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Oct 15 2012

Sunday Sacrilege: Free speech is not freedom from responsibility

I’ve been struck by the twisty complications of the recent outing of the creepy redditor Violentacrez as Michael Brutsch, a programmer for a financial consulting company, by Adrian Chen of Gawker. I’m particularly interested by the fact that the case has become a focus of concern by defenders of free speech — people who regard free speech as sacred and absolute.

Well, you know what I think of the sacred.

“Free speech” has become a mindless shibboleth for many denizens of the internet — it gets thrown about to excuse anything, and seems to have lost all of its meaning. When Thunderf00t was kicked off Freethoughtblogs, there was a tiresome chorus of his kneejerk defenders claiming that his right to free speech had been violated, when nothing of the kind had occurred. He’s still speaking freely, but there’s nothing about free speech that says a network must give a soapbox to anyone who demands it; we rightfully limit our obligations to whom we must give space, otherwise a freethought network would be required to host Christian blogs and Satanist blogs and porn blogs and commercial blogs for our new fellow citizens, the corporations.

Almost every time I ban someone from this site, someone somewhere will claim that I do not permit free speech. I do, but with limits; I won’t let people use my site as a forum advertising hatred and misogyny, for instance, and most of my bans are for individuals who try to dominate the conversation, swamping out others’ voices with volume. I am not obligated to give you a bullhorn.

But let me say this in favor of free speech: we mustn’t silence even voices we oppose. I want to give atheists, feminists, scientists, and liberals a place to speak out, but that doesn’t mean I think we have to gag Christians, MRAs, creationists, and conservatives — they do have a right to express themselves, no matter how odious their views, in their own venues. They just don’t have an automatic right to propagandize here and everywhere.

But there’s more to this conflict than just assigning speech to a proper place. There are serious problems with the absolutist version of “free speech” that gets bandied about on the internet.

  1. The problem of privilege. When speech is completely unchecked, when there is no recognition that it can be oppressive, it favors the privileged who can shout the loudest. This is the problem of democracy in general: there must be restrictions in place to protect the rights of the minority from the thoughtless disregard of the majority. The internet, and Reddit in particular, is dominated by white male geeks — people who are all too often completely oblivious to the ramifications of their actions and who are too often dedicated to preserving their selfish privilege to do whatever the hell they want. This is a network of human beings forming interacting communities which shuns all the broader needs of a healthy community, other than self-interest and individual indulgence. There must be a recognition of diversity, differences, and the rights of others.

  2. The problem of balancing rights. You know, we have other rights than free speech. What about a right to privacy? The same people who are absolutists about the right to free speech are also often absolutists about a right to privacy — and they regard the outing of Brutsch as a violation of both. But Brutsch made a career of violating other people’s right to privacy; he’s known for his “jailbait” and “creepshot” subreddits, in which he encouraged people to post photographs of half-naked children taken without permission — the special thrill of these photos was specifically that they did violate boundaries. Do his defenders ever stop to think that sometimes these two rights conflict?

    Further, there is considerable outrage over Adrian Chen’s ‘doxxing’ of Brutsch — he violated Brutsch’s privacy! Several subreddits have actively banned all mention of any Gawker media. Note the irony, though: Adrian Chen was practicing his right to free speech, too. Apparently there are limits to the degree of free speech that will be allowed, even among Brutsch’s defenders.

  3. The problem of responsibility. This is a major one for me. Free speech is lovely and important, but some of its advocates aren’t primarily concerned about being able to say what they think, but want to be able to say what they want without consequences. This isn’t part of the deal: free speech is not just a privilege, but a responsibility. People like Brutsch want to lash out and enrage people to no particular purpose other than their own gratification, and are horrified at the idea that just maybe their indulgences could have an effect on themselves rather than others.

    On the Gawker article, someone named YukaUSA left a revealing comment.

    Mr Adrian, keep in mind that posting this article will have real world repercussions on that man. If he really cracks and gets a gun, who know what might happen. He might as well take his life and you’ll have that in your track record. You can do in fact kill a person with words.

    Yes? How interesting that YukaUSA uses that argument to defend a pedophile and self-confessed molester, yet never thought to bring it up in criticism of all those reddit channels dedicated to revealing, illicit photos of young girls. Especially in light of the Amanda Todd case, I agree that words can kill…and we have a duty to wield them responsibly. So how should we respond to the Michael Brutsches of the world who don’t seem to give a damn about the rights of the subjects of their violations?

  4. The problem of principle. What cross are you willing to die on? Free speech can be used to defend the truth. It can be used to protect the weak. It can be used to hold the powerful accountable. It’s a tool — one that bears risks as well as power. And anonymity is something that the good can use to lurk in the shadows and do good, or the wicked can use just as well to lurk in the shadows to do evil.

    It would be very hard to argue that Michael Brutsch used his anonymity and free speech to make the world a better place by spreading pictures of half-naked children and building refuges for people who liked to talk about “chokeabitch” or “Jewmerica”.

    Brutsch knows it, too. When confronted by Chen, he was afraid and begged him not to expose his identity; he has since shut down his Violentacrez account and left reddit (as far as we can tell). This was his occupation that he thought so important that he spent most of his free time moderating hundreds of perverse groups, and now he’s fled from it now that his actual identity is going to be held accountable for it. If it had been a cause like truth or opposing wickedness, would someone have fled it in shame as Brutsch has done?

Free speech is worth defending. But it is not to be defended unconditionally; it’s too complicated for that, and also, it needs to be defended from those who would cheapen and corrupt it as well as those who would silence it. Violentacrez did not promote free speech, he poisoned it for the rest of us, and I fully endorse his outing. If his cause was worth fighting for, he can now fight openly for it.

524 comments

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  1. 1
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, I know it’s late. I’ve been traveling all day, wrote this on the plane, and just now got to my hotel room.

  2. 2
    chigau (違う)

    Darn.
    I wanted to say “Late!”

  3. 3
    chigau (違う)

    and
    You should sleep on the plane.
    Or watch some crappy movie that you wouldn’t be caught dead watching anywhere else.

  4. 4
    chigau (違う)

    Yes.
    Why does “Free Speech” apply to those who say hateful, hate-filled things but not to those who call them on it?

  5. 5
    ginmar

    You’ll notice that very often the people using ‘free speech’ as an excuse are men, and those that oppose them are the women they abuse. Men, apparently, can do all kinds of crap to women and girls for years and when they get found out, it’s about how they should be able to continue to prey on women and girls without anybody saying anything. Yet the very women and girls they prey on are blamed for not accepting these conditions, where men get to do whatever they want to women and girls, and for thinking that they themselves are, you know, human beings.

    I have a friend who’s a nurse and who has thirty four years’ experience, which entitles her to first choice of vacation and days off. And she has to document how some of her coworkers—-who are as old as she’s been working—-have been whining about how she gets all these special rights, when what they want is what she’s earned with decades of hard work. They don’t want to earn it. They don’t understand that at all. They want what they want, and the only thing that’s fair play to them is what enables them to take what they want at anybody else’s expense. That’s Brutsch’s type of thinking, and that of his fans, too.

  6. 6
    sadunlap

    But Brutsch made a career of violating other people’s right to privacy;

    Prof. Myers, that’s a remarkable talent for understatement you have there.

    I find it particularly delicious that This particular set of creepy bullying jackasses screams about privacy.

    I remember a talk by science fiction author David Brin about online privacy he gave back in the 90s. His proposed solution was no anonymity for anyone. If some kid posts embarrassing pictures of you online, you could go have a talk about it with his parents.

  7. 7
    berrycaluroso

    I agree with the vast majority of the post, and I definitely don’t want to defend Brutsch in any way, shape or form – he sounds like the kind of guy who makes people like me uncomfortable to go out alone. However, I kinda disagree with parts of number 4. Of course what Brutsch was doing was immoral, but I don’t think the fact that he was afraid to be outed to the public suggests that he knew that. When you’re a relatively high-profile internet user, all you have to know is that lots of people disapprove of what you’re doing to be afraid. Wasn’t there some talk about people on FtB being afraid that Thunderf00t was going to out them? It wasn’t because they knew they were wrong.

    There are plenty of legitimate reasons to want anonymity. Brutsch’s probably wasn’t one, but that doesn’t change the facts.

  8. 8
    Noadi

    It should have real world repercussions, he made a hobby of violating other people and now he’s all worried that he’s been outed for it? To paraphrase the line creeps like him use when they put up pics of teens: if he didn’t want anyone to know it was him, he should have been more careful online.

  9. 9
    sadunlap

    Chen’s article is a bit long. Just in case people do not want to read the whole thing, here’s the punchline:

    Under Reddit logic, outing Violentacrez is worse than anonymously posting creepshots of innocent women, because doing so would undermine Reddit’s role as a safe place for people to anonymously post creepshots of innocent women.

    I am OK with that.

    This is like something out of one of those feel-good movies when the creepy bad guy gets his comeuppance in the end. Only this is real. Enjoy.

  10. 10
    lawmom

    As I’ve said to my kids on occasion, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

  11. 11
    LeftSidePositive

    I agree with all of this in principle, but the terms used to define it are somewhat off-the-mark–for instance, “responsibility”–what does that mean in light of people who say makers of anti-Muslim videos need to be more “responsible”? I understand that you mean it in terms of not bullying, but the terms as written seem a bit vague.

    How is “privilege” even understandable in terms of the legal approach free speech (as opposed to private individuals shutting up condesplainers on their own blogs)? Or are you referring to community standards that we should expect sites to such as Reddit to take to be more fair to all users, not governmental action?

    I would say the limits on free speech (i.e., such that they deserve legal intervention and likely outing of the speaker) may more accurately be described with:
    1) No incitements of violence (posting home addresses, etc., count for this)
    2) No harassment (I think this would cover most of what you mean by “responsibility,” but I think this is a more precise angle to approach it)
    3) No promulgating illegally-obtained material, which includes (or damn well should include) non-consensual photography, material obtained through hacks of personal data, especially of minors (this needs to be defined so as not to include journalistic coverage of illegal instances–a news site or accountability group can post videos of police brutality, for instance [depending on context, the subject/victim's consent may need to be obtained even for this purpose], but the site beatingn###ers.com should be considered to be profiting off of illegal activity or exploiting the victims of crime)

    I also think its fair to sacrifice anonymity when the subject is engaged in illegal acts related to their use of anonymity (posting underage creepshots of girls falls into this category) or is of imminent harm to others/inciting violence, but sheer vileness in the absence of actual illegality is probably not a fair cause to out someone. Now, in practical terms, most people who get extremely vile will likely stumble into doing something illegal or will be considered a credible threat to others, so this “pure horribleness” that would go unchecked is very, very unlikely.

  12. 12
    ginmar

    So…he didn’t want to get identified as the guy who did all the shit that he did? Um, was he starving and violating the privacy of girls somehow fed him? Was he tormented and the violation of women and girls soothed him? Was he homeless and ‘working’ for ‘free’ posting zillions of pictures of child porn somehow built him a shelter? (When he already had a job and a home?) So what ‘need’ did these activities feel?

    None. He had no needs that his activities filled. He could not be fed, sheltered, healed, soothed, employed, or improved by what he did. His actions were abusive. He wanted to get away with his predations. That’s all.

    I have more sympathy for a hungry shoplifter who steals food than this guy, for whom I have absolutely none whatsoever. This guy is a predator and he simply does not want to be identified as such.

    Nothing noble there. In a way, the morons defending this scumbag are like those religious assholes who claim their freedom of religion demands that they get to control other peoples’ (almost always women, hm…..?) actions, lives, reproductive choices, freedom, etc., etc, Even women have the right of free speech, too, and the sense to call this guy a scummy turd.

  13. 13
    Anthony K

    He asked a number of times if there was anything he could do to keep me from outing him. He offered to act as a mole for me, to be my “sockpuppet” on Reddit. “I’m like the spy who’s found out,” he said. “I’ll do anything. If you want me to stop posting, delete whatever I posted, whatever. I am at your mercy because I really can’t think of anything worse that could possibly happen. It’s not like I do anything illegal.”

    #whitepeopleproblems

  14. 14
    Noadi

    He asked a number of times if there was anything he could do to keep me from outing him. He offered to act as a mole for me, to be my “sockpuppet” on Reddit. “I’m like the spy who’s found out,” he said. “I’ll do anything. If you want me to stop posting, delete whatever I posted, whatever. I am at your mercy because I really can’t think of anything worse that could possibly happen. It’s not like I do anything illegal.”

    I’m surprised so many on reddit are supporting him if he said that. Basically he was willing to sell out others to protect himself. That’s the sign of a free speech hero?

  15. 15
    johnwalkr

    The reaction to this is predictably ridiculous. The cries of “free speech” while banning gawker links on subreddits would be hilarious if these issues weren’t causing real harm to a lot of people. I think, but haven’t confirmed that linking to the specific article is banned site-wide. These people also don’t seem to get that reddit has nothing to do with free speech as a right. PZ did a great job outlining this.

    Another common defense is “but it’s technically legal”. There are good arguments for it not being legal in the UK and Canada. In the case of underage photos, it is probably illegal in most states as well. Of course, these laws deal with intent of the photographer, so good luck talking to black-white-issue libertarian redditors about it.

  16. 16
    Randomfactor

    what does that mean in light of people who say makers of anti-Muslim videos need to be more “responsible”?

    I don’t particularly have a problem with anyone “outing” the guys responsible for the recent anti-Islam home movie. I believe those making legitimate documentaries on the subject do so under their real names. Certainly Salman Rushdie didn’t hide behind an alias (so far as I know).

    I also approve of police protection for those who are willing to sign their names, as well, if they are physically threatened.

  17. 17
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Well, you know what I think of the sacred.

    Um, you’re a big fan of it? (Joke)

  18. 18
    marcmielke

    @16: Salman Rushdie never wrote under an alias, and always stood by what he wrote. I *THINK* that is what you mean.

    However, the entire subject and title of his latest book “Joseph Anton” describes his living under an assumed name for much of the time the death sentence was hanging over his head. It’s a fantastic read and I heartily recommend it to everyone.

  19. 19
    =8)-DX

    @sadunlap

    no anonymity for anyone

    While an appropriate solution psychologically (online interactions would be like monitored face-to-face interactions), I don’t think the technology lends it self to making this enforceable.

    Basically you’d be giving unadultarated one-way access to every hacker (not that hackers are necessarily bad), fraudster, stalker or abusive prick able to cover their tracks. You’d put the youth, the honest people and women in danger of abuse and you’d remove online safe-spaces for groups like LBGTQ youth.

    And to enforce that you’d have to basically put the data from all internet interactions into the hands of governments: it only takes a cursory view around the world to see how this leads easily to abuse, censorship, intimidation.

  20. 20
    nms

    I wonder what the overlap is like between the “free speech!!!11!1″ and the “worse things happen in Syria so stop whining” crowds

  21. 21
    Assassin's Cloak

    Of course, he still has Free Speech. What he doesn’t have is Free ANONYMOUS Speech. A privilege I’m happy to see granted only to those who are exercising it against entities more powerful and corrupt than themselves, not against little girls just going about their business.

  22. 22
    Roy G

    “Another common defense is “but it’s technically legal”. There are good arguments for it not being legal in the UK and Canada.”

    Publishing pictures of children without parental consent is definitely illegal in Norway. If the main focus of the image is a person, even publishing pictures of adults, unless the public interest card is played, is illegal without consent.

  23. 23
    georgewiman

    Someone who is fighting oppression could make a good case for remaining anonymous. In this case (given the damage these photos can do to vulnerable people) he is the oppressor.

  24. 24
    John Phillips, FCD

    Posted by chigau (みじん切り肝臓) on 15 October 2012 at 12:17 am

    Yes.
    Why does “Free Speech” apply to those who say hateful, hate-filled things but not to those who call them on it?

    This.

    Of course, what the type of so called free speech advocate chigau (みじん切り肝臓) refers to really means by free speech, is not actually free speech, but freedom from criticism of their speech. Tough shit, free speech works both ways, whether they like it or not.

  25. 25
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Publishing pictures of children without parental consent is definitely illegal in Norway.

    Publishing pictures of ANYBODY without consent is illegal in Germany.*
    You have the right to your own picture, end of story.
    And I had to sign for both my children that the kindergarten is allowed to take pics of them which end up in their “portfolio” or on the kindergarten wall under “what we did in month X”.

    *This is, of course, subject to a number of exceptions.
    Public interest is one, so if you’re a celebrity and in public ground, your pic is free.
    If somebody takes a picture of a place or street you’re crossing, that’s OK.
    If somebody takes a picture of you, it isn’t. IIRC Germany was the only country where there was a considerable opposition to Google street view.
    +++

    The “Freeeeeeee Speeeeeeech” martyrs again. The “I can say shit but you can’t hold me accountable for it” crew.
    Anonymity and Pseudonymity are two things many people value highly, me too. Because we live in a world where you can’t exercise your most basic human rights that don’t hurt anybody except the fee-fees of imaginary beings without severe punishment up to death. Saying “I’m Psydonym X and I am trans/gay/atheist” is not the same as saying “I’m Psydonym X and here are some creepshots of children and minors”.
    Being gay/trans/atheist is not a risk to anybody living/knowing/working with that person. Somebody proudly violating minors fucking is.
    Those things are not alike and mustn’t be treated alike

  26. 26
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    The guy was being a scumbag and Instant Karma knocked him off his feet. Always glad to see John Lennon come back from the dead to wreak zombie havoc on assholes.

    I’m also wondering about this bizarre mathematics that has respect for freedom of speech, anonymity and being a grotesque fuckebagge(!) in the same equation. My sympathy meter didn’t even think about leaving the ‘Zero’ mark.

  27. 27
    Alex W.

    The main argument made by Reddit’s founders seems to be “the only privacy rule is the rule against personally identifying information”. That being the case, the fundimental cogantive error is that they assumed that their rules and norms could be applied to outmembers, i.e. the subjects of the photographs. You can *never* impose your group’s rules and norms upon people outside that group, because the most fundimental freedom in any group is the freedom to leave.

    How many times have we seen *that* issue where religion is concerned.

  28. 28
    Antares42

    Beat me up for it, but I don’t think two wrongs make a right.

    What Brutsch did was wrong.

    Exposing him publicly was also wrong.

    I was raised to believe that vigilantism is rarely the right choice. In other words, I don’t get to break the rules just because you broke them first. Again, break my nose over it, but I just don’t think “well he deserved it”, no matter how true and satisfying, makes a good rationale.

    We’re back to eye-for-an-eye, and I thought we’d moved past that.

    And to be clear, I want to have that asshole stopped and punished, I just don’t think we’d throw our principles overboard for it. “He did X, so it’s just fair to do X to him” is medieval.

  29. 29
    John Morales

    Antares42:

    I was raised to believe that vigilantism is rarely the right choice. In other words, I don’t get to break the rules just because you broke them first.

    rarely ≠ never.

    (You’ve just written that sometimes, vigilantism can be the right choice, and therefore it is not necessarily breaking the rules)

    Exposing him publicly was also wrong.

    Why, because it’s a rule?

    (What rule is that?)

    We’re back to eye-for-an-eye, and I thought we’d moved past that.

    “eye-for-an-eye”, eh?

    (When did Michael Brutsch become a young woman about whom Adrian Chen posted salacious images?)

    “He did X, so it’s just fair to do X to him” is medieval.

    Your claim relies on a (patently) false equivalence, and is therefore stupid as it stands.

  30. 30
    Matt Penfold

    Beat me up for it, but I don’t think two wrongs make a right.

    A noble sentiment but irrelevant in this conversation.

    What Brutsch did was wrong.

    Agreed.

    Exposing him publicly was also wrong.

    Nope. It was investigative journalism. There is a significant difference, which you seem unaware of.

    I was raised to believe that vigilantism is rarely the right choice. In other words, I don’t get to break the rules just because you broke them first. Again, break my nose over it, but I just don’t think “well he deserved it”, no matter how true and satisfying, makes a good rationale.

    Again, you seem to not know what investigative journalism is. Here is a hint: It is NOT the same thing as vigilantism.

    We’re back to eye-for-an-eye, and I thought we’d moved past that.

    No, and eye for an eye would be to take surreptitious photographs Brutsch in a state of undress and post those. Investigative journalism is not an “eye for an eye”.

    And to be clear, I want to have that asshole stopped and punished, I just don’t think we’d throw our principles overboard for it. “He did X, so it’s just fair to do X to him” is medieval.

    The only people who’s “principles” have been thrown overboard are those who frequent Reddit. And about time too I say.

  31. 31
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    Antares42:

    What principles are being violated when someone who has been instrumental in the invasion of the privacy of underage women has his privacy invaded?

  32. 32
    Argle Bargle

    Antares42 #28

    Exposing him publicly was also wrong.

    This guy was a predator, posting thousands of pictures of semi-naked children without their consent. He hoped he’d get away with it. He was wrong. Essentially the same thing happened to him as happened to his victims.

  33. 33
    Christoph Burschka

    I’m ambivalent. A few months ago I recall that Thunderfoot threatened to publish privileged communication that he’d accessed without permission (don’t recall whether he did that, or whether it included identities). I considered that a very severe breach on his part.

    It seems that the distinguishing factor here is that Violentacrez is guilty of harmful conduct, whereas the victims of Thunderfoot’s mailing list access are not. Now that can be a valid position to take: We can also defend freedom as a fundamental human right and still support jailing criminals.

    What I’m ambivalent about is whether making this decision is an ordinary moral judgement or falls under vigilante justice.

  34. 34
    rq

    I’m glad there are people out there (Chen) willing to out people like that (Brutsch).

  35. 35
    Nick Gotts

    “responsibility”–what does that mean in light of people who say makers of anti-Muslim videos need to be more “responsible”? – leftsidepositive

    What’s your problem with that? The makers of The Innocence of Muslims quite clearly intended to incite violence by Islamist extremists against innocent third parties, in order to advance their own Dominionist project. In the USA, they apparently have the legal right to do this, but to consider their action anything other than evil is moral imbecility.

    Beat me up for it.. break my nose for it – Antares42

    Fuck, how I loathe this sort of spew. If you have something to say, say it, without all the pre-emptive whining. Typically, the “point” associated with this crap is crap itself. It’s not “vigilantism” to intervene when a bully is tormenting a victim, nor are there laws, or generally agreed norms, against exposing the identities of anonymous internet posters. There appears to be no remedy in law against scum like Brutsch (although his actions may be illegal in some countries, it seems only the USA gets to impose its own laws on residents of other countries), and outing a series of such shitbuckets may deter others.

  36. 36
    Matt Penfold

    There appears to be no remedy in law against scum like Brutsch (although his actions may be illegal in some countries, it seems only the USA gets to impose its own laws on residents of other countries), and outing a series of such shitbuckets may deter others.

    And even if what Brutsch was doing is illegal in the US, the fact is that the authorities have done nothing to stop him. Some of the very best investigative journalism has been to expose wrong-doing in cases where the authorities are ignoring their responsibilities.

  37. 37
    Bernard Bumner

    Exposing him publicly was also wrong.

    Why?

    Reddit didn’t care about what he was doing, actually they enabled him (possibly only skewering him once he became an overexposed liability – those Gawker sources seem to have been conviently cosy with him in the past).

    What Brutsch did was wrong, and there must be consequences to wrongdoing.

    The only thing which enabled him to act as he did was anonymity, which is a privilege rather than a right. Anonymity protects the vulnerable and the disenfranchised, but it shouldn’t be available to those who attack and abuse, and particularly not form a position of power. Exercising irresponsible free speech from behind a mask isn’t brave and anyone doing it deserves to be exposed, just as we expose criminal and ethical wrongdoers publicly for the very sake of the public good.

    Brutsch was a loathsome abuser who deserved to be unmasked, since that was the only reasonable action which could stop him. He did untold damage by propagating hatred and exploitative images, and he would have continued to do so. How many children’s lives has he effected? How many women? How many grieving relatives? How much misery has he caused?

    And to be clear, I want to have that asshole stopped and punished, I just don’t think we’d throw our principles overboard for it. “He did X, so it’s just fair to do X to him” is medieval.

    He has been named and shamed. He hasn’t been hung, drawn, and quartered.

    Your hyperbole is in danger of casting the perpetrator in the role of victim.

  38. 38
    Maureen Brian

    And, again, when Michael Brutsch was, at times certainly, acting illegally and encouraging others also to act illegally. Oh, and sincerely believing that his right not to be shopped somehow over-rode the laws and the rights of everyone else on the planet.

    Most of us would call that a criminal conspiracy. Get a grip, antares42.

  39. 39
    nms

    And to be clear, I want to have that asshole stopped and punished, I just don’t think we’d throw our principles overboard for it.

    …so you wanted him to be stopped and punished, but without compromising his identity?

    How?

  40. 40
    Maureen Brian

    Even Wikipedia understands. The first sentence reads ..

    “Child pornography laws in the United States specify that child pornography is illegal under federal law and in all states.”

    … so saying we should protect the privacy of an abusive creep makes no sense at all.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_pornography_laws_in_the_United_States

  41. 41
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Exposing him publicly was also wrong.

    All this tells me is that you care more about the fee-fees of a sexual predator than about the lives of the women and children this man victimized and harmed. You’d rather have 100 Amanda Todds than 1 Michael Brutsch.

    Oh, as for talking about illegal and the USA:
    One of their main arguments is that many of the pictures were lifted frome the girls’ own FB pages:
    That’s another thing the free speech skreechers hate (and don’t understand): copyright.
    Each one of those pictures was copyrighted and Brutsch and others had no right to use them. The problem is that it’s prohibitively expensive to take that to court. Doesn’t make it legal and certainly not OK.

  42. 42
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Rodney Nelson:

    This guy was a predator, posting thousands of pictures of semi-naked children without their consent. He hoped he’d get away with it. He was wrong. Essentially the same thing happened to him as happened to his victims [my bold].

    WTF? How the hell does the bolded part fit in with the rest of the comment?

  43. 43
    jhendrix

    Nice to see that this guy got outed. There are downsides to free speech and anonymity, and violentacrez exemplified it to a T.

    That said, I personally value anonymity online, and plan to use it to its fullest extent when I eventually do start my own blog on atheism. I don’t want my real name and contact info out there “in the wild”, I don’t want potential employer Google searches to immediately reveal I’m an atheist and actively work to counter apologetics arguments.

    Anonymity is a vital part of free speech, look at the founding of the US and the part anonymous political speech played in it. However, it’s a double edged sword.

    I do have one contention to pick with your post PZ, and I think you have contradicted yourself.

    Square this:

    there’s nothing about free speech that says a network must give a soapbox to anyone who demands it; we rightfully limit our obligations to whom we must give space, otherwise a freethought network would be required to host Christian blogs and Satanist blogs and porn blogs and commercial blogs for our new fellow citizens, the corporations.

    With this:

    The problem of privilege. When speech is completely unchecked, when there is no recognition that it can be oppressive, it favors the privileged who can shout the loudest. This is the problem of democracy in general: there must be restrictions in place to protect the rights of the minority from the thoughtless disregard of the majority. The internet, and Reddit in particular, is dominated by white male geeks — people who are all too often completely oblivious to the ramifications of their actions and who are too often dedicated to preserving their selfish privilege to do whatever the hell they want. This is a network of human beings forming interacting communities which shuns all the broader needs of a healthy community, other than self-interest and individual indulgence. There must be a recognition of diversity, differences, and the rights of others.

    I believe the “Reddit Response” here would be – so? By your own admission not every platform must host all voices equally. Reddit doesn’t stop “non white male geeks” from posting, but even if they did, they’re not abusing their free speech.

    As you say, other voices can seek their own forum.

    Here’s the point, any venue for speech, anywhere – blogs, networks, newspapers, TV shows, podcasts – have some form of “privilege”. It’s known as the agenda of the person who creates and has the right to control what goes on that venue.

    This is why I think your complains about “privilege” is misguided. It’s a bug and a feature at the same time, as this site exemplifies. Again, free speech is a double edged sword.

  44. 44
    Marcus Ranum

    The freedom to speak does not automatically come with the courage to speak.

  45. 45
    johnsandlin

    On anonymity:
    A valid use would be for a person who otherwise could not to visit and participate in Free-thought type sites. Non-Valid uses are illegal activities like Brutsch’s.

    Vigilantes become necessary when authority will not or cannot act. What is that saying about evil? All it requires is for the good to not act. Chen acted.

    jbs

  46. 46
    Antares42

    …so you wanted him to be stopped and punished, but without compromising his identity?

    How?

    They could have told his family and friends, they could have told his employer. Best of all, they could have pushed to be arrested for CP and his certainly many other violations.

    They told the public instead. Even after they’d stopped him.

    Again, I’m not saying he didn’t deserve it, or that what he did wasn’t despicable. Or even that I’d…

    rather have 100 Amanda Todds than 1 Michael Brutsch.

    That’s just bullshit. I’m entirely on the side of the Todds, and entirely opposed to whatever Brutsch did. Brutsch deserves punishment. But because I don’t subscribe to a “hurting someone back” mentality, I don’t think he deserves losing any chance of turning his life around. There’s such a thing as closed trials, e.g., if it stands to reason that publicizing the case would hurt the goal of rehabilitation.

    Again: Two wrongs don’t make a right. When someone cuts me off in traffic, I don’t get to kick their mirrors off. When somebody shoots my dog, I don’t get to shoot them – or even break their windows.

    You may all be right that there are no laws against publishing his private information. But then that’s also precisely his own argument – that he claims he never did anything technically illegal.

    I hate to be in this position, seemingly defending an asshole. I am not. What he did was fucking awful and he deserves to pay. What I’m saying is that we should take the high road and not throw goods like privacy under the bus because it seems so right in this case.

  47. 47
    John Phillips, FCD

    and even then, to all those in this thread missing this point, Chen was not a vigilante but an investigative journalist.

  48. 48
    John Morales

    jhendrix:

    Anonymity is a vital part of free speech, …

    What?

    (You do realise you’ve just claimed that unless one cannot speak freely unless one has the option of doing so anonymously, right?)

    … look at the founding of the US and the part anonymous political speech played in it.

    That’s like claiming that speaking English is part of free speech.

    (IOW, a hasty (and, in this case, false) generalisation from a single instance)

  49. 49
    w00dview

    PZ, this is so on the ball and needed to be said. These so called free speech martyrs are usually authoritarian asswipes justifying their oppressive behaviour under a “MY RIGHTS!” flag.

  50. 50
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Why do free-speech absolutists suddenly lose their devotion to absolute free-speech when someone else calls them out for what they have written? After all, isn’t the condemnation of speech also ‘free speech’?

  51. 51
    jhendrix

    @John Morales #48

    I am not trying to claim that “free speech” requires anonymity. I am saying that anonymity can play a very important part in expressing free speech in some cases.

    For an example of this in US History, you can look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_Papers where this was important at the time. A more modern version of this would be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Throat, or a variety of modern day “whistle blowers”.

    My wording should have been more precise, but anonymity can very well be important when it comes to free speech.

  52. 52
    Anri

    For those confused, one of the major differences between what Brutsch did and what happened to him was the issue of being voluntary. All Brutsch had to do to protect himself, perfectly and forever from this kind of outing was to not post victimizing photos of other people. As has been noted by other commentators, this was not a required activity, or one that aided him in any way other than to give him prestige among other predators.

    This isn’t about revenge or enjoying Brutsch’s discomfort – it’s about enjoying the fact that a predator, and enabler of predators, and leader of predators, can’t be a predator any more. I’m sorry that apparently the only effective way to have that happen is to violate the predator’s privacy. That being a given, however, I’m not sorry it happened.

    To put it another way, some people will stop doing bad things when they realize they’re bad. Others will stop when they are told, even if they don’t fully get it themselves. But some people, sadly, will only stop when they are stopped – when the consequences become so unpleasant they can no longer continue. Perfect freedom cannot and will not exist for the first two types of people so long as the third is still operating.

  53. 53
    jhendrix

    Please note, I’m NOT saying this guy shouldn’t have been outed.

    “Free Speech” includes revealing things like this guys identity.

    Also, my links above got screwed up.

  54. 54
    Bernard Bumner

    What I’m saying is that we should take the high road and not throw goods like privacy under the bus because it seems so right in this case.

    There was nothing else to do. He was very careful to avoid breaking the law – his policing of subreddits to remove obviously illegal material was one of the reasons his own obviously disgusting activity was protected.

    People like Brutsch need to be exposed in order to protect others and to prevent him from behaving in exactly the same manner in the future.

    Again: Two wrongs don’t make a right. When someone cuts me off in traffic, I don’t get to kick their mirrors off. When somebody shoots my dog, I don’t get to shoot them – or even break their windows.

    These examples are so trivial or irrelevant that you should be ashamed.

    Committing criminal damage is obviously not a proportionate response to being cut up in traffic, and if someone shoots your dog you have a right and responsibility to report them to the police and/or animal protection services.

    But because I don’t subscribe to a “hurting someone back” mentality, I don’t think he deserves losing any chance of turning his life around.

    This is an absurd caricature of your opponents’ positions.

    Brutsch was exploiting children and women for masturbatory purposes, posting images of dead teens, posting racist and anti-Semitic hate threads and generally indulging in the worst types of human behaviour (short of actual bodily violence) for pleasure.

    He is dangerous, and for lack of obvious or accessible legal recourse, remains a danger. The only way to inoculate against such predators is to strip away the anonymity which is so crucial for their misdeeds.

    There’s such a thing as closed trials, e.g., if it stands to reason that publicizing the case would hurt the goal of rehabilitation.

    Justice done outside of the public gaze is rarely just, but anyway, the first principle should be to protect potential victims.

    They could have told his family and friends, they could have told his employer. Best of all, they could have pushed to be arrested for CP and his certainly many other violations.

    So, exposure then?

  55. 55
    georgewiman

    Antares42:
    “Beat me up for it, but I don’t think two wrongs make a right.

    Challenge accepted.

    You’re assuming it was wrong to out this jerk, and that this wrong was somehow equivalent to the harm he did to vulnerable people.

    Anonymity has a long and honorable history of enabling the powerless to speak truth to power. But honor evaporates when anonymity is used as a shield while harming, say, kids, ethnic minorities, or other people who are in a disadvantageous rung of the power ladder. When that happens we don’t call it “honor”; we call it “cowardice”. It is an illicit protection and no wrong is done removing it. Even if, like ripping off a bandage, it stings considerable much.

    Yes he is harmed by being outed, but not all harming is wrong. He’s a bully and he got a bloody nose, and now people are worried about his feelings.

    He wasn’t oppressed by young girls or minorities or any of the other vulnerable people he set up for ridicule or worse. Instead, he pushed them out into traffic for his own amusement and that of his mocking friends. I won’t be wasting any sympathy on him.

  56. 56
    jhendrix

    Bernard Bumner@54 has it exactly right.

    What Brutsch did was not technically illegal, just disgusting.

    This is why outing him is “justified”, IMO, because he violated privacy of others in much the same way that his privacy was violated.

    His “identity” was “out there” in much the same way the pictures of those he published as fap-fodder, and eventually it got brought to a wider audience.

    I like to think of it as social-justice. Like I said a few times now, free speech is a double edged sword, and Brutsch finally had the sword cut the other way.

  57. 57
    laurentweppe

    Exposing him publicly was also wrong.

    Come on: he’s not a former felon who risk having his life destroyed 10 years after finishing his time in prison. He’s not a guy who risks ending up on the list of sexual predator for having sex with 17 years old highschool sweetheart. He’s not a dumb 13 years old boy surprised while sexting. There are times when exposing someone will end up causing way too much harm, but Brutsch is not such a case.

  58. 58
    LeftSidePositive

    Re: Innocence of Muslims, I still think that’s rather unfair, because it’s holding a speaker accountable for the intentional violent acts of someone else, that the someone else is using to intimidate dissenters or critics. It doesn’t matter that the film is absolute shit, criticize it for that, but a lot of more intelligent criticisms of Islam have been met with acts of violence. This standard basically means a third party can threaten to lose their shit enough to criminalize someone else’s speech or justify someone else’s outing.

    Re: Salman Rushdie, yes he wrote under his own name, and that was his choice. Good for him. But his critiques and his literary merit wouldn’t have been any less if he had chosen otherwise.

    I’m not quite comfortable with “oppression” being a standard for outing someone…someone can put up a sexist, racist blog or whatever and be contributing to cultural oppression. That should be responded to with criticism and mockery, but not retaliation against the speaker as long as they keep it general and don’t attack individuals, unless they get into SPLC hate-site territory. Violating non-consenting person’s privacy, on the other hand, no matter how oppressed they otherwise are, is grounds for outing (e.g., still wrong to post sexts gleaned from straight white male college students’ private social networks, even though they’re not “oppressed” by most definitions).

  59. 59
    Matt Penfold

    They could have told his family and friends, they could have told his employer. Best of all, they could have pushed to be arrested for CP and his certainly many other violations.

    They told the public instead. Even after they’d stopped him.

    Again, I’m not saying he didn’t deserve it, or that what he did wasn’t despicable. Or even that I’d…

    His wife already knew what he was doing, and was had was supportive of his activities. You would have known this had you read the original article. It looks as though his employer knows know, and has dispensed with his services. Of course, the idea that his employer could have stopped his activities is just silly, As for having him arrested, he has been doing this for years and nothing had been done about it. Do you really think that he would have stopped his activities had he not known he was going to be publicly named ?

    So what you are in fact saying should have been done would have done nothing to stop him. You better have a good explanation as to why you are pretending to be wanting to get him stopped but opposed to doing anything that would have brought that about.

    I hate to be in this position, seemingly defending an asshole. I am not. What he did was fucking awful and he deserves to pay. What I’m saying is that we should take the high road and not throw goods like privacy under the bus because it seems so right in this case.

    That’s just bullshit. I’m entirely on the side of the Todds, and entirely opposed to whatever Brutsch did. Brutsch deserves punishment. But because I don’t subscribe to a “hurting someone back” mentality, I don’t think he deserves losing any chance of turning his life around. There’s such a thing as closed trials, e.g., if it stands to reason that publicizing the case would hurt the goal of rehabilitation.

    You claim to be on the side of the Todds of this world. I don’t believe you. You will need to offer more evidence before I will change my mind.

    Again: Two wrongs don’t make a right. When someone cuts me off in traffic, I don’t get to kick their mirrors off. When somebody shoots my dog, I don’t get to shoot them – or even break their windows.

    There was only one wrong, and that was on the part of Brutsch.

    You may all be right that there are no laws against publishing his private information. But then that’s also precisely his own argument – that he claims he never did anything technically illegal.

    Again, you seem to not understand the purpose of investigative journalism.

    I hate to be in this position, seemingly defending an asshole. I am not. What he did was fucking awful and he deserves to pay. What I’m saying is that we should take the high road and not throw goods like privacy under the bus because it seems so right in this case.

    Then stop being in that position. You are not seemingly defending an arsehole, you actually are defending him. You claim you think he should have been stopped, but you refuse to countenance any actions that could have stopped him.

  60. 60
    A Hermit

    Some people confuse the right to free speech with the right to be provided with a platform. Reddit is under no obligation to provide a platform for skeevy perverts like Brutsch. That’s a choice they are making, and they need to take responsibility for that choice.

  61. 61
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    I find the notion that Brutsch could have been charged with any sort of offense involving a minor and still maintain anonymity ridiculous. In the various places I have lived such offenders are regularly named before a conviction to allow others who may have been harmed to come forward. After a conviction he would be on sexual and child assault lists and have to identify himself to his entire home community. The right to privacy was tossed away the moment he went after CP, especially with intent of posting it for the other degenerates. If you still want to argue the point you may want to get an ethics and morality transplant.

  62. 62
    Bernard Bumner

    I’m not quite comfortable with “oppression” being a standard for outing someone…someone can put up a sexist, racist blog or whatever and be contributing to cultural oppression. That should be responded to with criticism and mockery, but not retaliation against the speaker as long as they keep it general and don’t attack individuals, unless they get into SPLC hate-site territory.

    Is a general racist/sexist attack not an attack on individuals? How else does racism or sexism work?

    Again, if anonymity is sufficient to maintain that sexism/racism, then removing that anonymity should also be sufficient to prevent it. Sexism and racism are not merely offensive, they also contribute to active harm. They choose to wear a mask to attack the identities of others who cannot choose to adopt a privileged status. People with power who attack the powerless and disenfranchised should not be protected.

  63. 63
    jaybee

    I think we can discount everything PZ says here because he his making moral arguments. It is well known that atheists have no footing in this discussion because they don’t believe in the only source of morality in the universe, namely my interpretation of God’s desires and justified by my selective reading of a 3500 year old, highly edited book.

  64. 64
    LeftSidePositive

    @62–free speech does necessitate a certain tolerance for unpopular speech, since people haven’t historically been very good at determining what is actually vile and what is just against community norms. Again, if the racist/sexist bastard is not targeting individuals, then attack the wrongness of their ideas but there is no need to take it out on them personally if they don’t seem to be advocating violence, seem to be at risk of committing violence, or are singling anybody out. System-wide harms need system-wide solutions, not going after an individual who’s just a schmuck with a computer. Once they get to the point (and they usually do) where they’re actually engaging in harassment or other targeted behaviors that have particular victims as opposed to a whole class of people, then treat them like a particular perpetrator.

  65. 65
    atheist

    There is a reality often missed in this discussion about the “free speech” of creeper porn purveyors. It is that the kind of non-consensual porn that was so important to Violentacrez is not only an individual act. It requires an entire supply chain to be as popular – and as dangerous – as it is today.

    There is an entire process. It starts with a creeper taking photos of women in public, or deciding to publish revealing photos taken by other means. The next step is for the creeper to submit the pix or videos to a website that will publicly show such material. The process ends with wankers enjoying the erotic charge of invaded privacy. The supply chain also requires mods who support such non-consensual porn and an ISP/server hosting facility that is willing to be involved. Finally another system is required — an attitude of entitlement on the part of men and fear or shame on the part of women.

    With an “industry” of so many parts, really the only part that potentially involves “free speech” questions is at the website level. The creeper who takes the pictures is just a predator – there is no “right to invade people’s privacy”. The wankers are just consumers who like to see women’s privacy invaded – there is no “right to the kind of porn you want”. I feel that looking at the non-consensual porn “industry” this way – as a collective effort rather than an individual decision – helps to clarify the degree to which “free speech” is an actual issue.

  66. 66
    LeftSidePositive

    Oh, and if your solution to sexism and racism is to name people rather than criticizing their ideas, it won’t stop them from being sexist or racist, they will just get progressively more underground about it.

  67. 67
    Gregory in Seattle

    We had a few rounds of this discussion while I was in college. The collective student body was forced to school the Journalism Department (!!) that

    1. A guarantee of speech is not a guarantee of a venue for that speech, and

    2. There is no freedom from accountability anywhere in the US constitution or the constitution of any state.

    Personally, I agree with outing Brutch. What he was doing was criminal: speech and privacy have never been justifications for ignoring criminal behavior.

  68. 68
    atheist

    @LeftSidePositive – 15 October 2012 at 8:20 am

    it won’t stop them from being sexist or racist, they will just get progressively more underground about it.

    Right. That’s pretty much the aim here. If you force scumbags to go underground you’ve slowed their game. Right now purveyors of non-consensual porn have a sense of license that allows them to harass women in public, and sometimes ends with them damaging lives. This is their intention, their erotic charge is tied up with their desire to harass and damage. Their sense of license or freedom about about their actions makes them more dangerous. If they had to go underground that would be an improvement.

  69. 69
    Bernard Bumner

    …free speech does necessitate a certain tolerance for unpopular speech, since people haven’t historically been very good at determining what is actually vile and what is just against community norms.

    We cannot define intolerable behaviour other than by current standards.

    Again, if the racist/sexist bastard is not targeting individuals, then attack the wrongness of their ideas but there is no need to take it out on them personally if they don’t seem to be advocating violence, seem to be at risk of committing violence, or are singling anybody out.

    I cannot conceive of racism and sexism which doesn’t attack individuals. An attack on any given ethnic group in general must also be an attack on individuals of that ethnicity, and so for sexism.

    Oh, and if your solution to sexism and racism is to name people rather than criticizing their ideas, it won’t stop them from being sexist or racist, they will just get progressively more underground about it.

    Obviously, you do both.

    And the naming is simply to deprive them of a certain privilege, a power they have over their targets. I have no wish to silence racists or sexists, and every wish to know exactly who they are so that they can be opposed. Those without the courage to act like the racists and sexists they are in public, well exposure clearly mitigates any harm they can cause. I have no wish to inadvertently spend money in their places of business, to drink with them, to share a platform with them, or to otherwise give them succour and support.

  70. 70
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Antares42:

    Brutsch deserves punishment. But because I don’t subscribe to a “hurting someone back” mentality

    There’s some dissonance in here

    , I don’t think he deserves losing any chance of turning his life around.

    Are you fucking kidding me?
    Any chance of turning his life around?
    So far it seems like the worst that has happened to him is that he himself closed his reddit account, which means that the one thing he has lost is his main outlet for victimizing women and children.
    It’s not like for the rest of his life his name will be mentioned together with Hitler and Stalin.

    There’s such a thing as closed trials, e.g., if it stands to reason that publicizing the case would hurt the goal of rehabilitation.

    Yes, and there’s such a thing as public interest. In this case the interest to keep away from a creep.
    Teel you what, I know a convicted pedophile. You know how much his life was actually ruined? Not one bit.

    that he claims he never did anything technically illegal.

    Wrong again. He might think it was technically legal, when for several reasons it wasn’t (child pornography and copyright).

    What I’m saying is that we should take the high road and not throw goods like privacy under the bus because it seems so right in this case.

    You know, just because your brain is too thick to carry a nuanced position it doesn’t mean that ours are, too. We are perfectly able to make a case for why there isn’t a legitimate public interest in the real identities behind trans people but a very legitimate interest in the real identity of somebody who harasses and victimizes women and children.

  71. 71
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Antares42

    Brutsch deserves punishment. But because I don’t subscribe to a “hurting someone back” mentality, I don’t think he deserves losing any chance of turning his life around.

    You also apparently don’t think that the people he harmed or was about to harm should have the chance to know who he is in order to avoid him.

  72. 72
    jhendrix

    Holy fucking shit. Had a bit more of a realization on the scope of the problem.

    I just read this article posted by atheist@65, and re-read the original article and got hit with a bit more reality on the situation.

    A good portion of the pictures these people traded were just random pictures of women out in public, just pics of their butt/hips/boobs.

    The other portions were pics gleaned from public pics on Facebook or other social network sites.

    Just how in the hell can this be “stopped”? We can’t really pass laws banning taking pictures in public. Every teenage girl on Facebook posting pictures of themselves is fodder for assholes like this guy.

    The answer is it can’t be “stopped” without massive limitations on public free speech, which I’m against. But I’m certainly not for this.

    I just kind of understood how deep the double edged sword can cut.

    The scariest part is that the next Brutsch will probably learn to be far more protective of their identity, making “outing” this not-illegal but disgusting behavior far harder.

    It seems like a problem without a good solution.

  73. 73
    zmidponk

    Personally, when it comes to free speech, I’ve always applied the old rule of ‘your rights stop where my rights begin’. So, applying that:

    1) Brutsch’s right to ‘free speech’, and those of the other redditors who posted the ‘jailbait’ and ‘creepshot’ photos referred to, should stop where the subjects of those photos right to privacy begins – and thus, those photos should be taken down, and any similar photos in the future banned.

    2) A blog network has the right to not have a blogger who’s blogging and/or behaviour seems to be very much at odds with what that network is all about. As such, FtB has every right to ask Thunderf00t to go blog somewhere else, which, despite all the hyperbole about ‘gagging’ and ‘censoring’, is all they actually did.

    3) A blogger has every right not to have a commenter post stuff they find objectionable, as their blog is their own personal part of the internet, in much the same way their house is their own personal part of the world. As such, they have every right to remove comments and ban commenters as they see fit.

    As for Brutsch’s right to privacy, I am on the fence. As a knee-jerk reaction, my instinct is to say that, if he has no respect for other people’s right of privacy, he should expect none for his. On the other hand, doing that, we may end up with the old ‘eye for an eye, and the whole world goes blind’ situation – if we apply this too thoroughly and too widely, the whole phrase ‘right to privacy’ may end up not really meaning very much.

  74. 74
    Bernard Bumner

    It seems like a problem without a good solution.

    True, to some extent.

    A start would be for good people to stop using Reddit until it agrees to adopt a more responsible policy for moderating content. People power can make a difference, and such sites should be forced to choose between legitimacy or sinking into their own filth.

    A sufficiently democratic approach could protect free expression and certainly even objectionable content, whilst removing outright abusive, exploitative, and dangerous material.

  75. 75
    Ingdigo Jump

    Two things for the idiot above

    A) eye for an eye is a prohabition against escalation
    B) removing the stick you’re using to beat someone with isn’t a fucking punishment.

    The two wrongs don’t make a right annoys me because it is a) vaccuous virtue morality boiled down to a simplistic charicature b) a hidden assertion that this was wrong

  76. 76
    brucegee1962

    I’m still not sure that there’s been valid answers to #7 and #33 (two posts that asked for a precise definition of how doxxing Brutsh is morally different from Thunderfoot’s threats of doxxing people like Natalie here on FTB).

    Of course, it’s obvious to all of us here that what Brutsh was doing was clearly far more harmful than anything that anybody on FTB could ever be. But absent actual illegality in either case, how could you define what the difference was, in a way that would be clear to any outsider? Where precisely is the bright line that can be used objectively to show that what Thunderfoot threatened to do was wrong, but what Chan did wasn’t?

    Let me put this a different way. Suppose I’m really, really angry at Person A on the internetz (hey, could happen to any of us). And suppose that I also happen to stumble across identifying info on that person. What criteria can I use to objectively decide whether doing so would make me a heroic Chan or a villainous Thunderfoot?

    1. Person A, the one I’m mad at, is doing something that is objectively immoral. Obviously, the problem here is that many folks in the the free thought community have problems with objective morality. Who has the authority to decide this?

    2. I sincerely believe that the person I’m angry at is harming people. If I’m angry at this person, then I probably believe this. I’m sure TF believed this about FTB while he was in his raging snit.

    Where between those two beliefs can we draw the line?

  77. 77
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    jhendrix

    The scariest part is that the next Brutsch will probably learn to be far more protective of their identity, making “outing” this not-illegal but disgusting behavior far harder.

    It seems like a problem without a good solution.

    Well, you’re thinking too small. You’re thinking just about individual creeps.
    Think about Reddit and Facebook and society at large instead.
    That’s what articles like the one by Chen actually do the most: Bring it to light, condem it, move the fucking window. Set a loud signal that this is not acceptable.
    Laws are only tools for societal change. Seriously, if we accomplished that all racists were limited to stormfront and all misogynists to Spearhead and a Voice for Men we would have accomplished much.

  78. 78
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I’m still not sure that there’s been valid answers to #7 and #33 (two posts that asked for a precise definition of how doxxing Brutsh is morally different from Thunderfoot’s threats of doxxing people like Natalie here on FTB).

    That’s because you suck at reading.
    Doxxing Natalie would endanger her very life for no other reason that she’s a transwoman and there are assholes out there who murder transwomen. She herself is no freaking danger to anybody.
    Doxxing Brutsch protects women and children of being victimized while not putting him in any immediate danger at all. It stops his behaviour.
    Do you have the moral development of a five year old or are you able to follow adult conversations?

  79. 79
    Ingdigo Jump

    Somehow outing this guy will destroy privacy…but letting him continue won’t?

    Here’s a question, what line do you twerps draw? Can someone brag of planned serial killings and still deserve protection? Can they post evidence of rape? Encourage people to kill themselves for a lol? Stalk people? Post evidence of child abuse? Promote nazism? Promote genocide? Advocate assasination? Advocate the rape and murder of a civilian? Post instructions on how to rape and murder without leaving evidence? Some of those are technically legal or in legal gray zones but all can be allowed via annonminity. If outing someone is wrong what do you do? There would be no need for outing if fucking reddit didn’t seek to profit from this originally

  80. 80
    Ingdigo Jump

    Let’s also point out that reddit believes in freespeech for racism, promotion of incest, child porn, invasion of privacy and rape appology, but OUTING someone deserves immediate censor from Reddit

    Their rules may seem hypodcritical but really are very consistant “you’re free to say anything that doesn’t fuck with reddit”

    That is more in the spirit of authoritain anti free speech than anything

  81. 81
    jhendrix

    @Bernard Bumner && Giliell

    I don’t really care if “reddit” or “4chan” can be coerced into stop hosting this kind of thing. These people will just move on to the next site.

    I’m fairly certain I can google for sites that host this content and find it; eventually you’ll just find a host somewhere that will ignore any and all attempts at shaming them into taking the content down.

    I guess stopping this totally is impossible.

    You can claim that it’s a victory if we limit the creepers to their own sub-areas of shit on the ‘net; but then what happens is the sub-areas just become more popular.

    What I fear happening is that the “providers” will just become more sophisticated in hiding their tracks. I do work in the tech field, so I’m aware of exactly how anonymous one can be if you were diligent enough. Luckily, not many people are that smart.

    Sadly, the “consumers” are always anonymous by definition really.

    I’m still a strong proponent of free speech, but I can’t see how to have the good without the bad. What scares me the most is that we may see some attempts at rights violations because of egregious uses like this guy, or from the blasphemy shit that’s gone down lately.

  82. 82
    zmidponk

    The idiot @75:

    Two things for the idiot above

    A) eye for an eye is a prohabition against escalation

    Correct, dumbass, ‘eye for an eye’ is. The full part, which your lack of intelligence missed, was ‘eye for an eye, and the whole world goes blind’. Obviously, someone as limited as you cannot be expected to grasp that this means that, if you treat everyone the same way, this causes the negative effects of this to become widespread, and, in this case, the negative effects are people’s right to privacy being violated, crap-for-brains.

    Now, read the below, where I don’t respond by calling you an idiot in the same way you called me an idiot:

    Ing @75:

    Two things for the idiot above

    A) eye for an eye is a prohabition against escalation

    Correct, ‘eye for an eye’ is – it’s saying ‘only do to him what he did to you, and no more’. However, I think you’re missing my point. I actually said it was an ‘eye for an eye, and the whole world goes blind’ situation. In other words, if everyone keeps doing this, the negative effects become more and more widespread – which ends up with people’s privacy being violated all over the place.

    Now, which version do you prefer? Personally, I prefer the second. If you do too, maybe now you can see that ‘eye for an eye’ is a rather shortsighted response (no pun intended).

  83. 83
    Ingdigo Jump

    There are already violations of rights because of this guy…you’re only worried about YOUR rights

    Cause its fine for bitches to be shit as long as YOUR rights are well protected?

  84. 84
    skeptifem

    What caught my eye the most was the “consensual” sex he had with his (then) 19 year old step daughter. Sure dude, keep telling yourself that. I’m sure her being your fucking step daughter didn’t complicate the consent issue at all.

  85. 85
    Alverant

    Thanks for this post. I agree that free speech is a complicated issue and we can’t go into absolutes. For example some people have talked about how you shouldn’t post anything online that’s illegal. It’s a fine position to take but what about the whistleblowers who discover something horrible going on that the public needs to know about? For instance if an electronic voting machine is changing people’s votes in the Presidential election, I don’t care how this information was obtained it needs to be shouted from the proverbial roof tops.

    That being said, the internet is a global communications network with emphasis on the global. What’s illegal in the USA may not be in other countries. So how can we deal with that? How do we decide which laws are OK to break and which ones we should respect? Like say one of the -stans makes posting anything bad about Islam is illegal and some island nation in the Gulf of Mexico makes it legal to post semi-nude photos of children above the age of 13. I think we can agree neither law should be followed. So what is the solution that can be applied world wide?

  86. 86
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    jhendrix

    You can claim that it’s a victory if we limit the creepers to their own sub-areas of shit on the ‘net; but then what happens is the sub-areas just become more popular.

    I think you’re mistaken here. Look how racism and racial portrayal in mainstream media has changed and how it is scrutinized by a critical audience. Sure, that means dogwhistles, but wouldn’t you say that the fact that people react negatively when people say the N-word has helped to fight racism?

  87. 87
    jennyjfwlucy

    Longtime lurker, rare poster, hi there.

    re: 79/Ing, It seems to me that anti-choicers are already advocating murder of abortion doctors by publishing their private information, and 76/Bruce, they do genuinely believe that said doctors are harming people. I don’t believe it should be legal to do this.

    This being said, I also think the answer to this lies in greater transparency, and that we are capable, as a society, of making judgement calls as to who “deserves” anonymity. People who are taking upskirt shots, no. People who are protecting their own lives, yes.

    And there WILL be gray areas because in life there always are. For example, I would really like to know how many guns my crazy neighbor has. But I can also understand that a public registry of this information could make him a target for thieves. But the fact that hard cases exist is not a reason not to make laws in the first place.

  88. 88
    Ingdigo Jump

    @82

    Read the rest of my post jackass. Its not eye for an eye, its prevenative actions not punative.

    Or is someone wrong to attack a home invader because then the invader now apparently to you is justified to rape them? Your eye for an eye is simplistic because it doesn’t apply to prevenative actions and stupidly presumes all acts and responses are equal and on equal footing as if someone punching their rapist is as unjustified as the rapist then punching them back.

    You’re miassplying something that refers to a cycle of vengence not prevenative or self defense actions.

  89. 89
    zmidponk

    Ing @83:

    There are already violations of rights because of this guy…you’re only worried about YOUR rights

    Cause its fine for bitches to be shit as long as YOUR rights are well protected?

    You haven’t really addressed this to anyone, but, speaking for myself, I am concerned with the rights of everyone – including the ‘bitches’ that are ‘shit’, as you put it. This is why I indicated the pictures concerned should be taken down and similar pictures banned in the future. However, if we are to punish people for violating someone’s rights, we simply should take care that the punishment doesn’t end up being as bad for society as a whole as the ‘crime’ was in the first place.

  90. 90
    jennyjfwlucy

    ONE MORE THING.

    I would really like to invite people defending VA to read this page: http://rookiemag.com/2012/05/it-happens-all-the-time/

    These are the voices from the young women THIS HAPPENS TO, and reddit and countless other sites normalize this behavior and provide a haven of approval for men who do this stuff or just fantasize about it. It’s not fucking acceptable.

    ——————————–

    Jamie: This sucks and is gross. I am adding my own story to this. One time I was in T.J. Maxx shopping for bathing suits. I was not trying them on, just browsing the aisle, and I looked over to the novelty-lotions gifty-crap section, and there was a man staring at me and jerking off with the lotion from the tester. I was 15.

    Anaheed: GOD. I am so sorry, both of you. I always wish I had the balls to YELL at those people, but I get too grossed out and freaked out.

    Jamie: I think it has something to do with spring. All the creeps come out of hibernation. I’ve been getting “Hey…smile!” a lot more, too, from weird paternalistic men on the street.

    Jamia: I’m so sorry you ladies have had similar experiences. I usually say, “Show some respect,” but I was so shocked today. Another time this guy came up to me in Washington Square Park and yelled, “I want to eat your pussy” and made this hand motion at me…it was so gross that I burst into tears and yelled at him.

  91. 91
    pacal

    For more than 20 years we’ve been hearing from many quarters the complaint that criticism is persecution. This is esspecially prevalent in so-called “Conservative” circles screaming about “political correctness”. Basically if someone says something racist one can be sure if someone complains about it they will scream about “political correctness” and how their being oppressed / suppressed. Thus they conflate criticism with censorship.

    What they desirer is of course that they are able to mouth their bile and no one says boo about it. Thus they implicitly do not want people to be able to criticise them. So much for being for free speech.

    It is interesting that so many of these people mouth ther platitude that “No one has the right to be not offended”, yet they miss that people have the right to say that they are offended even if that bugs the offender.

  92. 92
    LeftSidePositive

    @atheist, #68

    Again, you’re describing BEHAVIOR. It’s fine to impede harmful behavior. The posting non-consensual pics is reason to out someone. However, the person who says “But evolution says women just can’t be as good at math!” and “Sometimes teh laydeez like da rough seks so I’m sure she was asking for it!” are sexist as all hell but isn’t actually violating any individual’s rights, they are just expressing their (stupid-as-shit) opinion. Impeding the expression of these attitudes doesn’t actually impede them in the same way that impeding the distribution of a non-consensual photo does, because photos are much more discrete entities than ideas. (Not to mention, an all-too-large portion of the populace is just fine expressing these under their real names anyway.) Moreover, a person whose photo is less easy to find is protected and helped, but a person who is the victim of racial/sexist prejudice that they just cant quite point to a clear example of because the person is so dog-whistling or coy about it is actually hindered in seeking justice.

    @Bernard Bumner, #69

    Your entire standard in this regard is “These people did what my morality considers to be bad, therefore I can out them.” This is, to put it mildly, not a workable solution, nor a consistent standard. The ability to out people will not be granted only to those who have good politics. You have to remember that MRAs believe that they are oppressed just as sincerely as you believe women and minorities are oppressed. Every single Slymepitter who goes around saying FtBers are “bullies” will be given license to out people under your model. So, stick to outing for clearly-defined targeted harmful behavior. The fact that a group of individuals the unknown to the poster is being harmed is not going to be helped by saying the douchebag’s name. Show the world WHY his attitudes are a crock of horseshit, otherwise he and his fellow douchebags are just going to think they’re being unfairly silenced by the gynocracy or whatever. Now, if there’s a particular individual person whose picture was shown; if there’s a person whose address was posted; if there’s a person who was emailed or otherwise harassed, THEN take an interpersonal model. But naming people because you don’t like their politics is hugely vulnerable to abuse, and there will be plenty of people insisting you’re harming tons of real-but-inferred individuals by your “misandry,” and frankly I can’t believe you can’t see that.

  93. 93
    brucegee1962

    I should clarify #76 above — I’m not arguing that what Chan did was wrong or what Thunderfoot did was right. But when I came into atheism, I had strong sense that even without God, there was still a strong case to be made that there was objective morality. I brought that up on other FTB boards, and was given pretty strong arguments (or at least so they seemed at the time) that no, all morality was basically subjective.

    I’m starting to think that I was right in the first place, though, and there is objective right and wrong. In fact, maybe one of the things that might come out of the Atheist+ movement is working on codifying what those things were.

  94. 94
    Ingdigo Jump

    @87

    They’re publishing private info with the goal of “go commite crimes against these people”…which is different. And are incorrect for other ethical reasons that are a derail but yes if their facts were right and consistand they might make a good justification for ethical armed resistance..what’s the issue? The problem is that their alternative is a policy of systematic sexual/reproductive abuse

  95. 95
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    As for Brutsch’s right to privacy, I am on the fence. As a knee-jerk reaction, my instinct is to say that, if he has no respect for other people’s right of privacy, he should expect none for his.

    I do not understand this mentality. Anonymity is not a right, it is a privilege. This disgusting person was privileged to be anonymous. It can be a very important privilege to have. Many people don’t have that privilege who should and many have it only tenuously, while living in legitimate fear that they’re not privileged enough to maintain it.

    Need I really post examples to illustrate the point? What this person did, whether illegal or not (and it is illegal in many, many places and what he did was international and his conspirators are not solely in the US nor in US jurisdictions where this behaviour is not illegal), apparently, with full knowledge of the consequences, was to intentionally attempt to remove responsibility from his actions. He was found out and he will now face the consequences, such as they are. This isn’t his fault. His fault is doing reprehensible (and illegal) things, very publicly, and expecting that he could absolve himself from the consequences by exercising his privilege of anonymity.

    He was, basically, in charge of an underground crime syndicate. Presumably gangsters wish their actions to remain anonymous too, less they face the consequences. This is no different.

    People, stop defending this disgusting person and stop talking about free speech (freedom of expression) as if it has anything to do with what he was doing or what has happened to him. If you think freedom of expression has anything to do with what has gone on, then you are terribly confused about what freedom of expression is. Also, stop talking about a right to privacy; he still has that, as much as any person is legally entitled to it. What he lost was a privilege to be anonymous under a certain name. This is just not about a right to privacy or freedom of expression.

  96. 96
    jhendrix

    @Ing:Intellectual Terrorist#83

    I’m curious from a legal standpoint – do people have the right to have photos of themselves taken in public taken down? I’m a tech guy, not a lawyer.

    What if they posted the photos to a public online repository like (public) Facebook, imgur, or any of the variety of photo hosting sites?

    That’s the social dynamic the troll violates. Technically:

    Individuals have the right to take photos in public spaces. By necessity his includes people in public spaces. (Am I right here? Don’t know the law, but I believe this is the case).

    Individuals post photos of themselves on public social networks or image hosting sites.

    I really would like to see stuff like what violentacrez did stopped, but I can’t see a way to do so without intolerable limits on free speech.

  97. 97
    skeptifem

    Oh yeah, re: privacy

    Teachers have been caught sending pics of their students to creepshot. Do communities not deserve to know when someone with access to vulnerable people waives a huge red flag about their predatory behavior? I sure as fuck think they do. Taking those photos wasn’t illegal but it still resulted in disciplinary action, and rightfully so.

    I cannot believe there is a discussion of this after the thread where a girl was harassed to the point of suicide over a flashing pic. Posting sexualized images of women isn’t consequence free for the women in the pictures. Women who are made into pornography, regardless of if they signed up for it or not, are seen as acceptable targets for sexual violence, harassment, or threats as a result. Fretting because some dude might be exposed for something he actually did just seems like such a minor concern given the context. We aren’t living in a society where men are harassed to the point of suicide over their pornography use (unless its gay porn, I suppose). It sounds to me like the whining of bullies who don’t get to have as much fun anymore because they can’t hide their faces when they ruin other peoples lives. Fuck em.

  98. 98
    SQB

    (…) anonymity can very well be important when it comes to free speech.

    No.

    If you have freedom of speech, you don’t need the anonymity to speak. What you have confused, is that, in absence of freedom of speech, one can use anonymity to achieve the (more or less) same result — speech without negative consequences.

  99. 99
    LeftSidePositive

    Here’s a question, what line do you twerps draw?

    Read my first comment. It covers each and every one of these.

    Can someone brag of planned serial killings and still deserve protection?

    No. Tarasoff decision. This has been well-established.

    Can they post evidence of rape?

    No. I call this “exploiting a victim or profiting off a crime” above.

    Encourage people to kill themselves for a lol?

    No. Harassment and/or incitement of violence.

    Stalk people?

    No–that’s victimizing a particular target.

    Post evidence of child abuse?

    No, same as with rape, above.

    Promote nazism?

    Yes. Political speech is protected.

    Promote genocide?

    No–incitement of violence (now, depending how ze defines “Nazism,” a person advocating Nazism may be bustable for incitement of violence/promoting genocide.)

    Advocate assasination? Advocate the rape and murder of a civilian?

    No–still incitement of violence.

    Post instructions on how to rape and murder without leaving evidence?

    No, instructions are generally considered either incitement or rendering material aid.

    There–that wasn’t so hard, was it?

  100. 100
    jhendrix

    @Giliell

    I think you’re mistaken here. Look how racism and racial portrayal in mainstream media has changed and how it is scrutinized by a critical audience. Sure, that means dogwhistles, but wouldn’t you say that the fact that people react negatively when people say the N-word has helped to fight racism?

    I see what you’re saying, but this sort of thing is a bit different.

    The only parallel I can see coming from this is if the person being “violated” by being photographed in public or having pics of themselves in like a bathing suit at a beach being “protected” by simply not knowing that their pictures have been absconded.

    The problem is if some asshole that knows them and has a grudge finds said pictures and points them to it in the “hive of scum and villainy”, which is where the psychological damage kicks in to the victim (I think).

  101. 101
    Ingdigo Jump

    Freespeech is at its core a political armistance agreement. Its we both put down our guns and don’t use them…it is not a requirement to be defenseless when someone else picks up a rock

  102. 102
    zmidponk

    Ing @88:

    @82

    Read the rest of my post jackass. Its not eye for an eye, its prevenative actions not punative.

    Sorry, I’m not really understanding you. Are you saying we should be taking preventative actions or punitive ones? If it’s preventative actions, well what part of banning such photos is not preventative? If it’s punitive, as I’ve already pointed out, the only objection to that I’ve raised is that we should be careful what kind of punitive actions are undertaken.

    Oh, and the two are not mutually exclusive – we could do both.

  103. 103
    LeftSidePositive

    If you have freedom of speech, you don’t need the anonymity to speak.

    BULLSHIT. Yeah, I won’t get thrown in jail. I just might be killed by an ex-boyfriend, or stalked, or beaten up, or have my house burned down, or be unelectable to political office when I grow up, or have everyone I know be made aware of intimately personal details on which I sought advice or help, or fired by my employer for some bullshit cover-story reason.

    FSM, how can you be such a fucking idiot?!

  104. 104
    jennyjfwlucy

    @94, I was trying to support your point that all these things are done currently, albeit with dogwhistles in some cases, and I see I did it clumsily. Sorry.

  105. 105
    zmidponk

    Oh, and I should say to Ing, I’m ignoring the rst of your post @88, because, frankly, as far as I can see, it has absolutely nothing to do with anything I’ve written.

  106. 106
    ewanmacdonald

    I see the issue of doxing has been well covered – it was the right thing to do. But something I haven’t seen covered in depth is the legality of his actions. IAMAL, but I’m almost certain that if VA took any photos himself in Texas (where he lives) and uploaded them to a group like ‘Creepshots’ then he was breaking the law in Texas. The law, as I understand it, is that if you upload a photo of someone for the purpose of sexual gratification of an audience then it’s illegal to do so without the photo subject’s consent. Any jury in the land would look at the general tenor of Creepshots, the style of photography etc. and judge it reasonably to be intended to sexually stimulate.

    I’m not debating the rights and wrongs of the law here – just the idea that VA is guilty only of bad taste. It seems pretty clear-cut that any invasions of privacy carried out by him in his home state are illegal, as well as scumbag behavior.

  107. 107
    georgewiman

    LeftSidePositive:
    “Again, if the racist/sexist bastard is not targeting individuals, then attack the wrongness of their ideas but there is no need to take it out on them personally if they don’t seem to be advocating violence, seem to be at risk of committing violence, or are singling anybody out.”

    Putting up pictures of people is as individual as it gets. If I put up a picture of you in a demeaning way, without your consent, that’s not a general philosophical discussion; that’s targeting you.

    (By the way, this is why I hate those pictures of people in Wal-Mart. OK, so they’re overweight or whatever – did they deserve the whole Internet making fun of them?)

  108. 108
    Bernard Bumner

    I’m still a strong proponent of free speech, but I can’t see how to have the good without the bad. What scares me the most is that we may see some attempts at rights violations because of egregious uses like this guy, or from the blasphemy shit that’s gone down lately.

    I largely agree, but that is probably an argument for another day.

    I don’t really care if “reddit” or “4chan” can be coerced into stop hosting this kind of thing. These people will just move on to the next site.

    I think it is a matter of delimiting responsible and irresponsible sites, rather than necessarily chasing users from one site to another. At the moment, Reddit is able to hide behind popularity in order to claim legitimacy. It is a matter of ethic consumption in order to limit the scope for harm caused by free-speech abusers.

    What I fear happening is that the “providers” will just become more sophisticated in hiding their tracks.

    The law needs to deal with those causing palpable harm, for the rest of them, I think there is much to gained by simply annexing them.

    Those who hide behind legality as a defence for their behaviour clearly crave legitimacy. Depriving them of that may curb the worst of their behaviour, or at least limit their capacity to cause harm.

    The sociopathic stalkers, harassers, and criminals need to be dealt with more harshly. We must demand that the law takes seriously its responsibilities.

  109. 109
    jhendrix

    @SQB#98

    No.

    If you have freedom of speech, you don’t need the anonymity to speak. What you have confused, is that, in absence of freedom of speech, one can use anonymity to achieve the (more or less) same result — speech without negative consequences.

    I disagree.

    There are times when speech without negative consequences is important to expressing unpopular speech.

    I want to speak out against Christianity and Islam. I will not do that online and attach my real name to it, because it’s quite likely that means any future employer Googling my name will associate me with my atheist and anti-theist beliefs, and that could very well affect my employment opportunities given my particular field.

    I also want to avoid any potential areas where someone could get my address and send harassing things that my family could see. I don’t want my family to have to deal with the horrendous emails that PZ or Dawkins get for example.

    There are much more “important” examples, Deep Throat from the Watergate scandal being the most recent important one.

    That said, there’s no true “right to anonymity” as I understand it. Journalists can not be forced to disclose their sources, but that’s about it, and even then the whistle blower is at the willingness of the journalist to suffer through contempt of court penalties.

  110. 110
    Ingdigo Jump

    @102

    Outing was prevenative not punative. Its removing a means of operation without seeking to punish akin to forcibly disarming someone. Harm to the person is an acceptable side effect, not the goal. Contrast that Reddit by blocking gawker did engage in punative retribution which is an actual example of eye for an eye.

    Eye for an eye of course also only works the way Ghandi was talking about when you also have ongoing conflict AND group punishment and blame by association. One person hits the other and the other hits back does not justify the first to hit again. Someone attacks group a justifying group a to attack unrelated people in b does make a cycle of vengence. You’re misapplying Ghandis observation

  111. 111
    Matt Penfold

    I’m still not sure that there’s been valid answers to #7 and #33 (two posts that asked for a precise definition of how doxxing Brutsh is morally different from Thunderfoot’s threats of doxxing people like Natalie here on FTB).

    Brutsh was instrumental in providing venues that allowed people to post inappropriate pictures of teenage girls. If you think that outing him is morally equivalent to outing Natalie Reed it must follow that you think Natalie engages in similar distasteful behaviour. That is a pretty serious accusation to make.

  112. 112
    Pyra

    (By the way, this is why I hate those pictures of people in Wal-Mart. OK, so they’re overweight or whatever – did they deserve the whole Internet making fun of them?)

    I hadn’t thought about it that way, because I never expected to know or run into anyone in those shots, nor remember them, to be honest. I see a lot of weird stuff working 3rd shift in an all-night store, and I just filed the pictures in with that. But pointing this out, though I think all of the shots I’ve seen were adults, it’s still demoralizing. Thanks for pointing this out to me. I will not engage in the behavior anymore.

  113. 113
    zmidponk

    Ing @110:

    @102

    Outing was prevenative not punative. Its removing a means of operation without seeking to punish akin to forcibly disarming someone. Harm to the person is an acceptable side effect, not the goal.

    Fine, but we still have the same problem. You violate someone else’s privacy as a consequence of them violating someone’s privacy. Someone comes along and sees that you violated someone’s privacy, so they violate your privacy. Someone else comes along, they violate that person’s privacy, and so on and so forth. If it is right and proper that the consequences of violating someone’s privacy is your own privacy to be freely violated, that applies to everyone – including the people who are carrying out those consequences.

  114. 114
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @35. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) :

    “responsibility”–what does that mean in light of people who say makers of anti-Muslim videos need to be more “responsible”? – leftsidepositive

    What’s your problem with that? The makers of The Innocence of Muslims quite clearly intended to incite violence by Islamist extremists against innocent third parties, in order to advance their own Dominionist project. In the USA, they apparently have the legal right to do this, but to consider their action anything other than evil is moral imbecility.

    (Emphasis added.)

    Their action? Their action was making an insulting bad Z-grade straight to youtube movie.

    You really think that qualifies as “evil” – seriously?

    What The Fuck?

    No Muslims don’t have a right NOT to be offended.

    Nobody does.

    A bad movie – however insulting and provocative it might be – deserves at most a bad review and legitimate verbal criticism.

    It ain’t an act of evil.

    Not in my view, FWIW, anyhow.

    &&&

    Freedom of speech~wise. Yeah.

    I strongly believe in free speech & people’s rights to voice their opinions. I also believe the bets counter to it is equally more free speech in rebuttal and transparency and the sunlight disinfectant of public exposure.

    I am 95% in agreement of the adage often wrongly attributed to Voltaire but with which sentiments he would surely agree that :

    “I may disagree with what you say but will defend to my death your right to say it.”

    Free speech exceptions :

    I) Shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre.

    II) Treasonous release of State secrets and vital information to enemy forces.

    III) Libel /slander laws although this one is problematic and dubious at times – but telling blatant falsehoods designed to destroy an opposing political /cultural figures reputation is disgusting and just not on.

    Other than those three things – pretty much anything goes in my book.

    Oh and also, yes, I hate hate speech but, sad to say it serves a purpose. It reveals unpleasant truths and individual group characters, it lets us know who to stay away from and target and it is a litmus test of freedom of speech.

    I don’t like censorship. Fucking hate it. People shouldn’t tell other people they cannot say X.

    They should however be able to say “you said X but that is disgusting and wrong and a dreadful thing to say because of Y, Z, and A.”

    Free speech does carry the burdens of trying to use it for good not ill and facing the consequences of what choices are made and what things are said.

    Ain’t this really just fucking axiomatic?

    Anonymity is a double edged sword. It protects and hides and some folks deserve to have their identities kept secret and others do not. Context and individual cases depending.

    In this case specifically, Michael Brutsch was abusing anonymity to harm others and deserved to lose it as a result.

  115. 115
    LeftSidePositive

    @georgewiman #102:

    Putting up pictures of people is as individual as it gets. If I put up a picture of you in a demeaning way, without your consent, that’s not a general philosophical discussion; that’s targeting you.

    (By the way, this is why I hate those pictures of people in Wal-Mart. OK, so they’re overweight or whatever – did they deserve the whole Internet making fun of them?)

    FFS, I HAVE ALREADY SAID that putting up people’s individual pictures is reason to deny someone’s anonymity. Can you not fucking read? I was responding to those who were claiming that all sexism and racism, not otherwise specified, simply as oppression should justify costing someone their anonymity. I have stated very clear lines about this, in terms of when individuals are harmed instead of depersonalized invective (and I’ve cited SPLC as a guide for when that invective gets to the credible-threat level). Promoting stereotypes IS NOT THE SAME THING as posting a particular person’s picture, address, or personal information, but Bernard Bumner and the like just refuse to see the difference.

    And I’m against exploitation in general, not just sexual, so I’m going to come down on the anti-”People-of-Walmart” side.

  116. 116
    skeptifem

    I really would like to see stuff like what violentacrez did stopped, but I can’t see a way to do so without intolerable limits on free speech.

    his SPEECH isn’t limited at all, his status as being ANONYMOUS is limited.

  117. 117
    Matt Penfold

    If it is right and proper that the consequences of violating someone’s privacy is your own privacy to be freely violated, that applies to everyone – including the people who are carrying out those consequences.

    You seem to be unable to work out there might be different reasons for violating a person’s privacy, that those reasons can make a massive difference to how morally and ethically acceptable violating a person’s privacy is.

    If you really cannot work out the difference between violating the privacy of the girls and women who had their photos posted on Reddit is not the same as violating the privacy of Brutsh, then I am at a loss as to how to get you to understand. I will just suggest you look at the concept of justification, and ask yourself if the women and girls had done anything to justify violating their privacy, and the ask if Brutsh is in the same position.

  118. 118
    opposablethumbs

    if the racist/sexist bastard is not targeting individuals, then attack the wrongness of their ideas but there is no need to take it out on them personally if they don’t seem to be advocating violence, seem to be at risk of committing violence, or are singling anybody out.

    LeftSidePostive, if a sexualised photo of you or me, or your son or daughter or my son or daughter, or your mother or father or my mother or father is posted on the internet as wank fodder, then you or I or our relative have been individually targeted and singled out. It doesn’t matter a toss that the perp and his wank-buddies don’t know your name or mine; your likeness is up there being hoggled over. Doesn’t get much more individual than that.
    And frankly, even if this were not the case, it doesn’t matter. Michael Brutsch is invading people’s privacy and encouraging others to do the same. Identifying him is not an eye for an eye – as others have pointed out, nobody has taken sneak photos of him and posted them online. On the contrary, investigative journalism has identified a perpetrator of harassment, incitement to harassment and theft of copyright images – at the very least – and has prevented him from continuing to harass. The more this kind of harassment is actively combated and publicly reviled, the less it will flourish.

    People have the right to know who harassers are, as much as possible, in order to be able to avoid them, to avoid inadvertently supporting them by enabling them to enjoy a normal life undisturbed, and to know not to trust them.

  119. 119
    jhendrix

    @skeptifem

    his SPEECH isn’t limited at all, his status as being ANONYMOUS is limited.

    I don’t disagree with that at all. Nor am I against his anonymity being taken away.

    Legally as I understand it, one doesn’t have a “right to anonymity”. It’s only as good as you make it.

    Here’s the problem I am talking about: What happens when the next violentacrez uses better tools to shield their identity?

  120. 120
    zmidponk

    Matt Penfold #117:

    You seem to be unable to work out there might be different reasons for violating a person’s privacy, that those reasons can make a massive difference to how morally and ethically acceptable violating a person’s privacy is.

    In much the same way there might be different reasons for killing someone in cold blood. Does this mean that if, for example, someone took it upon himself to carry out a planned, premeditated murder on a known rapist, he shouldn’t be found and jailed?

    If you really cannot work out the difference between violating the privacy of the girls and women who had their photos posted on Reddit is not the same as violating the privacy of Brutsh, then I am at a loss as to how to get you to understand. I will just suggest you look at the concept of justification, and ask yourself if the women and girls had done anything to justify violating their privacy, and the ask if Brutsh is in the same position.

    My opinion is that, yes, if it is acceptable to violate someone’s privacy at all, then Brutsch is a likely candidate for it. The problem, apart from that word, ‘if’, is that this is my OPINION, nothing more. Someone else’s could be different, and what happens if people start violating other people’s privacy based on their own personal opinion of whether what that person did was right or not?

  121. 121
    Matt Penfold

    Here’s the problem I am talking about: What happens when the next violentacrez uses better tools to shield their identity?

    Then better tools will be used to reveal their identity. Any more stupid questions you need answering ?

  122. 122
    LeftSidePositive

    118, opposable thumbs–if you had time to write all that, then you should have time to read what I actually fucking said. I have clearly and repeatedly said that pictures are attacking an individual. Just putting up general racist or sexist drivel, however, is not, and people here are conflating the two, and saying that just being sexist or racist in general should cost one’s anonymity, and that is going to get them outed just as fast (if not faster) than outing the bigots.

  123. 123
    pipenta

    I can’t see how exposing this guy was wrong in any way.

    He should be in jail.

  124. 124
    Matt Penfold

    In much the same way there might be different reasons for killing someone in cold blood. Does this mean that if, for example, someone took it upon himself to carry out a planned, premeditated murder on a known rapist, he shouldn’t be found and jailed?

    Nope. Think of it like murder versus self-defence. In both cases someone has ended up dead. However in one case the killing was justifiable, in the other it was not.

    This is not difficult stuff for most people to understand.
    My opinion is that, yes, if it is acceptable to violate someone’s privacy at all, then Brutsch is a likely candidate for it. The problem, apart from that word, ‘if’, is that this is my OPINION, nothing more. Someone else’s could be different, and what happens if people start violating other people’s privacy based on their own personal opinion of whether what that person did was right or not?

    You really have not got the hang of this have you ?

  125. 125
    eigenperson

    What does this have to do with whether free speech is a good idea (or whether it is “sacred and absolute”)?

    No one’s right to free speech was violated here. Brutsch is still free to speak. So is everyone else in the case. (To be clear, I do not think that Brutsch’s conduct actually falls into the category of protected speech, but even if it did, his right to free speech has not been violated by anyone.)

    What did happen was that the identity of someone, formerly anonymous, was revealed. I say, good. He was a horrible creep and people deserve to know that he, personally, did these things.

    It does not follow that I want people to reveal my identity, or that I think all atheists should be outed, or that it is okay whenever one person reveals the identity of another. Revealing someone’s identity is one of those actions that is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.

  126. 126
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    Certainly Salman Rushdie didn’t hide behind an alias (so far as I know).

    Sal Bass…

  127. 127
    Travis

    I noticed someone above mentioned both Reddit and 4chan in the same sentence and I was actually thinking about both of them myself. I am wondering how many 4chan regulars are currently crying free speech along with Reddit. 4chan has outed people for doing, or planning to do, terrible things in the past, so I would like to think they would see this as yet another case in the same vein, but I suspect heir shallow thoughts about free speech are overriding that right now. Has anyone looked to see their reaction since this story broke?

  128. 128
    Bernard Bumner

    Your entire standard in this regard is “These people did what my morality considers to be bad, therefore I can out them.” This is, to put it mildly, not a workable solution, nor a consistent standard.

    No. Don’t misrepresent me.

    The ability to out people will not be granted only to those who have good politics.

    And nor is it. There is no magic button to press to out people; it happens all of the time, and probably more often not to those who deserve it. What would you like me to do about it? People who would abuse personal information already often do (see this entire thread and OP).

    You have to remember that MRAs believe that they are oppressed just as sincerely as you believe women and minorities are oppressed.

    How am I meant to cure the world of wrong-mindedness?

    Every single Slymepitter who goes around saying FtBers are “bullies” will be given license to out people under your model.

    I don’t suppose Slymepitters give a flying fuck what I think.

    So, stick to outing for clearly-defined targeted harmful behavior.

    You seem to think that racism and sexism require a single, named individual target in order to be harmful. You are simply wrong.

    Show the world WHY his attitudes are a crock of horseshit, otherwise he and his fellow douchebags are just going to think they’re being unfairly silenced by the gynocracy or whatever.

    Obviously, I wouldn’t simply reveal a name. I would also expose their behaviour and explain why I felt the need to reveal their identity.

    But naming people because you don’t like their politics is hugely vulnerable to abuse, and there will be plenty of people insisting you’re harming tons of real-but-inferred individuals by your “misandry,” and frankly I can’t believe you can’t see that.

    You seem to think I’m arguing for this as a general approach and one of first resort. I’m not. I don’t think every stupid example of bigotry should be punished by ceremonial outing of its author. I do believe that bigots building a strong and consistent platform of hatred and exploitation should be exposed. People should be allowed to make mistakes, they should be entitled to their own wrong-minded opinions, but they shouldn’t be allowed an anonymous platform for abuse and incitement as a right.

  129. 129
    texasaggie

    Yesterday I saw a bit about a question Obama’s high school teacher asked the class. “What is the biggest danger?”

    While the others talked about war and things like that, Obama said, “Words. Words are the most dangerous things.”

  130. 130
    zmidponk

    Matt Penfold #124:

    Nope. Think of it like murder versus self-defence. In both cases someone has ended up dead. However in one case the killing was justifiable, in the other it was not.

    …according to your opinion (and mine, incidentally). In much the same way, in your opinion, it is acceptable to violate Brutsch’s privacy. As I stated in my first post in this thread, I am not so sure it is, and nothing, so far, has persuaded me it definitely is.

    Oh, and there is the point that your analogy falls down in that, in the case of self-defence, the person who did the killing was in direct danger, and did what they did to defend themselves. My analogy is actually closer in that the murderer might have chosen his victim in order to protect society by permanently removing a rapist from it.

  131. 131
    Bernard Bumner

    Oh, and there is the point that your analogy falls down in that, in the case of self-defence, the person who did the killing was in direct danger, and did what they did to defend themselves. My analogy is actually closer in that the murderer might have chosen his victim in order to protect society by permanently removing a rapist from it.

    Analogies are vulnerable to presenting Hobson’s choice in place of an actual dilemma.

    No-one is seeking to advocate murder or anything like it.

  132. 132
    georgewiman

    115 LeftSidePositive:
    “FFS, I HAVE ALREADY SAID that putting up people’s individual pictures is reason to deny someone’s anonymity. Can you not fucking read? I was responding to those who were claiming that all sexism and racism, not otherwise specified, simply as oppression should justify costing someone their anonymity.”

    My apologies: it appears I can fucking not. I have been reading this thread in snippets and glued them together in the wrong order in my head. Sometimes it’s like following one network cable through a bundle and the signal tracer is over- caffeinated.

  133. 133
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    zmidponk, Brutsch’s privacy was not violated. His anonymity as Violentacrez was revoked and his real identity is now known. Now Brutsch can face the consequences of his actions. Actions that he admittedly knew were wrong and that he intentionally tried to absolve himself of responsibility for taking by using the privilege of being able to appear tenuously anonymous. His privacy, from a legal perspective, is in tact. His privacy has nothing to do with what he did or what has happened to him as a result.

    Stop defending him.

  134. 134
    eigenperson

    #130 zmidponk:

    Why are you comparing “outing” someone to murder? It isn’t murder. It bears little resemblance to murder.

  135. 135
    Matt Penfold

    …according to your opinion (and mine, incidentally). In much the same way, in your opinion, it is acceptable to violate Brutsch’s privacy. As I stated in my first post in this thread, I am not so sure it is, and nothing, so far, has persuaded me it definitely is.

    I am not sure if you are being wilfully stupid. The alternative is to have done nothing, and let his harm continue. If you think that would be ethical, just stay the fuck away from me, since you clearly are lacking in any concept of moral behaviour.

    This not some novel problem you have come across. Journalists have wrestled with it for years, as have philosophers of morality and ethics.

  136. 136
    skeptifem

    This is not difficult stuff for most people to understand.
    My opinion is that, yes, if it is acceptable to violate someone’s privacy at all, then Brutsch is a likely candidate for it. The problem, apart from that word, ‘if’, is that this is my OPINION, nothing more. Someone else’s could be different, and what happens if people start violating other people’s privacy based on their own personal opinion of whether what that person did was right or not?

    oh you mean like sexually shaming girls for the crime of being female and conventionally attractive?

    I don’t know where all this “what if” shit is coming from, as if outing this fucker opened some kind of new pandoras box of ethical problems. How anyone can frame the issue this way when the outing was a response to ongoing, widespread privacy violation in the first place is difficult for me to wrap my head around. This was going on anyway, and will likely continue. You don’t need to ask what happens if people take it upon themselves to decide when privacy violation is ok, it happened, and it was called creepshots. If anything those arguing for outing of creepers are advocating for a reduction in the total amount of privacy violation that occurs by deterring those happy to violate others privacy in such an organized manner. You see the ethical discussion we are all having about if its acceptable to out others and when? That is exactly what is missing from the creepshots frequenters. They will happily do this regardless of any ethical consideration. If there were some other practical way of dealing with such people I have zero doubt that most of us arguing for the outing of VA would be on board for it, but so far no alternate solution has been proposed.

  137. 137
    LeftSidePositive

    Bumner, you are moving goalposts disgracefully. For one thing, I NEVER said that racist/sexist speech that wasn’t targeted wasn’t harmful, so go fuck yourself for that. I said that it should be dealt with in a systemic way, and by attacking the arguments, without need to attack the person’s private identity by outing. You are also being disingenuous when you say “the Slymepitters don’t care what you think.” Oh, really, either you’re advocating outing people for oppressive speech or you aren’t. Don’t walk back the fact that your statements on when outing is justified don’t take into account that others will interpret them wrongly and act on them if they were an internet standard, by saying “Oh, well, I can’t change the world anyway…” If you’re communicating your ideas by definition you want to convince people, so pay attention to the fact that your definitions are vague and unworkable and FIX THAT, don’t just hide your poor argument behind your relative powerlessness. Then you’re shifting from bigotry & hatred (vague) to abuse to incitation–which I’m already on record saying is grounds to out someone…so what the fuck is your point?

  138. 138
    jhendrix

    @Matt Penfold

    Here’s the problem I am talking about: What happens when the next violentacrez uses better tools to shield their identity?

    Then better tools will be used to reveal their identity. Any more stupid questions you need answering ?

    I think you simply do not appreciate the level of sophistication that is available.

    Once you have a site that is able to host the content, ala reddit, or whatever forum, the ability to remain anonymous is significantly easier.

    This is especially true as long as the content is technically “legal” in nature, which it appears in this guys case it was.

    Lets be clear, he got “outed” because he let some people know his real name, he went on a podcast identifying by his online handle (putting his voice out there), and attended public meetings and identified with his handle (putting his face out there).

  139. 139
    Matt Penfold

    If there were some other practical way of dealing with such people I have zero doubt that most of us arguing for the outing of VA would be on board for it, but so far no alternate solution has been proposed.

    Exactly. Reddit were clearly not going to do anything, and given how long this has been going on, the authorities clearly were not either. Alternative methods of resolving the problem were not available.

    Also, Brutsh was putting people who genuinely deserve anonymity at risk. Well people who do not deserve anonymity use it to engage in reprehensible behaviour it makes it harder to defend anonymity is cases where it is deserved.

  140. 140
    skeptifem

    @travis

    15 October 2012 at 10:21 am
    I noticed someone above mentioned both Reddit and 4chan in the same sentence and I was actually thinking about both of them myself. I am wondering how many 4chan regulars are currently crying free speech along with Reddit. 4chan has outed people for doing, or planning to do, terrible things in the past, so I would like to think they would see this as yet another case in the same vein, but I suspect heir shallow thoughts about free speech are overriding that right now. Has anyone looked to see their reaction since this story broke?

    4chan is an ever changing group. The same post that becomes a rallying cry and an ongoing campaign may have failed countless times before that. What you get one day is totally different than the next. I do not doubt that there are regulars, but just the sheer unpredictability 4chan has displayed in the past leads me to believe that it is an extremely varied group of people. Even decisions from administrators seem to carry little weight.

  141. 141
    zmidponk

    Skeptifem @136:

    You don’t need to ask what happens if people take it upon themselves to decide when privacy violation is ok, it happened, and it was called creepshots.

    Thank you for putting my point so beautifully. If we, as the people who find Brutsch’s actions so objectionable, are perfectly OK with privacy violations, as long as it’s for reasons we agree with, what’s to stop other people justifying their privacy violations for reasons we don’t agree with? The answer, quite frankly, is ‘not much’.

    So, yes, you accept privacy violations, you end up with creepshots.

  142. 142
    Matt Penfold

    Lets be clear, he got “outed” because he let some people know his real name, he went on a podcast identifying by his online handle (putting his voice out there), and attended public meetings and identified with his handle (putting his face out there).

    So just what is your objection then ? That in future scum like Brutsh won’t be as stupid ?

  143. 143
    Chris Clarke

    I have clearly and repeatedly said that pictures are attacking an individual. Just putting up general racist or sexist drivel, however, is not

    I’m guessing that you’ve never seen racist or sexist drivel aimed at a class of people you belong to.

    Attacking a class of individual people is attacking individuals. It’s not made more excusable by the fact that it targets a group of individuals rather than one.

    And this isn’t a big leap for anyone who’s been on the receiving end. People don’t react to a synagogue vandalism by saying “well, thank God it said ‘Die Jews’ and not ‘Die Herb Schwartz!”

  144. 144
    Matt Penfold

    zmidponk seems to be totally ignorant about the ethical and moral philosophy. It is as though philosophers have not spend centuries pondering such problems.

  145. 145
    Ingdigo Jump

    @141

    You’re a frelling idiot

  146. 146
    zmidponk

    Matt Penfold @144:

    zmidponk seems to be totally ignorant about the ethical and moral philosophy. It is as though philosophers have not spend centuries pondering such problems.

    1) So the answer is…?

    2) It’s a neat trick philosophers have had, debating the finer points of privacy on the internet for centuries.

  147. 147
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    costing someone their anonymity

    Statements like this are hilarious, in a morbid way. They show a particular inability to grasp the fact that anonymity is not a right and that no one can claim it as an intrinsic right. It is a privilege. It can only be quantified as a cost in terms of danger to the individual as a consequence of things they’ve done while anonymous when they’re exposed. It does not absolve people of responsibility and it is not a guaranteed protection against being discovered and it certainly doesn’t deserve respect, but must earn it, through the actions or due to the circumstances of the anonymous.

    Not all those who are anonymous are equal, not all of them are as anonymous as others and some claim the privilege of anonymity for protection against the danger of violence for espousing an unpopular and potentially (but wrongfully) criminal idea and some claim the privilege for protection against the consequences of morally reprehensible and (justifiably) illegal actions.

    It is not difficult for a moral person to see the difference and it is not difficult to judge the worth of any individual’s anonymity. It should be blindingly obvious that Brutsch, and people like him, are abusing their privilege. They deserve only the anonymity that their victims and those who judge them are willing to grant. Brutsch had his anonymity revoked. Should he claim the privilege again, he would do well to exercise his behaviour in some way so as to earn the respect for his anonymity if he so wishes to remain anonymous behind his behaviour.

  148. 148
    Matt Penfold

    I would also point out that most media organisations have guidelines on when it is appropriate to remove someone’s anonymity, or to invade privacy by using undercover reporting.

    Do they get it wrong ? Of course they do, but they also seem to do a pretty reasonable job at it. So the claim it is impossible to come up with criteria to help decide when naming names is appropriate is nonsense.

  149. 149
    Ingdigo Jump

    Not like queers havnt dealt with this you know? Generally someone is only outed if they’re publically profiting and promoting harm against gays

  150. 150
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    either you’re advocating outing people for oppressive speech or you aren’t.

    As if they deserve their anonymity. Fuck, but that’s stupid.

  151. 151
    Bernard Bumner

    Bumner, you are moving goalposts disgracefully.

    Only in your mind.

    For one thing, I NEVER said that racist/sexist speech that wasn’t targeted wasn’t harmful, so go fuck yourself for that.

    If it is harmful, then why do you want to protect people doing it?

    I said that it should be dealt with in a systemic way, and by attacking the arguments, without need to attack the person’s private identity by outing.

    Protecting them, because?

    Oh, really, either you’re advocating outing people for oppressive speech or you aren’t.

    Of course I am. Oppression is harmful, and is enabled by the protection of anonymity, a shield against the consequences of being oppressive.

    Don’t walk back the fact that your statements on when outing is justified don’t take into account that others will interpret them wrongly and act on them…

    Who died and made me king of the world?

    Then you’re shifting from bigotry & hatred (vague) to abuse to incitation…

    I didn’t use those words, so it would seem you have inferred something I did not imply.

    I said that racism and sexism in some notional general form were still specifically harmful, and that outing racists and sexists could be perfectly justified in order to deprive them of a privilege that enables them to cause harm.

    Go back and re-read what I actually wrote.

    …so what the fuck is your point?

    For a start, I responded to this:

    That should be responded to with criticism and mockery, but not retaliation against the speaker as long as they keep it general and don’t attack individuals…

    With this:

    Is a general racist/sexist attack not an attack on individuals? How else does racism or sexism work?

    I disagreed that there is any sort of racist or sexist attack which doesn’t target individuals. Everything else was a continuation.

  152. 152
    LeftSidePositive

    Chris–I’m female and an active member of A+, so yeah I see a lot of sexist drivel aimed at me. I do not favor outing the vast majority of those individuals, only those who target individuals in the ways I’ve described, or whose hate is so vituperative that it becomes a credible threat (I already cited the SPLC as a good resource to identify when run-of-the-mill bigotry escalates into something else).

    By the way, “Die Jews” is incitement of violence, and very very clearly so, no matter in which format it is expressed (e.g., anywhere from blog post to spraypainted on broken windows). Not to mention, synagogue vandalism is property destruction and is thus a clear case for prosecution. However, “Jews are money-grubbing hooknoses,” while vile, is not something I’m going to out someone for if they post it on their stupid blog. I will, however, point and laugh, but I can point and laugh at the pseudonym just as well as the real name.

  153. 153
    Matt Penfold

    1) So the answer is…?

    See previous answers, and go and read.

    2) It’s a neat trick philosophers have had, debating the finer points of privacy on the internet for centuries.

    OK, any benefit of the doubt I was giving you has just evaporated. No one arguing in good faith can be so stupid. The concept of anonymity is not new to the Internet, and in any case the issue of when to reveal a person’s identity is just an example of the larger problem of when it is justified to do (potential) harm for a greater good. Resolving that problem is central to moral and ethical philosophy. That you cannot see that says a lot about how much thought you have given this, and how much you know about it.

  154. 154
    skeptifem

    Thank you for putting my point so beautifully. If we, as the people who find Brutsch’s actions so objectionable, are perfectly OK with privacy violations, as long as it’s for reasons we agree with, what’s to stop other people justifying their privacy violations for reasons we don’t agree with? The answer, quite frankly, is ‘not much’.

    *facepalm* it was already happening. You keep implying that any reaction to it encourages it further, when it was happening anyway. You either need to propose an alternate solution, prove that reacting to creepshots with outing worsens the problem, or shut the fuck up.

  155. 155
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Not like queers havnt dealt with this you know? Generally someone is only outed if they’re publically profiting and promoting harm against gays

    This. You fucking earn respect for being closeted and remaining so. It is not automatic and you may not denigrate and work against gay rights while being in the closet and expect other gays, people you have sex with and people you have relationships with, to respect your closet.

    This is an excellent, if incomplete, analogy. Of course, the problem is that being anonymous is a choice, and a privilege, being closeted isn’t necessarily either. Though, there are great examples where it is both. (see some famous celebrities)

  156. 156
    Matt Penfold

    Not like queers havnt dealt with this you know? Generally someone is only outed if they’re publically profiting and promoting harm against gays

    That is a good example. I am not that familiar with the arguments that have gone on in the gay community but I do know it is something that has been the subject of vigorous debate.

  157. 157
    eigenperson

    #146 zmidponk:

    1) So the answer is…?

    Before you are ready to hear the answer, you have to abandon your invalid line of reasoning.

    Your line of reasoning:

    1. We (some Pharyngulites) think that “outing” is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.
    2. Therefore, We think that “outing” is right whenever the person who does the “outing” believes it is right.

    When I expose the reasoning like this, I hope it is clear that 2 does not follow from 1. So you need to stop believing 2, because as long as you do, you are going to be unable to grasp the answer.

  158. 158
    skeptifem

    That is a good example. I am not that familiar with the arguments that have gone on in the gay community but I do know it is something that has been the subject of vigorous debate.

    Kirby Dick made a documentary about it specifically called “outrage”. it was pretty good. Its a nice starting point to know the history involved. It turns out that damn near every politician outed ended up working in pro-gay rights activism afterwards because it was the only place to go.

  159. 159
    ginmar

    It’s funny how, when the victims are women and girls, and the offense is sexualized, there are scads of men and some deluded women who suddenly get very concerned about the way the so-called free speech rights of predators might be in some way be violated. Gee, free speech is the price we pay for a free society, and those stupid girls and women just have to accept that it’s the price they wind up paying—on behalf of men. Never seems to work the other way. If you offend a man, and you’re a woman, well, the same guys who are so very very offended that you offended their hero don’t give shit about your rights of free speech.

    This has everything to do with sexism. Too many people want to ignore the sexism going on here, because if men can’t abuse women and girls, what will the world come to?

    So we wind up talking about free speech, and Thunderfoot, as if the “Will no one free me of this meddlesome priest?” threatening aspect of his coy promises doesn’t exist, and as if exposing predators to protect people are somehow identical.

    Too few people want to address what’s going on here: a man abused women and girls in a culture, both online and real world, where such things are tacitly approved by overwhelming numbers. Women and girls are the groups you get to be shitty to, and if you can threaten or trick or entrap them into doing something,anything, then you’re home free because it’s always the woman’s fault for not recognizing that she’s just a tenant in a predatory man’s world, and that it’s her job and her job alone to protect herself against predators, because once she’s been victimized, it’s all her fault. That’s just life. If you’re a woman or a girl, you cannot do shit that men do without being punished for it. The fact that for so many of Brutsch’s fans and friends the crucial aspect of non-consent is necessary for it to be sexy is being left out of this discussion. None of this was consensual. The non consent aspect here is what made all of his myriad thefts of photos or his privacy intrusions sexy for the thousands of redditors who flock to his defenses. Non consent is what gets them off. Free speech has nothing to do with it.

    So keep yapping about freedom of speech while ignoring that his victims of choice were underaged girls or women daring to think that they weren’t surrounded by predators and the people who defend them. Brutsch is being defended by people whose ultimate goal is letting women and girls know that unless they wear burkas they should feel fear at all times, and then they’ll find a way around the burkas.

    People on other sites are blaming Brutsch’s victims for not exercising proper caution, when the only crime they committed was being female. Yet Brutsch felt he had a right that doesn’t exist; he felt his rights as a male included the right to prey on women and girls and cry ‘free speech!’ when he got caught.

    Women and girls were his primary focus; they deserve protection from a predator like him. As free speech does not pertain here, anybody trying to muddy the issue with wails of “Oh noes, it’s just like Thunderfoot threatening to expose vulnerable people!” is beling deliberately obtuse.

    Thunderfoot threatened to do what Brutsch did for years. How can people be so stupid?

  160. 160
    Nick Gotts

    Re: Innocence of Muslims, I still think that’s rather unfair, because it’s holding a speaker accountable for the intentional violent acts of someone else, that the someone else is using to intimidate dissenters or critics. It doesn’t matter that the film is absolute shit, criticize it for that, but a lot of more intelligent criticisms of Islam have been met with acts of violence. – LeftSidePositive

    It’s not in the least “unfair” to the fascistic scum who made Innocence of Muslims; they are symbiotic with the jihadis. You are responsible for the intended results of your actions, and the riots and deaths were indeed the intended result of publicising The Innocence of Muslims in Muslim countries. It’s not the fact that it’s absolute shit, it’s that it was intended to provoke violence against innocent third parties. If you can’t see that that is evil, you are indeed a moral imbecile.

    Works which are not so intended, such as Salman Rushdie’s or Tom Holland’s are of course in a quite different category. Even there, there is a moral responsibility to consider how your actions may cause harm to (or help) others, directly or indirectly, as there is for any action; but it would often be right to go ahead and publish even if there is danger of a violent reaction.

  161. 161
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    eigenperson , you mean you want your interlocutor to stop performing a basic logical fallacy? That’s adorable!
    _______

    I am really hating how everyone is so willing to see this in terms of privacy. It is very easy to see the differences, to effectively put to rest the notion that this man had anything like privacy, that his anonymity was equal to privacy* or that his privacy has even been violated.

    Anonymity is not privacy. It does not equal privacy. It has nothing at all to do with privacy, except in the most egregious stretch of the imagination wherein the reality of privacy is reduced merely to not being known as who you appear to be in some other space.

    This man’s anonymity was taken, not his privacy.

  162. 162
    LeftSidePositive

    If it is harmful, then why do you want to protect people doing it?

    Because people still deserve their civil rights whether or not I disagree with them, dumbshit. They have to actively do enough violation to have their privacy rights revoked. Otherwise, you just need to criticize.

    Protecting them, because?

    Because, idiot, the same rights to privacy that protect them protect ME. We have to tolerate some douchebags in our midst as the price of our own freedom. We do not need to tolerate PREDATORS, but I think you need to learn the fucking difference.

    Of course I am. Oppression is harmful, and is enabled by the protection of anonymity, a shield against the consequences of being oppressive.

    And you need to get it through your fucking head that there is no objective metric for oppression. Oppressors CONSTANTLY claim themselves to be oppressed in order to avoid consequences and justify attacking a marginalized group. Either get clear criteria for what justifies outing, or understand that every suspected gay kid is going to get outed by douchebags who are convinced they are oppressing the theocratic Christian’s definition of marriage.

    Who died and made me king of the world?

    Intelligent people try to make arguments that make sense no matter what.

    I didn’t use those words, so it would seem you have inferred something I did not imply.

    Yes you did, dumbfuck. You said, and I fucking quote:

    I do believe that bigots building a strong and consistent platform of hatred and exploitation should be exposed. People should be allowed to make mistakes, they should be entitled to their own wrong-minded opinions, but they shouldn’t be allowed an anonymous platform for abuse and incitement as a right.

    I said that racism and sexism in some notional general form were still specifically harmful, and that outing racists and sexists could be perfectly justified in order to deprive them of a privilege that enables them to cause harm.

    And how the fuck do you think your standard of specific harm can be defined? You are still assuming that just because you have good morals everyone else who takes it upon themselves to out people will too. This is bollocks. You are trying to force systemic oppression into an interpersonal model where you hold one person accountable for one harm–that’s not how it works, and it does a lot of splash damage when people appropriate your rhetoric of harm for their own purposes.

  163. 163
    zmidponk

    Matt Penfold #153:

    See previous answers, and go and read.

    Oh, I thought by you mentioning these philosophers that had been debating this issue for centuries, they’d actually come up with an answer, because, otherwise, you mentioning this would have had absolutely zero point. But I guess you’re just posting pointless comments to try to look clever.

    OK, any benefit of the doubt I was giving you has just evaporated. No one arguing in good faith can be so stupid. The concept of anonymity is not new to the Internet

    But the exact issues we’re discussing here is on the internet – whether it is acceptable to violate the privacy of Brutsch and others as a response to them posting creepshots, etc.

    and in any case the issue of when to reveal a person’s identity is just an example of the larger problem of when it is justified to do (potential) harm for a greater good. Resolving that problem is central to moral and ethical philosophy. That you cannot see that says a lot about how much thought you have given this, and how much you know about it.

    So, humour me. Using your superior grasp of moral and ethical philosophy, tell me, precisely, what the answer is. If possible, relate it to the actions of Brutsch.

  164. 164
    eigenperson

    #146 zmidponk:

    The answer to the question “When is it okay to out someone” takes the form of a list of situations in which it is okay to out someone. The situations are objectively defined — at no point is it a “matter of opinion” whether you are in one of the situations or not.

    If the situation is on the list, then it is okay to out someone, as described in the situation. Otherwise, it is not.

    Now, of course, there are jerks and idiots out there. Some of them will ignore the list, and others will misapply it. That does not make the list wrong.

    Note that your proposed answer to the question “When is it okay to out someone” has the same form as my answer. Only the list differs. Your list is empty.

    As far as I can tell, your only argument for keeping the list empty is that it will prevent idiots from misapplying it. According to you, they won’t confusedly think that a situation belongs on the list when it really doesn’t, because they’ll know that the list is empty. But I think you are grossly underestimating the power of idiocy.

  165. 165
    zmidponk

    Skeptifem @154:

    *facepalm* it was already happening. You keep implying that any reaction to it encourages it further, when it was happening anyway.

    Well, frankly, any reaction that accepts privacy violations sure as shit isn’t going to discourage violating people’s privacy.

    You either need to propose an alternate solution, prove that reacting to creepshots with outing worsens the problem, or shut the fuck up.

    If you’ve read my first post in this thread, you would know I’m actually on the fence about this. So, no, I don’t need to do that. I need to wait for someone to post something that makes me climb down that fence on one side or the other. So far, I’m seeing flaws right, left and centre on the ‘it is acceptable’ side, but nothing at all on the ‘it isn’t acceptable’ side, apart from the problem of the consequences possibly ending up as bad as the ‘crime’.

  166. 166
    LeftSidePositive

    This. You fucking earn respect for being closeted and remaining so.

    Bullshit. The default is that you have the right to remain closeted and just go about your life. Some middling accountant in a conservative rural town doesn’t need your respect or your pity or your judgment that they are at *enough* risk to stay closeted or that they are “good enough” at being gay for you.

    It is not automatic and you may not denigrate and work against gay rights while being in the closet

    It STARTS as automatic. If you DO THINGS against your fellow human beings, then you can lose that right, much like you can lose your right to free association by getting convicted of any crime that lands you in prison. Notice–presumption of anonymity –> sufficient actual demonstrable cause –> revocation of anonymity.

  167. 167
    Matt Penfold

    Oh, I thought by you mentioning these philosophers that had been debating this issue for centuries, they’d actually come up with an answer, because, otherwise, you mentioning this would have had absolutely zero point. But I guess you’re just posting pointless comments to try to look clever.

    The fact that their are standards for journalist when it comes to issues such a privacy would suggest they have come up with answers. Such standards are a form of applied philosophy. The fact you seem to be unaware such guidelines exists says a lot about you.

    But the exact issues we’re discussing here is on the internet – whether it is acceptable to violate the privacy of Brutsch and others as a response to them posting creepshots, etc.

    The Internet is just another medium. The principles remain the same. There is nothing substantially different in a moral or ethical sense from posting creepshot type images online or in a magazine. The difference only comes in the ease with which it can be done.

    So, humour me. Using your superior grasp of moral and ethical philosophy, tell me, precisely, what the answer is. If possible, relate it to the actions of Brutsch.

    Trying Googling journalistic standards. NYU has an online guide for its journalism students which discusses the issue of harm reduction versus the right to privacy.

  168. 168
    leighshryock

    Jezebel has a few interesting tidbits regarding other members of the /r/creepshots community.

    http://jezebel.com/5949379/naming-names-is-this-the-solution-to-combat-reddits-creepshots

  169. 169
    zmidponk

    eigenperson #157:

    #146 zmidponk:

    1) So the answer is…?

    Before you are ready to hear the answer, you have to abandon your invalid line of reasoning.

    Your line of reasoning:

    1. We (some Pharyngulites) think that “outing” is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.
    2. Therefore, We think that “outing” is right whenever the person who does the “outing” believes it is right.

    No, it’s not. My line of reasoning is that:

    1) In any situation where someone thinks a privacy violation is right, this is usually, if not always, a matter of opinion, not of hard, verifiable fact.
    2) My opinion is not more important than anyone else’s, so why am I right and they’re wrong?

    As my kneejerk, instinctual opinion is that Brutsch should be outed, but I can see arguments as to why he shouldn’t, I am seeking an answer to point 2. I have yet to find it.

  170. 170
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    violate the privacy of Brutsch

    His privacy was not violated. His anonymity was revoked. Anonymity does not equate to privacy. He had no privacy to be so violated, but rather a persona that he wished to keep tenuously disconnected from another of his personas (his ‘real life’ self) so that he could be absolved of responsibility for his own actions while using the name Violentacrez.

    Why are you so desperate to instill in the privilege of anonymity the idea that it deserves automatic respect, the maintenance of it by others or that it is equal to privacy or that claiming anonymity should automatically remove a person from responsibility for their actions?

    Anonymity is not confined to internet personas and this conversation is not so limited. Bad people do bad things (nebulous concepts, but I’m sure you have an imagination) anonymously all the time and get caught and their ‘true’ identities revealed. Why is it in this particular instance, you feel it’s so necessary to defend against removing anonymity?

  171. 171
    skeptifem

    Well, frankly, any reaction that accepts privacy violations sure as shit isn’t going to discourage violating people’s privacy.

    I only accepted lack of anonymity as being equal with a privacy violation for the sake of argument. You’ve never established that they are the same thing.

    ANYWAY, the dude who was outed in the main article begged not to be outed because he didn’t want to be responsible for the consequences of his actions (violating the privacy of women and girls). It seems to me that being unable to anonymously post such material would have acted in a deterrent in his case. I am basing this assertion on something that actually happened, the words from a creeper directly. You are arguing that outing him has somehow made it worse and doing so without any evidence. What possible reason do you have to think that outing will make things worse?

  172. 172
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I’m curious from a legal standpoint – do people have the right to have photos of themselves taken in public taken down? I’m a tech guy, not a lawyer.

    Depends entirely on the country.
    In Germany you can if it is a picture of you (and not to say a picture of the Cologne Cathedral with you walking in front of it) or if it is made to appear that you support something. There was a case when the Conservatives had to pull a whole series of billboards because somebody who was accidentially in the picture didn’t want to look like he supported them.

    I think in the USA this is different. Again, different standards often apply to minors. What is simple copyright infringement is to pull the pictures somebody posted of themselves somewhere else, say the school’s swimming club homepage.

    jhendrix

    I see what you’re saying, but this sort of thing is a bit different.

    The only parallel I can see coming from this is if the person being “violated” by being photographed in public or having pics of themselves in like a bathing suit at a beach being “protected” by simply not knowing that their pictures have been absconded.

    The problem is if some asshole that knows them and has a grudge finds said pictures and points them to it in the “hive of scum and villainy”, which is where the psychological damage kicks in to the victim (I think).

    Hmm, I think there are two things at work:
    A) damage to individual women whose pictures were posted.
    B) damage to society by reinforcing harmful gender-stereotypes and misogyny.
    Public outrage and shunning adresses A partially, but it creates a climate where B is diminished and the individual women have more resources for speaking up.
    zmidponk

    So, yes, you accept privacy violations, you end up with creepshots.

    You do have the moral development and reasoning skills of a 5 yo. Just get off and let the adults talk.

    whether it is acceptable to violate the privacy of Brutsch and others as a response to them posting creepshots, etc.

    For fuck’s sake, his privacy wasn’t violated. His anonymity was revoked.
    Nobody invaded his home, posted sexualized pictures of him or dug up his medical record.

  173. 173
    Matt Penfold

    I don’t seem to be able to post a link to the NYU guidelines, so here is parto of those guidelines:

    A question journalists often confront is how much of a person’s private life should be revealed in an article. Just because a reporter can pull up a source’s mortgages, stock holdings, or perform a Google Earth flyover of his home doesn’t mean that’s ethical practice. It also doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unethical either. The key is whether a person’s private life—his personal habits, sexual preference, medical condition, odd interests—is newsworthy and should therefore be published. These can be vexing decisions to make.

    If you are writing about a gay bar destroyed in a fire, do you release the names of deceased patrons? What if you learn a homemaker in the community had been a prostitute many years earlier. Do you run it? If a woman accuses a man of rape
    do you publish his name if charges haven’t been filed, and do you investigate the sexual history of the woman making the allegations? If a local judge rents a porn video, is that news?12
    Some real life examples:

    • In April 1992, USA Today contacted retired tennis star Arthur Ashe to confirm a rumor he was HIV-positive, which Ashe, who had been infected by tainted blood during heart surgery several years earlier, had tried to keep secret. When Ashe couldn’t convince editors to drop the story, he held a press conference to announce it himself. Although many believed this was an invasion of Ashe’s privacy, the newspaper justified its actions by claiming a “conspiracy of silence has not served the public.

    • Oliver Sipple became a hero in September 1975 for helping thwart an assassination attempt on then President Gerald Ford. In the ensuing press coverage, he was outed as being gay and his mother disowned him.

    The Internet adds an ever-increasing number of ways to expose people—with potentially embarrassing facts reappearing on searches for years. The NYU Journalism Department faculty believes that privacy should never be taken lightly and recommends that student reporters not inquire into sources’ personal lives unless doing so is relevant to the story they are researching. The fact that a local politician has patronized a gay bar might be his private business; the fact that a
    local politician known for anti-gay stances had patronized that bar might be the public’s business.

    –Masquerading: The vast majority of the time journalists should make clear to the people they are interviewing that they are journalists. State your name and affiliation up front; i.e., Jane Smith, New York University Department of Journalism, and your purpose in contacting a source. In highly unusual
    circumstances there may be good reasons for not identifying oneself as a journalist. For example, if observing police officers interactions with protestors at a rally, or reviewing a restaurant or videotaping counterfeit merchandise in New
    York’s Chinatown, identifying yourself as a reporter may not be appropriate since it could affect the type of treatment (or quality of food) you receive. Likewise, if conducting an undercover assignment, especially if outing oneself as a reporter
    could result in potential harm. But these are rare examples.

    –Web: Often reporters scour discussion threads, message boards, blog comments and online communities seeking ideas and information without identifying themselves as journalists. It may be permissible to cite the information if it shows, say, how some YouTube users reacted to a specific video on the site. Obviously it is not always necessary for a journalist to identify herself in that circumstance. But if a reporter wishes to use information from a blog, e-mail thread or other Web sources, she should be mindful that deception is endemic to the Internet. If at all possible, the reporter should attempt to contact the person
    who posted the information, identify herself as a reporter, and try to persuade the source to provide full identification.

    –Undercover reporting: Going undercover is a time-honored tradition in American journalism. Done well, it can help nail corrupt politicians and cops on the take, expose fraud and racism, and shed light on the plight of women in repressive societies. Done unethically, it can violate a citizen’s privacy through unwarranted surveillance and intrusion into people’s private business, and erode public trust. As a society would we want reporters functioning as a sort of auxiliary police trying to catch our transgressions? Before engaging in any undercover work for a class assignment, consult your professor. Carefully consider whether your reporting could violate criminal or civil
    law (See the Legal section for more information). Weigh the potential harm involved. Could relying on subterfuge get you arrested? Could it lead to violence? Does it invade someone’s privacy, especially in a non-public area like a home or
    an office? Are there laws in your state against recording without a person’s permission, or specifically against using hidden cameras? Might it undermine the validity of your story? These are serious questions to consider.

    The San Francisco Chronicle applies three tests to undercover assignments before editors will give the go ahead:
    • Is the resulting news story or photograph of such vital public interest that its news value outweighs the potential damage to trust and credibility?
    • Can the story be recast to avoid the need conceal one’s identity in gathering the information?
    • Have all other reasonable means of getting the story been exhausted?

    –Writing about children: Reporters should seek permission from a parent or guardian before interviewing children on any controversial subject. Getting a quote from a 12-year-old on the opening of a new swimming pool would notrequire such permission; getting a quote on allegations that a school is unsafe would. When the call seems close, the reporter should discuss with a faculty member (or editor in a professional setting) in advance to determine the ethical course.

  174. 174
    skeptifem

    No, it’s not. My line of reasoning is that:

    1) In any situation where someone thinks a privacy violation is right, this is usually, if not always, a matter of opinion, not of hard, verifiable fact.
    2) My opinion is not more important than anyone else’s, so why am I right and they’re wrong?

    are you against search warrants then? Judges are just another person, whose opinion is just as important as yours.

  175. 175
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Bullshit. The default is that you have the right to remain closeted and just go about your life.

    That’s a great way to completely misconstrue what I wrote.

    Some middling accountant in a conservative rural town doesn’t need your respect or your pity or your judgment that they are at *enough* risk to stay closeted or that they are “good enough” at being gay for you.

    Yawn and duh! You’re repeating me. It’s implied that someone who’s not working against my rights doesn’t need justification to remain in the closet. But it’s not my closet to keep, it’s theirs. I can’t even out a person I don’t know. You do understand how this works, right?

    It STARTS as automatic.

    No, it doesn’t. It really, really doesn’t. You’re not gay, are you?

    If you DO THINGS against your fellow human beings, then you can lose that right,

    It is emphatically not a right.

    You do not know what you are talking about.

  176. 176
    eigenperson

    #169 zmidponk:

    No, it’s not. My line of reasoning is that:

    1) In any situation where someone thinks a privacy violation is right, this is usually, if not always, a matter of opinion, not of hard, verifiable fact.
    2) My opinion is not more important than anyone else’s, so why am I right and they’re wrong?

    The problem with this line of reasoning is that Premise 1 is bullshit. No one* is proposing that whether a privacy violation is right should be a matter of opinion. Because Premise 1 is wrong, your line of reasoning falls apart.

    I think you don’t know what a “matter of opinion” is.

    If you’re asked to determine certain facts about the situation, like the kind of activity the person is engaged in or how much harm is caused by that activity, that is NOT a matter of opinion. That is a matter of fact.

    A matter of opinion is asking someone their beliefs on an issue. For example, if you ask someone whether they think Mr. Brutsch should be punished, that is a matter of opinion. Once again, no one is proposing that this should be the standard. That would be stupid, because then you really would get the system where it’s okay to out someone if you think they deserve it. Good thing no one is proposing this.

    People might disagree on the facts. But in such cases, at least one of them is wrong. People can be wrong about a question of fact. That makes those people wrong; it does not make the question a matter of opinion.

    * Do not bother to go out and find someone who is. That person is an idiot.

  177. 177
    eigenperson

    By the way, I claim that Premise 1 is more or less the conclusion of the argument which I ascribed to you.

    So perhaps you can understand why I thought your belief in the bogus Premise 1 must have been brought about by an argument something like that one. After all, you must have convinced yourself by some invalid means to believe in Premise 1. I guessed at the means, but apparently I was wrong. Perhaps the root of your belief in Premise 1 instead stems from your misconception about the difference between opinions and facts.

  178. 178
    zmidponk

    eigenperson #164:

    #146 zmidponk:

    The answer to the question “When is it okay to out someone” takes the form of a list of situations in which it is okay to out someone. The situations are objectively defined — at no point is it a “matter of opinion” whether you are in one of the situations or not.

    If the situation is on the list, then it is okay to out someone, as described in the situation. Otherwise, it is not.

    Now, of course, there are jerks and idiots out there. Some of them will ignore the list, and others will misapply it.

    Actually, it’s more probably the case they have a different list, and it’s entirely possible they think you’re a jerk for having a different list.

    Note that your proposed answer to the question “When is it okay to out someone” has the same form as my answer. Only the list differs. Your list is empty.

    As far as I can tell, your only argument for keeping the list empty is that it will prevent idiots from misapplying it. According to you, they won’t confusedly think that a situation belongs on the list when it really doesn’t, because they’ll know that the list is empty. But I think you are grossly underestimating the power of idiocy.

    You make a good point, that’s entirely possible. However, which is better – to try and fail, or not try?

    @Matt Penfold #167

    As I have asked you twice now to come up with a solid answer as to what conclusion these philosophers have come to, and you have failed, instead merely saying that there are ethics courses for journalism available, I will assume, as I thought, there isn’t a solid answer. Which is why it’s still being debated.

  179. 179
    Chris Clarke

    Chris–I’m female and an active member of A+, so yeah I see a lot of sexist drivel aimed at me.

    Fair enough.

    By the way, “Die Jews” is incitement of violence, and very very clearly so, no matter in which format it is expressed (e.g., anywhere from blog post to spraypainted on broken windows). Not to mention, synagogue vandalism is property destruction and is thus a clear case for prosecution. However, “Jews are money-grubbing hooknoses,” while vile, is not something I’m going to out someone for if they post it on their stupid blog.

    And if he spends a decade of more moderating r/kike, republishing photos of people who look Jewish without their consent, sparking discussions about the Jewishness of the people portrayed, and sharing stories about how he’s mistreated Jewish people in the past, to general acclaim?

    I’m sorry. I have no sympathy for Brutsch. I would have done exactly what Chen did.

    Either one opposes this shit or not. And when it’s been made clear that the person acting badly revels in the notoriety, speaking out against him on the internet is precisely as effective as praying that he sees the light.

    And incidentally, to try to compare Chen’s work here with Thunderfoot’s threat to out N. is just ethically bankrupt. The real parallel is between Brustch and Thunderfoot.

  180. 180
    Matt Penfold

    As I have asked you twice now to come up with a solid answer as to what conclusion these philosophers have come to, and you have failed, instead merely saying that there are ethics courses for journalism available, I will assume, as I thought, there isn’t a solid answer. Which is why it’s still being debated.

    I am not responsible for your failure to know any philosophy. That you can neither Google nor pick up a book is not my fault either.

    Can you explain your ignorance about moral and ethical philosophy ?

  181. 181
    eigenperson

    #178 zmidponk:

    Actually, it’s more probably the case they have a different list, and it’s entirely possible they think you’re a jerk for having a different list.

    So what? Is this supposed to be a weakness in my argument or something? If so, it applies equally well to you. You are making the exact same argument; the only difference is that you think the contents of the list should be different than I do.

    You make a good point, that’s entirely possible. However, which is better – to try and fail, or not try?

    In this paragraph you blithely ignore all the advantages of having items on the list. If we go with your idea and have an empty list (i.e. “try and fail”), then we lose those advantages, in exchange for the dubious possibility that idiots will be less confused. If we go with my idea (“not try”), we lose that dubious possibility in exchange for the advantages of having items on the list.

  182. 182
    Matt Penfold

    And incidentally, to try to compare Chen’s work here with Thunderfoot’s threat to out N. is just ethically bankrupt. The real parallel is between Brustch and Thunderfoot.

    Exactly, and for more than one reason. It also constitutes an attack on N, since it for the comparison to be valid N would have to be involved in activity as depraved as Brustch. True they are not making that claim explicitly, but it is implicit in the logic of their “argument”. Libelling N in such a way is also ethically bankrupt.

  183. 183
    Bernard Bumner

    LeftSidePositive, I composed a long argument addressing you point-by-point, but I don’t think it is going to get us anywhere.

    My point is that it is perfectly possible to conclude that people falling shy of inciting violence or obviously, directly causing harm are abusing a position of privilege to that point that outing is justified. It may be done, for instance, as a precaution.

    That would be my judgement call. I’m not advocating it as a universal approach. I certainly am advocating doing so on the basis of careful consideration of potential harm and of the benefits.

    If you require me to formulate universal rules and standards, well then I refuse; you’re asking something is is neither my responsibility or within my rights to do. The law attempts such things and it is also imperfect.

  184. 184
    zmidponk

    eigenperson #176:

    The problem with this line of reasoning is that Premise 1 is bullshit. No one* is proposing that whether a privacy violation is right should be a matter of opinion. Because Premise 1 is wrong, your line of reasoning falls apart.

    I think you don’t know what a “matter of opinion” is.

    If you’re asked to determine certain facts about the situation, like the kind of activity the person is engaged in or how much harm is caused by that activity, that is NOT a matter of opinion. That is a matter of fact.

    And the question we’re dealing with here is what the response to Brutsch’s actions should be, not what those actions actually were. So where’s the facts as regards that?

    A matter of opinion is asking someone their beliefs on an issue. For example, if you ask someone whether they think Mr. Brutsch should be punished, that is a matter of opinion.

    In a similar manner, what the consequences of Brutsch’s actions should be is also a matter of opinion. That is the question we’re dealing with here.

    Once again, no one is proposing that this should be the standard. That would be stupid, because then you really would get the system where it’s okay to out someone if you think they deserve it. Good thing no one is proposing this.

    This is only relevant if Brutsch is a special case, who deserves a special treatment catered solely and completely for him, and him alone, that will never, ever, ever, be used to justify or excuse any similar treatment for anyone else doing anything even remotely similar.

    People might disagree on the facts. But in such cases, at least one of them is wrong. People can be wrong about a question of fact. That makes those people wrong; it does not make the question a matter of opinion.

    Except the facts end with what Brutsch did. The opinion comes in with what the consequences for him should be.

  185. 185
    Matt Penfold

    zmidponk presumably would argue we should prevent creationism being taught in the classroom, since it is all just a matter of opinion. Of course science shows us creationism is false, but the creationists just argue for a different type of science. Philosophy shows us that creationist science is wrong, but again the creationists will just argue for a different philosophy.

    Maybe if he can understand why we can, ethically, prevent the teaching of creationism he might begin to understand how we can ethically out Brustch.

  186. 186
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    I feel as though I should note that being closeted is an immensely complex an entirely untenable position to be in. Everyone who discovers your lie is a liability and must be negotiated with in order to assess their liability and even without the malicious intent of people who discover your lie, accidents still happen.

    When I say that LeftSidePositive does not what what xe is talking about, I am being extremely generous. When I say that having your closet respected is not automatic, I am significantly understating reality. When I say that it is not a right, I mean it literally and sincerely, for if it were a right, my life would have been much easier up until the points when I did come out.

    LeftSidePositive is ignorant and stupid and does not know what xe is talking about.

  187. 187
    nooneinparticular

    “If his cause was worth fighting for, he can now fight openly for it.”

    You hit another one out of the park, PZ. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

  188. 188
    opposablethumbs

    Ah, bollocks, I posted my 118 without refreshing so I didn’t see that had pretty much been addressed (probably more than once).

    So, sorry for that and that’ll remind me to refresh before posting.

  189. 189
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    The opinion comes in with what the consequences for him should be

    This is exactly the problem. There can be no consequences so long as he remains anonymous and unaccountable.

    It’s like the masked bank robber who gets away and you suggest that no attempt should be made to catch hir because xe is anonymous and should remain so lest xe be revealed.

    Brutsch had no right to anonymity. There is no such thing. Brutsch abused a privilege and was revealed. Only now can we have opinions on what consequences he should face.

    You have it backward if you think that the consequences should have been faced by his tenuously disconnected persona, Violentacrez, and not by the person behind it.

  190. 190
    opposablethumbs

    Aand, I didn’t refresh this one either. Double bollocks. Sorry specifically to LeftSidePositive, who got understandably annoyed by that.

  191. 191
    LeftSidePositive

    @Chris Clarke, #179. I’m already on record saying posting non-consensual photos is fair game for outing. That is a clear example of targeting individuals. I’ve said so repeatedly. I’m totally in favor of outing Brutsch. I’m objecting to those, like Bumner, who are trying to rope even far more difficult-to-define instances of systemic oppression into this model. I’m saying that we need to more clearly define what is cause for outing on the Internet so it doesn’t get abused.

    I suggest you actually bother to do a Ctrl-F for someone’s ‘nym to see what they actually support before jumping in to an ongoing conversation.

  192. 192
    zmidponk

    eigenperson 181:

    So what? Is this supposed to be a weakness in my argument or something? If so, it applies equally well to you. You are making the exact same argument; the only difference is that you think the contents of the list should be different than I do.

    Correct. So who has the right list? Convince me that’s you, and I’ll agree that Brutsch deserves to have zero regard in every detail for his privacy, if that’s what your list says.

    In this paragraph you blithely ignore all the advantages of having items on the list. If we go with your idea and have an empty list (i.e. “try and fail”), then we lose those advantages, in exchange for the dubious possibility that idiots will be less confused. If we go with my idea (“not try”), we lose that dubious possibility in exchange for the advantages of having items on the list.

    Correct. On the flipside, though, if we do not try, we have a list that seems to allow certain privacy violations in particular situations, which could justify those with other lists which allow more egregious ones, whereas trying fails to do that, even if some disregard our list, and do it anyway.

    There is an analogy that could be drawn between this and the situation where, to a certain degree, those who are moderately religious excuse the fundies.

  193. 193
    scooterskutre

    Anybody who thinks they can post anything on the internet anonymously doesn’t understand how it works.

  194. 194
    vaiyt

    @178: And the answer was posted as you spoke. Way to bite your tongue.

    You make a good point, that’s entirely possible. However, which is better – to try and fail, or not try?

    But it’s you that is not trying. You’re the one advocating inaction in place of a partial solution. “Oh, well, someone’s gonna get self-righteous, abuse someone else’s privacy and claim their violation is justified. That means we should wash our hands. We must protect a predator’s rights to violate the privacy of women and remain immune to any consequences for their actions. Sorry, girls, them’s the breaks, sucks to be you I guess.”

    What’s next? Don’t denounce racism because the racists then get to paint themselves as victims? Come on, this is just stpid.

  195. 195
    Ingdigo Jump

    Leftleaner is an active member of A+? I stand by my original prediction that the movement would be less than useless despite being sorely needed. No wonder everytime I check forum its more and more obvious trolls being dealt with and spewing garbage

  196. 196
    zmidponk

    vaiyt #194:

    But it’s you that is not trying. You’re the one advocating inaction in place of a partial solution.

    No, I’m pointing out the ‘partial solution’ makes very little, if any, sense, and questioning why this is thought to be appropriate.

  197. 197
    Aratina Cage

    However, “Jews are money-grubbing hooknoses,” while vile, is not something I’m going to out someone for if they post it on their stupid blog.

    Seriously? I think that definitely crosses the line to where you would be doing a public service by outing the holder of that opinion.

  198. 198
    ginmar

    The trolls at Amanda’s are telling women if they don’t want to get their tits posted on some jack off site for losers, they should just cover up. Apparently they think this is hugely amusing, because it doesn’t affect them and they know it infuriates women. Hey, bitches, don’t like living under constant threat? Change your behavior, because we refuse to, and you can’t make us.

    It so happens that this Saturday I got some hate mail at my house, from one of my long time stalkers who delights in occaisionally letting me know, in the words of one of his letters, ‘that (he) (and his friends) knows where I live. I don’t know how many they are. One of them boasts openly about this. His friends tell me that I wasn’t careful enough. It was public information for a brief while. I wasn’t careful enough. What’s the message there? Not being careful enough? I get letters from different places in the country. Sometimes just items in the mail. Things.

    Do the people comparing Thunderfoot’s threats with Brutsch’s predations get it now?

  199. 199
    LeftSidePositive

    @Ing, please look up my post at #11, and let me know if you agree or disagree with those criteria as fair game for outing someone. As I’ve stated multiple times, but no one seems to be able to read, I fully support outing Butsch for his non-consensual photos (and I think he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, especially for his crimes against minors). Did you see that? I do not, however, support everyone who has odious ideas, by our standards, getting outed, because then we’ll get outed based on the justifications of other people’s odious ideas. I think there need to be some standards of conduct in terms of who deserves outing, and that we can defend both privacy AND the rights of those abused by online creeps.

  200. 200
    jhendrix

    @Matt Penfold#142

    So just what is your objection then ? That in future scum like Brutsh won’t be as stupid ?

    The objection is that the “naming and shaming solution” will only go so far, and eventually the side that wants to stop the bullies is going to be stuck without recourse.

    This is a twofold problem:

    1.) The people perpetrating this will be left to do whatever they want, harming people in the process.
    2.) The backlash from those of us disgusted by this may lead to curtailed freedom of speech.

    Both problems are serious and need to be prevented.

    @scooterskutre#193

    Anybody who thinks they can post anything on the internet anonymously doesn’t understand how it works.

    Bullshit. One can very much post all sorts of things anonymously to places like reddit (or even FtB) and not have it traceable back to their real identity.

    There are specific things that could be done for very specific targeting of a person suspected of doing illegal activity online (child porn peddlers), but that takes warrants and a fairly decent amount of money/resources. Such tools will not be available to take down people posting “legal content” like “creepshots”.

    Further, “one off postings” can be done with absolute anonymity, but those sorts of things are largely only useful for whistle blowers.

  201. 201
    Aratina Cage

    @LeftSidePositive
    But what about our right to know we are not associating with racist scum?

  202. 202
    LeftSidePositive

    No, Aratina, just educate as to why it’s bad. It’s such a widespread belief (and plenty of people hold it under their real names anyways), we’d be much better off attacking the belief and not the person in that case. It’s not like that one belief goes away when you expose Franklin J. Billingsley of Duluth for having it. I seriously doubt that even impedes the spread of that belief.

  203. 203
    Ingdigo Jump

    @leftsider

    I stand by my assesxment of you. Same thing a lot of liberals do which is appologize for being liberal. Conservatives have a stupid blind drive to act without doubt but liberals seem unable to even see their own veiws as worth defending.

  204. 204
    LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, you don’t have the right to see into other people’s heads. Maybe they will present themselves as racist scum (and they usually do), and then they can be held accountable, but we still need to maintain certain thresholds if privacy is to have any meaning for anyone at all.

  205. 205
    Ingdigo Jump

    I’m honestly baffled how people think that if they don’t use their subjective values for discision making that’ll make everyone else do the same? There are currently conservative asses who out all the time, I don’t know why you’d think liberals not doing it would stop them. This seems to be a common liberal fallacy

  206. 206
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I seriously doubt that even impedes the spread of that belief.

    Sorry, we know it works. It did in the South when people started telling racists to shut the fuck up and started shunning/denegrating them. Get your head out of the clouds.

  207. 207
    LeftSidePositive

    Ing, the importance of privacy IS one of my views, and I’m defending it. I’m not defending it for people who use it to commit crimes and violations of other’s privacy, but I’m not going to turn into the thought police either. This isn’t too hard–you want to say stupid shit? Fine. You want to say threatening shit? I’m calling the police and/or outing you. You want to use someone else’s picture? I’m calling the police and/or outing you. This is not hard.

  208. 208
    LeftSidePositive

    Nerd, of course we tell people to shut the fuck up, even if they’re using a pseudonym. We mock them and make it clear that these values are socially unacceptable, and we denigrate those views. But, we don’t hack into their servers or pry into their personal lives, unless we have reason to believe the person is a danger to themselves or others (and, for the umpteenth time, yes posting nonconsensual photos is a danger to others!).

  209. 209
    Aratina Cage

    @LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, you don’t have the right to see into other people’s heads. Maybe they will present themselves as racist scum (and they usually do), and then they can be held accountable

    The situation we are discussing is one in which the racist’s thoughts were clearly expressed. So, in fact, we can see inside that person’s head. The person has presented herself as racist scum. You have knowledge of the person’s real name (or perhaps another nym of theirs they go by on a different website). I would hope that you would hold that person accountable by outing them. It doesn’t have to be public, but the least you could do would be to tell people who you know about it in private.

  210. 210
    md

    It’s not in the least “unfair” to the fascistic scum who made Innocence of Muslims; they are symbiotic with the jihadis. You are responsible for the intended results of your actions, and the riots and deaths were indeed the intended result of publicising The Innocence of Muslims in Muslim countries. It’s not the fact that it’s absolute shit, it’s that it was intended to provoke violence against innocent third parties. If you can’t see that that is evil, you are indeed a moral imbecile.

    Nick, as you know, Im a terrible person. One of my worst traits is that I really hate getting stuck behind horse drawn wagons on my favorite country road. Suppose I had the notion to make a film with the intention of causing an Mennonite riot. Could you help me with that? What buttons could I push to cause such a thing? How could I manipulate people thousands of miles away via youtube, a technology most of them will never interact with, into a fit of murderous rage? You seem to understand this process.

  211. 211
    Ingdigo Jump

    Why isn’t md banned again?

  212. 212
    LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, do you have any reason to believe the person/people to whom you’d out this person is at any particular risk of personal or professional consequences from this person, or any actual danger? That would change matters. Are people likely getting discriminated against by this person? Does the mere existence of racist verbiage mean you should try to investigate the person’s identity if you don’t know it already?

  213. 213
    AJ Milne

    It’s not in the least “unfair” to the fascistic scum who made Innocence of Muslims; they are symbiotic with the jihadis. You are responsible for the intended results of your actions, and the riots and deaths were indeed the intended result of publicising The Innocence of Muslims in Muslim countries. It’s not the fact that it’s absolute shit, it’s that it was intended to provoke violence against innocent third parties. If you can’t see that that is evil, you are indeed a moral imbecile.

    Gotts, as a consequence of your publishing this paragraph, free speech jihadis are rioting, and fifteen people are dead.

    I am going to assume you intended to provoke this. That this was your intent, specifically that people die. I don’t have to demonstrate it. I’m just going to assume it, because I don’t happen to like what you’re saying, and, well, goose/gander.

    Anyway: people are dead, and it’s your fault. I hope you’re happy, you evil, fucking fascistic scum.

    More seriously, Nick, I think the fact that you don’t like the people who published the film, and thus expect you can presume their motives had this intent has deeply deflected your judgement, and not to its advantage.

    They’re a murky lot, all of them, and I don’t much like them, either. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those involved in this did figure riots would serve their purpose–up to and including dignifying a return to martial law in Egypt–but this, note, is pretty difficult to know. It’s also one hell of a Hail Mary to pull, for the Egyptian Copts involved, who generally aren’t entirely delighted to see Muslims rioting.

    And, actually, I still have to maintain: their intent is quite beside the point, here, anyway.

    The point, again, is: they put a trailer on YouTube. In a common, public space. This isn’t even walking into a mosque and saying ‘Mohammed was a paedophile’. This is saying what they had to say about a dead, mythologized figure in that public, common space. Yes, they put it about on email that it was available, generally trying to get hits, absolutely. Yes, they then promoted it to reporters. Morris Sadek’s motivation, specifically, from this, was probably largely to say ‘Mohammed was an asshole and you people are idiots for believing a word he wrote’. Because, in part, I’d expect from what little we know of Sadek, he figures that’s really how it is. Which, yes, again, is his right, and a right that clearly has to be defended, in this environment in which governments around the world continue to prosecute blasphemy cases, and even EU bodies sign provisions encouraging ‘respect’ for dead shamans.

    And yeah, Sadek and company sure got their publicity: when salafists looking for leverage against less mediaeval Islamists put it on Egyptian TV and started whipping up outrage, in a typical ‘more outraged than thou’ display, aimed at polarization.

    I’m sympathetic that you care about the deaths. It tells me you’re no sociopath, at least, and it’s hard, again, to know about the people who dubbed the film, then promoted it to the press. But this is a core problem around this issue, and long has been: people, like you, reasonably upset when people get hurt, and looking for exceptions, excuses to rule stuff out.

    Oh, and remember: lots of people were saying Rushdie was deliberately provocative, too, that he wanted all this, that this was how he’d get publicity, that fucking drama queen. Great book sales, who cares who dies? Additional fun fact: Khomeini issued his fatwā following violent riots, in which there was a fatality; it’s generally been reported this was what set him off. People getting killed.

    There’s another funny thing, here, too: critics of the Holland documentary have generally been keen to say, well, look, on the bright side, it wasn’t as bad as Innocence of Muslims.

    … which, of course, it isn’t. But I honestly have to wonder what it’s reception would have been without that background. Yes, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula’s little mess of a YouTube video sure got tempers going. But it also set a context in which a historian talking to folk who are (really quite reasonably) skeptical of the traditional legendary account of a certain typically nasty state monotheism suddenly doesn’t look nearly as shocking.

    There’s that fascist Morris Sadek, for you. Moving the window to the point that that the historical documentary suddenly doesn’t look so bad.

    It’s a messy business, all of this. And really, it’s also probably going to go on some time, almost whatever you do. People are going to create and promote material others consider ‘blasphemy’, whatever their intention, and those who do consider it blasphemy and have interests of their own are going to get outraged, and others are going to stoke that outrage, also out of their own interest, and people are going to get hurt, and people are going to die, and there will be mourning, and there will be pain.

    But the window moves this way, too. People get desensitized, people get used to it, people start seeing working yourself up into a lather over what happened in the sixth century as quite as silly as they should. Rage in populations over years isn’t quite the same as it is in individuals over weeks or months, where they can work themselves up almost endlessly. Old people die, and children are born, and the world is reborn with them. And in the long run, forcing discussion open, however crudely it’s done, this, too, can break down the resistance to looking critically at what had been protected from inquiry, protected from dissent.

    For all I know, in defending the right to blaspheme I am defending the actions of any number of shadowy troublemakers and pullers of strings, from within and without national governments with their various grubby interests in undermining specific democracies. I wouldn’t be hugely surprised, incidentally, if there were money of that colour in the ‘Bacile’ affair, though who knows?

    But bear in mind: if I am, those same troublemakers probably consider both the deaths in the mob and the death of free expression equally inconsequential. It’s not so much they want the freedom to blaspheme dead; they just don’t so much care right now. And my defending that–something, remember, I can possibly still actually save, here–even as they create such storms as these, isn’t in their long term interest, either, whether they know it or not.

  214. 214
    Jeffrey G Johnson

    In many people’s minds the idea of free speech has been perverted to represent a right to unrestrained gratification of the ego. That is a totally false conception. It was put in place to ensure healthy democracy, to prevent concentrations of power from silencing opposition. It is a civil right, not an uncivil license for self-indulgent verbal wankery.

    Here is a similar perversion of the important idea of “transparency”, committed on twitter today by none other than Rupert Murdoch: “Told UK’s Cameron receiving scumbag celebrities pushing for even more privacy laws. Trust the toffs! Transparency under attack. Bad.”

    The idiot thinks transparency is all about his right to make piles of money by peering into people’s private lives (even if they are public celebrities) in order to market the lurid details of human weakness. Absolute corruption of the idea of transparency. This is Orwellian double speak, as is the invocation of free speech to defend infantile demands to scream without reflection, or to defend the practice of sadistic psychological cruelty.

    Transparency is about level playing fields and equal access to information about capital flows in markets to make them fair, and about public accountability of government to enable democratic oversight by the public. Transparency is free access to information about public institutions, not prurient invasion of individual privacy. How have so many of our fellow citizens forgotten these things? I learned this in high school.

  215. 215
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    but we still need to maintain certain thresholds if privacy is to have any meaning for anyone at all.

    This is not about privacy! This is about someone intentionally misusing the privilege of anonymity and being found out and exposed. Stop construing this as a violation of Brutsch’s privacy. His anonymity is not his privacy; they are not the same things.

  216. 216
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    the importance of privacy

    You’re a thick idiot. Anonymity is not privacy!

  217. 217
    Aratina Cage

    Aratina, do you have any reason to believe the person/people to whom you’d out this person is at any particular risk of personal or professional consequences from this person, or any actual danger?

    I take that as a given. Who doesn’t feel nasty and get flashbacks to any documentary they’ve ever read about the Nazis just reading what your hypothetical antisemite wrote?

    That would change matters. Are people likely getting discriminated against by this person?

    Sorry, I can’t understand why you believe that doesn’t hurt anyone.

    Does the mere existence of racist verbiage mean you should try to investigate the person’s identity if you don’t know it already?

    Yes, especially depending on how directed the racism is toward people you know or care about, or more generally how close to home it is. Google is always a friend in that respect.

  218. 218
    skeptifem

    No, I’m pointing out the ‘partial solution’ makes very little, if any, sense, and questioning why this is thought to be appropriate.

    soooo you are JAQing off all over the thread.

  219. 219
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Ing, the importance of privacy IS one of my views, and I’m defending it.

    There is no privacy on the internet. Pretending there is what is causing you problems.

    PRIVACY =/= anominity. You don’t get that either.

  220. 220
    LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, does the person have any hiring capacity in their job, or are they just a working stiff? Do they have a job with a lot of influence where their biases could hurt people–are they corrections officers, social workers, teachers, etc? That’s different than if they have comparatively little influence. Yes, people say disgusting things–but if all they’re doing is talking, and not abusing specific persons or inciting hate, then focus on the ideas and don’t retaliate. Yes, sentiments are ugly–but you don’t get to say your disgust means you get to take someone else’s life situation into your hands, unless they’ve already done it to someone else.

    And I never said it doesn’t hurt anyone–I said does it discriminate against anyone. Does anyone not have a job or a house, etc., as a result? But pretending the harm of systemic cultural attitudes can be addressed by intruding into the lives of people who hold them is a losing battle, and the harm is systemic–it’s not about that one person, so play the biases, not the person.

    And yes, everyone, privacy matters on the Internet. People trust others and communicate personal things. Vulnerable people share things that can cost them their jobs or their lives. They are allowed to decide how much of their personal lives they share and how much they don’t and with whom, unless they are a danger to themselves or others. Also, violating anonymity does violate privacy because things one had intended to keep private from group A are now exposed because someone else broke the terms set up when someone was communicating with group B under a pseudonym. Focus on this guy’s harms, and his clear deliberate violations of others’ privacy, which necessitates the otherwise highly-important value of privacy AND anonymity being suspended in this case, but don’t throw out privacy like it’s worthless, or you’re going to incur a lot of splash damage to others who need and deserve their privacy.

  221. 221
    stevebowen

    If you adopt a “secret identity” it is always possible that you will be exposed. You may be anonymous for various reasons, and depending on your world view they may be for good or ill. However, if being anonymous is so crucial, the consequences of exposure need to be accepted.
    If I was blogging in Iran against the regime I would preserve my anonymity, but if outed would accept the consequences. If i was promoting, say, pedphilia in the west, why should it be different. If the cause is so mportant to you that you have to be a “player” behind a mask it should be worth the risk.

  222. 222
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Hey, LeftSidePositive, how about you don’t pretend that you’ve spent all of your posts until now conflating privacy and anonymity? How about you don’t suggest that anyone here has thrown out privacy like it’s worthless or suggested as much? And how about you don’t assume the only motivation for anonymity is to keep certain things private?

    You can’t even be consistent. You pull a bait and switch at the end of your post there.

    Focus on this guy’s harms, and his clear deliberate violations of others’ privacy, which necessitates the otherwise highly-important value of privacy AND anonymity being suspended in this case, but don’t throw out privacy like it’s worthless, or you’re going to incur a lot of splash damage to others who need and deserve their privacy.

    (text bolded to highlight) You mean anonymity and anonymity only. Butsch’s privacy was not violated. Can’t you just stop conflating the two concepts?

  223. 223
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    And yes, everyone, privacy matters on the Internet.

    Sorry, but there is no privacy on the internet as it is an open forum, like a public park. Quit lying that there is.

    Anonomity on the internet is fleeting can can always be exposed; anonomity isn’t privacy. Quit lying about that too.

  224. 224
    Amphiox

    This is no different from someone donning a disguise and groping women on public transit, only to have one of his victims catch him in the act, or a bystander manage to snap his photo, and an investigative journalist analyze the photo for biometrics and identify him from that, and publish his identity.

    Anonymity is an important privilege for people on the internet, and protecting that anonymity is a good thing. But identifying sexual predators (and this is what Brutsch is, a sexual predator) is a more important and more urgent good, and when two goods conflict, the more important one wins.

  225. 225
    Amphiox

    Sorry, but there is no privacy on the internet as it is an open forum, like a public park.

    And anonymity on the internet is no different from anonymity while walking in a public park. If you do something to draw attention to yourself, even without deliberately revealing your identity, if someone, whose attention was so drawn to you, figures out your identity, they are free to reveal that if they so wish.

  226. 226
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    It’s odd that one would talk about protecting the privacy of someone who’s modus operandi was disregarding the privacy of others.

    Just sayin’.

  227. 227
    Aratina Cage

    @LeftSidePositive

    Yes, people say disgusting things–but if all they’re doing is talking, and not abusing specific persons or inciting hate, then focus on the ideas and don’t retaliate.

    Are you saying that doing so will change the person saying the racist stuff? Because, if so, I’ve got a pit of slime to sell you. If you are saying that doing so will help educate first time readers or listeners, then of course I agree with that, but I still don’t think there is anything wrong with exposing the racist.

  228. 228
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    And anonymity on the internet is no different from anonymity while walking in a public park. If you do something to draw attention to yourself, even without deliberately revealing your identity, if someone, whose attention was so drawn to you, figures out your identity, they are free to reveal that if they so wish.

    Which is exactly why the anonymous must earn respect in order to have their anonymity maintained and why they are at great risk of losing their anonymity when exposing any details about themselves. Those who choose to be anonymous, do so at risk and must be accountable for their actions when acting anonymously. Some people want to act as though their anonymity absolves them of responsibility. Those people are stupid. They don’t understand how it works and they don’t appreciate the privilege. Butsch was one such person.

  229. 229
    Aratina Cage

    And I never said it doesn’t hurt anyone–I said does it discriminate against anyone. Does anyone not have a job or a house, etc., as a result?

    You are holding the racist up above the people she is hurting. What about the ones whose work performance is degraded because of reading the racist statements? What of the unemployed who, already under enormous stress, become agitated by the racist statements and find themselves unable to function? Fuck. That. Shit.

  230. 230
    LeftSidePositive

    No, anonymity is a vital part of protecting privacy. If I am anonymous and discuss something that IRL I need to keep private, outing my pseudonym means that the information I communicated ceases to be private to everyone I know. I never said this was the *only* reason people maintain anonymity, but it certainly is a big one for lots of people, many of whom are very vulnerable, and who would be hurt if you kept acting like outing anonymous people is fair game on the internet.

    You people may want to read this before you get too proud of your cavalier attitude toward privacy:

    http://gizmodo.com/5470696/fck-you-google

    Do you think broadcasting the real name of this woman would have any different effect?

    And there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in a public park. Someone should not, for instance, be able to take a picture of my chest or ass while I am there. Someone should not try to identify who I am and seek out where else I go or where my home is or tell people where I was simply because they saw my face in public or they got offended by my T-shirt. If you make a point of identifying people in public spaces, you are setting up a giant target on them for people to invade their privacy.

    Now, I have no objection to someone who is victimizing people being outed, and his expectation that what he posts on the Internet should be private relative to the people in real life should be rescinded–BECAUSE HE IS DOING HARM. But this is not the same as holding anyone on the internet hostage because you find their opinions odious. Learn to draw that distinction.

  231. 231
    LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, no, sorry, you can’t just go around reading other people’s blogs and holding them accountable for your emotional state. This does get into the territory that you do not have the freedom not to be offended. Moreover, you may have perfectly good values about what actually is vile and what legitimately causes people emotional distress, but Rick Santorum, Timothy Dolan, James Dobson, etc., do not. Remember all the people who claimed to be suffering from extraordinary emotional distress when PZ smashed a cracker? Remember the people who insisted Greta Christina’s advocating of atheism was “racist cultural Imperialism”? They’d have just as much justification to out someone as you do.

  232. 232
    zmidponk

    Amphiox #225:

    anonymity on the internet is no different from anonymity while walking in a public park. If you do something to draw attention to yourself, even without deliberately revealing your identity, if someone, whose attention was so drawn to you, figures out your identity, they are free to reveal that if they so wish.

    You do know that ‘creepshots’ are primarily pictures of women and girls taken without their consent whilst they were in public, such as walking in their local public park, then posted online?

  233. 233
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    Anybody who thinks they can post anything on the internet anonymously doesn’t understand how it works.

    Well, there are certain things one might do to cover one’s traces more or less completely. If one understands how it works.

    Which most people don’t.

  234. 234
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    LeftSidePositive, you are arguing with the imaginary. You can stop that. The only person here who seems unable to draw a distinction is you. You seem to think that someone here is arguing that any random person they disagree with should have their anonymity revoked, that people in public parks should be the prey of those who wish to violate their privacy. No one has argued for those things.

    What’s being argued here is that Brutsch (damn that name is getting tiresome to type) didn’t have his privacy violated, but that he had his anonymity revoked and that this was just.

    I cannot tell anymore if you argree or disagree with that because you are arguing with imaginary people about imaginary problems.

    How about you try responding to the arguments that people are making instead of just making things up? You’re getting very tiresome.

  235. 235
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    LeftSidePositive:

    Now, I have no objection to someone who is victimizing people being outed, and his expectation that what he posts on the Internet should be private relative to the people in real life should be rescinded–BECAUSE HE IS DOING HARM.

    So, CreepShots did no harm?

    But this is not the same as holding anyone on the internet hostage because you find their opinions odious. Learn to draw that distinction.

    I think we have.

  236. 236
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    zmidponk, you must have a reading comprehension problem because your response to Amphiox is a non sequitur; what you wrote does not at all respond to the point being made.

  237. 237
    Chris Clarke

    I suggest you actually bother to do a Ctrl-F for someone’s ‘nym to see what they actually support before jumping in to an ongoing conversation.

    My apologies, LeftSidePositive. I should have done so, you’re right. Had I, I would have understood more quickly that you’re derailing a discussion to make this about how Chen’s acts were troubling while covering your ass by granting that he actually did the right thing in this one particular instance with this one particular predator but oh, the problematic concerns!

  238. 238
    zmidponk

    Thomathy, so you see no connection, at all, between posting the real name of someone ‘walking in a public park’ and a picture of them actually walking in a public park?

  239. 239
    Rabidtreeweasel

    Speaking of free speech and outing people, Anon New Jersey have dox dropped on a Kody Maxson who goes by the handle Kody1206. From what I can tell they haven’t hacked anything, just tracked all his profiles. In doing so they found youtube videos linking him to Amanda Todd, who at the time went by the handle of Peyton. I wouldn’t go out and start googling because … it’s scary. But there’s a round up of it here http://motleynews.net/2012/10/14/anonymous-exposes-amanda-todds-extortionist-name-kody-maxson/

    Since the dox dropped (and since they’ve been sent to the appropriate authorities) a lot of the links have been scrubbed but the screen caps remain. Of course since it’s all coming through Anon back channels most of it is NSFW. Additionally, I take everything they post with a grain of salt but in this case the person in question is at very least a pedophile trading in images, was heavily involved in /r/jailbait, and took part in an activity I am just now learning about called “capping” (capturing chats with under aged girls).

    I dug into all of it as far as I care to. Now I need to go hug a puppy, eat an ice cream cone, look at a rainbow, and ride a pony.

  240. 240
    Aratina Cage

    @LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, no, sorry, you can’t just go around reading other people’s blogs and holding them accountable for your emotional state. This does get into the territory that you do not have the freedom not to be offended.

    Sorry, but yes you can. You have every right to be offended by racism and to call out racists. You can even do that while educating others about racism!

  241. 241
    Amphiox

    zmidponk, what creepshots is doing is a violation of PRIVACY (among other things). What I was talking about was ANONYMITY. Thank you for demonstrating by vivid example the importance of distinguishing between the two.

  242. 242
    Amphiox

    Again for emphasis, zmidponk, posting a photo of someone is a violation of privacy. Posting their name a violation of anonymity.

  243. 243
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    zmidponk @ #238

    Thomathy, so you see no connection, at all, between posting the real name of someone ‘walking in a public park’ and a picture of them actually walking in a public park?

    You’re a twit.

    The reason I see your response to Amphiox as a non sequitur, is, as I explained, because it doesn’t address in any way the content of what Amphiox wrote.

    Let’s review?

    anonymity on the internet is no different from anonymity while walking in a public park. If you do something to draw attention to yourself, even without deliberately revealing your identity, if someone, whose attention was so drawn to you, figures out your identity, they are free to reveal that if they so wish.

    That is a string of factual statements. It is a logically connected string too. None of those statements are judgements about whether that person is right to reveal the identity of the person walking through the park. None of those statements even hints at what kind of behaviour the person walking through the park is engaged in. That string of logical and logically connected statements merely establishes that being on the internet is like walking through a park de facto anonymously and that your anonymity is not guaranteed and no one is necessarily required to keep it.

    You respond to this with a bizarre non sequitur definging what a creepshot is:

    You do know that ‘creepshots’ are primarily pictures of women and girls taken without their consent whilst they were in public, such as walking in their local public park, then posted online?

    This has nothing to do with what Amphiox established in that statement. Yes, creepshots are pictures of women and girls, taken without their consent, often whilst they were in public spaces.

    Now, what exactly does that have to do with establishing a parallel between de facto anonymity in public and anonymity on the internet, the tenuousness of both when one has drawn attention to oneself and the lack of anyone else’s responsibility to maintain one’s anonymity?

    That’s rhetorical. It has fucking nothing to do with what you wrote, you idiot.

  244. 244
    zmidponk

    Again for emphasis, zmidponk, posting a photo of someone is a violation of privacy. Posting their name a violation of anonymity.

    Leaving aside, for the moment, that Brutsch’s photo was put out there, as well as his name, in both cases, you’re posting, without their permission, personally identifiable information, whether it be their face, their body, or their name. You can call one ‘anonymity’ and the other ‘privacy’ if you like, but you haven’t actually explained how these cases are different, given that it was you who indicated that ‘anonymity on the internet is like anonymity in a public park’.

  245. 245
    daniellavine

    When will all the screaming monkeys start calling for the newspapers to be burned? They engage in “vigilantism” daily by publishing/publicizing the identities of people who are doing bad things! Just what Chen did! Wait until these Reddit assholes take a look at the NYT or the Washington Post. Boy are they gonna be mad when they see you can actually publish a story about a person who has been accused but not convicted of a crime. Or even worse, a person who has not committed a crime but is just being an asshole!

    I’ll taking the “doxing is the worst thing EVAR!” arguments seriously once the people making these arguments take on the worst offenders, the news media. They’ve been doxing people for nearly a century now!

  246. 246
    daniellavine

    @zmidponk:

    There’s a lot you haven’t explained. There’s one thing that you’ve been dodging this whole thread.

    You said you thought Brutsch needs to be held accountable.

    But you don’t his identity should be revealed.

    How are these two compatible? How could he be held accountable if no one knows who he is?

    Stop dodging and answer the question which you’ve been asked repeatedly.

  247. 247
    chigau (違う)

    Rabidtreeweasel
    I really hope they have the right person.

  248. 248
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    zmidponk, what the person in the park does in the park is not private. The person in the park has de facto anyonymity until and unless someone who knows or figures out their identity reveals it. If person in the park is vandalising park property and someone reveals them to be a certain person, they haven’t lost any privacy. Their actions are there for people to see. The only thing they’ve lost is anonymity.

    Is this a difficult concept for you to grasp?

  249. 249
    Rabidtreeweasel

    @chigau: I do too, but either way, it’s a 30 video capturing and uploading images of under aged girls in a community of others who do the same thing and give each other awards for being the most sleazy, so sending their info to the FBI may be helpful.

  250. 250
    Rabidtreeweasel

    *30 year old

  251. 251
    zmidponk

    Thomathy #243:

    That is a string of factual statements. It is a logically connected string too. None of those statements are judgements about whether that person is right to reveal the identity of the person walking through the park. None of those statements even hints at what kind of behaviour the person walking through the park is engaged in. That string of logical and logically connected statements merely establishes that being on the internet is like walking through a park de facto anonymously and that your anonymity is not guaranteed and no one is necessarily required to keep it.

    So, by that logic, anyone walking through a public park has zero right to any form of anonymity, so their picture being taken and posted online is, at the very least, a risk to be taken by them if they choose to walk through that park.

  252. 252
    zmidponk

    daniellavine #246:

    @zmidponk:

    There’s a lot you haven’t explained. There’s one thing that you’ve been dodging this whole thread.

    You said you thought Brutsch needs to be held accountable.

    But you don’t his identity should be revealed.

    Actually, if you’ve read this thread, you know that’s not true. I’m actually on the fence, as regards that, as I’ve said several times. The problem of accountability is one that sways me in favour of ‘outing’ him, but it doesn’t fully convince me. All the other arguments I’ve seen thus far, I’ve also seen flaws with.

  253. 253
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    There is very little difference between posting the name of someone walking in the park, and posting a picture of someone walking in the park. In this day and age, it’s fairly trivial to identify someone by their picture. Thanks to Facebook, Scott McNealy’s 1999 comment, “Privacy is dead. Get over it,” has become the status quo.

    The only thing protecting anonymity on the internet is common courtesy. That’s it. This case is effectively one in which a breach of common courtesy was met with a less-offensive breach. (And yes, outing someone who’s claim to fame is CreepShots is far less a breach of courtesy than the CreepShots themselves.)

    And here, the difference between anonymity and privacy is dwindling as well. Once your anonymity has been breached, your privacy is also gone. (In the case of the CreepShots victims, privacy was breached, but generally not anonymity — but the privacy was breached in a very vile way.)

    Someone once said, “A well-armed society is a polite society.” Those that would breach courtesy are well reminded that courtesy is a two-way street.

    And yes. I’m more than willing to put up with insults from Christians and Muslims for my discourtesy to their beliefs. I mean, as long as it remains strictly insults.

  254. 254
    Bernard Bumner

    …does the person have any hiring capacity in their job, or are they just a working stiff? Do they have a job with a lot of influence where their biases could hurt people–are they corrections officers, social workers, teachers, etc?

    What if I don’t know?

    What if only have the hateful, racist/sexist comments and a real name? What do I do? What burden of proof must I satisfy, in your opinion? How do I obtain the evidence?

    What if I find out that the merely offensive individual is working for HR? If I have no evidence of discriminatory behaviour, can I out them as a potential risk? Do I apply a different standard to the person working on the factory floor, just because they haven’t received a promotion to line manager?

    I’m not really sure how you draw the line between offense and harm, other than on a case-by-case basis. How do your rules work differently?

  255. 255
    LeftSidePositive

    Chris Clarke: No, I am unequivocally in favor of what Chen did. Why is that so damned hard to understand?! I did not in any way say “this one case.” I provided a list of guidelines that could be consistent across many situations that would address how to justify outing. What I am NOT in favor of is people here who seem to think that vile speech–in the absence of a definable victim or incitement of violence–in and of itself deserves outing. I am not in favor of the blanket statements denigrating privacy on this forum: yes, when people violate others they lose claim to it, but offending people and violating them are not the same thing.

    Aratina, your freedom TO be offended is not the same as having the freedom NOT to be offended. The freedom NOT to be offended implies the ability to take retaliatory action against those that offend, and that is unacceptable. Yes, by all means call out racism. Say the person is a fucking wankstain. Link their hideous blog to all your twitter followers and have them crash it by saying what a douchebag ze is. But unless ze broke some bounds regarding other people’s privacy, consent, or property, you do not get to find out zir name or publish it without zir consent. Now, if ze posts so much as one photo of a person without consent, then publish zir name, take it to the authorities, etc.

  256. 256
    Matt Penfold

    Actually, if you’ve read this thread, you know that’s not true. I’m actually on the fence, as regards that, as I’ve said several times. The problem of accountability is one that sways me in favour of ‘outing’ him, but it doesn’t fully convince me. All the other arguments I’ve seen thus far, I’ve also seen flaws with.

    So you cannot decide between naming someone who had been instrumental in allowing images of women and girls to be posted without their consent for men to leer over and allowing such behaviour to continue unchallenged ?

    You really do need to work on your morals and ethics, because at the moment they are seriously lacking. Your being on the fence does reflect well on you. You may not be an immoral monster, but you do seem to be an amoral one.

  257. 257
    LeftSidePositive

    Bumner–yes, of course you apply a different standard. The floor guy needs to eat, and he needs to contribute to society, and he isn’t in a position to hurt anyone. Political views should not affect someone’s professional life, unless they materially affect the ability to do the job at hand. Predatory behavior is a different animal entirely. If someone does work for HR–ask around, perhaps, if you think the rhetoric is sufficiently unhinged. Understand that there is a borderline case and consider if you would like every statement that some random person on the internet considers hateful (for which, by the way, just a statement of atheism would qualify to a large portion of Americans) could get your comment history passed around to all your relatives, neighbors, and employers.

  258. 258
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    So, by that logic, anyone walking through a public park has zero right to any form of anonymity, so their picture being taken and posted online is, at the very least, a risk to be taken by them if they choose to walk through that park.

    You’re stupid if you think I’m going to answer a complex question as though the answer is binary. Actually, you must think I’m stupid.

  259. 259
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Oh, and for the sake of pedantry, I’m aware you didn’t actually ask a question, zmidponk, but rephrased, entirely incorrectly, the conclusions that can be drawn from the parallels between a person walking through a park with de facto anonymity and a person on the internet claiming anonymity that practically demands a response if only to elucidate on how you misconstrued that logic and came to at least one unfounded conclusion with a kernel of some legitimate conclusion breaking through.

    Once again, the statement makes no values judgments. You can stop attempting to use that logic as though it justifies anything rather than explains the reality of walking through a park and being noticed for your behaviour.

    I don’t have time to address your stupidity in any real detail though, not anymore. You just keep posting here, though. You’re doing a fine job of exposing yourself.

  260. 260
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    What I am NOT in favor of is people here who seem to think that vile speech–in the absence of a definable victim or incitement of violence–in and of itself deserves outing.

    Your concern is noted and rejected. Why? You don’t make the rules, and are bullying us to accept yours.

    But unless ze broke some bounds regarding other people’s privacy, consent, or property, you do not get to find out zir name or publish it without zir consent.

    Who made you the deity of the internet undear bully? We don’t have to agree with you , and I for one don’t. But it is obvious you aren’t content with just stating your opinion, but will only be content when everybody kowtows to your restrictions.

  261. 261
    LeftSidePositive

    I’m sorry, defending an argument makes me a “bully”? I thought only the Slymepit did such stupid shit!

    So–you don’t agree with me, Nerd? Well, try to make a coherent argument! But just saying “I for one don’t” is no more intellectually rigorous than someone who can just decide out of the blue that the Author of Jesus and Mo should be outed because they think the cartoon is “racist” or “vile” or “offensive” and if you get to decide who you out just on your own say-so with no level of consistency, they will too.

  262. 262
    Aratina Cage

    @LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, your freedom TO be offended is not the same as having the freedom NOT to be offended.

    Just how stupid do you think I am?

    The freedom NOT to be offended implies the ability to take retaliatory action against those that offend, and that is unacceptable.

    It implies that it would be illegal to offend, which it is in certain circumstances. It doesn’t mean you can just retaliate in any old way when someone offends you.

    Yes, by all means call out racism. Say the person is a fucking wankstain. Link their hideous blog to all your twitter followers and have them crash it by saying what a douchebag ze is.

    O.K.

    But unless ze broke some bounds regarding other people’s privacy, consent, or property, you do not get to find out zir name or publish it without zir consent.

    Well, you quite clearly can do that. It is my belief that such people really don’t deserve your kind of high-minded protection.

    Now, if ze posts so much as one photo of a person without consent, then publish zir name, take it to the authorities, etc.

    So the antisemite can describe a Jew in the most defamatory way, but you can only call her out when she puts up an anonymous photo of a Jew? I’m not buying it.

  263. 263
    LeftSidePositive

    Yes, Aratina. They’re called boundaries, and they are a necessary part of living in civilized society with people who may have radically different values from us.

    And just because it’s your belief that “such people” don’t deserve to have their personal identities intruded on, just remember that others on the Internet believe YOU are “such people.”

    Oh, and what do you mean about an anti-Semite describing “a Jew”? Do you mean a particular person? Well, then nail them for harassment or defamation. Or do you mean “a Jew” in a strictly hypothetical sense? In which case, sorry, but the boundaries are still in play.

  264. 264
    LeftSidePositive

    By which I mean DO deserve to have their personal identities intruded upon, of course. Rephrased that sentence too many times and the “don’t” didn’t get taken out.

  265. 265
    Aratina Cage

    @LeftSidePositive

    [Suppose there is] someone who can just decide out of the blue that the Author of Jesus and Mo should be outed because they think the cartoon is “racist” or “vile” or “offensive” [...] if you get to decide who you out just on your own say-so with no level of consistency, they will too.

    I hear that kind of thinking all the time, but is it true? The Democrats are famous for pretending that if they don’t go there, the Republicans won’t, but the Republicans almost always do go there. I don’t trust the other side to play fair. Why do you?

  266. 266
    Aratina Cage

    What I meant was something along the lines of the horrible hypothetical quote you gave above.

  267. 267
    Aratina Cage

    Yes, Aratina. They’re called boundaries, and they are a necessary part of living in civilized society with people who may have radically different values from us.

    And their saying racist shit is what?

    And just because it’s your belief that “such people” don’t deserve to have their personal identities intruded on, just remember that others on the Internet believe YOU are “such people.”

    This is not what I’d expect an ally of any minority group to write. I don’t agree with it at all. We don’t deserve to have to put up with their attacks, so we shouldn’t. Naming them is a ridiculously civil thing to do. I think you are way out of line here.

  268. 268
    LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, but if you’ve gone there already, and you have publicly promoted going there and outing others who say offensive things such that it is accepted and customary on the ‘net, what recourse are you going to have when someone with horrible values does it? If it becomes, thanks to people like you, a widely-held belief that anonymity is of no personal or moral value, and that it can be forced away from someone on a whim? Who is going to want to hold them accountable if your viewpoint takes hold and people think anonymity can be sacrificed just on someone claiming to be offended?

    And yes, the hypothetical quote was horrible–but it did not advocate any violence, it did not target any person for harassment, it did not show a level of mental instability indicative of an imminent shooting spree, etc., etc. It just expressed an ignorant, odious opinion. Educate against it but you have no reason to single that person out as a perpetrator and invade their privacy (and yes, digging to find someone’s name IS an invasion of their privacy if they’ve chosen to keep their name private!) unless you want to declare open season on all anonymous users of the internet, which will hurt marginalized people a hell of a lot more than shutting down one anonymous anti-Semite.

    Besides, if you want personal accountability, go find the people who say that stuff under their real names (and there are many!) and publicly shame THEM. You get to make the world a little more chilly for anti-Semites without breaking any ethical bounds.

  269. 269
    LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, their saying racist shit is their right. Sorry, but it is. You can’t stalk them for it, and you can’t make their personal decisions for them because of it. And the Nazis can march in Skokie.

    It’s not a question of whether you agree that some people view you as “such people” who don’t deserve privacy–they do. This is an empirical fact. Thinking that your rather draconian and opinion-based attitude toward how to respond to people you don’t like will be implemented in the idealized way you imagine is complete and utter nonsense. Your enemies will be given the same license to name people, and that will hurt a lot more than it will help, and YOU are way out of line to suggest that people can name individuals who prefer to stay anonymous without clear ethical standards.

  270. 270
    municipalis

    I’m curious:

    How do the people who disagree with LeftSidePositive’s boundaries of respecting privacy feel about anti-choice groups publishing the personal details of women who get abortions (or even just visit abortion clinics)?

    What Left is arguing against (if I have it right) is a line of reasoning which assumes that any objectionable behaviour is justifiable grounds to ‘pierce the veil’ of public anonymity. But since ‘objectionable’ is completely subjective, any action or opinion may be seen as grounds for a public outing.

    From the perspective of the fundgelicals who post photos of women at abortion clinics, the public shaming of the women is justified – in their perspective – committed an egregious act of violence against an individual (the unborn baby).

    I would think the beliefs of most of the people here would believe that women seeking abortions should absolutely have their privacy protected, regardless of whether others are offended by the practice. But this requires holding that being offended by a person’s action is not a sufficient criterion to destroy that person’s anonymity.

    Publishing photos of people, harassing them, threatening them with violence are sufficient, and thus Brutsch should not have had an expectation that people would respect his privacy. But Left is saying is that people expressing offensive opinions which are not directed at specific individuals, threatening violence, or breaking laws should still have some expectation of anonymity and any engagement with these people should be on the level of ridiculing their ideas rather than attempting to publicly shame them.

  271. 271
    skeptifem

    this is such an interesting discussion. thanks to everyone involved.

  272. 272
    Aratina Cage

    @LeftSidePositive
    In that last quote of yours I made, I mentally corrected it from “don’t” to “do” but forgot to edit it in.

    I’m looking at this from the standpoint of what is just while recognizing that the racists and sexist and such do not play fair already. You are looking at it from the standpoint of what is fair for text/audio-based free speech and what’s the worst that could happen.

    Aratina, but if you’ve gone there already, and you have publicly promoted going there and outing others who say offensive things such that it is accepted and customary on the ‘net, what recourse are you going to have when someone with horrible values does it?

    I would think that if I had made a racist remark or posted someone’s private photo without permission or was being a bigoted troll in general that I would have no qualm about being outed. I understand that is a consequence of doing those things. I do not hide behind a nym to do those things, and I believe that to be true of most Pharyngulites.

    If it becomes, thanks to people like you, a widely-held belief that anonymity is of no personal or moral value, and that it can be forced away from someone on a whim?

    I never said it is of no value. I said that those fuckers don’t deserve it!

  273. 273
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But this requires holding that being offended by a person’s action is not a sufficient criterion to destroy that person’s anonymity.

    You miss a point. Posting pictures of women without permission is the invasion of privacy of the woman, and is illegal in many states.

    But Left is saying is that people expressing offensive opinions which are not directed at specific individuals, threatening violence, or breaking laws should still have some expectation of anonymity and any engagement with these people should be on the level of ridiculing their ideas rather than attempting to publicly shame them.

    Emphasized the difference for you. Some, not absolute, which is where Leftside really goes. There is no expectation of absolute anonimity on the web. One can be expsed at any time, and one should behave accordingly.

  274. 274
    Aratina Cage

    And municipalis provides us with a vivid example where the other side does not play fair.

  275. 275
    Aratina Cage

    @LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, their saying racist shit is their right. Sorry, but it is.

    I was hinting at defamation laws, actually. In such cases where a person is subject to defamation, that person does have a narrow legal ground that is sort of a right to not be offended and will be permitted to sue the offender.

  276. 276
    municipalis

    Nerd of Redhead

    You miss a point. Posting pictures of women without permission is the invasion of privacy of the woman

    That’s exactly my point. The women have a reasonable expectation of privacy even though they’re technically in public space. And yes, some states have passed laws to discourage wanton invasions of privacy, but not all have. All I’m saying the axe swings both ways.

    Emphasized the difference for you. Some, not absolute, which is where Leftside really goes. There is no expectation of absolute anonimity on the web. One can be expsed at any time, and one should behave accordingly.

    Just because there is not a “absolute” expectation doesn’t mean there can’t a “reasonable” expectation. Women going to an abortion clinic don’t have an “absolute” expectation either since they’re usually going to the clinic via a public space. But I certainly believe they should have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    Aratina Cage

    And municipalis provides us with a vivid example where the other side does not play fair.

    Yes, and therefore shouldn’t the moral standard (and perhaps the legal one as well) enforce an expectation privacy rather than just abandon it?

  277. 277
    LeftSidePositive

    Nerd, you are a miserable fucking idiot. I have posted MULTIPLE FUCKING TIMES that posting pictures is a clear indication to out someone, as is harassment, incitement to violence, conspiracy to commit illegal acts, and appearing an imminent danger to self or others. We’re talking about outing someone simply for being offensive, with no clear targeted person, which, in case you haven’t noticed, multiple people on this thread are advocating. Why the fuck are you unable to read this? What the fuck is wrong with you?

    Aratina, the fact that the other side does not play fair is absolutely no excuse. In order to have a functioning society, we need to have rules and/or conventions that establish what playing fair is. I’ve proposed a demonstrable-harm-to-others strategy, that will allow us to get rid of the majority of nasties online but still have moral high ground to say that what the anti-choicers are doing is wrong (and, I would hope, to have legal recourse against them doing that sort of thing someday). But what you’re advocating is a mindless free-for-all. This is appallingly counter-productive.

    And if A PERSON is defamed, they can sue. This is my point. An entire race or sexual orientation of people can’t sue, and can’t really be “defamed” in the legal sense. Can I sue on behalf of all women that the catwoman cover is sexist, objectifying, offensive, and/or defamatory? Can I say that a clearly-labeled fictional story about a woman who connives to impregnate herself without a man knowing is defaming me, personally, as a representative of womanhood, even though the woman in the story has never been claimed to exist?

  278. 278
    Bernard Bumner

    Aratina, their saying racist shit is their right. Sorry, but it is.

    That is a very US-centric argument. It should be the case that merely offensive expression falls under the right of free speech. That is not universally true.

    Anyway, they can say all the racist shit they want to. They can carry on doing so under their real name, and accept all of the consequences that go with it.

    When it comes to appropriately dealing with anonymity I trust the good guys to considerately reach generally correct judgements. I already know that the bad guys don’t have any qualms about abusing personal information without reflection.

  279. 279
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The women have a reasonable [and legal] expectation of privacy even though they’re technically in public space.

    Fixed that for you. You keep missing the details. Which is why your arguments fail like here:

    Women going to an abortion clinic don’t have an “absolute” expectation either since they’re usually going to the clinic via a public space.

    They have a legal expectation. Some states it is illegal to post such pictures. And should be in every state of the union.

    Just because there is not a “absolute” expectation doesn’t mean there can’t a “reasonable” expectation.

    What do you define as “reasonable”. Personally, the way to have a reasonable expectation is not to be offensive. Otherwise, all bets are off. Again, look at reality, not ideals.

    Yes, and therefore shouldn’t the moral standard (and perhaps the legal one as well) enforce an expectation privacy rather than just abandon it?

    What moral standard? Not mine.

  280. 280
    jasonlocklin

    No Anonymity? what about for the groups like the Clergy Project? Scary. Perhaps the difference is publishing vs. private communication. Still, whistle blowers and people living under oppressive governments deserve the right to try to remain anonymous while publishing.

  281. 281
    strange gods before me ॐ

    LeftSidePositive,

    I’m sorry, defending an argument makes me a “bully”? I thought only the Slymepit did such stupid shit!

    You are right about that. Nerd of Redhead here is the exception that proves the rule. Please do not take him as representative of us generally.

    (This is a meta-comment about personal interactions. It is not about the on-topic substance of the thread.)

  282. 282
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Nerd, you are a miserable fucking idiot.

    I could be, but so are you. You are not discussing, you are bullying. Either we agree with you, or you will keep posting until we do. Think about that…

    Still, whistle blowers and people living under oppressive governments deserve the right to try to remain anonymous while publishing.

    What right? Cite the document where it is a right. Certain protection is given to folks to leak to the print media, but that isn’t the web. Anonymity is a privilege, not a right.

    We’re talking about outing someone simply for being offensive, with no clear targeted person, which, in case you haven’t noticed, multiple people on this thread are advocating.

    And why shouldn’t offensive people be “outed” if they are sufficiently offensive? There is no right of anonymity, only a privilege, which can and is revoked on occasion by those who are the target of offensive words.

  283. 283
    Aratina Cage

    @municipalis

    Yes, and therefore shouldn’t the moral standard (and perhaps the legal one as well) enforce an expectation privacy rather than just abandon it?

    You mean, the fairness standard, right? Protecting racist scum isn’t exactly moral in my book.

  284. 284
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Protecting racist scum isn’t exactly moral in my book.

    Nor mine.

  285. 285
    WithinThisMind

    If it is acceptable for them to post identity information about a person (namely, pictures, many of which did include information in the background settings that could enable someone to identify the individual even in cases where faces were not shown), then it is acceptable to post identity information about the person posting that information.

    Would anyone crying ‘free speech’ and ‘protection of privacy’ still be whining if instead of outing the name, someone just posted a picture of the asshole? Maybe one taken from his facebook, possibly showing his home, family, pets, etc… as well?

    After all, if it’s okay and ‘legal’ when he does it, it’s okay and ‘legal’ to do it to him, right?

    Call it revenge if you fucking like. I’m actually okay with that. Just like with the privileged folks whining about the fucking pat-downs at airports. Maybe if you get a tiny clue about what other people have to go through, you’ll grow a brain.

  286. 286
    Aratina Cage

    @LeftSidePositive

    Aratina, the fact that the other side does not play fair is absolutely no excuse.

    It is not an excuse, it is a way to disprove your point. You expect them to play fair if we do, but they already do not. Your idea doesn’t work for all I can tell.

    In order to have a functioning society, we need to have rules and/or conventions that establish what playing fair is. I’ve proposed a demonstrable-harm-to-others strategy, that will allow us to get rid of the majority of nasties online but still have moral high ground to say that what the anti-choicers are doing is wrong (and, I would hope, to have legal recourse against them doing that sort of thing someday).

    You have proposed something that doesn’t work and is incoherent. Under your proposal, the good people (you and me) are shit out of luck if the bad people (the racists, for example) out one of us. Your proposal also makes a spurious distinction between anonymous photos (for which no permission has been given for their use) and racist screeds that target and hurt wide swaths of people. What’s more, even without any of that which you propose, we still have the moral high ground.

    But what you’re advocating is a mindless free-for-all. This is appallingly counter-productive.

    Welcome to Pharyngula! Really, we’ve battle tested this strategy of not holding back on the trolls here on Pharyngula, and it works to a great degree.

    And if A PERSON is defamed, they can sue. This is my point. An entire race or sexual orientation of people can’t sue, and can’t really be “defamed” in the legal sense. Can I sue on behalf of all women that the catwoman cover is sexist, objectifying, offensive, and/or defamatory? Can I say that a clearly-labeled fictional story about a woman who connives to impregnate herself without a man knowing is defaming me, personally, as a representative of womanhood, even though the woman in the story has never been claimed to exist?

    None of that matters in this argument. It remains legal to out people if you have the facts on your side. The when is what we are arguing over. You think it should never happen for text-based racist rants, I disagree and I don’t understand why you then think it is OK in the case of anonymous photos.

  287. 287
    LeftSidePositive

    No, Aratina, “fairness” is completely and totally unenforceable. It means absolutely nothing and you know it. You are engaging in a long and embarrassing case of special pleading. People’s expectation of privacy and respect for their anonymity is vital for lots and lots of people’s safety and their ability to speak out online. You do NOT fuck with shit like that, or you will endanger THOUSANDS more people than the one racist fucker you don’t like. The fact that you simplistically, naively, and absurdly think your values are so clearly superior that you can take someone else’s privacy into your own hands is fucking bonkers. Yes, I know you think it’s soooo clear who the bad guys are, but that’s not how laws work. That’s not how people of different backgrounds and understandings of the world can coexist peacefully. There are certain standards that we cannot be allowed to cross, and outing someone for a MERE OPINION is one of them. Yes, there is a need to protect public safety when someone is showing predatory behavior and/or causing DEFINABLE harm to other DEFINABLE human beings. Just the fact that you think they’re contributing to “oppression,” not otherwise specified, is not enough to undermine the safety and security of millions of people online who would otherwise not be free to express themselves without all the people who think *they’re* vile doing exactly what you said was okay.

  288. 288
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You are engaging in a long and embarrassing case of special pleading.

    Look in the mirror, that is you and your absolutes.

    eople’s expectation of privacy and respect for their anonymity is vital for lots and lots of people’s safety and their ability to speak out online.

    This has nothing to do with topic under discussion, as if they want to keep their anonymity, they must keep a low profile.

    Yes, I know you think it’s soooo clear who the bad guys are, but that’s not how laws work.

    Where did this shit come from, as you have been talking ideals?

    There are certain standards that we cannot be allowed to cross, and outing someone for a MERE OPINION is one of them.

    Compared to your MERE OPINION where they can’t be touched? Whose playing deity here?

  289. 289
    LeftSidePositive
    Aratina, the fact that the other side does not play fair is absolutely no excuse.

    It is not an excuse, it is a way to disprove your point.

    I’m sorry? The way to disprove a moral point is to whine that the bad guys do it too? What, are you in fucking kindergarten!?

    You expect them to play fair if we do, but they already do not.

    No, and at this point as far as I can tell you are being willfully ignorant. I am saying we need to establish social and, if at all possible, legal standards that compromising someone’s anonymity is not acceptable. I am not “expecting” them to play fair. I am DEMANDING that they do, and in order for that to have any weight, we need to have a clear moral standard about what fair is. It needs to be common knowledge for EVERYONE, not just social justice activists, when one can safely keep their anonymity online. We need to work toward legal ramifications of outing people undeservedly, and legal whistleblowing protections for outing people deservedly.

    Under your proposal, the good people (you and me) are shit out of luck if the bad people (the racists, for example) out one of us.

    Oh, fer fuck’s sake! You have it exactly backwards. Under MY proposal, we have clear standards by which the racists are wrong to out us–if we didn’t threaten violence, if we didn’t harass anyone, if we didn’t put up nonconsensually-obtained images, if we didn’t defame a particular person, then we don’t deserve to be outed, so we can seek recourse (legally, if possible). This is a great deal more workable than “I really sincerely believe cross-my-heart that they’re really bad and they hurt my feelings!” Furthermore, if one of us were outed, that would be a violation of our privacy, which is a direct act of harm against an individual and would justify outing, in the way a depersonalized screed would not.

    Your proposal also makes a spurious distinction between anonymous photos (for which no permission has been given for their use) and racist screeds that target and hurt wide swaths of people.

    There is a particular person in that photo. Do you understand this? Individuals have rights. Socially-constructed groups of people do not have one monolithic entity that can act in their interests. There are not collective rights on behalf of Group A. Screeds are just words. Words are constitutionally protected speech, except for some very narrow exceptions, such as incitement of violence and harassment. The way to fight words is with IDEAS, not with retaliating against the person who is speaking, and your morals are seriously fucked up if you don’t get that.

    What’s more, even without any of that which you propose, we still have the moral high ground.

    You know that. I know that. But EVERYONE always thinks that they themselves have the moral high ground! Can’t you get that through your damn head? Not everyone sees the world the way you do. You have to ACT like you have the moral high ground, and have coherent standards about what the moral high ground is, in order for it to have weight with the people who aren’t already on your side.

    It remains legal to out people if you have the facts on your side.

    What facts? “Person X posted a surreptitiously-obtained photo” is a fact. “Person Y disseminated Person Z’s home address” is a fact. “Person W is oppressing me and my brethren” is a sociological interpretation of systemic social factors. In the real world, you’re even going to get a lot of resistance to “Q is racist.” You do understand, don’t you, that there exist a sizable number of people in this country who refuse to accept that George Zimmerman is racist?!

    You think it should never happen for text-based racist rants, I disagree and I don’t understand why you then think it is OK in the case of anonymous photos.

    Because we have a fucking first amendment, and you don’t get to violate other people’s spaces unless they actually do something directly, measurably harmful. We cannot, as a legal system, justify intrusions on other people’s privacy for constitutionally-protected speech. I can’t believe you don’t understand this. However, posting an anonymous photo in which the subject did not give consent is a particular crime against a particular person, and as such is not protected speech.

  290. 290
    LeftSidePositive

    as if they want to keep their anonymity, they must keep a low profile.

    Can everyone see how this revolting attitude will do extraordinary damage to marginalized people who want to speak up online? This is practically a recipe for victim-blaming.

    Maybe YOU understand “a low profile” to mean not hurting others–but that’s not what it says. These same words can be used to justify denying the anonymity of someone who speaks up against police brutality, someone who asks for advice about transitioning, someone who engages in consensual sexual display in a supposed-to-be-secure setting, someone who criticizes a governmental policy, someone who blows a whistle on corporate wrongdoing, and on and on and on.

    No one should have to “keep a low profile” online. That is a completely disgusting attitude. People have a right to be as loud and proud as they want to online. What people should do is NOT VICTIMIZE EACH OTHER. Use words that mean what you actually mean and minimize splash damage–is that so fucking hard? “If they want to keep their anonymity, they must not victimize another human being.” See–simple, precise, to the point.

  291. 291
    municipalis

    Nerd of Redhead

    Fixed that for you. You keep missing the details.

    They have a legal expectation.

    I believe I responded to the details already: “And yes, some states have passed laws to discourage wanton invasions of privacy, but not all have.

    But your point misses mine. I am saying that privacy has a moral value, not just a legal one. It is wrong to violate the privacy of these women regardless of whether the law says you may or may not.

    What do you define as “reasonable”. Personally, the way to have a reasonable expectation is not to be offensive. Otherwise, all bets are off. Again, look at reality, not ideals.

    What moral standard? Not mine.

    1) I use “reasonable” in the legal sense – essentially privacy should not be compromised unless there is either a strong public interest (i.e. to stop harassment or other illegal acts such as in the Brutsch case), or by genuine accident/coincidence. If a woman’s mother is driving by the abortion clinic and sees her daughter going in, privacy laws are of no use. But the laws can prevent (via punitive means) a third party finding the daughter’s information and forwarding it to her mother.

    2) “Reasonable” privacy for everyone is reality. Remember, my whole reason for using the abortion example is that it is an act which some people find morally abhorrent, offensive, and even violent. With any attempt to create privacy laws which would privilege one set of beliefs over another, there is the risk (perhaps inevitable) that it will be used to privilege actions you disagree with. When you have people like Todd Akin writing laws, who do you think they will protect?

    3) The moral standard in this case is either people have a reasonable expectation of privacy or they don’t.

    Aratina Cage

    You mean, the fairness standard, right? Protecting racist scum isn’t exactly moral in my book.

    This is not a matter of fairness. It’s that, lacking an objective standard of determining whose morality should be protected (again refer to the abortion example), we are forced to decide whether to afford some level of protection to everyone or to no one. I think the pros of such protection outweigh the cons. Perhaps you disagree, but that’s a different argument.

  292. 292
    reliwhat

    Gotta love the irony. PZ bans people to protect the rights of the minority from the thoughtless disregard of the majority, yet, the majority of the people on this site are on his side and the people he bans are in the minority. Also, if you call yourself the freethoughtblog, you should maybe spent some time thinking about freedom of speech, and i dont mean writing down the first thing that came to your mind one night on a plane. I mean, really put some thought into it. I’ve been spending years studying the concept of freedom and i still havent come up with a satisfying answer. But here’s a thought for you; pushed to the extremes, freedom of speech brings us to 2 outcomes, if you decide to go with total freedom, you end up with people saying whatever they want, whether it’s racist, sexist or just false. In this case the 2 outcomes are; people believe it, or don’t believe it. The other extreme is, people impose restriction on freedom of speech based on a variety of reasons and, in the end, there is no more freedom of speech. Since the first outcome is more desirable, we need to make sure we do not restrict freedom of speech without sitting down and thinking about it for a good while. So, in the end, you have to ask yourself, what’s more risky, not enough free speech or too much.

  293. 293
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    So, in the end, you have to ask yourself, what’s more risky, not enough free speech or too much.

    No, the question is are those who avdocate free speech for speech that can be criticized, or are they for speech that is without criticism. Too many of the racists, misogynists, and other bigots use the latter definition. Which is why “too much free speech” supports bigots of all stripes. Responsible free speech, that can and is criticized, is appropriate.

    It’s that, lacking an objective standard

    That lack in in your MERE OPINION.

  294. 294
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I am saying that privacy has a moral value,

    Whose morals? And who appointed you deity?

  295. 295
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Can everyone see how this revolting attitude will do extraordinary damage to marginalized people who want to speak up online?

    Who says our complaint is with those who are marginalized? It is with those who are privileged and want to hide behind anonymity to avoid being embarrassed as the bigots they are. We see you as defending bigots, not the marginalized.

  296. 296
    Rabidtreeweasel

    The pedo Kody1620 who most recently got his dox dropped by anon has been charged with child pornography.
    http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/courts/court-lists/criminal/lists/Surrey_Provincial_Court-Provincial_Court_List.pdf (top of page 30)
    This is a good thing.
    There were other girls with internet handles being uploaded by him who were clearly underage. They were right to remove his anonymity. His privacy was not breached, only his name and province were given, as well as lists of places his handle occurred. And now the police can do the rest. As it should be.

  297. 297
    Rabidtreeweasel

    *1206

  298. 298
    reliwhat

    @ Nerd of Redhead

    What? so, too much free speech is bad cause you can’t criticize it? reread before you post, cause this is a contradiction.

  299. 299
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Reliwhat is not exactly the most logical thinker. Please note the internal contradiction.

  300. 300
    municipalis

    Nerd of Redhead

    Whose morals? And who appointed you deity?

    My own, obviously? And yours too, since you agree that women seeking abortions should have a right to privacy.

  301. 301
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Reliwhat, posting photos of under-aged females for pedophiles is hardly an example of free speech.

    Oh, wait, do you have facts to show that it is?

  302. 302
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    What? so, too much free speech is bad cause you can’t criticize it? reread before you post, cause this is a contradiction.

    Read my reply fuckwitted idjit. Those most complaining about absolute free speech don’t want their speech criticized. But criticism of free speech is free speech and is absolutely there. No problem, except in the mind of someone who doesn’t understand like you…

  303. 303
    reliwhat

    Is it illegal to take pictures of under-aged females for pedophiles?

  304. 304
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    You really are the most loathsome of trolls.

  305. 305
    Ingdigo Jump

    Obvious troll is obvious

  306. 306
    Koshka

    I’ve been spending years studying the concept of freedom and i still havent come up with a satisfying answer. But here’s a thought for you; pushed to the extremes, freedom of speech brings us to 2 outcomes, if you decide to go with total freedom, you end up with people saying whatever they want, whether it’s racist, sexist or just false. In this case the 2 outcomes are; people believe it, or don’t believe it.

    Those years of studying appear to have been wasted.

  307. 307
    LeftSidePositive

    Who says our complaint is with those who are marginalized? It is with those who are privileged and want to hide behind anonymity to avoid being embarrassed as the bigots they are.

    No one is saying your complaint is with the marginalized. It is that you are too damn self-absorbed to see that your “principles” if I may loosely define the term, could just as easily be turned against the marginalized, and you are idiotic and irresponsible not to realize this. You can’t just say you will have one rule for the privileged and another for the marginalized, and expect our society to fairly figure out who is marginalized. Moreover, privileged people, being privileged, will have a huge structural advantage to turn your rationalizations against you.

    We see you as defending bigots, not the marginalized.

    That’s because you’re too shortsighted to see past your own damn nose. If you advocate a social standard, everyone and their mother will believe it applies to them favorably. This means the bigots will have exactly the same justification to out people as you are using. Stick to something objective, like demonstrable harm to persons and invasion of privacy, not just odious opinions, and you will have a clear moral high ground that will protect the people who have the most to lose from malicious outing.

  308. 308
    municipalis

    Nerd of Redhead

    Who says our complaint is with those who are marginalized? It is with those who are privileged and want to hide behind anonymity to avoid being embarrassed as the bigots they are. We see you as defending bigots, not the marginalized.

    I’m beginning to see this argument as futile since you simply refuse to acknowledge the point that we are making and instead are focusing on strawman attacks.

    Let me spell it out for you:

    If you believe that privacy is a good thing for members of Group X, where Group X is the holder of a position over which there is a moral conflict, then lacking an objective standard by which to judge the moral superiority of a position, you must therefore extend the same protections to Group Y.

    In this case, Group X could be armchair racists or it could be women seeking abortions. It could be gay teenagers or it could be conservative evangelicals. All must be given the same standard of privacy protection.

    To do anything else means you must decide on which moral position should be granted privilege. You and I might agree that women seeking abortions should have the privilege and Christian bigots should not – but then we are doing exactly which you criticized me of doing – declaring our moral position superior. Which may be fine for us, but if the situation was changed and someone like Todd Akin was writing the laws, we’d be up shit creek.

  309. 309
    reliwhat

    See, i ask a simple question. I do not know whether or not it is legal to take picture of underage woman for pedophile or maybe i should the context in which its legal and vice versa, and people call me a troll. How about a “yes, it’s illegal if she is nude, but it’s not illegal if she’s in public, because it is hard to define whether it can be considered juvenile pornography”. Why is there so much hate on this site?

  310. 310
    reliwhat

    “maybe i should say”, my bad.

  311. 311
    municipalis

    reliwhat

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say, but you sound like a fucking idiot.

  312. 312
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Why is there so much hate on this site?

    Why are you a moral monster?

    Also, funny how you are complaining about the hate here. You are oh so fucking willing to dismiss the suffering of other humans.

  313. 313
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    my bad.

    So bad not even bad. Shut the fuck up bad.

    I do not know whether or not it is legal to take picture of underage woman for pedophile or maybe i should the context in which its legal and vice versa, and people call me a troll.

    Right fuckwit. There is this search engine called Google. Or YAHOO. Or Bing. Type in the information you want up pops potential answers. Lazy and stupid be you…

  314. 314
    Rabidtreeweasel

    Yeah, we hate stupid questions, but I’ll answer it anyways:

    YES. Child porn is illegal.

  315. 315
    Koshka

    reliwhat #309,

    So you are not a troll!

    You are only JAQing off!

  316. 316
    Hurin

    Certain people obsessively hand-wringing over made up hallucinations of “outing” campaigns against hypothetical racists and misogynists should google “defamation laws”. It turns out that if you cause demonstrable harm to someone by “outing” them (online or otherwise) for something that is demonstrably false, they can recover damages against you.

    That is the legal standard for protecting people’s anonymity. You can’t say or publish damaging things about private citizens, unless those things are true. I can see no reason why that standard should be enlarged to include generally shitty people who wish to disown their shittyness among polite company, and as far as I can tell neither does the southern poverty law center. Thank you.

  317. 317
    LeftSidePositive

    To add to what I previously said:

    You can’t just say you will have one rule for the privileged and another for the marginalized, and expect our society to fairly figure out who is marginalized.

    If our society COULD figure out who was marginalized and then treat them fairly, THEN THEY WOULDN’T BE MARGINALIZED IN THE FIRST PLACE!!

    How do you think people become marginalized? Just a roll of the dice which groups are down & out, but we all agree it should be fixed? Nope–they’re marginalized by other human beings and those human beings are still actively involved in shaping our society and influencing our biases and prejudices (and they have money and powerful friends and political influence), so if you have subjective standards for “good behavior,” these people will continue to use their prejudices and their social influence to enforce what they think is “good behavior,” colored by all the same prejudices that continue to perpetuate endemic social inequality.

  318. 318
    reliwhat

    So much hate.

    Also, my question was “Is it illegal to take pictures of under-aged females for pedophiles?”. The question was intentionally unclear, i know child pornography is illegal, but the point was to define what is child pornography and what is not. Then we could ask ourselves, where do we draw the line? any picture of kids under 18 with , any pictures of kids under 12 or just any picture featuring some one that has not given consent to being in the picture (again, sorry if my english is bad).

  319. 319
    LeftSidePositive

    Hurin, how do you define “shittiness”? Because to some people, simply being a feminist or an atheist is not something you can own up to in what passes for “polite company” where they live. Furthermore, obtaining information in a way that violates someone’s privacy does not let you use the “but it’s true!” defense. Publishing true information can be hugely damaging, especially to people who have unpopular views. Do you want a bunch of drug legalization activists to be outed, because lots of Middle America thinks they’re destroying teh childrens?

  320. 320
    Hurin

    So much hate

    You could always go here. I hear Dan is a real stickler about that.

  321. 321
    Koshka

    So much hate.

    I would call it disgust.

    The question was intentionally unclear

    Evidence you are a troll.

  322. 322
    municipalis

    reliwhat

    but the point was to define what is child pornography and what is not.

    A small bit of research on your part would have answered your questions for you. There is no objective definition. The law does not work that way. Language doesn’t work that way (see: Derrida). What society has done is come up with a workable definition based around community standards of decency, intent, and probability. The same photo may be considered child pornography in one person’s hands may be perfectly innocent in another’s.

    How else would you have it?

    where do we draw the line? any picture of kids under 18

    Yes. 18 is the legal standard. It is a hard line.

    featuring some one that has not given consent to being in the picture

    That is an entirely different issue.

  323. 323
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    So much hate [of abject stupidity and trolling].

    Fixed that for you. Questions you need to ask yourself:
    What did you want to accomplish other than trolling?
    Are you realistically progressing toward that goal?
    If not, why are you still here?

  324. 324
    reliwhat

    @municipalis

    Any picture of an under 18 person or a nude photo of an under 18 person?

    also my question was in response to this comment

    “Reliwhat, posting photos of under-aged females for pedophiles is hardly an example of free speech.

    Oh, wait, do you have facts to show that it is?”

    You see, in this response, it wasn’t clear whether they were nude photos or not, which is why i asked the question, because posting a normal picture would not constitute a crime and therefor would have been an example of free speech.

  325. 325
    municipalis

    reliwhat

    READ FOR YOURSELF, IDIOT.

  326. 326
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    the point was to define what is child pornography and what is not.

    There are probably some photos of me, naked, floating around out there from when I was nine or ten years old which are, without doubt, child pornography. There are also some photos of me, naked, in some photo albums at Mom and Dad’s house which are, without doubt, not child pornography. In someone else’s hands, those photos of me skinny-dipping in the Amargosa River would, without doubt, be considered child pornography. Black and white binary definitions and solutions to real life problems only exist in the imagination of right-wing authoritarians and small children.

  327. 327
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    @ LeftSidePositive

    An entire race or sexual orientation of people can’t sue, and can’t really be “defamed” in the legal sense

    You’re wrong here. You legal viewpoint may be American-centric. In Canada hate crime laws clearly outline that a person is doing something illegal by spreading maliciously false, call it defaming, information against a certain group of people. A person can be charged and found responsible for acting against a group of people and no specific member of that group.

    This seems reasonable and fair to me. You want specific instances of individuals acting against individuals in order for justification to exist to revoke someone’s anonymity, however, form my perspective, a person advocating the views of the KKK, which is an illegal organisation in my country and I believe rightly so, should be exposed for who they are even though they aren’t directly harming any one person or anyone directly. And this helps to ensure that views like those espoused by the KKK remain wildly unpopular.

    You think there exists some objective standard against which you can judge the worth of someone’s anonymity. My ‘objective standard’ appears to be different from yours. This presents a problem for you.

  328. 328
    Hurin

    Hurin, how do you define “shittiness”?

    Irrelevant.

    Because to some people, simply being a feminist or an atheist is not something you can own up to in what passes for “polite company” where they live.

    True and irrelevant.

    Furthermore, obtaining information in a way that violates someone’s privacy does not let you use the “but it’s true!” defense.

    Irrelevant. There are other laws and standards that deal with issues of privacy.

    Publishing true information can be hugely damaging, especially to people who have unpopular views. Do you want a bunch of drug legalization activists to be outed, because lots of Middle America thinks they’re destroying teh childrens?

    I expect people who engage in activism for controversial issues to take some level of responsibility for what they do. If you are going to agitate for drug legalization or promote atheism, you ought to be OK with the idea that you might end up being associated with your issue of choice. This is especially true if you aspire to a position of prominence. If you can’t be OK with that risk then maybe you should find less risky ways to spend your time.

    I post pseudonymously on this blog partly out of self protection, but I could live with myself if my pseudonym became known, and as it turns out, I’m of no interest to anyone. If I started the “Hurin says controversial shit” blog, which was a fabulous success and got me lots of speaking engagements and hate mail, then I would not expect my identity to remain unknown forever.

  329. 329
    reliwhat

    @ municipalis

    did u read it or are you making read it because you dont want to? cause it’s late and im tired. Also I had the decency to find a good short video to explain the utilitarian philosophy, the less you could do is find one for child pornography

  330. 330
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Ah, I see that the conflation of anonymity with privacy is continuing.

  331. 331
    municipalis

    reliwhat

    did u read it or are you making read it because you dont want to?

    I have done research papers on obscenity laws and am quite familiar with the law in this regard. I call you an idiot because all the questions you have asked have straightforward factual answers which a small bit of reading would have answered.

  332. 332
    Koshka

    @ municipalis

    did u read it or are you making read it because you dont want to? cause it’s late and im tired. Also I had the decency to find a good short video to explain the utilitarian philosophy, the less you could do is find one for child pornography

    municipalis,

    While you are at it can you write a report for me.

    Also my house needs vacuuming.

    You know … I’m tired.

  333. 333
    Hurin

    Thomathy

    Ah, I see that the conflation of anonymity with privacy is continuing.

    I think its a consequence of the fact that you can become famous on the internet as a pseudonym, whereas in any other media (except maybe print) becoming famous involves becoming a “public figure”, and accepting the responsibility and disadvantages that come with that. On the internet a certain percentage of people think they have the spaghetti monster given right to have their cake and eat it too.

  334. 334
    reliwhat

    I’m with koshka on this one. Sorry mate, its vacuum time.

  335. 335
    Rabidtreeweasel

    Hey I was just wondering, what are the in’s and out’s and obscure technicalities involved in marijuana possession? I mean I’m assuming it’s different depending on which state you live in but I can’t be bothered to read about it myself because I’m just soooooo tired. So if you all could read it and sum it up for me that’d be great. You might ask yourself why you should do this for me, but I think the answer would be clear; my time is the most valuable.

  336. 336
    reliwhat

    sry mate, i dont know anything about marijuana possession. best of luck tho

  337. 337
    Ingdigo Jump

    Considering we now have a creeper here defending this shit (via JAQING off) can we please demonstrate that privledge vs right thing?

  338. 338
    LeftSidePositive

    Hurin–check your privilege. Some people can get killed if their neighbors knew who they are online. Some people, like the drug activists, could go to prison. Some people could lose their whole families and means of social support. Have you forgotten about Thunderf00t and Natalie Reed?

    Just because YOU are okay with your identity becoming known doesn’t mean you can sacrifice that safety for everybody, and I’m frankly more than a little disgusted with you that you would be so cavalier about other people’s freedom and safety.

  339. 339
    reliwhat

    sorry mate, i cant be banned anymore. I’m the philosophical minority here and, according to pz, “there must be restrictions in place to protect the rights of the minority from the thoughtless disregard of the majority.” So i’m completely immune.

  340. 340
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    So i’m completely immune.

    To compassion, apparently.

  341. 341
    reliwhat

    are you referring to my comments on this page or the other page?

  342. 342
    municipalis

    Thomathy

    This seems reasonable and fair to me. You want specific instances of individuals acting against individuals in order for justification to exist to revoke someone’s anonymity, however, form my perspective, a person advocating the views of the KKK, which is an illegal organisation in my country and I believe rightly so, should be exposed for who they are even though they aren’t directly harming any one person or anyone directly. And this helps to ensure that views like those espoused by the KKK remain wildly unpopular.

    I think you raise a good point, and I completely agree that more could be done in the US (I’m also Canadian, btw). I support Canada’s laws to the extent that I agree with their motivation and moral outlook, and I agree with their use in ‘extreme’ cases. But the question then becomes “how extreme is ‘extreme’?”

    The problem remains where a political arbiter must decide which moral viewpoint is correct and which is wrong. Us Canadians are pretty sensible, but that law has been used by some religious organizations in attempts to quash external criticism. The Maclean’s case is the most famous, and even though Maclean’s won that, the ordeal probably cost them more than $100,000 in unrecoverable legal costs. I’m sure they could afford it, but an individual or smaller organization probably could not.

    Essentially, my argument here has been that if you agree that there is a moral right to privacy when committing a “political act” (in the Foucalidan sense), then that right has to extend in some degree to viewpoints you do not necessarily agree with.

    Ah, I see that the conflation of anonymity with privacy is continuing.

    It is possible to have privacy without anonymity; anonymity is sufficient but not necessary. In some cases though, anonymity is an essential requirement. I’d even argue it’s somewhat essential to a functioning democracy.

  343. 343
    Jadehawk

    “there must be restrictions in place to protect the rights of the minority from the thoughtless disregard of the majority.” So i’m completely immune.

    hahahahaha

    you suck at reading comprehension, if you think restrictions=ban on all actions, that pharyngula is a democratic state, or that that’s how minority status works. most likely though, you’re not that stupid, just trolling.

  344. 344
    Aratina Cage

    @LeftSidePositive

    No, Aratina, “fairness” is completely and totally unenforceable.

    And yet, that is what you are proposing.

    People’s expectation of privacy and respect for their anonymity is vital for lots and lots of people’s safety and their ability to speak out online.

    And if they are going to hurt people under the veil of anonymity?

    You do NOT fuck with shit like that, or you will endanger THOUSANDS more people than the one racist fucker you don’t like.

    Evidence that calling out someone like that will endanger “thousands” more?

    The fact that you simplistically, naively, and absurdly think your values are so clearly superior that you can take someone else’s privacy into your own hands is fucking bonkers.

    LOL. Keep fucking that chicken.

    That’s not how people of different backgrounds and understandings of the world can coexist peacefully.

    You can coexist with the racists like the hypothetical one above you quoted all you want. I won’t stop you.

    There are certain standards that we cannot be allowed to cross, and outing someone for a MERE OPINION is one of them. Yes, there is a need to protect public safety when someone is showing predatory behavior and/or causing DEFINABLE harm to other DEFINABLE human beings. Just the fact that you think they’re contributing to “oppression,” not otherwise specified, is not enough to undermine the safety and security of millions of people online who would otherwise not be free to express themselves without all the people who think *they’re* vile doing exactly what you said was okay.

    You sure can deliver the hyperbole, can’t you?

    I’m sorry? The way to disprove a moral point is to whine that the bad guys do it too? What, are you in fucking kindergarten!?

    Well I’ll tell you one thing, I don’t want anything to do with you after this. It just sickens me to see you going after me when you are the one hellbent on providing racist scum like the one you made up above with a safe harbor from which they can attack without consequence.

    I am not “expecting” them to play fair. I am DEMANDING that they do

    The Super PACs–why don’t we just tell them to play fair? Why not demand that candidates take public financing? I don’t believe it has but the slightest chance of working. And even if it does, it ties the hands of victims behind their backs.

    We need to work toward legal ramifications of outing people undeservedly, and legal whistleblowing protections for outing people deservedly.

    What? You seem to be wandering into “outing should be illegal” territory.

    This is a great deal more workable than “I really sincerely believe cross-my-heart that they’re really bad and they hurt my feelings!”

    Just what a victim of one of the racists needs to hear, you condescending git.

    Socially-constructed groups of people do not have one monolithic entity that can act in their interests. There are not collective rights on behalf of Group A. Screeds are just words. Words are constitutionally protected speech, except for some very narrow exceptions, such as incitement of violence and harassment. The way to fight words is with IDEAS, not with retaliating against the person who is speaking, and your morals are seriously fucked up if you don’t get that.

    Really, I’m through with you. Do. Not. Want.

  345. 345
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I do hope that raliwhat is cleaning off his computer. It must get very messy and sticky.

  346. 346
    municipalis

    Thomathy

    Ah, I see that the conflation of anonymity with privacy is continuing.

    Just to give you a positive example of the power of anonymity:
    John E. Fryer.

  347. 347
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Just to give you a positive example of the power of anonymity:

    Irrelevant, like all your arguments. I don’t see you backing your arguments up with evidence. Nothing but OPINION.

  348. 348
    municipalis

    Nerd of Redhead

    Irrelevant, like all your arguments. I don’t see you backing your arguments up with evidence. Nothing but OPINION.

    This is sarcasm… right?

  349. 349
    LeftSidePositive

    And if they are going to hurt people under the veil of anonymity?

    There are legally actionable harms, and there is offense. Stop conflating the two.

    Evidence that calling out someone like that will endanger “thousands” more?

    If outing were commonplace, and based on mere offense, who do you think would be at most risk? If people saw that their peers would stand by while others were outed for non-personally-directed speech, they will see that outing is acceptable and open season on those who are vulnerable.

    And you can “call out” without invading someone’s privacy or violating their anonymity. Attack the viewpoint, not the person, unless you can NAME or PICTORIALLY IDENTIFY who they’re hurting.

    You can coexist with the racists like the hypothetical one above you quoted all you want. I won’t stop you.

    It’s not a question of whether I can, it’s a fact that I must. That is a cost of living in a free society–we must respect each other’s freedoms, or it will seriously bite us in the ass. You can’t just use a theory of systemic harm to individually punish a particular person, or the very concept of freedom goes out the window. Punishing a person requires an ACT, and speech doesn’t qualify. You can’t retaliate against speech–even unpopular speech–and expect to have a functioning society. You don’t get to trample over someone just because he’s a shithead. Just use the appropriate venues to call him a shithead. This isn’t difficult.

    The Super PACs–why don’t we just tell them to play fair? Why not demand that candidates take public financing?

    You do realize that there are activists trying to seek an amendment to overturn Citizens United, right? You do realize that this sort of thing requires systemic legal change, right? That’s what demanding is.

    What? You seem to be wandering into “outing should be illegal” territory.

    Except for…say it with me: Threats of violence! Harassment! Dissemination of non-consensually-obtained media! Illegal activity! Danger to self or others!

    Holy fuckmonkeys, you are fucking dense!

    This is a great deal more workable than “I really sincerely believe cross-my-heart that they’re really bad and they hurt my feelings!”

    Just what a victim of one of the racists needs to hear, you condescending git.

    And a year+ of dealing with the Slymepit hasn’t taught you that this justification can be used highly disingenuously, or by people who have no fucking sense of proportion?!

    Unintended consequences: they’re a thing. You might want to make sure your worldview isn’t advocating them.

  350. 350
    Hurin

    Hurin–check your privilege. Some people can get killed if their neighbors knew who they are online. Some people, like the drug activists, could go to prison. Some people could lose their whole families and means of social support.

    I’m an atheist, and I teach undergrads presently. My next job could entail teaching high school students, so my risk for being discriminated against for being an atheist is non-zero. I realize that activism carries a risk, but that has always been part of the deal. Reread “Civil Disobedience” for details. I pass no judgement on people who choose to opt out on those grounds.

    I still see the necessity in being able to report on the second grade teacher who showed up at the Klan rally on Saturday, even though that sort of reporting might lead to my eventual terminiation if I go into high school ed later in my career. Its worth it to me to see that the minority students in the crypto-Klan member’s class aren’t being abused. You ought to consider that this is the sort of recourse that you are writing off as you hand wring over “privacy” and accuse me of unexamined privilege.

    Speaking of…

    Have you forgotten about Thunderf00t and Natalie Reed?

    Of course I haven’t, and as others here have reminded you, Thunderf00t looks more like Violentacrez in that situation than Natalie Reed does. Thunderfoot had no right to access a lot of the information he was brandishing, and he was and is bound by an agreement not to release any of the information he might have obtained legitimately, without the consent of the other involved parties. That’s another conflation of privacy and pseudonymity on your part. That is why I simply said “irrelevant” in my last post.

    Separate issue, separate protections.

    We are allowed to protect our pseudonymous identities just as others are allowed to publish them. Its the give and take of a free society.

    I’m frankly more than a little disgusted with you that you would be so cavalier about other people’s freedom and safety.

    Blow it out your ass. I’m more than a little indifferent to what you think about me generally.

  351. 351
    Aratina Cage

    Holy fuckmonkeys, you are fucking dense!

    Gee, thanks. That just reinforces my feeling that I should have nothing to do with you.

  352. 352
    LeftSidePositive

    Hurin, I think I already mentioned teachers as people who have a higher risk of harm and therefore are more justifiable to out. See comment #220.

    And OF COURSE Thunderf00t is analogous to VA in this scenario. That’s the whole fucking point. That is why we need to respect anonymity AND privacy. Not because of the arcane whatever of the mailing list, but because Natalie would be in personal and professional danger otherwise.

    And we CANNOT protect our pseudonyms if others are allowed to publish them. That means everyone is vulnerable and communicating on borrowed time. That is not an acceptable risk to place our fellow human beings in. Get some ethics.

  353. 353
    Crissa

    I don’t get it. Why don’t Muslims – or anyone – have a right not to have offensive, untrue, and degrading statements said about them?

    Why does someone have the right to scream invectives or lie about you or yours?

  354. 354
    Hurin

    Last post for the night…

    arcane whatever of the mailing list

    It’s called an agreement. Do those exist in your ontology?

    but because Natalie would be in personal and professional danger otherwise.

    The agreement was there to protect Natalie, and other principles who wanted to share information amongst themselves that was not public knowledge.

    I think I already mentioned teachers as people who have a higher risk of harm and therefore are more justifiable to out.

    I’m sorry, I lost your point like 100 posts ago. You seem to think its REALLY important not to out anyone, ever, except in the long list of nuanced exceptions you give, which include most of the relevant ones that anyone here would ever support, and the one relevant to the thread. Why the hell are you wasting our time with this again?

    And we CANNOT protect our pseudonyms if others are allowed to publish them.

    Of course we can. We can do it by guarding access to our information. We can do it by forming confidentiality agreements. We can do it by not appearing in public if we aren’t comfortable with that.

    Orthogonal to that, we can support people who are being unjustly treated because their identities have come to be known, whether it be because of doc dropping, or because they have chosen to be open about their political activities.

    We can take a non-Stalinist approach and still defend ourselves and our allies, and still shame the Klansmen and MRAs where appropriate.

  355. 355
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Leftside

    Hey dumbass, get a clue! You not outing someone doesn’t have any fucking affect on whether assholes will out people. Stop pretending that you can generate some magic shield of justice

  356. 356
    Crissa

    Or steal your photographs and use them without permission? Or share images of private, non-consenting people for fap material?

    This shouldn’t be rocket science. Copyright is still copyright even when no money is attached. Assault is still assault when using words and lies. Invasion of privacy is still invasion of privacy when using people’s images without permission for their image. And how is distributing foul, slanderous invective with the intent of riling people some sort of innocent action?

    I don’t get it. If someone is stalking or doing any of these things, the first thing they lose is anonymity. Can’t make them truly stop without removing that.

  357. 357
    Crissa

    Excuse me, Leftside, what slanderous thing did Natalie say? What person’s image did she distribute without their permission? What offensive and untrue material did she transmit with the intent of cause harm to others?

  358. 358
    Ingdigo Jump

    Boy I hope Leftsided isn’t indicative of A+, cause otherwise it looks like it’d be a group of armchair liberal douchebags enjoying talking about issues but tut tutting at the idea of doing shit

  359. 359
    LeftSidePositive

    Crissa, I don’t think you understand how analogies work. Thunderf00t is analogous to VA, in that they are vindictively threatening the privacy of innocent people, while Natalie is analogous to the girls who got creepshot, in that their privacy was threatened.

    Hurin–Some people here, including Bumner, Aratina, and Nerd, seem to think it’s okay to out people merely for offensive opinions, so no you are completely wrong that the list covers everything that people on this forum support. If you want to call people Stalinist, why don’t you go after the ones who are actually trying to retaliate against isolated speech!

  360. 360
    Ingdigo Jump

    Hurin–Some people here, including Bumner, Aratina, and Nerd, seem to think it’s okay to out people merely for offensive opinions, so no you are completely wrong that the list covers everything that people on this forum support. If you want to call people Stalinist, why don’t you go after the ones who are actually trying to retaliate against isolated speech!

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATHEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSSM PLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUS!

  361. 361
    Stacy

    talking about issues but tut tutting at the idea of doing shit

    Talking about and clarifying issues is doing shit. Important shit.

    LeftSidePositive’s doing a fine job in the face of relentless misapprehension and fuckwit-level misreading.

  362. 362
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Ing,

    It’s one A+ person’s opinion. I’m sure there are others who disagree with LeftSidePositive, and some who agree, and others who agree with some bits and disagree with others, and so on. You know I’m not A+ but I think you’re being unfair on this account. When N=1, it doesn’t indicate much.

    +++++
    Anyway (not to Ing in particular now) — I’m still not getting into the substantive, on-topic parts of this particular discussion, but — LeftSidePositive is good people (who left lots of other good comments in that thread, just for instance). I do hope that no hard feelings are carried out of this thread. This is a pretty intense debate, and it could get unnecessarily personal, and I really hope that it doesn’t. I know some regulars here might not recognize LeftSidePositive; so I just wanted to point out that this is a person who you’ll generally appreciate having around, regardless of how one debate goes.

    (I know! I know! It’s Pharyngula! I’m not saying be nice! I just hope no hard feelings go beyond this thread.)

  363. 363
    Nick Gotts

    Nick, as you know, Im a terrible person. One of my worst traits is that I really hate getting stuck behind horse drawn wagons on my favorite country road. Suppose I had the notion to make a film with the intention of causing an Mennonite riot. Could you help me with that? What buttons could I push to cause such a thing? How could I manipulate people thousands of miles away via youtube, a technology most of them will never interact with, into a fit of murderous rage? You seem to understand this process. – md

    I’m well aware that you’re not only very unpleasant, but also extremely stupid. But I have trouble believing you are really stupid enough for this to think this has any relevance whatever, and conclude that you’re simply being dishonest. Of course the jihadis who rioted and murdered are violent bigots. That is exactly why the fascistic scum who made The Innocence of Muslims and distributed it throughout the Muslim world were able to manipulate them; and it does not diminish by one iota the evil of deliberately provoking violence against innocent third parties, any more than the evil of making and distributing the film diminishes by one iota the evil of the rioters and murderers.

    Manipulation via YouTube? What exactly is supposed to be incredible about that? The mass media have been the major means of political manipulation for the last century at least. In fact, as I’ve already noted, the jihadis and the far-right scum who made and distributed the video are symbiotic: the actions of each benefit the other in their political projects.

    Evidently, you consider the action of the film-makers in deliberately provoking violence against innocent third parties in order to advance their own far-right cause ethically acceptable; but no person with a spark of decency could agree.

  364. 364
    strange gods before me ॐ

    md probably does not live near Mennonite country. It’s just plain ignorant to imagine that most of them will never use the internet.

  365. 365
    Nick Gotts

    More seriously, Nick, I think the fact that you don’t like the people who published the film, and thus expect you can presume their motives had this intent has deeply deflected your judgement, and not to its advantage.

    They’re a murky lot, all of them, and I don’t much like them, either. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those involved in this did figure riots would serve their purpose–up to and including dignifying a return to martial law in Egypt–but this, note, is pretty difficult to know.

    Oh fuck off. Do a little research before you make a further fool of yourself. Look here, and here for a start. Are you really claiming you can read those articles and not conclude that the video makers intended to provoke violence against innocent third parties? We have:

    As a consultant for the film named Steve Klein said: “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen.”

    and:

    As Sadek said, “the violence that [the film] caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people”.

    What I’m seeing from you and others with regard to the motivation of the film-makers is exactly the same kind of “hyperscepticism” we constantly get from MRAs. I mean, it’s really difficult to be sure that Elevator Guy didn’t just intend an invitation for coffee, isn’t it?

    It’s also one hell of a Hail Mary to pull, for the Egyptian Copts involved, who generally aren’t entirely delighted to see Muslims rioting.

    You did notice that the Egyptian Copts involved tried to conceal their involvement, inventing an Israeli Jew “Sam Bacile” and a host of Jewish backers? And here’s what some Copts think:

    According to Copts Today, an Arabic news outlet focusing on Coptic affairs, Sadek was seen taking a leisurely stroll down Washington’s M Street on September 11, soaking in the sun on a perfect autumn day. All of a sudden, he found himself surrounded by four angry Coptic women. Berating Sadek for fueling the flames of sectarian violence, the women took off their heels and began beating him over the head.

    “If anything happens to a Christian in Egypt,” one of them shouted at him, “you’ll be the reason!”

    And, actually, I still have to maintain: their intent is quite beside the point, here, anyway.

    Then you’re a moral imbecile. You are taking the same line as the scumbag Brutsch, that “free speech” means you have no moral responsibility for what you “say”. In fact, you are going further: you are saying that even if you fully intend the evil that follows from your action, as long as that action is some form of self-expression, you are not responsible for the resulting and fully intended evil.

    The rest of your blather is irrelevant since I’m not arguing about whether what the film-makers did should be illegal; I don’t have a settled view on that either way. I’m arguing that they are morally responsible for their motivations and actions. Why is that so fucking hard to understand or accept?

  366. 366
    Bernard Bumner

    @Stacy,

    LeftSidePositive’s doing a fine job in the face of relentless misapprehension and fuckwit-level misreading.

    Is that all you have to say on the matter? Thanks for your sterling contribution to the debate.

    @LeftSidePositive,
    Please define the level of harm you require in order to out someone.

    My argument is that there is no such thing as victimless racism/sexism, and that the harm caused is both real and worthy of action once some fuzzy line is crossed.

    You may also want to consider that your arguments are sometimes very US-centric, which the Internet is not – the rights you think of as being universal, often aren’t.

  367. 367
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m beginning to see this argument as futile since you simply refuse to acknowledge the point that we are making and instead are focusing on strawman attacks.

    Ditto.

  368. 368
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m beginning to see this argument as futile since you simply refuse to acknowledge the point that we are making

    If the point is presuppositional, and not based on reality, why should it be acknowledged? Especially when it is obvious you can’t admit you might be wrong, which is required for real discussion. Otherwise, you are preaching, not discussing minister.

  369. 369
    judithsanders

    What Brutsch did on Creepshots is an actual crime in many places. Nobody should have the least qualm about revealing his identity. My concern is why Reddit let him get so far without censoring him.

  370. 370
    skeptifem

    I for one appreciate LSP’s posts a lot. That was illuminating and well thought out. I take back what I said about anonymity being separate from privacy.

  371. 371
    Bernard Bumner

    I for one appreciate LSP’s posts a lot.

    I wouldn’t argue that the debate isn’t worthwhile, but there is a clear impasse, and from my point of view in no small part due to LSP arguing for ideals or absolutes but then failing to define the different categories of harm or to give useful functional definitions.

    I certainly don’t want or need LSP to either shut up or to accept my argument, if that is what you or anyone else construes.

  372. 372
    itinerant

    In utterly unrelated news, Anonymous claims to have tracked down one of Amanda Todd’s harassers (or perhaps the primary one), who posted on Reddit.

    “The group says the B.C. man visited a teen chat forum that claims to offer sexual advice for teens and a photo gallery called “Jailbait.”

    So-called “jailbait” boards are scattered throughout the Internet. Dozens of users on the popular social media website Reddit refer to themselves as “ephebophiles” – adults who are attracted to teenagers. The “Jailbait” section of Reddit was created by one of the site’s “most active contributors,” says one Reddit user. The section has since been deleted.”

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1272046–hackers-say-they-ve-found-amanda-todd-s-tormentor

  373. 373
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @365. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) :

    Are you really claiming you can read those articles and not conclude that the video makers intended to provoke violence against innocent third parties?

    Whatever happened to “intent isn’t magic?”

    Who cares what the the Innocence of Muslims filmakers intended – what did they actually do?

    They made a bad Youtube movie.

    Now what are the rational proportionate reasonable responses to a bad movie?

    Criticism, bad reviews, counter-movies, ignoring or laughing at it, shrugging and walking away.

    All of those options were available to the Muslims.

    What did they choose to do? Global riots, murders, death threats and attacks.

    Not reasonable, not proportionate, not rational or excusable – and yes, sadly predictable from the sort of religious ideology that has pulled shit like that far too often before.

    Who was responsible for the latter – the Muslims – and only them.

    Or do you think the Muslims are incapable of reasoning properly and behaving rationally and proportionately?

  374. 374
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @365. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) :

    What I’m seeing from you and others with regard to the motivation of the film-makers is exactly the same kind of “hyperscepticism” we constantly get from MRAs. I mean, it’s really difficult to be sure that Elevator Guy didn’t just intend an invitation for coffee, isn’t it?

    Eh? No. I think the IoM filmakers set out to provoke and insult people – just like PZ did with his descration of the cracker.

    And they suceeded because the Muslims did go even more batshit frothing at the mouths murderously mad than expected. The IoM filmakers were in effect, very successful, nasty trolls.

    They cannot however be blamed for the Muslims actions and deeds which the Muslims chose.

    If someone calls you a rude name -and you take a shotgun and blow away your neighbour who happens to have the same ethnic background as the person who called you a rude name then use a flamethrower to burn down that neighbours house, who gets charged with arson and murder? You do – and rightly fucking so.

    That’s a good analogy for this situation with IoM and the Muslims.

    As Sadek said, “the violence that [the film] caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people”.

    .. are, I presume?

    Yes. It is exactly that as Sadek said. Evidence that Islam is a violent religion followed by intolerant, thuggish violent fools.

    I think the point md made – and its a great one – is that no other religion would react quite so appalling badly to being mocked. Not the Memmonites, not the Buddhists, not even the Christians.

    Islamists want to bully the rest of the planet into granting them and the child-raping, murderous sack of shit dark age “prophet” undue respect which they certainly don’t deserve and haven’t earned. Fuck ‘em.

    And fuck you if you’re going to take their side.

    A person is responsible for their own actions and words.

    Some people made a shit movie intended to provoke and are responsible for that.

    Others rioted, killed and burned in disproportionate OTT response to that. They are responsible for that. For what they did and will still do. Things like murdering schoolgirls and terrorist attacks and constantly spreading a hateful overgrown misogynist cult.

    If you don’t get that then the “moral imbecile” is you.

  375. 375
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @211. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist “Starting Tonight, People will Whine”

    Why isn’t md banned again?

    Why should md be banned?

    Simply because xe makes good points that you happen to disagree with?

    Nothing md wrote sounded unreasonable or ban-worthy to me. Unlike much of what you’ve said in your disgusting, ignorant and error-filled ad hominem crammed rants at times Ing.

  376. 376
    LeftSidePositive

    Bernard: on the contrary. I am the only one here who HAS clearly defined categories of harm. I have established clear definitions in my posts, particularly #11, that has objectively definable standards for what causes harm and what justifies rescinding someone’s expectation of privacy with third-person-verifiable standards that people can accept to live with no matter *what* their political outlook. What, may I ask, are YOUR standards? You haven’t defined any.

    And I’m sorry, but if you think that speech that is offensive to a nebulous group of people can count as malfeasance and justify punitive action against it–that just eliminates the entire concept of free speech! Please note (AGAIN) that I am NOT SAYING that racist, sexist shit is not harmful to many people. Of course it is. But it is harmful in the web of beliefs and judgements and microaggressions and unconscious biases that are NOT traceable to any one particular person and affects others in indirect ways like a ripple effect. Holding one person responsible for a belief they have, based on your assessment of the broader sociological harm they do, is not a reproducible way to run a justice system. Yes, YOU know what systemic harms are–but there are staggering numbers of people in this world who think that gays getting married or lack of school prayer causes systemic social harms. This is why we as a society hold people accountable for defined mistreatment against defined individuals. We have to have boundaries and not retaliate against people or do them harm just because we think they’re shitheads. We may be right–they probably are shitheads! But this is not a reasonable or reliable standard, and just assuming everyone else shares your values and shares your assessment of harms and will understand why you have the moral high ground, is simply laughable.

  377. 377
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    municipalis

    It is possible to have privacy without anonymity; anonymity is sufficient but not necessary. In some cases though, anonymity is an essential requirement. I’d even argue it’s somewhat essential to a functioning democracy. [...]

    Essentially, my argument here has been that if you agree that there is a moral right to privacy when committing a “political act” (in the Foucalidan sense), then that right has to extend in some degree to viewpoints you do not necessarily agree with.

    I have absolutely no problem with any of that. Obviously you agree with me that anonymity is not equivalent to privacy. They are separate, useful concepts, but they are not the same. They can be confounded by each other and they may even sometimes be necessary for each other, but they are not one and the same thing. Such distinctions necessarily blur at some point but it remains that they are not equivalent. I imagine them as converging spectra. Perhaps that’s a helpful visual.

    Of course, I agree that the possibility of claiming some anonymity is essential to a functioning democracy. I don’t take it you, for instance, agreed with the banning of masks during the recent Montreal student protests? I didn’t.

    I’m well aware of the MacLean’s case, thanks. That’s not a failing of the legislation and you ought to know that. It was a failing of the CHRC, the provincial HR courts, their mandates and how they’re operated. That case should never have made it so far. A clarification of the scope of the legislation would certainly help, but a narrower mandate for the courts would be just as useful. The spirit of that legislation is fine, it’s just in the wrong hands.

    This whole conversation has devolved from talk of the heinous actions (or crimes) of one man whose anonymity was revoked into a defence of nebulous anonymous behaviour due to concern. Well, I reject that concern. It’s terribly misplaced. I also categorically reject the meta-conversation that is occurring as pertains to freedom of expression and anonymity online; it’s the pointless JAQing of LeftSidePositive and this is why:

    I can agree that of course mere disagreement or just bad behaviour is hardly a cause to revoke someone’s anonymity, at least online, but that’s an evolving social courtesy, not a hard and fast rule, not a law, and it’s certainly not objective and nor is there an objective standard against which to measure someone’s behaviour to pass judgment on the value of their anonymity. I certainly don’t think that a law is required to govern anonymity or whistle-blowers. (Can you even imagine how ineffective, unenforceable and laughable such a law would be? And in who’s jurisdiction would it be? The US? It’s actually a crazy notion. Crazier than brazenly revoking the anonymity of a blandly racist internet douche!)

    It’s up to individuals, to the groups to which they belong, to the cultures the create to decide the value of someone’s anonymity. This works. I’ve said it before, anonymity is a privilege, not a guarantee and it is a tenuous thing, a tightrope and it is an individual’s responsibility to guard. I haven o sympathy for those who abuse their privilege and find their anonymity revoked. They piss on the whole concept and they give it a bad name. They make it harder, more dangerous even, for people who need their anonymity respected by others for their own protection.

    I doubt very much if I even have an argument with you, municipalis. As for LeftSidePositive, I can hardly say anything else. Let this post stand. I’m done entertaining masturbation.

  378. 378
    Hurin

    Left Side Positive

    And I’m sorry, but if you think that speech that is offensive to a nebulous group of people can count as malfeasance and justify punitive action against it–that just eliminates the entire concept of free speech!

    No. Speech can be used to counter speech. This is the same stupid argument that the redditors friendly to Violentacrez tried to pull. Posting identifying information is a form of speech. As I previously noted there can be legal consequences for it, if it is done irresponsibly, but it is often protected speech, and rightly so.

    Holding one person responsible for a belief they have, based on your assessment of the broader sociological harm they do, is not a reproducible way to run a justice system. Yes, YOU know what systemic harms are–but there are staggering numbers of people in this world who think that gays getting married or lack of school prayer causes systemic social harms. This is why we as a society hold people accountable for defined mistreatment against defined individuals.

    I get this feeling that you think Bernard and Aratina are proposing some kind of campaign that systematically identifies and outs large numbers of people for holding wrongheaded ideas. Like maybe to identify and publish the personal information of everyone who voted for the constitutional amendment to ban LGBT marriage in MI. This is why, IMO, people are suggesting that you are responding to strawmen.

    In order for an outing to mean anything, someone has to care about the identity of the person being outed. No one cares if Billy Bob Johnson of Peoria likes to hoggle in the basement about teh geys and how they shouldn’t get married. If he keeps it to himself then that is his own business, and you probably can’t even discover his homophobia without invading his privacy or getting to know him. If Billy logs into Stormf**** as “sskommando88″ to hoggle about teh geys publicly, then this is somewhat worse, but you still probably can’t find out that Billy is behind “sskommando88″ without invading his privacy and it probably isn’t worth your time to try. This calculus changes if he becomes prominent or obviously dangerous; founding or moderating anti gay groups as “sskommando88″, plotting crimes, or if it comes out that “sskommando88″ teaches PE at South Peoria High.

    We have to have boundaries and not retaliate against people or do them harm just because we think they’re shitheads.

    Yes we do, and they specifically apply to what can be said about people in the form of defamation laws. I’m not allowed to bug Billy’s basement or hack his stormf**** account. That would be invasion of privacy. I’m not allowed to disclose the content of a discussion I had with him about gay rights if I am his shrink, because we presumably had a confidentiality agreement (and this ends of course when/if he threatens to murder people). But if Billy volunteers an anti-gay rant to me, I am not required to keep my mouth shut about it when he applies for the PE teaching position or runs for mayor. If Billy doesn’t like what I’ve said about him, he can recover by suing for defamation provided that what I’ve said isn’t true.

  379. 379
    kingofthemews

    Jailbait defenders would often argue that if 14-year-olds didn’t want their bikini pictures to be posted to Reddit, they should not have taken them and uploaded them to their Facebook accounts in the first place. If Brutsch did not want his employers to know that he had become a minor internet celebrity through spending hours every day posting photos of 14-year-olds in bikinis to thousands of people on the internet, he should have stuck to posting cat videos.

    Privacy: apparently it only applies to people posting cat videos. Cephalopod lovers, considers yourselves on notice.

  380. 380
    AJ Milne

    … you’re a moral imbecile. You are taking the same line as the scumbag Brutsch, that “free speech” means you have no moral responsibility for what you “say”. In fact, you are going further: you are saying that even if you fully intend the evil that follows from your action, as long as that action is some form of self-expression, you are not responsible for the resulting and fully intended evil.

    Right, you moral genius, you. Saying ‘someone distributing porn without the permission of his subjects oughtta be pointed out as doing so and the harm appropriately attributed to him’ is exactly the same as saying ‘someone who blasphemes against someone else’s religion isn’t responsible if that someone else calls that ‘provocation’ and then goes on to kill or hurt someone’.

    Exactly the same.

    And yes, I sure as hell am saying he’s not responsible. Let us repeat this, once more, for the slow ones (you) in this audience. I’ll use small words, and try to type slowly:

    Making a YouTube video mocking Mohammed…

    (Pausing here, for Nick to catch up…)

    … and publicising that video …

    (Pause …)

    … does not make you responsible for the violence …

    (Pause…)

    … that follows …

    (Pause…)

    … when a Salafist …

    (Pause…)

    … calls for violence in response …

    (Pause…)

    … and street thugs …

    (Pause…)

    … commit that violence.

    Oh, and re:

    The rest of your blather is irrelevant since I’m not arguing about whether what the film-makers did should be illegal; I don’t have a settled view on that either way. I’m arguing that they are morally responsible for their motivations and actions. Why is that so fucking hard to understand or accept?

    Emphasis mine.

    It’s not ‘hard to understand’. As I indicated in ‘the rest of my blather’, I think I understand it just fine…

    But it’s ‘hard to accept’, sure as hell.

    You say it, I’m pointing out the consequences. The fact that I didn’t spell it out, well, dearie, thanks so much for helping out, there now.

    To the point: settle that view, kindly. If you make it illegal to offend someone else’s religion because that someone else is going to kill someone over it, what have you effectively done?

    As to this ‘hyperskepticism’, again, no. The trouble with motivation is: it’s more complicated than that. And yes, you can fairly say: ‘I expect someone may well lose their nut over this, but I’m not going to let that stop me saying it, because, look, that just means all you need to do to shut me up is threaten to lose your nut’. That doesn’t mean ‘I mean to cause violence’. That goes to: ‘I’m not going to let the possibility of violence shut me up’.

    … which, by the way, is one of the reasons bringing it in here is just hopelessly fraught. You make a law that says ‘blasphemy is illegal if you intend to foment violence’, and it’s just not going to be workable. (Especially, I might add, if it’s clumsy, tendentious tools like you gathering and evaluating that ‘evidence’.) And, thus, yes, again, even assigning that ‘moral responsibility’ or yours for the violence to the filmmakers is completely unreasonable.

    They didn’t kill. They didn’t even say ‘kill’. They said ‘your prophet wears army boots’, and someone else said ‘kill’.

    So, again, yes, what you are doing is just incredible silliness, with a backsplash that’s just incredibly nasty. Slashing away at and ultimately undermining the rights of people to comment upon someone else’s faith because you think they’re just out to cause trouble, and thus may legitimately be penalized or silenced? Not wise. Not wise at all.

  381. 381
    md

    Nick,

    when you say you dont have a settled view on what the Innocence makers did, would you mind expanding on what exactly your mulling over? What did they do that you’re contemplating whether it would be better if it were illegal?

  382. 382
    municipalis


    If the point is presuppositional, and not based on reality, why should it be acknowledged? Especially when it is obvious you can’t admit you might be wrong, which is required for real discussion. Otherwise, you are preaching, not discussing minister.

    Once again you ignore the actual points and my refutation of your strawmen, and come back by attacking the messenger.

    I’m completely willing to admit I might be wrong. Are you? I seriously don’t think so.

  383. 383
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I am going to ignore the legal side of this, for the simple reason that I am not an expert on legal matters and I don’t want to say something incorrect. I’m going to stick to the ethical/moral side.

    1. If you say/do something, and someone else does something in response, then
    A. If their reaction was expected and predictable, then you carry at least some responsibility for their action.
    B. If their reaction was not, then you do not carry responsibility.
    2. People in public should have a reasonable expectation that they will not be photographed without their consent.
    3. While anonymity (or, more properly, pseudonymity – the denizens of 4chan are anonymous because there is no way to trace what a given commenter said back to a single person, a person commenting under an established handle can be identified even if just by their handle) is an important aspect of the internet and – yes – free speech, it is not the be-all-end all. The crux of the matter is platform. I have the right to sit down at my computer and type whatever the fuck I want. PZ, as the administrator of this space, is not obligated to let me post here. He could ban me if he wanted. Free speech is a right, an audience is not.
    4. The danger of outing someone is directly related to the risk to the person being outed. Violentacrez ran the risk of losing his job (has already happened) and being socially scorned (has already happened). There is a smaller risk of someone being violent, but his status as a cis heterosexual white man in the middle-class protects him a great deal. By contrast, outing a trans woman is risky because there are people, a lot of them who make it their business to harass, demean, destroy and kill trans women. Trans women lack cis privilege, and many of them also lack heterosexual privilege. A disproportionate number of trans women are poor, which is further discrimination. This goes back to #1. What is the expected, predictable, plausible response to person X being outed? Well, who is person X?
    5. “Shoving the racists/misogynists/etc off of reddit will just make them surface elsewhere!” Yes. And? The goal is to marginalize them. If they are shoved off of the popular forums, then they aren’t on the popular forums anymore, limiting their audience and reach (See #3). Also, when the point is made, again and again, that a given message is inappropriate, the Overton Window starts shifting and society responds by either beginning to also say that a given message is inappropriate, or rejecting those who are saying that the message is inappropriate.

  384. 384
    Ingdigo Jump

    @sg

    I take your opinion seriously so ill appologize for conflating LS with other asses

  385. 385
    abb3w

    Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire notes some of the existing case-law recognized limits of “free speech”. The question of limits from a moral vantage is non-trivially different, but dependent on what bridging axiom is used to resolve the is-ought problem.

    Similarly, the degree to which these are “problems” is also dependent on what ordering relationship of “better” alternates is meant. However, asking about how to generally define such ordering tends to raise hackles, and giving a solid (non-arbitrary) answer to it is a pretty hard philosophical problem.

  386. 386
    Nick Gotts

    when you say you dont have a settled view on what the Innocence makers did, would you mind expanding on what exactly your mulling over? – md

    I’m not about to do anything on your request, scumbag.

  387. 387
    Bernard Bumner

    And I’m sorry, but if you think that speech that is offensive to a nebulous group of people can count as malfeasance and justify punitive action against it–that just eliminates the entire concept of free speech!

    I’m not looking to silence anyone other than by making their opinions socially unacceptable and by depriving them of a legitimised platform. I’m certainly not looking to criminalise hate speech, because that is a dangerous route to take (and one that the UK seems to sadly intent upon following).

    I am looking to take away a privilege which allows people to have a disproportionately unfettered and unaccountable platform,which is one of the sources of power they wield destructively against the disenfranchised.

    Free speech is not about providing an equal platform for all speech.

    As to the standards I would set, I think I’ve been fairly honest that I would consider each case on its merits. Outing someone is not something I would do lightly, and clearly not if there was likely to be a threat to life and limb. If I consider someone to be likely to cause harm, if someone has a prominent platform, if I think that they have undue influence, then I would consider what to do.

    As to your standards of palpable harm, I’m still unsure as to how you draw the line. If one my friends feels threatened and depressed or attacked by the racism/sexism, should I lecture them about the virtues of free speech? If they have hateful/discriminatory texts and videos waved in their faces, is that sufficiently specific harm for me to act?

    Your limits seem to be the same as those prescribed by law but I have, as a private citizen, a concerned individual, a political person, other actions of recourse available to me. I would reveal an identity, no more, no less. The law requires a greater burden of evidence because it must be systematic and doesn’t act as moral arbiter in each case. I am not the law, and nor do my actions carry the force of the law.

  388. 388
    municipalis

    Esteleth All good points which I don’t think anyone disagrees with here. The debate here (as I see it at least) centres around your 4th point – the question is at which point is it morally/ethically acceptable to disregard someone’s attempt at anonymity/request at privacy and out them to socially shame them.

    I’m of the opinion (and I believe Left is as well) that unless someone has made a credible threat or is committing an illegal act, they should have a reasonable (and perhaps legally protected) expectation of privacy. Violenacrez clearly did not deserve his privacy under this standard, but others still might. Essentially, I don’t think making stupid or offensive comments on the internet is sufficient cause to strip someone of their privacy expectations.

    My reasoning for supporting a blanket privacy is simple: There is no objective standard by which we can determine legitimate offense from the illegitimate. I don’t trust our political system to appoint moral arbiters who will always see things my way. I worry that when we start exempting certain speech acts from expectations of privacy, we run the risk of people like Todd Akin coming into power and exploiting those to strip privacy from vulnerable people who actually need it.

  389. 389
    Nick Gotts

    There is no objective standard by which we can determine legitimate offense from the illegitimate. I don’t trust our political system to appoint moral arbiters who will always see things my way. I worry that when we start exempting certain speech acts from expectations of privacy, we run the risk of people like Todd Akin coming into power and exploiting those to strip privacy from vulnerable people who actually need it. – municipalis

    Since we are discussing the morality of private individuals outing other private individuals, the mention of the “political system appointing moral arbiters” is a red herring. Your “worry” is absurd: do you really think a far right government would be in the slightest dissuaded from persecuting the objects of its hate because “we start exempting certain free speech acts from expectations of privacy”?

  390. 390
    Nick Gotts

    Sorry, that last sentence@389 is confused. It should read:

    Your “worry” is absurd: do you really think a far right government would be in the slightest dissuaded from persecuting the objects of its hate because “we” refrain from “exempting certain free speech acts from expectations of privacy”?

  391. 391
    Bernard Bumner

    My reasoning for supporting a blanket privacy is simple: There is no objective standard by which we can determine legitimate offense from the illegitimate. I don’t trust our political system to appoint moral arbiters who will always see things my way. I worry that when we start exempting certain speech acts from expectations of privacy, we run the risk of people like Todd Akin coming into power and exploiting those to strip privacy from vulnerable people who actually need it.

    Part of the problem is that you’re arguing from a purely legalistic viewpoint. I don’t think anyone wants legislation to further restrict free speech.

  392. 392
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    If it is right and proper that the consequences of violating someone’s privacy is your own privacy to be freely violated, that applies to everyone – including the people who are carrying out those consequences.

    Because one is just like the other? Try it this way:

    If it is right and proper that the consequences of holding someone against their will is for you to be held against your own will, that applies to everyone – including the people who are carrying out those consequences.

    In other words, all police, lawyers and judges should be locked away. Because arresting a kidnapper is, by your logic, just like kidnapping somebody.

  393. 393
    daniellavine

    Regarding criminalization, from my perspective the whole point of outing someone like VA is to avoid having to criminalize the behavior the person was engaged in with all the concomitant unintended consequences of such laws. We could pass laws restricting camera use in public the way, say, Germany does but I don’t think that would make our society any better. So much better to just force VA and people like him to take responsibility for what they do and say — and that’s all the suspension of anonymity does.

    Let me also demonstrate really quickly that anonymity and privacy are clearly not the same thing: I’m posting this under my real name so I have no anonymity. But I still have privacy. No one is taking pictures of me in public and no one is rooting through my trash. Privacy but no anonymity. How about anonymity without privacy? Sure; a little more far-fetched but one could imagine someone publishing embarrassing real-life details about a pseudonymous person. (Obviously an anonymous vs. a pseudonymous person wouldn’t need to care about such details being published.)

    Incidentally, in case anyone was wondering why Google was being so strict about the “real names” thing…could it have been because they didn’t want g+ to turn into reddit? Those who abuse free speech without taking responsibility for what they’re saying undermine that freedom for the rest of us. As we can see from Canada and Europe, we have especially strong free speech protections in the US. I like it that way. All the more reason to demand people engaging in speech take responsibility for it by acknowledging their real-world identities.

    Anonymity itself has, to my knowledge, never been protected. There’s no right to anonymous speech. If someone can figure out who you are they can publish that — as a matter of legality. However, anonymity is frequently valuable and so in some circumstances people go out of their way to preserve it. Journalists citing anonymous sources aren’t legally obligated in any way to protect the source’s identities. Whether such anonymity is protected is a judgement call made by the journalist on the basis of maintaining a reputation (no more leaks if you break guarantees of anonymity) and for moral reasons (if a whistleblower technically committed a crime in leaking the information, etc.).

    This obsession with anonymity as an inalienable right and an end in itself is, as far as I can tell, a social more that is specific to reddit and a few other online communities. It’s not really based on anything but a gut feeling that “it’s the way it should be.” Are there good moral arguments for not outing people? Of course there are. There are also good moral arguments against letting people use anonymity to spread lies, rumors, innuendo, and other forms of hate. As I said before, irresponsible use of free speech undermines the justifications for free speech. This implies that sometimes the moral thing might be to ensure that the speaker is held responsible which simply can’t happen when they’re allowed to engage in that speech anonymously.

  394. 394
    AJ Milne

    I will add one qualifier to the ‘Bacile’ affair ‘moral responsibility/legal responsibility’ thing:

    I would, generally, agree that any crew and actors endangered by this might have a pretty clear case for damages against whoever dubbed in the lines that changed this from the alleged ‘desert epic’ they thought they were shooting, to the piece that turns it into the ‘life of Mohammed’ thing it became, and which thereafter put them in danger, and there’s moral and civil legal responsibility there at least, fair enough.

    That’s complicated, but it seems clear enough if that was the plan all along (as it almost certainly was, given those involved), whoever planned the same action badly misrepresented what their crew were taking part in, and what the risks/costs might be, so on, so that is, yes, pretty appalling. It’s one thing to say ‘I need to say this and I won’t let the danger silence me’, and, yes, even ‘I realize this may put others not related to the film in danger but as this is the responsibility of those who do so, and it is my right of expression they attempt thereby to suppress, I’m going ahead’.

    … and it’s quite another to say ‘… and I’m going directly and knowingly to drag others into that danger without their knowledge, without disclosing the same, without getting their agreement ahead of time, compensating them accordingly, if they so require, and so on.

    But even there, you have to be careful. It has to be clear it’s about the private relationship, and the misrepresentation of the nature of the work, and the danger, and the long-term costs. If you let it spread out to ‘… also it may endanger the public, or Egyptian Copts in general, so he owes them his silence’, again, you’re creating a huge problem, and, I’d say, unfairly and unworkably spreading blame around, to the point it effectively silences criticism according to how violently someone opposed to that view might react, who they’re perceived to be, elsewhere, and so on.

    Shorter: it’s fair to require people to disclose to others who they’re actively involving and putting at risk, and to allow those others to seek damages if the relationship is fraudulent in that sense. It’s not fair to say ‘if anyone gets hurt it’s on you’.

    I’d also add re this whole ‘we figured this would happen’, even this, you can take only so far, at this point.

    Realistically, I don’t think they really knew this would happen. The salafists could have ignored it, or said, ‘tawdry, cheap, shitty; go blow yourself’ and left it at that. Saying afterward you figured they’d go ballistic doesn’t get you very far. What happened is also a product of circumstances, local politics, so on.

    … remember, after all: lots of folks are rather fond of after-the-fact claims to prophethood. ‘Saw the coming’, is always easy to say, but, well, sure.

  395. 395
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    A single moral/ethical standard for deciding the ethics of outing someone?

    How ’bout this:
    1. Is the person being outed a member of an oppressed group?
    2. Is the person being outed a member of an dominant group, and does this dominant-membership convey enough power to cancel out any oppressed-membership?
    3. Is the person being outed engaging in activity that harms, directly or indirectly, members of oppressed group(s)?

    If yes, out the bastards. If not, no.

  396. 396
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Er, that is, if “1″ is no or two is “yes,” AND three is “yes,” out them.

  397. 397
    Nick Gotts

    A J Milne

    If you let it spread out to ‘… also it may endanger the public, or Egyptian Copts in general, so he owes them his silence’, again, you’re creating a huge problem, and, I’d say, unfairly and unworkably spreading blame around, to the point it effectively silences criticism according to how violently someone opposed to that view might react, who they’re perceived to be, elsewhere, and so on.

    Shorter: it’s fair to require people to disclose to others who they’re actively involving and putting at risk, and to allow those others to seek damages if the relationship is fraudulent in that sense. It’s not fair to say ‘if anyone gets hurt it’s on you’.

    If it is reasonably predictable, then it is entirely fair to say you bear some responsibility for it. It could still be right to go ahead – that has to be judged on a case-by-case basis. But to declare that you have no responsibility for the predictable consequences of your acts is moral imbecility.

    I’d also add re this whole ‘we figured this would happen’, even this, you can take only so far, at this point.

    Realistically, I don’t think they really knew this would happen.

    Why the fuck are you so keen to make excuses for these scumbags? So what if they could not be 100% sure of the outcome? That’s generally the case in human affairs, particularly if you are trying to manipulate others. We have a statement from one of those involved that they expected violence. We have exploitation of the violence for political ends. Are you telling me you believe these fascistic shits didn’t think about how they would use the violence they expected, or that they didn’t welcome it?

  398. 398
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I do not see “Well, the Islamists are violent thugs, they were going to riot anyway” is a defense for making Innocence. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    I’m also very sympathetic to the argument that this nonsense has endangered Christians and Jews living in majority-Muslim areas – an endangerment that was predictable.

  399. 399
    reliwhat

    if you’re looking for an actually good article on free speech, check this one out http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2012/10/16/the-decline-of-free-speech-in-the-west

  400. 400
    AJ Milne

    Why the fuck are you so keen to make excuses for these scumbags? So what if they could not be 100% sure of the outcome? That’s generally the case in human affairs, particularly if you are trying to manipulate others. We have a statement from one of those involved that they expected violence. We have exploitation of the violence for political ends. Are you telling me you believe these fascistic shits didn’t think about how they would use the violence they expected, or that they didn’t welcome it?

    Nick, pal, I already told you what I’m telling you. I’m not repeating it again. I’m presuming you can, in fact, read, and maybe I hope you may some day again make some effort to use this skill. The fact that you think you can ride your righteous disgust all the way to this slapdash and incredibly ill-considered and self-serving assignment of this ‘moral responsibility’ of yours and wild tarring of anyone who calls you on it as terribly and mystifyingly unreasonable, is, I suppose, unsurprising, now.

    Guess I can’t stop you, tho’. Tar away, man.

  401. 401
    Nick Gotts

    I’m not repeating it again. – A J Milne

    Well I suppose that’s something to be thankful for. Reheated crap smells no better than the fresh variety.

  402. 402
    md

    you think you can ride your righteous disgust all the way

    Righteous disgust is a helluva drug. Some even use it as an excuse for violence. Nick, though, we don’t expect you’d ever do such a thing. We don’t predict it ahead of time, don’t give it even a 1% chance as a reasonable outcome to our disagreement with and even mockery of your strongly held opinion. So if you did commit some violence, in response to our posts, we can’t be held morally responsible. You agree with that, right?

    If you do think its a predictable outcome, please let me know and I’ll quit posting.

  403. 403
    daniellavine

    Oh God, are we still arguing about the movie and the riots?

    Get a clue, idiots. They didn’t riot just because of an offensive movie. Put yourself in the position of really devout religious folks who think the US is a filthy and decadent society (and they kinda have a point here) that props up hypocritical secular dictatorships that suppress human rights and take economic advantage of the people. There are no doubt many middle easterners — and not necessarily just Muslims — who are pissed off all the time because the west has spent the last 6 decades or so shitting on them.

    Let’s add to that: many of the rioters are no doubt living on the very edge of subsistence and food prices have been climbing. Riots are incredibly predictable as a function of food prices.

    Let’s also point out that the embassy storming seems to have been a planned operation by Salafist militants and that they used riots as a cover. That indicates to me that there’s a pretty good chance people were intentionally instigating riots for this very purpose. Someone translated the movie into Arabic — who and why? Would the English version have provoked any riots? Let’s not forget the day these riots happened on — a day that really doesn’t have anything to do with the stupid movie trailer but has a lot to do with more general middle eastern grievances against the west.

    As far as the tenor of moral superiority people decrying the riots get, let’s consider that a pretty good proportion of Americans were dead-set against any kind of Muslim place of worship being set up within, say, 10 blocks of ground zero. Why? Best reason I ever got was “disrespectful”. So I guess perceived lack of respect can blunt westerners’ oh-so-developed sense of moral clarity much like it seems to do so for middle easterners. The main difference being that the USians complaining about the “ground zero mosque” aren’t starving and oppressed, at least not to the same degree as those swarthy people so many USians would like to look down on.

    If you boil the thing down to “stupid Muslims riot over a shitty movie trailer” then you’re missing just about everything that’s actually relevant to the situation. If I had to guess, you’re willfully simplifying the problem so that you can feel good about yourself up on your high horse looking down on the pig-ignorant savages. If you ever get tired of feeling smugly superior you’re still welcome to climb down, try to look at the world from the perspective of people living in very different situations, and acknowledge that reality is complicated.

  404. 404
    Nick Gotts

    A J Milne,

    You might find it worth considering the sort of scum you’re lining up with.

  405. 405
    daniellavine

    reliwhat@399:

    “Free speech” isn’t really relevant. The first amendment guarantees protection from legal prosecution as a result of engaging in protected speech. There’s nothing there about protection from social consequences and this discussion is about social consequences.

    The question is, do you think there’s an unlimited and inalienable right to be an asshole? I don’t think there is. I think we have a moral obligation to give people some leeway to be assholes but when this goes too far it debases the justification for freedom in the first place. I’ll always advocate for social remedies before legal ones; in the case of violentacrez or whatever I approve wholeheartedly of the social remedy applied. It obviates the need for legal remedies, which as the linked article points out do pose problems for free speech.

  406. 406
    municipalis

    Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    Your “worry” is absurd: do you really think a far right government would be in the slightest dissuaded from persecuting the objects of its hate because “we start exempting certain free speech acts from expectations of privacy”?

    A government which comes into power where a law/code exists protecting the privacy of individuals for non-illegal acts will have a harder time following their discrimination agenda where only some such acts are prohibited. I don’t really want to get into a debate about the moral-legal-social nexus, though.

    Bernard Bumner

    Part of the problem is that you’re arguing from a purely legalistic viewpoint. I don’t think anyone wants legislation to further restrict free speech.

    Yes: the question I’m asking is whether or not privacy/anonymity should have legal protection and what form such a protection would take.

    If we’re talking only about moral principles, then there is no argument; bigots will invade the privacy of those they seek regardless of whether others are taking the “moral highground” or not.

    Esteleth

    A single moral/ethical standard for deciding the ethics of outing someone?

    How ’bout this:
    1. Is the person being outed a member of an oppressed group?

    “Abortion is oppressing the right to life of unborn babies!”

    2. Is the person being outed a member of an dominant group, and does this dominant-membership convey enough power to cancel out any oppressed-membership?

    “Unborn babies certainly aren’t in the dominant group: the Marxist-Liberal-Abortionfactory conspiracy is the dominant group of society.”

    3. Is the person being outed engaging in activity that harms, directly or indirectly, members of oppressed group(s)?

    “THEY ARE GENOCIDING BABIES!!!1″

    As a moral standard for yourself, it’s admirable. But as an attempt to create a legal standard, it has a lot of holes. Just about every bigot, racist, misogynist is working under the assumption that his/her ‘group’ is being oppressed by a powerful other. Men are being hurt by feminists; whites are being hurt by affirmative action; gays are destroying the traditional family, and so on.

  407. 407
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Just about every bigot, racist, misogynist is working under the assumption that his/her ‘group’ is being oppressed by a powerful other. Men are being hurt by feminists; whites are being hurt by affirmative action; gays are destroying the traditional family, and so on.

    Men are not being oppressed by feminists, et cetera.

    Believing something devoutly does not make it so.

  408. 408
    municipalis

    Esteleth

    I do not see “Well, the Islamists are violent thugs, they were going to riot anyway” is a defense for making Innocence. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    I’m not sure here… the opposite you seem to be supporting is “Because they’re violent, we should avoid speaking”. Do we really want our decision to speak being determined by the violence of those we disagree with?

  409. 409
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Do we really want our decision to speak being determined by the violence of those we disagree with?

    No.

    There is, however, a difference between a reasoned, rational, non-absurd criticism of Islam and a wildly over-the-top nonsensical spew.

    Fuck, yes, Islamists would take whatever excuse they could get. They’re extremists. But that isn’t an excuse to act like fools.

    And, like I said, I am most worried about the splash damage – I’m actually afraid to research what has happened to Copts in Egypt.

  410. 410
    municipalis

    Esteleth

    Men are not being oppressed by feminists, et cetera.

    Believing something devoutly does not make it so.

    I agree, of course, but your framework doesn’t account for that. If a fungelical took your framework they could very easily use it to their own advantage. If anti-choicers legitimately believe that they are the oppressed group, then their actions – by your framework – are justified regardless of whether you perosnally disagree with their logic. The alternative are either you:
    a) just act on your own principles and abandon the possibility of legal protection
    b) grant a blanket protection of privacy when engaged in protected speech
    c) come up with a different framework.

  411. 411
    daniellavine

    Regarding the filmmakers, it’s perfectly consistent to apply moral censure to their actions and stated intentions while still acknowledging that they’re not directly at fault for violence committed “in response” to the trailer. They’re extremists too, after all.

  412. 412
    Dhorvath, OM

    Do we really want our decision to speak being determined by the violence of those we disagree with?

    And there is no middle ground where our decisions and courses of action are influenced to greater or lesser extent by these violent outcomes?

  413. 413
    municipalis

    Esteleth

    Fuck, yes, Islamists would take whatever excuse they could get. They’re extremists. But that isn’t an excuse to act like fools.

    I completely agree (and I figured that’s what you meant). Innocence no doubt hurt a lot of innocent people and was a disgusting project. But the problem is that if we are going to protect speech then we’re stuck protecting the speech of fools.

  414. 414
    municipalis

    Dhorvath

    And there is no middle ground where our decisions and courses of action are influenced to greater or lesser extent by these violent outcomes?

    But you can’t predict outcomes! If you’re dealing with illogical opponents – opponents who will resort to violence over a cartoon – this middle ground doesn’t exist.

  415. 415
    Dhorvath, OM

    That’s quite the extremist view in itself. I won’t neglect the context of my actions and expect similar from any considered action.

  416. 416
    daniellavine

    @municipalis:

    If you’re dealing with illogical opponents – opponents who will resort to violence over a cartoon – this middle ground doesn’t exist.

    The guy who killed the cartoonist was an individual. People rioting probably have a lot more reasons than just the nominal one. If you don’t want all westerners lumped in with Anders Breveik and the assholes breaking plate windows in London then you might not want to do the same thing with “Muslims”.

    Also, could you please be more clear about the distinction between legal protections for free speech and social protections? Anonymity is not a legal right. “Protected” speech is speech protected from law, not from social consequences such as “outing.” You seem to be consistently conflating the legal and social consequences of speech in your arguments.

  417. 417
    municipalis

    Dhorvath

    That’s quite the extremist view in itself. I won’t neglect the context of my actions and expect similar from any considered action.

    Well of course – you’re a reasonable person. But my point is simply that it can sometimes be difficult to tell what the reaction will be. The Satantic Verses created a worldwide outrage in the Muslim community despite there not actually really being anything in the book that was offensive. The God Delusion didn’t get nearly as much attention despite it’s far more direct arguments.

    Btw, I’m not say people shouldn’t be responsible (I think that’s a crucial component of the right to free speech); all I’m saying is we should be extremely cautious about any legal restrictions trying to define “unreasonable” speech.

  418. 418
    daniellavine

    The Satantic Verses created a worldwide outrage in the Muslim community despite there not actually really being anything in the book that was offensive.

    Did it? Where does this singular, monolithic “Muslim” community meet up to discuss this sort of thing anyway?

  419. 419
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    A substantial part of the violence and instability in majority-Muslim countries can be directly traced to economic and political problems: many of them (especially the oil-rich ones) are oppressive kleptocracies. Also, decades of the US (and other nations) propping up said kleptocratic dictators in exchange for oil has not exactly endeared the populace to the US.

    As the privation of the populace grows, and the services they get from their government drops, and the oppression they get from their government rises, the reliance of the populace on religion rises. Part of this is simple escapism. Another part of this is the sense that at least the religion is doing SOMETHING.

  420. 420
    municipalis

    daniellavine

    The guy who killed the cartoonist was an individual. People rioting probably have a lot more reasons than just the nominal one.

    Of course they do. I highly doubt that 1/100 have actually seen the trailer for the movie, much less the whole film. The protests are no doubt a confluence of social conditioning, geopolitics, and a general perception that “the west” is purposefully insulting Muslims.

    That doesn’t make my point any less valid. I don’t think the cartoonist was actually killed in this case, but there were certainly death threats and the cartoons drew huge protests around the globe.

    For another example: look at all the shit PZ has gotten over his putting a nail through a cracker. He caused global offence to Catholics everywhere! Should he not have done that?

    If you don’t want all westerners lumped in with Anders Breveik and the assholes breaking plate windows in London then you might not want to do the same thing with “Muslims”.

    I don’t think this criticism makes any sense. I’m not implying anywhere that these are “all Muslims”, or even a majority of them. I’m simply saying that these are the people who are reacting to something someone said. I think its be completely fair to refer to the “London rioters” when discussing the London riots, despite the fact that they may all actually be individuals.

    Also, could you please be more clear about the distinction between legal protections for free speech and social protections? Anonymity is not a legal right. “Protected” speech is speech protected from law, not from social consequences such as “outing.” You seem to be consistently conflating the legal and social consequences of speech in your arguments.

    Sure. Hopefully I understand your question properly. Legal protections are pretty straightforward – they prevent the government from taking a punitive action against your behaviours. For example, the government can’t charge PZ with offending Catholics because PZ was acting within the bounds of his right to free speech (they could charge people who made death threats against PZ though, since that is not protected speech).

    Social protections are simply what we, as a society, tolerate or don’t. We might choose to let sexist speech go unchallenged or we might rally against it. These actions, of course, are driven by the decisions of individuals acting within a set of cultural norms.

    Anonymity is not a legal right, your are correct, and privacy is a limited right. My questions/arguments here have been along these lines:
    a) should there be a legal right to privacy/anonymity when we consider that many oppressed individuals would be hurt if their anonymity was stripped;
    b) if someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy while engaged in a legal activity, under what circumstances is it morally justified to pierce that privacy?
    c) is there an objective standard by which we can judge which acts would allow for either a legal or moral piercing of privacy?

  421. 421
    AJ Milne

    You might find it worth considering the sort of scum you’re lining up with.

    Dear me, Nick.

    Well, it’s clear enough now there’s scum a-plenty around, anyway.

    And close at hand, even.

    Nick Gotts, ladies and gentleman. A spotless, unblemished man…

    I assure you, he’s a prince. You can’t beat his commitment to his version of moral purity, anyway…

    Yea, if a racist argued the world needs oxygen, Nick would order it cut off, if only to make it properly clear he wasn’t with them.

    (/We’d miss him. But we’d be properly impressed, I assure you.)

  422. 422
    municipalis

    daniellavine

    Did it? Where does this singular, monolithic “Muslim” community meet up to discuss this sort of thing anyway?

    You’re right – a poor choice of words. Let me rephrase:

    The Satantic Verses created a worldwide outrage among a considerable number of Muslims despite there not actually really being anything in the book that was offensive.

  423. 423
    daniellavine

    @municipalis:

    Thank you for clarifying on the subject of the riots. Your rhetoric was reminding me of a virulent, racist strain of anti-Muslim sentiment that is entirely too widespread these days. It can be difficult to talk about the problems of Islamic extremism without painting too broadly, but I think the effort to do so is really necessary given all the hatred and misunderstanding on all sides.

    Thanks also for clarifying what you’re asking regarding protections for speech, privacy, and anonymity. My own take:
    a) Preferably not because laws always have unintended consequences and the unprincipled are pretty much always better equipped to take advantage of that sort of thing. Patent trolls are a good example from an unrelated (or barely related) body of law. On the other hand, if the US political climate was like that of Greece and people were outing homosexuals and others to provide targets for the Golden Dawn thugs I’d probably consider such a law necessary.
    b) Never. The question comes down to whether someone has a “reasonable expectation of privacy” which is always going to be subjective to some extent. If you think abortion is a medical procedure then privacy should be protected; if you think it’s murder then it shouldn’t.
    c) Not that I can see.

    More on my answer to (b): the intention behind, say, outing abortion patients might matter somewhat. There’s no moral standing for someone outing those patients for the sake of inciting violence. If the person is simply trying to shame them for having had an abortion that’s a little different. If the person really thinks abortion is a heinous moral crime then it only makes sense that they’d try to make people feel ashamed to have had an abortion. But no one is obligated to feel ashamed about it.

    One might also consider the “my abortion is different” crowd. Is there any value in outing pro-life activists who get abortions when it’s convenient for them to do so only to go back to shouting and shaming women walking into Planned Parenthood a week later? Or do our obligations to respect their privacy trump their rank hypocrisy on this matter? I don’t claim to have an answer, just an interesting way to draw a few more contrasts to this issue.

    It’s a really murky ethical issue; I’m only now starting to see how much.

  424. 424
    klatu

    @ AJ Milne, daniellavine, esteleth, etc…
    Could you please include the nym of the quoted authors in your blockquotes?
    This conversation is difficult enough to follow as is. Thank you.

  425. 425
    daniellavine

    I only missed one attribution that I can see and it was to municipalis. (418)

    My comments that aren’t addressed to a particular commenter besides that one…aren’t addressed to a particular commenter.

  426. 426
    Terska

    What right to privacy does this creep and others like him have? Was some law violated by exposing his activities and identity to the public? It seems to me he just got a taste of his own medicine and he is squealing like a stuck pig. I wouldn’t doubt if more dirt rises to the surface about this creep.

  427. 427
    LeftSidePositive

    Bernard Bumner:

    I’m not looking to silence anyone other than by making their opinions socially unacceptable

    You don’t need their real name to do that.

    and by depriving them of a legitimised platform.

    Platforms are run by persons or people who have the right to set the rules for their platform. You would be better served by appealing to the social norms for this platform, and they can change what they’ll allow across the board, rather than dealing with trolls one-by-one. Also, for making this just a real-name thing, apart from potentially illegal activity: for just plain bigotry, lots of people find a niche to do that under their real names anyway.

    I am looking to take away a privilege which allows people to have a disproportionately unfettered and unaccountable platform,which is one of the sources of power they wield destructively against the disenfranchised.

    Setting up your morality in terms of making special rules for the underprivileged is doomed to fail. For one thing, a quick look at the Ed forum in A+ will show that shockingly few people even understand what privilege IS, and apart from that all sorts of bullies think they’re the disenfranchised ones, so this social norm you’re advocating will work against the marginalized. All this would become in the popular understanding is “I get to out anybody I don’t like!”

    Free speech is not about providing an equal platform for all speech.

    This debate has never been about platforms. Any platform that is a private entity has the right to ban whomever they wish, and may restrict content however they wish. You can ban whomever you want to from your platforms. HOWEVER, someone’s anonymity is not a matter of a platform. That is a choice they have the right to make for themselves, unless they meet a specific level of misconduct at which the casual observer can understand the need for punitive measures.

    As to the standards I would set, I think I’ve been fairly honest that I would consider each case on its merits.

    In other words–”I think I should be able to do whatever I want!!!” Holy shit, the lack of critical thinking here is disgraceful! Look, in order for society to work we need to have viable, understandable social norms that everyone can follow and know when others are doing it wrong. What you’re advocating is making everyone a law unto zirself when playing with a very sensitive facts about zir fellow human beings.

    Outing someone is not something I would do lightly, and clearly not if there was likely to be a threat to life and limb.

    Maybe YOU wouldn’t do it lightly–but who gets to decide what “lightly” is? How do you necessarily even know what the risks to another person online would be, and what right do you have to make that decision for them, if they are just expressing their opinions, as they have a right to do?

    If one my friends feels threatened and depressed or attacked by the racism/sexism, should I lecture them about the virtues of free speech?

    Well, one thing you do NOT get to do is make life-changing decisions for another human being based on your or your friends’ subjective feelings. I’m sorry but that’s not how civilized people behave. You can express sympathy to your friend, and you can offer to mock the person engaging in that speech. You can promulgate that speech amongst your social network and have a fuckton of opprobrium come down on the fool on zir blog or whatever. BUT, unless the person is engaging in directed, abusive behavior, is a likely imminent danger to others, or is engaged in illegal/predatory activity, you can attack the person’s IDEAS, not the person.

    If they have hateful/discriminatory texts and videos waved in their faces, is that sufficiently specific harm for me to act?

    Define “waved in their faces,” because this is vague. If you mean they are having that material sent to them, then this constitutes harassment because the person is not just voicing zir own speech, which ze has a right to do, but is targeting others to force them to hear it, which ze does not. If, on the other hand, you mean that your friends run across this person’s blog on the Internet, then no, you don’t.

    Your limits seem to be the same as those prescribed by law but I have, as a private citizen, a concerned individual, a political person, other actions of recourse available to me.

    Basic fact of living in a civilized society: just because you can doesn’t mean that you should. Humans rely on social norms in addition to laws in order to get along with one another, and these social norms do have to be fair and defensible by something other than your subjective preferences. Moreover, I am of the opinion that there does need to be more legal protection of privacy online in general, with the exceptions mentioned above.

    I would reveal an identity, no more, no less.

    Who are you to decide what the “more” and “less” of those consequences of your action would be? IT’S NOT YOUR IDENTITY, SO DON’T FUCK WITH IT. You have no idea what the life situation of that identity is. Ze could also be talking about mental health issues or private medical information under that pseudonym. Ze could have references to financial information that would be damaging if zir identity were known. Personal items shared anonymously that mean nothing to you, as an outsider, could destroy this person’s friendships or family relationships if they were connected to a real name (and don’t say “But ze’s a racist! Ze deserves it!” Did it ever occur to you the family could be fine with the racism, probably more likely if anything, but could be outraged if they learned ze felt mistreated by a family member?).

    Again, if this person is not directly targeting other people, don’t target them. Attack the ideas, not the person.

    I am not the law, and nor do my actions carry the force of the law.

    Your actions can have material effects on someone else’s life, so you had better be damned sure you play fair, even if they have horrible views you don’t get to decide how you’re going to intrude on someone’s life based on your subjective assessment of their views.

    Part of the problem is that you’re arguing from a purely legalistic viewpoint. I don’t think anyone wants legislation to further restrict free speech.

    Well, I can’t speak for municipalis, but there are ALSO social standards that need to be considered–all the ways we human beings treat each other, more-or-less voluntarily, so that we can coexist together. Punishing someone for speech, whether legally or otherwise, is a reprehensible thing to do, and it violates the boundaries we need to have with each other. (Again, since I apparently have to say this every fucking post because people love to willfully misinterpret me, harassment/threats/voyeurism are not just speech, those are demonstrably harmful actions against other’s boundaries and DO deserved to be punished.) If a person is just swinging zir fist, that doesn’t make it okay to hit zem in the face.

  428. 428
    John Morales

    [meta]

    LeftSidePositive:

    For one thing, a quick look at the Ed forum in A+ will show that shockingly few people even understand what privilege IS …

    The privileged few, eh?

    (The sociological sense of the word ain’t its primary sense)

  429. 429
    municipalis

    daniellavine
    First, thank you for your well-reasoned answers. My thinking is quite close to yours. The only place we might disagree is on the need for stronger privacy laws, especially for vulnerable people. Roe v. Wade was decided on the basis that the US Constitution has an implicit protection of personal privacy.

  430. 430
    LeftSidePositive

    Esteleth:

    1. If you say/do something, and someone else does something in response, then
    A. If their reaction was expected and predictable, then you carry at least some responsibility for their action.

    WHAT?!??!?!?!? What the FUCK?!

    So, let’s try this in practice, shall we?

    Well, it was expected and predictable that she’d get raped if she went to that party and got drunk, so she’s at least partly responsible!

    Well, it was expected and predictable that openly gay kids would get attacked in this school, so they’re at least partly responsible!

    Well, it was expected and predictable that the Taliban would try to kill a girl speaking up for education, so she’s at least partly responsible for getting shot!

    Holy shit, this is one of the most morally reprehensible attitudes I’ve ever fucking seen! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?????

    Seriously: “expected and predictable” is for the laws of physics working on mindless objects. As soon as a sentient being CHOOSES to do something, whether or not it could be predicted, THAT PERSON is responsible! Yes, even if they’re responding to a really stupid offensive video. Doesn’t fucking matter. Otherwise you’re just going to give away your freedom to whoever threatens violence enough, and that’s disgusting.

    1. Is the person being outed a member of an oppressed group?
    2. Is the person being outed a member of an dominant group, and does this dominant-membership convey enough power to cancel out any oppressed-membership?

    I think I’ve already addressed this, but this reasoning is so mind-numbingly bone-headedly stupid I think I’ll have to reiterate:

    Funny thing about social norms–the privileged get the advantages from them! Privileged people are privileged because they have well connected friends and social and legal power. So, if they saw it was socially acceptable for some people to get outed, they would simply convince their friends and allies it is acceptable for them to do it, too! Your behavior in outing people would be an example of why it’s fair and accepted. Moreover, privileged people are VERY good at convincing themselves they’re the oppressed ones, and often sincerely believe it, so this reasoning just gives anyone the self-rationalization they need to out anyone they want.

    On top of which, you’d be playing Oppression Olympics–do you out the homophobic black guy or the racist gay guy? Who decides? Why do you think people would have any incentive to be circumspect if they can just cry “Help! Help! I’m bein’ repressed!” and large numbers of on-the-fence people will believe it and give them social cover for it no matter how dubious the claim of oppression, or the general Internet community will just accept outing whenever anyone wants. Do you want that to be the reality of life on the Internet? Do you want to think about the vulnerable people who would be harmed if that were the norm?

  431. 431
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Comment by LeftSidePositive blocked. [unhush]​[show comment]

    Ugh. I am not even going to respond to that. You have interpreted my comment in exactly the 100% wrong way.

  432. 432
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I am not even going to respond to that. You have interpreted my comment in exactly the 100% wrong way.

    Typical if you don’t agree with them.

  433. 433
    LeftSidePositive

    @John Morales: So you mean there’s a privileged few who enjoy the privilege of knowing what privilege means, while the non-privilege-privileged are disproportionately privileged in all the privileges of which they’re ignorant?

    Oh, dear…my head hurts!

    (In all seriousness though, there are some really good essays on why not having to be aware of privilege is, in itself, a privilege! The short version is basically–think of how Mitt Romney or GWB can think of themselves as self-made men…bleaghchgh!)

  434. 434
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Typical if you don’t agree with them.

    Eh?

  435. 435
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Eh?

    If you don’t agree with LS 100%, you must be misinterpreted and bullied until you do. Same for municipalis, who pretends agreement where there isn’t any. Anything to win.

  436. 436
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Ah, okay.

    In all seriousness though, there are some really good essays on why not having to be aware of privilege is, in itself, a privilege! The short version is basically–think of how Mitt Romney or GWB can think of themselves as self-made men…bleaghchgh!

    What you’re going for is “Dunning-Kruger.”

  437. 437
    LeftSidePositive

    Esteleth–that’s what your comment SAID. The fact that your attitudes have inescapable logical conclusions is your problem, not mine, and you don’t get to avoid the results of your reasoning by saying I interpreted it wrong. What, pray tell, could be ANY other possible interpretation than “if you could have seen it coming, you’re responsible”? That’s straight-up what you said, no qualifiers, and it’s reprehensible. That odious line of reasoning is wrong for The Innocence of Muslims and it’s wrong for every single example I gave. The point is that you’re engaging in incredibly shoddy ad-hoc reasoning and you’re throwing out whatever platitude will support the position you want, even when that platitude is morally indefensible.

    And in case you’re also talking about the privilege issue in your foot-stomping and la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you, well the problems of subjective interpretation of your values wouldn’t be a problem if you had clear ethical standards that wouldn’t require people to “interpret” them correctly–that is, only pay attention to their application in the selective instances where you want them to apply under your value system and with your worldview. That’s the whole point–your moral reasoning is not robust to self-justification and others’ self-interest.

    Oh, and Nerd: it’s not a question about “agreeing with them.” It’s that words mean things and premises have conclusions and that’s what Esteleth said. Deal with it.

  438. 438
    LeftSidePositive

    If you don’t agree with LS 100%, you must be misinterpreted

    Says Nerd, who continued to strawman me that I was not in favor of Butsch’s outing, when I have in fact supported it and made that clear over TWENTY-FIVE TIMES on this thread?! Says Nerd, who strawmans this argument into pretending we’re against “criticizing” offensive speech, instead of warning against violating the privacy of those who engage in offensive speech, when we explicitly advocated vocal public criticism as the correct approach!

    Oh, and pointing out inevitable results of a line of reasoning is not “misinterpreting.” Avoiding inevitable results of your reasoning is selectively interpreting, and logically invalid.

    and bullied until you do.

    Being disagreed with is not “bullying.” Having the inescapable conclusions you ignored pointed out to you is not “bullying.” Pointing out that you don’t get to choose a priori the only contexts in which a value will apply is not “bullying.” It is critical thinking, and maybe you should try it sometime.

    And throwing out ill-founded accusations of “bullying” to try to silence your opponent is intellectually dishonest and a disgusting insult to those who actually are bullied, so I suggest you cut that shit out right now.

  439. 439
    LeftSidePositive

    What you’re going for is “Dunning-Kruger.”

    Not exactly. Dunning-Kruger refers to assessing one’s competence at a task. One could actually be quite competent at a task but be unaware of all the social and structural advantages one had to attain that competence, and that is what privilege-blindness assesses.

    Dunning-Kruger also refers primarily to self-perception, whereas in the case of a privileged person who is incompetent at a task ze is also receiving a lot of external reinforcement from society at large to tell zem that ze is competent.

  440. 440
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Again I just want to point out that is SOP for NoR.

    Understandably you’ll want to object to it each time he does it. He should stop, since he is being unfair.

    (This is a meta-comment about personal interactions. It is not about the on-topic substance of the thread.)

  441. 441
    strange gods before me ॐ

    On-topic: I agree with Nick Gotts.

  442. 442
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Being disagreed with is not “bullying.” Having the inescapable conclusions you ignored pointed out to you is not “bullying.” Pointing out that you don’t get to choose a priori the only contexts in which a value will apply is not “bullying.” It is critical thinking, and maybe you should try it sometime.

    Actually, the question you need to answer is what is required to change your mind? If nothing will change your mind, you aren’t discussing, you are preaching/bullying. So, what will change your mind and have you admit outing should be done easily?

  443. 443
    strange gods before me ॐ

    If nothing will change your mind, you aren’t discussing, you are preaching

    Now that’s arguably true.

    (But if true then everyone who disagrees with LSP, including me, should also explain what would change their minds.)

    /bullying.

    Nope. Not true. And I have to agree with LSP here:

    «And throwing out ill-founded accusations of “bullying” to try to silence your opponent is intellectually dishonest and a disgusting insult to those who actually are bullied, so I suggest you cut that shit out right now.»

  444. 444
    LeftSidePositive

    So, what will change your mind and have you admit outing should be done easily?

    What will change your mind and have you admit the world was created in six literal days by a magic foreskin collector in the sky?

    Being willing to change your mind is only good in relation to how well-supported the opposing arguments are. Since the arguments here are inescapably tied to an unsupportable subjective mess of special pleading, I’m going to have to go with centuries of philosophy on the nature of the social contract over your whining for false balance.

  445. 445
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    And throwing out ill-founded accusations of “bullying” to try to silence your opponent is intellectually dishonest and a disgusting insult to those who actually are bullied, so I suggest you cut that shit out right now.

    LSP needs to learn the difference between having its say (assertive) and forcing its opinion down other peoples throats (aggressive). I had my say yesterday and didn’t post today until late this evening. For two days LSP has been haranguing us to agree with it. While it may pretend various reasons, the only reason to continue that long is make us agree with it, as it had its say yesterday. And I call that bullying.

  446. 446
    strange gods before me ॐ

    LSP needs to learn the difference between having its say (assertive) and forcing its opinion down other peoples throats (aggressive).

    LSP can’t force any opinion down anyone’s throat. You can stop reading any time you want. You are not forced to be here. You can disagree with anything you want, and you can make arguments against anything you want.

    LSP cannot do what you are alleging. It is impossible.

    I had my say yesterday and didn’t post today until late this evening.

    Good for you. If you wanted to, you could have posted a lot more in the meantime. It is a discussion. People are allowed to discuss. You, like LSP, can comment here at your leisure.

    For two days LSP has been haranguing us to agree with it.

    Nope. LSP has been arguing LSP’s case and objecting to new counterarguments as they arise. There is nothing wrong with that. And you never object to it when the person arguing a lot is making an argument that you agree with.

    People can agree or disagree with LSP. If people make arguments LSP disagrees with, LSP can answer them. And people can answer those in turn. And LSP can answer them. And so on.

    While it may pretend various reasons, the only reason to continue that long is make us agree with it, as it had its say yesterday.

    There is nothing wrong with a person wanting other people to agree with them. This may annoy you, but that is also okay.

    And I call that bullying.

    You should stop calling it that, because you are objectively wrong about what constitutes bullying. You are making up self-serving definitions. Like I said, it’s arguably preaching. But you can ignore that, or argue back, or whatever.

  447. 447
    LeftSidePositive

    Nerd–you must feel awfully sorry for all those religious people we “bully” around here by continuing to talk when we’ve already had our say!!

    Look, people replied to what I wrote, I reply back. This is how discourse happens. You’re just pulling a very cheap “Shut up, that’s why!” because you don’t have a coherent argument and it’s not fooling anyone.

  448. 448
    Hurin

    Holy shit, this is one of the most morally reprehensible attitudes I’ve ever fucking seen! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?????

    LSP, you need to get out more. Like maybe go over to the slimepit or stormf**** and poke around a bit. Not long enough to get a fungal infection though… stay safe and everything.

  449. 449
    LeftSidePositive

    Thank you, Hurin, for another “Shut up, that’s why.” Really scintillating stuff, there, and made all the more beautiful by the fact that you seem to think that being outraged at blatant victim-blaming is unreasonable.

  450. 450
    Aratina Cage

    Nerd, just killfile the turd. You’ll feel a lot better, trust me.

  451. 451
    Hurin
    Nerd: And I call that bullying.

    Strange Gods:
    You should stop calling it that, because you are objectively wrong about what constitutes bullying. You are making up self-serving definitions. Like I said, it’s arguably preaching. But you can ignore that, or argue back, or whatever.

    I have to agree with Strange Gods on this. LSP is has been forceful and persistent in her argument, and I don’t agree with a lot of what she has said, but I haven’t seen anything that goes beyond argumentation. I was under the impression that passionate argument was OK on this forum, as long as people aren’t being stalked, or targeted with slurs or intentionally triggering comments.

    I would define bullying somewhere closer to harassment* than what is going on here.

    * I don’t claim that the provided definition is authoritative, but it is a reasonable guideline anyway

  452. 452
    Hurin

    Thank you, Hurin, for another “Shut up, that’s why.” Really scintillating stuff, there, and made all the more beautiful by the fact that you seem to think that being outraged at blatant victim-blaming is unreasonable.

    OK, some broader context for the “victim blaming”

    I am going to ignore the legal side of this, for the simple reason that I am not an expert on legal matters and I don’t want to say something incorrect. I’m going to stick to the ethical/moral side.

    1. If you say/do something, and someone else does something in response, then
    A. If their reaction was expected and predictable, then you carry at least some responsibility for their action.
    B. If their reaction was not, then you do not carry responsibility.

    [...]
    3. While anonymity (or, more properly, pseudonymity – the denizens of 4chan are anonymous because there is no way to trace what a given commenter said back to a single person, a person commenting under an established handle can be identified even if just by their handle) is an important aspect of the internet and – yes – free speech, it is not the be-all-end all.

    She is talking in general terms about cause/effect relationships in human interaction. She isn’t assigning full responsibility to people for things that happen to them in any case, and her statement can be reasonably applied to the majority of things being talked about on this thread without any issue. You are being extremely uncharitable interpreting that statement as “victim blaming”, and your ALL CAPS FREAKOUT was totally unwarranted.

    If I go to a Nazi march and I get social pushback, I am partially responsible because having my friends shun me is a proportionate reaction to being a Nazi. An observer noting that fact would not be “victim-blaming” my hypothetical nazi self. If I was beaten for being at that Nazi rally I don’t think I should be blamed for being beaten, but I don’t think Esteleth’s statement extends to that anyway. Having crimes committed against myself is not a proportionate reaction, and thus it is beyond what I would consider “expected and predictable”.

  453. 453
    LeftSidePositive

    Hurin, since this was mentioned in the context of The Innocence of Muslims and Esteleth’s subsequent discussion of the subject has been pretty heavy on blaming the makers of the film–ze considered the a priori knowledge of extremist’s propensity to riot as an indictment on the filmmakers and explicitly invoked the “predictable” standard in holding the filmmakers responsible for violence against Christians and Jews in the region. So, it’s pretty clear to me we actually are talking about a context wherein one person would be responsible for another person’s physical violence. Esteleth has made that argument specifically. By the way, Esteleth’s framework contained no mention of “proportionality”–you inserted that yourself; rather ze was saying the violence was “expected and predictable.”

  454. 454
    jkthurman

    “If I go to a Nazi march and I get social pushback, I am partially responsible because having my friends shun me is a proportionate reaction to being a Nazi. An observer noting that fact would not be “victim-blaming” my hypothetical nazi self.”

    That’s not…generally what people mean when they talk about victim blaming. Victim blaming would be if I went to a Nazi march and got called a Nazi cunt or was otherwise sexually humiliated in retaliation for having gone to the march.

    The point is not that I could not have taken actions to make what happened to me less likely, it’s not that I did not do anything that people of moral fibre might find objectionable, it’s that the “punishment” is unrelated to anything I may have done wrong – including, but not limited to, not having done anything wrong in the first place. And that telling me that I should not have done that particular thing completely ignores the nature of the violence against me, and is therefore not at all useful in terms of both curbing the violence done to me and preventing me from making immoral choices.

    The key point is that I wouldn’t get called a cunt because I went to a Nazi rally, I would have been called a cunt because I am female – and the people who called me that would have called me that in a variety of circumstances in which I had done nothing truly morally objectionable.

    Usually it is the “not having done anything wrong” that feminists focus on, but it’s also used to defend victims who have been less then moral in their choices. By which I do not mean not-actually-unethical-acts-like merely having sex or drinking more than some people think they ought to, but rather situations in which victims have done reprehensible things themselves, and yet where the “punishment” society doles out is completely unrelated to what they actually did that was wrong.

    This is I see a lot of the disconnect when it comes to how people are viewing Brutsch’s outing. Redditors and the like keep framing it as vengeance and claiming the question is if the actions deserve such punishment. But that’s not the purpose of the post of the scorn heaped upon Brutsch. Making his information public knowledge serves a purpose that is directly related to Brutsch’s own public actions: the goal is to divest him of the power that allows him to abuse and enable fellow abusers.

    In contrast, outing (or bullying) someone for being gay is designed to punish people for who they are, not what they have done. Even if one takes at face value the (debunked) argument that gay is a choice not how one is born, outing rarely makes any distinction between desire, full stop. and desire that has been acted upon. Bullying goes one step further and doesn’t even care whether the accusation is true or not.

    Likewise, “outing” women and girls for being “sluts” is predicated on the fact that the victims are female – and very little else, if anything at all. Even when the abuse is prompted by the women and girls own actions (which, in truth, it rarely is), the inescapable physical manifestations of their gender is given equal weight – if not precedence – over what they supposedly did wrong.

    For some reason – I suspect largely because certain people seem to be confused as to whether women are people and if consent is merely a fetish or an actual moral issue – many netizens don’t seem to see the difference between a twelve year old being mocked by adults for the photos she posts on Facebook and an adult being subjected to social ostracism for mocking and otherwise abusing said child. The difference is not merely one of power or ethics, but of usefulness.

    Adults mocking children they do not know (or, even ones they do) does not teach them to be more circumspect or mature about their choices. It does not teach them to respect their bodies and themselves. It teaches them that their bodies are a source of shame and – since that scorn is coming from someone with more power than them – that the shame is unavoidable.

    Adults shaming other adults for how they treat children (and other adults) may or may not discourage adults from abusing, but it does discourage other adults from enabling abusers and it takes away some of the social status that abusers often rely on for easy access to victims.

    Outing Brutsch is not retribution, it’s utilitarian.

  455. 455
    jkthurman

    gah, typos and html fail galore. sorry.

  456. 456
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Look, people replied to what I wrote, I reply back. This is how discourse happens. You’re just pulling a very cheap “Shut up, that’s why!” because you don’t have a coherent argument and it’s not fooling anyone.

    You haven’t answered what it would take for you to change your mind. Which leads me to sincerely wonder if it is possible. If you won’t change your mind, you aren’t listening to responses other than to show people they are wrong in your opinion. That is preaching, not discourse.

    Municipalis finally showed his paranoia about government invading its privacy as its reason for preaching and not listening. That’s why it wasn’t debating honestly.

  457. 457
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, and what does it take for me to change my mind. Not mental wanking and verbiage, but nice evidence from legitimate sources outside of yourself. Done for today.

  458. 458
    Bernard Bumner

    Personally, I don’t consider LSP to doing anything close to bullying here. Being needlessly antagonistic in their choice of language, possibly. Generally, I see someone arguing passionately and persistently for a principle they see as being obviously true. I happen to disagree, and I certainly feel that nuance has been discarded at times during this argument.

    If people are finding this this thread futile to the point of overwhelming frustration, well I think I’ve stated my case sufficiently. Others should perhaps consider whether they have anything novel to add, or whether they’re just contributing to a back-and-forth which is going nowhere. This doesn’t need to become any more unpleasant than it already is. If the discussion is simply going to degenerate into an unnecessary examination of personal conduct, then I’m certainly bowing out.

    My opinion: LSP may want to consider whether their style of argument is contributing to the accusations of bullying (and if so, whether it is a distraction from their points), but others may also want to consider whether LSP is simply arguing too forcefully out of a sense of righteousness. I would challenge any regular here to say truthfully that they haven’t done that at times! I haven’t observed any conduct I consider worthy of further censure than a killfile if you prefer.

    I certainly wouldn’t suggest that anyone examines these things via debate here and now, because I don’t see any productive end to that.

  459. 459
    John Morales

    jkthurman,

    This is I see a lot of the disconnect when it comes to how people are viewing Brutsch’s outing. Redditors and the like keep framing it as vengeance and claiming the question is if the actions deserve such punishment. But that’s not the purpose of the post of the scorn heaped upon Brutsch. Making his information public knowledge serves a purpose that is directly related to Brutsch’s own public actions: the goal is to divest him of the power that allows him to abuse and enable fellow abusers.

    Well said, if a little generous, since retrospective anonymity is the only thing of which he has been divested; I hardly think he no longer has access to the internet.

  460. 460
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Okay.

    Firstly. The makers of Innocence – by their own admission – thought and expected that people in Muslim countries would riot over it. That was their goddamn goal – to generate “proof” of Muslim perfidy. So yes, I can fucking criticize them for it and say that that was a damn shitty use of free speech. I can also criticize the splash damage – harms being done to minority groups by said rioters.

    As for the victim-blaming part, you’re really missing a key understanding: culpability. If person A does something, and person B does something predictable in response, then yeah, person A is at least partially responsible. But responsibility and fault are not the same thing. And i person B does something outlandish in response to something reasonable that I did – even if their response was predictable – my being responsable doesn’t mean that it was my fault. Someone doing something unreasonable (albeit predictable) in a response to a reasonable action by someone else does not make the first person’s action unreasonable.

  461. 461
    LeftSidePositive

    Bumner:

    I don’t consider LSP to doing anything close to bullying here. Being needlessly antagonistic in their choice of language, possibly.

    Seriously–on PHARYNGULA?!?! The site most famous for its no-holds-barred commentariat? And you’re going to give me shit for being “antagonistic”?! This is ridiculous. Completely and utterly ridiculous.

    Nerd: I told you exactly why it was illogical to be expected to change my mind, and you’re just being petulant.

    Esteleth: Nope, sorry, that is still the rationalization used against rape victims and other victims of violence ALL THE TIME. “Oh, responsible doesn’t mean it’s their fault–just that they’re partly responsible!!” Yeah, I’ve heard that from hundreds of mansplainers on way too many feminist blogs, and it is simply not okay. Look, no one’s saying you can’t criticize the Innocence of Muslims, but you’ve been very unclear in terms of whether you’re referring to criticism or legal restriction. The only reason they *could* effect that response is because of the choices and actions of other people, and that’s where responsibility should lie (especially since the whole incident was pretty transparently manipulated!). And, why are you not saying Jesus and Mo and Draw Muhammad Day are responsible for potential violence? Isn’t that a different standard of “things I like” vs. “things I don’t”? An actual argument for responsibility does not allow for the intellectual merit of the “instigator”–it is by necessity focused solely on the risk of violence.

  462. 462
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    you’ve been very unclear in terms of whether you’re referring to criticism or legal restriction

    I have?
    Me way up at 383:

    I am going to ignore the legal side of this, for the simple reason that I am not an expert on legal matters and I don’t want to say something incorrect. I’m going to stick to the ethical/moral side.

    That was how that comment opened.

    And, why are you not saying Jesus and Mo and Draw Muhammad Day are responsible for potential violence?

    Because I haven’t? Look, for all that violence is an unreasonable and inappropriate response to Draw Muhammad Day, it is nonetheless a response that happens. And there is a difference between a mocking-but-mostly-accurate criticism (like Jesus and Mo) and a pile of racist lies like Innocence.

    And seriously, “you wouldn’t have been raped if you hadn’t been there!” is simultaneously two things:
    1. Victim-blaming, horrifically cruel, and completely inappropriate to say.
    2. True in a literal sense. A rape can only occur if the rapist is in the presence of the victim.

    The problem with that sort of statement is that it puts the focus on the wrong party, not its truth or falseness. It is not, nor should it be, the obligation of a woman to avoid rape, it is rather the obligation of the rapist to avoid raping.

    So “some non-Muslim saying something that insults Islam led to riots” may be an objectively true statement of cause-and-effect. But it de-centers the culpability from the rioters (and, let’s not forget, the leaders in those countries who use religion to fan hatred for the sake of propping up their own rule) onto a different party.

  463. 463
    Bernard Bumner

    Seriously–on PHARYNGULA?!?! The site most famous for its no-holds-barred commentariat? And you’re going to give me shit for being “antagonistic”?! This is ridiculous. Completely and utterly ridiculous.

    I’m not being ridiculous, I’m merely trying to explain what feature of your posts was causing people to react. I hadn’t mentioned your language before because I didn’t think it relevant to the argument. I’m certainly not giving you shit for it.

    Like I said, I don’t agree that you’re being a bully or that your behaviour approaches bullying: I was looking for a reason that people were choosing to take issue with the style of your arguments rather than the content.

    I’m all for crafty use of language, and I don’t care about insults or expletives – I enjoy well-formed invective as much as anyone. Yours weren’t particularly clever, and nor did it really enhance your writing, hence “needlessly” – read, pointlessly – antagonistic. Serving no real purpose.

    For my part, I take no issue with it, not here.

  464. 464
    Hurin

    jkthurman

    That’s not…generally what people mean when they talk about victim blaming. Victim blaming would be if I went to a Nazi march and got called a Nazi cunt or was otherwise sexually humiliated in retaliation for having gone to the march

    Yes, I realize that. I was using that as an example because LSP was asserting that Esteleth was victim blaming, and I was trying to illustrate that Esteleth’s statements can apply reasonably to a lot of cases that aren’t victim blaming. I think we agree on pretty much everything you wrote, but I’ll expound a little just to clarify my position further.

    I distinction I see between the sexual humiliation example and the example where you go and your friends don’t want to hang out with you anymore, is what I called “proportionality” in 452. There are certain kinds of reactions that can be expected from reasonable people in response to an action. Consider the following:

    Action: I walk into a strangers house drunk with a knife drawn and begin rifling through strangers kitchen cabinets.

    Proportionate reaction: stranger calls the police, and possibly violently disarms and restrains me until they arrive.

    Disproportionate reaction: stranger sneaks up behind me and hits me with a tazer, then chains me in his basement. Stranger allows me to sober up before torturing me for several days and eventually killing me.

    I think the action I described is threatening. If I were to do that, I would be partially responsible for the proportionate reaction, which would be violent enough to neutralize the threat I pose, but not wantonly and sadistically violent. I would not be responsible for the disproportionate reaction, and trying to make me responsible for the unreasonably extreme reaction would be victim blaming.

    ———————————————————-

    Left side positive

    By the way, Esteleth’s framework contained no mention of “proportionality”–you inserted that yourself; rather ze was saying the violence was “expected and predictable.”

    I didn’t attribute proportionality to Esteleth, but it seems to me that disproportionate reactions aren’t “expected and predictable”. To use my example above, I can expect to beaten and arrested if I burglarize someone’s house. That would be expected and predictable. Being horribly murdered is not expected and predictable.

    Hurin, since this was mentioned in the context of The Innocence of Muslims and Esteleth’s subsequent discussion of the subject has been pretty heavy on blaming the makers of the film–ze considered the a priori knowledge of extremist’s propensity to riot as an indictment on the filmmakers and explicitly invoked the “predictable” standard in holding the filmmakers responsible for violence against Christians and Jews in the region. So, it’s pretty clear to me we actually are talking about a context wherein one person would be responsible for another person’s physical violence.

    And that isn’t victim blaming either. I don’t think the response to the Innocence film was proportional, but I don’t think the makers of the Innocence film have been victimized in any way. If Esteleth had blamed the people killed by the rioters, then that would be victim blaming.

    I would lean away from holding the makers of the Innocence film responsible for the violence though, because rioting is not a proportional response to a film. I realize that Innocence may have been calculated to cause riots, but the fact that it actually worked is a result of someone else’s criminality. The makers of Innocence deserve to be notorious for being xenophobic assholes, and I think that has been the actual outcome for them.

  465. 465
    vaiyt

    As for me, I’m enjoying this thoroughly.

    An actual argument! On Pharyngula! No trolls, no social experiments, no cheap rhetorical tricks, no gallops, no asking for politeness while vomiting moral bile! This is refreshing.

  466. 466
    md

    If person A does something, and person B does something predictable in response, then yeah, person A is at least partially responsible.

    Esteleth, in covering the democratic revolution in Egypt, Lara Logan found herself in the midst of an amped up Muslim mob in Tahrir square. What persons B did, in your above syllogism, was perfectly predictable. I infer from your logic you believe Lara is partially responsible.

  467. 467
    Nick Gotts

    Seriously: “expected and predictable” is for the laws of physics working on mindless objects. As soon as a sentient being CHOOSES to do something, whether or not it could be predicted, THAT PERSON is responsible! Yes, even if they’re responding to a really stupid offensive video. Doesn’t fucking matter. Otherwise you’re just going to give away your freedom to whoever threatens violence enough, and that’s disgusting. – LeftSidePositive

    No, that’s a complete straw man, and your position is the one that’s disgusting, as well as extremely stupid.

    1) Your first sentence is truly risible. Of course we can, and do, make successful predictions about what others will do. Social life would be literally impossible if we could not. Therefore referring to “expected and predictable” responses is entirely reasonable.

    2) “X is responsible for P” does not exclude “Y is responsible for P”. The actual rioters and killers, those who directly instigated their actions, and the film-makers, all bear responsibility of the deaths, injuries and damage. To deny that people are responsible for the intended outcome of their actions, just because those actions constitute speech or other forms of expression is both ludicrous and disgusting. It would of course mean that those who directly instigated the riots and killings also escape responsibility.

    3) No-one at all has said or suggested that it is always or even mostly wrong to publish something which is likely to provoke violence; the fact that this straw man is so readily set up and attacked by those defending the film-makers is simply evidence of how weak their arguments are. What is wrong is (a) to deliberately set out to provoke violence against innocent third parties – as was done in this case – and (b) to fail to take into account the likely repercussions of your action on other people.

  468. 468
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Lara Logan found herself in the midst of an amped up Muslim mob in Tahrir square. What persons B did, in your above syllogism, was perfectly predictable. I infer from your logic you believe Lara is partially responsible.

    1. Lara Logan being sexually assaulted was not perfectly predictable.
    2. Even if (and that is an if) such an event were more predictable than, say, it happening in a different crowd in a different place in a different time, the fault for the event lies with the assaulters, not Logan.

  469. 469
    LeftSidePositive

    Esteleth, who are you to decide what is perfectly predictable?! There were TONS of people saying Lara Logan should have known better and of course that would have happened and why did she have to go to the Middle East looking all blond and sexy…

    By the way, violence at films and such is not perfectly predictable either–there have been tons of cartoons, films, articles, blog posts, that have not resulted in violence, or not as much. You are judging in hindsight.

  470. 470
    jkthurman

    “I distinction I see between the sexual humiliation example and the example where you go and your friends don’t want to hang out with you anymore, is what I called “proportionality” in 452″

    ….yes.

    I did actually understand that.

    Are you understanding that while proportion may indeed be an important thing to talk about, it is not, in fact, the important distinction in the scenarios I brought up? Not when “victim-blaming” is the term being discussed?

    That terms means something specific, and trying to make it mean something different erases the abuse that victim blaming actually entails and encourages.

    Having been one of those targeted 12 year old girls once, I’m getting a little pissy about the complete focus on internet etiquette and free speech and the lack of concern for the way that adults are choosing to interact with children. This pissiness is perhaps also influenced by the fact that suicide rates among girls aged 10-14 have increased by 75%. (which, yes, I realize could mean anything in terms of actual numbers. the significant point is that:) And that this is happening in direct response, according to research, to extent to which these girls are being sexually exploited by both their peers and adults.

    “Well said, if a little generous, since retrospective anonymity is the only thing of which he has been divested; I hardly think he no longer has access to the internet.”

    heh. true. And people who do not have access to the internet still have access to victims. My point was more about the dynamics of the situations and the long terms goals of each, rather than an assertion that abusers/enablers who have been outed once will never abuse/enable again.

  471. 471
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    The obligation should not be for women to avoid sexual assault, but for men to not sexually assault.

    Come on, you know this.

    Post hoc sexist rationalizations like “she should have known better” than to have been there/worn that are sexist and absurd.

    I am not entirely sure what your point is anymore.

  472. 472
    md

    The obligation should not be for women to avoid sexual assault, but for men to not sexually assault.

    Come on, you know this.

    The obligation should not be for filmmakers to avoid offending the religious, but for the religious not to kill because their sensibilities were offended.

    Come on, you know this.

  473. 473
    Bernard Bumner

    The obligation should not be for filmmakers to avoid offending the religious, but for the religious not to kill because their sensibilities were offended.

    Entirely true, but in a world where fanatics exist free speech becomes a weapon with a potency it would otherwise lack.

    If I incidentally cause offence then I’m surely doing something different than if I deliberately cause offence? Intent does have some relevance as to how we judge the quality of the actions. That does not mitigate the actions of the mob.

  474. 474
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Intent is not magic, but it sure as hell is relevant. If two people sustain identical injuries, but one was injured by accident and the other was injured by someone’s deliberate action or inaction, then the two situations are not the same.

    Logan being sexually assaulted was “perfectly predictable” only in the minds of (1) sexist asshats who see women as being free for the taking, (2) racist asshats who see Egyptian men as violent thugs, and (3) racist asshats who see Muslims as inhuman (there is, of course, considerable overlap between the three sets).

    Riots being the result of that stupid video were predictable (1) by Islamists, who eagerly grab such prodding to use to further the own goals, (2) people who are at least reasonably informed in the history, culture, and religion of majority-Muslim countries, (3) racist asshats who see Muslims as violent inhuman thugs, and (4) the people who MADE that video.

  475. 475
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Oh, and “there is a heightened risk for X” is not the same thing as “X is predictable,” and few – if any – predictions are perfect.

  476. 476
    Hurin

    jkthurman

    Are you understanding that while proportion may indeed be an important thing to talk about, it is not, in fact, the important distinction in the scenarios I brought up? Not when “victim-blaming” is the term being discussed?

    I understand that victim blaming happens a lot in cases where the victim was a target of sexually predatory behavior, sexual humiliation or related acts. Thinking about proportionality is unnecessary in those cases, because there is no action to which sexual assault or harassment is a proportionate response.

    I deliberately avoided that kind of situation in my analysis because getting sexually assaulted is never “expected and predictable”, in the way I’ve chosen to interpret that phrasing.

    That terms means something specific, and trying to make it mean something different erases the abuse that victim blaming actually entails and encourages.

    I’m not making it mean anything different. I’m allowing it to apply to other contexts, just as LSP did when she responded to Esteleth/383 with

    Well, it was expected and predictable that she’d get raped if she went to that party and got drunk, so she’s at least partly responsible!

    Well, it was expected and predictable that openly gay kids would get attacked in this school, so they’re at least partly responsible!

    (my emphasis)

    and then followed a comment of mine up with:

    Really scintillating stuff, there, and made all the more beautiful by the fact that you seem to think that being outraged at blatant victim-blaming is unreasonable.

    I’m not the one who first brought non-sexual violence into this and called it “victim-blaming”. The difference with non-sexual violence or plain old non-violent, non-sexual disapproval is that those things can be “expected and predictable” in the way I find that phrase sensible.

    Having been one of those targeted 12 year old girls once, I’m getting a little pissy about the complete focus on internet etiquette and free speech and the lack of concern for the way that adults are choosing to interact with children. This pissiness is perhaps also influenced by the fact that suicide rates among girls aged 10-14 have increased by 75%. (which, yes, I realize could mean anything in terms of actual numbers. the significant point is that:) And that this is happening in direct response, according to research, to extent to which these girls are being sexually exploited by both their peers and adults.

    I can only assume that free speech has been the focus of this because no one wants to defend Violentacrez’s “creepshots” or “jailbait” sub reddits. Please don’t hold me personally responsible for the fact that this is the direction the conversation has taken.

  477. 477
    Hurin

    LSP

    Esteleth, who are you to decide what is perfectly predictable?! There were TONS of people saying Lara Logan should have known better and of course that would have happened and why did she have to go to the Middle East looking all blond and sexy…

    I’m going to diagram the argument that I think you are trying to make.

    1)some people think the can predict occurrences of sexual assualt
    2)you are a person
    3)occurrences of sexual assault are not predictable
    4)sexual assault is a human behavior

    Because sexual assault is not predictable, it follows from 4) that no human behavior is predictable.

    Because some people wrongly think they can predict sexual assault, it follows from 2) and the previous deduction that you wrongly think you can predict any human behavior.

    Therefore you can’t predict any human behavior even though you think you can.
    ————
    See if you can find the problem. I’ll give you a hint, everything below number 4) is wrong…

  478. 478
    LeftSidePositive

    Hurin, my point is that Esteleth is completely wrong to believe ze can predict Muslim violence, too. There are thousands of pieces of anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim media that don’t incite mass violence. I am drawing an analogy to show how absurd zir point is, and showing that post-hoc rationalizations about predictability are commonplace while being completely transparent to those who don’t hold the same a priori beliefs. Esteleth has not identified any standard beyond zir own assessment of “predictability” (and, apparently, zir moral assessment of the intellectual quality of the critique, which is wholly irrelevant to how predictable the violence may be), and has not accounted for things like Draw Muhammad Day, Jesus and Mo, and Boobquake, among many other things, that would have “predictably” resulted in violence if this violence were in fact predictable. As such, Esteleth has shown no more intellectual rigor than those who rely on their subjective judgment to hold sexual assault victims responsible, and bad reasoning is bad because it cannot go from premise to conclusion, which invalidates it in any situation because it’s broken mental machinery.

    Now, if Esteleth does want to provide a complete model for predictability of Muslim violence that can accurately predict the level of violence that WILL OCCUR based on each set of starting factors and validate with numerous historical examples, I may consider that evidence that it could in fact be predictable, but it would have to be substantiated by subsequent events. I’m not going to hold my breath, though (and it wouldn’t carry any weight in the moral side of this discussion, either).

    So, my argument is more along the form of:

    1) Esteleth claims X was predictable, by post-hoc assertion.
    2) People have claimed lots of things (case in point, Y) were predictable by post-hoc assertion and been wrong.
    3) Esteleth is a person.
    4) Esteleth’s assertion is insufficient to establish that X was in fact predictable.

    Now, that is not to say it is IMPOSSIBLE to know if X could be predictable, just that Esteleth has failed to prove it.

  479. 479
    carlaclark

    Except that, Hurin, you seem to believe that a culture of victim-blaming cannot be facilitated by an unfettered access to free speech from those who already have all the privilege to do so. Victim-blaming is something that should be considered seriously, and the real culture of rape it contributes to. So, perhaps, freedom of speech, and inherent lack of responsibility taken, thereof is something that is a little bit more important to all this than you seem to believe it is…?

    md,

    The obligation should not be for filmmakers to avoid offending the religious, but for the religious not to kill because their sensibilities were offended.

    Come on, you know this.

    Except that you are reversing the roles like the one which Esteleth was responding to. Especially given the very clear context in which this post was written.

    Come on, you (SHOULD) know this.

    LSP, it would help if you actually addressed the argument rather than a strawman. That being heightened risk for X rather than a predictability or even a non-predictability for X. Two VERY different things. Kthx.

    To LSP, again, and like I have also already said to md, context is everything. In this case, I’m referring specifically to your very first post. I think PZ Myers has done a pretty good job specifying what the terms responsibility and privilege are supposed to mean. And your desire to edify the comments in order to make them less vague take away from the whole point of the argument.

    Finally, to PZ, if the MRA’s, anti-choicers, rape apologists, etc, had all of their usual spaces eliminated to air their grievances, from what I gather, that would level the playing field and, at the same time, still allow them the privileges of free speech, without infringing on anyone else’.

  480. 480
    carlaclark

    Sorry, after the quote from md, everything else is my commentary.

  481. 481
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Seriously: “expected and predictable” is for the laws of physics working on mindless objects. As soon as a sentient being CHOOSES to do something, whether or not it could be predicted, THAT PERSON is responsible!

    In 1990, the Southern Poverty Law Center won a civil lawsuit that bankrupted Tom Metzger, leader of White Aryan Resistance, for the death of Mulugeta Seraw.

    Metzger did not hold the baseball bat. He was not present that night.

    Seraw was murdered by Ken Mieske, Kyle Brewster and Steve Strasser, members of East Side White Pride and White Aryan Resistance. They all went to prison.

    What you’ve said so far, LeftSidePositive, suggests you would say that Metzger should not have been held responsible. Is that your stance? Or would you like to clarify?

  482. 482
    Ingdigo Jump

    Seriously: “expected and predictable” is for the laws of physics working on mindless objects. As soon as a sentient being CHOOSES to do something, whether or not it could be predicted, THAT PERSON is responsible!

    Vitalism?

  483. 483
    LeftSidePositive

    strange gods, I’ve stated multiple times that incitements of violence are grounds for legal repercussion.

    Regarding the White Aryan Resistance, according to Wikipedia:

    Meanwhile Tom Metzger, head of WAR, said the skinheads did a “civic duty” by killing Seraw.

    If that’s not an incitement to violence I don’t know what is!

    I’m going to go ahead and assume it was not terribly difficult for the SPLC to identify lots of prior incitements of violence made by Metzger on behalf of WAR prior to the killing that would indicate that they were influenced by his incitement.

  484. 484
    Ingdigo Jump

    @483

    Technically Metzger wasn’t inciting violence, he was stating an opinion.

  485. 485
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Meanwhile Tom Metzger, head of WAR, said the skinheads did a “civic duty” by killing Seraw.

    If that’s not an incitement to violence I don’t know what is!

    That statement cannot possibly have been an incitement to kill Seraw, since Metzger said it after Seraw’s death.

    Anyway, your position on things-that-LSP-calls-incitement-to-violence therefore renders this other statement false; you therefore do not believe the following:

    Seriously: “expected and predictable” is for the laws of physics working on mindless objects. As soon as a sentient being CHOOSES to do something, whether or not it could be predicted, THAT PERSON is responsible!

    By the above logic, you could not hold Metzger responsible, only Mieske, Brewster and Strasser. But you want to hold Metzger responsible. Okay, but then you’ll have to reformulate your statement to account for this. You can’t have it both ways.

    PS: Nick Gotts is correct.

  486. 486
    LeftSidePositive

    Um, no, Ing. Incitement of violence is not restricted to imperative sentences. Opinions and incitement are also not mutually exclusive–if one’s opinion is that it would be better if X were dead, then yes one is inciting violence against X. “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest” is clearly understood to be incitement.

    Oh, and by the way, throwing out “Vitalism” as a zinger just makes you look like a total idiot. Vitalism refers to a theory that life force is itself is separate from chemical and physical causes. Moral responsibility, however, does depend on sentience, even though sentience is in fact an emergent property of our physical brains. Sheesh.

  487. 487
    Ingdigo Jump

    Oh, and by the way, throwing out “Vitalism” as a zinger just makes you look like a total idiot. Vitalism refers to a theory that life force is itself is separate from chemical and physical causes. Moral responsibility, however, does depend on sentience, even though sentience is in fact an emergent property of our physical brains. Sheesh.

    Yes in other words moral responsibility means that despite all mater and chemistry relying on cause and effect (outside the quantum level)….EXCEPT when it comes for living beings to make choices…then things are not deterministic?

    In other words living matter (or at least humans) are inherently different and free from the laws of physics in ways that inanimate matter isn’t. i.e. vitalism

  488. 488
    strange gods before me ॐ

    In other words living matter (or at least humans) are inherently different and free from the laws of physics in ways that inanimate matter isn’t. i.e. vitalism

    Oh Ing!

    Vitalism is so outdated.

    What LeftSidePositive is referring to is the soul. ;)

  489. 489
    Ingdigo Jump

    @leftsided

    Except the example you gave of Thomas Becket is an event that is not definite. IIRC Henry II never gave an order, he gave a enraged comment that was taken as an order by his men. Whether it was intended to be an order or not I’ve heard argued both ways

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/middle_ages/becket_01.shtml

    , Henry exploded and is said to have uttered the words: ‘Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?’

    It was undoubtedly spoken in anger, but four knights took him at his word.

    If you’re going to make an argument best not to use one where you can definitively show that someone intended to the consequences of their words.

  490. 490
    Ingdigo Jump

    Oh Ing!

    Vitalism is so outdated.

    What LeftSidePositive is referring to is the soul. ;)

    IMO the soul is just one form of vitalism.

    On the other hand I am curious to hear when this transubstantiation occurs during fetal development, where the inert matter becomes free willed as it develops into a brain.

  491. 491
    Ingdigo Jump

    Also if you’re going to be consistent Leftsided, you are saying that every American who said that they think it would be good for Osama Bin Laden to die are morally responsible for his death…which yeah they might be, but in the same way that Christian anti-gay movements are responsible for teen suicides

  492. 492
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Also, LSP, I wonder if you know that you’re using “incitement to violence” in a way not recognizable to US law.

    That may be fine, if you want to define a broader category of actions which are morally wrong but not all illegal, but if that’s what you’re doing then please be clear about it.

    For clarity, note that Berhanu v Metzger was a civil suit, while incitement to violence is a criminal offense.

    +++++
    Ing,

    IMO the soul is just one form of vitalism.

    I agree with you, actually.

  493. 493
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Souls are every bit as real as moral responsibility.

    (They exist in our thoughts)

  494. 494
    LeftSidePositive

    That statement cannot possibly have been an incitement to kill Seraw, since Metzger said it after Seraw’s death.

    Dude, that’s why I said the next sentence:


    I’m going to go ahead and assume it was not terribly difficult for the SPLC to identify lots of prior incitements of violence made by Metzger on behalf of WAR prior to the killing that would indicate that they were influenced by his incitement.

    Holy shit, is that too hard for you to understand?!

    Look, I’m not going to go back and read every brief for the case–I think it was MORE than likely they had a strong case for incitement. His subsequent statements could also be prosecutable as incitement of future acts of violence.

    Seriously: “expected and predictable” is for the laws of physics working on mindless objects. As soon as a sentient being CHOOSES to do something, whether or not it could be predicted, THAT PERSON is responsible!

    For the sake of brevity, I did not include complicity in that quote, since it wasn’t relevant at that point in the discussion. When you egg someone on and promote something, you are responsible for your promotion (as that is your choice). When someone takes action in reaction/opposition to what you say, you are not, because you can’t really have control over those who disagree with you or are not affiliated with you by organization or ideology, and they are the ones who escalate things to violence. Otherwise, are you going to hold the Beatles responsible for the Manson murders? I mean, they wrote “Helter Skelter,” didn’t they? This is why we can’t hold people accountable for how others react, unless they are specifically advocating that reaction.

    Frankly I think Nick Gotts is way too eager to throw out our liberties in the face of being bullied by violent thugs, and this line of reasoning is based in intimidation and self-censorship. Now, for moral, NOT legal, responsibility, it does make some sense to criticize people for what they are TRYING to do, so in that sense he has some argument (what someone is consciously trying to do is different from what someone could have/should have predicted or did predict would happen, but in general I find judging intent to be subjective and usually a waste of time). Is it really that much more wrong than criticizing Islam on free speech grounds as the Danish cartoonist did, which I believe resulted in more deaths than this instance? To what extent did they want to provoke a reaction to show they weren’t intimidated by violence? At a certain point it just gets to “I’m gonna blame the people I don’t like and excuse those I do…” However, the point is that in order for this to have results, it has to be true that there are rabidly violent people in the world, and they are the ones that hold responsibility for their violence (which, for the purposes of this discussion, the speaker is not actually *advocating*). Otherwise, the filmmakers would be about as effective as a voodoo priestess sticking pins into a doll–I mean, yeah, I could judge the intent to do harm…but do I really care?

  495. 495
    Ingdigo Jump

    Seriously: “expected and predictable” is for the laws of physics working on mindless objects. As soon as a sentient being CHOOSES to do something, whether or not it could be predicted, THAT PERSON is responsible!

    We read what you said. You’ll have to actually address what we said not repeat it.

  496. 496
    Ingdigo Jump

    Souls are every bit as real as moral responsibility.

    (They exist in our thoughts)

    Helpful to the discussion as always, JM.

  497. 497
    LeftSidePositive

    Yes in other words moral responsibility means that despite all mater and chemistry relying on cause and effect (outside the quantum level)….EXCEPT when it comes for living beings to make choices…then things are not deterministic?

    Huh? Are you trying to make a case for absolute determinism? Frankly I find that rather a philosophically masturbatory position, but I can’t exactly tell what you’re advocating from your statement. Are you trying to say the universe has only one inevitable conclusion and everything that happens must happen?

    Frankly, I find that codswallop. The nature of choice is that an agent can recognize a possible outcome and its own self-interest and modify their behavior and environment such that ze can change the anticipated outcome. Results and subsequent behavior can feed back on each other. I don’t make any claims to how conscious this decision-making is or how influenced by external factors it is (definitely not a free will absolutist), but as soon as you introduce reality-modeling and goal-directed behavior into the equation, I find it very difficult to adopt a fully deterministic stance.

    But either way, the point is that reality modeling and decision-making (to whatever extent you believe it is constrained) is a neurologic function of our brains and does not rely on any magic, so your taking potshots about this is absurd and a willful distraction from an otherwise interesting discussion.

    The point about physical consequences of the world, as opposed to people choosing to perpetrate consequences on you, may be further elaborated on here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2012/02/06/3876/

  498. 498
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Helpful to the discussion as always, JM.

    Thank you, Ing, but I don’t always post helpful comments like the one for which you give me credit.

    (I thought it should be noted that reifying concepts such as ‘souls’ and ‘moral responsibility’ is a category error)

  499. 499