LOUNGE all new asksnapzu ideasforsnapzu newtribes interesting pics videos funny technology science technews gaming health history worldnews business web research entertainment food living internet socialmedia mobile space sports photography nature animals movies culture travel television finance music celebrities gadgets environment usa crime politics law money justice psychology security cars wtf art google books lifetips bigbrother women apple kids recipes whoa military privacy education facebook medicine computing wildlife design war drugs middleeast diet toplists economy fail violence humor africa microsoft parenting dogs canada neuroscience architecture religion advertising infographics sex journalism disaster software aviation relationships energy booze life japan ukraine newmovies nsa cannabis name Name of the tribe humanrights nasa cute weather gifs discoveries cops futurism football earth dataviz pets guns entrepreneurship fitness android extremeweather fashion insects india northamerica
+86 87 1
Published 3 years ago with 33 Comments
  • Mouseover text

    I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.

 

Join the Discussion

  • Auto Tier
  • All
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Post Comment
  • SirWinston
    +16

    This is very true. This is what I find frustrating about all the reddit discussion. I also on the other hand understand that the community drives the site and they carry a huge amount of influence and if they don't like policy changes they do have some ability to affect the site.

    • StarmanSuper
      +10

      There's a bit of a difference with Reddit, though.

      Yes, the people inside the unpopular forums are defending their content by yelling "free speech," which this comic shows is pretty pathetic.

      But many people outside the unpopular forums are also defending this content using "free speech," because agreeing to let admins and mods limit what's okay to discuss on Reddit leads to a conversation that's shaped by people with power. And not only is there waning trust in the people running Reddit, but there's worry that big business and even government are using their influence to shape that conversation as well.

      The world isn't perfect. And until it is, we need to be able to discuss unpopular opinions, because some of those unpopular opinions will lead to positive change.

      • ofest
        +6

        Well said!!

        And not only is there waning trust in the people running Reddit, but there's worry that big business and even government are using their influence to shape that conversation as well.

        This is exactly what I've been concerned with since this drama began (I've never been a part of those unpopular forums).

        Two relevant quotes:

        "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

        - Voltaire

        and

        First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Socialist.

        Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Jew.

        Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

        - Martin Niemöller

        • PrismDragon (edited 3 years ago)
          +3

          Yep, that's part of my reasoning as well /u/ofest. I don't really like most of those unpopular forums, but I am concerned that banning them may set a dangerous precedent in terms of censorship. I understand banning illegal content, but legal, although unpopular content? Yeah...

          I hope Snapzu can deal with this in the future. There will be a time were drama will arise here. Let's hope we, the community, can handle it well...

      • PrismDragon
        +2

        Yeah, that's my main concern with limiting free speech. Sure, I understand removing illegal content. But, limiting legal content (i.e. "free speech") can potentially set dangerous precedents. There are unpopular opninions yes, but no one's completely unbiased. After all, who's to completely decide right and wrong. I personally find racism, misogyny, ,discrimination, etc. to be reprehensible. But, there's a grey area involved in all of this, especially with controversial issues.

  • NerfYoda
    +10

    I worked with my local Occupy movement back in the day. Our lawyer put it pretty well to us during our planning meetings. "Your first amendment right to free speech allows you to protest the government to the government without fear of punishment from the government." After that it's fair game and all other kinds of laws could apply, hate speech, inciting riots, etc. And if you're on private property then there's even less legal protection.

    Something off topic but kind of funny from those times is I learned that being read the riot act is a real thing. Prior to our big initial demonstration we met with the local police and they gave us copies of the local riot acts which described what the laws and consequences were for various situations (throwing bricks vs lighting something on fire vs fighting and such) should the protest turn less than peaceful. Interesting times.

    • shiranaihito
      +5

      "Your first amendment right to free speech allows you to protest the government to the government without fear of punishment from the government."

      Without fear of punishment from the government, huh? Does getting brutalized by the police count? Because that happened plenty.

      • NerfYoda (edited 3 years ago)
        +1

        Far too often. :/

        Edit: Thankfully our local movement didn't have too much go that. We had a pretty okay relationship with the cops at the start. As good of a relationship that you can have with them at least.

        • shiranaihito
          +1

          Interesting how you specified "at the start".. leaving room for things having gone downhill from there.

          • NerfYoda
            +2

            Entropy creeped up and things got worse on both sides. I suppose it's bound to happen. "Everything goes to hell, anyways." :)

            • shiranaihito (edited 3 years ago)
              +2

              Well, it is the police's job to prevent you from causing too much trouble to your rulers, so.. yeah :p

              Of course, the mere existence of OWS was troublesome for them, which is why the police were sent to harass you.

            • NerfYoda
              +1
              @shiranaihito -

              I participated in Occupy Houston, so we had the oil and shipping industries pretty spooked. I never witnessed any of the over the top stuff that we saw in NYC and Berkley. There were plenty of arrests, but those are to be expected when you're engaging in civil disobedience. On the other hand there was the whole undercover Austin police officer and FBI sniper contingency plan which was pretty unnerving. The released FBI documents around that sniper plan showed that jurisdictions all over the country were terrified of what these protests could do to industry and infrastructure.

            • shiranaihito
              +3
              @NerfYoda -

              I can't think of anything worthwhile to say to that, but here's a relevant little cartoon: http://i.imgur.com/G7g93L7.jpg

            • NerfYoda
              +2
              @shiranaihito -

              Hah, that's a good way to put it.

  • LucidBlueEye
    +10

    I've kept pretty quiet, as this concept has been explained and re-explained to various communities as a whole. I have to say though, this argument as it's being used today is rather disappointing, and I think supports a fairly unenlightened view on speech.

    Yes, it is technically and legally correct, that speech can be limited by corporations/forums/groups etc. That does not mean it should be. There are plenty of gross, disgusting, unappealing, ignorant sites/communities/sub-communities online and in the world. I could spend the next year creating a list of what I wouldn't really like to see. But so what? Who the fuck am I? I get it, it's gross, and grotesque a lot of times, but you know what, we're fucking adults, deal with it. Who is anyone to tell anyone else what can/should/should not be discussed. We don't need to bring the government into this, I mean in general, what kind of people do we want to be? I'm not afraid of ideas, I'm not afraid of words, or concepts, regardless of how offensive they are. What's troubling about this whole thing, is that this is just where it starts. When you begin limiting speech of really any kind, you really only accomplish a few things.

    1) You inflame the speech you're trying to limit by saying it can't/shouldn't be discussed. 2) Most importantly, you set a terrible precident, that it is acceptable to ban/restrict/limit speech in general if it "offends" you or a group, or is found "damaging".

    This is the new censorship, we should recognize it for what it is. We can either be a society of free speech, an enlightened society that allows speech of all kinds even if we disagree, or we can agree that censorship is alright, as long as it's something we view as "dangerous" or "offensive". It's a slippery slope, and mark my word, it won't be long before the new target and yourself have a lot in common.

    • Wenjarich
      +2

      I think I have addressed some of this in my comment here. If not, feel free to respond to this comment and I'll be happy to take it from there. :)

      • LucidBlueEye
        +3

        I don't mean offense, but that argument is filled with more fallacy's and straw men then I could address in anything less than a couple of pages. I can sum it up though with 2 points.

        1) No, no one is saying anyone is inherently wrong for pointing out racism/misogyny/sexism, in fact it's needed and encouraged.

        2) No, you don't have a right not to be offended. Sorry, but no. You don't have a right to a "safe place". That is a child's argument. Being offended, does not make an individual right.

        I assure you, if you demand a society with the same rules given to children, it will be short-coming before you're treated as one.

        • Wenjarich
          +1

          I just want to understand where you are coming from so please bare with me. Are you then saying, that you are not ok with say, people creating a site designed for discussing chess and then asking people to leave if everything they post on that site has nothing to do with chess what so ever?

          This in my opinion is a similar situation because it's a site, choosing what they want to see discussed on that site, which can be described as choosing what they don't want discussed, and then telling people to leave for not following the rules set. Except in the above situation, I think to most, it would be absurd to say it is wrong to do that. Someone took the time to put together an environment to be used for a certain, harmless and legal purpose and then are told they are not allowed to use it for that purpose. If you feel my example does not model our situation please point out why. I'm wanting to decern at what point you feel we loose that say.

          • LucidBlueEye (edited 3 years ago)
            +2

            I see your point, and I don't necessarily disagree with a portion of your argument.

            I'll reiterate, the site is within its rights to limit any speech it doesn't like or want to support. This could be anything from hate speech to Swedish clocks. It is not a question of ability, nor is it a question of legal standing, websites/admins have both. It is an issue of speech, not governmental, but the ethics of speech. We have never before been better enabled to communicate, we've also never before been better enabled to block communication and censor. We are free to do as we like with it. When we cross the line, into limiting speech, especially on sites like Snapzu, Reddit, Voat, etc. we're really setting a dangerous precedent. Reddit for example, when it first debuted and in its early years, championed itself as a harbor of free speech. There was plenty that the admins didn't like on the site, but they recognized an important principle, once they began to curate what was allowable, and what was not, they would have taken a very important and very large step towards censorship.

            I see a meaningful difference between banning a user for continual abuse, and banning a topic entirely, assuming it’s not illegal content. I think we have an obligation to allow it, and I say that as someone who can’t stand it. The primary reason for this is because if we allow censorship of any kind, if we tolerate it, it will without question be abused. It never de-escalates, censorship never ends the issue, it only inflames it. Human nature and history have taught us what human beings do when they’re able to control discussion. We already have governments throughout the world who are doing this, we have technologies that are aimed at social engineering how we respond to issues. The last thing we need are websites taking a pro-censorship position. We need open communities where anything can be discussed, again, assuming it’s not illegal. We face too many obstacles for speech with our government, to sit by idly as websites adopt a pro-censorship “safe place” policy. It starts with the low hanging fruit, things we can all agree are “bad”, but mark my word, and look at history, this will not be the end of it, this is just how the door opens.

    • septimine
      +1

      There's also no "public " place on the Internet. So really if mods on every site banned talking about a topic or banned a viewpoint, or an opinion, it's not going to be seen anywhere. I mean sure start your own forum, but no one reads it but you. In other words, you can protest 3 miles up the road, under an overpass and behind the dumpster. Aren't we benevolent gods?

      I'm ok with rules, provided they're consistently enforced. I just think there needs to be a big free for all place to talk and protest things you think are wrong.

  • shiranaihito
    +5

    So this guy seems pleased with people's tendency to silence anyone who says anything that goes against their current views. The problem there is that speech that is in conflict with people's current views is exactly the kind of speech they should be listening to. But he dismisses it as someone being an asshole. That's idiotic. Yes, some people are assholes and will be saying things not worth hearing, but that just comes with the territory.

    Then there's the problem that the idea of "the right to free speech" is a distraction.

    It's a comforting idea for us little worker ants that we can say aaaaanything we want, and our benevolent overlords "CAN'T" harm us for it! Because a piece of paper says so.

    In reality though, any government will silence anyone who's being a real threat to it. That's how ruling over people works. In medieval times, people were "hanged and quartered" (i.e. made seriously fucking disturbing examples of) for threatening the rulers' continued rule. In recent times, Bradley Manning showed us that when you're saying something the government really doesn't like you saying, then you get summarily thrown in jail (and tortured behind the scenes), even though it's against the most sacrosanct law of the land.

    That just shows that laws don't matter to rulers. They make them, after all, and they're meant for us. Most laws are just meant to make our lives more difficult, to enrich the rulers' cronies at our expense, and so on. And some laws are meant to soothe our subconscious discomfort with being enslaved. The former kind are commands that we have to obey, under threat of punishment. That's because we're being ruled over. The latter kind are things our rulers are supposedly not allowed (by themselves?) to do to us.

    Are you waking up yet?

    • Wenjarich
      +4

      Sure all of that is important but why does any of that mean that we, as an online community, can't look at each case individually and assess it on it's merits as to whether we feel the person is being an arsehole and say we don't want to listen to arseholes on the site? As an analogy, would you be as insistent that a group of friends keep a person in their circle of friends even though none of them like that he is really rude to everyone else, simply because it's his right to express his opinion?

      I also don't get how those who often site freedom of speech often forget to note, the ones they are defending very rarely consider what the people, they are rude and crass to, have to say nor do they call those people out for it.

      • StarmanSuper
        +6

        But who are we to decide who's being an arsehole?

        Individually, I can decide person A is an arsehole and hide or downvote their comment. Or I can decide place B is full of arseholes, and never go to that place again. But our definitions of arseholes may not always overlap.

        • Wenjarich (edited 3 years ago)
          +2

          I think I addressed this in my response to /u/shiranaihito above you. If not drop a response to this comment and I'm happy to follow from there :)

          Edit: don't know why I keep typing their in place of there and vice versa. Itstlike my brain has switched the two.

          • Somedamnkid (edited 3 years ago)
            +3

            You've posted a lot in this thread and I've tried to aggregate my responses into a single post. I think, and correct me is I'm wrong, we disagree on the point of what powers the right to not listen grants us. You seem to be confusing listening and speaking.

            I think your above analogy fails in the following way:

            would you be as insistent that a group of friends keep a person in their circle of friends even though none of them like that he is really rude to everyone else, simply because it's his right to express his opinion?

            Absolutely not, nobody is saying you should be forced to listen to things you don't like or hang out with people you hate. It is a personal decision that everyone can make for themselves: "Based on his comments, I think Shiranaihito is an asshole so I will not read them." and the other is imposing your ethics on someone else "I and my friends think Shiriranihito is an asshole and should have his ability to express his ideas removed." In your analogy it would be more like Guy X is an asshole so lets not talk to him, vs Guy X is an asshole so lets not allow him to be in the same building as us.

            Down in the comments you say:

            Sure the terms racist and misogynist etc can be misused but when people are not being hateful, but you are also essentially doing the same thing by assuming everyone who points out racism and misogyny to be wrong. My point is when those legitimate cases arise it is also our right to not want to listen to them. No one is saying they don't have the right to say that stuff, we are saying we don't want to listen to them say it.

            It is absolutely your right not not have to listen to that stuff, but there is a difference between listening and speaking. I don't listen to the crazy religious people on the sidewalk when they shout their drivel, I just ignore them and walk by, maybe if they go too far I might say "dude, that's not cool." That is exercising ones right to not listen to bullshit. Going to the city and passing an ordinance that their group is now barred from shouting stuff on the sidewalk is not exercising ones right not to listen, it is forcing them to stop expressing their ideas and is wrong.

            Another example: I think BDSM is gross. When I go to porn sites, I don't click the BDSM tab. Occasionally a BDSM video makes its way to the front page, I see that it's there but don't watch it. That doesn't mean I think BDSM should be banned on the sites I visit.

            You also make a chess club analogy:

            Are you then saying, that you are not ok with say, people creating a site designed for discussing chess and then asking people to leave if everything they post on that site has nothing to do with chess what so ever?

            Nobody is saying that someone who only talks about football rather than chess should be removed from a chess site. People are saying when a site is designed for the sharing of ideas and creation of special interest tribes, that to allow someone to make a tribe for chess but not allow someone to make a tribe for football is wrong.

            The Following are my ideals on free speech and expression: If the KKK were holding a parade in my town, I would not go to it because I think they are terrible people. I would not however say they are barred from having a parade in my town. Freedom is a very delicate thing, if I say "I live in a free society, but do not allow the KKK to hold a lawful parade because they are terrible people." then I am lying and I do not live in a free society. Idea...

            Read Full
          • shiranaihito
            +1

            Whether someone is being an asshole can be determined through rational, logical, objective evaluation. It's not a matter of opinion. Either someone has objectively behaved in a callous, hurtful way, or he hasn't.

            (Yeah, I just whipped up a brief "definition" there. I think it's good enough for making the point)

      • shiranaihito
        +3

        Of course people's comments should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. But the problem is that instead of rationally evaluating what someone is saying, people get emotional and attack him.

        It's easy to come up with an excuse for rejecting what someone is saying even though it doesn't make sense to. The most common labels are probably "racist" and "misogynist", and of course you can just call anything that bothers you "hateful" because it's vague enough to be meaningless, but still handy in silencing someone.

        • Wenjarich
          +1

          Sure the terms racist and misogynist etc can be misused but when people are not being hateful, but you are also essentially doing the same thing by assuming everyone who points out racism and misogyny to be wrong. My point is when those legitimate cases arise it is also our right to not want to listen to them. No one is saying they don't have the right to say that stuff, we are saying we don't want to listen to them say it. The next question is how you decide what is legitimate and what isn't.

          That in my opinion is part of what is being consider within the discussions around changing the downvote button to a report button or rather change it's symbol so it is not considered the opposite of upvote along with the requirement of giving a reason. That way people are more likely to stop and think as to whether this is occurring due to simply not liking the point or because it is hateful and doesn't actually contribute to the conversation.

          As far as disallowing the forming of tribes and such goes, that's a little more difficult to define. But when you have the word hate with regard to a group of people in the name of your tribe, you are essentially announcing that you are practicing hate speech.

          I feel I should also say though, seeing as Snapzu never did claim to be a champion of free speech and that they are always going to be against discrimination and such, it's kind of just up to us to then say, "well do we want to be part of that community. " It's like walking into a chess club then getting angry if they no longer want you there when all you to do is talk about is football. They have defined who they "as a club" are and we have to decide if that's what we want to be part of. The reason it is more important to enforce free speech in a country but not as important on a site is that people have a choice as to whether they are on a particular site or not. Very few people have a choice as to whether they are in the country they are in.

          • shiranaihito
            +2

            Of course there are real racists and real misogynists out there, but that doesn't make it alright for people to use those words as bludgeons with which to silence people who are making them uncomfortable (by making sense and pointing out things they don't want to accept).

            I haven't claimed that "everyone who points out racism" is wrong, and I don't think that way (because there are legitimate cases and I'm not an idiot).

            What would you change the downvote button to? Is there a symbol for "I think you're wrong"? :P Because that's how most people use it.

            But did you notice how you used the word "hateful" as if it was a common thing for a comment to be so "hateful" that it needs to be downvoted? Think about what it means to be "hateful"? There is no clear definition. Anyone can deem anything hateful in their opinion.

            Do you hate something? -Will your comment on it be hateful and therefore objectively worthy of disdain? Or do you just hate something because there's a legitimate reason for hating it? What if you just hate something for no particular reason, kind of like having a favourite colour? Are you hateful then, and what does it mean with regard to the world around you?

            What is "hateful" besides a hand-wavy, negative characterization that's used for shaming people into shutting up?

            seeing as Snapzu never did claim to be a champion of free speech

            The thing is, it's not alright to silence people who are objectively telling people things they need to hear. It doesn't matter whether a site has declared itself a champion of free speech - they're either detrimental to humanity's future/development, or they're not.

            The reason it is more important to enforce free speech in a country

            Freedom of speech is only ever violated by rulers and their thugs. It's only meaningful in that context, but it's meaningless in the sense that it doesn't matter to the rulers who would violate it, and it certainly doesn't prevent anything.

            Considering freedom of speech only applies as long as no one intervenes in speech, the only way you could enforce it would be to somehow magically prevent the government from intervening.

            Fundamentally, it's just an idea that's meant to make us more comfortable with being enslaved. In other words, it's a propaganda tool.

  • crincon
    +5

    Eh. I love XKCD, I think Munroe is a genius. And I think this strip is factually correct, although, not being an American myself, having no "1st amendment" in the laws that govern me, I will not presume to know this for sure. However, in my experience and opinion, this particular strip has been widely used by people who have an agenda, have encountered opposition to it, and seek to dismiss or mock those who oppose them with an easy and comfortable sound bite. And that doesn't sit well with me.

    See, what I do have (along with specific country laws that I won't bore you with), is a right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression as recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which my country, and very likely yours too, adopted in 1948 and ratified sometime in the 70s.

    Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    This is actually international law, but never mind that, what matters is that the world seems to agree that these are rights every human being is entitled to, that it is morally wrong if someone is denied them. This doesn't mean there ought to be absolutely no limitations, certainly, life is not black and white and there are many reasons why freedom of expression should and will be limited, but the point is: this is important shit. In fact, I believe freedom of expression has been and will always be vital to Western civilisation, it may just be the reason why it's the most successful form of society and arguably the best culture to live in. I believe it is that important -- and if you don't, please go read John Stuart Mill, really. It truly worries me, it dismays me, to see how many people, Westerners of all people, just don't seem to share this conviction.

    So I think that, even in cases where no specific country law mandates that people must be allowed free expression, we ought to strive for it anyway, because it's the right thing to do. With "we" here being individuals, governments, groups, companies, media, websites, whatever. And that, when one such entity chooses to limit this right for reasons not quite of the same weight, like not inconveniencing or annoying some people (within reason), in general we ought to disapprove, and if possible push for a change. Because it is wrong. Not as a matter of law, but as a matter of morals.

    And so I believe it is highly questionable to use this strip to illustrate why it's OK to deny freedom of expression to, say, creationists or atheists, liberals or conservatives, feminists, MRAs, gamergaters, gun advocates, or whatever other group that happens to annoy you because they're "being assholes," yet they're breaking no laws or violating human rights. At this point, seriously, I'm so predisposed against it that makes me want to side with your opposition rather than with you, just on general principle.

    • LucidBlueEye
      +4

      I couldn't agree more, this comic is now being used as a tool to silence by groups who don't know the difference between "technically correct" and right.

  • PushPull
    +5

    I know that this doesn't contribute to the discussion, but I just wanted to say that I am in absolute AWE over how well this group handles differing opinions.

    I'm going to like it here! Carry on!

    • PrismDragon
      +3

      Yeah, everyone's being quite respectful. Quite a change from most other sites I have gone to.

Here are some other snaps you may like...