Cancel culture

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Bewildered
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Bewildered » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:06 am

Tessa K wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:10 pm


On no-platforming: It's not as if people are being denied any public access at all. Refusing to debate someone doesn't silence them entirely and it is better to have opinions out in public where they can be countered if necessary. I wouldn't debate a Creationist for example because that would imply some parity between their beliefs and science but that doesn't stop them spreading their beliefs elsewhere.
This is entirely correct, but I feel like it ignores far more than it addresses. yes no platformimg is not censorship and they can speak in other ways, but it does inhibit the free flow of ideas and control them in ways that do not really depend on the correctness of those ideas. It may be easy to think it is fine because they can communicate in other ways and important to deny bigotted views a platform when it is ideas you hate that are having the oxygen removed from them. However when it is ideas you support, or literally yourself, you may well feel that this strategy can be appllied to any ideas and is a dangerous way for a minority of people to prevent ideas they dislike from getting the exposure they need.

I have felt that it was wrong for Tommy Robinson to be given a platform of addressing the oxford union and as far as I can tell various forms* of restricting far right speech in the past have been necessary (though it makes the liberal free speech advocate inside me cry in pain). But I have also felt very frustrated at times when ideas i think are worth hearing get stifled (I can't think of a no-platforming example just now where i was not sympathetic to the people protesting it, but i suspect there is one). So i think it is more complicated than most people admit and normally whether people take the "this is an awful infringement of free speech" line or the "free speech does not require us to give you a platform" line is normally determined by the person's actual opinion about the specific case.

*maybe one can make an equivalence between this cancel culture from the previously dis-empowered and the way some television news channels have either chosen never to air the view of extremists (white supremacists, people advocating violence in the name of religion, etc) or views far enoughoutside of the mainstream, or when they do air them, just treat them with contempt and scorn.

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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Bewildered » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:16 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:21 pm
Mostly it's a reaction from people with the privilege of a mass audience not liking receiving feedback directly from that audience, or a part thereof. I'd personally counter the suggestion that the best way to defeat bad ideas is through persuasion. Doesn't really work for extreme bad ideas particularly.
i would say the first sentence could be how people react to complaints about "trolls" (the new media definition) spouting abuse and bigotry at celebrities. and the second sentence will have been used by many people to say the celebrities should stop complaining. i am not saying you are wrong to draw the line between abuse and the broader things complained about here, that is perfectly sensible, i just think its worth keeping in mind as some reference point.

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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Bewildered » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:18 am

lpm wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:45 pm
I know you realise "without the threat of reprisal" is in the context of extreme online abuse, being doxxed, your employer targeted with demands for your firing, people who follow you on social media being abused, co-workers being attacked for their associations with you...

Who here has ever joined a mob asking for someone to be fired?

Or has actually phoned/emailed an employer demanding someone be sacked?

For example:
Hi @UniofOxford, can you please release a statement confirming your Deputy Director of External Affairs and International Strategy has been fired by the end of the day.
Who here, apart from EPD, thinks this sort of reprisal is acceptable?
people here have expressed hope that people at risk of getting fired for bad-doing that is unrelated to their work, do actually lose their job as a result.
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:54 pm

I'm sure we can all think of examples where calling for someone to be fired would be completely acceptable or completely unacceptable, and obviously twitter mobs will have done both.
I agree, but I do think that it is wrong to call for people to be fired for bad things they did in their private life and I think that is line that trampeled over recently by the left. It frustrates me because I see it as job protection issue for workers against powerful employees, but when the incident itself involves the worker punching down to someone with less power, much maybe most fo the left now is fine with then taking that to the job threat level. sometimes there are reasons to with an element fo the job being affected by the bad thing, and in some cases I agreed but in many i think the connection was too flimsy.

NB I started writing this ebfore reading subsequent posts. People have brought out various examples, and yes I agree it depends on exavctly how relevant it is. A GP who is demonstrably unfit or dangerous in their work based on thing that have been revealed outside of their work would eb fair game, but sometimes this kind of argument has been used in far too tenuous circumstances. And sometimes there is no such argument at all.

Tessa K wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:34 pm


And perhaps people who want to express what they know will be contentious opinions should choose more carefully what medium they express them in. Twitter is never going to be a good place for any opinion that requires space for nuance and clarification. Anyone posting there surely knows by now what kind of response they will get, rightly or wrongly. If you're any kind of communicator as a career, judging the audience is/should be part of your skillset. The climate at the moment has reached fever pitch and anyone stoking the flames shouldn't be surprised when they get burnt. That doesn't mean it's right but it's disingenuous to Tweet and then flap your hands in horror.
I am not sure if you intend it this way, but this seems to be expressing a very similar sentiment to the tweet LPM brought up "reap what you sow"

I think people on twitter should not feel it is their own fault if they mis-speak and then get twitter-mobbed and lose their job, suffer an absurd amount of stress etc. i do think people, especially people in power and influence, should be careful about what they write and how it may affect others. Indeed twitter mobbing is just another example of how words can harm, as are the many of the things the mobs are complaining about.

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Re: Cancel culture

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:04 pm

nekomatic wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:51 am
The problem with suggesting that people who don't want to be misinterpreted should stay off Twitter is that it only works if people who influence wider opinion, like journalists and politicians, agree to follow you to wherever else you're sharing your more nuanced and considered views. Otherwise it just cedes the space to the intemperate.
I'm not on twitter. I'm more than happy to cede the enormous space that the incredible depth of my insight would occupy to whomever else. Twitter's a bin fire. It's always been a bin fire. It will continue to be a bin fire. It's a pointless abyss into which people sh.t their branes, which occasionally spews out a nugget of virality which people marvel at like manna from heaven.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Tessa K » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:16 pm

Bewildered wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:18 am
Tessa K wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:34 pm

And perhaps people who want to express what they know will be contentious opinions should choose more carefully what medium they express them in. Twitter is never going to be a good place for any opinion that requires space for nuance and clarification. Anyone posting there surely knows by now what kind of response they will get, rightly or wrongly. If you're any kind of communicator as a career, judging the audience is/should be part of your skillset. The climate at the moment has reached fever pitch and anyone stoking the flames shouldn't be surprised when they get burnt. That doesn't mean it's right but it's disingenuous to Tweet and then flap your hands in horror.
I am not sure if you intend it this way, but this seems to be expressing a very similar sentiment to the tweet LPM brought up "reap what you sow"

I think people on twitter should not feel it is their own fault if they mis-speak and then get twitter-mobbed and lose their job, suffer an absurd amount of stress etc. i do think people, especially people in power and influence, should be careful about what they write and how it may affect others. Indeed twitter mobbing is just another example of how words can harm, as are the many of the things the mobs are complaining about.
No, that wasn't my intention. I meant that people need to be more aware of the likely responses to their words, think VERY carefully about how they frame their opinions, what words they choose and so on rather than just posting their first thoughts and then acting surprised. I am most definitely not in favour of Twitter mobs

There should be a social media equivalent of the carpentry/dressmaking advice: measure twice, cut once.

As to no-platforming, for me there's a difference between letting someone make a speech/give a talk and organising a debate where views can be challenged. However, one thing worth bearing in mind is that one way racists, misogynists, transphobes etc wear people down is by making them spend too much of their time countering lies and discrimination instead of achieving what they want to achieve in their lives.

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Re: Cancel culture

Post by secret squirrel » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:28 pm

I want to point out that 'cancel culture' is usually framed as something the Left does to other people, but it's actually a bipartisan issue. The right want to 'cancel' people like Colin Kaepernick, and female video game journalists etc. The center wants to 'cancel' people like, say, Leftist Labour MPs who approvingly link to interviews containing ill advised off-hand comments about Israel, and so on. Sure the narrative is that the Left, loosely defined, is worse, but where is the data? Does anyone have any?

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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Bewildered » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:34 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:28 pm
I want to point out that 'cancel culture' is usually framed as something the Left does to other people, but it's actually a bipartisan issue. The right want to 'cancel' people like Colin Kaepernick, and female video game journalists etc. The center wants to 'cancel' people like, say, Leftist Labour MPs who approvingly link to interviews containing ill advised off-hand comments about Israel, and so on. Sure the narrative is that the Left, loosely defined, is worse, but where is the data? Does anyone have any?
Yes I made the same point earlier but in a much wafflier way. As I said there it seems now to be part of social and political culture. I suspect it will be more common amongst the left in the form we discuss here though. Just because the right and centre tend to represent the establishment so they can exclude people in more subtle ways normally (simply not inviting them on their tv shows or to write in their newspapers etc).

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Re: Cancel culture

Post by lpm » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:48 pm

God, save me from people who are so thick they can only ever revert to Left and Right. There are other divisions in the world you know.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by lpm » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:55 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:04 pm
I'm not on twitter. I'm more than happy to cede the enormous space that the incredible depth of my insight would occupy to whomever else. Twitter's a bin fire. It's always been a bin fire. It will continue to be a bin fire. It's a pointless abyss into which people sh.t their branes, which occasionally spews out a nugget of virality which people marvel at like manna from heaven.
Marvellous!

It was what, 2000-2005, when we thought "oh it's just online, not the real world"? We were slow to realise how central online life is and considered it an add-on, and if women got chased off with abuse it wasn't a big deal.

Lovely to see it return in 2020! A real wave of nostalgia!

Doesn't matter if someone posting nice things about children's drawings on twitter gets p.rnographic abuse in return. Doesn't matter if a journalist can't promote her work on twitter, because it's just a pointless abyss. Doesn't matter if a new novelist gets pursued at every turn on twitter because it's just a bin fire.

Good work, EPD! You've showed us this stupid view might get old but will never die.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by lpm » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:00 pm

I'm loving the juxtaposition of Tessa's view that it's incredibly important, where people must reeducate themselves before every tweet, recognise how violent an impact a tweet can have on the vulnerable, and the serious tangible consequences of failing to "measure twice" before tweeting, alongside EPD's view that it's all-just-twitter-who-gives-a-sh.t.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Martin Y » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:06 pm

Yeah, EPD, it's your job to wade into Twitter and make everyone play nice. Just because you don't even use it doesn't mean Twitter isn't your fault.

Or something.

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Re: Cancel culture

Post by lpm » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:12 pm

For many people, it is their job to wade into Twitter. Not optional, not for fun, but a work requirement.

It's where things get publicised, careers built and contacts developed.

It's a nice privilege to have, to be able to take it or leave it.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:17 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:55 pm
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:04 pm
I'm not on twitter. I'm more than happy to cede the enormous space that the incredible depth of my insight would occupy to whomever else. Twitter's a bin fire. It's always been a bin fire. It will continue to be a bin fire. It's a pointless abyss into which people sh.t their branes, which occasionally spews out a nugget of virality which people marvel at like manna from heaven.
Marvellous!

It was what, 2000-2005, when we thought "oh it's just online, not the real world"? We were slow to realise how central online life is and considered it an add-on, and if women got chased off with abuse it wasn't a big deal.

Lovely to see it return in 2020! A real wave of nostalgia!

Doesn't matter if someone posting nice things about children's drawings on twitter gets p.rnographic abuse in return. Doesn't matter if a journalist can't promote her work on twitter, because it's just a pointless abyss. Doesn't matter if a new novelist gets pursued at every turn on twitter because it's just a bin fire.

Good work, EPD! You've showed us this stupid view might get old but will never die.
Yeah, again, you're talking about abuse, rather than cancellation. It doesn't really have anything to do with this thread, is the problem. It's its own thing, separate, and with its own problems. By all means conflate the two and then hypocritically accuse other people of being stupid, but it doesn't really help your floundering argument.

The fact that twitter refuses to properly deal with abuse is twitter's fault, and one of the main reasons it's a bin fire. I'd love it if women, transpeople, gay people, black people could post things on twitter without a reasonably constant barrage of abuse. But twitter has decided that they like it that way, and people still use it. It's still separate from the point of this thread though.

The point in relation to this thread if people decide to post opinions in a place where huge numbers of people can see your opinions, don't be surprised if people decide in large numbers that they don't like your opinions, and then tell you their opinions about that in large numbers. Which is what the letter complains about.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:19 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:12 pm
For many people, it is their job to wade into Twitter. Not optional, not for fun, but a work requirement.

It's where things get publicised, careers built and contacts developed.

It's a nice privilege to have, to be able to take it or leave it.
Seeing as 80% of twitter users are, according to this, "affluent millennials", the privilege appears to rest with those who do use twitter. Curious.

ETA: That stat appears to be b.llsh.t, seeing as it then says 64% of users are between the ages of 18-49, but hey.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by secret squirrel » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:26 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:48 pm
God, save me from people who are so thick they can only ever revert to Left and Right. There are other divisions in the world you know.
Yes obviously. Who said there weren't?

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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Tessa K » Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:51 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:00 pm
I'm loving the juxtaposition of Tessa's view that it's incredibly important, where people must reeducate themselves before every tweet, recognise how violent an impact a tweet can have on the vulnerable, and the serious tangible consequences of failing to "measure twice" before tweeting, alongside EPD's view that it's all-just-twitter-who-gives-a-sh.t.
I'm not saying that people must re-educate themselves before every tweet but if you're posing as someone who has some kind of expertise or even understanding of an issue, make sure you do. That's all. Like the people claiming that the British were the first to end slavery so yay us and that it ended under Queen Victoria. It would take two minutes to find out this is wrong before using it as a stick to try and beat a black historian with.

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Re: Cancel culture

Post by lpm » Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:20 pm

EPD, because you don't visit the wonders of the twitter internet page on the World Wide Web you appear to have misunderstood most of what this is about. Here is a brief explainer.

What you think it is about:

- people getting attacked for saying homosexuals are all evil and going to hell
- people getting attacked for saying women all be forced to stay at home
- people getting attacked for saying police should kick the sh.t out black people
- people getting attacked for saying trans people go round women's refuges and raping everyone
- people getting attacked for saying good things about apartheid South Africa

What it is actually about:

- people getting attacked for using the term "urban crime"
- people getting attacked for having a boyfriend who supports Trump
- people getting attacked for saying closing a public park to white people is problematic

What you think it is about:

- abuse on twitter is completely separate from being cancelled and has nothing to do with this thread

What it is actually about:

- abuse on twitter is a key component of cancel culture, because the main aim of abusers is to drive people off the internet, force them to self-cancel and intimidate any onlookers from daring to rise the subject online
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Stephanie » Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:56 pm

But that is a feature of twitter, and of twitter's algorithms, to an extent. Dunks are the currency.

If I snarkily QT someone, because I think they've said something sh.t, I'm just one person and it's a difference of opinion. But if 99 other people all also quote that same person, to say what they said was sh.t, then that looks more like a mob. Now, when I did my QT, I might not have believed or realised that I was part of a mob, I might have just thought - "that was a sh.t tweet", QT'd and then thought no more of it. To the person who has received 100 QTs, it feels a bit different.

So I think sometimes people are unwittingly part of a mob, rather than deliberately organising to drive someone off. It's something I try to think about. I try to avoid dunking folk in QTs, particularly if they have less followers than me. I also think that deliberately provocative people (Katie Hopkins, for eg) used the dunk to drive their tweets across twitter.

But the thing is, this happens for all sorts of things, none of which are political, and all of which are the function of a site which can sometimes propel your tweet out of your own group to all sorts of others. I once tweeted that I thought the tears of joy/cry laughing emoji was the sign of a w.nker, the replies and QTs meant it went out of my circle, and then someone blocked me for judging people on emojis. I mostly found it pretty funny, but it could have easily got out of hand had it gone much further (I also get a significant rise in creepy DMs if my tweets get numbers).
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by plodder » Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:57 pm

I think what we’re saying is that monolithic social media entities breed odd cultures due to their algorithms. What is obviously needed are loads of cross compatible micro-media forums with their own algorithms but all part of the wider social media universe.

This basically means breaking up twitter and facebook and making them open source.

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Re: Cancel culture

Post by lpm » Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:24 pm

There are absolutely 100% orchestrated mobs, who collate behind the scenes and organise concerted attacks. It includes emails and in-person action. For example, the petition re. Steven Pinker wasn't conducted on twitter.

I'm surprised so many people are minimising it, given those who will lose the most will always be the most vulnerable or isolated or powerless fragments of the population.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by plodder » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:12 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:24 pm
There are absolutely 100% orchestrated mobs, who collate behind the scenes and organise concerted attacks. It includes emails and in-person action. For example, the petition re. Steven Pinker wasn't conducted on twitter.

I'm surprised so many people are minimising it, given those who will lose the most will always be the most vulnerable or isolated or powerless fragments of the population.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Millennie Al » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:42 am

Stephanie wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 3:27 pm
So what meaning of "you reap what you sow" do you think he meant in this context?
It seems that the situation is rather more complex than portrayed. Ash Sarkar is known for humour - it's mentioned on her Wikipedia page, and she has said things which she would have known (and likely intended) would wind up people who disagree with her views, such as racists and right-wingers. In the incident in question she posted a photo of her eating an orange lolly with three orange symbols. This was just after three people were murdered in a knife attack in Reading and it appears that some people thought that the three oranges symbolised the three murder victims and the photo of her enjoying herself was some sort of endorsement of the murders. If someone thinks that she has been deliberately ambiguous to be provocative in the past, they might view this misunderstanding of her tweet as only to be expected for not previously being entirely humourlessly plain and direct in her tweets (I'm not familiar with her tweets, so I cannot say if she has been ambiguously provocative in them in the past). That might be what was meant by "you reap what you sow". It might be observational rather than malicious or gloating.

See https://mobile.twitter.com/AyoCaesar/st ... 29/photo/1

But regardless, Twitter should never be more than a starting point for a discussion as it does not provide space for carefully presented arguments - nor carefully presented responses. It's very nature makes for grotesque oversimplification.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Millennie Al » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:51 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:19 am
Edit: Just another point - you might not like it, but someone writing to an employer, whether officially or on twitter, demanding they be fired is itself freedom of speech. The employer is free to acquiesce, investigate, refuse or ignore them. Or are you saying that freedom of speech should only apply to people who write extraordinarily popular books about wizards?
Obviously the making of the demand is exercising freedom of speech, and no supporter of freedom of speech can condemn it without hypocrisy, but the employer taking action, unless that action consists solely of speech, is not exercising freedom of speech, so a supporter of freedom of speech can consistently claim that an employer disciplining or firing an employee solely because of something they said - even if it resulted in numerous complaints - is infringing freedom of speech.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Millennie Al » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:56 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 4:29 pm
I think we need some evidence about what kind of things people would like to be discussing and who is put off from participating.
Don't you think it is inherently a bit difficult to find examples of things people didn't say because they were afraid to say them?
The examples that they give
Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.
mostly suggest occasions where people have plenty of opportunity to express themselves carefully. If what they've expressed makes innocent people feel unwelcome or unsafe then they probably do have a case to answer, though permanently banning them from public life is maybe a bit extreme. Is that actually common, though?
How could you possilbly tell? There could be many people who see the consequences in those examples and, quite sensibly, self-censor.
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Re: Cancel culture

Post by Millennie Al » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:02 am

Tessa K wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:16 pm
I meant that people need to be more aware of the likely responses to their words, think VERY carefully about how they frame their opinions, what words they choose and so on rather than just posting their first thoughts and then acting surprised. I am most definitely not in favour of Twitter mobs
That's basically saying most people shouldn't post. There's a very good reason why people are advised to get legal representation when being questioned or when in court. Most people are not very good at expressing themselves and need someone else to help them. In some cases the way people express themselves can give a completely false impression. You are effectively saying that only the most articulate are entitled to express their opinions without fear and intimidation.
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