Hey y'all, I took the time to write up my techbro's journey through the Fediverse in a more verbose format, that puts my arguments together in a bit more linear and rational order.
Meet Gamma. Gamma dislikes advertisement-funded social media, so comes to the Fediverse. But without the systemic bias, he finds his opinions harshly criticized. This makes him uncomfortable.
Why, and what happens next?
Tagging all y'all who replied to the low quality thread to make you aware of this more verbose version: https://emsenn.net/essays/there-and-back-again-a-fediverse-journey/
Sorry for the group tag, but for what it's worth I bet you'd all enjoy following each other so consider this a lil follow-friday as well.
Alright I know it's gouche to talk about your own writing but y'all, this line:
"But Gamma knows he isn’t a fascist: he’s a normal person like anyone else: a late-20s straight white man who works in tech."
That is sarcasm. Not everyone is a late-20s straight white man in tech. It was a joke.
That demographic is not even a sizeable minority of our society. Come on. Show some self-awareness. Geeze.
@emsenn should've named him John. 👌
But nah, it's good thank you
@maloki If names were more commonly chosen by their assignee I would 100% make fun of white people by calling them all Jonathan, but I try to stay away from using realistic names in this sort of context.
@emsenn yeah, I think it's good.
@emsenn thanks for the heads up!
@emsenn an interesting take. especially "when you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression." would be interested to know who said that.
that being said, it's unclear to me how to make this platform accommodating to both marginalized voices & spoiled, privileged ones. especially without restricting the speech of marginalized folks in the process. thoughts?
@wiley Many, not nearly well-reasoned enough to speak as the truth, though, so consider this more reflective of my feelings:
There's enough places where privileged voices get priority, I'm honestly not too fussed if we actively diminish them here - I would prefer not to, but I will do it if it means preserving marginalized voices.
Second, it isn't their privilege that motivates me to ostracise them, but its effects: their broadcasting of views that encourage systemic oppression.
There are all sorts of privileged folk here who don't do that, and thus, I have no problem with.
I'm not saying, "you can't talk because you're privileged." It's "I won't listen because you're saying dangerously daft things."
I'm just, also saying, I think those daft things people say are because of privilege. 2n
@wiley But that doesn't mean one can't be privileged and have well-developed opinions, or that giving up the privilege would suddenly entitle one to hold daft opinions.
Point #1: Don't share dangerously daft opinions, regardless of identity.
Point #2: White techbros seem quite likely to hold daft opinions.
Point #3: Thus if you're a white techbro, consider your opinion is daft before assuming everyone who disagrees with you is emotional and dumb.
@wiley This is pretty linear straight-forward logic, should be trivial to solve for a culture that prides itself on its ability to answer complex hypothetical algorithmic problems without paper during job interviews.
This isn't @ you, I know you were just asking the question. But, it's important to me to be clear and firm that I have no patience for excusing this sort of ignorance from that sort of culture.
@emsenn 👏 totally behind that. yet i cant shake the feeling that this is driving away people who could be 'allies' or whatever. on the other hand, if you're spouting dangerous words, you deserve to be silenced/shamed/de-platformed/whatever.
i guess what im saying is that there seems to be a tension between calling out problematic behavior and cultivating growth and' ally-ship' (whatever that means).
it reminds me of a beauvoir quote, where she basically says that ideally, we'd re-educate all of the fascists to show them the error of their ways. however, we don't live in an ideal world, and sometimes you need a quicker solution to prevent violence.
@wiley I think there's three basic schools of thought on this:
- You can reason people into changing their mind.
- You can emotion them into changing their mind.
- You can cause them to have the emotions that change their own mind.
Debate and yelling at are the former. Ostracising gives them cause to stay awake at 2am, anxiously wondering if they're wrong about... everything? anything? and will bring them cause to change themselves.
> especially "when you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression." would be interested to know who said that.
@emsenn this eventually needs comics-style illustrations!
@emsenn The thing is, the Fediverse is anything but a purely rational meritocracy, it's an angry mob of cliques, like any other social space. Just happens that the first wave in were GNU Social (typical awkward FSF bros), the second wave were mostly gay, furries, and weirdos, then the third wave were Japanese porn traders, and so on up to Gab.
Some on Fediverse are reasonable, but many are belligerent. It's LA in 1992. This isn't "Gamma is wrong", it's "how do we stop the race riots before they happen?"
@mdhughes I heard the whistle of the point whooshing over your head from here.
"race riots" are white slang for "battle between police and the people they oppress," and they aren't my concern, it's how can I help establish spaces in my society that don't prioritize white voices at the exclusion of all others. If that causes race wars, that's... not the fault of the oppressed for standing up, but the fault of the oppressor and those who support them through their complicity.
@mdhughes You're wringing your hands worried that if marginalized people resist oppression, the police might shoot at them.
Is that... really your worry to have? Shouldn't you be far more concerned that people are willing to risk that? Shouldn't the fact they're willing to push us toward that indicate... what they're saying might matter?
Maybe if you listened to them, instead of telling to them to stop making noise, you could figure out how to AVOID a race war, rather than dogwhistle for it.
@emsenn No, you painting everyone who says something you don't like as "white techbros" is provoking one angry mob to attack another.
The 1992 riots came from white people in LA having no contact with black people, letting off white cops for beating a black man, and then being *shocked* that the black people took to the streets. Isolation is what causes this. Confrontation is the only cure.
And most of the victims were Korean and Latinos, the pigs didn't shoot a lot of people.
@mdhughes Buddy. My sweet, sweet summer child.
There is a /huge/ difference between segregation of the sort that is an oppressive community segregating their personal life from those of the minorities around them.
And those marginalized communities tell that oppressive community that when they come to our house, they can't speak such rubbish.
One is, well, segregation, and illegal and immoral. The other is freedom of association and a human right.
You /are/ Gamma. What are you going to do?
Also, it's funny how if I attack "white straight cis men in their late 20s to early 30s who work in tech," that is "attacking everyone I don't like."
Confirms my perception that those demographics do, underneath it, think that they really are representative of "everyone."
@emsenn I knew that ad hominem was coming, because you have a can of gasoline and are looking for a person to throw it on. Don't attack *anyone*.
But: I'm not a Millennial, not that white, not that straight, don't even admit to being Homo sapiens. I just want peace and quiet.
You know where you say "Gamma knows he's right"? Does that seem familiar when you look in a mirror?
"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
are full of passionate intensity."
Please stop fomenting riots, OK?
@mdhughes You're just as convicted as me; it seems, just toward "peace and quiet," otherwise you'd be more receptive to what I'm saying rather than dismissing the bits between what was a rather frivolous insult.
@emsenn OK, because insults are how you get people to be receptive. I'm going to war for peace. Sure that makes sense.
@mdhughes Like I don't know how much more clear I can make it than in the post you're replying to.
Your "peace and quiet" only exists because you are suppressing alternative viewpoints. I mean, that's actively what you're doing here, telling me not to share my opinions because they might cause violence.
If you don't hold that as a conviction, that peace and quiet is THAT important, then please reconsider your actions; otherwise they're hypocritical.
Also, there's a LOT of overlap between "awkward FSF bros," "furries and weirdos, "Japanese porn traders," and "Gab," so I'd argue that you're kind of proving my point, that by focusing on one voice, it encourages the furthering of that voice's most extreme tendencies.
So, uh. Thanks.
@emsenn This is *excellent*.
@emsenn do people really join social media primarily to be heard? I thought it was primarily to relate to other people, to be social.
@emsenn I have followed a few of these heated discussions and while I usually align with the non-Gamma opinion, I find the manners objectionable and very often the ad-hominem attacks, swearing and name-calling come from this side of the fence. Which makes Gamma's "I'm right and everybody else is overly emotional" an easier pill to swallow.
@qwazix Insults are one of the only tools marginalized people have at their disposal in the face of a systemic oppression, and it's demeaning the problems they face to request they maintain a polite tone when trying to say "Hey, this thing you're saying: it risks my life."
Think, for a moment, about how silly what you've just said is: You agree that violent oppression is wrong, but because the language is "attacking," you find it easier to side with... the violent oppression. 1/n
@qwazix Like, uh, what?
It's easier for you to swallow collaborating with a social structure that relies on the exploitation of your fellow human... than hear someone be mean to someone else?
You need to face the realities of your actions then, because that should NOT be an easy thing to swallow.
@qwazix Like, okay, their manners are bad and they're insulting.
Well, let's look at who they're talking to: people who are are more concerned having their opinions criticized than they are about doing something to curb our reliance on violent oppression.
I don't know about you, but I was taught... it's okay to insult people like that. They're prideful and ignorant, usually to support their gluttony, they justify their ignorance with sloth. Insult those people. They're bad and should change.
@emsenn I meant that it is an easier pill to swallow *for him*. I won't change my opinion on a serious matter because someone was rude.
Also, I'm not debating anything, this was just an observation something you could even include in your text. "Gamma is now sure he is right because he was politely stating his opinion and others attacked him"
Now there is something inside that tells me that it would be better if he wasn't so fiercely attacked but as you said earlier...
@emsenn it's not that I've seen many change their opinion because someone tooted polite things to them so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ attack them as you wish.
@qwazix I like this attitude; be as nice or mean as you want, it's not our place to judge.
I guess what I'm trying to learn for myself is... making sure I'm forgiving the right people for the right things, and restraining from judgement where it needs to be restrained.
Thanks for the second response, again, I'm sorry I blew up at you the first time.
@emsenn don't worry, it's understandable after the previous comments and my use of the word 'objectionable' didn't help either.
To be frank I can easily imagine myself on the other side of the fence (I fit the bill too, almost). The one thing that saves me is that I try to lurk enough before I release my hot takes on the TL's and many times my takes have been altered significantly in this time.
@qwazix I'm so sorry I misread you! If you look at other replies to me today, almost all of them beyond "woo!" have been negative, and that skewed my perception. I'm truly sorry.
You're right; this would be a good thing to add to the text; would you like credit?
I'm developing my feelings on what the right amount of "fierce," is for me, but I usually advocate toward forgiving the fierceness before telling the fierce person to forgive that who they're being fierce at.
@qwazix ...Did that last part make sense? I think my grammar broke about a third of the way into it.
@emsenn nah, it's okay. You take the credit as it was your text that inspired the whole train of thought anyways.
That said, I honestly do find many parts of the Fediverse to suffer from a degree of group think, and (like some of the other commenters) I'm concerned that it leads to more isolation of the privileged from the oppressed people in society. (1/2)
@emsenn @qwazix It's not that you "should" be less dismissive of people with privilege. You don't owe us anything. And I also understand being fed up, wanting your own space free from dealing with those opinions anymore.
I just think that, strategically, being less dismissive, less quick to label, would better help your "Gammas" to come around to your ideas and your experience.
@emsenn @qwazix Also, privileged people aren't monolithic – everyone has their own infinitely textured life experience. (For instance, I've struggled with OCD and have learned a lot about my own privilege from working with diverse students as a tutor / teacher.) When you label people too quickly, you risk missing less obvious aspects of their identity/experience.
Anyway, as I said before, I'm mostly inclined to listen, and I'll try to take whatever response you give to heart.
But. I think allies won over because they're finding a new community and in-group are less useful than allies who are allies regardless of how mean that community is to them; they're allies because they see the injustice in things and want to work to change it.
Someone who becomes an ally despite being name-called and spit at, that's an ally I can more readily trust to have their head on straight.
So outside efficacy, there's that consideration. 2/2
@emsenn Guess I just don't understand Gamma's line of thought. he wants to be heard, but he doesn't like criticism even though it's inevitable. Also he should know social media can be an incredibly hostile place. That's not going to change anytime soon. Quite simply it brings out the worst in people, this writer included.
@4deuces You understand I wrote this, right? It seems rude to bury your insult at the end of your response like that. I hope you don't expect an explanation addressing your confusion; being an anonymous insulting stranger is a poor way to start an honest conversation.
@emsenn lol No, when I say "this author", I'm referring to myself.
@4deuces OH. Okay. Haha. Well, either way I'm trying a new thing of not responding to people with whom I don't have some sort of identity to associate, for a few reasons I haven't shared yet, but: People like and tolerate criticism that says their opinions are flawed. They really rankle at hearing their opinions are wrong, or even harmful.
Yes, Gamma isn't a self-examined user of online communication. Most people, regardless of identity, aren't.
@emsenn If I learned anything on Twitter over the last few years, it's that rationality goes out the window first, then opposing forces rub together like tectonic plates til finally there's an earthquake. My last time getting suspended was for posting this.... Not even sorry. It's a relief to be off that site.
@4deuces I personally would've appreciated a CW for something like "illustration of gore" or something, but yes; I quite enjoy how the fragmentation here lets communities deal with issues at, more or less, their own pace.
@emsenn It's certainly going to be tested now with the Gab vs. Everybody else thing brewing now.
@4deuces Ahh but that's a good example of what I mean: in my part of the Fediverse, I haven't seen anything about that issue in at least a couple weeks now! So while it's "brewing" for you, it's a few weeks past for me.
@emsenn Admittedly I'm new to the Fediverse, but I guess we'll see if this thing contains itself to individual instances or if it spills over and blows up the Federated timeline.
This is a wonderful piece. Thank you!
@emsenn "without even needing to listen, Gamma gets to know that he’s right, and everyone else is illogical, emotional, wrong, and dumb.
And why would Gamma want to spend time talking to, let alone listening to, those sorts of people?"
As a note: This thought process is not exclusive to social media. It's why I stayed on 4chan for about a decade. I only broke out of it thanks to some good friends.
Beware this thought process, children. It can and will trap you if you give it half a chance.
@LexYeen I too was on 4chan; though I luckily got distracted early on.
You might enjoy this other essay: https://emsenn.net/essays/i-cannot-trust-post-modern-conservatives/
"But the Internet has allowed the establishment of communities that don’t do anything to curtail such extremism... In fact, in communities like this, having firm beliefs reduces your ability to debate, and even if you did have honest beliefs, everyone would assume they were insincere, anyway."
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