Public Shaming For Internet Behavior: A Specific Instance

122 Responses

  1. Lizard says:

    Re: Con #1. I think this is something that society will, in time, evolve to deal with, in several ways.

    First "Everything posted publicly is really, really, public, and eternal" will become more engrained into our behavior, into our basic sense of "Is this a good time/place to say this?" There's jokes I'll tell to close friends in my living room that I won't tell on a crowded bus. There's comments I'll send to friends via PM on FB that I won't make as posts.

    Second, I think social norms will evolve towards considering context and time when such things show up in searches. Sure, someone with an axe to grind will focus on the extremes, but the arguments "Well, I didn't mean it like that" or "Yeah, that was a dumb thing to say, but it was ten years ago and I was drunk" are fairly easy to prove when you can point to dozens or hundreds of statements that show the ones selected aren't typical. No human is perfect and no human should be expected to be; there's a difference between incidents of asshattery and a lifetime of it. (It is also a good habit to, if you realize you've said something regrettable, post an equally public apology *before* you're called on it.)

    Third, those doing the shaming are just as vulnerable. When you call someone else out on their behavior, you're inviting the same attention back at you. "The more I draw attention to X, the more attention I draw to me" should serve as a reasonable control on the process. As noted above, no one is perfect. Everyone will need to consider whether they can withstand the same scrutiny that they're putting others under. (This doesn't mean "Fred isn't a jerk, because Joe is the one who pointed it out, and Joe is even more of a jerk!" Just because Joe the jerk accused Fred the jerk, doesn't mean Fred is innocent. What this means is, Joe might consider how much he wants to expose Fred vs. how much he risks from Fred's friends look at Joe.)

  2. MEP says:

    I think con point 6 is the strongest of the cons. I'd say pro point 5 is actually the strongest of the pros on a long enough timeline, though it means very little in the short term.

    There is some historic evidence to indicate that many previously acceptable social behaviors (dueling to the death over matters of "honor" being perhaps the most prominent) were widely ridiculed in the advent of printed media and made socially unacceptable long before they were later made illegal (in the West. Obviously, in some places it's still acceptable). It took centuries for that cultural change to occur, and really only happened recently in the grand scheme of things, but cultural change can be driven by ridicule. Only the most deluded and self-centered individual fails to question their own assumptions when they're absolutely surrounded by dissenting opinions (though most people tend to "dig in" when they themselves become the subject of ridicule rather than just the observer of someone else being ridiculed).

    But in most cases what you see on the internet is not particularly constructive. It's just an attack. Imagine if, instead of mountains of ridicule, each of those bigots were sent a deluge of respectful and reasoned counterarguments. That's obviously a fairy tale waiting to not happen, but if it could happen, how much greater would the impact be?

    Ultimately, what we're dealing with on both sides of the issue (both the bigotry and the vitriolic response to that bigotry) is flawed human behavior. You can't design a cultural framework for perfect people because there aren't any.

    So we do the best with what we have. If you have faith that people are generally more good than bad, you grant free speech and free expression, and you expect that over time things will generally be better more often than they are worse. If you don't have that faith in humanity, you clamp down and try to control it, believing that the only thing preventing the whole species from devolving into savagery is the oversight of systems whose rules are better than the aggregate collection of individual intelligence and morality.

    In the end, it's about faith, and that's necessarily a faith in humanity. Either you have it or you don't.

  3. Clark says:

    Damn it! You stole my idea for a post today…and did it better than I was going to.

  4. Shane says:

    1. It's disproportionate. Though Twitter is public, people don't expect their worst moments to be publicly searchable forever, which can have real-world impact like loss of jobs or relationships.

    Would you want to do business, be the co-worker of, be on the other side of the counter of said person. Granted forever is a long time, but people that truly repent, seem to find a way out.

    4. It encourages "mob rule" by directing large numbers of people to attack someone for expression of opinion.

    If you do not have the strength of your convictions to stand up to the onslaught then maybe you should think twice about opening your mouth.

    5. It's arbitrary, in that there is an inexhaustible supply of derpitude out there, and these people are having their derpitude irrationally singled out.

    The market is random and lucky sots eventually get washed out. Morons will get their day too, just maybe not today.

    6. It doesn't contribute to a dialogue on the situation, only an attack.

    But once again strength of conviction will advance a moral argument.

    7. It treats minors and adults equivalently, and unkindly preserves youthful idiocy.

    At some point Johnny has to leave home and the RL will deal with his inadequacies. If he survives this he might actually join the adult population.

    8. It's fake outrage manipulated for pageviews.

    Human beings become increasingly desensitized to the outrageous. This too shall pass.

  5. EPWJ says:

    ach, these lists are the very bane of the internet. I was suspended for nearly a month at Tulane in the early 80's when, for a claiming of bss assignment wrote a paper predicting that the coming internet was not going to be the utopian exchange that college professors and think tank wankers were heralding as the savior of mankind, I stupidly wrote that it would be the three P's; Profit, Politics, and Porn.

    Fortunately, I was a night student only taking two courses, borh professors patently ignored the dean (who was removed I think) and I was cleared by perhaps Eamon himself.

    It was weird, even for Tulane.

    Ahh now that everyone is pounding their heads o their keyboards, getting back to you….

    Who hasn't ever typed anything or said anything or done anything they have wanted to take back?

    Twitter was intended as a communication tool not an extortion tool. Twitchey, Okeefe, Moore, and many others have gained fame, cash by capturing people at their worst, or in the worst situations, for their own personal gain, or the advancement of their cause which is in a way a personal gain.

    Is this really what the internet is for? Where will this lead…

  6. EPWJ says:

    BTW my avatar is a picture during a riot in Egypt of a middle aged guy sleeping happily through the whole thing….

  7. Bren says:

    "Unrestrained Derpitude" would be an awesome Nickelback cover band.

  8. Brad Hutchings (@BradHutchings) says:

    Fusion of Con 1 & 2: The attention is outside their audience. Out of curiosity, I went to look at one of the Twitter accounts of one of the tweeters identified:

    https://twitter.com/jlyle2_pga

    He has 111 or so followers, I'm gonna guess up from 86-ish since his post blew up. He seems kinda miffed by it getting all that attention. A little full of his conservative Christianity, but whatever.

    Let's face this. The tatted up, bow-hunting Kansas chick would have totally been fair game for nastiness had she won. I think strategically, the Internet has to wait for an opportunity to lynch one of the self-anointed "really good progressive people", and then this garbage can all go away.

  9. EPWJ says:

    Shane

    I can't judge anyone in 120 characters, AS MUCH AS I WOULD LIKE TOO!!!!

    Or even after years of exchanges with people or even years with my children, my oldest was going to be a surfer at Stanford and then a lawyer growing up, well – she went to the USMA and now just got her copter wings and is going to fly special forces around,,,,

    didn't see that coming….

    at all

  10. Mike says:

    I believe in pro point 5 also, just because it was generally transformative for me when I uttered some piece of stupidity I thought generally accepted and was laughed at. It didn't always change my opinion, but if it didn't, the rethinking it forced made me come out with a far better-thought-out basis for that opinion. Obviously, people's mileage may vary, and I've never (yet) been laughed at by a substantial portion of teh nets.

  11. Not the IT Dept. says:

    One of the things that I am increasingly weary of in this culture of ours is what I referred to in another thread as faux-sophistication, the attitude that one is far too cool to be truly bothered by things that other people take seriously.

    Care passionately about child abuse, the environment, declining literacy rates, youth at risk, or the public welfare in general? Well, you must be an activist, and therefore a fanatic who can be dismissed without being engaged at an intellectual level.

    It's a cheap rhetorical tactic that elevates those who can't be bothered to understand complicated issues and prefer attitude to expertise. It's the one-off versus the in-depth, the easy versus the intense, the lack of principles versus the principled.

    Which is a long intro to: yes, it's important to call out bigotry and stupidity whenever you can. You won't change the mind of the speaker, but who cares about them? You might have an impact on those whose views are still forming, and you can nail your colors to the mast of civility. And since most bigots gain confidence from not being challenged, many times a simple "Knock that sh*t off, *sshole" is enough to blunt their cockiness.

  12. N. Easton says:

    I hope my answer is not too pat.

    I have a limited amount of sympathy to hand out in a day. I have orders of magnitude less concern for people who say racist things in public and get humiliated than I do for the people who have to live with racism. The only part of the con list that generates concern for me is people who attempt to be satirical and either fail or get caught in too-fine a net of outrage. At this point, I would be very careful about satirizing racism. (The problem is that there are a lot of racists and right-wing reactionaries that are basically impossible to satirize – you cannot say anything that they might not have genuinely claimed.)

    Clark, I hope you'll pardon me for calling you out in a comment thread that is not in response to one of your posts, but you have posted on this topic recently. If I recall correctly, you and other libertarians have said that you oppose the Civil Rights Act. Now that hetero white people are the subjects of (arguably) undeserved or disproportionate social sanctions, we are suddenly having a discussion of thick vs. thin liberty. I don't believe you're about to turn around and start arguing for the sort of worker protections that crazy liberals like me think are a good idea, but guys getting fired for saying dumb (but protected!) things on twitter is so far down the list of types of employment discrimination that I have to question your priorities.

    For reference, I do believe in heavy worker protections. I don't like the fact that someone can be thrown out of a job for any reason or no reason, including things done outside the context of employment. Protection from government tyranny seems to often open us up to corporate tyranny.

  13. stakkalee says:

    I think you meant to put Patterico's note on Con #2. I agree with him that sometimes a bit of snark can be misinterpreted due to a lack of context or an unfortunate attempt at humor; it's one of the dangers of "ironic" sexism, or racism, or what-have-you. But when that happens, who's more to blame? The jokester, who tried to be funny but just wound up offending someone, or the offended party, who may not have done due diligence to understand the comment in context? In my opinion, the person who spoke the offending comment deserves the lion's share of blame – if your joke statement is indistinguishable from someone seriously advocating that statement can you blame someone else for misinterpreting your joke? Remember, it's the Internet so Poe's Law is in effect. I'm sympathetic to the idea that the offended party needs to make sure they understand the context of the statement, but there's "context" like Patton Oswalt's recent 2-part troll tweets, and then there's "context" like Pax Dickinson's extended "persona" (and who knows how much of that was real or not?), an act that he'd been putting on for months, if not years. There's a difference between getting the context from a previous tweet and getting the context from an act that started years ago.

  14. Illy says:

    "If you have faith that people are generally more good than bad, you grant free speech and free expression, and you expect that over time things will generally be better more often than they are worse. If you don't have that faith in humanity, you clamp down and try to control it, believing that the only thing preventing the whole species from devolving into savagery is the oversight of systems whose rules are better than the aggregate collection of individual intelligence and morality.

    In the end, it's about faith, and that's necessarily a faith in humanity. Either you have it or you don't."

    How do you expect systems' rules to be better than the people designing them?

    You aren't arguing for faith in humanity, you're arguing for faith in *politicians*.

  15. Shane says:

    @EPWJ

    Huh? … What are you responding to specifically?

  16. CJK Fossman says:

    @Con #5

    There's also an inexhaustible supply of speeding motorists. If you're one and get nabbed, well, too bad.

    It's like minnows. When the net comes down, some escape and some don't.

  17. Shane says:

    @N. Easton

    If I recall correctly, you and other libertarians have said that you oppose the Civil Rights Act.

    I am not Clark, but as a "libertarian", I disagree with this statement. I think most "libertarians" oppose the parts that don't deal with discrimination from the government i.e. we agree with the parts that deal with removing discriminatory voting laws and forced (ackkk) public education segregation. Also with the laws that force private business to discriminate as public accommodations. I think your confusion comes because once those barriers were removed "libertarians" believe that the civil rights laws went too far to re-institute racist laws only now favoring another skin color. I am pretty sure most "libertarians" agree that you can't fight racism with more racism.

    Just making this point to clarify.

  18. EPWJ says:

    Your first sentence Shane.

  19. Shane says:

    I am pretty sure most "libertarians" agree that you can't fight racism with more racism.

    Arghhhh, I meant:

    I am pretty sure most "libertarians" agree that you can't fight government sponsored racism with more government sponsored racism.

  20. Shane says:

    @EPWJ

    Please blockquote the part that you responding to. I am not understanding what you are saying.

    <blockquote>Shane's vitriolic statement</blockquote>

  21. Dan says:

    To me the most substantive "Cons" are (1) it's disproportionate and (7) it punishes dumb kids as though they were dumb adults.

    As far as context goes… if you want your views to be taken in any sort of context, Twitter has to be the single worst way to disseminate them. The whole medium is laid out in such a way as to prevent you from giving your statements meaningful context.

  22. SirWired says:

    I'd have a personal (if not legal) problem with digging up some thoughtless remark made many years ago. It's the equivalent of making a juvenile letter to to the editor written 30 years ago an issue in a current political campaign.

    But I have no issue whatsoever with publishing something written within the last couple of days and calling somebody out on it. If you want to be an asshole in public, it's perfectly fair for somebody a day or two later to add you to list of people being an asshole.

  23. SirWired says:

    @Shane I'm pretty sure Clark has made it very clear he doesn't agree with the "Public Accommodation" parts of the civil rights act as they apply to private businesses.

  24. Sam says:

    @Lizard

    There's comments I'll send to friends via PM on FB that I won't make as posts.

    This. I'll make obviously offensive jokes to friends who understand the situation I'm ridiculing and understand that I'm a sarcastic asshat. I won't post those things on social media, unless I do some severe restriction of the audience.

    I'm also more comfortable making assertions or arguments in the comment section here, than I would at, say, HuffPo, because in my experience I'm more likely to get actual engagement rather than knee-jerk agreement or disagreement…

    2. It's out of context. It's too often difficult to tell if something is satirical or tongue-in-cheek.

    ..which is why I have no sympathy for this argument. If your response to backlash against a misinterpreted tweet/status/blog post is that people "don't get it", then you did a poor job selecting an audience.

    tl;dr

    Your 140 characters are not A Modest Proposal.

  25. EPWJ says:

    shane,

    I wasn't critiquing, I was pointing out that making sweeping decisions over 120 characters with little context is probably not something that one would employ all the time in totality

  26. princessartemis says:

    For my two bits, I'll go with the first four Pros too, but Con #3 and #6 have some weight to them. Here's why: Bearing witness to some of these attacks (not this one, but others), I can tell you that it has had a chilling effect on my speech. Not because I do not have the courage of my convictions, as Shane suggests, but because I do not have the mental constitution to risk an Internet-level attack. Specifically, there is a story banging around my head that I'd like to write, but I am afraid if I do so, the Internet will realize I'm not the approved skin color to be writing about such things and attack. So, my speech feels chilly even though I've never been subject to an Internet attack; the con here is not that it's chilling the bigots speech, but that it's causing collateral damage versus people who actually do care to watch their tongues.

    Regarding Con #6 is another collateral con. Some places have their "daily doses of rage". These people already have plenty in life to be angry about, but they apparently want to find more? I don't know. Still, they gather things up, and it all piles up into a huge toxic pile of radiating rage. They weren't the attackers or the attackees, but by bearing witness to it, they have even more to be angry about. It's the flip side of Pro #1.

  27. Dale says:

    First, I've been perusing here the last few weeks, and I really enjoy the posts and the thoughtful commentary I've seen.

    As far as Pro #4, I'm more concerned that an increase in public shaming will draw attention to the derpitude that's out there and cause some to demand *more* government regulation of speech.

  28. firehat says:

    I'm really not a fan of most of what we see from, say, Buzzfeed, where it's just really "hey, look at these human embarrassments." There's no edifying value there for anyone, and certainly not for the dumb racists. At best they will be mobbed and learn to keep their stupid opinions to themselves.

    But what happens so much of the time is that these things catch up teenagers, often young teenagers. These are ignorant kids with narrow worldviews foisted upon them by environment and parents. The antidote is only age and exposure to the world. Instead they're then swarmed by vitriolic strangers on the internet. It's an ugly thing to do and it's almost certainly only going to cement their view of the Big Bad World.

  29. Kilroy says:

    Everyone just needs to have their mother as a follower. That would get rid of 98% of the problem. The other 2% are probably the types that everyone else really should be warned about.

  30. Xenocles says:

    "Protection from government tyranny seems to often open us up to corporate tyranny."

    We are all slaves, if to nothing else than our physical bodies.

    I'll say this for corporate tyranny, though – if I want to buy Pepsi instead of Coke, Coke isn't going to send a SWAT team to correct me.

  31. Erwin says:

    …dunno…didn't know kids could sign up for social networking accounts. (Google won't let you, at least.) So, the teenager con is not particularly appealing to me. For young adults, eh, people learn quickly from consequences.
    …I'm fine, but just a bit uncomfortable.
    …overall, I'm okay with 'single level' escalations, particularly for egregious conduct.
    …so, tell a nasty joke about it in public, and I might retweet it, but I probably wouldn't blog about it, unless you're a public official.
    …but…nasty tweets…and aggregating it in a public blog seems fair.
    …I also probably wouldn't blog about a retweeted joke from someone else.

    …regarding false positives…I think that is the risk someone faces for snark. Snarky people should be ready to explain their snarkiness, because it is prone to misinterpretation.

    –Erwin

  32. Sam says:

    if I want to buy Pepsi instead of Coke, Coke isn't going to send a SWAT team to correct me.

    HA. This just reminded me of high school; we had a contract with Pepsi. They even made us 'cover up' non-Pepsi sodas we brought from home.

    Not really going anywhere with this…so I'll just go with the moral: "Pepsi might".

  33. Tom says:

    Pro 5. It's socially transformative. Ridiculing bigots causes people to rethink being bigots.

    Bullshit. Those transformed by the experience are vastly outnumber by those who write it off as politically correct ninnies who want to censor them. Illustration: http://www.redstate.com/2013/07/13/my-sincere-apologies-to-the-kid-killing-caucus/ (he certainly does seem sincere, but apology that ain't).

    Disproportionate responses like this make people act out more, I think. The situation gets more polarized, and the general hatred in the world increases.

  34. pillsy says:

    @Xenocles:

    If you try to negotiate for a better wages with Coke, though, it's a little less clear, at least if you're in Latin America.

    I really hate the idea that there's some trade-off between state tyranny on the one hand and corporate tyranny on the other. You can, indeed, expose yourself to a greater range of private tyranny by weakening the state, but then again, when you strengthen the state, you often create more room for corruption and crony capitalism. The history of corporate violence features a lot of blurring of the lines between state and business interests.

  35. Brad Hutchings (@BradHutchings) says:

    Bullshit. Those transformed by the experience are vastly outnumber by those who write it off as politically correct ninnies who want to censor them. Illustration: http://www.redstate.com/2013/07/13/my-sincere-apologies-to-the-kid-killing-caucus/ (he certainly does seem sincere, but apology that ain't).

    Whoah, Tom. I am pro-choice to the 39th trimester, if you know what I mean, and I find that pretty funny. This is the real danger of all this… that people conflate political differences or poor taste with severe malevolent intention.

  36. En Passant says:

    Among Ken's "expected argument" con points:

    3. It chills speech by subjecting it to nationwide attack. [Edited to add: Patterico suggests, plausibly, "When something like this happens there is often at least one person mocking the bad guys who gets lumped in with them."] (emphasis mine)

    Entirely aside from its applicability to current intarwebz discussions of Nina Davuluri's new title, I think Patterico has stated an important new proposition closely related to Poe's Law.

    Poe's law, stated broadly (insofar as Wikipedia entry for same is canonical):

    Without a blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.

    I propose a more formal statement of Patterico's Proposition, along Godwin-esque lines:

    Proposition: As any online discussion of a controversy grows longer, the probability approaches 1 that a significant number of participants will mistake a statement opposing the most extreme position as a statement in favor of that position.

    Corollary: The discussion length required is inversely proportional to the extremity of the position that the statement opposes.

  37. I go with Cons 5 and 8: There are 300 million people in the U.S. and some of them are bound to be assholes. They're saying things like this in bars, in taxis, and in their own homes. Shaming just the ones who have Twitter accounts is pointless, and done only for the page views.

    Also, if you're going to pick on bigots one by one, at least try to pick on the bigot leadership, not just random individuals who said stupid shit.

  38. Not the IT Dept. says:

    The satire argument: really good satire is a work of art. Unfortunately, not very many people can successfully create a work of art. A lot of "satire" out there is just not very satirical. Instead of complaining that people don't appreciate satire, many should consider the very real possibility that they just suck at writing it.

  39. Xenocles says:

    @pillsy-

    I don't really have anything to say; you addressed my objection to your Latin America example with your addendum about crony capitalism.

  40. Lizard says:

    I stupidly wrote that it would be the three P's; Profit, Politics, and Porn.

    I like two of those things…. :)

  41. Lizard says:

    Imagine if, instead of mountains of ridicule, each of those bigots were sent a deluge of respectful and reasoned counterarguments.

    Or imagine if they were sent a deluge of random words, which would have as much effect.

    To quote Swift, "One cannot reason someone out of what they were never reasoned into." There is so much illogic and cognitive dissidence involved in believing that an American citizen whose ancestors came from a different continent than the continent YOUR ancestors came from (when said continent was not "Asia" and the timeframe was not "thousands and thousands of years ago") somehow has less right to be here than you (again, there's one group of Americans — one — that has the moral standing to make that assertion, and that and 2.50 will get them a cup of coffee), that believing a rational and well reasoned argument could to anything about it is irrational and unreasonable. When confronted with such an idea, you can mock it or ignore it. Mocking it lets the idea-holder know they're a bad monkey and will not be given extra bananas. They may be incapable of understanding *why* they're getting poo flung at them, but they do have the instinctual capacity to learn that doing thing "X" causes bad thing "Y" to happen, and, eventually, they stop doing X. Unless they're cats, of course, because all a cat ever learns is "Don't get caught."

  42. Erwin says:

    ..I'm good with Pro 1-4 and 6. I doubt that ridicule results in changing viewpoints, but, on the bright side, can tend to shut up idiots. I once believed in educating the American population, but, as I grow older, have accepted that idiocy is hard to change in any substantive manner.

    Regarding the cons,
    1: Not too disproportionate. Frankly, twitter is obviously a public medium. If you were telling a joke on the street, sure, it'd be disproportionate.
    2: Well, sure, okay, that's why it is important to develop the skill of not making public statements that can be taken poorly out of context. Or, at least, developing some sympathy for politicians who have trouble with that. (BTW, if you listen to Biden talking about the loss of his wife, there's a real person there.)
    3: Speech has consequences. Fine with this.
    4: This is actually a bit of a problem. The thing is, large low probability costs are a problem. It makes the internet less usable for everyone. Kind of like occasionally putting a few kilovolts on a guardrail. Even if I only do it once every 20 years….
    5: Fine with this.
    6: Sure, a dialogue would be nice. But, frankly, there are people in the world who aren't worth communicating with. (Argue, and I may well introduce you to some of them. I will say they're basically ineligible for therapy because no one will listen to them for money.) I'm fine with using them as an example of what to avoid.
    7: This can be a problem, and is a reason that minors shouldn't be allowed to use traceable internet services. I thought this was already true.
    8: Sure, it isn't great journalism. But, I sometimes like looking at cat memes. And I read Clark's pony thread. And giggled.

    –Erwin

  43. Irk says:

    @princessartemis

    You might want to start around racebending.tumblr.com if you want to do some research on representing people of a different ethnicity/heritage than you properly in fiction. Plenty of well-received-by-the-internet fiction with PoC (for example, I don't know what you're trying to write) representation has been written and published and lauded.

    Even if your characters had the same skin color as you, your writing would still be criticized and disagreed with by someone – that is the price you pay to be an author. This is not a "chilling effect", it's simply the price you pay for putting your work out there for anyone to read. If you're afraid of how others will react to your writing, it's best to do your due diligence in researching your markets and the demographic that you're writing about. Complaining that the internet's opinions are too scary won't improve you as a writer.

  44. Jesse from Tulsa says:

    It is concerning that there is no way to tell if there was any context (sarcasm, criticizing others and getting thrown in with then, etc.) and the fact that being an idiot becomes irreversible is enough to give me pause on the subject. BUT – the rules of the game are well known. What you post will be used against you in a Court of public opinion.

    My favorite idiots are the dolts saying she "isn't even American." /Shaylin Shabi approves (or maybe she doesn't, but if anyone should be complaining…) http://www.missnativeamericanusapageant.com/

  45. Tarrou says:

    We've been around the bush on this issue a fair few times here, and all I can say is this: I love making fun of stupid people, but I hate being part of a group making fun of stupid people. Call me an insult hipster.

    Something deep in my psyche despises the mob, even when I agree with the putative ideology of the mob. I don't have any hard and fast rules about this, and I don't support any official restrictions on speech, but I consider it diminishing to engage in such transparently self-reinforcing behavior.

    The fact is, it feels good to be self-righteously assaulting people one views as evil. It keys people up, and people in groups are always dumber than people alone. This goes for the Twitter racists and the response to them. As Anonymous says, none of us are as cruel as all of us.

    Some dislike this caution on my part, or the reflexive contrariness that engenders it. All I can say is that people should not mistake insufficiently scathing criticism for agreement. And everyone should take care that in responding to idiocy, we do not become idiots through mob mentality.

  46. suntzuanime says:

    I think, vis-a-vis your concern about "treating response speech differently from initial speech", that nobody actually wants to do that. Nobody is approving of the ignorant bigotry when they disapprove of the public shaming. Nobody is compiling lists of public shamers that will blacken their reputation forever more.

  47. CJK Fossman says:

    @Xenocles

    Corporate tyranny is well past the "buy a Pepsi" level.

    Consider the RIAA or the MPAA. Not to mention DRM and Trusted Computing.

    Of course the worst is when the two join hands, as in the Kim Dotcom or Aaron Swartz cases.

  48. Ken White says:

    Nobody is approving of the ignorant bigotry when they disapprove of the public shaming.

    I'm not suggesting that (with a few exceptions) they are approving it. I'm suggesting that a different level of scrutiny or concern or "should this be done" is being applied to the response speech, but not so much to the initial speech.

    Nobody is compiling lists of public shamers that will blacken their reputation forever more.

    Well, actually, I read a word-salad discussion that ended with something like "bitch, have you no decency," and have seen a lot of appearance and gender and politics-based abuse at the gawker writer, but your millage may vary.

  49. Shane says:

    @pillsy

    The history of corporate violence

    Please reference.

  50. Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk says:

    I sympathize with those who think these pinheads are getting their just desserts. As I grow older, I generally am less inclined to see folks get what they deserve, excepting, of course, certain anti-social or criminal conduct where reaping as one sows is necessary. But this may be one of those occasions where the offense is so anti-social that it merits shaming. I'm not convinced of it, but I lean that way.

    That said:

    In general, I think Pro #6 actually has the potential to be a significant con. If you assume folks could or should lose employment or employment opportunities over speech, it has the potential to punish far more people than the speaker (e.g., the speaker's children or other dependents, if any). This doubtless is true to some degree of family members of those convicted of crimes, but those are criminal offenses. I am not eager to see the ill consequences of speech visited upon those other than the speaker, and I'd generally prefer the harm to be reputational rather than financial for this reason.

    (There are, of course, exceptions to the these sentiments. The recent Pax Dickinson affair strikes me as a good example where adverse employment consequences likely were quite necessary.)

    Possible Con #9. If this sort of shaming proves effective, it will be done more and more and the scope of speech sought to be curtailed in this fashion will expand. Over time, I think such campaigns are likely to be applied more promiscuously than warranted, with ever more speech being characterized as rascist or the like in an effort to silence or punish. (I think we've already reached this point in public discourse regarding race to some extent, with the effect that honest conversations concerning matters of race are rare indeed. So I don't relish the prospect of turning up the volume.)

    I think "more speech" in general is a poor remedy for instances of unwarranted public shaming, should they occur. Accusations sometimes have a funny way of outliving or eluding follow-up that exonorates the speaker or mitigates what was said. And, to return to the subject of employment consequences, employers have limited time and resources to investigate applicants. Just finding out that a person was subject to some controversy involving race, for example, may be enough to dissuade an employer from making an offer.

    Finally, I would rest easier if I felt like public shaming campaigns were going to be managed by reasonable adults. I don't have a lot of faith in the moral judgments of organizations like Buzzfeed and Gawker (even though the former is right here and the latter was right with respect to Pax Dickinson; stopped clocks and all).

  51. Shane says:

    @CJK Fossman

    Corporate tyranny is well past the "buy a Pepsi" level.

    Consider the RIAA or the MPAA. Not to mention DRM and Trusted Computing.

    This is an example of crony capitalism, try again for corporate tyranny.

  52. Lizard says:

    So, my speech feels chilly even though I've never been subject to an Internet attack; the con here is not that it's chilling the bigots speech, but that it's causing collateral damage versus people who actually do care to watch their tongues.

    @PrincessArtemis: Hey, I feel your pain. I spend time in a forum a thousand times more prickly than this one (not to name names, but it rhymes with flarpeegee dot whet), and I have often been forced to decide if the benefits of some conversations outweigh the tongue-biting I have to do in others. A lot of my friends are more liberal than I am, and I've decided that I'd rather maintain friendships that provide me with value than go out on long rants that will do nothing to change the world but will do much to make my life less enjoyable. I have a few issues I will not relent or compromise on, and those define who I am so much that I can't ignore attacks on them without not being who I am, which is self-destructive, but a lot of things I believe in aren't core to my being, so, I let them slide. I will not lie and advocate for things I do not believe, but I do not feel compelled to charge every windmill I see. Just the really important ones.

  53. Shane says:

    @Ken

    … but your millage may vary.

    I thought we were talking about salads?

  54. pillsy says:

    @Shane:

    The first example that springs to mind is the 1920 Anaconda Road Massacre in Montana. Why do you ask?

  55. CJK Fossman says:

    @Shane

    These things are tied together, but it's important to make the distinctions.

    The RIAA is not a government agency.
    The MPAA is not a government agency.

    DRM is a private initiative.
    Trusted computing is a private initiative.

    CISPA is crony capitalism. PIPA is crony capitalism. CFAA is crony capitalism. Efforts by the US Department of Commerce to extend our abusive copyrights regime to other countries is crony capitalism.

    The judge in the Motorola v. Microsoft case is playing crony capitalism; the judge in Apple v. Samsung 1 played crony capitalism. Guess what: home team wins. Yay.

    The pain inflicted on Massachessets' IT director who dared suggest using ODF was crony capitalism.

  56. Lizard says:

    I'm suggesting that a different level of scrutiny or concern or "should this be done" is being applied to the response speech, but not so much to the initial speech.

    "When I call you an idiot, that's free speech. When you say, 'No, you're the idiot!', that's censorship."

    It might be instructive to compare who felt Professor Wells should be fired for his speech, or at least severely disciplined, to those who have posted in the various recent "shaming" threads that we should not punish people for their ideas — and vice versa. (Quick, lemme check, what did *I* say? Do I need to find a convoluted rationale for hypocrisy? Nah, looks like I was pretty consistent. Phew! OK, I can post this.)

  57. R R Clark says:

    Ken, to answer the question: public shame is public shame and just because some people have managed not to post on Twitter doesn't mean they're absent their own moments of public shame. For instance, there is a report out there where I once forgot the Oxford comma in breaking up a list. You cannot imagine the lost sleep.

    That said, as a young adult by the advent of the Share Everything epoch, I was old enough to make intelligent decisions about not posting things I would regret in public places. That did not stop many of my acquaintances from trying to do exactly that and finding themselves removed from my life. It was a trying time as I discovered those who could be trusted to maintain my fidelity and those who would not, but I have to believe I am now the better for it.

    Unfortunately, kids simply don't have the wisdom and perspective to make these rational decisions from the outset, which is why parents ought to encourage them to stick to the anonymous sections of the internet until they're out of the nest.

    So, in summary: adults deserve every iota of ridicule and shame they accumulate. Children not so much. Facebook/Google/anyone collecting information really ought to be legally required to remove all data about minors from their servers when they come of age, delivering that data unto the now-adult and requiring them to re-upload it on their own prerogative.

    @MEP: I don't ridicule dueling. I think it is a tradition whose absence we are the lesser for. Can you imagine how many fewer asinine statements would be uttered if they could be answered with "I challenge you to a duel"? Or simply a punch in the face announcing the duel was now in progress? People accountable for their words would truly be an awful, awful thing, of course.

  58. Erwin says:

    @Ken I agree that judging response speech and initial speech differently is problematic and complex. I also think that's fine.

    Society has evolved mores to deal with certain behaviors, rather like laws. Some of those mores deal with physical violence. The value of those mores appears to be in tending to reduce the rapidity of escalations to damaging violence.

    I'd summarize some of those mores as: In the case of a physical altercation, retaliation at a similar level is pretty much okay. Gigantic escalation isn't. And sure, there's always the potential for disagreement. That's fine too.

    So, someone punches me in the face. And I punch them back. Most people won't judge that action too harshly.

    If I break their arm, they might be a bit skeptical. But, if they were being particularly annoying, it'd probably be ok.

    If I break their arm, shove the fractured bone through the skin, and use it to rip out their intestines, most people will view that as problematic.

    Similarly, if someone shouts insults at me and I shout back…not a big problem. If I curse them to every mutual acquaintance, that'll be seen as understandable, but unkind. If I publish a full-page ad in the NYT describing how person XYZ has behaved – that's a problem.

    That said, I don't favor a particularly strict set of mores, just something in which gigantic escalation is seen as uncouth and probably immoral.

    I'm not sure that the harm to the recipients of shaming is particularly relevant. I think that a con of continual gigantic escalation is a tendency towards 'false positives'. Deluging people with a stream of minor offenses will tend to desensitize people to real problems. That said, newspapers do have a problem where they need to publish stuff every day.

    –Erwin

  59. pillsy says:

    @Lizard:

    Are you talking about the jackass who was caught on tape ranting about Ann Romney that Ken blogged about a few weeks back? Because I really don't think the situations are quite the same.

  60. Xenocles says:

    @CJKF-

    To the extent that those organizations are abusing their IP rights (not to get into a discussion on the merits of IP), they are able to do so only with the support of the government. It is the courts who weigh their claims, it is the legislature that enables those claims, and it is the executive that enforces those judgments.

    In this country, at least, the government has the monopoly on the wholesale use of force. Private entities do use force, but it is in a retail fashion and very limited in time and space when they do. That difference puts private and public abuses in entirely different leagues as far as I'm concerned.

  61. Joe Blow says:

    It's disproportionate.

    Naah. Not at all. You say something stupid on Twitter, you should be at risk of losing your livelihood (and the corresponding good things that go with it like a home, car and health insurance). I was won over by last week's debate: freedom of speech does not mean freedom from negative consequences. It's strictly a private matter if your employer decides to sack you because you said something stupid. Or if people in your community want to organize an Anti-you campaign and run you out of town. No big deal.

    Release the Hounds!

  62. Joe Blow says:

    So maybe I was being a little sarcastic in my support for shaming campaigns. Perhaps they ought to be limited to significant issues – like, y'know, people who commit actual crimes or something.

  63. CJK Fossman says:

    @Xenocles

    The recording industry could disband the RIAA tomorrow and that particular wholesale abuse would stop.

    While the government is certainly guilty of enabling the abuse, the government is not the abuser.

    Further, I doubt the government would be quite so interested in IP were it not for the pernicious influence of big media.

  64. Matthew Cline says:

    @Joe Blow:

    So maybe I was being a little sarcastic in my support for shaming campaigns. Perhaps they ought to be limited to significant issues – like, y'know, people who commit actual crimes or something.

    But in the case of crimes the person will be prosecuted by the government. Or do you mean that shaming campaigns should be used on (alleged) criminals that the shamers think the government has sufficiently punished?

  65. Tarrou says:

    @ Matthew Cline,

    Not all crimes are prosecuted. And crimes by the government itself are almost never punished. Just a thought.

  66. CJK Fossman says:

    @Xenocles – an afterthought

    I agree that the state, in theory at least, has a monopoly on the wholesale use of force, and all that goes along with that monopoly.

    That does not mean that corporate tyranny is nonexistent, nor does it mean that it should not be exposed and resisted. For example, while the government was the primary persecutor of Aaron Swartz, MIT played a significant role. So shame on them.

  67. Lizard says:

    Because I really don't think the situations are quite the same.

    Which situation?

    a)Person makes comments some people find offensive, insulting, inappropriate, etc.

    b)Person's comments are widely distributed, thanks to the reach and effort of a website that opposes the ideas expressed in the comments and riles up its supporters.

    c)Faced with riled-up supporters, the employer of the aforementioned person punishes him. This undoubtedly serves to discourage others from expressing the same ideas, or at least from expressing them in the same way. The vast majority of commentators on the issue try to claim they're acting on principle, but there's a pretty high correlation between how they apply their principles and how much they do or do not sympathize with the speaker.

    Am I talking about Professor Wells, Pax Dickinson, or any of a hundred or more other cases?

  68. Jay says:

    I apologize for repeating myself, but I think it's useful to consider two sites that I think are identical in terms of public shaming of obnoxious behaviors. Yet one site, a very feminist site is lauded, and the other site, a "men's right's" site is denounced.

    http://www.ihollaback.org/
    A non-profit and movement to end street harassment. It does this by encouraging the anonymous posting of pictures of men. Nothing is done to verify the allegations. There is no notification to the man that his picture has been posted. There is no appeals process. The website is relaunching, now with an app.

    http://register-her.com/
    Register-her.com was established to bring attention to the problem of false allegations of rape that ruin lives, and result in false imprisonment, destroyed reputations, financial devastation, loss of employment and even suicide.

    It has since branched out and includes women that have made significant statements of what the site considers misandry/

    It does this by having the site administrator and staff post pictures of women and descriptions of their false allegations of the other reason they are being posted.

    The site states that nothing is posted until "your information has been investigated and verified by the register-her.com team."

    So ihollaback is considered good and progressive and always gets great press.

    register-her is considered evil and the tool of patriarchy and evil loser MRAs.

    These are basically the same site and could be run by the same software with different page templates.

    Just to put it a bit more in perspective, the new hollaback app will let users (women) examine maps of their city in order to best plan how to avoid sections of the city known for street harassment.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/09/an-app-to-help-women-avoid-street-harassment/279642/

    That makes it similar in many ways to the derided "Ghetto Tracker" website which gothamist satires as:

    "a website that tells your wholesome but fun-loving white family whether you're in danger of entering The Ghetto, has returned to the web after a brief hiatus, once again enabling locals to "rate which parts of town are safe and which ones are unsafe.""

    http://gothamist.com/2013/09/11/controversial_website_ghettotracker.php

    So tell me why ihollaback is given good press by the press and by bloggers while ghetto tracker and register-her and decried?

  69. Justin Kittredge says:

    Shaming someone is a hell of a time saver. I can't imagine seriously wanting to engage on a broad scale a large number of these insensitive jackasses / idiots / racists. But honestly shaming should not be done with just name calling as I did in the previous sentence. It should have some point being made within it, all people are equal, or some explanation about why their actions were wrong, like "your actions were hurtful to someone who did nothing to you and was simply living her life, you fucking idiot." Calling someone out for their behavior is ideally done on a one-on-one basis, and not via public shaming, but if the subject is raised in a public setting I do not think one can shy away from opposing their views. Hopefully with substance interlaced.
    On Pro. 5, I do believe it is possible. Not just to stop others from adopting bigoted views, but also it could work on the original authors of the comments of bigotry. It will work better on those not as entrenched in their positions, but even those who have built rationalities around their beliefs should see a connection between calling out certian people and then getting called out. Subconsciously if nothing else. They should see the easy connection between their action meant to ridicule someone or group and then they themselves being ridiculed and how this makes them feel, and that both actions were wrong. So am I saying two wrongs make a right? No, I'm just saying it is faster to SHOW someone what they've done is wrong then explain it, in many cases. When an older sibling is consistently too rough with his younger siblings, parents tired of saying "Don't hit your brother/sister," may eventually just lightly hit the child in the back of the head and say "How do you like it?" Is this right? No, but it sure was a fast conveyence of understanding. Certainly faster then explaining that they are stronger then they think, all about nerve endings, and emotional distress.
    Shaming won't work so well on people who have invested their own mental effort into justifying their stance through some Us vs. Them mentality or some framework where they really believe they are superior to other ethnicities.
    I should hope shaming does work on those who just made comments trying to get a laugh in the wrong place, and those who say stupid things mostly out of youth.

    The cons you point out are very well thought out, however I have some small quibles. For Con points 1 and 7, retractions and apologies can be made and the individuals involved can point to this and explain that they have learned and grown since the time of the comment. So it is not neccessarily a permanent crucification, at least not to people fair-minded about it. And as far as Con 3 is concerned, It is my belief that if a view has strong reasoning behind it, or truth, or some other motivator, then nothing will be able to chill that speech.

    For those who ask, "Why not simply leave the substance and take out the name calling?" I was being honest about interactions I've had with racists and such folk on the internet. I usually give a reason they are wrong, and if they have been an asshole I use name calling as well. Mainly I use it to "show" rather then explain. Time saver.

  70. Jay says:

    So it is not neccessarily a permanent crucification, at least not to people fair-minded about it.

    Nope, only to google and other page ranking search engines, along with people that read the condemnation and not the retraction.

    That's pretty small, we can ignore that.

  71. Lizard says:

    @JoeBlow: People who commit actual crimes don't need to be shamed, they need to be arrested. (I will leave aside that a humongous chunk of things currently illegal, IMO, should NOT be illegal.) "Shaming" is how society responds to those who do things that do not justify the use of force, but which are still considered Things No Proper Person Should Do And That's That.

    I have yet to see a decent articulation of any principle of "proportionality" which does not rely on individual notions of what speech "deserves' to be shamed, something on which there is constant and continuous disagreement. It's hard for anyone to state seriously, "No idea or expression, no matter what, should result in someone losing their job, being kicked out of the country club, or otherwise 'punished'." (For those few stupid bold enough to attempt this, they are then forced to come up with some means how this can be implemented — without using social pressure to make it unthinkable for a Decent Person to call for such consequences. Catch-22.) Likewise, hardly anyone believes in a "One strike, you're out!" policy where any even marginally offensive comment is justification for complete exclusion from society. To reference a joke I referenced on another thread, you probably have to fuck at least TWO sheep.

    So, regardless of some attempts at posturing, there's a pretty broad consensus that "Well, sometimes, it's justified…".. and that those times, whether people want to admit or not, are determined by what one wishes to say safely, and what one wishes other people NOT to say safely.

  72. Jay says:

    The best part about claiming free speech does not mean there are no consequences and so public shaming campaigns are cool is that you get to feel good so many times.

    I support free speech!
    I support public shaming!
    w00t!

    In June 1642, in the Puritan town of Boston, a crowd gathers to witness an official punishment. A young woman, Hester Prynne, has been found guilty of adultery and must wear a scarlet "A", ('A' is a symbol of adultery and affair) on her dress as a sign of shame. Furthermore, she must stand on the scaffold for three hours, exposed to public humiliation. As Hester approaches the scaffold, many of the women in the crowd are angered by her beauty and quiet dignity. When demanded and cajoled to name the father of her child, Hester refuses.

    The FREEZE PEACH crowd that insists Free Speech issues are only about government censorship wisely sees that the problematic behavior of A Scarlet Letter is that Hester's punishment was "official". Had it merely been done by Ye Olde Twittere it would have been "totes copacetic".

  73. Lizard says:

    So tell me why ihollaback is given good press by the press and by bloggers while ghetto tracker and register-her and decried?

    Because that's where the current social consensus has drawn the lines of what's Proper Civilized Behavior and what isn't. Feel free to defy that consensus and try to convince others to do likewise. Be aware that while waiting for the transition to occur, you may face social pressure to conform. You must decide, for yourself, if that's a hill you want to die on or not. Me, I've got better things to spend my limited social capital on. I'm not going to try to tell you how to spend yours.

  74. Erwin says:

    So, um, what's wrong with the…
    …'don't escalate more than a little bit' notion of shaming?

    –Erwin

  75. Shane says:

    @pillsy

    On the 21st, the local sheriff deputized the Anaconda mine guards in an attempt to contain the strike … No one was found guilty as a result of the massacre, despite an inquest into the death of Tom Manning.

    This is not corporate tyranny. What you are calling tyranny always requires the hand of the state to carry out. Can corporations seize the machinations of the government for their own ends … why yes they can. Anyone pressure group can do this. Unions are notorious for it. Why single out companies for this? Let's maybe look at what these groups are trying to seize and deal with that instead of creating a bunch of laws that just give these groups more inroads to use the force that is the basis of government.

  76. pillsy says:

    @Lizard:

    On the one hand, the fact that Prof. Penn engaged in his particular brand of idiocy in the classroom and on the job makes me think his behavior was distinctly worse.

    On the other hand, to hell with the both of them. If they didn't want to be publicly shamed, they shouldn't have acted shamefully in public.

  77. Shane says:

    @CJK Fossman

    The RIAA is not a government agency.
    The MPAA is not a government agency.

    DRM is a private initiative.
    Trusted computing is a private initiative.

    But the rules that these entities are using to "tyrannize" are enforced through the courts, with laws that were created to specifically help the industries etc … that these entities represent. Hence the hand of the government must be there for the laws to have been created, hence cronyism.

    The judge in the Motorola v. Microsoft case is playing crony capitalism; the judge in Apple v. Samsung 1 played crony capitalism.

    Judges unless they are bribed directly by one or the other parties, aren't typically cronies. The laws that they are ruling on are usually the culprit.

    But all of these examples fail your assertion of corporate tyranny.

    Notice how corporate "tyranny" requires rules laws etc … from the government. The importance of this is this; on it's own companies only have market dominance to exert control, but when they gain government force then they can quite literally force products down customers throats. Ask yourself what would be better, to limit the governments ability to force consumer selection or to try to regulate corporate entities.

  78. AlphaCentauri says:

    I don't think it's disproportionate. We're not talking about people making abstract racist comments. We're talking about them bullying a real person, ruining what should have been a very happy day for her, embarrassing her and her family, and making the entire US look like assholes to everyone in South Asia who was probably following the competition (just as they followed the events surrounding the first South Asian astronaut and just as they followed M. Night Shamalayan's competition for an academy award).

    I have no problem with people speaking up against racism and bullying. In many contexts ethics requires it. Having the internet go after the racist tweeters is no more excessive than having all the racist tweeters go after that one woman, and certainly no more excessive than the way she's probably been treated as a foreigner and a terrorist every damn day of her adult life.

    Digging their tweets up years later, when there is some chance that many of them have revised their opinions, either as a result of being called out on it, or as a result of a few more years of maturity, would be excessive.

  79. Lizard says:

    @Erwin: Who defines "a little bit"?

    Who decides what social acts merit greater or lesser response?

    How do you punish those who over-reach in their responses? How do you exhort those who under-reach to be more aggressive?

    We're still, socially, in a very early transitional period. We've had centuries to adjust to the printing press, decades to deal with radio and television, barely 15 years since the Internet became truly widespread. The first "Internet generation" is just now reaching adulthood. Old fogies like me who were using online communication in the late 1980s, post-college, are a rarity. There will evolve better standards for what's done and not done, what's appropriate and what isn't, but such standards won't come top-down, and they won't come without a lot of wild swings between extremes as the pendulum tries to find the middle.

  80. Shane says:

    @CJK Fossman

    While the government is certainly guilty of enabling the abuse, the government is not the abuser.

    Who will come and take the money from the people that lose in their cases with the RIAA? If the government wasn't involved in the equation, then how will the RIAA enforce their stupidity?

    That does not mean that corporate tyranny is nonexistent, nor does it mean that it should not be exposed and resisted.

    Correct. Make sure that what you are dealing with is indeed corporate "tyranny" and not crony capitalism, because resistance to each has a fundamentally different approach.

  81. Marconi Darwin says:

    Re Con #1. How does one concern oneself with being disproportionate if more speech is to be the only remedy against speech one considers offensive? Speech should have consequence (otherwise what good is it?) but only so much consequence, and no more?

    Will "Hey grandpa, were you really defending free speech on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day?" be considered public shaming on Aug 1, 2037?

  82. Matthew Cline says:

    @AlphaCentauri:

    We're talking about them bullying a real person, ruining what should have been a very happy day for her,

    Bullying? None of the tweets I saw had "@HerTwitterAccount", and I haven't heard of anyone emailing her directly. She might be vain enough to read through thousands of tweets about her, but I think she'd delay that until after she was done partying and/or trying to capitalize on her fleeting fame. Hearing about it indirectly might have ruined her day.

  83. CJK Fossman says:

    @Shane

    If the government wasn't involved in the equation, then how will the RIAA enforce their stupidity?

    In exactly the same way Prenda Law enforced theirs. Most people approached by the RIAA pony up a few $thou rather than engage a lawyer.

    @Ken White
    Yes I wrote "pony." And I mean it!

  84. suntzuanime says:

    Well, actually, I read a word-salad discussion that ended with something like "bitch, have you no decency," and have seen a lot of appearance and gender and politics-based abuse at the gawker writer, but your millage may vary.

    Haha, I saw that too. Moldbug is certainly a character.

    Let me put it this way – I know Pax Dickinson's name, I don't know the name of the Gawker "reporter" who caused me to know it. Honestly though, even if she were shamed for her actions here, even if there were such an outcry that Gawker were forced to fire her (can you imagine what it would be like if your politics were a fireable offense? I can, that's why I want to keep politics off the list of fireable offenses), even if the Reactionary Right got their way on this issue, it would be less troublesome than the original shaming, because this is something she did in her "professional" capacity. It is arguable that a story like this is a breach of professional ethics for a reporter, in a way that posting the same thing on her personal blog would not have been.

  85. CJK Fossman says:

    @Shane – more

    In addition to that, copyright statute and case law in the US are relatively sane except for the incredibly long duration.

    But that's not how the RIAA and MPAA abuse copyright law.

  86. CJK Fossman says:

    It is arguable that a story like this is a breach of professional ethics for a reporter, in a way that posting the same thing on her personal blog would not have been.

    Interesting point. The Society of Professional Journalists has a code of ethics.

    I will now pause briefly to let the cloud of cynicism-smelling poo about journalists and ethics settle.

    Here are a few salient points from the code:

    — Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.

    — Examine their [journalist's] own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.

    — Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

    Minimize Harm
    Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

    — Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.

    — Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.

    — Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

    You can read the whole thing here (clicky).

    I leave the conclusions to others.

  87. Erwin says:

    @Lizard
    Probably the majority. If, over time, 70%+ of a given population find an action reprehensible, a norm of not doing that action is likely to evolve. I agree that these norms are likely to evolve. I do suspect that similar norms from other areas are likely to eventually be adopted. (at most modest escalation for physical violence is ok, public interest encourages publication, et cetera)

    I think it is hard to differentiate between a little and some, but pretty easy to differentiate between a little and tons – in much the same way it is usually easy to differentiate between a punch to the face and a gruesome murder. In reality, people will disagree on minor issues continually – but will often agree on major ones.

    In terms of punishment, I'd imagine that social consequences (both for limitation and exhortation) would generally be the most appropriate, although government intervention might be appropriate in egregious cases. (really malicious behavior directed at minors by adults, eg)

    And, well, allowing for modest escalation in terms of social responses probably works in terms of moderating egregious behavior. Given that it works – and lessens the risk of really disproportionate outcomes, I think it is a good way to go. I agree that something like this shouldn't be imposed by government fiat.

    –Erwin

  88. Tarrou says:

    @ AlphaCentauri

    ["I don't think it's disproportionate. We're not talking about people making abstract racist comments. We're talking about them bullying a real person, ruining what should have been a very happy day for her, embarrassing her and her family, and making the entire US look like assholes to everyone in South Asia who was probably following the competition/"]

    First off, there's what, 20 different tweet handles on the article? What's the percentage on 20/300,000,000? Second, some of the tweets weren't even racist in nature, but are getting rolled up with the ones that were. And even the racist tweets are pretty mild, as racism goes. A 7-11 remark? Our honored Vice President has said worse.

    None of this is to say that the tweets were polite, intelligent, or appropriate. Most seem to be written by mouth-breathing morons who can't tell the difference between brown people. What was it Hitchens said? "The one thing a racist can never manage is discrimination". But let's not overblow their social crimes. If linking Indian-Americans to the stereotype of convenience store owners is so socially toxic, why is Joe Biden VP?

    Bullying? That word is getting overused fast. Ruining her day? I doubt it, and even were it the case, that's your criteria now? Ruining someone's day? The people tossing out those tweets will never be as successful, popular or attractive as the good Ms. Davaluri. All their spite will not remove her crown, and in fact, it seems likely to me she might have never known about this ridiculous tweeting had not these sites made it a big deal.

    If an asshole mocks someone in the forest, and they are not there to hear him, is he bullying them? If an eavesdropper runs and tells them, who is responsible for ruining their day?

  89. Jay says:

    I AM NOT A LAWYER, but my understanding is that in the US, you can be fired over your politics.

    Politics is not a protected class.

    So in a right to work state, your boss can come through and fire anyone for having different political views than she does.

  90. wgering says:

    I'll say this for corporate tyranny, though – if I want to buy Pepsi instead of Coke, Coke isn't going to send a SWAT team to correct me.

    I think I just got an idea for a Shadowrun campaign.

  91. Zazlo says:

    A lot of what I was going to write got said in the first 2 comments. They're excellent. Further points I might've made were done by Mr. Kittredge (#comment-1114166)

    As far as disproportionality goes: Where I really think it's disproportionate is when it goes BEYOND speech. Like if someone found out someone's IRL address and info, found them, and beat them up. That's disproportionate. But that's also beyond a free speech scope. Assault does get into the area of government. So I feel that is all taken care of.

    Now, Joe Blow brings new meaning to the word hyperbolic, but I still find it interesting. Mainly, are there cases, where, due to saying "unpopular opinions," and subsequent shaming, someone really did lose their life completely? I'm not aware of any. I do think that would be out of line, the sort of thing I imagine might've happened in the Jim Crow era to a person of the wrong color saying "Hey, wait a minute – this is f**king bulls**t!" and giving lots of details. But in the current age? No. I keep trying to imagine that happening to someone, and all I can picture is GG Allin. Who would've loved it.

    @Lizard:

    To quote Swift, "One cannot reason someone out of what they were never reasoned into." There is so much illogic and cognitive dissidence involved in believing that an American citizen whose ancestors came from a different continent than the continent YOUR ancestors came from (when said continent was not "Asia" and the timeframe was not "thousands and thousands of years ago") somehow has less right to be here than you (again, there's one group of Americans — one — that has the moral standing to make that assertion, and that and 2.50 will get them a cup of coffee), that believing a rational and well reasoned argument could to anything about it is irrational and unreasonable. When confronted with such an idea, you can mock it or ignore it.

    I love that Swift quote. And I'm mostly with you here. However:

    I believe there is/are another way(s) than just mocking or ignoring. I agree that well-reasoned and rational is not likely to work. But there is more than just the intellect.

    I have personally watched people actually get through to these people. It does, ideally, require emotional maturity, at least average intellect, and very high levels of emotional intelligence, social intelligence and empathy (at least 2 out of 3, with the third not too lacking). But I've learned to do it, too. I may require just the write opportunity, and to be in a good mood, but it can be done. Not with everyone – some people are indeed just sociopaths or trolls or eat lead paint chips instead of wheaties – but it's not impossible.

    Now, policy-wise, I'm fine with what you say. (I'm also a bit of a fatalist.) That behavior will continue. That's society. However, even if it helps just 2-3% of people become proper human beings, that's more than the 0% offered by the attitude that says "dumb people are too dumb to fix, so fuck it, even though, sure, the existence of all these dumb people is one of the main problems in the world today and prevents so much from getting done – no, just fuck it." How reasonable is that, exactly?

    Granted, not entirely germaine; what I'm talking about makes more sense in the real world, face-to-face, and is not really so applicable to internet communications (although, still….), but I think it's a point worth making.

    And I will grant there are some people beyond the pale. Sociopaths and the like. But they do not entirely make up the set of trolls/idiots/what-have-you. If some *can* be won over, I think that's far better than what is basically a war, which sets up an us vs. them scenario. And sure, they may have set that up – but why play into it? That's letting them win, in a way. You do not want to fight emotional immaturity with emotional immaturity.

    On a related note, Erwin said:

    "I once believed in educating the American population, but, as I grow older, have accepted that idiocy is hard to change in any substantive manner."

    I've gone the opposite way. After being thoroughly misanthropic, cynical and sarcastic for a good while, I've come to see some actual positive things. As MEP said about faith. Given my background, I feel comfortable being all mushy and huggy; believe me, I can go off for a long time on the dark side of optimism, the idiocy of positive thinking, the banality of trite, happy cliches. But yeah, I think things can go well, and I think they are.

    Weird, right?

  92. Anony Mouse says:

    Con 7 (or 5b): The signal-to-noise ratio on the internet is already terrible and this just adds more noise by drawing hysterical attention to something nobody should bother caring about anyway. I care more about a hangnail on my pinky than the inane yammerings of morons on Twitter.

    Also, Buzzfeed's a pit, only exceeded by Tumblr for horridness. Sorry, 4Chan, you're old news now.

  93. Anony Mouse says:

    During a press conference after the ceremony, Davuruli told reporters that she was "so happy this organisation has embraced diversity," and "I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America." In response to the criticisms, she was as calm and collected as ever: "I have to rise above that…I always viewed myself as first and foremost American."

    I don't think it ruined her day. I think she ignored it and didn't care what anonymous yahoos said about her. You know, like an adult.

  94. Trevor says:

    This post uses a circumstance where public shaming takes place after something that is very clearly racism. But I'm not sure that examining public shaming in this type of obvious case is as illuminating as examining it in a case where some reasonable people see something as racist, but other, also reasonable, people see something as benign.

    For one example, I spoke with a painter whose paintings were for sale at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. He had painted a self-portrait of himself at a bar, when he was inebriated. It was not a very positive painting. As it happens, this painter is native American.

    He got complaints about the painting, and his explanation of it as a self portrait did not convince the complainers. They told him that it portrayed native Americans as drunks. They complained about him to the organizers of the art fair, asking that he not be asked back next year.

    Now, whether or not you agree with the complainers or with the artist, I think you'll agree that reasonable people could see the painting as non-racist. And yet he was publicly shamed for what was perceived as his "racism".

    When the action being publicly shamed is not so obvious, examining it becomes more interesting.

  95. Lizard says:

    I have personally watched people actually get through to these people. It does, ideally, require emotional maturity, at least average intellect, and very high levels of emotional intelligence, social intelligence and empathy (at least 2 out of 3, with the third not too lacking).

    Well, I'm missing three out of four, and I'm sure there's lots of people who will assert it's four out of four, so I'm limited to "ignore" or "mock". Ignore doesn't do anything for me or the world; mocking makes me feel better about my own inferior place in society and might just help the world a little by getting people with mock-worthy ideas to shut up, even if they don't understand *why*, so I'll stick with "mock".

  96. Lizard says:

    Now, whether or not you agree with the complainers or with the artist, I think you'll agree that reasonable people could see the painting as non-racist. And yet he was publicly shamed for what was perceived as his "racism".

    There's no way to stop people holding asinine opinions, or expressing them. That's a given. So the answer is to reveal who is demanding the picture be removed, and saying, "These people want to keep a Native American artist from expressing himself and his life struggles."

    There's a tremendous amount of push among any "out" group to demand all portrayals of the group be positive. "But is it good for the Jews?" used to be a common expression; I haven't heard it much lately, though. Comedians, in particular, tend to be targets of the do-gooders and Comstocks of whatever gender/race/orientation/etc they happen to be, even if they're using stereotypes to mock bigotry, not themselves.

    Pushing *back* against those who want to silence speech one DOES agree with is as important as pushing *against* speech one doesn't agree with. The simple minded algorithm of "all shaming is good" is as stupid as the reverse. Certainly, those who succeed in one attempt at silencing will move on to other targets, constantly testing to see what they can get away with. It's a game of the Emperor's New Clothes. They will keep saying "You're a racist/sexist/whateverist if you think this is acceptable!", and they keep moving the goalposts until enough people say, "No, I think you're becoming a fanatic. Let's stop here. Rant if you want, we're not buying it any more." That's how social norms are created. And, in reverse, you have the "Ah, it's all a bunch of good fun, who gives a crap, right? Anyone who disagrees is oversensitive and looking to be offended!", and this goes on, again, until people say "No, actually, that's really offensive, it's not something that's publicly acceptable to say or do. Stop it." And it doesn't end for any period of time; there's always pressure to move the bounds. As long as we can keep force out of the equation, we can pretty much live with almost anything. If your ability to live a decent, productive, life is severely hindered by being "forbidden" (due to social consequence) from saying "Hey, check out the knockers on the new VP of finance! Yeah, I'd handle HER assets!" in a loud voice in a business meeting, that's your problem, not society's.

  97. Ken White says:

    Now, whether or not you agree with the complainers or with the artist, I think you'll agree that reasonable people could see the painting as non-racist. And yet he was publicly shamed for what was perceived as his "racism".

    Isn't this exactly the marketplace of ideas?

    Can't the critics be "shamed" by people like you, pointing out that they call it racism even though it is a self-portrait by a member of that very ethnic group?

  98. Lizard says:

    One quick point to consider, for all. With 7 billion people on the planet, and a large chunk of them having access to global media (something which has happened in under a single generation, so, yeah, don't act surprised our primitive little monkey brains, still evolved to live in groups of 150-200, are trying to figure out how to make this work), there is *nothing* that will not provoke an ignorant, offensive, or insulting response. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. If the standard desired is "There should be no racism/sexism/etcism seen anywhere in the public!", that's a sign the person holding that standard is an idiot, a demagogue, or both. If out of a million tweets, five contain racist remarks, that's not grounds to write your boilerplate editorial about institutional racism; it's grounds to celebrate. (I do not know the actual %age of tweets that might be considered offensive; some studies have been done, but they were themselves biased and of dubious scientific worth due to that.). Even limited just to America, there will never be a day when someone, somewhere, can't honestly report an incident of offensive speech. So when discussing proportionality, as well as the harm/benefit done by shaming, it's important to consider the size of the target base and the diminishing returns once social norms are established. At some point, going after the outliers and recidivists isn't worth the effort, as long as a general sense of "No, this still isn't acceptable" is maintained and enforced (socially, not legally). I tend to really draw the line when people run out of broadly public targets and start rooting in private or semi-private areas for people still saying Forbidden Words. Your moral standing to be offended and to demand a social response diminishes the more you had to work to be exposed to the offensive speech. "I joined HeManWomanHatersClub.com and I saw people there saying horrible things about women! This is the sort of thing that totally disempowers me, knowing there still exist places where this speech occurs and where I can be forcibly exposed to it by going to a site that publicly announces that's what it's for, filling out a membership form, and agreeing to the site's terms!" (I wish I was exaggerating here, because I've seen pretty much this argument, with apparently no sense of irony.)

    And on the other side, because there's always another side, if you come upon information that someone who has a prominent position in business or politics is a member of this site in good standing, it might well be justified to bring this to people's attention. (If only for the chance to laugh when they pull out the "I was investigating it to better understand the issues faced by women today" excuse.)

    What/where are the lines? A lot of community sites try to split the difference by hosting groups with offensive content but not indexing them or letting them be searchable. Many hosting sites, in general, have boilerplate TOS that their lawyers drew up, rarely enforced, saying they won't host sexist, racist, etc, forums or blogs, which means all anyone has to do is keep whining about the TOS until the hosters take action. Because few places have the resources to police their customers, whichever causes get the most advocates can usually win. This is not a new phenomenon — boycotting a newspaper until they stop advertising for a specific business, or boycotting a theater if they show "offensive" movies, has a long tradition. (And it is still going on; many of the weekly arts/entertainment/culture papers, distributed in larger cities, are targeted by activists because their personal ads contain borderline, or not so borderline, offers of prostitution. These papers are torn between offending their basically leftist audiences, or going out of business entirely.)

    So, uhm, point:
    a)If your goal is the complete elimination of offensive speech from the public sphere, I'm happy for you: You've got a hobby for life.

    b)In my personal opinion, the more hoops you need to jump through to be offended, the less you look like someone trying to make the world a better place, and the more you look like a busybody peeking into your neighbor's windows to see if they've got a Communist magazine on their coffee table.

    c)The battles over what speech is "acceptable" in public, and what is not, will not end until humanity does.

  99. Tarrou says:

    @ Lizard, well said.

    In the case of this particular kerfuffle, you

  100. Tarrou says:

    Silly laptop, posting before I am finished!

    As I was saying, Lizard puts words to my sense of unease about targeting some hick with 80 twitter followers as somehow shaming all of America.

  101. Trevor says:

    Isn't this exactly the marketplace of ideas?

    Can't the critics be "shamed" by people like you, pointing out that they call it racism even though it is a self-portrait by a member of that very ethnic group?

    Yes, you're exactly right, it's the marketplace of ideas. And you're also right that the critics can be shamed by people pointing out that (in the example) that the painting is a self-portrait by a member of that very ethnic group.

    But that's missing the point that I was attempting to make. (Probably because I was making the point poorly.) Let me try again.

    The examples used in the post, regarding tweets about Nina Davuluri, are clearly racism. But by using such an obvious example, it's stacking the deck. In the real world, there are examples of racism or perceived racism along a long spectrum, beginning with the obvious, continuing to the ambiguous, and then continuing further to examples where someone has butthurt in the first degree about something that is obviously NOT racism.

    Examining public shaming is a laudable goal. I think it would be more interesting to examine public shaming in a context where it is ambiguous whether or not the racist (or "racist") being shamed really deserved that public shaming or not. That would, I think, look at the marketplace of ideas in a way where the deck was NOT stacked.

  102. princessartemis says:

    @Irk, It was an observation on my own reaction to having borne witness to Internet attacks over the last couple of decades. You can tell me until you're blue in the face that observing Internet attacks (not criticisms, the attacks) has not resulted in me giving serious second thoughts to speaking up, but it's really not going to work. I doubt you would tell me that hiding my gender in online games is not partly the result of having observed Internet attacks and not wishing to invite them on myself, so why are you telling me that giving second thoughts to exposing my ideas is not similar?

  103. Xenocles says:

    "Isn't this exactly the marketplace of ideas?"

    I'm struggling with the idea that "you should be ashamed of yourself for thinking that" is really what is meant when we speak of the ideas being exchanged in the eponymous marketplace. To me it seems like that's in the domain of people rather than ideas. I know that the normative judgement itself is technically an idea, I'm just not sure it meets the spirit of "the market place of ideas."

    All this rambling is to say that the marketplace I would generally prefer is one in which we judge the ideas themselves and not necessarily who holds them or why they are held. Though I guess that idea is itself subject to the same process of evaluation.

  104. Lizard says:

    @PrincessArtemis: Let me just add, as clearly as possible, that I have refrained from posting many things due to my deciding the value of speaking them was not equal to the almost certain blowback. (I excised a big chunk of a reply to another one of your posts, because I decided it wasn't a battle I was interested in fighting. FWIW, it wasn't targeted at, or critical of, you.)

    The *point* of social criticism is to cause people to think twice before speaking. For, I think, the 40th time this week, I point out there is no such thing as a society without taboos. In a free society, the cost of breaking such taboos is a loss of respect and social capital, not a loss of life. I call that an improvement. I do not agree with all of our current social standards. Some, I disagree with enough to speak out against at any cost. Some have negligible costs to speak against, and so, I do. Some have costs higher than I'm currently willing to pay. Everyone decides these things for themselves, and acts accordingly.

  105. Lizard says:

    @Xenocles: I have encountered, online, people who hold the idea that my existence is a bad thing, that my ancestors should have all been killed, before I was born. How, prithee, shall I judge the idea and not judge the person who wants me dead not for anything I may have personally done to him, but because of who my ancestors were?

    I admit to being rather negatively inclined towards people who hold the idea that I have no right to live. It's shallow and petty of me, I know. I should be more high-minded. As it is, I still support their right to hold that idea, and to speak it — but not their right to not be judged upon the fact they do so, and treated with all due contempt, disgust, and dismissal from the company of civilized people. If your concept of being a good person requires I do more than that, then, I will never be, in your eyes, a good person — and you may choose to disassociate yourself from me as you see fit, and encourage others to do likewise. I suspect, however, that the idea "People who have negative opinions towards people who want them dead are intolerant bigots!" will not get a lot of traction. You're free to advocate it, of course. Others are free to judge you by such advocacy, in turn.

  106. Xenocles says:

    You got me all wrong, Lizard. I didn't mean anything bad about people who judge people for their opinions or ideas. It's just that generally I question the utility of going after the interlocutor. I also never said anything about the right to make those personal judgments. I guess I just have a general preference to isolate ideas for discussion. In cases where discussion of anything is unlikely to be useful, a different approach may be called for.

  107. Zazlo says:

    @ Lizard

    " [...] so I'll stick with "mock""

    I don't have a particular problem with this. Given a "mock" situation, it is preferable to have high quality mocking, which I am certain you can supply. Despite curtailing my own sarcasm, I believe myself a connoisseur, and can (and do) relish it. Hell, my first forays online in '89-'90 where under the name Blackadder.

  108. Kirk Parker says:

    Among the cons, you should definitely include the possibility that any outrageous statement might well be the work of a moby.

  109. David M. Nieporent says:

    I'd say that the biggest cons are #2 and #8. My position would be that it depends who you're calling out, and why. If you're calling out a specific person who is well-known enough to matter, for the purpose of shaming, that's fine. But if you're just collecting examples of bad behavior, that's mostly just trolling for pageviews; with 2 trillion Twitter users out there (give or take), you can find any opinion expressed by 20 or 50 people. That doesn't prove that the opinion is widespread, as some of these articles try to do. I guess I would therefore add:

    Con #9: You're giving these tweets far more attention than they deserve. Isolated instances of stupid immature people saying stupid immature things should mostly be ignored.

    Also, I was going to say that you're misusing "whistling past the graveyard," but I see it can have two different meanings, one of which fits your usage.

  110. adam says:

    Agreeing with David. It kinda relates to cons 6 and 8.

    At some point, some folks reach a level of discourse so low that to respond to it just feels like being dragged down into the mud with them. (I guess we'll have varying opinions one where that line is, but we probably mostly agree the line exists.) And it just gives more attention to crap which I'd rather not be getting any attention.

    But you do have an interesting list of pros. And I should say that I fully support HIGH-QUALITY satire.

  111. StopEquivocating says:

    Is this good, bad, or indifferent? Positive, negative, or neutral?

    All of the above, to varying degrees, depending on what you value (and what a particular group values).

    The hard part is recognizing what you value most. Sometimes values conflict and it is impossible to hold both equally and simultaneously.

    I know that sounds obvious but experiences suggests that when values conflict it's hard to choose one and own that choice using supporting justifications. It's easier to choose one (or just go with your gut) and rationalize that you never subordinated any other values.

    For example, "Marketplace of Ideas" and "Shaming Offensive Opinions" are highly incompatible values. It's certainly possible to value both over time, weighing one against the other for specific situations. And occasionally you can indeed invoke both (ie shaming someone for speech offensive to free speech). But usually, shaming someone for something they said is prioritizing some other value over "Marketplace of Ideas".

  112. StopEquivocating says:

    This post uses a circumstance where public shaming takes place after something that is very clearly racism. But I'm not sure that examining public shaming in this type of obvious case is as illuminating as examining it in a case where some reasonable people see something as racist, but other, also reasonable, people see something as benign.

    For one example, I spoke with a painter whose paintings were for sale at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. He had painted a self-portrait of himself at a bar, when he was inebriated. It was not a very positive painting. As it happens, this painter is native American.

    He got complaints about the painting, and his explanation of it as a self portrait did not convince the complainers. They told him that it portrayed native Americans as drunks. They complained about him to the organizers of the art fair, asking that he not be asked back next year.

    Now, whether or not you agree with the complainers or with the artist, I think you'll agree that reasonable people could see the painting as non-racist. And yet he was publicly shamed for what was perceived as his "racism".

    When the action being publicly shamed is not so obvious, examining it becomes more interesting.

    With regards to a "Marketplace of Ideas", there are a few distinctions that must be made here. There is a distinction between between criticism of the actual art and shaming of the individual for producing it.

    Consider the following statement (all hypothetical):

    Dear Artist,

    We have considered your explanation and while it is credible, we believe that however it may have been intended, the image of a drunk Native American nevertheless perpetuates a stereotype, offensive to standards of our community, and have opted to restrict the display of that piece. While we believe in the importance of artistic expression and appreciation of the human experience, we reluctantly make an exception in this case because we believe that the consequences of perpetuating this stereotype are very important.

    The remainder of your art may remain on sale for the remainder of this event, and future applications to participate in our fair will be considered the same as any other artists

    Notice how this response focuses on the art and offers a clear statement –justification– that the piece offends a specific social value.

    This decision is contrary to the idea of Marketplace of Ideas, but in a limited, clearly-defined, self-aware sense. "This community is not prepared to address this idea at this time."

    versus the following:

    Dear Artist,

    We have received your explanation, but you appear to be a self-loathing racist and is therefore an embarrassment to our organization. You are forthwith banned from selling or displaying any works of art in connection with our event.

    This response focuses on the person's character and punishing that person for creating offensive art.

    This response is most contrary to the idea of "Marketplace of Ideas". It sends the message that not only is the art bad, but people who create such art are also bad and should be ostracized. It shifts as much blame as possible onto the artist and avoids addressing any value other than community reputation.

    versus the following:

    Dear Artist,

    We have considered your explanation and while it is credible, we believe that however it may have been intended, the image of a drunk Native American nevertheless perpetuates a harmful stereotype, offensive to standards of our community, and requested that you take it down.

    Based on your refusal to do so, resulting in a number of verbal altercations with event staff and members of this committee, we request that you leave the event immediately and future applications from yourself or any party on your behalf will not be considered for a period of 5 years.

    This response focuses on extra actions the artist made, beyond what we originally thought was the issue. In this case, the artist was banned primarily because he was a pain in the ass and unable to negotiate a compromise with the event committee.

  113. Sinij says:

    >>>You say something stupid on Twitter, you should be at risk of losing your livelihood.

    What rational individual then would post anything on Twitter, knowing that "something stupid" is highly arbitrary standard irrationally, disproportionally, and randomly enforced? If anything, you are arguing for public shaming of any Twitter posting, given that posters obviously disregarded above-stated risks in a lapse of judgment.

  114. R R Clark says:

    @Sinji

    No rational actor, which is perhaps as it ought to be. The amount of overshare that occurs on social media sites has already exhausted the general public's patience. What gets conducted in bits and pieces between social media networks these days used to be called journaling and it was conducted in the privacy of a physical volume that, more often than not, was purposefully kept hidden away from the world.

    I don't post to Twitter, nor do I engage in constant updates of social media sites. I am in my 30s and am the demographic they are fighting hardest to keep active because by and large as we all slide into real careers and relationships we stop caring about the facile ones maintained via the internet. If my friends want to talk to me, they text me or call me. If you don't have my phone number chances are I don't believe you have anything to contribute in my life.

    Besides, who are we to contradict Newton? Acceptance begets acceptance, but a world free of consequence is inconsequential.

  115. With Buzzfeed, any attempt at public shaming follows the attempt at ginning up page hits. Always follow the cyber-money.

  116. Trevor says:

    @StopEquivocating

    With regards to a "Marketplace of Ideas", there are a few distinctions that must be made here. There is a distinction between between criticism of the actual art and shaming of the individual for producing it.

    Excellent point! How do you think that Ken's list of Pros and Cons apply to these two distinct situations?

  117. princessartemis says:

    @Lizard, I get you. That's pretty much where I'm feeling it, the potential cost is just too high (and I don't always think that's a bad thing; that's what consideration is, after all). That's one reason I almost never even bring up the fact that I even feel that way, because to say so courts social cost I'm not always feeling up to paying. I figured it was at least relevant to the thread, though. I'm still figuring out how to navigate all the social taboos–it's a weird place being from several different social groupings, some of which seem to confer a much lower risk of blowback for saying the same thing that another equally valid grouping would risk a great deal of it. So more often than not, I keep my mouth shut and watch.

  118. Rick says:

    [H]e was publicly shamed for what was perceived as his "racism".Reminds me of the excessive sensitivity to certain words in the English language.
    But in the case of the Miss America thing, these people are clearly making racist comments and deserve to be called out for it. Even if they were right about her race and/or religion they're still being racist. Hell, even if she was the daughter of a 9/11 conspirator, she still has every right to participate and win a pageant like this.
    One pro that Ken didn't really mention is that there are people (like me) who frequently forget that there are stupid, racist assholes out there. These shame rituals help me remember just how stupid people can be, and shake me out of my complacency. Sort of like when a relative you haven't seen in a while turns out to be a birther or Holocaust denier. A real wake-up moment.

  119. Rick says:

    they could use a preview function on this forum. I appear to have misformatted a tag. :(

  1. September 16, 2013

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