So Andrew Sullivan uses “SJW” as a sneer too. I know he’s very conservative, but I’m a little surprised he’s conservative in that particular style. Or maybe I’m not; he’s said plenty of absurd things before.
The SJWs Now Get To Police Speech On Twitter
Uh huh, and we get to steal your testicles, too!
Well, you could see this coming. Twitter announced last Thursday that it was teaming up with a left-feminist activist group to investigate gender-based harassment on the social networking site:
A group called Women, Action, and the Media, which advocates for better representation of women, is testing a new reporting process for gender-based harassment. The group developed a tool for reporting harassment and will forward confirmed reports to Twitter. “If it checks out, we’ll escalate it to Twitter right away (24 hours max, hopefully much less than that) and work to get you a speedy resolution,” says the group, which abbreviates itself as WAM. “But please note: we’re not Twitter, and we can’t make decisions for them.”
So not policing at all then. Not some generalized “policing” of “speech” but a tool to attempt to do a better job than Twitter does of dealing with harassment – not speech in general, but harassment, which is by definition targeted at people. If you stand under my window and shout insults at me for hours, I can probably get the cops to tell you to go away. You can still speech, you just can’t harass me. (Until tomorrow, when we can start over again.)
Instead of seeing the web as opening up vast vistas for all sorts of voices to be heard, they seem to believe it is rigged against female voices, or that women are not strong or capable enough of forging their own brands, voices, websites and fighting back against ideas they abhor with wit and energy and passion and freedom. Instead, WAM’s goal is to police and punish others for their alleged sexism – along the well-worn lines of contemporary and controlling left-feminism.
No, it isn’t. It’s to attempt to do a better job than Twitter does of dealing with harassment. It’s not to police and it’s not to punish; it’s to try to prevent harassment. It’s not to police and punish sexism; it’s to try to prevent harassment.
Here’s the mindset behind the project:
“I see this as a free speech issue,” Friedman said. She said she knew some would see the work WAM does as “censorship,” but that a completely open and unmoderated platform imposes its own form of censorship. It effectively prevents women, especially queer women and women of color, from getting to speak on the service.
How exactly? Does Twitter prevent women of color from using the service? Or is it simply that WAM believes that women cannot possibly handle the rough-and-tumble of uninhibited online speech?
It’s not the rough-and-tumble of uninhibited online speech; it’s harassment. And whether or not you think that people of type X can “handle” it, the point is that no one should have to. Nobody should have to “handle” an endless stream of racist abuse, for example; there should be no endless stream of racist abuse. Andrew Sullivan should try not being a callous asshole and see what that’s like.
I can find no reason to oppose a stronger effort by Twitter to prevent individual users from stalking or harassing others – but if merely saying nasty things about someone can be seen as harassment, then where on earth does this well-intentioned censorship end? Is it designed to censor only misogyny and not racism? What about blasphemy?
Who said merely saying nasty things about someone can be seen as harassment? Nobody I know of. But saying nasty things about someone forty thousand times in public, or saying nasty things about someone as part of a public dog-pile that goes on for weeks – that can be seen as harassment.
Here’s me saying something nasty about Andrew Sullivan: he’s a smug conservative-politically-correct tool.