David Thompson
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September 04, 2018

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Jen

The Shriver article is spot on.

David

The Shriver article is spot on.

Yes, she captures the mutual pretence. I’m still faintly astonished that anyone could believe that the Woke Indignation Of The Week is anything but opportunistic and generally malign. The expectation that one should believe it to be well-meaning and sincere, or at least indulge it as if it were, is itself rather insulting.

As Shriver says, “Despite youth’s reputed belief in the importance of being earnest, the whole ID politics movement is emotionally disingenuous… Bullies on the left ply weakness to conceal aggression.” And that’s the thing - the wider poisonous effect of all this competitive, predatory outrage. It makes bad faith routine, normal, something to expect but say nothing about. It perpetuates dishonesty.

Peter H

Ridicule is the only rational response.There should be more of it.

John D

"White privilege" taught as fact.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmkfzXt8_vE

Eric

Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius

Eric

Or, rather, Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

Joan

"The Washington Post, which just reported on the outrage surrounding Tigges' comments, admitted that everything the doctor said was true, but still found a way to describe it as discrimination."

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/306531/

R. Sherman

It's not surprising that UCLA has ideological litmus tests for faculty hires.* What's surprising is that it admits it in writing. As a public institution, it opens itself to all manner of litigation for every candidate that doesn't get hired. Further, we know from James Damore's situation at Google, California has laws which prohibit making employment decision based on an applicant's or employee's politics.

*As a practical matter, individual departments will probably continue to hire whom they wish, especially in the "hard" sciences. The Physics Department will not refrain from hiring a Nobel laureate simply because his research and zillions of dollars of grant funding are ideologically pure enough.

Damian

"Children are a cancer." To paraphrase George Carlin, did you ever notice that the most extreme anti-natalists are always people that no one would ever want to have a child with anyway?

Somehow the author looks exactly like I would expect. Is that profiling?

Cytotoxic

But children are (actually worse than) cancer. Your life is ruined as soon as you have one.

David

Somehow the author looks exactly like I would expect. Is that profiling?

It’s not, I think, unfair.

David

I rather like this brief tribute to the late Jaqueline Pearce, aka Servalan from Blake’s 7:

Servalan taught us all that no matter how swampy, craggy, windswept or otherwise inhospitable the planet, there’s no excuse for showing up wearing anything other than a full length ballgown with matching accessories. A triumph of style over topography.

Sounds about right. And I suspect she’d approve.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

...the most extreme anti-natalists are always people that no one would ever want to have a child with anyway?

As noted earlier, "Andrea" is really a guy, so you can file that under "physical impossibilities anyway." He seems to be indulging in cultural appropriation also as he appears as Oriental as Calvin Coolidge, or that Brianna Wu chap.

WTP

Combine

If Albert Einstein applied for a professorship at UCLA today, would he be hired? The answer is not clear.

with

The Physics Department will not refrain from hiring a Nobel laureate simply because his research and zillions of dollars of grant funding are ideologically pure enough.

I have significant confidence (>73.7%, though obviously not scientific) that Nobel laureates, including the hypothetical if-he-were-alive-today-but-not-scratching-furiously-at-his-coffin-lid-Einstein, would do what is necessary to conform to these diversity requirements if they really saw some other advantage to being hired by University X, say to work with Professor Y or make use of Fantastically Expensive Lab Toy. While true that people, even the greatest minds, have only so many brain cycles per minute of life to devote to the things that they want/need to think about. If by throwing away a few here and there to satisfy some bureaucratic requirement, something they are already doing in other respects, will allow them to get on with their work, they will do so. Only when they feel that extra time is truly diverting them from the work that they want to do will they put up much of an objection. This is true of most other things in their lives that detract such as teaching students, attending faculty meetings, etc. It's just one more damn thing. But if they can get brownie points for diversity such that it gets ignored when they miss more than a few student focused requirements or other distractions, it's six of one, half dozen of the other from where they sit.

David

did you ever notice that the most extreme anti-natalists are always people that no one would ever want to have a child with anyway?

Quite a lot of feminist posturing does seem to boil down to some variation of “I am unable to do X successfully, therefore X and everything about it is worthless and contemptible.”

Duke Magoo

Anyone who is mired in equality, diversity and inclusion, is not a person who will accomplish anything great. He will be too busy measuring each sentence that comes out of his mouth. Constantly looking over his shoulder to see whose watching his every move in he hopes of noting some sort of imagined transgression.

We are in an age of leftist insanity and childish adults.

We need a fucking famine as Kate often mentions.

I think we need a civil war to clear out some of the stupidity.

Sam Duncan

“Starting this fall, all faculty applicants to UCLA must document their contributions to 'equity, diversity and inclusion.'”

This is what happens when you have a law against the establishment of religion on the books for a couple of hundred years. People forget why.

“He seems to be indulging in cultural appropriation also as he appears as Oriental as Calvin Coolidge, or that Brianna Wu chap.”

The thought occurs to me that transgenderism is, itself, cultural appropriation. Not, I say as a libertarian, that there's anything wrong with that, but the cognitive dissonance for those guys must be staggering.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

He will be too busy measuring each sentence that comes out of his mouth. Constantly looking over his shoulder to see whose watching his every move in he hopes of noting some sort of imagined transgression.

Yes, and it infects everything.

...but the cognitive dissonance for those guys must be staggering.

The interesting thing is that not only they but other people take their blatherings seriously, as if a guy can expound on the travails of being a woman any more than I can on my imagining I am a Papuan tribesman.

MC

The thought occurs to me that transgenderism is, itself, cultural appropriation.

Tut tut; they ARE female and so are their penises.

Pogonip

The poor are crazy, the rich are eccentric:

http://theothermccain.com/2018/09/03/emma-sulkowicz-crazy-evil-queer-feminist-liar/

Stephen J.

I liked Shriver's article but I thought she missed one key point when she said: "These people are not frightened. They want you to be frightened of them." I'm sure as an award-winning author she has more than her share of insight into human psychology but she dropped the ball there: these people want normal folks to be frightened of them precisely because they are (or at one point were) so terrified of normals and normalcy.

Nothing drives the desire to inflict fear on others so much as the experience of being afraid.

Mags

Progressives seem especially prone to disguise one feeling as another.

That.

Pogonip

Hi Eric,

I wanted to take Latin in high school but didn’t get to. Please translate your sentences.

David

I wanted to take Latin in high school but didn’t get to.

It’s often translated, informally, as “Kill them all. Let God sort it out.”

Which seems a tad harsh. But there we are.

MikeG81

"Your life is ruined as soon as you have one."

Huh. My wife and I didn't get the memo.

Damian

Quite a lot of feminist posturing does seem to boil down to some variation of “I am unable to do X successfully, therefore X and everything about it is worthless and contemptible.”

Aesop's fables are so wasted on the young. The fox and the sour grapes explains more about human nature than thousands of pages of political philosophy.

David

The fox and the sour grapes

While poking through feminist outpourings I’m often reminded of the tone adopted by teenagers when they want to convey how stupid and unfashionable their parents’ taste in music is, or how stupid school sports are, especially the ones that they, entirely coincidentally, happen to be no good at.

Pogonip

Thanks, David!

If I remember right, that goes back to a soldier who wanted to know how to tell the Cathars from the respectable folk.

Sam Duncan

As a complete aside, in the Shriver piece...

“during that Evergreen foofaraw a rabid convocation of students cowed the college president”

I like a writer who uses good words, and that's two excellent ones in a single line. Bravo, Lionel!

“Conservatives can be disingenuous, too — high-mindedly defending the health of the economy by protecting ‘wealth creators’, when they just want to pay lower taxes.”

Hmm. Speak for yourself, Li. Sure, I want to pay lower taxes. But I also firmly believe that this will benefit society by (among other things) assisting those who create wealth. It's a win-win. That's why I think it's the correct policy. If I thought it would benefit only myself while harming humanity as a whole, I'd think twice. In doing so, I might then try to come up with a clever-sounding moralistic argument to cover my selfishness, but that doesn't mean that the one that I have is also false.

Daniel Ream

If I thought it would benefit only myself while harming humanity as a whole, I'd think twice. In doing so, I might then try to come up with a clever-sounding moralistic argument to cover my selfishness

That's a fairly succinct summary of the "government must regulate socal media" braying coming from Conservative, Inc. these days.

David

If I thought it would benefit only myself while harming humanity as a whole, I’d think twice.

There’s also the non-trivial issue that state dependency tends to breed more and wider dependency, which, once established and made habitual, is very hard to undo, either politically or culturally. With the result that at some point the level of dependency, and the expectation of more, becomes unsustainable, indeed ruinous. That the left has seemingly decided that we must no longer think of welfare in terms of the deserving and undeserving – that we mustn’t acknowledge the role of choices and responsibility - rather suggests that the ratio in question has already shifted in an unhappy direction and is likely to continue.

Tim Newman

Quite a lot of feminist posturing does seem to boil down to some variation of “I am unable to do X successfully, therefore X and everything about it is worthless and contemptible.”

Steve Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism, which has since been adapted to feminism in general:

The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.
David

Heh. Quite.

WTP

Hmm. Speak for yourself, Li.

Well exactly. Putting wealth creators in scare quotes is a tell in my book. But as to taxes, taxes are not the problem. Spending is the problem. Especially spending on "loans" for extended childhoods in pursuit of snowflake degrees and subsidizing the leftist theology of most such college professors. But I digress...

Hopp Singg

Quite a lot of feminist posturing does seem to boil down to some variation of “I am unable to do X successfully, therefore X and everything about it is worthless and contemptible.”

You say X but you really mean Y, right?

Daniel Ream

While poking through feminist outpourings I’m often reminded of the tone adopted by teenagers when they want to convey how stupid and unfashionable their parents’ taste in music

"I hate you Daaaad/Pay attention to meeeeee" sums up rather a lot, yes.

Steve Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism

Evolutionary psych may have a bad rap, but it's proven better at predicting and modelling human behaviour than the alternatives.

Spiny Norman

I noticed something curious: the Quillette article on Ms McIntosh attracted precisely the sort of "trophy hunters" Shriver is describing in the Spectator. I'm not sure if the comments in Quillette make me want to laugh out loud, or reach through the ether and throttle some pretentious "progressive" numbskulls.

Pogonip

Why not both? 😊

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Hmm. Speak for yourself, Li. Sure, I want to pay lower taxes. But I also firmly believe that this will benefit society by (among other things) assisting those who create wealth. It's a win-win. That's why I think it's the correct policy. If I thought it would benefit only myself while harming humanity as a whole, I'd think twice. In doing so, I might then try to come up with a clever-sounding moralistic argument to cover my selfishness, but that doesn't mean that the one that I have is also false.

I was listening to an interview some weeks back with a member of the Australian cabinet about tax cuts that had passed Parliament. The sneering radio host stated that people on some high income would get a tax cut and asked why they deserved it. It suddenly hit me that the correct response is to take a page from the US Declaration of Independence and ask why the swarms of officers sent hither to harass us and eat our substance deserve it.

R. Sherman

Hmm. Speak for yourself, Li.

Aside from the fact that her throwaway line about taxes is nothing more than a virtue signal designed to prevent the outrage mobs from coming after her, the assumption underlying her statement is that nothing we earn or create belongs to us. Rather, it belongs to the government at whose sufferance we are allowed to keep something and who is in a much better position to determine how our wealth and income is distributed. The proper answer to such a remark is, "You're damn right. It's my money."

Pogonip

I’ll buy that as long as you never drive on the public roads or flush your poop into the public sewers.

A functional society needs both private and public spheres.

Pogonip

Oh, and stay off the public sidewalks.

Damian

Aside from the fact that her throwaway line about taxes is nothing more than a virtue signal designed to prevent the outrage mobs from coming after her

She's had the outrage mobs after her for the past year since she spoke out about the nonsense of cultural appropriation, so I doubt she cares about that. It seems more like what Christina Hoff Sommers aptly called "the liberal fear of looking conservative." For many liberals of Shriver's generation, they were the leftmost flank in respectable political discourse, and they were free to define themselves to their advantage against the religious right and pre-civil-rights racists. Now they've been outflanked on their left by a new breed, and many of them are stuck in no-man's-land, waffling over how to define themselves against the intersectional fanatics without conceding any ground to their old enemies or rethinking their caricatures. There's a growing genre of essays lately that peer deeply into the liberal navel, trying to find something substantial to keep them from being rhetorically tarred as conservatives. (Spoiler: it usually boils down to more positive feelings about the welfare state. Thin gruel.)

R. Sherman

I’ll buy that as long as you never drive on the public roads or flush your poop into the public sewers.

Ah, yes. The go-to "Gotcha!" line.

Sigh

There are obvious things which require financing by the commonweal. Marines, for example. I do not have the power (yet) to invade a country and overthrow it for my own nefarious purposes. Thus, I'm certainly willing to toss a few shekels into the hat for a some MEUs and F-35s. Ditto roads and sewers, though in fairness, I get my water from a well and have a private septic system on my land, so I'm cool there, I guess.

The fact is, most taxes are merely schemes to redistribute my money to someone else who has not earned it. I have worked 60+ hours per week for thirty years running a small business, only to see the government siphon off more and more of every dollar I make. What's siphoned never seems to benefit me in any way. (See, e.g. condition of state highway in front of my house.) The amount I pay does, however, seem to make it into the pockets/EBT cards of people I see at the gas station using EBT to buy Snickers bars and cash for their smokes and booze.

But, by all means, prop that "just don't use public roads" straw man up again. You really showed me.

Pogonip

Not at all. Had your first complaint had the clarity of your second, I’d never have scolded you. I’ve been saying for 30 years that Americans have had their wealth stolen and that’s why they don’t want to pay taxes. Why should they? They pay taxes and their roads and bridges are crumbling, water’s unsafe in more and more places, they’re one serious illness away from the street, but by God those banks got bailed out. Your Tax Dollars At Work.

It’s a good thing huge American vehicles and sportsball exist; I honestly think the remaining middle class (all twelve of them) might erupt in revolution otherwise. Although sportsball is showing a slight weakening of its power to pacify.

dcardno

but by God those banks got bailed out. Your Tax Dollars At Work.

After nearly going tits-up due to government policy and (the government-mandated) loans to people who the bankers knew couldn't repay the debt, I don't really see the bail-out as all that problematic.

YMMV, of course

R. Sherman

Had your first complaint had the clarity of your second, I’d never have scolded you.

Well then. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Or, perhaps you should not be so quick to toss off you "scoldings."

And BTW, your second comment conflicts with your first. The answer to the problem(s) you identify is not more taxes but fewer, and then only to fund things which truly benefit all.

But I suppose, glib comments directed at someone you don't know are easier than actually thinking about a problem and formulating a solution.

(Memo to David: Regarding the comments in the previous post, I'm obviously the "Evil Twin.")

R. Sherman

David, I apologize for getting cranky. I'll do better in the future.

David

Perhaps this will lighten the mood.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

They pay taxes and their roads and bridges are crumbling, water’s unsafe in more and more places, they’re one serious illness away from the street...I honestly think the remaining middle class (all twelve of them)...

That is a fine litany of leftist boilerplate nearly antipodal to reality.

Governor Squid

They pay taxes and their roads and bridges are crumbling, water’s unsafe in more and more places, they’re one serious illness away from the street, but by God those banks got bailed out.

Water, sewer, electric, and gas services come from private utilities or the enterprise funds of a local government entity. In either case, it is user fees that pay for these services, as opposed to general tax revenues.

Local street networks are likely to remain a tax-supported public asset, though I'd argue that a fuel tax is probably a more sensible funding source than property or income taxes.

Health insurance is a private matter, as well it should be. I've yet to meet a neighbor willing to agree that my requirement to pay for his unfortunate lifestyle choices and genetic weaknesses gives me the right to dictate his diet, fitness regime, and reproductive options. For the handful of truly unfortunate cases, I suggest we take all the hospitals with "Saint" or "Methodist" in the name and return them to their original purpose.

Lancastrian Oik

*surveys broken furniture and post-fight detritus and shakes head*

Whew. They're the last two I thought would get into it.

Anyway, here is John Gray on post-truth liberalism:

For those who embrace it, a paranoid style of liberalism has some advantages. Relieved from any responsibility for the debacles they have presided over, the liberal elites that have been in power in many western countries for much of the past 30 years can enjoy the sensation of being victims of forces beyond their control. Conspiracy theory implies there is nothing fundamentally wrong with liberal societies, and places the causes of their disorder outside them. No one can reasonably doubt that the Russian state has been intervening in western politics. Yet only minds unhinged from reality can imagine that the decline of liberalism is being masterminded by Vladimir Putin. The principal causes of disorder in liberal societies are in those societies themselves.
Daniel Ream

a fuel tax is probably a more sensible funding source than property or income taxes.

You'd think so, but that's the way it's done around here and the fuel tax just becomes another pot the politicians raid for vote-buying schemes instead of fixing the roads.

Dominos seems to do a better job of keeping the roads in repair, and they don't even charge for it.

David

Whew. They’re the last two I thought would get into it.

Time for a group hug. That’s it, huddle round.

No touching below the waist, mind.

Spiny Norman

Squid,

Local street networks are likely to remain a tax-supported public asset, though I'd argue that a fuel tax is probably a more sensible funding source than property or income taxes.

Road maintenance USED to be funded that way here in the glorious People's Republic of California, until the big-hearted Democrats in Sacramento decided the fuel taxes would better serve the public (employees' union pensions) in the General Fund. Now they have raised fuel taxes again to "fund road and bridge maintenance".

And the cycle of life continues.

Sam
"government must regulate social media" braying coming from Conservative, Inc. these days

This is extremely worrisome to me. Not just in itself but as part of a wider problem with the Right Wing (we'll call it). The second the political right tasted power they demanded big daddy government punish their political enemies by trampling any remnants of freedom of speech, association, and property rights.

Glenn Reynolds, who has disappointed me tremendously on this subject, had an instapost to the effect of "Don't regulate social media companies. Break them up." How someone - a libertarian! - can type that without irony is dispiriting. Of course, his very next post was a shill for Amazon.

I'm usually either bemused or angered by the left's idiocies, but when it comes from "my side" I just feel despair.

Governor Squid

When road taxes are diverted to public pensions and food stamps, we activate Section 410.173 of the state statutes. Better known to most as the "torches-and-pitchforks clause."

Far better that the people should occasionally murder their public servants, than vice-versa!

Hal

I'm usually either bemused or angered by the left's idiocies, but when it comes from "my side" I just feel despair.

Uh huh . . . and aside from the focus of Duh Left being mere identity and the focus of Duh Right being mere organized faith, where is there any difference between those "sides"?

As you're noticing, aren't they effectively being the same thing, and thus quite different from the rest of us who are quite emphatically in between, the rest of us who are quite clearly neither mere right or mere left?

As has been cited and rather notedly never refuted, the solution will remain to just not bother with the mere right wing liberal extremism on one side or the mere left wing liberal extremism on the other side.

As always, leave the liberal dogma lying in the left and right wing gutters, stay between the two, continue with the actual conservative, different, and realistic practice that the right and left wing flank from the outsides, and quite instead, continue being focused on getting something done . . . . .

Daniel Ream

I'm usually either bemused or angered by the left's idiocies, but when it comes from "my side" I just feel despair.

Where the left is hilariously ignorant and hysterical about weapons and religion, the right is hysterically ignorant and hysterical about technology and the Internet.

Disclaimer: I'm a DevOps engineer for a small cloud-based company and I do occasional consulting on the side for larger enterprise clients. I know this stuff pretty well.

The real problem with the inherent bias in Big Social Media is that there's no palatable solution. They're not public utilities and they have every right under law to do what they're doing. One actually principled solution is to start holding them legally responsible as publishers - since they've taken positive action to control content, they can no longer claim "common carrier" immunity.

Except that's not just the nuclear option, it's the nuclear winter option. Right now it's neither economically nor technically feasible to reliably remove libellous or criminal content from any social media platform of any significant size. Set the precedent that social media networks are by default responsible for content they carry, and all social media fractures into tiny walled gardens limited to the number of users a group of human moderators can meaningfully handle in their spare time - a couple hundred at best.

David

the number of users a group of human moderators can meaningfully handle in their spare time - a couple hundred at best.

Henchlesbians. And a warm bath of biomimetic cloning gel.

Spiny Norman

They're not public utilities and they have every right under law to do what they're doing.

Well, except...

One actually principled solution is to start holding them legally responsible as publishers - since they've taken positive action to control content, they can no longer claim "common carrier" immunity.

Yeah, but "Big Social Media" still claims they're not "controlling content", Alex Jones ban/de-platforming be damned. Crazy, shouty Alex isn't the first, just the most prominent, and he certainly won't be the last. At what point do they lose "common carrier immunity"?

Set the precedent that social media networks are by default responsible for content they carry, and all social media fractures into tiny walled gardens limited to the number of users a group of human moderators can meaningfully handle in their spare time - a couple hundred at best.

Eventually, the demand for fairness will destroy the system.

I think it may be best for "conservatives" to automatically assume that they are decidedly unwelcome on social media, and just take their lumps if they wish to participate. I deleted my Farcebook account because it was too much time wasted for little more than aggravation. On the other hand, I did learn things about close relatives I wish I didn't know, and now I see them in a very different light, so there's that.

Sam
I deleted my Farcebook account...

How this remedy escapes so many people - especially Boomers who only just found and subsequently ruined Facebook - is beyond me. I can at least understand how someone raised on Instagram thinks it's something humans have always had but the same people who scoffed at Obamaphones are now demanding a Digital Bill Of Rights at the expense of the, you know, Actual Bill Of Rights. I usually see digital interventionist screeds on the very (ahem, free) platforms they want the Swamp to punish. Sad! as the kids say.

Having said that people should absolutely demand better and fairer treatment from these mega platforms, as well as sue for damages provided you can prove breach of contract etc. The curator vs publisher issue is interesting and is a test case of putting up with a temporary evil in lieu of a pervasive one.

Spiny Norman

especially Boomers who only just found and subsequently ruined Facebook

On that note: "People over 50 should be kept off social media, since they don't know what they're doing, and really have nothing to say anyone wants to here(sic). (Saw that on FB, including the grammatical error, about 2 years ago - presidential election year in the US, naturally.)

the same people who scoffed at Obamaphones are now demanding a Digital Bill Of Rights at the expense of the, you know, Actual Bill Of Rights. I usually see digital interventionist screeds on the very (ahem, free) platforms they want the Swamp to punish. Sad! as the kids say.

I'm not sure what "scoffing" at free "Obamaphones" has to do with freedom of speech on the internet, but I'm willing to listen. The only people I have actually seen calling for a "Digital Bill of Rights" are decidedly on the Left. Maybe there are others on the Right calling for a different "Digital Bill of Rights", but I'm obviously not hanging out with the correct social media crowd.

I see above that you referenced noted "libertarian" law professor Glenn Reynolds. I recently managed to run afoul of his limits, and had comments deleted, and my Disqus account temporarily banned or blocked (he claims he never bans anyone, so whatever). At the same time, overt "white supremacists" are free to post the most outrageous garbage ("Tangoman" and friends, who are so over-the-top I suspect they may be "mobies" - and calling them out gets you labeled a "cultural Marxist"). Instapundit's "experiment" with reader comments "didn't turn out as expected", to borrow one of his pet phrases.

Sam

Spiny

The government providing cellphones under the guise of the devices being "a necessary human right in [current year]" is very a similar type of cultural amnesia as demanding that this newfangled Facetwatter shall not infringe upon one's right to shitpost. In both cases technological innovations were immediately declared necessary to sustain human life, or so the government apologists would have you believe.

As for Instapundit - my posts rarely make it through their moderators, so I've given up. And yes, the board is absolutely full of the kind of racists that the left accuses us of being.

Governor Squid

Set the precedent that social media networks are by default responsible for content they carry, and all social media fractures into tiny walled gardens...

Two problems with this argument:

1) You're ignoring the equally-valid assumption that the social media networks go back to behaving as common carriers.

B) What's wrong with walled gardens? If it's a given that the over-50 crowd ruins everything they touch on the Web, then why not give them their own playground?

To me, it seems obvious that the social media networks make a huge mistake when they start curating content. If they want the protections offered to common carriers, then they have to act within those strictures. Users can decide for themselves who gets shared and who gets muted. Who knows? Maybe in a couple of years, users can peruse a suite of "echo chamber" utilities that automatically promote or mute accounts based on their preferences.

Now if you'll excuse me, I just saw this amazing new thing on MySpace and I feel compelled to share it on my LiveJournal.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

If it's a given that the over-50 crowd ruins everything they touch on the Web...

OK, this has me curious, how is the over-50 crowd ruining anything on the web ? All the "social media" is a Scheißnebel anyway, so I am not clear on how it can be ruined. Faceplace is just a privacy sucking advertising platform where the dupe user is the product, Instagram a place for narcissists to post crappily doctored photos mainly of themselves, Twitter - res ipsa loquitur.

Regardless, all that garbage has features to block people, or limit access to people or groups, or perhaps the under-50 crowd is just too stupid to figure out how to do that. Is their beef just that because grandma now uses one of these things it is no longer cool ? If that is it, oh freeking well ya spoiled bastiges, suck it up.

Daniel Ream

You're ignoring the equally-valid assumption that the social media networks go back to behaving as common carriers

That's not a valid assumption. I said, "set the precedent (as in, legal precedent) that social media networks are by default responsible for the content they carry". Stare decisis. Because that's what happens if the government nails them for acting as publishers. Right now, social media networks are acting as publishers but being allowed to operate as if they were common carriers. As long as they delete the kiddie porn and the Stormfronters, the government is willing to overlook the legal implications of them curating content. Big Social has pushed that too far, but the only option the government has is the very large, very indiscriminate hammer of legal precedent. Walled gardens it is.

What's wrong with walled gardens?

Metcalfe's Law. If a community cannot grow bigger than the couple hundred or so members that can be easily human-moderated, then it will have to fracture across multiple community instances. The people in different instances can't communicate easily with each other and can't meet new people in other instances. It drives the Internet right back to the 1990's when user groups were isolated things.

Take a look at this place here. I don't know how many regular posters David has right now, but I'm pretty sure he knows how many regular posters he'd be willing to accept if he had to approve each and every comment before it got posted.

David

but I’m pretty sure he knows how many regular posters he’d be willing to accept if he had to approve each and every comment before it got posted.

God forbid. Approving comments would be tedious for everyone. Anything approaching a real-time conversation would be all but impossible. I’m actually surprised by how little bother you heathens are. Even after a decade of doing this, and close to 90,000 comments, I can still count the number of blocked commenters on two hands, easily. I like to think setting a tone is a big part of that.

[ Combs hair, straightens tie. ]

WTP

Thanks, David!

If I remember right, that goes back to a soldier who wanted to know how to tell the Cathars from the respectable folk.

Ok, so since it started here, I will ask here. Cathars/Catharism, something I was only vaguely familiar with, mostly due to it being the source of the “Kill them all...” quote, has appeared in my perusings of news/commentary from three different sources in just these last couple of days. I sense a disturbance in Teh Narrative. Anyone have a clue to what gives?

WTP

I’m actually surprised by how little bother you heathens are...I like to think setting a tone is a big part of that.

Not one to be an apple polisher myself, but given the number of blogs that I have adventured through, based on my experience, the tone you set here is superb. It really is a wonder to watch you keep things here on an even keel. In addition to your own personal skills, which I think are something that really cannot be reasonably taught as personality itself is a very difficult thing to manage and/or communicate, especially to grown adults, one thing that you do that I believe many other bloggers could learn from is to at the very least, in the original post, refrain from language that is obviously alienating to much of your audience. Battles in the comments are to some degree understandable as there are two uncontrollable factors of the unexpected and time. These rarely apply to the OP thus there is very little excuse for such. I’m tempted to call out a couple blogs in the hope that they might learn something, but discretion (and personal insignificance) being the better part of valor...

David

the tone you set here is superb.

Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that. Could you say it again, BUT LOUDER?

It’s one of the things I’m quite pleased with – that the threads here are often much more interesting, and detailed, than the posts. As I say from time to time, the posts are intended as starting points, not The Last Word. Though I realise there must be quite a few people who rarely, if ever, read the comments. In fact, I can only think of a handful of other blogs where I regularly poke through the comments.

Sam

I think I started the "Boomers ruined Facebook" discussion so please allow an attempt to end it: it was a joke. Yes, FB was far less "cool" once Grandma's cats were as common as bikinis and beer bongs but who cares. I stopped using my FB account 5 years ago when I realized it was making me a worse person. Old fogies had nothing to do with it.

Now about all the things that Boomers HAVE ruined... =)

Governor Squid

Big Social has pushed that too far, but the only option the government has is the very large, very indiscriminate hammer of legal precedent.

Since you've already stipulated that Big Social cannot go back to "light touch" editing where the regulators were willing to look the other way, then I will agree with you that they're likely to have a bad time of things. I feel compelled to note that I disagree with this stipulation. I believe the credible threat of losing their common carrier protections might have the effect of making the Bigs reconsider their approach.

My other point is that I am quite fond of the walled garden, and wouldn't miss Big Social one bit if they went away. My experience with their sites has been inferior by every measure when compared to the listservs and bulletin boards and blogs and specialist networks I've treasured over the years (and mourned, as many of them were gobbled up by FaceBorg). Forced to choose between "promoted content" pushed at me by advertiser-biased algorithms, versus the blogroll in the margin, I'll take the latter every time.

In the past 20 years, I've experienced a number of cycles where a favorite online community gains popularity to the point that it loses the sense of community that drew me to it in the first place. For as much as I might wish that David could have a thousand paying subscribers keeping his wine cellar full, I know that such growth would almost certainly drive me to the next quiet corner of the Web, to start the cycle anew.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

...allow an attempt to end it: it was a joke...

No worries, it is almost impossible to offend me (annoy, that is a different story, some say I am even tempered - always mad), I am just genuinely curious, having heard the same sort of thing elsewhere, what the reasoning behind the sentiment might be, other than Old Uncle Thelma Lou co-opting the cool kids toy to post pictures and updates from the 1st Baptist Church Doily Club.

David

as much as I might wish that David could have a thousand paying subscribers keeping his wine cellar full,

[ Drifts into reverie. ]

Clam

Instalanche!

David

Instalanche!

I need fresh towels, stat.

Sam

Instalanche!

"Don't regulate [me]. Break [my ideological enemies who've built a wonderful, voluntary, free product that has personally enriched me] up."

OK I'm done beating that poor horse. The henchlesbians have been remarkably permissive I must say.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

I've found several sites whose commenters are as well-behaved, or nearly so:

* The Archdruid: A real magic-making pagan whose commenters are erudite.
* Lilek's Bleat: Probably because we're all over 50 and too tired to be crotchety.
* Althouse: With exceptions but it has it's good moments.
* Comic Curmudgeon: With a strict ban on politics that rarely gets violated. Of course, we're all united against terrible newspaper comics.

TheTooner

"But children are (actually worse than) cancer. Your life is ruined as soon as you have one."

But often enough, Cytotoxic, it turns out to be a fair exchange, the child's likewise.

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