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Author Topic: UN Peacekeepers to occupy Ferguson Missouri
Fenring
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Pyr, your narrow definitions do not fit with general use of the English language. You can use terms in an academic sense when discussing narratives that originated in academia, but please don't take words others use and make them mean whatever you want in order to try to undermine a point by way of absurdity. If you looked at the comments people posted it was obviously an attempt to make him either change or else feel bad. That's shaming.

The question is not whether one should call out someone who has transgressed, but rather whether one method of doing this should include public shaming. People used to be shamed in the public square for transgressions; it is a recent notion that shaming is a reprehensible method of dealing with people. I am just pointing out that you can't have it both ways; either shaming is going to be accepted as a method of addressing what one perceives as wrong behavior, or it isn't. If you admit this method then you can't complain when it's used on targets you didn't want it to be.

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scifibum
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I agree that what happened to Eich is distinct in important ways from "shaming which had historically targeted gays".

However, society is moving in the direction where disapproval of SSM, and more broadly disapproval of homosexuality, is shameful. It's likely that some people feel compelled to hide these opinions in certain social contexts in order to avoid negative repercussions, and this is going to become more common.

But this is not necessarily a bad thing - it just depends on whether you think those opinions are wrong/damaging enough to warrant the open disapproval they will receive if expressed in a context where they are unwelcome.

quote:
The assertion that he was actually forced to take any action, in this case is ludicrously false.
Not really, unless you're being overly strict with the definition of "forced". He was pressured into it.

---

Fenring:
quote:
"Shaming" is supposed to be a very bad thing, for instance, but when confronted with an outrageous view or person we find all sorts of people from both left and right quite amenable to using public shaming tactics. It has become largely accepted that shaming people for being different is a bad thing. Homosexuals, for instance, used to be shamed (and worse) as a matter of course and now the old cultural norm has been fought back to a large extent. This turning tide is so evident that now when people are noted as being anti-SSM (for instance Brendan Eich) those people are sometimes shamed publicly for being intolerant. One finds oneself realizing that shame and public pressure can be effective tools after all and are not necessarily all that bad if the right people are the target. But in the case of Eich perhaps the irony was lost that by shaming and pressuring him into resigning the community inadvertently retroactively legitimized the use of shaming which had historically targeted gays.
Did the gay movement in general or any comparable identifiable group make "shaming is bad and we should not do it" an element of their platform? I hadn't thought so. I thought the point was that there is nothing shameworthy about homosexuality.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
If you admit this method then you can't complain when it's used on targets you didn't want it to be.
Well, that's just blatantly a stupid argument. Of course you can. Because no one is saying "no one should ever be shamed or made to feel ashamed." They are saying "people should not be made to feel ashamed of certain things." Disapproving of legal same-sex marriage is not fundamentally part of what Eich is.
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NobleHunter
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I felt that at least part of Eich's problem was an incredibly weak-sauce apology. If he'd addressed his donation directly rather than trying to talk around it, I think he could have kept his job. As it was, his apology sounded like an attempt to avoid addressing why people were upset with him.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I agree that what happened to Eich is distinct in important ways from "shaming which had historically targeted gays".

I agree too, the situations are totally different. But I'm not addressing whether the target of shaming is legitimate, or to do with beliefs, a person's 'self', or anything else. I'm just talking about shaming itself as a method of controlling or dealing with people.

To take an extreme example of 'dark methods', look at torture. The Geneva convention makes it clear that torture is forbidden under all circumstances, simply because it was deemed as a practice no one wanted to see. It didn't specify upon whom it was banned, it was simply uniformly banned. And look at us now where the U.S. government conducts torture and uses the True Lies defense of it, "yes but they were all bad!" So long as they're bad it's ok. But then anyone will define bad to mean whatever they want; so it's just better to have it banned rather than parse when it's 'really necessary.' When you throw out the Geneva Convention it is simply gone; it's not 'partially in effect'.

In the case of shaming it's a far lesser issue but still an important social concern. I think it's important to have standards of conduct. To legitimize public shaming would be equivalent to saying that the Christians were right to do what they did but wrong about whom they did it to.

quote:
Did the gay movement in general or any comparable identifiable group make "shaming is bad and we should not do it" an element of their platform? I hadn't thought so. I thought the point was that there is nothing shameworthy about homosexuality.
That is their opinion, and even if I agree with it (as well as most people now) that doesn't change the fact that when you make it open season to determine what is shame-worthy and what isn't then you have the same scenario as was the case under Christian society, except with different nouns filling in the blanks. Regarding "homosexuality" as you put it, see my answer to Tom below (which I wrote before I wrote this).

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
If you admit this method then you can't complain when it's used on targets you didn't want it to be.
Well, that's just blatantly a stupid argument. Of course you can. Because no one is saying "no one should ever be shamed or made to feel ashamed." They are saying "people should not be made to feel ashamed of certain things." Disapproving of legal same-sex marriage is not fundamentally part of what Eich is.
The bolded part hits the nail on the head. As long as shaming is deemed acceptable then the only thing to discuss is whom is going to be shamed. And now you get into all kinds of relativist territories where one person's answer to this is as good as another. Obviously people on the left are going to agree to an extent on which types of behaviors should be shamed, but it should come as no surprise that those who don't (or previously didn't) agree will choose other targets. You forget that shaming of homosexuals was not ostensibly done in consequence of who they were, but in consequence of their actions. The Catholic catechism, for instance (and for those who don't abide by it I'm not speaking of their beliefs), draws a distinct line between homosexual identity and behavior, and makes it very clear that there is nothing wrong with the identity, but it is the behavior that is an issue. In this sense the "what Eich is" part is a red herring. I'm sure there are asses who really do persecute people just for being different, but the reason people in the past were concerned was the activity itself.

I can already see the "bull" coming in advance...

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TomDavidson
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I think "because of their actions" is by no means a fully accurate summary of the nature of anti-gay shaming, true. Nor do I think that homosexuals are as concerned with demanding that Catholics not vocally disapprove of them as they are with reducing violence against them, obtaining access to secular institutions, and having their behaviors not considered symptoms of a treatable mental dysfunction.

[ May 14, 2015, 06:21 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
it was obviously an attempt to make him either change or else feel bad.
IT was not at all. It was a request that he apologize for harm he had done. There was no attempt to use shame, never mind as a direct attack on his self-worth. No one asked him to change his personal beliefs, only to apologize for external actions that harmed others.
quote:
That's shaming.
Disowning a child because of who they are is shaming. Falsely casting a person as a predator and a danger to society is shaming. Demonstrating to a person that they are at physical, if not mortal risk for being who they are is shaming. Teaching a person to hate themselves to the point of making them suicidal is shaming. Calling int question all of a person's completely unrelated skills and talents because of some aspect of their identity is shaming. All of those tactics serve to teach other people like the targets that they should be ashamed of some part of who they are- should hate themselves for it.

Point out that an action that one has taken in the past was harmful to others and asking for an apology for it is not shaming. It's criticism, not shaming. Unjustified criticism can be a shaming tactic, but the key term there is _unjustified_. Calling for accountability for harm done is not, in any way, unjustified.

If you have dark hair, and society constantly sends you messages that dark haired people are more likely to be violent, dangerous, and should be discriminated against, that's shaming. IF you've punched someone in the face and the people you interact with who were upset by that act ask that you apologize for it, that's being critical, but it's not shaming. The action is the target of criticism, not your identity and sense of self-worth.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
No one asked him to change his personal beliefs, only to apologize for external actions that harmed others.
I'm not sure I agree here; putting this spin on it requires accepting all the premises of the pro-SSM movement, and even then I think it needs a bit more charity than is appropriate.

There were people who were definitely saying, "Dude, this is a bad opinion and you should feel bad about spending money to promote it." Whether they felt this way because they believed his opinion or his support of that opinion was intrinsically harmful or not, the intent was to make him acknowledge the wrongness of that support.

Eich was definitely shamed. Whether it was right to shame him or not is a fair question, but I don't think it necessarily reveals hypocrisy among the majority of people who opposed the public shaming of homosexuals; the argument was rarely that making people feel bad about bad behavior is wrong, but rather that a homosexual lifetyle does not constitute bad behavior. (After all, if shaming someone is inherently bad, how do you censure the act of shaming someone?)

Redefining "shaming" as "unjustified criticism" strikes me as a somewhat cowardly rhetorical dodge. Of course it's "shaming." But there are degrees to shaming much as there are degrees to flogging; no one was demanding specifically that Eich stand in stocks and have vegetables thrown at him, or cry on national television while making a mealy-mouthed apology, or put up with daily insults from his parents about how disappointed they are in him.

[ May 14, 2015, 08:32 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Aris Katsaris
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Pyrtolin, where did you get the idea that "shaming" must be unjustified by definition, or else it isn't shaming? Your definition makes sentences like "This shaming was justified" a contradiction in terms, right?

On my part I oppose deliberately imbuing moral import into descriptive words. That takes us down the path of newspeak where every act is declared good or bad by the very word used to describe it, to the point that no expression of disagreement on what is good and what is bad is even possible.

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Pyrtolin
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Tom:
quote:
Eich was definitely shamed
I don't feel that this is true, unless you effectively want to cast all criticism or other illumination of errors as "shaming". That's exactly the kind of broken attitude that leads me to object to the false equivalence; effectively the notion that we dare not raise criticism of bad or harmful behavior because pointing out someone's mistakes or holding them to account for them is now tantamount to abusing them.

Aris:
quote:
Pyrtolin, where did you get the idea that "shaming" must be unjustified by definition, or else it isn't shaming? Your definition makes sentences like "This shaming was justified" a contradiction in terms, right?
Absolutely. Criticism can be a good and useful thing. Shaming is a form of abuse- it does not have an upside. Sometimes you may have to quickly grab a child and pull them back to stop them from running into traffic. That's an application of physical force. The fact that child abuse can also involve application of physical force doesn't mean that you can suddenly turn around and say "well some forms of child abuse are justified". That's the exact same kind of false equivalence as was being drawn above.

quote:
On my part I oppose deliberately imbuing moral import into descriptive words.
That's all well and good, except that we're talking about a word that explicitly communicates moral valence- in which case your objection should be to casting an act in a moral light instead of describing it using neutral terms. When you call something abuse, murder, shaming, etc... you are explicitly communicating a moral judgement, and not simply describing the act..

Calling the criticism or Eich "shaming" is, effectively, a stealth argument that no legitimate harm was done by his actions, that the people who felt hurt by what he'd done and did not with to do business with him were unjustified in their response. There are plenty of neutral words that could be used, but the choice to equate it to active abuse is not even remotely neutral

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scifibum
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Pyrtolin -

But other people aren't saying that shaming is a sin. It appears that you are the only one doing so. (Fenring seems rather to be pointing out that if one defines shaming as a sin, then using shaming is hypocritical.)

You can't claim that someone is "explicitly communicating a moral judgement" when they explicitly say that is not what they are doing.

(BTW, you keep using that word "explicitly". I don't think it means what you think it means.)

Shaming someone is explicitly communicating a negative moral judgment. Calling what someone else is doing shaming does not communicate a negative moral judgment; it describes that the negative moral judgment is occurring.

quote:
Calling the criticism or Eich "shaming" is, effectively, a stealth argument that no legitimate harm was done by his actions, that the people who felt hurt by what he'd done and did not with to do business with him were unjustified in their response. There are plenty of neutral words that could be used, but the choice to equate it to active abuse is not even remotely neutral
Evidence seems to be that most people think the term "shaming" is neutrally descriptive of what occurred - that people strongly disapproved of what Eich did and were not shy about saying so.

In fact, it's not people on Eich's side who call what occurred "shaming". The term those people use is "persecution".

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:

I think "because of their actions" is by no means a fully accurate summary of the nature of anti-gay shaming, true.


I agree with you, but was trying to draw a distinction between the stated reasons and the real reasons. In reality these are never identical even in a thoughtful, honest person, but I still think it's meaningful to inspect the stated reason for an intellectual position, and to evaluate not living up to the intellectual position as a separate problem.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Nor do I think that homosexuals are as concerned with demanding that Catholics not vocally disapprove of them as they are with reducing violence against them, obtaining access to secular institutions, and having their behaviors not considered symptoms of a treatable mental dysfunction.

I think they want all of the above. They wanted the abuse to stop, yes, and wanted to have access to public institutions, of course, and these are both things that can be mandated and done. But they also want to be treated (on an interpersonal level) as being the same as everyone else, and I do believe part of the real agenda is also to be thought of as being 'ok.' These last two issues are much harder to both mandate and also to enforce, since if a person honestly disagrees then you're left with a few options which include 1) Continue the dialogue and hope they change their minds, 2) Ignore them and accept that some people won't treat you well in the world, and not everyone will accept you, 3) Make use of various public pressures to try to make them change, or at least appear to have changed. Option #2 seems to be unpopular at the moment.


quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Eich was definitely shamed. Whether it was right to shame him or not is a fair question, but I don't think it necessarily reveals hypocrisy among the majority of people who opposed the public shaming of homosexuals; the argument was rarely that making people feel bad about bad behavior is wrong, but rather that a homosexual lifetyle does not constitute bad behavior. (After all, if shaming someone is inherently bad, how do you censure the act of shaming someone?)

If shaming is inherently bad then the only good way to deal with people would be with rational discourse. I do accept that in practice this doesn't always work, so in cases where this is so the options are to let it not work, or to adopt more aggressive methods.

I don't agree fully that the gay rights movement has largely been about there being nothing wrong with homosexual behavior. I'm not really sure how many ardent anti-gay or anti-SSM people were ever convinced by any claims like "this behavior, which is exactly as you thought it was, is actually good and not bad as you thought it was." It's not like new information was divulged which shed light on things. Homosexual relations have been around forever, everyone knows exactly what it is. What cause would there be for someone against homosexual sex to suddenly think it's ok? I find it far more likely that the effective goal wasn't to 'convert' such people but rather to get them to stop being asses about it. In other words, not to get them to change their opinion about the virtues of gay relations, but rather to alter their use of shaming tactics. In the middle road of society where people might have been not so happy about homosexuality but not militantly against it either I can see a lot of them really being swayed towards finding it ok. But these people, despite being part of a generally anti-gay culture, were certainly not the culprits behind serious abuses towards gay people either.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:

But there are degrees to shaming much as there are degrees to flogging; no one was demanding specifically that Eich stand in stocks and have vegetables thrown at him, or cry on national television while making a mealy-mouthed apology, or put up with daily insults from his parents about how disappointed they are in him.


Actually I think what happened to him was far worse than being made to stand in stocks. In the case of stocks what happened was everyone in town saw you humiliated and exposed for what you had done. It forced recognition by all parties of what had happened and that it was wrong, and this entire procedure carried with it the premise that it was generally agreed upon that it was actually wrong. In a sense this custom was cathartic as it allowed the community to deal with a problem and to move on. Once released the prisoner could resume life. But Eich was treated worse than this for a few reasons. For one, his 'crime' was something that was absolutely not generally agreed upon as being wrong; some percentage of the populace thought it was, but he and others who share his views certainly did not, and the gathering of a mob prevails over tacit support. For another, by pressuring him into resigning the mob's intent was to ruin him, to run him out of town in a sense. This is far more drastic than humiliating him for a day or two and then releasing him back to his line of work. These people didn't want Eich to be able to work again, if they had their way, or at least certainly not in any job with prominence. And finally, there is the issue of Eich's 'crime' being merely a difference of opinion and support for an unpopular view.

Some people like Pyr will always paint having a divergence of opinion on such topics as "oppressing or deliberately harming others", but a Democrat can say the same about anyone who votes Republican (they want war and death!). In the end there has to be a line drawn between personally abusing others versus endorsing a viewpoint that is displeasing to some people. Feeling hurt because of what someone says is not the same thing as saying that he went and hurt you. That is a very dangerous equivalence to make.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You can't claim that someone is "explicitly communicating a moral judgement" when they explicitly say that is not what they are doing.
You might have something if some of the same people hadn't previously characterized teaching people about privilege and how it words in society was reprehensible because it amounted to shaming people who were previously ignorant of harm they might have caused.

quote:
You can't claim that someone is "explicitly communicating a moral judgement" when they explicitly say that is not what they are doing.
Hey, it's just abuse, not moral judgement. Hey, it's just pedophilia, no moral judgment. Hey, it's just murder, no moral judgment.

Really? If you use a weighted word, then the protestation that you're not doing it just underscores the fact that you are.

The fact that it has already been used judgmentally by people that are now trying to say that it's not a judgmental term makes that a weak dodge, without even going into the profound destruction that actual shaming has caused to the people that it actually has been applied to.

quote:
Evidence seems to be that most people think the term "shaming" is neutrally descriptive of what occurred - that people strongly disapproved of what Eich did and were not shy about saying so.
Which is criticism, not shaming. Again the false conflation of being criticized with being shamed is exactly why I think it's important to stick to the point that the two are very distinct things, as is the false equivalence with persecution. In both cases the terms assert that he was treated unjustly or unfairly because people were hurt or critical of the harm he had done, which is a position that only helps to enable further harm.
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scifibum
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It seems to me that you're insisting on a definition that is not standard.

It's not that I don't think shame can be harmful - it can. Particularly when it's used against aspects of identity or behavior that can't be changed, or that aren't actually wrong. Or when the shame is outsized. If a child eats a cookie that is within reach and is told "you are a nasty little thief", the harm done to the child is worse than taking the cookie, IMO.

But that doesn't mean that trying to make people ashamed of something they have done is always a bad thing to do.

Perhaps you'd have something if you established that being ashamed is always a harm.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
. For one, his 'crime' was something that was absolutely not generally agreed upon as being wrong; some percentage of the populace thought it was, but he and others who share his views certainly did not, and the gathering of a mob prevails over tacit support.
You're suggesting, that people must validate themselves with the majority to see if they've been harmed? This is exactly what I noted above- your argument is effectively a denial that people legitimately felt harmed by his actions.

quote:
For another, by pressuring him into resigning the mob's intent was to ruin him, to run him out of town in a sense.
Which is pure fantasy. He was not pressured to resign. There wasn't any desire to ruin him, unless you somehow thing an earnest apology would have been disastrous to him somehow. And, in the end, he wasn't even remotely "ruined" he just stepped down from a position that he didn't feel that he was the most effective person to hold. There's no rational way to equate "not being the CEO of a major internet firm" to "ruined".

quote:
Some people like Pyr will always paint having a divergence of opinion on such topics as "oppressing or deliberately harming others
And in so saying you gloss over the fact that his opinions were not at stake, his direct actions in support of oppression of a segment of society were. His personal beliefs are completely irrelevant- he took an action that hurt many people that he wanted to do business with them, and they chose not to do business with him as a result. He still could have been successful doing business with those that supported the harm, denied it, or simply didn't care to be aware of the issue, but chose to step back and return to a less prominent position, with his considerable wealth still fully intact.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
But that doesn't mean that trying to make people ashamed of something they have done is always a bad thing to do.
If you're trying to make them anything I think you've already stepped over a line. (With an allowance, perhaps, for "understand")

It's fully possible that people, once they come to an understanding of how something they did was wrong or harmful, might _regret_ the action, but sending them over the edge into shame- self destruction and self flagellation over the issue- is distinctly harmful. As you note- an outsized punishment for any action is counterproductive.

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scifibum
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I think we agree that it's bad to drive people into self destructive modes of thought and belief, at least.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
He was not pressured to resign.
I'm not sure what else was expected when people started organizing a boycott.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:

quote:
For another, by pressuring him into resigning the mob's intent was to ruin him, to run him out of town in a sense.
Which is pure fantasy. He was not pressured to resign. There wasn't any desire to ruin him, unless you somehow thing an earnest apology would have been disastrous to him somehow. And, in the end, he wasn't even remotely "ruined" he just stepped down from a position that he didn't feel that he was the most effective person to hold. There's no rational way to equate "not being the CEO of a major internet firm" to "ruined".

I guess you're not that familiar with how these internet mobs work. They don't form a coherent line and patiently wait, expecting an apology, and then back off gently in the event one comes. They simply bombard someone with negative messages, and in this case directed towards Mozilla as well. When this type of internet lynch mob forms, which is now becoming a regular phenomenon, not only is the person pressured to do whatever the mob wants, but this furor is typically also accompanied by a series of verbal attacks, death threats, and sometimes even doxxing of that person (releasing personal info and address). People in the position of being on the receiving end of this not only have to sometimes quit their job, but also cannot safely go home, sometimes have to move altogether (and prevent anyone learning the new address), and in short their lives are ruined.

I didn't follow up closely on Brendan Eich to see what sort of collateral damage pursued him in this case, but it's not really relevant anyhow. These sorts of internet mobs tend to lead towards ruining someone. They are not carefully calculated and organized efforts at achieving an apology. If this is truly what you think was desired (even thought there was no single actor involved to desire a specific outcome) then I would call that woefully naive. These types of situations are getting scary, and it's at the point where these mobs are almost sitting around waiting for a target to appear that they can attack and berate.

And incidentally, I'd like to point out that your notion that "all they wanted was an apology" is an outrageous assertion that merely providing such an apology would be no big deal for a person to provide, notwithstanding the fact that Eich's views on the matter may have been based on his personal convictions and not some random decision he could flip on and remain the same person. If I asked you to "apologize for believing in social equality" it would be ridiculous for me to say, upon your refusal, "I don't know what the big deal was, all you had to do was apologize." If your view on that matter is a part of who you are then asking you to change your opinion is equivalent to asking you to change your personality or ignore what you know. It asserts that your beliefs are based on nothing at all and are divorced from your person. This tendency to assert that a person's beliefs are something distinct from his character or even basic nature is, I think, a vulgar Western bias that misunderstands much about how the brain works. To say that a person's sexual preference is a part of who they are, but their beliefs aren't, is just arbitrary compartmentalization. It's wrong to tell a gay person to change, and it's wrong to tell someone to recant an honestly held belief just because you don't like it.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I guess you're not that familiar with how these internet mobs work.
Or perhaps I am, and thus know how your characterization of what happened in this case as a "lynch mob" is grossly misleading. You're comparing an oppressed class calling attention to an oppressive act committed against them to the actions that an oppressive class uses to punish people who challenge their entrenched standing and power.

He wasn't directly threatened in anything that resembles the way that others have been threatened. The only serious threats he received were those of people who did not want to do business with or work for someone who had demonstrated that he was willing to go out of his way to take harmful actions against them.

quote:
I asked you to "apologize for believing in social equality" it would be ridiculous for me to say, upon your refusal, "I don't know what the big deal was, all you had to do was apologize."
It's also a false equivalence, since he wasn't being asked to apologized for his beliefs, but for a hurtful action. He can believe what he wants, that doesn't make it okay to take an action that hurts others. Since he couldn't bring himself to apologize for trying to impose his personal beliefs on others, how could people trust that he would not act the same way in a position where he had the power to impose them on him using the power inherent to his position?

quote:
It's wrong to tell a gay person to change, and it's wrong to tell someone to recant an honestly held belief just because you don't like it.
I completely agree with the sentiment. But it's completely misleading to assert it here, since his actions, not his beliefs were in question. Apologizing for his oppressive act would not have required him to change his beliefs- unless your asserting that the belief in question is that he had a duty to force others to conform to his personal religious views through legal oppression. He freedom to impose religious standards on people begins and ends with himself and those who opt into his faith. He had shown himself unwilling to respect the freedom of others to believe and act differently from others, so it's not surprising that, without a clear apology for that act, regardless of the belief that may have motivated it, they responded in a way that reflected a concern that he would continue to apply his resources and power in similarly oppressive ways.
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NobleHunter
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He didn't even necessarily need to apologize for supporting anti-SSM, just explicitly disavow the nastier parts of the campaign he donated to.

Since his apology sucked, we'll never know if a good one would have let him keep his job.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
He was not pressured to resign.
I'm not sure what else was expected when people started organizing a boycott.
Mostly to raise awareness of the issue. Chik-fil-a has been operating just fine with a similar boycott directed at it, and has even managed to mostly diffuse it with a few token apologies. Other companies (Nestle comes to mind in particular) do fine with boycotts over far more egregious actions. In most cases people don't really expect the boycott itself to do much but help raise awareness of and attention to the issue they have.

In just about every corner I saw it being discussed, an earnest apology for going out of his way to impose his beliefs on others and a clear expression of an understanding that part of his responsibility as the CEO of a diverse company was to commit to respecting and supporting that diversity, even if it meant the company allowing or supporting things that he personally found disagreeable would have been more than enough to quiet their concerns. His freedom to believe that people of the same sex should not get married was entirely his own business, there would have been no need to change that to make it clear that he understood that his belief did not give him the right to use company power to push that belief in any way.

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Fenring
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Pyr, it has been legally ruled, like it or not, that money is speech in the U.S. Donating money to a cause you believe in is equivalent to using your speech to support them. Saying that a man can believe what he wants but must apologize for using his speech to express it is totalitarianism at its finest. It's like saying you can be Jewish in your imagination but aren't allowed to donate money to the synagogue. Having to apologize for donating money to a cause one believes in is the same as making the person apologize for having the belief itself. It's like the Inquisition.

Even if you reject the money = speech premise, you're still way off because the anti-SSM movement was not a movement advocating the introduction of oppression; rather, it was opposing the introduction of a new system into culture. Anti-SSM and anti-gay do not mean the same thing, even though certain people on the left claim otherwise.

You can call all kinds of things you want oppression - shaming, proscribing private sexual conduct, and so forth. But 'not having gay marriage' is not oppression and no twisting of the language will make it so. Now, it may be very nice for homosexuals to now have access to marriage, that's great. That's a terrific improvement for them, but not every improvement means that the lack of the improvement was oppression. It's not oppression to lack a bus station in a given neighborhood, although it's definitely awesome for the people there when one is introduced. Let's not mix apples and oranges. When we speak of 'oppression' and include any old thing that is displeasing the word really starts to get watered down and is an insult to people who really do live under oppressive conditions.

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kmbboots
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So when people who disagree with you refuse to patronize your business it is totalitarianism (at its finest, no less) and like the Inquisition (where they tortured and burned people at the stake) but not having the same legal rights as other people do is not oppression.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Pyr, it has been legally ruled, like it or not, that money is speech in the U.S. Donating money to a cause you believe in is equivalent to using your speech to support them.
Well then it's good that no one tried to bring legal action against him, and only used their equal freedom of speech to criticize his actions.

quote:
Saying that a man can believe what he wants but must apologize for using his speech to express it is totalitarianism at its finest.
Perhaps, if it were the government forcing it, but that's not relevant here. Freedom of speech protects you from government action, not from private repercussions.

quote:
. Having to apologize for donating money to a cause one believes in is the same as making the person apologize for having the belief itself.
Not even remotely. Apologizing for an action that did harm is not the same as apologizing for thinking you'd like to take the action.

quote:
the anti-SSM movement was not a movement advocating the introduction of oppression; rather, it was opposing the introduction of a new system into culture.
A movement to perpetuate oppression is comparable to one to impose it. It's arguable which is worse, but either amounts to harm to the people affected.

quote:
But 'not having gay marriage' is not oppression and no twisting of the language will make it so.
So we're back to your argument effectively being one of delegitimizing the harm.

The Supreme Court has many times that marriage is a fundamental right of all individuals. I'm not sure how you sppim actively working to continue denying people something that is considered a fundamental right as anything but oppressive.

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Fenring
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You're both right that I should have used a better word than "totalitarianism", since that word should be restricted to government-citizen interactions. What I meant was the spirit behind the word, which is that wrong thoughts will be punished and right thoughts will be rewarded. I'm so much happier that this comes at the hands of the people rather than the government...
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kmbboots
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Well that is a step. But I was also noting the relative difference in harm.
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D.W.
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quote:
These types of situations are getting scary, and it's at the point where these mobs are almost sitting around waiting for a target to appear that they can attack and berate.
No almost about it. They do just that. The mob is always ready. Some see themselves as legitimate social warriors. Others are just there to wield power because they can. All it takes is one person to convince them a target is worth their attention at the risk of being anonomously ridiculed for proposing a false or unworthy target.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
quote:
These types of situations are getting scary, and it's at the point where these mobs are almost sitting around waiting for a target to appear that they can attack and berate.
No almost about it. They do just that. The mob is always ready. Some see themselves as legitimate social warriors. Others are just there to wield power because they can. All it takes is one person to convince them a target is worth their attention at the risk of being anonomously ridiculed for proposing a false or unworthy target.
I just came across this article and short documentary about online mob shaming. The examples it gives are of mixed quality, but you've probably heard of most of the individuals involved before.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/online-shaming-the-return-of-mob-morality-1.3071354

I saw the video in a Reddit thread, and a very remarkable thing is that most top responses were a dismissal of the video. They were mostly displeased at the video treating the people who were shamed as victims because many of them got in hot water in the first place for publicly shaming others. "They deserved what happened to them." "Instant karma." And so forth. Adria Richards even states point blank that her act of shaming others was just, while being shamed herself wasn't (although to be fair she was also threatened). These negative comments about the video miss an interesting irony, which is that even some people who were destroyed through online mob shaming believe that shaming others is ok if they deserve it. This shows just how pervasive the cultural energy seems to be that is making people want to lash out and ruin people anonymously from a distance.

I only pursue this tangential topic to reiterate that I think there is nothing logical, reasonable, civil, or 'desiring specific outcomes' when assessing how internet mobs behave. They don't want an apology, they want to know they did damage, that they could remotely affect someone with no trace of it back to them. Or, as Plato put it, "the knife in the marketplace" with the ability to attack and face no judgement for it. What every tyrant seeks.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
These negative comments about the video miss an interesting irony, which is that even some people who were destroyed through online mob shaming believe that shaming others is ok if they deserve it.
I'm not sure why that would be ironic, unless you believe that it's inconsistent or hypocritical of someone to believe that shaming is not inherently bad, but not always appropriate.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
These negative comments about the video miss an interesting irony, which is that even some people who were destroyed through online mob shaming believe that shaming others is ok if they deserve it.
I'm not sure why that would be ironic, unless you believe that it's inconsistent or hypocritical of someone to believe that shaming is not inherently bad, but not always appropriate.
It's ironic simply because the issue of the documentary is that a given person can absolve himself of responsibility for the mob in general since he/she is just one person, even while knowing that the shaming culture doesn't work in a vacuum. And the 'victims' of the video are potentially just as guilty of this compartmentalization as the people who ruined them. And yet Reddit readers judged the ruined people as guilty even though they more or less did the same thing as everyone else, and perhaps with more cause. It shows that not only is the victim part of the system and participating in it, but even the Reddit viewers watching a documentary about it still operate in the modality of blaming and saying who deserved what, rather than realizing the video may have been about the dangers of pointing fingers online with the idea that 'it's just one comment.' I'd call that ironic.
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TomDavidson
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I'm still not seeing irony. There's a distinction between saying "making any people feel bad is bad, so I hope you feel bad about doing that" and "making this person feel bad for doing this specific thing is bad, so I hope you feel bad about doing that."
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I'm still not seeing irony. There's a distinction between saying "making any people feel bad is bad, so I hope you feel bad about doing that" and "making this person feel bad for doing this specific thing is bad, so I hope you feel bad about doing that."

The issue isn't about whether a given instance of shame is warranted or not, it's about how in the aggregate when many people are in the public shaming business it creates torrential forces. I don't think the video necessarily says that shaming is always wrong; what it seems to emphasize is both that this trend can wreak havoc on someone's life even though no one person did so, and that people may be taking some delight in the idea of destroying others, which does bear comparison with enjoying prisoners fighting against lions in the arena despite the fact that we are 'more civilized' than the Romans were.

Think of an analogy a video where a cycle of violence is described, and the only way to stop it being to not take vengeance upon vengeance. It's not about whether violence is ever warranted, or who did the worse thing, or who is really guilty and who isn't. It's about the behavior leading to a systemic effect where lives are ruined.

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Pyrtolin
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From a linked article on that:


quote:
The shamers are the ones unwilling to engage in the issue at hand, who prefer ugly ad hominem attacks on anyone who disagrees with their social views.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/monica-lewinsky-writer-jon-ronson-taking-on-internet-shamers-good-luck-1.3015660

That highlights the key difference here. Exposing harm that someone has done and critically discussing it is not the same as shaming- which in the relevant case is attacking people for daring to try to critically engage with an issue. It's a false equivalence to equate criticism and shaming just because a large number of people are participating in both cases.

Being critical of the actions of a public figure- discussing how they are harmful and even encouraging other people to avoid supporting them though such actions as boycotts, is not shaming because it is directly engaging the issue at question.

Directly an personally attacking a person- threatening them for being who they are or for being critical, especially from a position of power- that's what shaming is.

We could also talk about the difference between puncin up and punching down on the issue of power if you like- how attacks on an oppressive system by and on behalf of people hurt by it are not equivalent at all to otherwise identical actions by those in power that contribute to oppression. In that context shaming is specifically criticism combined with implicit and explicit threats leveled against those who defy an oppressive authority in some way or another (even if it's just by being who they are, because that authority defines such a state of being as bad), not criticism of representatives of that authority for acts that perpetuate harm.

quote:
Adria Richards even states point blank that her act of shaming others was just, while being shamed herself wasn't (although to be fair she was also threatened).
To be fair? Being threatened is part of what differentiates her criticism of harmful actions from the shaming that was directed at her.

[ May 20, 2015, 12:09 PM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:

quote:
Adria Richards even states point blank that her act of shaming others was just, while being shamed herself wasn't (although to be fair she was also threatened).
To be fair? Being threatened is part of what differentiates her criticism of harmful actions from the shaming that was directed at her.
This is the entire point. To what extent is the "criticism" vitriolic? To what extent is the pleasure of putting the wrongdoer in their place more central than the particulars of the issue at hand? In order for us to restrict critical comments from being called mob shaming or somesuch we'd have to create a line in the grey zone differentiating between civil objection and between angry or ad hominem remarks. What we've learned in the last 10 years from observing online environments ranging from online games to comment sections to Twitter is that statements typed on a computer and issued remotely do not have the 'feel' of dealing with another human being, and that there is a far greater facility in using negative or aggressive language without it registering with the speaker that the person at the receiving end is a person. There is almost a video gamey sense to online interactions where the names on the screen are roughly equivalent to NPC's in a game, to be communicated with in any fashion that suits the person typing. Even when speaking online to one's real life friends one is more prone to hyperbole, getting bent out of shape over comments, and even making rude offhand remarks that would never be made in person or on the phone.

I think the issue is therefore a chiefly technological one rather than a moral one, but without taking stock of the new reality that online interactions create one can easily venture into hurtful interactions without even realizing it. The online mob shaming situation is part of this issue of the dehumanization of people due to remote interaction, and if anything I would say the video points to the fact that it's all too easy to click a button and feel like one hasn't done anything serious, whereas it can have serious effects on others. This is true both of the 'victims' in the video as well as the people who sent them messages.

And so I don't think it's nearly as simple as you claim to just categorize some firestorms as being 'merely criticism' and others as possibly being shaming. Not every comment needs to be vitriolic for the net effect of a Twitter campaign against someone to crush them. And it only takes the impression of being 'part of a movement' to facilitate some few people to issue threatening messages. By your reasoning Adria Richards was just being criticized for what people decided was a bad action by her, notwithstanding the fact that some few took the criticism too far. After all, maybe they had a point, and maybe only a tiny few made threats. But by the reasoning of the video she was publicly attacked, censured, and had to go into hiding, just for taking one action that may or may not have been a mistake. Are you going to personally be the arbiter of which mob frenzies are 'justified' and which are 'unfair'? Or can we just call a spade a spade and agree that there is something very troubling about a bunch of people sitting at their computers who take some measure of glee in destroying people's lives?

It seems trivially obvious in the case of #HasJustineLandedYet that we are not talking merely about criticism but about the excitement in participating in a public crucible.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
In order for us to restrict critical comments from being called mob shaming or somesuch we'd have to create a line in the grey zone differentiating between civil objection and between angry or ad hominem remarks
And I gave you a clear starting point. Is the punch going up or down. If it's going up then, exceptional cases aside start from the assumption that it's criticism, because it lacks access to establish power to generalize threat. If it's going down, then it's impossible to avoid it being implicitly threatening, because it carries with it the weight of social power and censure.

quote:
By your reasoning Adria Richards was just being criticized for what people decided was a bad action by her, notwithstanding the fact that some few took the criticism too far.
What bad actino? She was criticizing an instance of oppressive use of established power.

quote:
Or can we just call a spade a spade and agree that there is something very troubling about a bunch of people sitting at their computers who take some measure of glee in destroying people's lives?
And again, you tread into false equivalence. That is very problematic. But trying to cast criticizing abusive and oppressive uses of power, wealth, and status as "destroying people's lives" is absurdly misleading.

"Sorry, the revolution is off, because it might hurt the king's feelings if we call his actions tyrannical."

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
By your reasoning Adria Richards was just being criticized for what people decided was a bad action by her, notwithstanding the fact that some few took the criticism too far.
What bad actino? She was criticizing an instance of oppressive use of established power.
The argument is that she overheard a private conversation and made it public with the intention to create trouble for the two individuals. This can be seen as wrong not only because it was private, but because it possibly involved her failing to realize they were punning on tech-terms in their field, which is a bonding thing, as well as the fact that she could just have told them to their face she was offended rather than take the cowardly route of anonymously attacking their character in a public forum.

The only 'established power' the two guys had was being men, and if this is grounds to treat them like corrupt monarchs then we've lost all perspective.

It is in any case clear her action is controversial, and the question becomes one of the culture of pointing and shaming (even if the accusation is accurate and germane) versus minding one's own business or talking politely to them herself. Whereas Richards failed to see herself as part of this behavior trend, others in the video gained some perspective after realizing what kind of an effect anonymous comments can have.

quote:
quote:
Or can we just call a spade a spade and agree that there is something very troubling about a bunch of people sitting at their computers who take some measure of glee in destroying people's lives?
And again, you tread into false equivalence. That is very problematic. But trying to cast criticizing abusive and oppressive uses of power, wealth, and status as "destroying people's lives" is absurdly misleading.

"Sorry, the revolution is off, because it might hurt the king's feelings if we call his actions tyrannical."

Did you watch the video? It doesn't seem contestable that "destroying people's lives" describes the events as shown, although one might disagree about whether or not they "deserved it."

I don't know why you're so hung up about power structures, the "punch going up or down", about "established power", and why you're talking about hurting the king's feelings. I am talking about regular people who were subjected to massive backlash and online abuse. These are not monarchs, famous CEO's, oppressors, or anyone else who you feel should not be pitied because of their station. As an aside it is patently false that abuse can only occur from the top-down. But aside from that your comments appear to almost be talking about some other subject.

Maybe I'm misreading something in your responses, but it almost sounds like you're saying that by being criticized by others it automatically means that target is some despot being taken down to size; that when "the many" send messages it automatically means the person who receives the messages is "the few", as in, the elite, and therefore has no grounds to complain about it. What about the fact that "the many" are perfectly capable of tearing each other apart, and that this scenario is actually ideal for actual oligarchs?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The argument is that she overheard a private conversation and made it public with the intention to create trouble for the two individuals.
Not one phrase there is accurate. She overheard a public facing conversation in mixed company, with no attempt to crate privacy. They made their remarks in such a way that they could not help but be overheard by everyone around them, regardless of whether they had expressed any consent to being the audience for sexual humor. Heck, the guys in question themselves acknowledged that they were out of line. In as much as their behavior reflected poorly on them and the companies that they represented there, the fact that one of them was fired seems to suggest that his company was probably looking for an excuse to let him go, which this provided. That's a good argument for union rules that prevent people from being fired unless sufficient cause to do so can be shown, but not against calling people on being out of line.

quote:
This can be seen as wrong not only because it was private, but because it possibly involved her failing to realize they were punning on tech-terms in their field, which is a bonding thing,
She got that (after all, how could she have objected to the joke if she didn't understand it), and it was exactly that kind of practice- particular the way that it serves as a micro-aggression that discourages women from entering the field- that she was objecting to.

quote:
as well as the fact that she could just have told them to their face she was offended rather than take the cowardly route of anonymously attacking their character in a public forum.
Her comments were anything but anonymous. And how is it an attack on someone's character to honestly report what they're doing?

quote:
The only 'established power' the two guys had was being men
Men, in a male dominated field, acting in ways that serve to keep the field dominated by be by casing women out of it. They're the majorian group and effective gatekeepers to the field. That is a significant amount of power, whether they want it or not.

quote:
. I am talking about regular people who were subjected to massive backlash and online abuse.
There's no such thing as "regular people" in this context. You pretty much have to deny the entire existance of society and history to pretend that there's a non-differentiated context. Everyone has a certain amount of relative power in every situation based on their background, history, social institutions, etc... You can't magically erase that by appealing to an idealized concept of "regular". You also can't handwave it away simply because they're ignorant of the concept of privilege and how it colors their actions whether they want it to or not. Most historical aristocracy didn't really comprehend how their actions were actively oppressive either- they simply bought into the idea that they deserved their standing by divine grace and that they were even doing the peasantry a favor by allowing them to be useful.

Certainly the divisions in modern society aren't as easy to see, but they're still there. People who represent majorian groups in any given interaction have power behind them whether they like it or not; it's impossible to escape the power dynamics that pervade all human societies. You simply have to learn to be aware of them, and how to responsibly moderate your behavior when you're in a situation where you represent power that can be applied abusively.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
The argument is that she overheard a private conversation and made it public with the intention to create trouble for the two individuals.
Not one phrase there is accurate. She overheard a public facing conversation in mixed company, with no attempt to crate privacy. They made their remarks in such a way that they could not help but be overheard by everyone around them, regardless of whether they had expressed any consent to being the audience for sexual humor. Heck, the guys in question themselves acknowledged that they were out of line. In as much as their behavior reflected poorly on them and the companies that they represented there, the fact that one of them was fired seems to suggest that his company was probably looking for an excuse to let him go, which this provided. That's a good argument for union rules that prevent people from being fired unless sufficient cause to do so can be shown, but not against calling people on being out of line.

When faced with an initial backlash against what they thought was a private joke, what were the guys supposed to do, stand up proudly for an off-color joke? One doesn't have to be ultra-proud of every little verbal interchange to nevertheless be able to make it and not be harassed. As for whether they intended their comments to be heard you are simply making up facts not in evidence. All we know is she was sitting right in front of them and might have heard comments that were not loud and that most people wouldn't have heard. But if your definition of "private conversation" is that zero other people are in earshot then you simply don't comprehend what is meant by the word "private." You have a very overbearing and dogmatic mentality about what is public and what is private, where "private" seems to mean hiding out in your house and staying there. It's not what the word means in English and not how it's used in common parlance. To say that two people out of their home can't have a private conversation if anyone is physically capable of hearing them is to endorse the surveillance state mentality, where if there is the possibility of accessing your conversations then they're not private at all. This is the same mistaken notion you reflected in the other topic we were discussing about public versus private business operation.

quote:
quote:
. I am talking about regular people who were subjected to massive backlash and online abuse.
There's no such thing as "regular people" in this context. You pretty much have to deny the entire existance of society and history to pretend that there's a non-differentiated context. Everyone has a certain amount of relative power in every situation based on their background, history, social institutions, etc... You can't magically erase that by appealing to an idealized concept of "regular".
I'm sorry but this and your other comments all just come off as Orwellian doublethink where you can evaluate any fact using any viewing lens you want that suits your narrative and make it mean anything. According to your method of classifying facts any person can be described as being an oppressor, everyone counts as operating from a position of power of some sort, everyone who is offended is assaulted by micro-aggressions, anyone who makes a criticism is trying to right a wrong while anyone pointed at is perpetrating systemic abuse which needs to be called out. In short, anyone at all is guilty if a given narrative needs them to be.

I believe that your intention is honest assessment of the complex factors that go into systems and social interactions, but I fear that your chief tool - description of power structures - becomes the proverbial hammer where every situation you see is made to look like a nail. Every scenario seems to look to you like it involves someone powerful and someone at their mercy, and all interactions between them become assessed based on this paradigm. And yet since the world is complex any scenario can continuously be re-framed to create a new analysis of who is the powerful one. This sounds very Hegelian and seems to insinuate that everyone operates under a basic master/slave dynamic and that there cannot simply be free people who don't have power over each other and who don't answer to each other directly. There are no "regular people", only the oppressors and the oppressed.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
As for whether they intended their comments to be heard you are simply making up facts not in evidence
You're suggesting that they attempted to go somewhere private to make the jokes, as opposed to making them in a crowded auditorium where they were representing their company?

quote:
To say that two people out of their home can't have a private conversation if anyone is physically capable of hearing them is to endorse the surveillance state mentality, where if there is the possibility of accessing your conversations then they're not private at all.
If you have a conversation in a place where there is no expectation of privacy- particularly where what you're saying cannot help but be overheard by others, such as said crowded auditorium, then it is no more private than any other remark made in a public forum.

quote:
This is the same mistaken notion you reflected in the other topic we were discussing about public versus private business operation.
Funny you assert "mistaken" there, when the civil rights act rules that require public access are based on the notion that a business that serves the public must do so on a nondiscriminatory basis. If we take your assertion to be true, then the civil rights act is completely unenforceable, and yet we see that the law doe, in fact, require businesses that are open to the public required to serve the entire public and not discriminate as they please where there is a public interest in preventing such.

quote:
According to your method of classifying facts any person can be described as being an oppressor
In the proper context, certainly. Good for you so far. IF you have power and, intentionally or not, apply it oppressively, you are indeed an oppressor. And most people have a variety of interactions in our life where sometimes we have power and sometimes we are at he mercy of those who have it.

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everyone counts as operating from a position of power of some sort
AT times- again it depends on the situation, some more often than others.

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everyone who is offended is assaulted by micro-aggressions
Microaggressions are small ways people attack each other, generally to establish an overall pecking order and to ensure people know and stay in their place.

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anyone who makes a criticism is trying to right a wrong while anyone pointed at is perpetrating systemic abuse which needs to be called out
Anyone can do those things, sure, but again you're trying to pretend that context isn't relevant. Leading to falsely asserting:

quote:
In short, anyone at all is guilty if a given narrative needs them to be.
Which is exactly backwards, effectively asserting that cause results from effect. In any given context, one can assess relative power and from there build a narrative about how that dynamic played out.

What you're saying amounts to claiming "You only claim that putting water in the freezer resulted in having ice later because you wanted to have ice. It would have come out boiling if you'd wanted boiling water." The narrative arises from analyzing and describing the facts- power imbalances don't magically make themselves just to suit a given narrative.

Are narratives often predictable? Sure. So is a rock falling toward the earth if you drop it within the Earth's gravity well. That doesn't mean that gravity only magically manifested itself because you wanted the rock to fall toward Earth.

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And yet since the world is complex any scenario can continuously be re-framed to create a new analysis of who is the powerful one.
Perhaps in some theoretical ideal world, but we have a pretty clear idea where power lies in our society, so that's a spurious assertion.

quote:
This sounds very Hegelian and seems to insinuate that everyone operates under a basic master/slave dynamic and that there cannot simply be free people who don't have power over each other and who don't answer to each other directly
In our society, which has enshrined such power imbalances, there cannot. That's why people have to work to bring us closer to such an ideal, while failing to actively do so implicitly perpetuates the existing, clear imbalances.
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