Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

shminux comments on Politics is hard mode - Less Wrong

28 Post author: RobbBB 21 July 2014 10:14PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (107)

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: shminux 23 July 2014 08:23:05PM *  -1 points [-]

Why? is the word trigger itself a trigger?

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 24 July 2014 09:10:25AM *  5 points [-]


Because its typical internet usage is an exaggeration.

It is wrong to call every form of sadness a "depression", every form of aversion a "trigger", every lack of social skills an "autism", etc.

is the word trigger itself a trigger?

No, unless there is some weird form of torture when the prisoners are shown a word "trigger" written on screen, immediately followed by pain. So that even months or years after their torture ended, when they see the word "trigger", their hearts automatically starts beating fast, and they crouch and scream incontrollably.

Mere "I am so annoyed when I see someone speaking about triggers" is not a trigger.

Comment author: gwillen 24 July 2014 12:18:51AM *  0 points [-]

The word trigger is itself the subject of significant political dispute. There are at least three sides:

  • The side that thinks "trigger" means specifically something which brings back traumatic memories in a person who has the psychological disorder of PTSD, and other usage is overbroad;
  • The side that thinks "trigger" means anything that causes someone to recall past trauma, or more broadly anything that upsets someone due to some association with past trauma;
  • The side that thinks a good part of side #2 is a bunch of oversensitive whiners; some members of which claim to be in side #1, arguably as a sort of concern trolling, whereas others purport to disbelieve in the whole concept.

It would be hard to use the word 'trigger' with any meaning at all, without taking some side here.

Comment author: Vulture 25 July 2014 10:29:33PM 1 point [-]

Side #3 there looks more like a strawman/weakman of side #1 - surely there isn't much of a movement to eschew the word "trigger" or the concept of triggers in the context of medical discussion of PTSD? Or to disbelieve in one of the principal symptoms of one of the most normalized and well-publicised mental disorders in modern America?

Comment author: Lexico 26 July 2014 03:36:33AM -2 points [-]

I think it's more that there seems to be a cluster that will vocally declare anything that is short of the clinical definition of PTSD trigger, to be completely invalid morally. IE there is no moral value or obligation to markup our language with these warnings and it is completely the responsibility of others to toughen up and handle it.

This is in opposition to the viewpoint of side two who argue that we should invest effort to create more pleasant and safer environments.

Hence side 2 and 3 argue different moral claims while side 1 associates the term without considering moral obligations in the use of language.

Comment author: shminux 24 July 2014 01:00:14AM -1 points [-]

I would call it a definition, not a side. I agree that definitions of ambiguous/loaded terms must be explicated before use. I disagree that this is taking sides.

Comment author: evand 24 July 2014 02:38:43PM 1 point [-]

Definitions and word choice are a form of framing. Framing and other meta-discussion is a powerful tool for shaping the object-level discussion.

I am fairly suspicious of claims that framing attempts are neutral and apolitical.

Of course, this is complicated by the fact that good definitions that reflect underlying reality are useful. But both modifying those definitions to be overly broad or overly narrow, and trying to prevent that modification, can be a subtle form of taking sides.