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  1. #1

    Post Free speech, internet trolls, modern misogyny, privacy, anonymity, and cyber-bullying

    For those of you who have been lately living under a rock without internet access, there have been some major brouhahas bubbling on the net and blowing up my RSS Feed. Here's a few links to catch you up to speed if you've missed the ruckus surrounding...

    Michael Brutsch a.k.a. "Violentacrez" and a reporter named Adrian Chen at Gawker,
    the resulting angry Redditors and "free speech chest thumpers",
    the latest incarnations of misogynistic bullies called "cappers"
    and their ilk operating without consequence on social sites like Facebook,
    a dead 15-year-old named Amanda Todd
    and her alleged stalker Kody Maxson
    outed by hacktivist group "Anonymous",
    and the many ambitious articles trying to deconstruct and reorganize the meta-social relevance of all of these issues both individually and combined.

    This one focuses on the (online) public's skewed perception of the U.S. First Amendment (not to mention the varying laws between states and countries):

    For Internet trolls, Freedom of Speech is not Freedom from Accountability
    This idea, that bloggers are somehow threatening free speech by outing anonymous Internet users, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment. It is not an impenetrable shield for anonymity, nor does it make any American immune to accountability for our actions.

    The First Amendment protects us from our government, but rarely from each other.
    In other words, the same law that gives Brutsch the right to say despicable things also gives Chen the right to call him out for it.'

    In fairness, being confused about the Constitution’s protection of free speech is understandable. The First Amendment is so short, it could be reprinted verbatim in two tweets, and yet it is quite possibly the most complex and carefully parsed law in the land.

    The First Amendment is a protection granted by the government against the government. But outside journalistic circles, it typically gets simplified down to the idea that we can say whatever we want without repercussions. Of course we can’t.

    Free speech always carries implications far beyond the legal system. It can get you ostracized by your friends, families and peers, not to mention making it difficult to find a job or seek public office. That’s always been the case, but it used to apply only in rare cases of whistleblowers and political dissidents. Today, the Internet has opened the danger of accountability to millions who live in a digital universe where being anonymous is the norm instead of the exception.

    In times gone by, anonymous authors and snarky gossip columnists made the decision in advance to hide their identity specifically because of the content they were creating.

    Today, that model has been flipped. Many Internet users begin within the comforting cloak of anonymity and then, seduced by the lack of consequences for their actions, start saying things that they would never say in public. Some devolve further into trolls, clutching that anonymity cloak as if it made them invisible. When it is suddenly stripped away, they realize just how precarious of a situation they’ve made for themselves.

    Their only hope at that point is to recast themselves as martyrs of free speech.
    It's an awful lot of discussion to process, so feel free to question or comment on the issues you'd like. (I wish our Post Icons offered a multi-direction-wacky-arrow option).
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #2
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Freedom of Speech is not Freedom from Accountability
    That is the gist of how I read the first amendment

    The more open you are, the more liable you are to get hurt by the first amendment. - Think of airing dirty laundry.
    The more "well known" you are, the more liable you are to get hurt by the first amendment. - Think of a celebrity.
    Of course, there are issues where you will always be liable whether you hide behind the first amendment or not. - Think of screaming fire in a crowded building where there is no fire.

    I'm not exactly sure what else to say.

  3. #3
    Ghost Monkey Soul Vizconde's Avatar
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    In general I'm against most forms of censorship whether governmental or private association. Discretion yes, censorship no.
    I redact everything I have written or will write on this forum prior to, subsequent with and or after the fact of its writing. For entertainment purposes only and not to be taken seriously nor literally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    Spamtar - a strange combination of boorish drunkeness and erudite discussions, or what I call "an Irish academic"

  4. #4
    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    Some thoughts, concerns and tin-foil hat material from someone who admittedly hasn't read many of the articles in the OP:

    1) are trolls really that bad? Really? Or are they just a convenient excuse?
    2) how much of this current focus on trolls and reform is being driven by the vested interests of traditional media outlets?
    3) many communities which once formed around clubs or pubs or whatever are now online. If you were in a pub talking to your mates would you want the government listening in?
    4) as anonymous keeps pointing out, would you really want all your online activities stored somewhere where anyone with sufficient know-how (not just the government) can access them? Imagine how that would translate 50 years ago, before the internet. What sort of access would that have required, and would people have stood for it?
    5) to spell that last one out a bit more clearly, in what non-totalitarian society has it ever been possible for so much of someone's private life to be learned as the internet allows? Indeed, in what totalitarian society? It's much bigger than mere "free speech".
    6) are trolls really that bad? Really?

    I realize that probably much more of what is intended as private on the internet is public already, but why increase that?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Consequences be clear. Freedom is free, being dumb isnt.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    The concept of speech needs to be better defined. Money is not speech. Ideas from an anonymous source are not speech. I'm less concerned about internet trolls than I am propaganda. I'm not pro-censorship, I'm pro full disclosure. If you want to make a political statement, you should have to disclose who you are. This means that billionaires who want to influence elections should be able to buy ads, but they should also have to disclose personal information about themselves (name, title (for example: CEO of Bank of America), etc.) in those ads. They also can't hire actors. They have to speak the words themselves, literally.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  7. #7
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    Free speech - say what you want to say.
    Internet trolls - as far as I know, those are the guys who purposely post nonsense on the forums.
    Modern misogyny - not sure what you mean by "modern," men always held women as lesser creatures to themselves. Hell, women couldn't even vote not so long ago!
    Privacy - what privacy? You go online, you've no privacy over what you do there. Your ISP tracks you (some to a lesser extend and some to a VERY big extend). Or do you mean those cameras on every corner? Or satellite pictures? Privacy he says. Of course, most people aren't being scoped while being tracked, so unless you piss someone off (say the law enforcement), it shouldn't matter to you... Much.
    Anonymity - there's no such thing today.
    Cyber-bullying - never got this term. If some people are overly-sensitive, that's their problem: if someone said that you're stupid on a forum, you shouldn't go to a corner and cry over it. I understand bullying as physical damage, not words. Words are just that - words.

  8. #8
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typoz View Post
    Free speech - say what you want to say.
    Internet trolls - as far as I know, those are the guys who purposely post nonsense on the forums.
    Modern misogyny - not sure what you mean by "modern," men always held women as lesser creatures to themselves. Hell, women couldn't even vote not so long ago!
    Privacy - what privacy? You go online, you've no privacy over what you do there. Your ISP tracks you (some to a lesser extend and some to a VERY big extend). Or do you mean those cameras on every corner? Or satellite pictures? Privacy he says. Of course, most people aren't being scoped while being tracked, so unless you piss someone off (say the law enforcement), it shouldn't matter to you... Much.
    Anonymity - there's no such thing today.
    Cyber-bullying - never got this term. If some people are overly-sensitive, that's their problem: if someone said that you're stupid on a forum, you shouldn't go to a corner and cry over it. I understand bullying as physical damage, not words. Words are just that - words.
    Cyber-bullying can take in more than just words or just this forum. Think of regular bullying and how harmful it can be. Found am extremely embarrassing picture of you? Post it on Facebook for the whole world to see. or like the article, make a group so even more people can see that picture of you, turn it into a meme, or etc. It can be more than just an isolated incident.

    As for anonymity and privacy, there is, to some degree those two. Don't want something to come up on the internet that you didn't want to? Don't talk about it online. But there are other ways to have just an ounce of privacy and anonymity (when it is possible,) but I won't get into the validness of using those methods. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as complete anonymity and privacy on the internet, but you can get some of it if you know how part of it works.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rail Tracer View Post
    Cyber-bullying can take in more than just words or just this forum. Think of regular bullying and how harmful it can be. Found am extremely embarrassing picture of you? Post it on Facebook for the whole world to see. or like the article, make a group so even more people can see that picture of you, turn it into a meme, or etc. It can be more than just an isolated incident.

    As for anonymity and privacy, there is, to some degree those two. Don't want something to come up on the internet that you didn't want to? Don't talk about it online. But there are other ways to have just an ounce of privacy and anonymity (when it is possible,) but I won't get into the validness of using those methods. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as complete anonymity and privacy on the internet, but you can get some of it if you know how part of it works.
    Okay, that's a different scenario indeed. That can get annoying. Earlier the whole school would know something, now the whole world. I wonder if posting pictures of others' without their consent is allowed by law, I've heard cases where pictures were taken down. Although, I think it's not allowed only if you're making money. But yea, I don't think posting embarrassing pictures is appropriate (if the embarrassment is cause by others), but then again, I don't think physical damage is appropriate too. Of course it depends on the level of embarrassment. Personally, I've in mind extreme cases. And anyway, if it's something you've caused by yourself, it's your fault (stupidity, lack of self-control, etc.), you shouldn't complain about it. If it's something of low degree, something that wouldn't cause a permanent damage, you shouldn't complain about it either.

    What's the point of getting the little of it if if someone wanted to, he could get to you anyway? The main reason for privacy and anonymity is the government, other reasons... Well, most of them are very unlikely (.0001%) or stupid (paranoid).

  10. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vizconde View Post
    In general I'm against most forms of censorship whether governmental or private association. Discretion yes, censorship no.
    Are you serious? Also do you have children or have you ever looked after children? I'd question your ability to if you seriously hold this view.

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