Harassment

How Bad Is Online Harassment? 

And how dangerous is it for the future of free speech?

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In September, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an American organization that monitors attacks on freedom of the press worldwide, issued a report on what it called a major threat to journalists—particularly female journalists—in the United States and Canada: online harassment. The report opened with an anecdote meant to illustrate the problem. A Texas-based freelancer suddenly found her inbox flooded with spam, from sale promotions to fake job offers, and realized that someone had subscribed her to dozens of email lists; she suspected that the culprit was a bigoted commenter previously banned from a website for which she wrote. It was, the report quoted her as saying, "kind of scary."

Given that CPJ deals with issues that range from censorship to beatings, kidnappings, and even murders of journalists, junk-mail bombing seems like the epitome of a First World Problem. (I say that as someone targeted by a similar prank a couple of years ago.) Yet such trivial annoyances show up quite frequently in accounts that treat online abuse as an extremely grave social problem.

CPJ is far from the only organization to address the issue. A 2018 report from Amnesty International, a globally revered human rights advocacy group, was titled Toxic Twitter and examined "violence and abuse against women online." The same year, PEN America, the nearly 100-year-old nonprofit that promotes freedom of speech, issued a statement describing online harassment as a "clear threat to free expression." The United Nations has also weighed in, holding its first hearing on the subject in 2015.

Some of the behavior that falls under the general umbrella of "online harassment" is not only noxious but genuinely frightening and even criminal. The article by journalist Amanda Hess that set off the current panic—"Why Women Aren't Welcome on the Internet," published by Pacific Standard in January 2014—discussed Hess' own experience of being cyberstalked by a man who progressed from tweets to emails to threatening phone calls. In other cases, harassment in cyberspace crosses over into real life via "swatting": prank emergency calls that dispatch law enforcement to handle a supposed dangerous situation. In 2017, police in Wichita, Kansas, shot and killed an unarmed 28-year-old man after one such fraudulent 911 call.

The rapid evolution of the internet has often outpaced the law's ability to deal with cybercrime, including stalking and threats. Unfortunately, as with many other issues, the discussion of online harassment easily lends itself to catastrophizing. Every "go jump off a cliff" tweet becomes virtual terrorism, grounds for social media banishment if not criminal investigation. The sense of urgency is amplified by shoddy analysis, politically driven double standards, and "do something!" calls to action—action that often involves speech suppression.

The great thing about the internet is that you can reach just about anyone, anywhere, in an instant. The awful thing about the internet is that just about anyone, from anywhere, can reach you in an instant. As a journalist, you can reach vast numbers of new readers, connect with fans, and find information that would once have been out of reach; you can also get nasty messages from hundreds of haters who no longer have to take the effort to mail a letter.

Online harassment is far from the first internet-related panic—remember sex fiends lurking in chat rooms? But while earlier alarmism about online horrors usually came from the right and was not overtly political, the panic about internet harassment has come primarily from the left and is transparently politicized in its selection of "deserving" victims.

Hess' Pacific Standard article came just two weeks after a woman named Justine Sacco watched her life fall apart because of an internet mob. On her way from London to Cape Town, Sacco tweeted a joke meant to mock the privileged "bubble" of affluent Americans: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!" The tweet went viral, and by the time Sacco landed she was not only jobless but so infamous some hotels canceled her bookings.

This was a textbook example of online harassment. Yet neither Hess' article nor the ensuing conversation mentioned Sacco's ordeal. When British journalist Jon Ronson wrote about it a year later in So You've Been Publicly Shamed (Riverhead Books), many faulted him for being too sympathetic. A Washington Post essay by academic and author Patrick Blanchfield chided those who would turn this "30-something, well-educated, relatively affluent white woman" into the "martyr of choice" for internet abuse. Blanchfield's own martyrs of choice included successful white feminists targeted by right-wing trolls.

"People are much more likely to view things done or said to their side as harassment and to view what happens to people they don't like as just something they should deal with, or not that bad, or maybe made up," says Ken White, a Los Angeles–based criminal defense attorney and First Amendment litigator who blogs and tweets under the handle "Popehat."

In the case of online harassment, narratives from the progressive tribe have dominated mainstream media coverage and advocacy. That means concerns about online harassment don't usually extend, for instance, to outrage cycles targeting alleged bigots, even when the outrage is misplaced.

In November 2018, a Portland, Oregon, woman nicknamed "Crosswalk Cathy" had to scrub her online presence after a viral video pilloried her for calling the cops on a black couple over a bad parking job. But subsequent reports revealed she called a parking hotline about a car partially blocking a crosswalk while the owners, who were getting takeout food nearby, were away from the car—meaning she had no idea they were black.

Nor do progressive concerns about harassment extend to victims of online vigilantism for ostensibly noble causes. A few years ago, in the wake of a teen girl's highly publicized sexual assault by two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, many locals experienced egregious harassment by members of the "hacktivist" group Anonymous. Emails were hacked and personal data posted online. Jim Parks, the webmaster of the football team's fan site, was accused of being the mastermind of a teen porn ring because of supposed photos of nude underage girls found in his email account. (The subjects all turned out to be adult women, and the principal hacker, Deric Lostutter, who was later identified and questioned by the FBI, issued a public apology to Parks for the "embarrassment" he had suffered.) Others—adults and teenagers—were smeared as accomplices to rape and barraged with threats. Yet when Lostutter faced possible criminal charges several months later, much progressive opinion treated him as a hero. Parks, who described Anonymous as "terrorists," would no doubt have disagreed.

In late 2014, a few months after Hess' influential article, the internet conflagration known as GamerGate—in which various members of the video game community battled over sexism in the gaming industry and press—broke out. Death threats eventually forced feminist video game critic Anita Sarkeesian to temporarily leave her home and cancel a lecture.

Yet progressive critics of GamerGate quickly began to conflate actual threats with mere disagreeable speech. Perspectives on Harmful Speech Online, published in 2017 by Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, includes a discussion of "sealioning," defined as "persistent questioning [combined] with a loudly-insisted-upon commitment to reasonable debate." (The term originates from a 2014 web comic in which a couple is pestered by a talking sea lion.) Testifying before a 2015 U.N. panel, Sarkeesian insisted that "cyberviolence" includes not only actual threats but "the day-to-day grind of, 'You're a liar,' 'You suck,'" as well as "hate videos" attacking her critiques of sexism in video games.

GamerGate spurred on anti-harassment measures by many big tech companies, usually developed in close collaboration with social justice activists. A roundtable discussion of Silicon Valley's efforts to curb online harassment, published in Wired in late 2015 and prominently featuring Twitter Vice President for Trust and Safety Del Harvey, was notable for its explicit assumption that solutions to harassment should focus on "marginalized" victims—"women, people of color, and LGBT people"—and should help progressive causes. In early 2016, Sarkeesian's Feminist Frequency website was officially listed as part of Twitter's Trust and Safety Council—along with about 40 other organizations, many of which have a censorious bent.

Some anti-harassment measures by social media platforms have been uncontroversial. Twitter, for instance, has made it easier to ignore hostile messages by blocking and muting or receiving notifications only from known accounts. But other, more heavy-handed measures—account restrictions, suspensions, and bans—have resulted in pitched battles over double standards, political biases, and uneven enforcement.

In February 2016, Twitter abruptly perma-banned far-right blogger Robert Stacey McCain for "targeted abuse," without ever pointing to actual abusive tweets. McCain, who has peddled racist fare and posted rants against homosexuality, is not a sympathetic figure. But unlike, say, former Breitbart writer and professional troll Milo Yiannopoulos, who joined him in Twitter exile a few months later, McCain neither instigated nor participated in online attacks. Plenty of people who found his views abhorrent nonetheless felt that his banishment was a clear sign of biased enforcement; some wondered if it was related to his vitriolic polemics against Sarkeesian, newly elevated to Twitter's Trust and Safety Council.

McCain's ban boosted complaints on the right about the social media platforms' left-wing bias—a theme incessantly flogged by Breitbart but also echoed by more moderate conservatives. Around the same time, First Amendment attorney and blogger Marc Randazza reported an unscientific but plausible experiment in which he tracked both actual Twitter users and his own "decoy" handles and found that conservatives were disciplined for nasty tweets far more than social justice or feminist accounts.

The online wars have since escalated to an even higher pitch, with Donald Trump and the Trumpian right on one side and the "Resistance" and hyper-"woke" left on the other.

The alt-right's manic trolling, which included bombarding anti-Trump journalists with grotesque racist and anti-Semitic memes, has solidified the view that online harassment is something that comes predominantly from right-wingers and bigots. Meanwhile, on the left, new clashes over free speech and social media harassment have focused on the battles between transgender activists and radical feminists who believe that allowing trans women access to single-sex female spaces jeopardizes women's safety. In November 2018, shortly after Twitter amended its policy to prohibit "misgendering" as a form of "hateful conduct," Canadian feminist author and activist Megan Murphy was banned for using male pronouns to refer to Jessica Yaniv, the notorious litigant in British Columbia who (unsuccessfully) demanded that beauticians who wax women's pubic hair be forced to serve transgender women with intact male genitals.

Does biased enforcement on social media platforms pose a free speech problem? To free speech advocates such as White, the answer is a clear no: Twitter, Facebook, et al. are private entities with their own free association rights. "If they don't want Nazis, or they don't want vegans, that's them and that's part of their expression," White says. If social media companies restrict too much legitimate speech, he adds, "the best remedy is for people to create their own communities or vote with their feet."

White emphatically rejects the idea—advanced, for instance, by current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai—that speech policing by social media platforms weakens essential liberal values and norms. Pai, then an FCC commissioner, told The Washington Examiner in 2016 that "there are certain cultural values that undergird the [First A]mendment that are critical for its protections to have actual meaning." White sees it very differently: If anything, he says, voluntary speech moderation by social media companies is a "safety valve" that protects "a culture of legal free speech" by letting people have online spaces in which they don't have to deal with verbal abuse or overt bigotry.

At the other end, people as politically different as conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's William Budington believe that big social media companies should be regulated as public utilities. Facebook and Twitter, Budington writes by email, are "closed platforms with no socially viable alternatives." While he would much rather see them "exchange freely with newcomers" in a competitive environment, he says, the realistic option is to regulate them to ensure fair access.

Somewhere in the middle, legal scholar and author Nadine Strossen, a former head of the American Civil Liberties Union whose most recent book is Hate: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship (Oxford University Press), agrees that the internet giants are not obliged to abide by First Amendment speech protections and have the right to moderate content without government interference. But she also believes that powerful institutions have a moral responsibility to safeguard speech. "It would behoove them from a business perspective" as well, she says, since politically fraught speech restrictions will never satisfy everyone and will only invite attack from both sides. (And so they do.)

At worst, the policing of broadly defined internet harassment can cross the line into the suppression of speech by law—particularly in countries without First Amendment–type speech protections.

In England, where the Malicious Communications Act of 2003 prohibits electronic messages that cause "annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety," several people have faced criminal charges for alleged online harassment of transgender activists, based largely on "misgendering." One defendant was self-described transsexual Miranda Yardley, whose case was dismissed on the first day of trial. (Yardley was accused of outing an activist's transgender child, but evidence showed that the activist herself had frequently mentioned the child on Twitter.) Others, including prominent Irish comedian Graham Linehan, have been questioned and warned by the police for using the wrong pronouns.

In Canada, Toronto-based graphic artist Gregory Alan Elliott was prosecuted for criminal harassment over Twitter fights with two local feminists, Stephanie Guthrie and Heather Reilly—which started, ironically enough, when Elliott criticized Guthrie for proposing to "sic" internet mobs on the creator of a video game that allowed players to digitally "beat up" Sarkeesian. Elliott created a #FascistFeminists hashtag to denounce Guthrie and Reilly; they and their supporters monitored his tweets and repeatedly blasted him as a misogynistic creep. There was a lot of mutual sniping and name-calling, but even the police conceded that none of Elliott's tweets were threatening or sexually harassing.

When Elliott was finally acquitted in January 2016 after a three-year legal battle that destroyed his business, Canadian and American feminists deplored the verdict as a failure to take online harassment seriously. (Disclosure: I participated in a fundraiser for Elliott's defense in 2015.)

In the U.S., the First Amendment remains a strong bulwark against criminalizing speech in the war on internet harassment (despite a couple of cases in which misguided judges have issued unconstitutional restraining orders forbidding someone to "harass" a public figure by writing about him or her online). One potential weak spot, however, is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which rightly exempts internet platforms from liability for user-posted content.

"That's the thing that people are taking the most shots at, and I think people underestimate how important it is to how the internet works," White says.

As often happens, the pressure is coming from both directions. In 2015, left-wing commentator and self-styled "social justice stormtrooper" Arthur Chu wrote an article for TechCrunch urging the repeal of Section 230 to combat the scourge of online harassment. Four years later, Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) introduced legislation to amend Section 230 by requiring large tech platforms to be "politically neutral" in moderating content, largely in response to conservative complaints about unfair enforcement of harassment policies.

How bad a problem is internet harassment? The Pew Research Center's most recent study, in 2017, found that over 40 percent of Americans had experienced online harassment and nearly one in five had been subjected to "severe" harassment, defined as physical threats, sexual harassment, sustained harassment, or stalking. Yet the Pew report also acknowledged that its conclusions were complicated by subjective definitions. Notably, even among people classified as victims of "severe" online harassment, 28 percent did not consider their experiences to be harassment and another 21 percent were not sure. Gender makes a difference: Only 31 percent of men who had experienced online harassment as defined in the report felt that the term applied to their most recent incident, but 42 percent of women did.

This gap points to the complex gender dynamics at play—and the trouble with framing the problem as a particular burden on women. "You would have to show pretty extensive evidence about disproportionate impact and intent," says Strossen, who cautions against the notion that "women are inherently more vulnerable to this kind of attack because of who we are."

In fact, studies consistently show fewer women than men saying they experience internet harassment of every kind, except for sexual harassment. Counterintuitively, even so-called revenge porn—nonconsensual exposure of intimate images—may happen to men more often, according to the 2017 Pew survey. And while women in the survey were considerably more likely than men to rate their online harassment experiences as extremely or very upsetting, they were no more likely to report negative consequences ranging from mental and emotional stress to problems at work or school. More women—70 percent vs. 54 percent of men—saw online harassment as a major problem, but only 36 percent of women (compared to a quarter of men) wanted stronger laws to deal with it.

There is no question that online harassment can be terrifying, or at least severely disruptive. In 2016, a Jewish real estate agent in Whitefish, Montana, was deluged with threatening calls after the neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer targeted her—and posted her phone number—for supposedly trying to pressure the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer into selling her home. Last November, a Honolulu man was arrested for using both online ads and the telephone to direct hundreds of unwanted service calls and food deliveries to the home of his former girlfriend over the course of a year.

Most of what is commonly labeled "online harassment" is far less extreme, though some of it, like other human conflict, can be extremely stressful and injurious. The internet makes both a negative and a positive difference: Malicious gossip can now spread much faster and wider than before, but its targets also have many more opportunities to learn about it and counter it.

Some supposed harassment is vaguely and subjectively defined: One person's "callout" is another's "cyberbullying." Even "doxing," or public disclosure of private information, turns out to be a flexible concept: A Twitter user once accused me of doxing her because I mentioned a job listed in her public Twitter profile. Ultimately, most so-called internet harassment is simply trash talk—a minor annoyance that we can learn to handle by, as Strossen puts it, "developing resilience."

The current panic has also made it possible to use accusations of harassment as a weapon to silence criticism—and even to harass one's critics. In February 2016, I watched a blow-up in which a male Twitter user repeatedly asked a fairly big-name progressive female journalist to correct a tweet containing erroneous information; the journalist responded by tweeting at the man's employer to accuse him of "hounding strange women on Twitter during work hours" (and by mobilizing her followers to dogpile him as a harasser).

At its core, the online harassment crusade is a push for political control over speech. It is happening in the midst of growing authoritarian sympathies on the right and growing hostility to First Amendment protections for "harmful" speech on the left. Legally, those protections remain as robust as ever—for now. But in these unpredictable times, it would be reckless to assume that the erosion of basic freedoms is something that can't happen here.

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  1. Free speech is self supporting when lying is a crime.

    1. Do you have a paypal account ? because you can make an extra 1900 week after week in your earnings working at home three hours per day… check… Read More

    2. The purpose of speech is to convey information about reality, truth even when it is only our opinions.

      In this way, in all rational communication, truth has authority. People are compelled, in their own interest, to base all their rational decisions on truth.

      Lies initiate coercion. They falsely assume the authority of truth to compel people to make decisions that are not based on reality and therefore not in their best interests.

      Only lies undermine the benefits from free speech. Aside from self defence, there is no good that comes from lying.

      Civilization has already determined that lying must be criminalized in court and contracts. The same logic applies to all communications.

      1. Threats are already criminal simply because of the necessary assumption of truth in rational speech.

        When taken as truth, threats are defended against with the law so people don’t defend themselves with extreme prejudice.

        1. Again – you’re not ‘conveying information about reality’ when you claim that threats are defended against with the law – since the law is extremely picky about only defending against a very limited subset of threats and only when they meet very specific criteria.

          Its almost like a thousand year old judicial system is full of people who don’t agree with your definition of free speech.

          1. One must certainly hope that “free” speech will be increasingly limited, and that the criminalization of inappropriate “parody” introduced here in New York will be extended to other harmful forms of expression. Tragically, our state’s aggravated harassment statute, which helpfully criminalized the communication of annoying “speech” that nobody likes, was declared “unconstitutional,” but thanks to certain efforts in which we engaged here at NYU, we were at least able to make it clear that any attempt to damage the reputations of our faculty and administrators would be punished with the utmost severity. See the documentation of our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

            https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      2. “…there is no good that comes from lying.”

        Yet Rob Misek likes to lie about there never having been a NAZI-on-jews (and others) holocaust!

        Readers, beware of the lies and whack views of Rob Misek!!!

        1. There is not one shred of physical evidence of that false narrative. Only paid and coerced testimony. I challenge you to demonstrate otherwise.

          There you have it. There will be no evidence provided because none exists.

          You rely upon the censorship of the evidence that refutes the holocaust.

          Fuck off bigot.

          1. https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060995068/reasonmagazinea-20/

            Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

            Documented out the wazzoo!!!

            1. That was based on completely coerced testimony.

              Those supposed “war criminals” were never prosecuted in exchange for their false testimony.

              1. Huh. I’ve never met a real Holocaust denier. Weird. I wonder if you are real or just a persistent troll, like all the ones I’ve read about.

                1. I mean, just for counter-example:

                  I deny there are elephant hunters. Show me anyone alleged elephant hunter and I will show you someone who was coerced into confession.

                  Show me any alleged elephant trophy and I will show you a taxidermist who created it from scratch.

                  Show me any alleged elephant gun and I will find a hundred other uses for it. Rich people spend fortunes on fancy engraved jewel-encrusted bespoke double barrel shotguns which will never be used to actual hunt ducks, worth more than I will ever have earned in my lifetime. More credible is that these alleged elephant guns are just “mine is bigger than yours” variations on shotguns which will never be fired.

                  1. Do you have any evidence that refutes the existence of elephant hunting?

                    Because there’s plenty of evidence that soundly refutes the false holocaust narrative.

                    I’ve provided a link to all the evidence any rational person requires.

                    1. Please do present said evidence and explain how it is more reliable than the evidence in support of the holocaust.

                    2. The evidence is in the book, read it.

                  2. You can show Rob Misek an endless parade of well-documented history books about the holocaust, interviews with a few survivors, and video of walking tours of holocaust museums and preserved genocide sites (gas chambers etc), photos of starved corpses stacked cordwood-style…

                    And Rob Misek will “summarize” for you, saving,
                    “OK, sure, I’ve heard that before! Ha!…
                    ‘Mustache Man Bad’ hyped propaganda!”

                    #Mustache_Man_Bad

                    1. I told you. Whenever SQRLSY aopears and gets shit (that he wants to eat by the way) his lame ass obvious sock Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf shows up to defend him.

                      Give it up. You outed yourself shit eater, and you lied about not being pro death too.

                    2. If you read the book that I have provided a link to it will soundly refute the entire “gas chamber” narrative.

                      You may even wonder why the Nazis were so careful to destroy all physical evidence of the holocaust but invited photographers to document some of it for museums.

                    3. Uhmmm, the very fact that most people don’t fall for that claptrap refutes the idea that it soundly refutes anything.

                    4. You’re so brainwashed, you can’t even consider reading the evidence, much less consider the truth of the irrefutable argument it demonstrates.

                      You’re a scaredy-bigot.

                      When you’re presented with an argument that you can’t refute you revert to bigotry.

                      Bigotry is a self fulfilling prophecy. You’ll never consider the evidence because you don’t want to. When you can so easily apply that to one issue, it must get easier for other issues.

                      Fuck off scaredy-bigot.

                      Examples of bigotry in a Sentence
                      “ a deeply ingrained bigotry prevented her from even considering the counterarguments”

                      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigotry

                    5. All you do is defer to other authorities, with zero explanation of your own, not even a few paragraphs of summary. That isn’t discussion, it is preaching per Goebbels.

                2. Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf
                  March.22.2020 at 1:44 pm
                  “Huh. I’ve never met a real Holocaust denier.”

                  Pretty sure you’ve met one here. This piece of shit claims to believe the camps were designed for de-lousing and they didn’t really work well.
                  There is bigoted stupidity and then in the septic tank under that, there’s the scumbag Misek.

          2. Sane people with a grip on reality don’t deny history, as history is defined by a vast, vast majority of historians, with (in cases like this) boat-loads of evidence. No, historians and history aren’t perfect… Nothing (or hardly anything) is. But your denial of overwhelming consensus history shows some pretty severe paranoia… Everyone is out to “get you” and to trick you, right?
            I am doing a service to readers who aren’t familiar with your paranoia… Let all new (or newer) readers beware, much (everything?) of what Rob Misek has to say, needs to be examined carefully!

            The Earth is actually flat, and the center of the Universe.

            A secret cabal of Jewish bankers is diabolically manipulating the world towards world-wide communism.

            Space aliens secretly comprise 10% of Earthings, and are twisting us and them towards the day when they will enslave and eat us all!

            The Earth is hollow, with a vast array of large, powerful beings living underneath us.

            Being part of a TINY-TINY elite of humans who know the “secret truth” is the other element of your serious whack… Paranoia, and “special elite knowledge”… The later is evidence of mania, of egomania… Some serious self-examination on your part, would be in order!

            1. Like I said, no physical evidence.

              Lots of people will have some extra spare time during this pandemic.

              If you want to share a ressoned opinion you must review the evidence that soundly refutes the false holocaust narrative.

              Read the book, Breaking the Spell: The Holocaust, Myth & Reality.

              http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23629458-breaking-the-spell

              1. “Like I said, no physical evidence.”

                Bring me PHYSICAL evidence into my living room that shows that the world is round… That the Indian Ocean exists… That macro evolution happens for advanced animals (I want to see a lizard turn into a chicken)… That black holes exist… That atoms exist (I can’t see them! Not even in a microscope!)… That the Ancient Roman Empire ever existed… That witches were burned in Europe… That blacks were held as slaves in the USA…

                There are BOAT LOADS of things that we can CHOOSE to NOT believe, if we simply don’t feel like it! And you have simply chosen to NOT believe that jews were mass-murdered by NAZIs!

                1. The great battle of the retards. ^

                  1. Do you recall the awesome enchanter named “Tim”, in “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail”? The one who could “summon fire without flint or tinder”? Well, you remind me of Tim… You are an enchanter who can summon persuasion without facts or logic!

                    1. No, I remember a troll that asked three questions. What are your other two?

                    2. 1) What color was George Washington’s white horse?

                      2) Who is buried in Jimmy Morrison’s grave?

              2. My friend’s father was sent to Auschwitz. He was polish and had pissed off some local nazis. He spent about two years in Auschwitz before being liberated. The reason he survived was due to his size and strength. He was strong enough to carry the bodies from the gas chamber to the furnace. Guess I’ll show him this book and tell him he must have been mistaken.

                1. Considering cyanide vapour would have coated the bodies and remained present in the shower houses that had no air evacuation system, your friends father would have died after his first trip.

                  Did he mention bright pink bodies as they would have been? Nobody has.

                  You and he are full of shit.

            2. >>Space aliens secretly comprise 10% of Earthings

              this one seems kinda likely.

          3. Either he is not ‘conveying information about reality’ or you are not.

      3. “People are compelled, in their own interest, to base all their rational decisions on truth.”

        FWIW, you would get precisely 0% support from cognitive scientists for this claim. The currently accepted scientific wisdom is that the majority of our ‘reasoning’ goes towards continual confirmation of our tribal beliefs and biases, to ensure the support of our tribe, and thus our survival. Surely our most important ‘own interest’.

        1. Yes, this! Confirmation bias… And tribalism!

          PS, my tribe GOOD, right, Ooog Thag? Ooog Thag belong to MY tribe? Then Ooog Thag GOOD! If Ooog Thag NOT belong to my tribe… Then Ooog Thag is a WITCH! Burn Ooog Thag!

          1. Right but you’re a proven liar. You said you’re not pro death after alao saying it was a shame no one strangled me to death as a baby.

            Go ahead. Try to lie about it.

        2. Cool! I wrote that before reading further down the comments, and learning that you are a holocaust denier.

        3. Your admission that you don’t value truth demonstrates that no rational person should care what you say.

          Civilization, which ignores you caveman, is based on sharing and recognizing the truth, reality which is demonstrated by logic and science.

      4. The purpose of speech is to convey information about reality, truth even when it is only our opinions.

        The one and only purpose of speech. So sayeth Rob Misek. As it is said, let it be so.

        We’ll ignore that 90% of speech is actually for social grooming and is otherwise utterly useless, even counterproductive, full of lies and half-truths. But it helps social groups bond. But we’ll have to ignore that inconvenient truth since Rob here says that speech is only for
        conveying information about reality’.

        And then we’ll ignore that by making a statement that is counter to reality, Rob here is contradicting himself.

        1. What makes you believe that to be true?

          1. If I can say something that is not true, then the purpose of speech can not be to ‘convey information about reality’ then, can it?

            1. Coercion may be your purpose.

              You may be too stupid to recognize purpose in anything.

              1. So, then the purpose of speech is not ‘to convey information about reality’ then.

                1. You demonstrate that nobody needs to hear what an idiot or a liar says.

                  Your speech is irrelevant. Why you speak, nobody knows or cares because you don’t value truth.

                  You babble without purpose.

                  1. “You demonstrate that nobody needs to hear what an idiot or a liar says.”

                    You still didn’t address the statement which proves you’re full of shit, scumbag bigot.

                  2. So, you’re saying the purpose of my speech is *not* ‘to convey information about reality’, then?

                    1. I said you’re babbling without purpose or to intentionally coerce by lying to misrepresent truth.

                      What makes you believe what you’re saying is true?

                    2. Would you like me to lie to you or respond with a truthful answer?

      5. Civilization has already determined that lying must be criminalized in court and contracts. The same logic applies to all communications.</blockquote<

        There are other, more important considerations. Like the foolishness of making government the arbiter of truth in everything. It won't take long before the powerful drag it into political statements to control the speech about themselves.

        This isn't a slippery slope disasterbation fantasy. This is standard operating procedure for over half the countries on Earth, and all of human history.

    3. Two retards walk into a comment section…

      There’s no punchline, this is just an observation.

      1. Two neurons enter into R Mac’s cranium.

        One turns to the other and says, “Where is everyone? Is anyone else gonna come over tonight, or is it gonna be just the two of us?”

        1. Womp womp.

        2. Hi Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf, i caught you lying. So much for not being evil.

    4. Two retards will enter the Thunderdome, only one will leave!

    5. Thank you, Dr. Bronner.

    6. And here’s stormfag Misek once again trying to undermine the 1st Amendment.

    7. In all fairness, I own my own vocal chords and mouth, therefore I own my own speech. A libertarian should not give the state ownership over what is rightfully mine (the sounds I make), no matter how tasteless, false, or unproductive it seems my property is.

      1. Criminalizing lying doesn’t transfer ownership of what you’re saying to the state, it simply holds you criminally responsible for the coercion you’re attempting.

        1. And here’s stormfag Misek once again trying to undermine the 1st Amendment.

          1. 1A doesn’t protect lying.

            Do you think perjury in courts and contract law violates 1A?

            1. 1A most certainly does protect lying. Perjury and fraud aren’t just lies. They constitute an attempt to damage – that’s what is actionable.

              1. Lying damages through coercion as people are compelled to act based on the truth of speech.

                1. That is the most retarded justification I’ve come across since freshman philosophy 40 years ago. You, sir, are a bigger nutjob than Hihn and Squirrlesy combined.

                  1. What makes you believe that to be true?

  2. Stay At Home  Mom From New York Shared Her Secret On How She Was Able To Rake In $1500 Weekly From Online Work Just 3 Weeks After Losing Her Old Job…….. Read more  

  3. Interesting how different things look based on where you sit.

    A reporter going after regular people who are doing their jobs and calling them names in print is just reporting. Even if it results in pressure on their employers to fire them. But when those people respond in kind, that’s harassment.

    People who agree with you politically are advocating for their views… but people who disagree with those folks are a mob.

    I get that this is written from the perspective of a journalist and is spurred by a report from a journalists’ organization, but any idea that online harassment is “of the right” and harassment somehow begins with journalists as the victim is ahistoric.

    I suppose if you limit your analysis to the world of journalists and take the view that harassment of journalists is an unprovoked act, things would look more left-right and the aggressors would appear to be of the right.

    But that would be a pretty skewed view to limit yourself to. It isn’t very often that right wing neo-Nazi activists get someone fired from their job, or get their left-leaning opponents banned from social media platforms.

    Since the beginning of online discussion forums there has been a tiny segment of folks who troll the discussion with random offensive insults. Slashdot invented an entire meta-moderation system to deal with this phenomenon, allowing users as a group to filter out trolls and flamers from real discussion. And this was over 20 years ago.

    But today’s version is taking the troll seriously and hunting them down in meat space. And then lumping everyone who disagrees with you in with the troll.

    It is a convenient way to claim the high ground. I’m just surprised that anyone gives this tactic serious credence at all.

    1. There is a while segment of journalists who seem to be nothing more than the top of the spear for the online woke Twitter mob. We have had multiple stories of journalists calling employers to ask about even made up incidents, that end with the employee fired. Journalists crying about maltreatment is beyond parody.

      1. Whole*, tip*

    2. Did you read the article?

      1. Yeah, I flesh out the false equivalence further down, but the above content stands on its own. It isn’t “you are full of crap” as a point by point response to an article, it is a position in its own right, based on lived experience.

        I think “point of view” is very important to informing interpretation of these issues. As libertarians, we take the pro-freedom stance in every instance. But beyond that, there is a meta-cognition aspect – making people aware that they are biased in their own interpretations. In the case of our writer, the point of entry to the entire topic is “journalists as victims of online harassment”. I find this to be an excellent starting point for the meta-cognition discussion…. Gamergate, Sarkesian becoming a censor in chief, etc. all are excellent examples to further that discussion.

  4. If someone finds a way to cough on me through the computer, then I’d definitely be worried.

  5. And lo, the pestilence did go forward and did devastate the earth, but the people of the Internet heeded it not, for they were hunched over their keyboards fighting trolls.

    1. I’m stealing this.

  6. As often happens, the pressure is coming from both directions. In 2015, left-wing commentator and self-styled “social justice stormtrooper” Arthur Chu wrote an article for TechCrunch urging the repeal of Section 230 to combat the scourge of online harassment. Four years later, Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) introduced legislation to amend Section 230 by requiring large tech platforms to be “politically neutral” in moderating content, largely in response to conservative complaints about unfair enforcement of harassment policies.

    This is an excellent example of the “both sides” argument.

    The left pressures social media companies to silence right wing voices that they disagree with. The right says “stop doing that”. Therefore …. Both sides do it!!

    This isn’t a new battle. Not even new-ish. Back in the early 90’s the left was pushing the government to silence conservative voices that were rising on AM talk radio. People like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden were quite concerned that people like Rush Limbaugh were able to criticize them and espouse views that they disagreed with. So they pushed for reinstatement of the fairness doctrine, requiring that radio stations give equal time to opposing views.

    Preventing you from hearing opposing voices has been a prime strategy of the left for many, many years. Long before you were born, it was such a prevalent tactic that it was featured in popular political novels.

    But yeah… “don’t allow people I disagree with to speak” is exactly the same as “don’t prevent people from speaking freely”. Sure, “both sides” keep reaching for the power of the state to achieve their goal… but let’s not pretend there isn’t a qualitative difference between those two goals and that one isn’t a direct response to the other.

    1. “So they pushed for reinstatement of the fairness doctrine, requiring that radio stations give equal time to opposing views.”

      If I may be permitted to nitpick (better than going outside)…

      The Equal Time Rule supposedly meant equal exposure to all political *candidates* regardless of viewpoint, but Congress and the FCC gutted that requirement by allowing unequal coverage of candidates in news programs, and news programs were quite broadly defined.

      The Fairness Doctrine was a way to attack radio stations by accusing them of covering issues from just one viewpoint, which in practice meant that the safe course was to avoid controversial programming (technically the doctrine *required* public-affairs programming, but there was less risk and hassle avoiding controversial programs than in airing them and facing the near-inevitable regulatory complaints about fairness).

      1. Right… the point being, they were using political power to silence the voice of opposition. Specifically Rush Limbaugh in this case (along with a bunch of local voices doing a similar format… including a local Atlanta host named Hannity who would later become an equal pain in their rear ends).

        They were very explicit about their intentions – to get AM radio to pull programs like Limbaugh. And Nancy Pelosi was at the vanguard, pushing bills to do exactly that. They came pretty close to succeeding a couple of times too.

        Of course, now nobody is nearly as worried about AM talk radio. Now they worry about Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

        1. Here’s the biggest problem: there is no integrity in leftism.
          Indeed, it is an anti-integrity philosophical (and pathological) orientation.
          There are (some) leftists who have (some) integrity, but the movement is entirely oriented to rooting them out – whereas integrity is a stated value on the right, though of course you’ll find that there are (some) rightists who lack integrity. However, those on the right are magnitudes more likely to be shot down by others on the right, whereas leftists meet their lack of integrity with adamant denial.
          Just look at their reactions to antifa – a leftist group who claims anarchism and to fight fascism, but employs literally fascist behavior to push for omnipotent government.
          You see it especially on Quora – where popular rightists are dedicated to the “be nice, be respectful” standards and self-policing, while leftists spew non-stop invective and jump in to back each other up. No amount of mistruths or denial is held back. There is no hesitation to call their opponents “deplorable” while blaming those same opponents, in the same sentence, for being “divisive”.
          This is how you have the eunuchs of the world, as you point out, jumping in with the “both sides” mantra – it allows them to passive-aggressively promote leftism while claiming neutrality/non-partisanship.
          The right has been effectively slandered as “uncool” so pervasively that leftists can still claim to themselves that they’re being “rebellious” and “counter-culture” even as they support the status quo power structure and groupthink culture.
          Keep in mind: progressivism is totalitarian, no matter whether it’s nazism, communism, fascism, socialism, islamism, or (the long march wolf in sheep’s clothing) social democracy.
          The end is to create New Man through central planning and brutal force, and it justifies all means

          1. You have fallen into the media’s trap of redefining rightism and leftism.

            “there is no integrity in leftism”

            There is none in politics in general, whether left or right. But the media have been harping for so long that the slightest deviation from Progressivism is hard right, that you have subconsciously picked up on that recentering: what to most people used to be moderates or centrists is now considered hard right.

            1. No SQRLSY it is you who have it wrong. You’re misunderstanding what he means by “integrity” and then applying your oen faulty defintion to reach a bad conclusion.

              1. I’m giving up trying to communicate with you, egomaniacal Tulpa. Discussing anything with you is like talking to a brick wall. Too stupid to talk politics, you are, and too evil to talk ethics. All you can do, is to talk shit (and lies). TRY to have a good life! Goodbye, troll!

            2. “There is none in politics in general, whether left or right. But the media have been harping for so long that the slightest deviation from Progressivism is hard right, that you have subconsciously picked up on that recentering: what to most people used to be moderates or centrists is now considered hard right.”

              So you’re agreeing with me…

          2. You are half right. There is no integrity in any philosophy when it is based largely on ideology and inhibits reason.

            And the right is just as full of ideologues as the left, and always has been. Just because progressives have taken center stage and now dominate the public face of liberalism does not mean that religious and nationalist conservatives are any less ideological, and have any more integrity.

            1. “And the right is just as full of ideologues as the left, and always has been. Just because progressives have taken center stage and now dominate the public face of liberalism does not mean that religious and nationalist conservatives are any less ideological, and have any more integrity”

              Here is where we see one whose ideology is dedicated to that “above the fray” third position which requires calling both sides equal.
              However anything beyond a shallow, dogmatic analysis reveals such a rigid position to be erroneous.
              Indeed, you can’t finish the thought without refuting it yourself:
              “progressives have taken center stage and now dominate the public face of liberalism”

          3. Progtardian Mantra: Principals over Principles.

    2. This is an excellent example of the “both sides” argument.

      Also, ‘wet roads cause rain’.

      The CDA was written and passed by what, at the time, was considered to be the dying remnants of ‘The Moral Majority’. Amazon and Google couldn’t do business on an internet where p2p sharing, goatse, and horse porn roamed freely. So, Congress loosed the reins that prevented these content management services from dominating and policing online content. Reason defends the last shred of control exerted by Republicans that are the singular essence of what they hate about Republicanism.

      Every cry of ‘The GOP war on porn’ rings hollow because it’s between possible and likely that, in 10-15 yrs., Reason will be defending any given policy as the last vestiges of the 1A for sex workers. Sure, whatever replaces Twitter mobs will be destroying mom and pop businesses but immigrant hookers will be legal (and cheap!) in LA!

  7. A Twitter user once accused me of doxing her because I mentioned a job listed in her public Twitter profile.

    And Twitter then banned that user?

  8. The sense of urgency is amplified by shoddy analysis, politically driven double standards, and “do something!” calls to action—action that often involves speech suppression.

    That ignores the root of the problem. Internet speech is unedited publishing, not ordinary speech. If you demand a right to publish without editing, that means you demand as a matter of right a power to instigate every harm which publishing can deliver—and publishing can deliver catastrophic harm.

    For centuries, until the internet intervened, the public was largely protected from that harm by the practice of private editing. When you suggest that it is illegitimate to attempt control of harms created by this novel means of unedited publishing—and go farther to assert that what private editors had previously done amounts to “speech suppression”—you become an advocate for unlimited harm.

    That remains true whether or not the suggested means of control actually do threaten to suppress speech, or even to do it illegitimately. This novel aspect of internet publishing is a more complicated problem than the nostrums of free-speech fundamentalism can solve.

    Nor is it a solution to suggest the answer must include as a new social norm a forced tolerance for unlimited harm from publishing. Down that road lies a widespread revolt against the very concept of free speech—a revolt that would likely put an end to what you are trying to protect.

    1. Interesting take…

      The root of the problem is the existence of the ability to publish without editing.

      I wonder how this comports with the knowledge that the “solution” remains the same as before the existence of internet publishing – namely “silence my opponents”. In the 90’s the great threat was from the ability of people on the radio to offer their unfiltered views. Decades before that, writers like Huxley and Orwell warned of the desires of men to control what people see and hear.

      As in everything, I suppose what one sees as “the root of the problem” really depends on where one deigns to cast their gaze.

    2. publishing can deliver catastrophic harm

      Please provide an example or two.

      1. Richard Jewel comes to mind.

        1. Or the Duke lacrosse scandal.

          But are these things due to “publishing” per se?

          1. True, there are government components to those two.
            UVA has some fraternity brothers who were pretty seriously libeled by Rolling Stone.

      2. publishing can deliver catastrophic harm

        Please provide an example or two.

        Mein Kampf, Das Kapital, The Motorcycle Diaries, Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

        Less overtly, The War Of The Worlds (The ’38 radio drama). Maybe unfair to categorize the outcome as catastrophic but certainly unfair to describe it as “not harmless free speech”.

        History is replete with hoaxes that, on an individual or local basis were harmless but, when (re)broadcast in a different medium, out of context, or to the wrong/inappropriate audience caused varying degrees of harm.

        Being clear; I’m not saying all hoaxes or publishing should be illegal, but “Since when has the media ever done anything untrue or harmful?” is a pretty stupid stance.

        1. certainly *not* unfair to describe it as “not harmless free speech”

    3. idk, i think the horse left this barn sometime around the time Gutenberg invented the printing press. Surely by the time the computer printer was invented, but you’ve had tabloids and pamphleteers even before then. Is the internet a little more convenient? Sure. But it’s not a difference in kind.

      I find it amusing that you think you have to destroy free speech in order to save it. That’s… mind-boggling, to say the least.

      The better solution has already been proposed by tech thinkers and authors like Neil Stephenson (who attributed the concept to someone else that I’m forgetting offhand) – post (or cause to be posted) so many contradictory lies about yourself, that any attempt to smear you will be treated with extreme skepticism.

    4. It’s also publishing with payment, contracts, advertising, literary agents, lawyers, and publishing houses. In other words, it’s not publishing.

    5. Huh. Ever hear of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? How about Rise of a Nation? Many, many lies have been edited and then disseminated.

    6. Stephen Lathrop
      March.22.2020 at 9:06 am
      “That ignores the root of the problem…”

      There is no “problem” regardless of your special pleading.
      Fuck off.

      1. “Fuck off slaver” would be a more appropriate rejoinder.

  9. As with many of these issues, a very specific, special set of people seem to have the right hear or read only agreeable thoughts. As for the rest of us, we can go fuck ourselves.

    No sale. A single standard for everyone or shut up.

    1. That’s why I mentioned the slashdot model above.

      For the uninitiated, the problem of the racist troll isn’t new. From the beginning of online anonymous speech, nearly every discussion was spammed with generic racist insults.

      Slashdot created a way to deal with this problem, and with the more subtle problem of people who just go around starting arguments.

      They created a moderation system. But not some “supervisor” system where they control what is posted, but a system where the users themselves got the chance to mark posts as “informative” or “troll” or “flamebait”. In this way, trolling posts got moderated down, and users could filter them out.

      In order to help ensure that moderation was fair, they introduced meta-moderation. A moderate the moderator system. So users could examine the moderation of a post and agree or disagree with the assessment. As a result, each user earned a reputation as either a fair moderator or an unfair moderator.

      The final step is to allow users a limited amount of power to moderate. They doled out 5 moderator points at intervals to trusted individuals. The more trust, the more often you get points to use.

      It is a system that works fairly well. At the peak of Slashdot, you rarely saw the ranting racist posts, even though they still existed.

      Nobody needed to ban anyone. The group just handled it.

      But we chose not to follow that model for online discussions.

      Instead, Twitter, Facebook et. al. operate on a “show me people who agree with me” model. I suppose that’s also valid, but it did lead to people being much less well equipped to deal with disagreement.

      1. All systems that allow users to moderate other users becomes a rush to majority rule. See comment thumbs up or thumbs down systems. The Hill is a glaring example where the leftist mod ended up getting hundreds of conservative commenters actually banned from the site for saying #JoinMugClub during Vox Adpocalpyse due to the automatic downvote from the overwhelming democratic users there. Anytime there is a system that allows the majority to hide the minority, it leads to abuse.

        1. That’s where meta-moderation offers an improvement. By allowing random users to vote as to whether a particular moderation is fair, you can begin to weed out “motivated moderation”.

          Of course, that system requires a sufficient mass of honorably motivated users. A complete cesspool like Jezebel would never work that way – 90% choir is going to invite choir preaching, after all.

          Reddit goes with a version of room moderators plus crowd up and down votes. This works in some places, fails in others. I think the slashdot model is better, because it eliminates a central power (the moderator) and creates a group ethos.

          But there is probably no system that can survive a sufficient mass of ill-intentioned users.

          1. But there is probably no system that can survive a sufficient mass of [progressivism]

      2. The slashdot meta-moderation was a fantastic but obvious innovation. It was self-limiting: cranks who moderated politically got politically meta-moderated by both oppositely-political cranks and the non-political who hated all political cranks. New cranks would get moderation points sooner or later, but quickly disappear into moderation oblivion. Every once in a while, a good comment would get politically moderated into oblivion too; but the political moderators would then disappear quickly.

        It also made it obvious to readers how maintaining a good comment field requires user participation, which I think helped cut down on political moderation. For a while, it seemed to be a game to see how long crank posts could stay up and how long political moderators could remain active, but that novelty wore off too.

        I wish user moderation and meta-moderation were common practice. If disqus were to adopt it, I’d be much happier with disqus.

        1. And if two, just two commenters thought that meta-moderation was a good idea….

          Well, they’d think they were both gay and toss them out.

          #Alice’sRestaurant

          1. And three … can you imagine three moderators meta-moderating?

            1. HnR moderation system:

              -Shut up, Tulpa!
              -Shut up, Trumper!
              -F Off, Slaver!
              -I agree with this comment, but the author doesn’t fully understand libertarian principles..

              1. …and sneer.

      3. Then again many comments are accused of being racist simply by disagreeing with the accuser.
        A few years ago IMDB had user comments attached to each subject (movie, actor. etc)
        Seemingly almost every one had some post either asking or deciding that some segment of the subject was racist. Those usually ended up being the longest threads.
        IMDB pulled the comments soon after the Ghostbusterettes movie came out.

      4. For the uninitiated, the problem of the racist troll isn’t new. From the beginning of online anonymous speech, nearly every discussion was spammed with generic racist insults.

        Instead, Twitter, Facebook et. al. operate on a “show me people who agree with me” model. I suppose that’s also valid, but it did lead to people being much less well equipped to deal with disagreement.

        One meta issue that you’ve overlooked is that for Slashdot or other “back in the day”; even if a moderator or community booted an outright Nazi, said Nazi could find a Stormfront or 4chan community to land on and vent. Since it’s become en vogue to punch Nazis wherever they live, users of Google, Facebook, Twitter, (Paypal, You Tube, Patreon, etc., etc.) have made it these corporations’ mission to eliminate these elements from all corners of the internet.

  10. “In February 2016, I watched a blow-up in which a male Twitter user repeatedly asked a fairly big-name progressive female journalist to correct a tweet containing erroneous information; the journalist responded by tweeting at the man’s employer to accuse him of “hounding strange women on Twitter during work hours” (and by mobilizing her followers to dogpile him as a harasser).”

    Hounding strange women on Twitter, eh? Well, the woman certainly sounds strange, and a hound is a dog, so the accusation is probably true.

    1. And half the hounds are bitches – – – – – –

  11. Private companies can decide what happens on their property. Many women find on dating apps, many men send rude messages or unsolicited dick picks. So if apps reduce the ability of men to be rude it keeps women on the sites. If the women leave, then the men won’t have a reason to pay a membership fee for the service.

    Many female journalists receive rape threats if they report on something certain readers don’t like. Male journalists just receive a critique of what they wrote. Most famous reporters have staff that filter messages so some intern is reading threats and receiving the unsolicited dick pics, but the problem is if you can anonymous (or you feel anonymous) many are emboldened to be assholes. People are far less likely to make these comments in person where social sanctions will cause them to lose friends or get punched in the face, but when there is no social penalty, people will be cruel. Yes, it can come from anywhere on the political spectrum.

    So to make the platforms enjoyable and usable for a wider group of people, many companies do limit what speech people can say on them. If people decide your platform is a sewer and stop showing up, then it won’t survive.

    1. I think your assumption that only women receive vile threats over the internet is simply incorrect.

      Dudes get equally vile threats and insults. The impact of those comments might be different – “I’m gonna rape your gay ass” isn’t as likely to be taken as a serious possibility by a dude after all. But that doesn’t mean the comments are all about the content of the argument.

      Here’s a non-political example from SciManDan. He’s a science communicator. He chooses some “substantive” responses to his videos. He mostly skips the “die you fag” type threat/insults… but you’ll definitely have to agree that he gets plenty of responses that are not polite debate points about content. (and for some reason, that environment is full of trans insults, so bonus.)

      1. It’s not that only women receive threats. It’s that only women matter. And if you examine the subject at length, you’ll learn that only specific subsets of women matter. Everyone else is third class rabble or otherwise undeserving because reasons.

        1. This.

          They only study the problem for protected classes, and don’t compare it to the base rate for the class that doesn’t matter – straight white men.

          Much like “violence against women” and #blacklivesmatter.

          Men are more often victims of violent crime than women. Men receive online threats all the time too. The particular example they gave of someone subscribing a female journalist to spam lists could happen to anyone. The joy of identitarianism is turning every interpersonal upset into identitarian fear, hatred, and resentment.

          1. Yup.

            It’s pretty easy to see that male journalists, whether they work for a Chinese newspaper or a French satirical magazine, are jailed and or executed at vastly disparate rates around the world.

            Moreover, as you point out, just speaking about raping women is regarded as a threat even when uttered by a comedian in public, in the context of their comedy routine to someone they don’t have the means, motive, or opportunity to rape, but speaking about raping men is always a joke, even when done as a threat.

    2. “Many female journalists receive rape threats if they report on something certain readers don’t like. Male journalists just receive a critique of what they wrote. ”

      Could be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. Do you actually believe this?

      1. It’s both amazing and horrifying that so many really seem to believe that kind of obviously delusional shit.

        That’s what happens when cultural Marxists control the means of indoctrination.

    3. We literally just last week had a female reporter yell racism and sexism over bad math even though the male reporter was also receiving demeaning comments his way.

      1. Jesse, riddle me this:

        If the woke-folk, and the media, and Government Almighty, are NOT going to protect us from stuff-and-stuff, OUTRAGEOUS stuff even, like the below, then WHO IS? WHO is gonna PROTECT US, Jesse?!!?

        https://thereal.com/2020/03/18/tori-spelling-slammed-for-racist-pic-of-daughter-during-quarantine/
        Tori Spelling Slammed for ‘Racist’ Pic of Daughter During Quarantine

        Scroll down a bit for the racist pic, but be PREPARED to be OFFENDED!!! In spades, if I may say so!

        1. You know I dont read your inane drivel right? All you do is misconstrue arguments. This is especially true when you are confused by words and their common meaning in a discussion. You repeatedly prove this behavior of yours over and over. At least on your other sock you attempt sophomoric forms of reasoning. I’ll occassionally respond to that sock.

          1. OK, sure, fine, calm down now, Jesse… PLEASE don’t beat the shit out of the horrible racists like Tori Spelling and her daughter! I didn’t mean to call for a lynching! Really, now!

            (To be safe, REALLY safe, even though I deeply hate Tori Spelling for being such a racist… I am going to recommend to her, through friends of my friends, that she take our a “protective court order” against JesseSPAZ)! Stay AWAY from Tori Spelling, JesseSPAZ!

            1. Just. Shut. Up.

    4. Many female journalists receive rape threats if they report on something certain readers don’t like. Male journalists just receive a critique of what they wrote.

      As a non-journalist female who has used the internet for uh, forever, I’ve noticed it’s only the female JOURNALISTS who supposedly receive rape threats.

      Meanwhile, non-journalist females and males have pretty much the same kinds of interactions online. Good interactions with friends and family, but occasional flaming and trolling occurs.
      Which brings me to another point, back when only nerds used the internet…it was just accepted that people were a lot ballsier online and could be real jerks. Now that everyone is online, nothing has changed about that culture except that the people who have been coddled in society can’t handle that others have new ways to tell them their honest opinion.

      1. This post must be false. There are no female libertarians, and definitely no females post on HnR. There once was a myth of female libertarians, but that has been debunked.

        QED…

      2. “Which brings me to another point, back when only nerds used the internet…it was just accepted that people were a lot ballsier online and could be real jerks”

        The good old Usenet days when flaming was a widely appreciated art form.

        1. I still post on Usenet newsgroups like soc.culture.israel and uk.legal.

          A regular commenter frequently calls me a gook and accuses me of sucking rectums.

          1. Stop, you’re making me misty.

      3. As a non-journalist female who has used the internet for uh, forever, I’ve noticed it’s only the female JOURNALISTS who supposedly receive rape threats.

        Meanwhile, non-journalist females and males have pretty much the same kinds of interactions online. Good interactions with friends and family, but occasional flaming and trolling occurs.
        Which brings me to another point, back when only nerds used the internet…it was just accepted that people were a lot ballsier online and could be real jerks. Now that everyone is online, nothing has changed about that culture except that the people who have been coddled in society can’t handle that others have new ways to tell them their honest opinion.

        Pics or GTFO.

    5. “any female journalists receive rape threats if they report on something certain readers don’t like”

      What utter horseshit.

      Occasionally some Aspie will say something stupid because they’re deranged, but the threat is never credible.

      In the vast majority of cases however, those “rape threats” originated on the journalist’s own computer. The Jussie Smollet technique is an old one for hacks trying to stamp out legitimate criticism of shoddy work.
      If you’re not white your critics are racist and part of an online lynch mob, if you’re female your critics are sexist and issuing rape threats, if you’re a white male your critics are incels and you’re receiving death threats.

      It’s so slimy and disgusting.

    6. “Male journalists just receive a critique of what they wrote.”

      Not true. I send them pictures of black dicks and sometimes I even scrawl messages on the wall with my own feces and send them a photograph of it. I get rather creative.

      I don’t want to send him a rape threat though.

      He could call me a “faggot”.

  12. Field dispatch from state-controlled Soviet America, week 2:

    Strangers are eyeing each other warily on the streets, yet afraid to speak or make full eye contact. Food and supplies on grocery shelves are beginning to run thin. Not a roll of toilet paper or sanitary wipes to be found anywhere. Supreme shadow commissars George Soros and Block Yomomma are blocking yo momma (and mine) from getting any as a punishment for insisting on our freedom. Soon, we may be reduced to wiping our bung-holes with rocks and leaves, much like his Kenyan relatives.

    1. Actual quote from the New York times on friday…

      “Trump Resists Pressure to Force Companies to Make Coronavirus Supplies.”

      1. Orange Hitler is so bad, he can’t even Hitler right!

        The NYT, however, certainly knows how autocracy should be done, and they’ve got Duranty’s Pulitzer to prove it.

        1. The hilarity is that multiple dem governors enforcing lockdown this weekend have mentioned trumps autocratic impulses and his racism. It is insane.

          1. You can always figure out what the Democrats are up to, by what they accuse their opponents of doing.

  13. Technology, especially social media, provides unprecedented human exposure. And for the most part, that exposure confirms that most of us can be pretty stupid.

    Before tinkering with technology, we need to answer more fundamental questions:

    Are people, as individuals and groups, “allowed” to be stupid?

    Are people, again as individuals and groups, allowed to be stupid in reaction to other peoples’ stupidity?

    Are people allowed to decide what is stupid for others?

    Are people entitled to a world without stupidity?

    1. That’s not even hard. In order: yes (and accept the consequences), yes (and ditto), no, no (nor would they know it if they had it).

      1. I agree with your answers, but I am pretty sure that most people do not. That might be OK, but when they are not even aware of these basic questions, and any divergence in opinion on the answers, they assume they have an ideological mandate to DO SOMETHING.

        So the hard part: dealing with the people who disagree.

        1. Easy: those people are stupid

    2. Stupid people are not entitled to a world without truth.

      1. Or to be sheltered from the disgrace of having their stupidity recognized and exposed by the truth.

        So much for censorship.

      2. Crazy people are not entitled to decide for the rest of us what the truth is.

        1. Crazy people believe a narrative that is without a shred of physical evidence and is soundly refuted by physical evidence.

          1. Rob Misek
            March.22.2020 at 2:24 pm
            “Crazy people believe a narrative that is without a shred of physical evidence and is soundly refuted by physical evidence.”

            Projection, thy name is fucking bigot Misek.

          2. You do realize you can visit sites like Auschwitz?
            It’s a physical place…

            1. There’s physical evidence of a regular prison camp.

              There’s an abundance of holocaust propaganda.

              There’s zero physical evidence of anyone being cyanide gassed as is required to believe the false holocaust narrative.

              The concept is ridiculous.

          3. “Crazy people believe a narrative that is without a shred of physical evidence and is soundly refuted by physical evidence.”

            All those people how laugh at you; do you think they’re Jews? They’re not; any sane person does so.
            All those people who do got the job you wanted? You think they’re Jews? Maybe, but more likely the HR rep who took your application turned around after you left and told the trainee: “See that fucking idiot? Do not EVER consider such an asshole for employment here.”
            You are a pathetic example of how far humanity can sink, and to stupid to realize it.

  14. One of the most under-reported stories of the last four years is the depths to which the public opinion of journalism has sank. A poll by Gallup just a short time before the election of Trump in 2016 showed that the American public’s opinion of the media had sank to a new low–and I maintain that Donald Trump wasn’t merely elected despite the way the news media covered him but because of the way journalists covered him. There wasn’t much else that the news media was covering except for Trump in the two weeks leading up to the election. If the American people weren’t disgusted with the coverage of him specifically, then what else were they talking about when they told Gallup they had such a low opinion of the news?

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx

    The news media has done little to rescue its reputation with average people since then, and the way they cover the issues now may be contributing significantly to legitimizing behavior that was unacceptable in the past. Support for building Trump’s wall is typically portrayed by journalists as xenophobic. Opposition to affirmative action and support for free speech are portrayed as racist. Opposition to gay marriage or sharing bathrooms with the transsexual community is portrayed as homophobic. Support for the Second Amendment is portrayed as support for mass shootings. I could go on. Suffice it to say that there isn’t anything complicated about the way issues are portrayed in the media anymore. It’s all us vs. them.

    Harassing anyone is never okay, but if you portray average Americans as xenophobic, racist, homophobic, supporters of mass shootings for holding commonly held positions on the issues, don’t be surprised if some of them take it personally and react accordingly. Assaulting opposing fans in the aftermath of a tough loss as you’re walking out of the stadium should be prosecuted as assault and battery, but if the victim was being obnoxious to drunken fans and trying to start a fight, the judge should take that into consideration during sentencing.

    I’m sure there are plenty of innocent victims out there, as well. Honest used car lots are in a tough spot. There must be some impetus on them to police their own industry so the bad apple salesmen don’t make public opinion any worse than it needs to be. The news media seems to be doing an awful job of that. Other than avoiding legal issues around libel, I’m not sure some of our major news outlets have any standards left at all. It’s like they’re immune to shame.

    1. Well said.

      The inability of Western journalists to come to terms with the level of disgust that society currently has for them, is a phenomenon that should be analyzed by scholars.
      (I’m guessing it’s theological in a way)

    2. Hi Ken, good and thoughtful write-up there as per most of your stuff-and-stuff, I would say…

      “Harassing anyone is never okay…” you say, but then also…

      “Honest used car lots are in a tough spot. There must be some impetus on them to police their own industry so the bad apple salesmen don’t make public opinion any worse than it needs to be.”

      With focus on “…police their own industry…”

      How do you balance these two? How about balancing them in on-line forums like this one? I get tired of the likes or Rob Misek, for instance, denying the Holocaust! So when I see his posts, I remind readers (especially new ones) that we are dealing with some serious whack here! As I did right here in this column…

      Then there’s JesseAZ with WAAAAY overbroad hyperbole supporting Trump! Supporting, in turn, Trump’s own overboardism as is documented here…
      https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/02/president-trump-absolute-rights/607168/
      Donald Trump’s Strange and Dangerous ‘Absolute Rights’ Idea
      This is a profound misunderstanding of the American constitutional system.

      End titles imports

      So anyway, do you have thoughts on how to balance self-policing your group, v/s “harassing” the offenders!?

      What bugs me VERY much, is the offenders NEVER apologize, NEVER back down, even when you make their BS obvious for all to see! They are infallible (in their own minds)!

      1. It might be satisfying to get the fanbois to back down enough for an apology, but the reverse, where they amp up the crazy every time you refute them, is more successful in publicizing their crazy. You do have to keep refuting them to keep Goebbels’ big lie from winning, but others will join in as the crazy increases.

        1. Stick with one sock if you want a discussion.

          Remember, you’re a fanboy if you’ve ever agreed with trump on any policy and dont endlessly trash him every time you post. Thanks ABC for your honest analysis.

          1. Discuss this:

            https://reason.com/2020/02/07/michael-bloomberg-and-the-imperious-presidency-2/#comment-8120734

            JesseSPAZ comment: “He can fire political appointees for any fucking reason he wants.”
            Jesse’s over-archingly lusting after the super-powers of the Trumptorship YET AGAIN!!!
            Trump can fire them for not assigning their entire paychecks to Trump… For not licking Trump’s balls as much as JesseSPAZ does… For turning down Trump’s requests for then to perform personal murder-for-hire… For having fucked Stormy Daniels out of turn, when it was Trump’s turn… For Air Force Captain-Sir-Dude-Sir-Pilot-Sir refusing orders to go and bomb Nancy Pelosi’s house…

            Just when I was rooting for JesseSPAZ to turn from his evil ways, he doubles down on Trumptatorship-worship AGAIN!

            And you NEVER take back your hyperbolic lies! Not even one tiny bit!

            1. God you are soooooo fucking annoying, and stupid as well. And wrong. About almost everything.

              1. Gasbag Blowhard,
                Please listen!
                You don’t know,
                What you’re missing!
                Donald’s ass, don’t be kissin’!
                Trump won’t love you,
                He’ll push and shove you!
                He’ll take your vote,
                Then call you a goat!
                He’ll tax your money,
                Then steal your Honey!
                Your pussy, He will grab,
                Your back, He will stab!
                His-victims-routines, He’s iterating,
                Shit about YOU, He’ll be Twitterating!

                1. A form of autism; abysmal stupidity combined with a rhyming skill.
                  You should really stop embarrassing yourself here, but if you choose to continue, don’t let me stand in the way of someone’s life’s work.
                  Trueman is also dedicated to peddling bullshit; you and he should have a lot to discuss.

      2. See post above. I would day I’m glad to live in your head, but it is full of shit in there.

    3. “……. has done to rescue its reputation with average people……..”

      Seems like they have nothing but contempt for “average people”, therefore little concern for their “reputation” among them. If preaching to the woke choir is wrong, they don’t wanna be right.

      It’s all about choices. We’ll see how that works out for them.

    4. “and I maintain that Donald Trump wasn’t merely elected despite the way the news media covered him but because of the way journalists covered him. ”

      I remember when “Stop making me defend Trump” was a cry heard far and wide.

      There was a little of that for Bernie/Tulsi/Yang this time around.

      Once upon a time I was naive, and thought that the media was “biased”. Now everyone knows the #FakeNews media is the #EnemyOfThePeople, not mistakenly biased, but consciously pushing propaganda.

  15. Twitter abruptly perma-banned far-right blogger Robert Stacey McCain for “targeted abuse,” without ever pointing to actual abusive tweets. McCain, who has peddled racist fare and posted rants against homosexuality, is not a sympathetic figure.

    Far right Blogger? What does that even mean. I associate far right with guys in storm trooper uniforms or White supremacists holed up in rural Montana. McCain generally writes to needle feminists but that doesn’t seem to get you banned so just throw general racist and homophobic into the mix and Shazam, you’re gone.
    I haven’t read his site in a long time but popped over to take a look. His latest criticizes Miami gay men having a “winter party” and spreading Wuhan Flu. Legitimate or not? He does have this in the post “Once a special-interest group aligns itself with the Democratic Party, suddenly you’re forbidden to express a negative opinion of them.”

    1. Nothing exposes media bias more than labeling every right-of-center idea as hard right or fascist or neo-Nazi, while treating neo-communists, antifa, and democratic socialists as mainstream.

      Stalin murdered more people than Hitler and the NYT’s Duranty covered up for him. FDR’s praise for Mussolini and Hitler is still unacknowledged. There is not much else you need to know.

      1. It’s funny whenever that gets mentioned, there is always some far left wing apologist who says the Russians and Chinese starving their citizens was unintended or accidental, and somehow doesn’t count compared to the German camps or aggression.

        They are truly living the Animal Farm life if they believe that nonsense. But ideology warps the brain.

      2. Think you have to call yourself a trump fanboi now based on your own logical assertions.

        1. *snicker* the way you respond to so many of my posts makes me think your are *my* fanboi.

    2. Nazis were national socialists. Communists are international socialists.

      They’ve accomplished the trick of convincing people that from far right to far left, all political ideologies are simply flavors of totalitarian socialism.

    3. And this part isn’t even remotely true; “McCain, who has peddled racist fare and posted rants against homosexuality”

      Stacy McCain can be an asshole, but he isn’t a racist and he doesn’t post “post rants against homosexuality”.
      Instead he doggedly criticizes rent seeking and authoritarian behavior among special interest groups and the insular, culturally radical elite.

      Cathy Young knows this of course but has chosen to lie, immediately undermining her entire argument.
      Sleazy behaviors like this is why contemporary journalism is so hated.

    4. More evidence of Reason leftism

  16. I have never had these problems. But then, I treat social media like what it is, the ‘bad’ part of town where it is never a good idea to wander around.
    This site is as close as I get, and it has enough reminders in each article’s comments to reinforce my decision.

  17. “In late 2014, a few months after Hess’ influential article, the internet conflagration known as GamerGate—in which various members of the video game community battled over sexism in the gaming industry and press—broke out.”

    If you claim that it was about sexism and not ethics in journalism like it was then you may get harassed online and it will have nothing to do with sexism, but rather poor journalism on your part.

    I see you claiming sexism though. They all do instead of admitting they got it wrong.

  18. If your first example of harassment is getting spam emails, then you’re not off to a convincing start. Turn up your spam filter and stop crying.

    Meanwhile, how many people are losing their livelihood because the media is currently creating panic?

    But when you live in a bubble, mean things said towards people in the same bubble is more important than people outside the bubble losing their job.

    1. They can always retreat back into their blue checkmark heaven where they prefer to spend their time anyways.

  19. Online harassment only exists for willing victims too cowardly and callow to hit the Block button.

    1. The second you block someone they just take to the rest of the web and you wind up being a racist, rapist, pedo, and who knows what else according to every search engine. That’s when the real damage is done. Then when your family member’s employer is getting put on blast it goes to stage 2.

      Direct harassment is the easiest to deal with. You just delete.

  20. Many years before the internet was even an idea, a friend told me about how a family was harassed by some teens it had pissed off. It went beyond ordering pizza deliveries. They signed the family up for every magazine through those inserts that came in magazines, record clubs, credit cards, catalogues. They received items C.O.D. They also had many service people called out to their home. Even an inground pool contractor to measure for installation. The harassment dragged out over a year.

  21. . . . the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), . . . issued a report on what it called a major threat to journalists—particularly female journalists—in the United States and Canada: online harassment

    Hmm, I wonder what the major threats to journalists – particularly female journalists – is in Saudi Arabia?

    A Texas-based freelancer suddenly found her inbox flooded with spam, from sale promotions to fake job offers, and realized that someone had subscribed her to dozens of email lists; she suspected that the culprit was a bigoted commenter previously banned from a website for which she wrote. It was, the report quoted her as saying, “kind of scary.”

    If this is the anecdote they open up with about ‘online harassment’ then that report better be *praising* how great the United States and Canada are for journalists – particularly female journalists.

    1. “Hmm, I wonder what the major threats to journalists – particularly female journalists – is in Saudi Arabia?”

      See Lara Logan for details.

    2. I wonder who the CPJ members voted for in 2008, 2012, and 2016?

  22. Trolling seems to be the leading cause of online harassment.
    But then is it really harassment if you start out trying to provoke those you disagree with?

  23. How Bad Is Online Harassment?

    Just look at all those websites out there with unmoderated comment sections! There’s…uh…umm…give me a second…

  24. Committee to protect journalists? Cathy Young’s back?

    I’m laughing too hard right now. Most Twitter “journalists” are just left wing activists trying to quell free speech since it threatens their cultural marxist agenda. Journalists don’t seem to care about projecting people whose reputations and life is destroyed by their known false reporting (the Covington Kentucky kids) or actually lose their lives (the Police in NYC and Dallas killed by pushing the known false Ferguson narrative.

    Most people just have little empthathy for journalists given he damage they have done to liberty and people who are in their minds “guilty” by their ancestry and gender.

    Twitter and all social media should just allow free speech..with the only exception if someone is physically threatening someone else. If not..”sticks and stones..”

    Please woke journalists grow a “pair”

    1. “…Most people just have little empthathy for journalists given he damage they have done to liberty and people who are in their minds “guilty” by their ancestry and gender…”
      I live in SF and read the Chron every morning with some coffee. The comics section is becoming the major value; the ‘news’ is lefty crap/NYT/AP feeds; the columnists are likely Bernie bros or possibly to the left of that.
      I’ve managed to live through the daily ‘horror’; the writers can put up with those calling them lefty fucking ignoramuses.

      “…Twitter and all social media should just allow free speech..with the only exception if someone is physically threatening someone else. If not..”sticks and stones..”…”
      If I can live through CNN feeds in the dentist’s waiting room, writers can STFU.

  25. Rob Misek
    March.22.2020 at 7:03 am
    “Free speech is self supporting when lying is a crime.”

    Not only do we have a scumbag bigot who claims to believe the Nazi camps were ‘delousing’ stations which didn’t quite work correctly, but this same blithering idiot would presume to outlaw “lies”.
    This goes beyond garden-variety stupidity; it’s suggestive of brain damage from some cause or other.

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  27. What I find disturbing is the coursing of culture with the internet. Anonymity seem to make people think they can say things and use language that they would not use in public. When I was taught manner they were for use at all times not just when the teacher or your parents were watching. There is seem to be a belief that bad language and accusations makes a better case for your argument that do facts. My suggestion is if you can not make your case without calling people names or using vulgarities, then you need not make it at all, I enjoy good and thoughtful comment whether I agree with them or not. I skip over name calling and swearing.

    1. Manners? For whom?

      Look around you at the world we’ve created.

      People starving with others in opulence.
      Invading nations, killing their citizens,destroying their infrastructure and controlling their governments.
      Mothers murdering their babies by the millions every year in abortion.
      Making biological weapons and releasing them upon the world.

      While you pine for a “please and thank you“ to make the world a better place.

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  30. The feminist left wants a world where they can libel and slander anyone they want with impunity, but if you push back you are a sexist bigot guilty of thought crime and violence (even when none occurs).

    It all stopped being about “equality” decades ago. Now it’s just about getting everyone else to bend the knee forever.

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