Jump to content

Here's an interview with Lord Vogel. Read it.


nikki.
 Share

Recommended Posts

Discuss? Okay, sure. Though I'm admittedly somewhat saddened to see this discussion arrive on Spiderweb, especially given the viewpoint that Mr. Vogel presents.

 

But once again, it's still just glyphs on a screen.

 

And the Communist Manifesto was just glyphs on paper.

 

Words, images, videos, sound clips, 3D virtual worlds - whatever - these things have power. We assign meaning to them in our heads, so they affect how we think. I mean, you read this, and the words go through your head, right? You think responses to it, and those are in words. Most of our thinking is linguistic.

 

Video games are mostly considered "low art", as opposed to high-impact stuff like Shakespeare and Chaucer, but they are also common parlance. And IMO that makes them just as important as the snobby stuff. Don't tell me that The Matrix didn't influence Western (and global) culture, for instance.

 

I would therefore submit that popular artists - including video game artists - should at least a little responsibility for their art. Not that they should always agree with so-and-so leftie perspective, but that they should try to be aware of what they're putting out into the public memesphere, and whether it is actually sensible stuff by the standards of their worldview.

 

You don't have to agree with the Anita Sarkeesians of the world (though, honestly, what I've seen from her makes a lot of sense). But I don't think it's correct to say that video games are just glyphs on a screen, as if that absolves them of any significance deeper than their entertainment value. Not wrong, not amoral, not irresponsible, but incorrect - from what I know, humans don't work that way.

 

Of course that is ultimately my opinion, and I'm a firm believer in that famous old X-files quote (speaking of media influence): "The truth is out there." (And may be utterly different from what I believe right now.)

 

I'm pretty sure I'm mostly right about this, though.

 

[Note: "you" in the above doesn't necessarily refer to any of the posters.]

 

...

 

Edit:

 

I should note that I've played rather few video games in my life. Spiderweb stuff, a bit of Wing Commander/Privateer/Vega Strike/etc., and quite a lot of various Angband variants. I tend to stick with what I know, and mostly lean towards books for novel fiction experiences. As such I'm probably not qualified to comment re indie games.

 

Also, it's funny to note that of the above, Spidweb games are probably the least ridden with racist baggage. (IMO anyway.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am I the only one who thinks the design of that page is atrocious?

You're not alone, I didn't understand why the text kept getting broken up by bars of "glitch" graphics. Trendy!! ;P

 

Interesting interview. I really am not involved in videogame culture, Spidweb games are the only games I play lately so most of the things they were discussing are totally foreign to me. The reminder to be smart about what sites you feed clicks to is a good one. It's easy to forget and become manipulated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll agree that the design of that page was awful. I even lost track of who was speaking at some points. And the glitch design hurt my eyes.

 

The glyphs on the screen, in reference to social media, can still be scary. I've had folks try to dox me, received some hurtful messages. It's more than just glyphs on a screen, it's an attack. That's just a small piece of this conversation, though.

 

Jeff's live-and-let-live seems a little to defensive; it makes me wonder if people have been poking him a bit too much about moral messages in his games. Either way, I think that video games, like all art, can be good or bad, and that applies to their messages as well. Of course, almost all video games are polysemiotic, which is to say there are multiple (most likely, unrelated) messages and meanings. Some messages probably are so categorically bad they should be rejected, but since we so easily allow games that feature killing as a central mechanic, don't know where to draw that line. If a game has messages you think are really bad, though, that seems like as good a reason as any other to reject that game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The glyphs on the screen, in reference to social media, can still be scary. I've had folks try to dox me, received some hurtful messages. It's more than just glyphs on a screen, it's an attack. That's just a small piece of this conversation, though.

 

yeah, it's especially baffling to hear that from him when he's already acknowledged earlier in the post that SWATting is a thing that happens and that people have to worry about now. people can't afford not to take threats seriously just because they're made over the internet: it's way too easy to hurt someone in so many different ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He did take pains to acknowledge that it's not good. Just that it is overstated nonetheless.

 

If a game has messages you think are really bad, though, that seems like as good a reason as any other to reject that game.

 

He didn't say that you should like a game even if it says things you don't like. Just that you shouldn't go from not liking it to seeking to destroy it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know he didn't say that. I'm saying that.

 

I just don't really know at what point it would become worthy of destruction. Normally, promoting the most hardcore of crimes and unethical behavior would be a useful rubric. That said, all of Jeff's games, and many many genres in general, are built around killing - which is definitely a serious crime. I don't really see that as a problem, just based on the (lack of) effect it has had on society, and I don't really see where to draw the line as a result of that. Do video games make folks more violent or prone to Bad Behavior?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're saying that people should like a game even if it says things they don't like? That seems like the opposite of what you're saying.

 

There shouldn't be a line drawn regardless. At no point should any piece of art or media or anything be destroyed for alleged crimes against the fabric of society. The fabric of society will just have to deal with it like an adult.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're saying that people should like a game even if it says things they don't like? That seems like the opposite of what you're saying.

 

There shouldn't be a line drawn regardless. At no point should any piece of art or media or anything be destroyed for alleged crimes against the fabric of society. The fabric of society will just have to deal with it like an adult.

 

I... uh... I think you misunderstood somebody somewhere.

 

As for not drawing a line ever: I really have to disagree. Some art can be propaganda. It's hard to know where to draw the line - I have some pretty conflicting ideas on that myself - but I think we can agree that, for instance, a game created by a neo-Nazi skinhead gang to actively promote racist violence is not really fit for the open market.

 

And when you then consider that a lot of racist violence is institutional, and originated by "ordinary people" as opposed to extremists, you kind of have to wonder what else might not be fit for the open market.

 

BTW: while I'm opposed to censorship within certain limits, I'm kind of a fan of self-restraint. Artists edit their work, they have to be critics of themselves. During that stage, there's plenty of room to stand back and say: "You know, maybe this really clever gimmick I'm about to do here is actually kind of awful."

 

I just don't really know at what point it would become worthy of destruction. Normally, promoting the most hardcore of crimes and unethical behavior would be a useful rubric. That said, all of Jeff's games, and many many genres in general, are built around killing - which is definitely a serious crime.

 

This has crossed my mind a lot lately. Yesterday I walked into the town library, and it hit me that about half the books were in some way related to murder.

 

IIRC there was a quote from Zizek, about how we give ourselves moral license to be thrilled by crimes, because they're committed in the context of a villain's deeds. From the opposing end, fantasy in general seems to suffer badly from "killing is okay when the hero does it." (Which the Exile games IIRC made fun of on several occasions.)

 

In any case, I'm not sure the impact is overwhelmingly negative, but I can't help but wonder if us as a society finding evil so darned thrilling is symptomatic of some deep pathology.

 

(OTOH: take a look at the types of fans that G_m_rG_t_ brought out of the woodwork. And IIRC there have been some findings to the effect that violent video games desensitize people to violence in their own lives. Don't quote me on that latter, though.)

 

...

 

Finally: I have to note that, one of the things I've repeatedly observed is that human society seems to revolve around Who Can Kick Whose A**. I could probably write a couple essays about this, how I've completely failed to extricate myself from it, why I think there's too much of it, and why maybe we should look for better concepts of superiority.

 

Anyway, I will posit that the overuse of violent notions of superiority is a social problem; and that a lot of video games fit into it, with winning conditions achieved by use of force, etc.

 

'course I might just be talking rubbish. Whatever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I... uh... I think you misunderstood somebody somewhere.

 

Rather, I think Goldengirl misunderstood me.

 

As for not drawing a line ever: I really have to disagree. Some art can be propaganda. It's hard to know where to draw the line - I have some pretty conflicting ideas on that myself - but I think we can agree that, for instance, a game created by a neo-Nazi skinhead gang to actively promote racist violence is not really fit for the open market.

 

And when you then consider that a lot of racist violence is institutional, and originated by "ordinary people" as opposed to extremists, you kind of have to wonder what else might not be fit for the open market.

 

Nope. Propaganda deserves to exist too. Especially propaganda I agree with. Even propaganda I don't agree with! That's only fair. An actively neo-Nazi game gets to be bought by whoever wants such a thing and sold by whoever wants to sell it. Or distributed and obtained however people want to do that. Bad arguments get counterarguments, not silencing.

 

BTW: while I'm opposed to censorship within certain limits, I'm kind of a fan of self-restraint. Artists edit their work, they have to be critics of themselves. During that stage, there's plenty of room to stand back and say: "You know, maybe this really clever gimmick I'm about to do here is actually kind of awful."

 

I am also a fan of people deciding to not do awful things. That's rather at the discretion of the artist, though.

 

And IIRC there have been some findings to the effect that violent video games desensitize people to violence in their own lives. Don't quote me on that latter, though.

 

Too late, this is a quote. Social psychology experiments like this are. . . suspect. Most studies are clearly or subtly bad and the ones that aren't don't really beg for out-of-laboratory generalization. There are a wealth of studies that will suggest anything you could want to suggest. Did you know that people who played violent video games had more violent answers on a survey they took fifteen minutes later? But also that increased violent media consumption decreases crime?! But also that violent media is correlated with increased individual criminality?!? But maybe that's just because naturally more violent people gravitate towards violent things?!?! Call it a wash.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nope. Propaganda deserves to exist too. Especially propaganda I agree with. Even propaganda I don't agree with! That's only fair. An actively neo-Nazi game gets to be bought by whoever wants such a thing and sold by whoever wants to sell it. Or distributed and obtained however people want to do that. Bad arguments get counterarguments, not silencing.

It's fun to respond to someone with "Nope" and then agree with them. I enjoy it too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a disagreement, friend. Tevildo said that some things should be suppressed. I said that they should not be.

 

Even if they promote violence against a specific individual while publishing their home address? Like, this isn't a hypothetical situation: people made "games" that did exactly that to Anita Sarkeesian when she started releasing her video series. When you're actively calling for specific people to be murdered surely you've kinda gone beyond any reasonable definition of free speech at that point. Counterarguments aren't much help when it only takes one person convinced by the original argument to commit a crime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mmn. That wasn't the example being discussed, but since you brought it up: probably, yes, even then. People vulgarly call for violent murder on the internet all the time. In ye olden days of this very forum, in fact. It clearly isn't usually connected to any real threat. Flash games where you beat up X political or pop culural figure abound, and that's pretty harmless. It becomes less credible as a threat the more public the subject/speech is, too, and Anita is a quite public persona and something released on the internet is a quite public piece of speech.

 

I'm less sure about revealing someone's home address or other personal information. It's certainly not nice. It's usually an attempt at silencing through intimidation. Lots of things aren't nice, though. Whether or not it should be illegal? I have yet to really hear anything convincing either way. It's been considered part of criminal harassment sometimes, but it not always. It can be relevant to something illegal, but I'm not yet willing to consider anything categorical. Though in that particular case, it's prrrooooobably connected to criminal harassment. I'll bet five dollars that it is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You clearly like free speech. I think there are more important things than just letting people who want to talk, talk.

 

Free speech rests on the assumption that people are rational. Thus, when someone says something wrong, they can have counter-arguments thrown at them and realize they were mistaken, correct their viewpoint, and start speaking better. Psychology and the social sciences in general have shown that we are inherently biased, that our perceptions are subject rather than objective, that we are socially conditioned into patterns of thought, that we have giant cognitive blind spots, and that we are susceptible to faulty logic. Rationality is a myth, and this shakes the premises for defending free speech.

 

Even assuming that we can be rational, though, free speech still isn't a universally good idea even on its own principles. Societies have recognized that there are limits to what should be allowed for speech. Defamation, libel, shouting "fire" in a theatre, lying under oath, all can cause material harms and thus are considered illegal. Hate speech falls into this, too, as it creates an atmosphere of emotional and psychological damage for its victims, while mentally preparing others to pick up sticks and stones.

 

Hate speech also chills speech. You can't have a rational dialogue with someone who is shouting for your death or calling you slurs; rather, your rational response is most likely just to leave. They're attacking you, even if it's not yet physically.

 

Speech isn't a categorical good.

 

I don't know if I've played any games that cross those lines. Maybe there are none. I don't know. But I can imagine games crossing into realms that are wholly unacceptable and deserving of censorship.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mmn. That wasn't the example being discussed, but since you brought it up: probably, yes, even then. People vulgarly call for violent murder on the internet all the time. In ye olden days of this very forum, in fact. It clearly isn't usually connected to any real threat. Flash games where you beat up X political or pop culural figure abound, and that's pretty harmless. It becomes less credible as a threat the more public the subject/speech is, too, and Anita is a quite public persona and something released on the internet is a quite public piece of speech.

 

even if you buy that she should have less protection due to being a public figure, it's not just her who's involved at this point: people have started digging up information on members of her family and targeting them as well. the same thing has happened to zoe quinn and her family

 

and again, i don't think you can really say that threats aren't credible when pretty much every woman who has a prominent social media presence commenting on video games has had someone attempt to get a SWAT team called in on them at least once by now. even if any individual threat probably won't be followed up on it's pretty obvious that a campaign of threats is a real danger

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Free speech rests on the assumption that people are rational. Thus, when someone says something wrong, they can have counter-arguments thrown at them and realize they were mistaken, correct their viewpoint, and start speaking better. Psychology and the social sciences in general have shown that we are inherently biased, that our perceptions are subject rather than objective, that we are socially conditioned into patterns of thought, that we have giant cognitive blind spots, and that we are susceptible to faulty logic. Rationality is a myth, and this shakes the premises for defending free speech.

 

The conditioned, illogical, biased, irrational, cognitively blind people you describe hardly seem up to the task of deciding what speech is deserving of censorship and what speech isn't. I'd almost expect them to be. . . irrational. . . about it.

 

Free speech doesn't rest on the foundation that people are perfectly rational and will be convinced of anything that is correct when presented with a correct argument. It rests on the foundation that censorship is a tool of control very easily bent towards silencing opposition, and that people will(quite irrationally) try to destroy things that they don't like, because they don't like them. And that makes society as a whole less able to make decisions, because they are denied even the opportunity to rationally adjust their views. Which people can sometimes actually do! Censorship is a self-reinforcing cycle of ideological stunting.

 

If you're going to make a habit of categorically dismissing people's ability to make rational decisions or think for themselves, start with yourself. Leave the decision-making to people who think humans are capable of such a feat.

 

Even assuming that we can be rational, though, free speech still isn't a universally good idea even on its own principles. Societies have recognized that there are limits to what should be allowed for speech. Defamation, libel, shouting "fire" in a theatre, lying under oath, all can cause material harms and thus are considered illegal. Hate speech falls into this, too, as it creates an atmosphere of emotional and psychological damage for its victims, while mentally preparing others to pick up sticks and stones.

 

Yes, those are all the usual exceptions and conditions to the strawman idea of totally free speech. I'm glad you've brought them up, so I can say: They're all fine. I am Mostly Okay with those exceptions and conditions as they stand today. I have not stated differently. We were discussing other things.

 

Hate speech also chills speech. You can't have a rational dialogue with someone who is shouting for your death or calling you slurs; rather, your rational response is most likely just to leave. They're attacking you, even if it's not yet physically.

[...]

I don't know if I've played any games that cross those lines. Maybe there are none. I don't know. But I can imagine games crossing into realms that are wholly unacceptable and deserving of censorship.

 

I cannot. It is much harder for a piece of art or media that people need to willingly seek out and consume for themselves to be considered a real or effective attempt at intimidating or silencing. Not in the way that a public act or a speech or a demonstration or even a letter or a tweet can be. Those things project; they are aggressive. A game is not like that. It is totally dependent on a cooperative player. I can't see something like that as really capable of intimidating or silencing anyone, even if it were to be very distressing. You are not engaged in discourse with the game.

 

I would point out, also, that the reason hate speech is considered criminal is not because it's distressing to people. It's because it prevents the spirit of free speech. You almost say this yourself: it precludes a rational dialogue(Though why that matters to you, I don't know. Reason is a lie and speech is worthless, right?). It intimidates a group or a person into silence to a degree that prevents them from participating in discourse at all. Hate speech is censorship, and that's why it's a crime.

 

Speech isn't a categorical good.

 

Not everything everyone has ever said has been a good thing to say, no. That would be a silly thing to think. Speech is certainly a necessary activity, though, and speech that is wrong or hurtful or recommends immoral action is a to some degree inseparable part of the process by which we hew closer to truth and arc towards justice and such. I would love if people never said things that were bad or wrong or cruel! Unfortunately, people are often. . . irrational. . . and until we get nerve staples, there's only one good way to address that.

 

even if you buy that she should have less protection due to being a public figure, it's not just her who's involved at this point: people have started digging up information on members of her family and targeting them as well. the same thing has happened to zoe quinn and her family

 

It's not a matter of deserving less protection, it's a matter of evaluating risk. Public figures attract a great variety of attention that would be wholly bizarre in normal life. To normal people, they symbolize greater things, rather than exist as human beings, and so otherwise normal people say and do things that would be many kinds of alarming if they were interacting with a person. But just as most star-struck twelve-year-olds do not earnestly try to marry a pop star, most angry GGers do not earnestly try to hurt the people they've raised in effigy. And, yes, this is to some degree true of those connected to that famous person as well.

 

This is much less the case for a non-public figure. If a normal person recieves a bizarre and horrible threat out of nowhere, it probably represents a much greater risk than a thousand such threats sent to someone famous.

 

and again, i don't think you can really say that threats aren't credible when pretty much every woman who has a prominent social media presence commenting on video games has had someone attempt to get a SWAT team called in on them at least once by now. even if any individual threat probably won't be followed up on it's pretty obvious that a campaign of threats is a real danger

 

And yet, it would be wholly an injustice to attempt to hold everyone participating in a twitter hatefest accountable when one of them does something illegal. A campaign of hate can represent a danger, but that's all - it represents a danger, it is not one in and of itself.

 

And anyways, I repeat:

in that particular case, it's prrrooooobably connected to criminal harassment. I'll bet five dollars that it is.
I would be open to seeing some of the people who have performed exceptionally threatening actions held somehow accountable for them. Probably not including imprisonment. Are you trying to get me to defend Gamergate, and by association destroy my argument? You'll have to try a different tack.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And yet, it would be wholly an injustice to attempt to hold everyone participating in a twitter hatefest accountable when one of them does something illegal. A campaign of hate can represent a danger, but that's all - it represents a danger, it is not one in and of itself.

 

And anyways, I repeat: I would be open to seeing some of the people who have performed exceptionally threatening actions held somehow accountable for them. Probably not including imprisonment. Are you trying to get me to defend Gamergate, and by association destroy my argument? You'll have to try a different tack.

 

i didn't say anything one way or the other about holding people accountable. i'm just pointing out that "don't take threats seriously" is not a safe position to take just because any individual threat might not be followed through on, because the odds are that some of them will be

 

but if we are going to talk about accountability, i do think it's reasonable to say that people who incite campaigns of harassment and threats in the first place ought to be held accountable regardless of what medium they use to do so. if you're the person who shouts "fire" in a crowded theatre, you don't get to get away with it just because you didn't personally trample anybody. when something happens as both a predictable and an intended consequence of your actions, it's only fair to hold you accountable for that

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i didn't say anything one way or the other about holding people accountable. i'm just pointing out that "don't take threats seriously" is not a safe position to take just because any individual threat might not be followed through on, because the odds are that some of them will be

 

but if we are going to talk about accountability, i do think it's reasonable to say that people who incite campaigns of harassment and threats in the first place ought to be held accountable regardless of what medium they use to do so. if you're the person who shouts "fire" in a crowded theatre, you don't get to get away with it just because you didn't personally trample anybody. when something happens as both a predictable and an intended consequence of your actions, it's only fair to hold you accountable for that

 

Either you respond to a threat, or you don't. If your position is to take threats seriously, then that would seem to recommend that everyone making those threats should be arrested by the police and brought to court, because that is how people are supposed to respond to serious threats. That is silly, and so I know you do not think that, but I am not sure what you do think the response to taking threats such as these seriously would be.

 

I would very much need specifics on what and who exactly qualifies as inciting a campaign of harassment to comment on the second point. Though I'm not opposed to the idea in principle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Either you respond to a threat, or you don't. If your position is to take threats seriously, then that would seem to recommend that everyone making those threats should be arrested by the police and brought to court, because that is how people are supposed to respond to serious threats. That is silly, and so I know you do not think that, but I am not sure what you do think the response to taking threats such as these seriously would be.

 

i don't see what's silly about that tbh. making a death threat is illegal even if you don't intend to kill anyone. it may be impractical to identify everyone who's making threats because of online anonymity, but if they can be identified they should absolutely be brought to justice. like, are you seriously saying that death threats should be legal as long as the person making them doesn't intend to follow through on them? because if so i don't think i'm the one being silly here

 

i'm not just talking about getting people arrested, though. anita sarkeesian has had to decline speaking opportunities for her own safety and the safety of her audience because of threats of bombings and mass shootings against the venues at which she was booked to speak, for example. that's an example of taking a threat seriously. likewise, contacting local police in advance and warning them that you may be the target of a SWATting attempt is a way to respond to threats that has already saved several people from having their doors kicked down. these are eminently reasonable and proportional things to do when you are the target of a hate campaign and neither of them necessarily involve anyone being arrested.

 

in short, it's not just a binary choice between "respond" and "don't respond": there are many different ways to respond depending on the nature of the threats. if you still want more examples of things people can do in response to threats and harassment other than "nothing" or "try to get people arrested", anti-online-harassment organisation Crash Override has lots of helpful and relevant advice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i don't see what's silly about that tbh. making a death threat is illegal even if you don't intend to kill anyone. it may be impractical to identify everyone who's making threats because of online anonymity, but if they can be identified they should absolutely be brought to justice. like, are you seriously saying that death threats should be legal as long as the person making them doesn't intend to follow through on them? because if so i don't think i'm the one being silly here

 

It's silly because it involves a large amount of people with mixed intentions doing something that is technically illegal but which most people don't take seriously. Most of the people involved not only don't intend to follow through, they don't intend for their threat to be taken seriously at all, because they wouldn't take them seriously, because it's a widely known element of internet culture. Like it or not, it's little more than an elaborate way to be impolite. And has been for a long while. These people should not be fined thousands of dollars or sent to prison for years for doing something widely regarded as stupid but harmless. They should not even be fined ten dollars or required to do community service for doing that. No more than everyone at Desperance should have been brought before a judge. The great majority of the "lol kill urself"s and "oi bruv imma cut yer face"s do not constitute a credible threat, and everyone involved knows that. The "I will come to your house and burn it down with you inside"s are in the same boat.

 

i'm not just talking about getting people arrested, though. anita sarkeesian has had to decline speaking opportunities for her own safety and the safety of her audience because of threats of bombings and mass shootings against the venues at which she was booked to speak, for example. that's an example of taking a threat seriously. likewise, contacting local police in advance and warning them that you may be the target of a SWATting attempt is a way to respond to threats that has already saved several people from having their doors kicked down. these are eminently reasonable and proportional things to do when you are the target of a hate campaign and neither of them necessarily involve anyone being arrested

 

I, in my dispassionate armchair of judgement, would not have done those things. But that's entirely the realm of Anita's personal decisions and evaluation of risk, which does not concern me in the slightest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's silly because it involves a large amount of people with mixed intentions doing something that is technically illegal but which most people don't take seriously. Most of the people involved not only don't intend to follow through, they don't intend for their threat to be taken seriously at all, because they wouldn't take them seriously, because it's a widely known element of internet culture. Like it or not, it's little more than an elaborate way to be impolite. And has been for a long while. These people should not be fined thousands of dollars or sent to prison for years for doing something widely regarded as stupid but harmless. They should not even be fined ten dollars or required to do community service for doing that. No more than everyone at Desperance should have been brought before a judge. The great majority of the "lol kill urself"s and "oi bruv imma cut yer face"s do not constitute a credible threat, and everyone involved knows that. The "I will come to your house and burn it down with you inside"s are in the same boat.

 

the trouble is we're now in a situation where actually trying to destroy people's lives is also a widely known element of internet culture. even if most threats never lead to action, enough threats are acted upon that "i didn't really mean it" just doesn't fly as an excuse any more. the non-negligible proportion of threats that are acted upon also means that even the threats that aren't made seriously are still likely to create entirely justifiable fear in their victim. it's comparable to pointing an unloaded gun at somebody: it's still assault, because they have no way of knowing that it's unloaded

 

I, in my dispassionate armchair of judgement, would not have done those things. But that's entirely the realm of Anita's personal decisions and evaluation of risk, which does not concern me in the slightest.

 

tbh i think your own evaluation of risk is based on poor information. people have already died over this stuff: even if it ever was reasonable to say people can afford to ignore a threat just because it's made online, it isn't any more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the trouble is we're now in a situation where actually trying to destroy people's lives is also a widely known element of internet culture. even if most threats never lead to action, enough threats are acted upon that "i didn't really mean it" just doesn't fly as an excuse any more. the non-negligible proportion of threats that are acted upon also means that even the threats that aren't made seriously are still likely to create entirely justifiable fear in their victim. it's comparable to pointing an unloaded gun at somebody: it's still assault, because they have no way of knowing that it's unloaded

 

I am completely unwilling to throw the baby out with the bathwater here, where my beloved baby is an internet troll. People simply do not deserve real material punishment for acting in a way that has been generally accepted as harmless and sometimes fun, even when it nebulously and indirectly smokescreens for someone else they've never met acting -sort of- the same way but with genuine malice.

 

tbh i think your own evaluation of risk is based on poor information. people have already died over this stuff: even if it ever was reasonable to say people can afford to ignore a threat just because it's made online, it isn't any more.

 

It is fine that you think that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am completely unwilling to throw the baby out with the bathwater here, where my beloved baby is an internet troll. People simply do not deserve real material punishment for acting in a way that has been generally accepted as harmless and sometimes fun, even when it nebulously and indirectly smokescreens for someone else they've never met acting -sort of- the same way but with genuine malice.

 

okay since at this point you do in fact seem to be arguing for the legal right to make death threats online, i'm comfortable saying you're far enough away from any position i have any common ground with that further discussion won't be productive

Link to comment
Share on other sites

okay since at this point you do in fact seem to be arguing for the legal right to make death threats online, i'm comfortable saying you're far enough away from any position i have any common ground with that further discussion won't be productive

 

If death threats had always been treated the way that they are treated on the internet today, I doubt there would be any laws against them. At least, not the laws we have now. It is a new situation that old rules do not seem to apply to very well, and using the old rules anyways seems like it would do much much more harm than good. It demands a different response. Which is not to say that I would like no rules about it at all forever, but what you're suggesting is unconscionable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. Things kind of exploded while I was asleep.

 

@A River of Stones

 

I'm not really sure what to say.

 

I'll post more this evening (read: after work). Need time to come up with something coherent.

 

For now, I'd ask you to please think about relative degrees of harm. I think we can agree that "not being able to troll people on the internet" doesn't really compare with "being the target of a massive smear campaign", right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@nalyd

 

Lilith already covered "collateral damage", you get that both ways. Trolling and harassment also produce chilling effect.

 

(Which you BTW indirectly acknowledge, when you say that you wouldn't take the risks that Sarkeesian has. Those risks in speaking out, that you wouldn't take, constitute a chilling effect.)

 

IMO this could be viewed as related to the idea of a social contract. Way too much freedom of speech allows a tyranny of the majority - the public discourse version of Locke's "war of all against all," I guess*, where unpopular opinions are just shouted down. And that is a real problem from a social progress standpoint, because a lot of the things we've come to take for granted now were really unpopular way back when. See for instance Abolitionism in the 19th century US.

 

 

* Honestly I know barely anything about Locke, and I'm probably taking him way out of context. Whatever.

 

Edit: anyway, I can't make you think about things you don't want to think about. But I feel it's definitely worth doing from time to time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lilith already covered "collateral damage", you get that both ways. Trolling and harassment also produce chilling effect.

 

The chilling effect trolls and harassment have on public discourse is a lesser evil than criminal punishments for internet trolls. It is also, to a degree, a necessary evil.

 

Which you BTW indirectly acknowledge, when you say that you wouldn't take the risks that Sarkeesian has. Those risks in speaking out, that you wouldn't take, constitute a chilling effect.

 

Entirely the opposite. I said I wouldn't take the precautions Sarkeesian has. Which is entirely meaningless, I'm hardly in a comparable position, but also what I said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The chilling effect trolls and harassment have on public discourse is a lesser evil than criminal punishments for internet trolls. It is also, to a degree, a necessary evil.

 

I really don't think that's true. Historically those who have been harassed have often been those with opinions ahead of their time.

 

As far as criminal punishments, if you're thinking that means "throw them in prison" then I agree - the punishment should fit the crime, and incarceration is currently broken in a lot of ways.

 

(Mind I'm also iffy on fines, which I consider not so viable in a society where money equates with personal survival. Not sure what other options that leaves... Point is though, holding people accountable for nastiness doesn't necessarily mean throwing the book at them.)

 

Entirely the opposite. I said I wouldn't take the precautions Sarkeesian has. Which is entirely meaningless, I'm hardly in a comparable position, but also what I said.

 

Ah sorry, I got that completely wrong. In that case, well... yeah, "hardly in a comparable position" definitely applies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are some games most people would want censored because they are meant to lead to what society considers undesirable behavior. There are lots of AAA game company violent behavior games where the player is supposed to commit criminal behavior to win. Most of them are considered acceptable.

 

Then there are games from White Supremest and Jihadist groups that are used to recruit new members. They desensitize the player to the types of criminal behavior that almost everyone considers offensive.

 

So now you need to consider the game makers' intent as well as content. Are Spiderweb games bad because they allow killing, robbing, and killing people that complain about you robbing them?

 

As an aside, Charisma Carpenter made an unreleased pilot for UPN, Like Cats and Dogs, where she played a company lawyer defending their First Amendment rights to make the most violent video game to be sold.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Charisma Carpenter is pretty cool.

 

2. I'm pretty absolutist about my freedom of speech, but as with every freedom, sometimes it conflicts with itself. There are certain types of speech that actually abridge the free speech of others. Doxxing acts to suppress the speech of the victim (and those of similar opinions) by directly imposing a risk of material harm.

 

I'm honestly not sure how to weigh the freedoms here. I wouldn't trust any state to respond narrowly enough to doxxers, but I also don't think chilling effects should be ignored just because they aren't being generated by the state. The state is the most significant actor capable of abusing power, but it isn't the only significant one.

 

Ideally, though, a narrow but real response seems appropriate. Freedom of speech does not mean that it isn't a crime to dictate that somebody be murdered. You might not pull the trigger, but you're still committing a crime. Doxxing, similarly, is a speech act with very material consequences. And they are direct and real enough, I think, that responding to the impact of the speech matters more than protecting the speech. But narrowness is still my overriding concern.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding the interview itself: my reading of the "glyphs on the screen" comment was less "these things are harmless" and more "there's nothing you or I can do about these things, so you better develop a thicker hide if you want to survive". Remember that Dear Leader might very well be the most pessimistic person ever to walk this earth.

 

Regarding the harassment discussion: There's a large divide of opinions regarding free speech vs. anti-harassment on the Internet at large, but once you just look at the opinions of content creators themselves, I find there's a clear consensus. And if I had to craft a policy to support one group, they would be the one I'd choose.

 

I get a lot of the arguments that have been posted. That in order to protect free speech, you have to include speech you don't like. That anti-harassment policies are hard to craft and harder to implement. Maybe the only realistic thing to do is to view the entire situation as inevitable, grow a thicker skin, and move on. Glyphs on a screen.

 

But just because "harmless and sometimes fun" facetious death threats are an ingrained part of Internet culture does not mean I have to accept them, or defend them. I don't accept or defend them over any other means of communication; I don't see why an exception for the Internet needs to be made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding the harassment discussion: There's a large divide of opinions regarding free speech vs. anti-harassment on the Internet at large, but once you just look at the opinions of content creators themselves, I find there's a clear consensus. And if I had to craft a policy to support one group, they would be the one I'd choose.

 

There is no need to craft a policy that supports one group.

 

But just because "harmless and sometimes fun" facetious death threats are an ingrained part of Internet culture does not mean I have to accept them, or defend them. I don't accept or defend them over any other means of communication; I don't see why an exception for the Internet needs to be made.

 

 

I don't like death threats either, believe it or not. I don't do them! I tell other people to not do them! I don't think they deserve to be punished by law! Not when they take place in a context that has removed all of their literal meaning. Not when they cannot reasonably be considered a credible threat. Disagree with what you say, defend to the death, etc, etc.

 

Ah sorry, I got that completely wrong. In that case, well... yeah, "hardly in a comparable position" definitely applies.

 

To be ever-increasingly clear, I will rephrase: If I were in the situation that Anita Sarkeesian is in, I would take fewer precautions than she has. However, I am making that decision right now, and perhaps if I really were in that situation, I would find it harrowing enough to change my decision. But I don't think so. Right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It hasn't been that many years since anti-abortion web sites used to post the names and home addresses of abortion service doctors. The sites never explicitly mentioned killing the doctors, but people that viewed those sites still went out and killed some of those doctors using that information.

 

Providing information that isn't normal available that can easily lead to criminal acts should be discouraged. If some of them need to go to jail to encourage stopping others, then it will weed out some troublemakers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think they deserve to be punished by law! Not when they take place in a context that has removed all of their literal meaning. Not when they cannot reasonably be considered a credible threat. Disagree with what you say, defend to the death, etc, etc.

I suspect that most of us in this thread would agree with these statements in theory. The question is whether these statements apply to the sorts of online threats we're talking about. I'm not sure they do. Actually, it's the opposite: these threats are associated with actual real-world acts of terror and intimidation, so whether or not a specific threat is meant to be literal, it is unequivocally not in a context that has "removed all of their literal meaning."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

That section of the interview was referring to social media harassment, not game content.

 

On a similar subject, the former admin of Gamefaqs made the mistake of giving out his name + city. So he got stalkers. He had to change his phone # and change it to unlisted, he also had to move and have his new address de-listed.

You know you've hit rock bottom when you're stalking the administrator of a videogame message board. This all happened about 15 years ago, BTW. Nowadays you probably wouldn't see stalking, prank pizza orders, and phone harassment-- you'd just see E-stalking, creepy Twitter feeds, creepy fan responses in the Gamefaqs admin's blog, and the doxxing of his wife.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nowadays you probably wouldn't see stalking, prank pizza orders, and phone harassment

 

oh, rest assured, those things all still happen too. if anything it's easier than ever to harass someone with unwanted deliveries of pizza or other items now that there are so many ways to order stuff online

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...