people as described above (Namesearching, etc.)
    • Since the blocklist is propagated, people who tweet that "Shut up, Wesley" Picard gif (for example) gets on the blocklist of a *lot* of other people who aren't aware they're getting these blocks mixed in with the other blocks.
    • If you're someone who does online art/music/etc, you end up losing your entire income when your audience blocks you without knowing
    • Rinse, repeat, get some known and some unknown quantity of people (with a particular target towards trans people) who end up homeless, commit suicide, etc.

    Which, I'm not going to say "Yeah, piling on someone in a way which ended up known to cause them stress" is great, but it definitely isn't proportionate to do *that* to them. (and then there's the people caught up in blockchains, where because you followed a prominent indie musician you'd get blocked, for an additional layer)

    Ultimately that goes back to my prior point, he's doing a lot of things which may not have been intentionally malicious, but which cause a hugely disproportionate harm, and rather than acknowledge the damage he's done, he's just shrugging and going "But my intentions are good, you can't say I'm terrible for *accidentally* targeting groups of people. Each instance is different!".
    posted by CrystalDave at 5:24 PM on September 4, 2018 [9 favorites]


    is the argument really that people are ending up homeless/dead because of Wheaton's blocklist or am I reading this wrong
    posted by prize bull octorok at 5:42 PM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


    No, that's the argument. Also, because some gossip sites say he has a net worth of $500k (which, if that's true, probably means he has no liquid assets at all because he almost certainly owns a house in Arcadia), that means if he were really sorry about literally pushing hundreds or thousands of trans artists into homelessness, he would compensate them for their lost wages and pay their rent.
    posted by hades at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2018


    I mean, there's even a mefite in this thread who was using that same blocklist until reading this thread.


    Please refrain from using me to make your points, as it is clear there is a lot you don't understand.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:38 PM on September 4, 2018 [7 favorites]


    That harassment list is horrifying.

    "I fundamentally don't trust male allies and it's reasons like this"

    Yeah, pretty much. Don't assume and don't trust unless someone really puts their money where their mouth is. Which isn't likely anyway.

    But I have really low expectations for humans and they need to be nonexistent.
    posted by jenfullmoon at 7:43 PM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]




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