You've never heard of the verb, to him off? Meaning to hone, or to sharpen? Thus, "let's him off the hook on bogus answer" -- as in, upon hearing a bogus answer, let us sharpen the hook with which we will hold the President to account. See? You've just misinterpreted it.
I am perfectly happy with this situation and I hope it continues for the foreseeable future. However, any news from the current Canadian government that makes proponents of internet freedom feel more comfortable, should be treated with the utmost skepticism.
Yes I too learned how to program on an Apple IIe in school. Unfortunately, however, nobody is going to learn to program on an iPad because they are locked down consumer-only machines that are totally enslaved to Apple's wishes and Apple doesn't wish anyone to program on an iPad -- end of learning!
The problem with the whole 'cheese eating surrender monkey' is not that its offensive, it's that it dragged an irrelevant cultural battle into the issue, thereby derailing all the commentary (even winning the top 'blessed' spot below the article) and entirely blunting the effectiveness of the article in highlighting its point.
Want to be an effective writer? Don't do this sort of thing. I am not offended, just unimpressed.
Your argument amounts to saying Christian outrage is unjustified whereas feminist outrage is justified. I suspect Christians would disagree with you on that. I also suspect that Christians would say that homosexual lifestyle affects society. I completely disagree with Christians on that, but that is what some of them say, isn't it?
The rest of what you said is very true and I agree. I only make the distinction that even though it may be *deserved* and I might not lose any sleep over it, that does not therefore make it *ethical*. And the reason this distinction is so important to me is that I do not want society to devolve to the point where anybody who is outraged by something thinks they are totally in the clear to dox the person responsible, and they will be in the moral clear. They will not be in the moral clear, because I will be there, and others like me, saying, 'Hey buddy, maybe the dude deserved it, but that was still a shitty thing to do.'
Well nobody is really arguing that ViolentAcrez deserves empathy -- I certainly have no empathy for him, and especially not for Reddit. I simply don't let my sense of empathy dictate my principles for me -- if I did, then they wouldn't be principles at all, would they? They'd just be a great big mushy pile of hypocritical empathy.
They are not 'my own'. This Reddit troll has no greater connection to me than he does to you.
'Frontier justice' does not mean only the worst offenders will be unmasked. It means everybody will be unmasked, because no matter who you are there is somebody who thinks what you're doing is immoral.
If you want to vote for more laws, go ahead. That is the way the system works.
P.S. Whatever answer you have to the free speech crowd, you don't need to explain it to me, or to Reddit, or even to the people commenting here. You need to explain it to 'RemusShepherd' the outed gay commenter at the bottom of this (muddled, churlish) Gawker article...
In response I will repeat the comment I already made on your blog...
“If the law does not answer homosexuality, the best way to achieve social justice is to shine a light on it. If the law can’t or won’t deal with something as reprehensible as sodomy, doxxing seems to be a perfectly acceptable, moral and ethical recourse.” Therefore Christians should out gays? Why is your philosophy inapplicable to Christians who are morally outraged about homosexuality?
If you think that being outraged at someone’s behaviour is sufficient to make doxxing ‘ethical’ then doesn’t that make outing gay and lesbians ‘ethical’? (Nobody ever has a good answer for this.) You are not the only one in the world with a sense of outrage.
If something illegal was done, then the criminal should be prosecuted. However, it is my understanding (and I could be wrong since I didn’t look at the pictures) that the reason Reddit’s subforums were ‘legal’ is that the pictures had all identifying info (i.e. faces) removed. It is legal to take public photography, as long as people aren’t clearly identifiable — because then you would have to deal with model rights. No identifiable photos = no model rights. To take this right of public photography away would be to destroy the art of photography in public, really. You can’t take a crowd shot of a city street and then get permission from thousands of people. That is why this rule developed you don’t need permission unless their faces are identifiable.
I am not defending Reddit’s actions however; I am merely explaining why they qualify as free speech (and it is Reddit’s free speech to publish these pics that is at issue here not just ViolentAcrez). If I were a Reddit moderator, those pictures would never have been posted. But I am not a Reddit moderator and Reddit has freedom of speech so if they wish to publish it and it is legal, then of course, yes, it qualifies as freedom of speech. How could it not? Any speech that is legal is by definition also free. There is no difference between ‘legal speech’ and ‘free speech’ — they are the same exact thing.
I don't get this whole dilemma. People are doing investigative journalism all the time; it just isn't being done at newspapers. In fact, many of the newspapers in world have largely stopped investigating anything seriously.
Rather than try to shore up (with donations and co-ops) an institution that doesn't seem really focused on investigating things anymore, the logical solution is to direct cooperative cash to those who are actually *primarily* focused on investigation (as opposed to primarily focused on retyping press releases). And these days that tends to mean single-issue bloggers and disruptive website operators.
There will always be money to support newspapers because the people who write press releases need someone to distribute them. We don't need to pay for that: the establishment already has that covered, and if you think the elites are going to let newspapers (the voice of the establishment, after all) die, and let bloggers control the narrative, I've got a bridge to sell you. The elites will operate their newspapers at a loss before they'll let that happen.
Therefore, we simply don't need to worry about saving newspapers. It's a gigantic red herring dangled in front of the public by people like Rupert Murdoch to distract attention from their dying relevance.
What we need to do, is bring the training to where the genuine desire is. Bloggers are the ones who are truly motivated to get to the bottom of things -- so we should be pushing for them to trained in better journalistic techniques. Amateurs can learn -- but an establishment leopard cannot change its spots.
'Please stand by for 4 months... Your right to offer a service have been suspended pending the conclusion of our contractual obligation to oppress you... You will be notified when our contractual obligation to oppress you has concluded... Please stand by for...' etc.
I find that stance just as hypocritical as what it seeks to punish, because a gay person advocating against homosexuality is fully and fairly exercising their free speech. Basically, gay people don't like gay hypocrites, and thus choose to exclude them from the ethical rule that they otherwise benefit from. While I can understand their point of view, I have to entirely disagree that it is OK to carve out an exception to your ethics just for the people who particularly piss you off.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral reasoning can be a tricky thing
Not to mention the fact that Millenium entirely ignored my inconvenient question. Have you noticed this? Almost every single defender of this doxxing, when asked directly -- why doesn't your logic apply equally to a religious fundamentalist punishing a heretic? -- just disappears, stops posting, ignores the question, pretends it doesn't exist.
It's a massive, collective case of 'let's all steadfastly look-the-other-way on the ethics in order to punish the social freak'. These people *know* in their hearts that they are doing something wrong. They just want it to be done, so they don't care to confront the issue of ethics.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But what about the "don't put it on the Internet" philosophy?
I think you will be hard-pressed to find anyone here (or anywhere on the internet outside of Facebook or Google+) who will agree with Randi Zuckerberg on that one! I remember her making that statement and she was roundly ridiculed for it everywhere I frequent, online.
And I agree with you on the Microsoft thing too. I am not one of these jerks who says to anyone who has their privacy violated online, 'Well, you shouldn't have put your stuff there so that makes you stupid and you deserve it.' You know why I don't say that? Because it's not true, and even if it were true, don't stupid people also have rights? I do not make statements to the effect that there are no rights for stupid people. So that handily takes care of that argument.
There are a lot of knee-jerk arguments that are made on the internet that are so tranparently silly or evil that they are barely even worth countering. This whole 'don't care about the gullible and the naive' meme is one of them.
Re: Re: Re: But what about the "don't put it on the Internet" philosophy?
I think you hit the nail on the head when you called doxxing a 'game'. People are thinking about it as a cat-and-mouse game, and that is a very dangerous mindset, because it is actually not a game, and there can be very serious consequences. It just so happens that in this particular case, nobody cares about the consequences. But in the future, when it becomes painfully clear that there is plenty of doxxing activity possible on certain types of victims that is far, far worse than anything ViolentAcrez ever did, then people are going to wake up and realise that they never should have supported doxxing people as 'ethical'. I just find it sad that it is going to take a serious incident of some innocent gay person or religious dissident getting doxxed, and then perpetrators pointing to Adrian Chen, before the community wakes up to this.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral reasoning can be a tricky thing
What if there were only one Corporation in the whole world? Would it be okay with you if they censored everything? What about only two Corporations? There are plenty of marketplaces where there are essentially only two major players. If censorship is fine when a Corporation does, that's the same as saying that it's a bullshit rule. Government is prohibited from doing, but if enough Corporations do it, the end result is functionally the same, and we need to be cognizant of that.