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Violentcensorz: The New Thought Police

According to the post, Wong's entire take on the issue revolves around the use of the term "free speech" to justify inaction on all points in the controversy (outside of that which keeps Reddit on the acceptable side of the law.) The administrators are expected to not ban what Wong refers to as "distasteful content," meaning that regardless of the stated motives of Gawker's writers and Reddit's "fempire," in the long run, their efforts (and in particular, the choice to dox) have accomplished nothing. Even with the violentacrez persona gone, there will continue to be content on reddit which the "fempire" finds offensive.

Except, well, that isn't entirely the case. The administrators have banned some distasteful content. Subreddits begun to replace r/creepshots have all disappeared within days of their creation, even though the content is not illegal, but merely distasteful. It appears that contrary to Wong's statement, at least some content is being censored on that basis. However, voyeur and porn subs with women as the target audience are still all up and running.

Chen also quotes Wong as coming out against the multi-mod boycott of Gawker, with reasons ranging from warning of bad public relations ("gawker exposes creepster; reddit engages in personal vendetta to defend pedophile," an assessment which glosses over the fact that while creepster may have accurate connotations, pedophile is not a fair description of violentacrez) to the assertion that the ban would have little impact on Gawker's traffic. Finally, Wong is quoted as further stating reddit's commitment to free speech, pointing out that "opponents have the right to write about us." He goes on to say that while reddit's administrators do consider doxxing a form of violence, and reddit enforces an anti-dox policy on site, "we can only affect the opinion of others outside of reddit via moral suasion and setting an example." He names journalism as a form of speech that reddit will not ban, and asks that mods explain if they disagree.

I disagree, not that journalism is a form of speech that deserves to be protected, but that Gawker's content can in any way be defined as journalism following this incident.

This occurred after Gawker hosted feminist blog Jezebel stirred up outrage by falsely inflating and demonizing the nature of subreddits which the writers and their feminist readers disapproved because they involved men looking at women and because women as a group were not in control of that behavior. The resulting brouhaha was rooted in a serious, compelling, and frequently discussed men's rights issue: The denigration of male sexuality. While not everything within the controversy can apply to every man, the pared down, unvarnished reality is that the basis for targeting creepshots and by extension violentacrez was that the target audience for the sub was men. There was no equal outrage (or any, that I saw) over similar subs with a female target-audience... and while some women of reddit may rationalize with statements as to how the lady-voyeur subreddits are nicer about it, when broken down to the bare truth those subreddits are still voyeur subs... which didn't even register on Gawker's radar.

The creepshots controversy was exacerbated and further escalated by feminist redditors both contributing and reacting to the initial posturing, largely within the context of their own sexist attitudes toward men.
Then, Gawker's Adrian Chen capitalized on that artificially inspired, Gawker-influinced, falsely inflated outrage by deliberately mischaracterizing the content of several of the subs VA modded (including those he did not even create) and associating that mischaracterization with VA's real name - simultaneously assassinating both VA's reputation and personal privacy for nothing more than page views, and the only reason Chen is getting any support for his actions is that his target was a man. The site used reddit's true sexism against its own members. The "fempire" and its fans got played big time by Gawker. Baker and Chen used the core ideology of feminism to fuel manufactured indignation over an inflated issue, manipulated them into an outraged frenzy of calls for doxxing. Gawker dramatized that, and then delivered... all to garner page views for ad revenue. And those pharisaical, fractious twits fell for it because they were more eager to be victorious than virtuous.

And while all of the creepshots-themed subreddits with their clothed photos of people in public are down... the "no-fusking" fusking sub is still active.

Whether intended to be so or not, the doxxing of violentacrez and several creepshots subscribers was a direct attack on the speech of redditors by Gawker's writers. In building, stoking, inflating, and exploiting the controversy over r/creepshots, violentacrez, and the other subs he moderated, culminating with the doxxing articles, Gawker's writers have communicated to redditors some very specific threats.

They have told us that they can manipulate public opinion unchecked by fact, because their readers do not bother to look for themselves. They have told us that they can lie about us and be believed, because those among our own fellow redditors who may disagree with us will repeat those lies until the lies become common "knowledge." They have told us that they can create distorted characterizations of us, and through promotion on their blogs, enforce those characterizations upon our reputations. They have told us they can raise lynch mobs against individuals they do not like.

They have told us that they're willing to use those capabilities to control our online activity. They have shown us they will use those methods to censor our speech to suit their approval.

Essentially, they have told us that Gawker will now be reddit's content editors; don't post anything the writers of Gawker disapprove, or you will be attacked, slandered, and publicly sacrificed, just like violentacrez. The site is now in position to act as Reddit's Inquisitor Haereticae Pravitatis with Chen waiting to jump into action at the behest of the "fempire's" hysterical finger-pointing... or the promise of web traffic... whichever comes first.

Now, I only wonder how long Gawker's bloggers are going to continue milk this controversy for "content."

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1 comment:

Seabass said...

Amazing summary. A year ago I wouldn't have been able to believe that Gawker could become a more terrible website, but now we have it.

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