Showing posts from August, 2016

The Tolerance Weapon

Don't we feel foolish.  Tolerance, the once promising key to a better tomorrow, has been turned to crap.

The haters,  in this case the self-anointed victims of the Civil Rights Movement, have finally figured out how to screw up our best intentions. They now claim that they too are entitled to be tolerated.

As truly social deviants, and unlikely to qualify to be tolerated, the haters have recast themselves in more socially neutral terms. They no longer call themselves right-wing, white rights or European traditionalists.

They are now Alt-Right. A term so ambiguous as to obscure their true principals and confuse the less informed. As a result, the fringes of the Alt Right contain some relatively normal people. The true right-wing core of the Alt Right movement uses the appearance of normality at its fringes to claims a right to be tolerated in the social and political arena.

Make no mistake, these are white supremacists and fascists trying to paint their picture with a brush broad …


DEAR INTERNET, IT’S been a while, right? We here at WIRED talk about you a lot (mostly good things!), and we’ll admit it feels a little weird to address you directly. But we need to have a talk. And yeah, no, this is not going to be a fun one. Because things aren’t great, Internet. Actually, scratch that: they’re awful.
You were supposed to be the blossoming of a million voices. We were all going to democratize access to information together. But some of your users have taken that freedom as a license to victimize others. This is not fine.
Are we talking about Leslie Jones? Sure. Today. But we should’ve mentioned something to you Monday when some of you went after the woman running Ireland’s Twitter account. Or earlier this summer when anti-Semitic trolls started crowing about their nested-parentheses bat…

The Fiction of Non-Fiction

Historically, libraries have divided books into two broad categories; fiction and non-fiction. Examples of fiction are stories, fables and fantasies. The rest is non-fiction, widely considered as fact.
Merriam-Webster defines it as: "writing that is about facts or real events: all writing that is not fiction."

The digital world has inherited that default definition for non-fiction and is suffering for it. 
The first of many problems is that the fiction or non-fiction classification is bestowed by the author. A written piece about traveling to the moon in a basket carried by geese could be speculative non-fiction on alternative methods of spaceflight or a fictional fairy-tale. There is no objective measure which way it is classified. As a result, there are non-fiction writings about  how the Holocaust did not happen, genetic superiority or how the government is controlling people through microwave towers, among various other nonsense. 
If people just laughed, and some do, that…

We Are All Journalists

So many of us are journalists, storytellers, relaters of experience. Blogging, vlogging and micro-blogging. Some hoping to be the next Drudge or Huffington, others just needing to speak. Not since the Instamatic camera has our existence been chronicled so richly.

There are all kinds of journalists. Career journalists, science journalists, entertainment journalists and foremost, citizen  journalists. All are important and valuable, but a mixed bag. Some career journalists are amateurs and some citizen journalists are professionals. The difference between professionals and amateurs is not a matter of experience. It is a matter of dedication to journalistic standards, ethics and practices. Not everyone has that dedication.

The problem is dedication and commitment are great attributes, but not a great shield from abuse. More and more, as we citizen journalists, we need a shield or two.  In this election year we have seen just how badly  professional journalists can be abused for seemingl…

The Sightless Still See Hate

Many online service platforms have long advocated user initiated local blocking as a preferred method for fighting hateful content.  As much as I appreciate the problems faced by the companies, simply having users block hate from their feeds is a bit like stopping the bleeding,  but leaving in the bullet.  The problem is still there, and will fester.

Think of a hearing impaired person, walking down the street, followed by someone screaming obscenities, abuse and taunts at them. Just because the victim can't hear the abuse does not mean they are not being abused.

When hate is directed at a person,  or a group, or is posted in a place where the person or members of the group are likely to encounter it, that's wrong, inappropriate, uncivilized. Even if blocked from the victims view, it is seen and used by collaborative haters. It feeds the destructive environment.

User experience controls are a useful feature, but they do not combat cyberhate.

Let's be real. I can't rec…